California Fair to Celebrate Solar Energy

More than 20 solar energy installers and solar equipment manufacturers will participate in the Solar Sebastopol Fair and Celebration on Sunday, August 17, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sebastopol Community Center.

Sebastopol, California – July 25, 2003 [] The event, which is free and open to the general public, officially kicks off Solar Sebastopol, an unprecedented municipal campaign to install 1 MW of solar energy capacity at Sebastopol residences, businesses, and municipal buildings by 2005. Solar Sebastopol is the City of Sebastopol’s community wide commitment to renewable energy and environmentally sound energy policy. The city has partnered with Cooperative Community Energy (CCEnergy), a local solar equipment buyers’ cooperative, to raise general awareness about Sebastopol’s solar goal, to educate people about solar energy, to help property owners determine whether solar makes practical and financial sense, and to manage individual solar installation projects. The organizers said their program is receiving international attention since it may be ideal for smaller communities looking for partners to help lower costs for this renewable and non-polluting source of electricity. On a practical level, the Solar Sebastopol Fair is designed to provide an opportunity for Sebastopol residents and business owners to learn more about the Solar Sebastopol program and to decide whether solar energy is the right choice for them. The fair is bringing together all the key resources and nuts-and-bolts information in one place at one time. Experienced and knowledgeable local solar installers will be on hand to answer general solar energy questions and address specific circumstances. Established solar manufacturers will showcase the latest in solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment and technology. City of Sebastopol and CCEnergy representatives will provide information about participating in the Solar Sebastopol program, rebate programs offered by the California Energy Commission Renewable Buydown and California Public Utilities Commission, applicable state and federal tax credits, loan programs and other special municipally-supported financing opportunities. A group of homeowners and business people who have already gone solar will speak candidly about their own experiences, how they overcame their own hesitations and obstacles, and how their solar energy systems are performing now. On a policy level, the Solar Sebastopol Fair is featuring a panel of federal, state, and local elected officials and policymakers who will address the current state of affairs and the potential role envisioned for each level of government in supporting and promoting more solar energy. The panel members include Tom Roth representing Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, Assemblywoman Pat Wiggins, Sebastopol City Councilman Sam Spooner, and Director of the Sonoma County General Services Department Dave Kronberg. The event is also inviting some of California’s most effective instigators and architects of grassroots level solar energy activism to discuss their experiences in raising awareness, gathering support, and implementing several other locally focused solar programs. The speakers include David Hochschild, executive director of, the organization that sponsored San Francisco’s bond measure to create the largest local government solar program in the world; Ed Smeloff, of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, who manages San Francisco’s solar program and who will provide status reports on San Francisco’s and other local government efforts to implement successful solar energy programs; Paul Fenn, author of the Community Choice Bill and an activist in the San Francisco Solar Bond Measure; Dan Pellegrini, President of CCEnergy and Solar Sebastopol program manager. The stated goal of the Solar Sebastopol program is to celebrate solar energy and make it easy, accessible, and affordable. A host of activities and events for children, teens, and the whole family, along with live music and entertainment, food, and wine/beer tasting, are all a part of the daylong program.
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