by Michael dEstries
Categories: Causes.

norton.jpgA wealth of publicity has been made over the Solar Neighbors program started in partnership between BP and actor Edward Norton. The organization ties notable individuals looking to go solar with low-income families that otherwise couldn’t afford the technology. Any time such a celebrity purchases a system through the program, another family in need receives one for free. It’s a beautiful idea — and it has come up every time something is written about Hollywood and the environment. Unfortunately, it’s also gone silent.

Since February 7, 2005, there has been no new information presented on either EMA’s official site or BP’s. This is highly curious since the green movement was just starting to roll around that time and 2 1/2 years later is a very hot topic. While participation from celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Danny DeVito, Carlos Santana, Alicia Silverstone, Ed Begley Jr. and Robin Williams made the program a success before the green wave, one would think there might be even more interest today. Repeated emails to reps at both sites have gone unanswered. The sites are unofficially in a dead zone.

So why the lapse in info? With several recognizable names already on board, did interest peak in 2005? A bit of a stretch for Hollywood wallets — but has the price of going solar deterred additional participation? Both sites seem well updated in other areas, so the lack of information on new installs over the past 2 1/2 years is quite odd.

If anyone has any additional information they would like to add to this post, please let us know. If the the program is still humming along, it’s a shame that BP or EMA would not take advantage of such high interest in going green to tell the world about their successes.

[UPDATE] Since the writing of this post, Ecorazzi has covered a few awesome events by the Solar Neighbors program. Check out one of them here. Good to know they’re still going strong!

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • rebecca

    Thank you for bringing this up! This has been something that has bothered me from the start. And people still talk about it as if it’s current information. Hopefully the program is still active.

  • danilani

    Check in with Heather Rogers, author of “Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage”. She just started a new book with, this time working with the same literary agent of Al Gore’s “Incovenient Truth”. Set to launch next year, it’s focusing on the “green hype”: the smoke and mirrors behind going green, as opposed to the actual work that is really being done. I”m sure that she’s included info on this solar initiative, given that BP spends some 98% of it’s ad spend on it’s “green” initiatives, despite the fact that alternative fuels generate less than 5% of the company’s total revenue…

  • Doris

    I wondered about this too a while back. Gettiing a celebrity’s attention and interest in a good cause is the easy part. Getting them to commit — ha, that’s more like a problem beyond the greenzone. The org might take lessons from the successes of, say, Habitat for Humanity, and boast the participation of your everyday neighbors – not the ones separated from reality by acres of land and well-guarded gates.

  • Maria

    I found a press release on the BP site dated Feb 11 2008 regarding the St. George Hotel in downtown Los Angeles: “the first solar electric system installation for a low-income, multiunit building on the West Coast. Celebrating another milestone of the BP Solar Neighbors Program” … does that count?