To the Editor:
In last Thursday's Reader's Forum, Spruce Houser called our attention to the serious challenges brought by climate change and called for action on a national/global level (raised awareness, political vigilance and policy prioritization). I have hopes for a second Obama administration using its power and bully pulpit to focus more on carbon than in its first term. Unfortunately, the climate talks in Doha came and went and amounted to nothing more than "talks". Building on Spruce's call to action as a nation, I would add that we can make an immediate impact on a very local scale as well.
One of the places we can most successfully make rapid, visible progress is in our own backyard (or on our rooftops, in this case). Many people have no idea how little it costs to add today's solar electric panels to a grid powered home, reducing our use of fossil fueled power. The average Ohio resident uses about 4,722 kWh of electricity per year (we have found that this amount varies widely among households). A solar electric system costing as low as $2,500 (after grant and tax credit) will generate about 75 percent of this power from the sun. My house has a larger system that would cost $5,000 at today's prices. It makes 100 percent of my power,
including electric for heating and cooling.
Our business has helped 44 local families harness the clean power of the sun, and Athens is blessed with thee other solar installers whose customers push this list of local solar past 100. I don't care if you call us or call them, just call. Someone! After you upgrade your lights and look for other efficiency improvements, please take a good look at solar. For less than $3.50 per day for two years, you can take action with a system that will produce clean, free power for decades to come. These backyard actions are far reaching, and walking your talk with your power choices is very empowering (and affordable).
While the tons of carbon these systems will prevent over the next decades is significant, I believe that the exponential effects of these practical statements are even more exciting. Imagine inspiring contagious replication in your community and expanded network. Please be part of the change and continue to focus and take action on a national level, but also look at the space you most immediately occupy and control.
Third Sun Solar