The Guerrilla Solar Movement

Solar advocates are starting a guerrilla solar movement to combat the notion that one should have to pay for energy.
by the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
February/March 2001
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Guerrilla solar advocates circumvent the hassle and bureaucracy by installing solar panels themselves.
Photo courtesy MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors

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A term coined by Richard and Karen Perez, the editors of Home Power Magazine, the guerrilla solar movement started when solar advocates, fed up with the bureaucracy of utility companies, took things into their own hands. Activists across the country are now tying their systems into the grid without utility permission or knowledge.

Homeowners from one of the first documented acts of the guerrilla solar movement became frustrated with the requirement of the expensive, lockable disconnect, as well as the multi-million dollar insurance policy. A statement from them reads:

"Is this fair? Is it OK? No, and it rubs us just wrong enough to decide to do it without permission, without disconnects, and without additional insurance. Hence, guerrilla solar."

The Guerrilla Solar Manifesto states that all energy is freely and democratically provided by nature, and that the monopolization of energy by utilities threatens our environment and our planet. In sum:

"We, the Solar Guerrillas of this planet, therefore resolve to place energy made from sunshine, wind and falling water on this planet's utility grids with or without permission from utilities or governments. We resolve to share this energy with our neighbors without regard for financial compensation. We further resolve that our renewable energy systems will be safe and will not harm utility workers, our neighbors or our environment."

It is unknown how many guerrilla solar grid-tied systems exist, but a dozen of the systems are documented by Home Power (homeowners' names omitted, of course).

Laurie Guevara-Stone lives in a grid-tied home with her husband and son in Carbondale, Colorado. She writes and teaches about renewable energy technologies at Solar Energy International.

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