UC Berkeley Professor Jennifer Granholm is walking on sunshine – actually, she’s driving on it.

Jennifer, a Berkeley alum who also happens to be the former Governor of Michigan, has powered her California home and her electric car with solar energy since 2013. And now, she’s hoping that the Cal community will embrace solar energy and support the University’s effort to slim down its carbon footprint.

INFOGRAPHIC: UC Berkeley's Carbon Neutrality Goal, Explained

Reducing carbon emissions is on everyone’s priority list, especially since world leaders struck the historic climate accord in Paris last December. The University of California system, as usual, is ahead of the game: the UC system already committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. For UC Berkeley, that means cutting about 118,000 metric tons of CO2 total, which (if you have trouble wrapping your brain around such a big number) is about the weight of 1,296,703 baby elephants.

It’s an ambitious goal, but solar energy is an important part of the strategy to achieve it. Plus, as Jennifer points out, “What could be better than fueling Berkeley’s world-class learning and groundbreaking research with sunshine?”

For Jennifer, going solar was a no-brainer.

Her 22-panel solar system from Sungevity covers the majority of her home’s electricity usage and charges her electric car. Her solar panels help protect her family from fluctuating electricity prices – and volatility at the pump.  “I’m proud to be playing an active role in reducing my carbon footprint while supporting American clean energy jobs. I’m also thrilled to be powering my electric vehicle with the power of the sun!”

According to Jennifer’s production data, her system produced 6,610 kWhs of solar energy in 2015. According to the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, that is the equivalent of  reducing 4.6 metric tons of CO2 or the amount of CO2 sequestered by growing 117 trees for 10 years (1). If all 485,000 Cal alumni installed a solar system like Jennifer’s, it could take less than one month for the Cal community to produce the equivalent solar energy to the amount of CO2 that UC Berkeley needs to reduce to meet the University’s goal (2).

Jennifer has a message for the UC Berkeley community:

“Go solar for your pocketbook and for our planet. You don’t have to be a politician or a climate scientist to combat climate change – imagine the impact we could have if even half of the members of our campus community went solar. Not only does it support a more sustainable future for your community, but it also supports the University because Sungevity is making a financial contribution to Berkeley each time someone from our campus community goes solar with them.  It’s a win-win-win.”

Are you ready to help UC Berkeley create a brighter future?

When a member of the Cal community goes solar, Sungevity will donate a minimum of $750 back to Cal (3). Join Jennifer, take steps to support Berkeley and the planet, and request a free solar quote for your home: www.sungevity.org/ucberkeley

Jennifer Granholm has advocated for clean energy since she saw firsthand how it has the power to create sustainable jobs and healthy communities in Michigan. Her TED talk, A Clean Energy Proposal – Race To The Top, has nearly a million views online. Granholm now serves as Distinguished Adjunct Professor at the UC Berkeley School of Law & Goldman School of Public Policy, and as a Senior Research Fellow at the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute (BECI) and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS @ Berkeley).


1 Source here. (visited Jan. 19, 2016). More info about these equivalencies can be found here.

2 Estimate is based on the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator and presumes no renewable energy credits (RECs) are sold in connection with these systems.  More info about RECs can be found here.

3 Donation to UC Berkeley will be made 30-90 days following interconnection. CA CSLB 909236; MA HIC #168430; Click here for other Contractor License Numbers.

Posted by Leslye Penticoff

Leslye is the Content and Community Manager for Sungevity. She's also an avid coffee drinker and rock climber, and serves on the Board of Directors at Margination, a nonprofit in Troy, NY.