SolarWorld solar blog

Video Contest Winner Powers Non-Profit With Solar System Grand Prize

Posted 16 April 2013 12:00 AM by Cheryl Lohrmann, Director, Create Plenty

My prize solar panels have been in operation now for nearly 18 months. Although they are fairly inconspicuous (you have to crane your neck or cross the street to see them on my 3rd story roof) they are an idealist’s dream addition to my small urban Portland yard.

SolarWorld video contest winner's solar panel system
2kW solar system awarded to Cheryl Lohrmann, winner of the SolarWorld video contest in 2011.

I am grateful, not only for the reduction on my electrical bill, but to know that about 33% of my home life is now solar-powered. I dreamed of having chickens for eggs, rainwater barrels, a cob oven for baking pizzas and bread and, of course, a small garden, but I didn’t think it would be possible to add solar panels to the scenario for a while.

When I heard about the SolarWorld video contest I knew I had a chance and, with some extra time over the holidays, made the short animation that won the most votes! Now, while the solar panels hum, the chickens leave us with enough eggs to share with friends and neighbors, the cob oven is one more coat of clay away from a pizza party and there’s an oak barrel ready to be hooked up for the rainy season. My garden, which has always been there in some form and always with tomatoes being the foundational plant, is dotted with red and green, fruits (and vegetables). My partner, Dustin, challenged himself with all the projects listed above and proved to have some amazing skills.

SolarWorld video contest winner's solar panel system
Cobb oven along side the urban garden.

I’m also grateful to be working from home as Director of a start up non-profit called Create Plenty. We are working on ways to instill the concept of Reuse through art and education about plastic pollution, and make green living more accessible to different demographics. I work about 12 hours per week, so at ⅓ time with 33% percent of my electricity solar-powered, perhaps I can say 100% of my non-profit is powered by the sun! Last year we were granted funds by the Regional Arts and Culture Council to do our International Plastic Quilt Project in-schools. It was a pleasure to pay artists to help send an environmental message to schools where art and environmental education are luxuries. Over 200 pieces of student-created art was made from the single-use plastic generated by our daily lifestyles.

SolarWorld video contest winner's solar panel system
Contest winner Cheryl Lohrmann, director of non-profit organization called Create Plenty.

Last, but certainly not least, little baby Leon Oscar joined our sunny lot. He is now a bubbly toddler full of giggling goodness and it’s been a joy spending the spring with him. Someday I’ll get to talk to him about solar energy, so he will come to understand that it just makes sense to pursue renewable energy for the long term. My hope is that it’s more commonplace by the time he is ten.

SolarWorld video contest winner's solar panel system

The year has brought about many big changes for me. For all of us working to make a better future for Earth, change, and even some obstacles, is good! Thanks SolarWorld for this opportunity to add my rooftop to the proliferation of solar power in our country. It is inspiring to be a participant in its growth.

See Cheryl's winning video.