Solar Gets Sexy in the City

“The number one crisis facing our planet right now is the environment…”

Actor Chris Noth shared these sentiments with at the Rainforest Alliance 2012 Gala awards dinner this past May. “We can see it in the seasons that aren’t here anymore, in all kind of subtle ways and in big ways. People have been lulled to sleep, and groups like the Rainforest Alliance are our wake-up call. I hope we can do it … stir people into action.”

Noth is not the first, nor the biggest, celebrity to put his voice, time and money into sustainability efforts, but he may be one of the most passionate. Noth, best known for his role as the sultry-yet-reluctant-to-commit Mr. Big on “Sex in the City” (and most recently as the formerly cheating District Attorney husband on “The Good Wife”), is devoted to taking whatever measures he can to preserve the environment and reverse some of the damage humanity has already done to our planet. 

In an exclusive conversation, Noth shared his own sustainability efforts, which include low-flow toilets, water efficient faucets, and Energy Star appliances in his Sherman Oaks, CA home, as well as a Toyota Prius in his driveway. “If everyone would just get a Prius …” he joked. “But really, every small thing we can do makes a difference.”

There was one glaring omission from Noth’s efforts: renewable energy. We asked him if he had considered solar panels. “It’s something I’m looking in to,” he said.

Here’s where it became abundantly clear that celebrities are no different from other people — at least when it comes to solar energy. “I want to see if my home is a good fit for solar. Doesn’t your roof have to have a certain amount of south-facing square footage?”

We don’t know what Mr. Noth’s roof looks like, so we can’t say for certain. But in an upscale residential neighborhood in sunny Southern California, it’s safe to say there’s enough space for an array that would produce enough energy to at least partially meet the residents’ electricity demands.

Additionally, Noth stated that he splits time between New York and Los Angeles – whenever he’s in New York, his solar panels in L.A. will still be producing clean, free electric power and feeding it back in to the grid. It’s an ideal scenario. 

Dispelling Solar Myths

It’s a pervasive solar myth that you need an extensive south-facing roof surface to benefit from solar energy. And if an eco-conscious celebrity like Noth wasn’t sure about it, how can we expect the average homeowner to know?

If we could have just three minutes with every solar-curious customer, as we did with Noth, we could make a real difference. Instead, we have to reach out by the methods we have, and explain the benefits of solar power in ways people understand.

Solar is high-tech. It’s sexy. And it’s smart.

When it comes to saving the planet, you can think small…or you can think big. Think of the consumers who just don’t know what a difference solar can make, who don’t realize what an easy, positive change it is. And then think about how we can educate them. 

Are you up for the task? 

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Raina Russo is founder of #SolarChat, a think-tank utilizing the power of social media to discuss issues related to solar and renewable energy, connecting thousands of solar professionals in Twitter discussions generating an average of 4.5 million impressions per online event. #SolarChat also hosts in-person “TweetUps” and other networking events in conjunction with major solar industry conferences. The organization’s online social communities amplify the message of making solar a reality for every home and business across America.Russo is also the co-founder of #Women4Solar, compelled to drive change through addressing female related issues both inside and outside of the industry.Russo maintains an active social community for those interested in solar and renewable energy on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pintrist under EcoOutfitters, Women4Solar and SolarChat.Russo holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and served as a project engineer with Skanska USA, the number one green contractor in the U.S. She also served as a Liaison to the United Nations for the Israeli Defense Force.

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