Believe it or not, solar power has been around in California since the 1800s. Of course, it took another 80 years for a PV cell to be developed, but our history with solar is still impressive. Clean energy runs deep in CA. It also happens to be the way of the future. The popularity of California solar power has skyrocketed in the last few decades and legislation is finally catching up. As of 2020, most new-build residential properties in the state will have mandated solar panels installed during their construction.
We shouldn’t be surprised that something so trendy is picking up steam in Los Angeles. Fly above the Hollywood Hills, and you just might catch a glimpse of the light bouncing off rooftop PV cells. Indeed, celebrities have been all over solar for at least a decade, and some have been champions of clean energy for much longer than that. There are a lot of big names on board with using solar to power their Los Angeles homes — and they may just inspire you to follow in their footsteps. Here are nine names known for their love of solar that you may recognize.
1. Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen
When you cross a Super Bowl MVP and a Brazilian supermodel, you get a couple of cute kids… and a love of sustainable energy, as it turns out. Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen built their Brentwood abode with eco-friendliness in mind. They used green building materials, practice composting, and have a conservation-based irrigation system in place. The couple also installed two solar panels. With one panel in the garden and one in the house, they say they can power their property entirely with solar. Given that Bündchen works with the United Nations Environment Programme as an ambassador, it’s no surprise that she would prioritize clean energy in her home.
2. Alicia Silverstone
You probably know Alicia Silverstone as a vain teenager who couldn’t drive in the cult classic “Clueless,” but in real life she is anything but empty-headed. The actress is a big proponent of all things environmentally friendly. From choosing recycled plastics whenever possible to eating vegan, Silverstone is trying to leave the earth no worse for the wear of her lifestyle. Part of her efforts includes a solar array on her LA rooftop. She also uses energy-saving appliances and looks for other ways to cut back on her carbon footprint. Silverstone is outspoken about her green living and says she has encouraged building developers to think about installing solar panels on their buildings to cut down on their use of the main grid.
3. Pierce Brosnan
He once went by Bond, James Bond. He is also known as a major champion of solar power. Plenty of big names in Hollywood can say they have a star on the Walk of Fame, but how many can say they have a spot in the Environmental Hall of Fame? Brosnan can boast both. His family has so many solar panels on their Los Angeles area home that he sells the surplus back to the grid. In addition to using solar to power the house, Brosnan has a solar-powered compost heap. The actor takes other measures to make his home more efficient, too. Insulated windows and a water recycling system can also be found on the environmentally-friendly property. We all know we’re supposed to turn off the lights when we leave the room, but the actor’s house is wired to turn off the lights whenever a room is vacant for more than 5 minutes — just in case.
4. Edward Norton
Edward Norton has been selling people on solar for nearly as long as he’s been the face of the famous phrase “The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about fight club.” The actor teamed up with BP to create the Solar Neighbors Program way back in 2004. After researching solar for his own California home, the actor realized he could make a bigger change if he not only retrofitted his own home, but also helped families go green and lower their own utility bills in the process. The program donates a solar panel system to a low-income family for every celebrity that purchases a system for their own home. As if all of that wasn’t enough, Edward Norton is also the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity. And, of course, he continues to use solar power and other green energy efforts in his own home.
5. Jane Fonda
Before she was the queen of the workout video, Jane Fonda was a loud proponent for the potential of solar power. In 1978, she was one of the celebrity speakers and activists to speak at Sun Day in San Francisco, where she said that solar power could liberate consumers from the irregular pricing of traditional utilities. The actress’s love of eco-friendly practices didn’t end there. She built a solar home in the early 1980s and her most recent home in Beverly Hills was outfitted in sustainable materials like cork floors and a solar-heated swimming pool. The home also had PV panels on the roof. Given Fonda’s history of using green energy, we can assume her latest LA home will also be made quite sustainable.
6. Lisa Ling
This journalist and former talk show co-host is as savvy about eco-friendly living as she is about crafting the perfect questions. Lisa Ling has created a Santa Monica home that uses a wide array of green practices, from tons of natural light that mitigates the need for artificial lighting (and LED lamps when needed) to Smartgrass astroturf in the yard that doesn’t require watering. Perhaps the coolest thing about Ling’s property is the Passive Solar Panel System that heats water and then supplies it as radiant heating beneath the floors. The same system heats all of the family’s water needs, from the shower to the swimming pool. Ling also has additional solar panels on the roof to make the property as self-sustainable as possible.
7. Julia Roberts
This Pretty Woman is also compassionate about making the world better for future generations. Back in 2009 she admitted that having children had turned her into an eco-warrior of sorts, and she completed a massive renovation on her home to give it green upgrades. Among those changes? Solar panels that cover three roof surfaces. The other green changes to the home included recycled tile and sustainable building materials. Roberts’ 6,000-square foot Malibu home has its footprint in check.
8. Bryan Cranston
He may have starred as a drug dealer living in a modest suburban pad in Albuquerque, but in real life Bryan Cranston lives beneath solar panels in Los Angeles near the beach. The actor turned what was once a small party pad on the water into an eco-friendly home with lots of tech upgrades. Working alongside designer John A. Turturro, Cranston was able to create a space that leverages the sea air as a natural cooling system. The home is also covered in American clay to keep the humidity down without using a lick of electricity. Finally, Cranston has solar panels on the roof to generate his own energy.
Thinking Beyond Solar Power in Los Angeles
Living like a celebrity is usually associated with expensive cars and a lot of square footage. But you don’t have to be a millionaire to adopt the green practices of these eight celebrities. Solar power is quickly growing popular (and more affordable) in urban and suburban areas alike. Even better, if you get solar it’s more likely that your neighbors will, too. You can change your community by investing in PV panels.
While major cities like Los Angeles can certainly benefit from having fewer homes on their already congested electric grid, any community will reap benefits from the use of residential solar power. No matter where you’re living, solar power makes you more energy independent and creates a sustainable future for your property.
Are you ready to make the switch to solar power? There’s no reason to wade through these waters alone! Contact Semper Solaris today to get a solar estimate for your property. There’s never any pressure: just a thorough estimate and explanation of how solar can improve your home and way of life. We’d love to talk to you about what’s so great about solar in California.