Sometimes in sustainability work, the hardest part is to make known what is already (or should be) obvious.  Here’s a renewable energy fact too often overlooked:  The price of solar energy in the United States is less than the price of traditional utility payments over the lifetime of the system, even inside a state that has no additional solar energy incentive programs.

Sigora Solar is a solar installation company headquartered in Waynesboro, Virginia, and they’re trying to spread that message far and wide. I first worked with them to help catalyze their receipt of a “Better Models of Development Award” from Valley Conservation Council in 2013, and have since swayed in and out of their orbit as they’ve traveled to Haiti to find a location for a long-term microgrid installation project, completed the largest on-roof solar thermal installation project in Virginia, and generally grown from a “two men, one Honda” company to one that spans work in affordable housing in Baltimore to small residential projects in Virginia.

Solar installation on the roof of the CFA Institute in Charlottesville, VA. Photo copyright, Sigora Solar.

Solar installation on the roof of the CFA Institute in Charlottesville, VA. Photo copyright, Sigora Solar.

After spending several months with them for on-call strategic planning assistance as well as marketing and outreach planning, I’m left with a left with a lot of enthusiasm for how much opportunity there is in the alternative energy field. Solar represents not just an opportunity for individuals to vote with their dollars for cleaner energy streams, but also democratizes energy to the extent that it takes production away from single monopolies and puts it back in the hands of community residents.