Solar Pioneer Party 2015

Photo courtesy of Rachel Bujalski

In October of 2015, a group of solar professionals gathered in the capital of off-grid America – Southern Humboldt County – for the first ever Solar Pioneers Party, which was conceived and produced by Jeff Spies, Senior Director of Policy for Quick Mount PV, with generous contributions from Backwoods Solar and PV Cables. The group assembled to celebrate the roots of residential PV and recognize the contributions of all the intrepid back woods solar engineers and mad scientists that made solar home power possible. The event was a huge success, bringing together numerous PV visionaries and pioneers. Many of whom, dating back to the early 1970’s, were integral to bringing solar to the public and helping fuel a true, “power to the people” revolution in off grid living, as well as usher in the modern era of grid tied residential solar.

We’ve put together a short video of what transpired. Stay tuned for the full Solar Pioneers documentary, based on the hours of interviews performed by Tor Valenza and Tristen Kreager. All video shot and edited by Jason Vetterli and Kristen Huster Young.

Solar Pioneer Party from Quick Mount PV on Vimeo.


  1. says

    Great little video. Brought back a lot of memories of working with all these folks and many more great people involved in starting the solar industry in the US. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jeff Spies says

      Oliver, I sure wish you had been there. All these luminaries in the same place, at the same time, was hard to describe.

      The weather was classic Humboldt, misty, drizzly, sunny hills and forests finished off by a rainbow.

      It was a magical once in a lifetime experience. You could feel the energy in the air (PV energy of course). Truly the most significant event I have ever organized or attended during my years in solar.

      With any luck, we might be able to do it again in the future. We shall see…

  2. says

    Wow, came across your video. Wish that I could have come. I remember almost 40 years
    ago coming to my ranch in Arizona and would have cost $50,000 to bring in power. I could
    not stand diesel fumes from generators and said to my former husband (Gene) “If they can put a man on the moon with NASA panels thats for me”. Yes we hooked them to batteries
    and used DC lights, kitchen equipment, even my sewing machine etc. Went thru square wave, modified sign wave inverters and now look what we have!!!!!! It all started when 60 minutes came out and televised us along with one week broadcasting us on channel 10 news. Rose Moffet was our governor that started the energy office. It took many
    seminars, radio ham feasts to educate folks on solar power. Now my daughter and son
    n law are running the solar business (Mannix Solar formerly Hitney Solar Products).
    Looking at all the solar panels on homes now, brings tears in my eyes and a feeling of gratitude. Right now I am going out to bake my cornbread in my solar oven outside.
    Look up at the sun and give thanks what a blessing it has been. Hugs, The Solarlady,
    Carolyn 928-925-3876

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