John Schaeffer

Making Real Goods for Real People

John Schaeffer started out as an “urban refugee” living on a remote commune in California in the 1970’s. Tired of life without electricity, Schaeffer, a tinkerer, hooked up a solar-powerd television in his home—and he’s been finding innovative ways to introduce mainstream America to renewable energy ever since.

In 1978 he started the Real Goods Trading Company, based in Ukiah, California. Today, it is a veritable supermarket of solar and renewable energy products. Best known for its mail order business, Real Goods’ customers can purchase everything from a sundial watch to and entire solar-powered home system.