The "Gentle" Electric Company • 499 Marlboro Rd • Brattleboro, VT

(802) 280-7319 •

Bringing Renewable Energy to Main St USA

Richard Gottlieb and Carol Levin ran Sunnyside Solar for over thirty years from their home in Guilford, Vermont. They sold their first PV panel in 1983, and have helped thousands learn about solar, either as students, installers or customers. Their remarkable story started in a renovated barn that Carol created as the Chelsea House Folklore Center, in 1974. Richard met his future wife here, at the edge of West Brattleboro, during the famous concerts and contra dances. Today the Chelsea Royal Diner, on the same property, still sports the name. The couple married at the Chelsea House in September 1979.


After the Chelsea House Folklore Center closed in 1981, Richard and Carol decided to dedicate their work to solar Photovoltaics (PV) after Richard received his Master’s Degree in Solar Energy from Goddard College. Richard was a true pioneer in solar. His first experience working with PV was on the Vanguard Satellite, building the booster system and putting on the solar cells. This was the first satellite to use solar PV, and was used to measure temperature in space.


The original Sunnyside Solar store designed and installed systems for such notables as Pete Seeger, and provided solar powered sound for Pete’s Hudson River Revival, and also Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream), outfitting their vehicles with PV to do solar education. Carol and Richard were committed to promoting solar and renewable energy, participating in the development of Renewable Energy Vermont (REV), solar powered sound at the first SolarFest in Vermont, taught many PV and renewable energy classes at Greenfield Community College in MA and at Ulster BOCES in NY State as well as other locations.


Although Richard died in 2012, his legend was as a veritable Who’s Who of Solar. He understood, well before many of us, that renewables could be a real solution to meet our energy needs. The legendary Sunnyside Solar had to be closed after Richard’s death.


Recently Carol was in a situation where an industry that she helped give birth to was now finally growing up. There are some things that call for action for making it right and there are times when someone can help. Dave Bonta took the call and led the historically innovative Sunnyside Solar reboot. With a partnership in the USA Solar Store network and a successful restart, Dave Bonta felt it was time to let Sunnyside flourish under new ownership. Joseph and Rosemary Mangum now continue the legacy, with hopes of achieving even a small amount of difference in the planet as Carol and Richard did. Please stop in and see us to learn how solar can work for you.