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ABOUT Solar-Roots

"Solar Roots - The Pioneers of PV" is the true story of how a small group of backwoods engineers and business hippies brought solar photovoltaic technology down from space into homes around the world, delivering "solar power to the people".

Filmmakers Jeff Spies and Jason Vetterli spent two years traveling the country interviewing over 50 pioneers of the solar photovoltaic industry in the making of this educational, funny and touching film. The story starts in the 1800's with the early scientific discoveries, and quickly progresses through the development of the Bell Silicon Solar Cell in the 1950's, the rapid deployment of PV in the space race of the 60's, and the debut of terrestrial PV in the 70s. The story finally focuses on the colorful group of men and women who gave birth to the PV home power movement in the early 80's, which eventually grew to define the modern day solar industry.

​We have shown the documentary film a number of times to hundreds of friends in an effort to educate people about the true story of how this technology was turned into an industry, and hope one day to bring this movie to commercial release. 


The most common question we hear is "when will this be available to the public?" This is difficult to predict as it will take hundreds of hours of work as well as guidance from movie industry professionals to make it suitable for release to the public. We are pleased that viewers feel our movie is entertaining and want to show it to their friends, ​but it will take time to find the right partners to make this possible. In the meantime, we will do our best to figure out new ways to share this wonderful documentary at solar gatherings to our friends that are interested in this powerful story.

Viewer comments

  • ​Kristina W. "Great film... It really touched me heart"

  • Ray D. "A guaranteed hit, a classic, no question! The history behind PV and the early pioneers is fascinating and beautifully captured in the documentary!"

  • Jennifer B. "A wonderful walk through solar history!"

  • Don O. "A beautiful and inspiring film that weaves the complex and diverse strands of early Solar Pioneers into a coherent and moving tapestry.

  • Ray B. "It’s an awesome documentary, you guys did an amazing job with it!"

  • Bernadette DC. "I can’t thank you enough for the gift that you gave to all of us, to California, to history... You did such an incredible job."

  • Kyle B. "Entertaining, Educational, inspirational and a true gift to honor the founders of this revolution"

  • Brian L. "awesome movie, awesome hip people, awesome history, awesome industry!"

  • Dottie S. "Fascinating history and hilarious reenactments, seeing Solar Roots was an inspiring and enjoyable"

  • Jonny H. "This film skillfully documents the birth of the seed that has flowered into a huge industry"

  • Lyrin K. "the documentary is rocking and sun-sational!"

  • Rosana F. "Thank you, Jeff... your movie is amazing! "

  • Louis W. "Educational, humorous, and touching"

  • Johnny W. "Ya mon!"​

Status of the documentary film - Solar Roots​

Solar Roots is currently undergoing editing needed to bring the film to distribution. We hope to complete our work within the next 12 months.  Wish us luck!

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