The Clean Coalition spreads solar technology through Santa Barbara County
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- A Santa Barbara non-profit called The Clean Coalition is trying to expedite the switch to renewable energy and a modern power grid.
The organization is focused on harnessing solar energy to generate electricity.
When the Thomas Fire broke out in late 2017, followed soon after by the Montecito Mudslide, Craig Lewis realized how vulnerable his hometown was to natural disasters.
“I think lives would have been saved with the disasters that have struck Santa Barbara if we had a proliferation of solar micro-grids, because people would have known they had a place to go and they would have gone there,” said Founder of The Clean Coalition Craig Lewis.
Lewis is the founder of The Clean Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to expanding solar power usage in Santa Barbara County.
He says when solar energy and batteries are combined, a system called a solar micro-grid is created.
Lewis says this allows buildings, like a home, to stay online even when the grid goes down.
“When you think about it, electricity drives everything. You can't get water to your house without electricity because electricity is used for the pumps that get the water distributed around a city. You can't pump your gas without electricity.” said Lewis.
In emergency situations like a power outage, people would still be able to keep food cold in the fridge, or even stay connected on their phone and online.
“We need those tools to communicate with the outside world when there's a disaster going on,” said Lewis.
The Clean Coalition is trying to spread solar technology through schools in Santa Barbara County.
Right now Santa Barbara Unified School District has 14 sites with solar energy.
Six of those locations have solar micro grids, so critical power will never go down.
“We hope these solar panels are an example of the environmental benefits that everybody can be working toward throughout the community,” said SB Unified School District’s Ed Zuchelli.
The founder of The Clean Coalition also explained how solar micro-grids can be life-saving.
They can keep emergency equipment running in hospitals, shelters and fire stations.