6 Eco-Friendly Promoters Of Renewable Energy

As clean energy technologies like wind and solar continue to gain prominence in communities around the world, there are multiple organizations advocating for the increased usage of these natural resources. Through educational campaigns, local initiatives, and tips on implementation, these groups are using diverse strategies to spread the word. Here, in no particular order, are some organizations boosting the cause of sustainable organic power.

Coming in at #1 is The Solar Foundation, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing the use of solar technologies worldwide. Founded in 1977, its initiatives include jobs research, workforce diversity, and clean energy market transformation. Among its sponsors are the California Energy Commission, SunPower, Southern Current, and Panasonic.

Through its SolSmart program, the Foundation provides no-cost technical assistance to help cities, counties, and small towns make solar more affordable and accessible. Its team of national experts helps to build public support and implement locally-based solutions to advance clean energy growth. The organization offers local governments and community stakeholders access to a solar development toolkit that provides guidance on planning, zoning, and development and utility engagement.

In the #2 spot is the Cities Power Partnership, a local government climate network in Australia. Regional councils that join the partnership are asked to make action pledges in either renewable energy, efficiency, transport, or climate change. Among the suggested activities are switching to electric buses or opening up old landfills for new solar farms.

The Cities Power Partnership National Summit brings together community energy groups and industry leaders from across the country to address climate change solutions, including case studies and best practices. A highlight of the event is an awards ceremony and gala, which showcases achievements in such categories as community advocacy and project financing, and also recognizes individual champions in the field.

Entering the list at #3 is Iron & Earth. This worker-led not-for-profit is focused on building renewable energy projects in Canada. The organization aims to incorporate its four pillars of collaboration, vision, training, and advocacy into each project. Initiatives include the 365 Greenhouse, which operates year-round by utilizing solar modules and an electric heat pump to generate the energy required to grow food during the winter months.

The group's training programs help oil, gas, and coal workers transition to the solar energy sector, and assists them in taking their new skills and knowledge back to their existing job sites. Through its app, Iron & Earth offers information on institutions that provide courses, workshops, and degrees in renewable energies. The organization has received media coverage from The Gauntlet, The Globe and Mail, Vice, and the Calgary Herald, among others.

At #4 is Solar United Neighbors, a national organization dedicated to representing the needs and interests of solar owners and supporters. It provides tips for businesses, condo and multi-family buildings, and municipalities on how to make the transition to this form of renewable energy. Community awareness programs include the Girl Scouts SUN Patch Program, where troop members can earn badges by engaging in community and educational activities.

Among the issues that the organization highlights are rural electric cooperatives, grid reform, net metering, and working with homeowners associations. Volunteer opportunities include sending postcards to elected officials, hosting local movie screenings, and joining the SUN Articles Club, which discusses issues around solar. The Catalogue for Philanthropy named Solar United Neighbors one of the best small nonprofits in the Washington, DC area.

Joining the list at #5 is Community Power. The coalition-formed non-profit focuses on expanding energy options for Minneapolis, as well as for cities and towns across the state of Minnesota. As part of the Energy We Can't Afford coalition, the group works with organizations such as Vote Solar and the Sierra Club to improve the health, financial, and environmental impacts of fossil fuel use across the economy. Among the media outlets to feature it are the Associated Press and The Minnesota Daily.

In partnership with Cooperative Energy Futures, Community Power opened a solar garden at Shiloh Temple in North Minneapolis in 2018. The program is designed to bring clean energy projects to the area while helping renters, homeowners, and small businesses save on utility bills. The group also hosts Powerful Conversations, a series of workshops in homes, community centers, and schools focused on discussing solutions around local climate and justice issues.

Wrapping up the list at #6 is the Clean Power Campaign, which works to decrease the country's dependence on coal, oil, and other fossil fuels. The group supports myriad initiatives, some of which include California's Global Warming Solutions Act and a plan for a clean Los Angeles. Among its campaign affiliates are Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company, National Grid, and Enel X.

Concentrating on the diversification of a community's power portfolio, the Power up the Low Carbon Grid campaign promotes a blend of clean technologies such as wind and solar, plus energy efficiency improvements to homes and electrical grids. The organization lobbies local and regional air quality districts and city councils. News coverage encompasses guest commentary in CalMatters and articles in The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vox, and Bloomberg.