solar, solarize st. john, green chamber of the south

Green Chamber Leads to Climate-Positive Work on St. John

Among the benefits of being a Green Chamber of the South member are the connections and introductions to like-minded people and businesses.

In 2017, an impactful introduction occurred at a Green Wednesday panel discussion. The panel featured guest speakers from Solarize Decatur, Solarize Roswell and Solar CrowdSource, among others.

Green Chamber board member, Ken Haldin, attended this discussion, along with Brad Camrud, an Atlanta business person who has property on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Through this connection, Ken and Brad met Don Moreland, then chair of the Georgia Solar Energy Association and founder of Solar CrowdSource, an Atlanta firm that facilitates Solarize programs for local communities.

Discussion began, and months later, based on these relationships, the Solarize St. John campaign was launched in 2019.

Last year, local organizers of what became Solarize St. John began working with Solar CrowdSource to forge and launch a first-of-its-kind program on the Caribbean island using a hybrid of a traditional Solarize program (bulk, cooperative purchasing among many property owners rather than individual purchasing) and discounts created by a generous donation from the Camrud family to seed the initiative.

The impact in 2019 was measurable. More than 100 local property owners signed up for a free solar evaluation after hearing aboutSolarize St. John throughout the year. Via the 2019 program, more than 400 solar panels and 21 battery systems were installed on homes of 22 residents stretching from Great Cruz Bay to the far East End on St. John. This resulted in an annual reduction in carbon emissions into the environment equivalent to 87 pickup trucks every year.

The effort translated into over $600,000 in new clean energy development — and ultimately big savings on electricity bills, improved energy resiliency locally and meaningful reductions in CO2 emissions for decades to come.

Due to the overwhelming success of the 2019 campaign, Solarize St. John has been renewed for 2020, with a new round of 10 grants available for local residents/property owners on the island and a goal to help the U.S Virgin Islands become carbon-free.

The Green Chamber is proud to have been a part of helping Solarize St. John happen as a result of networking forged via our members and events.

Want to learn more and make your own networking connections? Become a Green Chamber member today.

Read more about the Solarize St. John project here.