What does solar power have to do with Cheerwine? Nothing really unless you’re pondering the question “where does electricity come from?” Most of us would say from our utility, and most of us would be right. However, the utilities have constructed a self-serving myth that we are merely passive consumers of a commodity beyond our comprehension. They have, in fact, created a name for us– “ratepayers.” We pay; they profit. But it’s time to begin shifting our mental model and envisioning a divorce from the grid.
This realization hit me the other day as I waited in the parking lot of a doctor’s office in Winston-Salem and looked up and saw this solar powered Cheerwine billboard. The outdoor advertising industry understands this and we should too. We can produce a portion or all of our own electricity just like we can grow our own garden. Just crunching a few numbers on a community garden’s potential benefit from solar; 53% of its bill is fixed costs, not electricity! Again, we pay, they profit. We need to change that and we are.