The Rosebud Agency's Solar Powered Office

2000 Press Release / Updated 2008

The Rosebud Agency led the way in pursuing environmentally responsible solutions to our energy needs by having converted our San Francisco headquarters to solar power in August of 2000. By all accounts Rosebud was the first company in the music industry to make this conversion. Our setup at the time of installation was also the largest solar power system in the city of San Francisco. The system, designed by Occidental Power, may be viewed at the Installations - Solar Electric section of their website.

The Rosebud Agency, founded by its president Mike Kappus in 1976, is best known for its work with recording artists like Marcia Ball, BeauSoleil, JJ Cale, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Mavis Staples, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, John Hammond, Bill Frisell, Loudon Wainwright III, Charlie Watts, and the late blues legends Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker among many others (see current roster).

Kappus is a long-time environmentalist who has contributed to various environmental organizations over the years. Among the projects he has spearheaded on behalf of environment causes are two compilation CDs for environmental organization, Earthjustice, featuring artists as diverse as Norah Jones, Etta James, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt, Michael Franti and Captain Beefheart among many others.

Even prior to converting to solar power, Rosebud's headquarters near Golden Gate Park since 1989, has maintained a consistent policy of environmental practices. In addition to recycling everything possible, Rosebud re-uses the back side of all paper for in house usage, re-uses incoming bubble wrap, packing popcorn and shipping envelopes adding a stamp that informs the recipient of outgoing mail that materials are being re-used to save energy and resources. All organic materials go into a compost bin which is used to maintain a primarily native plant garden in Rosebud's backyard. The company also recycles printer toners, all stationery is made on recycled paper with soy based inks and all used computers are given to charity. Kappus also drives a Honda Insight, the first gas/electric hybrid car available in the US, on the days he doesn't ride his bicycle to work.

Certainly this degree of corporate consciousness is helping keep the air clean and reduce energy consumption, but it has economic rewards as well. The initial investment - while substantial - was reduced by nearly 50 percent in government-funded rebates for alternative energy investments. The Rosebud Agency now pays no electric bill and the solar system actually creates more energy than the company uses, with the surplus electricity going back into the grid as clean energy for other users. The system will be fully paid off shortly but the free electrical power will continue indefinitely.

(The quotes below were taken when Rosebud's solar power was installed in August 2000. Fortunately, the opinions expressed below are now becoming much more familiar to the public.)
According to Greg Kennedy, president of Occidental Power, who designed Rosebud's system: "The Rosebud Agency is showing off a technology that is considered alternative today but will be considered conventional tomorrow. The telecommunications and Internet are actually powered by solar if you consider that the satellites use solar to power up. If we take it one step further, Rosebud is continuing the solar loop by creating its own energy via the sun as well. If the buildings of America did what the Rosebud Agency does by supplying some or all of its own power, the goal of achieving a cleaner environment for the next generation would be much closer."

"My greatest goal with this project would be to convince others that solar is a sensible alternative now and that we can all literally breathe easier if more people would convert their homes and offices to solar," says Kappus of Rosebud's solar power.


Occidental Power is San Francisco's leading retailer, designer, and installer of quality solar energy systems. Occidental Power is a licensed California Solar Contractor offering design, installation, maintenance, and service of commercial and residential solar thermal, electric, and natural gas cogeneration systems. Located in San Francisco, our staff has been designing and installing solar energy and cogen systems for over 20 years.

Mike Kappus interview is included in
"Explore More: The Future of Energy" Feature Video

Mike Kappus' interview
KFOG 2000

The Rosebud Agency's Solar Power System Draws National Attention

Rosebud's Solar Power system has been attracting media attention from all corners. Recent features include the following:

• Radio features on KQED, KGSR, KFOG

Internet profile on on InsiderOne.com, NewMediaMusic.com, NothingButDaBlues.com, Salon.com, Bluesnews, and musicstation.com and The San Francisco Examiner (front page feature).

San Francisco Examiner: Rosebud's solar energy is a light in a dimmed city

• New Media Music: The Rosebud Agency in San Francisco is first music industry facility to convert to 100% solar power

NothingButDaBlues: The Rosebud Agency in San Francsico, first music industry facility to convert to solar power, is set to weather California weather crisis

Salon.com: Is solar power the answer for dot-com profitability?

Bluesnews: Rosebud Goes Green - San Francisco's Rosebud Converts HQ To Solar Power

Rosebud Lauded For Green Work Environment
March 2004

The Rosebud Agency was spotlighted in the March 3, 2004 issue of the "San Francisco Bay Guardian" for being one of the first businesses examined for certification in the 'City by the Bay's' Green Business Program. "The voluntary program gives 'green certification' to businesses with exceptional environmental practices. Participating companies must show they go beyond simple compliance with standards to reduce waste, minimize resource consumption, and prevent pollution." Rosebud was lauded for its solar-powered office operation, its various recycling programs (reusing everything from envelopes and boxes to packing peanuts) and its composting efforts. The Guardian noted that the Green Business Program coordinator, Virginia St. Jean, "seemed blown away by The Rosebud Agency".

GUARDIAN 3/3/04: Getting your green card
San Francisco launches its Green Business certification program >>

Bay Area Green Business Program >>