Solar power technology is spreading rapidly throughout the United States, having grown 95% in the last year, topping out at 14,626 megawatts of solar PV installed in 2016. But everyday people aren’t the only one’s realizing the benefits of solar power—a handful of environmentally conscious and trendsetting celebrities have recently demonstrated their passion for renewable energy by installed solar panels on their houses and speaking out in favor of renewable energy.
Mark Ruffalo installed solar panels on his home back in 2012, and has been a passionate advocate for renewables and sustainability since. The Oscar Nominee delivered mobile solar panels to the Standing Rock Sioux during the Dakota Access Pipeline protest last winter, providing clean energy to power medical tents and other critical facilities for Native American protesters and their allies at the encampment. The actor even appeared before the Nevada Public Utilities Commission to speak out against their decision to hike solar energy rates. Ruffalo also lends his voice to The Solutions Project, which aims to end the world’s dependence on fossil fuels according to a step-by-step renewable energy initiative.
Bryan Cranston recently went solar, but his commitment to sustainability reaches far beyond the photovoltaic and water heating solar panels on his new home. The Breaking Bad star recently showed off his newly constructed Platinum LEED Certified home, the first of its kind in Ventura County, California. The home features recycled materials, LED lighting, Energy Star appliances, SIPs wall systems, and rain collectors.
Cate Blanchett was ahead of the game on solar. The two-time Oscar winner not only powers her own home in Australia with solar, but in 2010, Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton made headlines for investing in what was at the time Australia’s second largest solar power system at the Sydney Theatre Company, of which they are both co-artistic directors. The array provides over 70 percent of the company’s energy use, and both Blanchett and Upton spoke on hoping to inspire others to invest in solar as well.
William Shatner recently completed construction of a 6.3 kW solar installation at his Los Angeles home. The Emmy Award winning actor went beyond a simple installation, to lend his voice to a public-awareness campaign for renewables, titled “Join the Alliance – Save Money, Save the World.” In an interview with Solar Industry Magazine, Shatner even went on to speak about a world less dependent upon fossil fuels, where homeowners can save money and help the planet by switching to solar.
Leonardo DiCaprio famously used his 2016 Oscar win for Best Actor in The Revenant to speak about the dangers of climate change, as “the most urgent threat facing our entire species.” Beyond his acceptance speech, Leo has used his highly visible public platform to advocate for a renewable energy transition, perhaps most famously at the Climate Summit for Local Leaders in Paris during the 2015 UN Climate Talks, where he argued in favor of switching to 100% renewable energy across the globe. DiCaprio also earned praise from the environmental community for his 2016 documentary Before the Flood, in which DiCaprio meets with scientists, activists and world leaders to discuss the dangers of and solutions to climate change.