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The ALS ice bucket challenge goes solar

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past month or so, you know that the ALS ice bucket challenge has gone beyond viral, raising more than $100 million worldwide.

Everyone from former President George W. Bush to Oprah to my sister Abbe has been captured on video, getting doused  or dousing themselves with buckets of icy water to raise funds to combat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Affecting about 1 in 1,000 people, the disease destroys motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, eventually causing total paralysis and death.

As reported in a recent article in The Boston Globe, the ALS Association has a good track record on wise and transparent spending of dollars donated and has pledged to carefully target the new, overwhelming amounts of money to ensure they will have maximum impact.

It was only a matter of time before challenges were issued to and from solar companies, and to its credit, the industry — founded as it is on innovation and daring — has responded with flair and creativity, both in ice bucketing and donations to the cause.

Already known for their rock and rap holiday videos, the folks at the solar technology firm SolarEdge undertook a companywide, chain ice bucketing, with rows of employees standing amid a solar installation.

They in turn issued challenges to their industry colleagues, SMA and Enphase. SMA responded with a “Flash Dance” tribute performed by company mascot, the Sunny Bear. Henry Dziuba, president of SMA in the United States — in bear costume — then issued a challenge to Greentech Media and Tor Valenza, aka Solar Fred, a solar blogger and industry watchdog.

Following the C-suite trend in challenges, Rhone Resch, CEO of the Solar Engery Industries Association, took the plunge, after issuing challenges to fellow CEOs Lyndon Rive of SolarCity and Frank Asbeck of SolarWorld.

Meanwhile, Solar Fred side-stepped the bucket itself — saying the challenge is really to do something you’re afraid of and he isn’t afraid of ice. But, apparently, golf sends him into cold sweats, so he did a putting challenge, giving himself 10 tries to sink a putt and pledging $10 for every miss.  He made it on the fifth try, resulting in a $40 donation to ALS.  (Alert: Fred takes his time on this, so the video is a bit long.)

However, the kicker here is that Fred forthwith challenged the whole solar industry to step up for ALS,

Will we see a new wave of solar-inspired ice bucket videos? Send us your videos and challenges, and we’ll post them here on the Solar Electric Power Association’s Utility Solar blog.  Contact K Kaufmann at [email protected].