Mother Earth Living

Star Power: Environmental Activism in Hollywood

Actor Edward Norton's brainchild helps bring solar energy systems to low-income families.
By Nancy Nachman-Hunt
January/February 2005
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Edward Norton meets his BP Solar Neighbors, the Andrews family, in front of their Los Angeles home.

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A Light Goes On: When Edward Norton—actor, Los Angeles resident, environmental activist, and affordable housing advocate—was researching solar power for his home, he had an idea. Why not convince other celebrities to buy solar energy systems for their homes and get BP Solar, a leading photovoltaic manufacturer, to create a program in which it donates a Solar Home Solution system to a Los Angeles low-income family for every celebrity purchase?

BP Joins In: Energy giant BP bought Norton’s idea of a celebrity solar campaign and created BP Solar Neighbors. “He had no problem convincing us,” says Paula Barnett, BP Solar’s West Coast spokesperson. “Low-income families are hit hardest by high energy costs, and this system practically erases energy bills.”

Good Neighbors: According to the Enterprise Foundation, created by Norton’s grandfather to help low-income families nationwide, a family spending $1,000 or more a year on electricity could see its electric bills nearly disappear with the installation of a solar system.

Solar Stars: Besides Norton, Danny DeVito, Rhea Pearlman, Pierce Brosnan, Daryl Hannah, Don Cheadle, Alicia Silverstone, and several other Hollywood luminaries have purchased systems through the BP Solar Neighbors program.

Shining Results: To date, twelve clean energy systems have been donated to Los Angeles families.

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