State Solar Listserves
About statewide solar listserves
These groups are citizens networks are open to any individual or business interested in supporting solar in the state. The listservs are a place for practical advice on how to go solar, as well as to keep track of local developments around solar. Check out our list of the kinds of questions and discussions that happen on the listservs.
- Click here to join the Ohio group
- Click here to join the Virginia group.
- Click here to join the Maryland group.
- Click here to join the West Virginia group.
- Click here to join the Washington, DC group.
Interested in starting a listserv in your state? Contact us to see about getting something set up! We can help you figure out who to invite, deal with the technical aspects of the list, and create a long-term plan for growing the list.
Why a listserv? Creating a broad base of solar champions
In our work in the Mid-Atlantic region, we’ve found that creating a statewide listserv is a relatively simple, low-tech way to create and build statewide network of solar supporters that care about solar and are want to help develop projects and support policy change.
The statewide solar networks (VA SUN, MD SUN, WV SUN, DC SUN) create a space for “solar citizens” to connect, ask questions, get help going solar, and share their experiences. The networks are completely non-partisan and allow neither advertising nor polemical arguments, as part of an effort to keep the discussion focused squarely on creating real, tangible improvements in each state’s solar policy.
By keeping the discussion focused on solar, the listserv appeals to a much broader base of participants that might not identify as “environmentalists,” but who support their right to produce their own power and are invested in their state’s solar future. This allows us to help build a much larger group of grassroots solar supporters than if the discussion was focused on “environmental” issues.
The networks also provide an infrastructure for existing environmental groups and advocacy organizations to better communicate and collaborate. This infrastructure allows groups to better work together to achieve policy goals, while also being able to draw upon a new citizen base of grassroots solar supporters. The result is a more efficient, effective method for creating significant policy change on renewable energy in the state. Our goal is not to duplicate the work of existing organizations (or try and “steal” their members), but rather support their ongoing efforts by helping to create a new base of solar supporters who can support those efforts.
Examples of the state network process
CPN recently has helped to launch WV SUN, a listserv in West Virginia. In the past, WV solar policy work was carried out by a few individuals acting on their own without the support of a broader citizen support.WV-SUN is helping to bring these various individuals and groups together to discuss solar policy and to work together.
Recently, members of the listserve recently spent a significant amount of time debating a tax provision in the West Virginia code. Members then created a petition in favor of the tax break for solar that was signed by more than 840 individuals. They also created a map of the signatories that will be shared with West Virginia legislators.
Our hope is, over the next year or so, that WV-SUN will continue to launch similar activities and events, such as petitions and community meetings, to grow the vibrancy and power of grassroots networks in WV. We will work with them to develop online tools and web-based materials to support these efforts, as well as the efforts of new and existing grassroots groups across the state. Building the listserv is the backbone to this work.