Solar co-op volunteer recognized for helping spread solar

By Ben Delman on February 13, 2018
Warren Clark with USBGC award
Solar co-op volunteer Warren Clark poses with his well-earned award from the USGBC of Florida.

Warren Clark was visiting friends in St. Petersburg, Florida when he saw a Solar United Neighbors yard sign. He was already interested in going solar and seeing the sign inspired him.

He connected with us and took the lead in organizing a solar co-op in his home county of St. Johns. Last week, the U.S. Green Building Council of Florida honored Clark with its Green Hero LEEDership Award. This honor is well deserved. Warren outreached, organized, illustrated and participated in every aspect of the co-op process and continues to help his neighbors go solar.

“After the U.S. pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, that was the catalyst to launch this co-op in St. Johns County,” Clark said. “Solar is a real, tangible action homeowners can take.”

The co-op helped about 50 homes go solar, including Clark. He will soon have a 6.41 kW system installed on his home.

“My wife and I were already considering solar and had multiple proposals, but still didn’t know how to move forward,” Clark said. “The co-op process provided us with the basic knowledge we needed to make an informed decision.”

Warren brought creativity and a St. Augustine flare to the group. Historical re-enactors represented each of the area’s time eras at the press launch. This event also featured a solar-powered audio-visual system at the historic Lightner Museum. Later, Clark hosted a film screening of Catching the Sun to educate the community about solar and recruit co-op participants.

The solar co-op closed to sign ups in November. Nearly 200 participants signed up, including St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver.

With the co-op closed, Clark has turned his focus to advocating for solar rights in neighboring Jacksonville. Jacksonville’s municipal utility proposed policy changes that would undermine the value of solar. Clark is mobilizing solar supporters to write to urge JEA to change this policy. He’s taken the lead by testifying at hearings and publicizing this issue in the press.