Here comes the sun.
Here comes the sun.
That might well be the anthem for dozens of Clintonville residents who attended a workshop last week to learn more about the ins and outs of solar power -- as individual homeowners and as a group.
More than 85 people turned out for "Solar Options: Clintonville and Beyond," said Deborah Crawford of the local organization that sponsored the event.
Clintonville in Transition -- or Transition Clintonville; the members use the names interchangeably -- is part of a worldwide movement aimed at ending dependence on fossil fuels.
"It was standing room only, so I think there's an interest in solar," Crawford said last week, a few days after the gathering in the meeting room of the Columbus Metropolitan Library's Whetstone branch. "The bulk of the evening was questions and answers, and we had a lot of good questions and good answers.
"A lot of people are on the verge of trying to think what they can do with alternative energy."
"I thought it was quite successful," added Mary Jane Quick, another member of the organization. "We really didn't know how many would show up."
Workshop participants heard from Greg Raffio, point engineer for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design projects for Clintonville-based Go Sustainable Energy, and David Dwyer, owner of American Renewable Energy in the Chicago area.
Clintonville in Transition may have gained as many as 20 new members as a result of the gathering, Crawford said, but more important to her was that 40 or so expressed interest in further exploring the concept of a solar cooperative that could bring the alternative energy source to entire sectors of the neighborhood.
"We still have a lot of things to study, because there are different models to choose from," Crawford said. "To actually pull this off, we would need legal help, we would need accounting, we could need planning, we would need people doing marketing ... but the coolest thing is it would be pretty community-driven, so we wouldn't have to be paying a lot of people.
"The interest was overwhelming."
A representative from AEP was on hand for the workshop, and he, along with both presenters, emphasized the importance of making homes as energy-efficient as possible before entertaining the idea of adding solar.
The city's environmental steward, Erin Miller, made the same point during a workshop for nonprofit organizations aimed at helping them reduce energy consumption.
"Putting solar panels on a house that's not energy-efficient is like putting lipstick on a pig," Miller said.
Members of the planning committee who put on the solar workshop will meet to decide where things go from here, Quick said, including the possibility of holding another session to focus solely on the co-op idea.
"Right now, I'd say we're going to be in transition mode over the next several months," Crawford said.
Those interested in more information about Transition Clintonville or solar concepts may call Deborah and Mac Crawford at 614-263-7491.