Real Goods Solar founder and General Manager of Retail and Distribution, John Schaeffer, established the Solar Living Institute (SLI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit education institute, in 1998 with the mission of promoting sustainable living through inspirational environmental education. The organization functions both as a renewable energy and green living experiential classroom and as an example of successful sustainable development. Congressman Huffman presented Schaeffer personally with the “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” for outstanding service to the community.
“Real Goods has been a true leader in the green industry and I am proud to recognize their work in paving the way for a more sustainable future,” said Congressman Huffman.
The SLI is headquartered at the Solar Living Center (SLC), a 5,000-square-foot straw bale building surrounded by 12 acres of permaculture gardens in Hopland, California. The building was designed using passive solar principles and the gardens are laid out in a pattern similar to that of U.S. climate zones. In 2000, Real Goods Solar installed a commercial solar system at the SLC that produces 160,000 kW-hours of electricity annually. The Solar Living Center is also home to the Real Goods retail store, a mecca of sustainable goods and educational materials for on- and off-grid living. The Solar Living Center is one of Northern California premier tourist attractions, hosting over 3 million visitors since its inception in 1996.
John Schaeffer commented: “It’s a tremendous honor to have Real Goods and the Solar Living Institute recognized for our pioneering work in solar, environmental sustainability, and inspirational education. For 35 years, since we sold one of the first solar PV panels in the U.S. in 1978, we’ve been working to reduce our collective carbon footprint and to provide good solar jobs for our citizens. It’s heartening to be honored by such a supportive Member of Congress as Jared Huffman.”
Every year, over 200,000 people visit the SLC, which offers sustainability workshops on everything from photovoltaic system design and installation to straw bale home construction, urban farming, paleo technology and grey water system installation. In 2009, the SLI began teaching classes online and in 2010, the nonprofit launched an online solar energy training program.
In addition, John Schaeffer was very recently inducted into the prestigious International Green Industry Hall of Fame for his lifetime achievements in the green industry and his ongoing advocacy for sustainability.
This was the first sustainability tour by Huffman, known for his environmental advocacy work, as a member of congress. Congressman Huffman serves as Chair, Progressive Caucus Task Force on Energy and the Environment; Member, Sustainable Energy and the Environment Coalition Caucus; and Member, Safe Climate Caucus.
About Real Goods Solar
Real Goods Solar, Inc. (RSOL) is one of the nation’s pioneering solar energy companies serving commercial, residential, and utility customers. Beginning with one of the very first photovoltaic panels sold to the public in the U.S. in 1978, the company has installed more than 14,500 solar power systems representing over 100 megawatts of 100% clean renewable energy. Real Goods Solar makes it very convenient for customers to save on their energy bill by providing a comprehensive solar solution, from design, financing, permitting and installation to ongoing monitoring, maintenance and support. As one of the nation’s largest and most experienced solar power players, the company has 15 offices across the West and the Northeast. It services the commercial and utility markets through its RGS Energy division. For more information, visit RealGoodsSolar.com or RGSEnergy.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/RealGoodsSolar and on Twitter at twitter.com/RealGoodsSolar.