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About Real Goods

Founded in 1978, Real Goods is the original purveyor of off-the-grid living supplies. Originally envisioned as a one-stop-shop where people could find everything they needed for their remote homesteads, the store began with the sale of the first retail solar panel in the United States and the humble goal of changing the world.

The Real Goods Store has returned to its roots in Mendocino County, proudly housed in the world's largest straw bale showroom. The amazing 5,000 square foot space is passively cooled and heated, demonstrating the most effective techniques in sustainable design. The store sits at the center of the 12-acre Solar Living Center (SLC), a brilliant green oasis alongside Highway 101 that's been voted the #1 rest stop in California. To learn more about Real Goods or to see how lush and rewarding a sustainable life can truly be, come visit us as the SLC - there's lots to do!

  • The Real Goods retail store
  • Trees taking back the land and growing through gas-guzzling cars from the 1950s
  • Solar panel arrays at the Solar Living Center
  • Central ponds at the Solar Living Center

Real Goods' Place in the Sustainability Movement

The 14th edition of the Solar Living Sourcebook, the ultimate guide to off-grid living

You may not know this about Real Goods, but we wrote the book on solar living. Literally. First published in 1982 and now in its 14th edition, the Solar Living Sourcebook is widely regarded as the most comprehensive resource on off-grid living available. With over 600,000 copies in print in over 40 countries, it is the quintessential guide for anyone interested in renewable energy, conservation, green building, remote homesteading, alternative transportation, or simply reducing their environmental footprint. Many of our customers refer to it as "the desert island book" - the one book you would need to have if you were stranded on an island.

The Real Goods Declaration of Energy Independence

We also wrote The Declaration of Energy Independence, an open letter to every person willing to look beyond their own lifespan and to future generations in regards to America's unsustainable energy policies. Written collaboratively by the Real Goods staff in 1991, the Declaration of Energy Independence was disseminated across the country by numerous print publications, and resulted in 10,000 forward-thinking individuals signing their names to it and returning it to Real Goods. After they were collected, former California governor and presidential candidate Jerry Brown hand delivered them to the White House.

Want More Information About Real Goods?

Read about the history of Real Goods and John Schaeffer on Wikipedia

Take the Solar Living Center video tour with its founder John Schaeffer and lead designer Jeff Oldham

Watch a video about Real Goods and the Solar Living Center

Browse news articles and press releases about Real Goods from the local and national media.