Brad Bartz is big on Hermosa Beach. He's betting that the city's efforts to become carbon neutral will make it the "green beacon" that brings in a new generation of green businesses just like his, ABC Solar.
Bartz is placing his bet by leasing the location that formerly housed the International News Stand at 344 Pacific Coast Highway. It's on a stretch of PCH that is surrounded by buildings with "For Lease" signs everywhere you turn, but when Bartz looks around all he sees is opportunity.... and "naked roofs."
Bartz and ABC Solar have a long history installing solar throughout the South Bay and he has just as long of a history battling with local municipalities like Torrance and Manhattan Beach when he feels they are needlessly obstructing the public's right to get free electricity from the sun. I have to admit, I've enjoyed watching him do so.
But Bartz is anticipating none of that from Hermosa Beach where the mayor telephoned him, as soon as Bartz signed his lease, to personally welcome his business to town. As the elected official leading the drive to turn Hermosa Beach into the first carbon-neutral city in Southern California, Mayor Michael DiVirgilio knows that the city, local businesses and residents are going to need to generate as much clean, green renewable solar power as possible.
If that's going to happen, then Bartz believes it will take over-the-counter permitting of solar installations, which he and the other solar installers in the South Bay are expecting to experience from the place that wants to be known as "The Green Idea City."
Bartz has already been working behind the scenes with Hermosa Beach businesses by supplying information on costs, rebates, special tax depreciations and payback periods for solar installations. He knows that the next Hermosa Beach business to go solar will be the first Hermosa Beach business to go solar.
Bartz is on a self-avowed mission to end South Bay electricity users' relationship with Southern California Edison when it comes to where they get their power. As he explains in a video interview I conducted with him at his new Hermosa Beach location, the optimal conditions for generating solar power happen to exist here in our beach city.
Will ABC Solar become the linchpin of a new Green Business Corridor on PCH that will someday be known as Sustainability Street? Might we one day look back at today as the time when "The Green Idea City" began to go from talk and ideas to bricks and mortar businesses engaging in a new green economy?
Only the perspective of time will tell; but this much is for sure, the first new business directly traceable to the City's efforts to become carbon neutral and a green business-friendly home has now moved into town.