Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris urged attendees of the recent ASES 2017 Solar Conference in Denver, Colo. to ‘take back their power’ within their respective municipalities. Parris was joined on stage by Stella Li, president of BYD America; Tom DiPrima of the Chadmar Group; Ryan Creamer, CEO of sPower; Jason Caudle, Lancaster Deputy City Manager; and Mark V. Bozigian, Lancaster City Manager.
The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) designed this annual conference to bring the solar industry’s best and brightest minds together, in an effort to drive progress and affect change throughout the solar energy landscape of the nation. Mayor Parris highlighted the city of Lancaster’s many alternative energy successes, which he attributes to ‘taking back our power’—with the assistance of strong public/private partnerships.
“Our city’s ongoing journey to becoming one of the first Zero Net Energy communities in the world primarily stems from not being afraid to say ‘yes’ to all the amazing possibilities—as well as the wonderful benefits that come along with creating a more sustainable, renewable city,” said Mayor Parris. “The greatest part of all, is that these partners on stage with me have not been fearful of saying ‘yes’ either.”
Currently serving his fourth term, and ninth year as Mayor of Lancaster, Mayor Parris has led the city of Lancaster on a path toward a more sustainable future. Much of this path has been paved with valuable partnerships, which have become the cornerstone of the community’s alternative energy story.
“Our success, is in large part due to the strength and willingness of our partners to jump in feet first, in order to preserve the planet for our future generations. It’s truly been a beautiful experience,” said Mayor Parris.
The expansion of solar energy throughout Lancaster can be attributed in large part to sPower, whose partnership with the city of Lancaster has helped bridge the gap between private solar development and public utility services. sPower also serves as a solar energy provider to Lancaster Choice Energy, the city’s municipal electric power utility.
“sPower and the city of Lancaster have established and maintained a mutually beneficial partnership, thanks to the like-mindedness of our company and Mayor Parris,” said sPower CEO Ryan Creamer. “I hope that through events such as this, other municipal leaders will become more confident in their choice to fight for a more sustainable future—and look to the city of Lancaster as an example.”
With KB Home, Lancaster was able to actualize the first affordable Net Zero residential community including solar powered homes, with: electric vehicle charging; battery storage; and even energy efficient roofing materials.
“Watching the first Net Zero community come to fruition was truly an amazing experience. It is proof positive that local governments can in fact make a difference,” said Tom DiPrima of The Chadmar Group. “I cannot wait to see all the new ways Lancaster will continue to set the bar for alternative energy standards. It is my sincerest hope that other cities, states, and the nation will follow suit.”
The city’s ongoing partnership with China-based electric vehicle manufacturer, Build Your Dreams (BYD), has resulted in a number of alternative energy initiatives, which have improved the economy of the entire Antelope Valley region. Just last week, BYD opened its new expansion of its Lancaster-based North American electric vehicle manufacturing facility, with the promise of hundreds of new jobs coming to Lancaster.
“Having now worked with Mayor Parris and the city of Lancaster for a number of years, I have found that when we work together great things happen,” said BYD America President Stella Li. “The best ideas are generated in groups, and partnering with Lancaster has provided some of the most intelligent, and innovative idea generation I’ve encountered. I look forward to many more years of working together for a much brighter tomorrow.”
As a result of these many successful initiatives, Mayor Parris and the city are often looked to for consultation regarding the implementation of alternative energy initiatives. Mayor Parris had much to share with the Solar Conference 2017 attendees, regarding changes that can be immediately implemented at the local level. The audience greeted his words with interest, and hope for a more sustainable future.
“In order to fully ‘take back your power,’ communities such as yours need to first recognize that the largest, most visible changes take place at the local level—not at the state or national level,” said Mayor Parris to the crowd. “Local municipalities can quickly develop public/private partnerships – and in turn enable huge change.”