Become a Solar “Spartacus”

This weekend I ate brunch at a local diner named “Rudy’s.” Clearly, Rudy was the owner, but I had no idea what he looked like. Then I saw that everyone on staff was wearing a T-shirt that said, “I’m Rudy.”

Rudy’s T-shirts were of course referencing Spartacus. For those who don’t know that classic Stanley Kubrick movie based on history, it’s about an ancient Roman slave revolt led by an ex-gladiator named Spartacus. Spartacus defeats the Roman army in several battles, but eventually is cornered. However, the Romans don’t know what Spartacus looks like, so they announce that all slaves will be spared if Spartacus steps forward. Spartacus, played by Kurt Douglas, steps forward and says, “I’m Spartacus.” But then, all the other 6000 slaves stepped forward and one-by-one, they also proclaim, “I’m Spartacus!”

The point here is that it doesn’t matter whether we’re a slave or a busboy or a boots-on-the roof solar installer. We are each responsible for the success or Solar Spartacusfailure of our beliefs, our companies, and our goals.

The same holds true for the solar industry and our current conflicts with utilities, fossil fuel companies, and their richly endowed lobbying organizations. They all want to see the solar industry’s growth slowed, if not stopped entirely, and they will spend heavily to lobby, misinform, and influence public utility commissions, legislators, and the general public.

To continue our solar growth and to correct the utility and fossil fuel misinformation, we all need to step forward and become Solar Spartacus:

  • Whether you’re in solar sales, marketing, engineering, the CEO, or driving a forklift, please support and respond to solar advocacy alerts from Vote Solar and SEIA, and others.
  • Talk to your friends and neighbors about net metering and solar subsidies. Urge them to sign up for alerts too.
  • Attend local solar advocacy meetings and protests. If there’s a big enough crowd, television news will be there to cover it, gaining more publicity.
  • Create a blog post, infographic, or video about local solar policies and share them with your friends via social networks and email.
  • Put a face to solar. Write a personal email or letter to your local and national representative about your company and your job and how you need your rep to support and protect the pro-solar legislation in your area. Be sure to tell them that you vote in every election and that this is your number 1 issue. I can’t tell you how effective this can be, even more so than responding to action alerts.

If all 120,000+ of us took the time to do some or all of these actions, the legislators and PUCs would be overwhelmed with the facts and faces of solar. They would compare our grass roots messages with the utility messages and realize solar’s true value to the local public, to our nation, and to the world.

So, wherever you are and whatever you do for the solar industry, today and everyday, please be a Solar Spartacus. Share your solar advocacy passion and this post with your friends. Spread the solar good news…and UnThink Solar.

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