inside ases | ases insights
Grassroots Efforts + National Leadership = Solar Success
By rich caputo and
how does a nonprofit organization, based in Boul- der, Colo., organize and implement a national movement that will push and pull the country into
a new era of sustainable energy? At the American Solar
Energy Society (ASES), we believe the most effective way
to meet this mission is to merge the efforts of enthusiastic
grassroots groups with national leadership and support.
At the grassroots level, ASES has 11,500 members in
50 states. We’ve formed 62 chapters or subchapters in 40
states. Chapter activities include —
ables and energy efficiency;
ASES chapters come in many shapes and sizes, but they
share one mission: to provide engaging solar education that
is relevant to their state or region.
Rich caputo (
an AsEs board member
and a leader of the san
Diego Renewable Energy society, is author
of the book Hitting the
Wall: A Vision of a Secure
At the national level, ASES is a progressive nonprofit
nization is overseen by a board of directors and a board
best magazine in the field (SOLAR TODAY), organizes
the largest renewable energy and energy efficiency education event in the nation (the ASES National Solar Tour,
nationalsolartour.org), and produces the longest running
and largest technical conference in the renewable energy
field (the ASES National Solar Conference, solar2010.org).
Climate Change in the U. S.,” “Estimating the Jobs Impacts
“ASES Policy Recommendations for the 111th Congress.”
We now have a grassroots advocacy arm in Solar Nation.
tehri parker (
email@example.com) is executive
director of the midwest
Renewable Energy Association and an AsEs
board member. she
holds a ph.D. in education and teaches at the
University of Wisconsin
at stevens point.
To merge the efforts of these two levels of ASES, the
ASES Board of Directors has developed a chapters rela-tions;committee.;The;mission;of;the;committee;is;twofold:
and to help the chapters more vigorously move forward
build on the natural synergies of these groups, thereby
significantly increasing the effectiveness of the organization overall.
individuals representing the ASES board of directors, staff
the committee as its board representatives. Tehri is the
executive director of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, and Rich is the founding chair and a board member of the San Diego Renewable Energy Society. We are
Copyright © 2010 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
national organization: Richard Burns, the ASES National
committee is rounded out with two chapter volunteers:
Wyldon Fishman, president and co-founder of the New
Region Solar Energy Association.
from grant writing to developing hard-hitting advocacy
with the chapters through a series of webinars.
In addition to these activities, the committee is also cre-ating;a;chapter;handbook;and;a;comprehensive;package;of
materials to guide the development of new chapters.
Strengthening ASES advocacy is critical at this time
in the history of the planet. Many people appreciate the
increasing cost efficacy of renewables and energy effi-ciency;and;know;that,;eventually,;our;energy;system;will
marrow;that;sustainability;is;key;to;the;long-term;sur-vival of our global ecosystem, and they’ll support all measures, including renewable energy, to reach sustainability.
Both of these groups add up to a lot of people and a lot
of support for the eventual movement to renewables and
increased energy efficiency.
As great as this is, it is not nearly enough. To avoid the
worst impacts of human-driven climate change, we don’t
penetration of a new energy system in the United States.
We have half that time, and we need to reach 80 percent
renewables. It’s a challenge that will require effective and
ASES and allied organizations become much more effective
in advocating for a sustainable future.