Rooftop solar is a win-win: it provides clean, carbon-free energy while almost eliminating your electricity bill.  You can save money and help save the planet at the same time.  But the process of acquiring those panels — selecting contractors, sifting through all of the different options, trying to make sense of tax credits — can be intimidating and time-consuming.

That’s why my collaborators and I founded OC Goes SolarWe started in 2017 as a small group of neighbors in University Hills (the neighborhood adjacent to UC Irvine).  Our aim was to band together to secure a group discount, and to streamline and simplify the process for our community.  We solicited proposals from local contractors, ultimately selecting one that offered us the best deal. Anyone in Irvine was eligible to participate, although most of the customers were from our neighborhood.  More than 60 homeowners ended up purchasing rooftop solar through this first solar drive.  The feedback we got from customers was overwhelmingly positive.

Since then, we have organized two more rounds of the program, working with two additional fully vetted local contractors.  For these two subsequent rounds, we expanded the eligibility to all of Orange County.  To date, a total of 270 homeowners have gotten rooftop solar through our drives.  Many customers say that the program made the process much easier and less stressful (as well as more affordable) than it otherwise would have been.  Some say they would not have purchased solar panels at all if not for the program.

While we started as an informal group of neighbors, we decided a year or so ago to become a formal nonprofit organization.  We have incorporated as a 501(c)(3), while remaining entirely volunteer-run.

Our mission is to spread clean energy throughout Orange County.   We also want to focus in particular on bringing the benefits of solar energy to underserved Orange County communities.  We are planning to help connect these communities with a state-funded free solar program called DAC-SASH that is available for that purpose.

To learn more about our program, please email us at sustainability@uhills.org. You can also visit our website at https://www.ocgoessolar.org/

Senait Forthal
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