Give Solar


Give Solar, a new local project, has launched in Harrisonburg. This effort grew out of the successful Gift & Thrift “solar barn raising” (video here) in November of 2016.  Community support from crowdfunding and volunteer labor for the solar installation made the solarizing of Gift & Thrift possible.  Three additional solar barn raisings, two in Harrisonburg and one in Ephrata, PA, have since been completed.

Give Solar helps local nonprofits go solar with no out-of-pocket expenses for the organizations.  This works through a combination of grant funding (Merck Foundation), affinity group funding, and crowd-sourced funding.

Harrisonburg nonprofit organizations will own the solar system outright from the day it is turned on. Reducing overhead expenses allows these local organizations to better carry out their missions. These projects also contribute to the long-term resilience and sustainability of our community.  Helping nonprofits go solar requires our community’s financial and volunteer support.

In the next year, Give Solar will install solar electric systems at two local nonprofit organizations. Our Community Place was selected for the first installation.  In November, Green Hill Solar will coordinate a solar barn raising on the roof of OCP.  The 17.4 kW solar system will eliminate 75% of OCP’s electric bill, saving them over $3000 each year. These savings will help OCP to better carry out their outreach to people who are experiencing homelessness and other adverse life circumstances.

Please partner with Give Solar to provide OCP its solar electric system. With your individual donation of $20-30, we can raise $10,000 to insure 100% of the costs are covered without any financial burden to OCP.

Give Solar strives to get community members involved through:

  1. direct participation – either donating your time or money (or a little of both!)
  2. raising awareness about renewable energy
  3. by informing the community about the mission of the partner nonprofits.

Please tell your friends & family and share our website, Give.Solar on social networks.

To contribute to the project, click here: PayPal.  Donations are being directed through New Community Project, better known in Harrisonburg as Vine and Fig.  The Give Solar project is operating under the nonprofit umbrella of Vine and Fig.  All PayPal contributions go directly to the Our Community Place solar project.  All donations, either by check or through PayPal, are tax deductible.

Lastly, please consider joining the Thousand Forward campaign. Give Solar is building a critical mass of 1000 solar advocates in the Harrisonburg area.  Please join us in advocating for renewable energy in our community by joining a Thousand Forward!

givesolarlogoThank you for your support!

Jeff Heie, October 2018
Give Solar Project Coordinator

PS:  There are opportunities to become a sponsor of this effort through a larger contribution.  Sponsorship will give your business, civic group, or foundation a prominent display of your logo on the Give Solar website as well as the Give Solar promotional documents. Current sponsors can be found at the bottom of the Give Solar homepage.

November 9, 2018 – Megan Williams of the Daily News-Record covered Give Solar’s “solar barn raising” on Our Community Place that took place the day before:
Going Green – Give Solar Installs $25,000 In Panels At Our Community Place

BXE Video Series

Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) is launching a series of educational videos about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the dangers it poses to our communities and climate. They are meant to engage the public on issues related to FERC, fracking and extreme energy.

Check out their first video: Are Oil and Gas Pipelines for the Public Good?


Energia Solar Por Puerto Rico


Friday, April 20, 2018, 7-9pm
Community Mennonite Church, 70 S. High St, Harrisonburg

You are invited to a FUN EVENING!
Energia Solar Por Puerto Rico, a benefit concert featuring local artists:

  • Doug Hendren, environmental songwriter
  • blues duo Bobby Driver and Trudy Cole, and
  • salsa band Trio Enka.


  • Short slideshow of Puerto Rico before & after Hurricane Maria.
  • Party finger foods and sponsor displays at intermission.
  • Salsa music and dance instruction complete the evening.

All proceeds go to Resilient Power Puerto Rico to provide solar power systems to hurricane victims. Pay what you can.  Info: 540-820-1219.


concertsnip3Sponsored by 8 local groups:

• Climate Action Alliance of the Valley
• Community Mennonite Church
• Harrisonburg Co-Housing
• Harrisonburg Unitarian Universalists
• Renew Rocktown
• Salsaburg
• Valley Friends Meeting
• Voluntary Gas Tax

See Daily News-Record reporter Justin McIlwee’s story about the event as published on April 13 here: Salsa and Support: Fundraiser to Benefit Puerto Rico

2017 Virginia Solar Congress


All about the 2017 VA Solar Congress including notes, PowerPoint presentations, photos and more from Solar United Neighbors of Virginia here.

Join solar energy enthusiasts from across Virginia for the 2nd annual Virginia Solar Congress, hosted by our partner organization, Solar United Neighbors of Virginia (formerly VA SUN). RSVP here to attend.

2017 Virginia Solar Congress
Saturday, October 14
9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
James Madison University – ISAT-CS Building
701 Carrier Dr., Harrisonburg, VA 22807

The Virginia Solar Congress is a free public conference that brings together solar supporters from across the state to learn and discuss the current state and future for solar energy in Virginia. The day will include presentations about solar technology and policy topics as well as ways to get involved with growing solar in Virginia. We will also hold a participatory open forum discussion for all attendees to discuss the priorities that solar supporters in Virginia should focus on in the coming year.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Everyone is welcome to attend!

RSVP here to attend.

We’re excited to announce that we’ve finalized our agenda for the 2nd Annual VA SUN Solar congress in Harrisonburg on October 14th.

You’ll see from the agenda below that this year’s conference will have something for everyone! We look forward to seeing you there!

9:30 to 10:00 – Registration, breakfast refreshments

10:00 to 10:35 – Opening Remarks

10:45 to 11:45 – Workshops – Session 1

1. Solar 101 Information Session
Learn the basics of how solar works on a home or small business, the economics behind solar, and the incentives available to you. If you are new to solar or considering going solar, this is the session for you!

2. Growing Solar in Your Community
Solar homeowners will share their experiences spreading the word about solar in their community, from hosting solar open houses and solar tours to writing articles in local papers and tabling at community events. You’ll leave this session with tangible ways to share your experience going solar and bring more solar to your community.
Facilitated by Climate Action Alliance of the Valley member Joy Loving

3. Electric Vehicles and Solar
Learn why electric vehicles are the perfect match for solar. The presentation will focus on technology, costs, charging and other practical considerations so that you can ‘fuel your vehicle with solar’. The session will also cover information for business owners interested in installing an EV charger at their business.

12:00 to 1:00 – Lunch and informal networking – lunch will be served

1:15 to 2:15 – Workshops – Session 2

1. Solar Jobs in Virginia
The expanding solar industry is creating new opportunities for the Virginia workforce. Learn about the range of solar jobs in Virginia, the skill sets needed to be successful in the industry, training opportunities, and how to break into the field.

2. Case Study: Local DIY Solar and Barnraising Initiatives
Learn about how a group of community members in Harrisonburg took solar into their own hands by creating and implementing multiple non-traditional models for solar, including a pool of community resources for several DIY solar installations and a ‘barnraising’ crowdfunding initiative to solarize local non-profit, Gift & Thrift.

3. Solar and Energy Storage
Learn the latest on battery storage for residential, commercial and municipal solar installations. A panel of experts will discuss emerging technology, costs and the applications for battery storage in Virginia.

2:30 to 3:30 – Participatory Open Forum Discussion:
Discuss and weigh in on practical policy steps we can all take to expand access to rooftop solar in Virginia.

3:30 to 3:40 – Closing remarks

4:00 to 5:30 – Post-congress Happy Hour at Three Notch’d Brewing Company

We hope you will consider attending this exciting event!

Facebook event page here.

The Burden


Free showing! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017, at 7:30PM.
Auditorium (Room 4110), Memorial Hall, 395 S. High St., James Madison University

The cost is high. The risk is great. Why the U.S. military is leading the fight for clean energy.

THE BURDEN is the first documentary of its kind to tell the story of our dependence on fossil fuels as the greatest long­‐term national security threat confronting the U.S., and how the military is leading our transition away from oil. The troops are crying out, in the words of Gen. James Mattis, President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, “to unleash us from the tether of fuel.” But is Congress listening? Will it listen once Gen. Mattis is in the cabinet?

georgekralovec_63After the film we will hear from Lieutenant Colonel George Kralovec, USMC (Ret). He is a veteran of a career as a Marine F-4 “Phantom” pilot. His 26 years with the Marines included 213 combat missions in Vietnam, two tours as an advanced flight instructor, two tours on Pentagon staff, and four operational command assignments in the U.S. and East Asia.

Following retirement in 2010 George completed a two year program for certification as a Sustainability Professional. He is in his fifth year as a volunteer with the American Association for the Advancement of Science STEM Senior Scientist and Engineer (SSE) Program, joining over 150 other retired scientists and engineers to provide weekly assistance to science teachers in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia public schools.

George joined Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) in March 2014, and is currently leader of the VA Fairfax chapter, liaison for Virginia District 11, DC Director for CCL’s Conservative Caucus, and DC Coordinator for CCL’s Climate and National Security Action Team.

There are many reasons to unleash the military. Here are just two of them:

Putting Our Troops in Harm’s Way — The US military uses more oil than any other organization in the world. Everything from tanks to fighter jets to humvees to generators use oil. Delivering that oil on the battlefield is a dangerous job. In Afghanistan, every 1 in 24 fuel convoys ended with a casualty.

Fossil Fuels Exacerbate Natural Disasters — Fossil fuel consumption is linked to an increase in extreme weather events that directly impact our military readiness. Our military is the best first responder in the world, receiving a foreign disaster relief request every two weeks, which comes at great cost to U.S. taxpayers. Limiting the environmental challenges linked to carbon emissions will save money and place less stress on an already over-extended military.

Hosted by the:
Shenandoah Group of the VA Sierra Club
JMU Climate Justice Coalition
JMU School of Media Arts and Design
Climate Action Alliance of the Valley.

All welcome to attend!

Trump defence secretary favourite “gets climate change”, The Guardian

Vehicle Donations for Virginia Clean Cities

vccgraycarVirginia Clean Cities is a Harrisonburg nonprofit housed at James Madison University working statewide to improve vehicle efficiency and pave the way for clean fuel vehicles.  If you have a vehicle that you need to be rid of, and want a tax-deduction for it, they would love to take it off your hands!

Here’s how it works: You spend a few minutes filling out a simple online form.  Virginia Clean Cities will contact you to arrange pick up of the vehicle at no cost to you. That’s it. Pretty simple, right?

The best part? You get to empty your parking lot, help fight climate change by using cleaner vehicles, boost our local economy, AND get a tax deduction all at once, just by spending a few minutes of your time filling out some paperwork. Everyone wins!

And don’t worry. If you don’t have a car to donate, there are plenty of other ways you can help support Virginia Clean Cities. With as little as $8 a month you can make a difference! Visit our membership page to take a look at how you can join us in fighting climate change and creating a more sustainable, stronger Virginia.

More information is available at  or by contacting Alleyn Harned,  Virginia Clean Cities executive director, at (540) 568-889 or by email at