Huge Turnout for Solar Presentation

Jim Brewer

There’s nothing like a week the dark to shine a light on solar power.  A standing room only crowd filled the Berger Center on Nov. 5  to learn about solar alternatives for Oakmont at an informational program sponsored by the Long Range

It was standing room only for a solar town hall in the Berger Center Nov. 4 (Photo by John Williston)

Planning Committee’s solar group.

While the two-hour meeting touched on efforts to bring solar to some community buildings, the focus was on alternatives for individual homeowners.
Eliott Whitehurst, Sonoma County energy and sustainability analyst, discussed potential electric bill savings versus purchase and installation costs and financing alternatives for home solar systems. Two residents who have installed home sola installed systems, Mark Attebery and Richard Randolph, told how their electric bills have been all but eliminated.

Eliot Whitehurst, county energy and sustrainability analyst, speaks at a town hall on solar . (Photo by John Williston)(

OVA Director Jess Marzak, the board representative to the solar subcommittee  who chaired the meeting, gave a brief overview of efforts to “bring energy independence to downtown Oakmont,” an area he defined as the Central Activities and Berger centers, plus the OVA office, banks and the Oakmont Village Market. He said efforts are underway to obtain grants from several sources and stressed that no OVA funds will be involved.
The solar subcommittee now has 130 individuals who have expressed interest in installing home solar. The hope is to be able to obtain a lower installation price. “The next phase will be identifying and requesting proposals from a list of vetted solar power system vendor/installers,” said committee member Ken Smith. “We are planning another similar town event for the first quarter of 2020 and discussing the possibility of solar vendor fair, also in 2020,” Smith said.

            A video of the solar meeting is available on the OVA website