When the predecessor organization to Sustainable Rossmoor, called Solar Powered Rossmoor, first came into being, we decided that the very first project we wanted to take on was to convince the board of the Golden Rain Foundation (GRF) to consider putting up a large solar array, also called a solar farm. An analysis of GRF’s PG&E bills for a year showed that GRF pays PG&E over $600,000 a year for electricity used for the clubhouses, pools and golf courses. We strongly suspected that a solar farm would be a very cost-effective way to both cut GRF’s expenses, thereby reducing residents’ HOA fees, and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, the leading cause of global warming.
The solar farm project team contacted several commercial solar contractors and obtained estimates of the costs & savings GRF could likely achieve. As we suspected, over the first 20 years of the system’s life, they estimated that GRF could save between $6-$10 million dollars, depending on how the system was financed. Armed with this information, the project team put together a concerted lobbying campaign to get the GRF board to take on this project. We spent over 6 months of steady but friendly lobbying, mainly at the monthly GRF board meetings, as well as holding community-wide town hall presentations. Finally, the board voted to direct the GRF staff to hire an outside consultant and to form a CEO advisory committee made up of Sustainable Rossmoor solar farm project members. Ultimately the consultant and the advisory committee convinced the board to move ahead with this project, and recommended a set of solar vendors to install and finance the project. The contract was signed by all parties in December of 2016 and construction is expected to begin in late Spring or early Summer of 2017.
The system is expected to be approximately 1 megawatt is size and occupy most of the hillside opposite the Rossmoor recycling center near MOD on Rockview Drive, with part of the system spilling over to cover a portion of the RV parking lot.
This project certainly helped Sustainable Rossmoor gain a deep understanding of the inner-working of Rossmoor’s political landscape and earned SR a reputation for being reasonable while working for the betterment of our community. Both of these will be valuable to Sustainable Rossmoor as we take on additional projects in our community.