“As many youthful dreams do, mine followed tangents both predictable and surprising. Middle age now finds me teaching, yes, but writing and communication rather than science. My venue is community college, not high school. My truck is a four-wheel-drive hatchback, my route the interstate. My forest is a wooded development not far from town, and my cabin is a pleasant contemporary farmhouse. All in all, a good result.
But I’ve finally come to realize one aspect of my vision: solar.
My wife Betsy and I heard about the Solarize Northampton initiative last summer, so we made an appointment. We planned to listen politely, then find a reason to decline the expense and trouble.
A nice young man from Real Goods Solar visited, enjoyed the attentions of Libby, our overly affectionate dog, and pitched his product. To our surprise, we couldn’t find a reason to decline. Our house was at an ideal angle for the sun. The roof would accommodate 27 panels in three rows of nine, a perfectly pitched rectangle to greet us as we drove up our street. We could easily generate enough energy to cover our full bill and sell electricity back to the grid.
Another nice young man came, scratched Libby behind the ears, and laid out the finances. The project would be expensive, yes, but no more than a modest new car. With low-interest loans, state and federal tax rebates, increased home value, and, of course, no electric bill, the cost was manageable. With no reason to say no, we found ourselves saying yes.”