A groundbreaking ceremony today for the SunShare community solar garden was  hijacked by a dozen Occupy Wall Street protestors who showed up to confront Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Hickenlooper was there to tout the project, the first  solar garden of its kind in the state, that will allow customers to lease solar panels and receive utility bill credits for the saved energy.

Colorado Springs City Councilwoman Jan Martin began to introduce Hickenlooper to the crowd of about 300 when she was interrupted by protesters chanting slogans deriding big banks, government bailouts and Wall Street.

The uproar stalled the ceremony and left Hickenlooper glued to his seat for a few minutes.

Twenty four-year-old SunShare founder David Amster-Olszewski stood and asked the protesters to be silent and respect the event.

“Thank you for coming,” he said. “But let’s please support this new business that is doing exactly what you’re asking for— creating new jobs.”

- Advertisement -

When Hickenlooper stood up, protesters began grilling him.

“Why aren’t you demanding accountability?” and why did “Hickenlooper’s police” use  force to disband Occupy Denver protestors.

“Get your facts right,” Hickenlooper said. “Those aren’t my police. I control the State Patrol.”

He asked the crowd to respect those who had come to celebrate the creation of an innovative business.

When protesters refused, someone suggested Hickenlooper conduct a vote to determine the event’s direction.

“OK, all those who want to listen to the protestors, raise your hands,” Hickenlooper said.

A handful of protestors raised their hands.

“Now raise your hand if you want to listen to SunShare,” he said.

SunShare supporters were the majority, and Hickenlooper congratulated Amster-Olszewski and his employees on the project that is a reality only a few months after the idea was conceived.


  1. I’d like to point out that investing in a community solar project like SunShare’s is exactly the thing that people should be doing to get their money out of Wall Street. I’d encourage people to go to solargardens (dot) org and start such a project of their own – community solar gardens are a way of addressing wealth inequity and stop sending money to frackers, strip miners, and big utility companies.

    Just like the Hoovervilles of Great Depression #1, the occupy protests are constitutionally protected free speech. Perhaps we are moving into an age where ONLY corporations are considered people with rights!

    The Solar Gardens Institute is becoming a B Corporation, a corporation that is for profit, for benefit. This means we respect a triple bottom line – Planet, People, Profit. This begs the question – why is EVERY corporation not a B corp? Shouldn’t every corporation have to work for the public good as a condition of its charter?


    Joy Hughes
    Solar Gardens Institute

  2. Hooray for Solar Gardens!

    Investing in Solar is not the same as putting your money in a bank.

    Solar energy is not like a corporation mining Coal.

    Solar adds value to the community by keeping the profit in your pocket!

    It prevents pounds of Mercury and Acid Rain from being added to the atmosphere!
    It reduces your carbon footprint.
    It creates jobs.
    It makes you happy to own it!

    Investing in Solar is turning your money a healthy green!


Comments are closed.