Welcome to the Solar Capitol of the Universe

Thursday, April 11, 2013

If you were the mayor of a small city, what would you aspire to? Better road work? More efficient waste disposal? What about something bigger? How about making your town the "solar energy capital of the universe"?

That's what R. Rex Parris has vowed to do in the town of Lancaster, California. And he’s doing it with some unconventional methods. Among those methods: requiring almost all new homes to come equipped with solar panels.

R. Rex Parris, a Republican, is the mayor of Lancaster, California.

Guests:

R. Rex Parris

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [4]

Annie Meyer

Mr. Parris is doing something wonderful for his community and setting an example that is not matched anywhere else in the U.S. right now. These first steps forward are extremely important. I work for company called EnergySage based in Cambridge, MA. Here, we aim to make the process of going solar easier for the consumer through a number of different techniques and strategies. We know that people are much more likely to consider solar themselves if they know someone else who has done it successfully. To help people get this personal connection with solar we have a place where people with solar can submit a case study. These case studies help prospective consumer understand what it would be like if they had solar themselves. Though we are not on the west coast yet, we would love more case studies to be submitted here: http://bit.ly/113ej5D
More solar = A more sustainable future.

Apr. 17 2013 01:26 PM
Angel from Miami, FL

Imagine if US home construction firms had included solar panel roofs as a standard feature of the American home some 20 years ago! How much energy/money/planet would we have saved if all those homes had self-supplied a third or more of its electricity?

It would have been just another household system like a boiler or water heater. In Florida, it would keep the load off the electric company in the summer and provide emergency power after a big storm.

Apr. 16 2013 10:30 AM
David Scudder from Mill Creek, WA

Thanks for a great story! You state that solar voltaic power is not something for the northwest, particularly Seattle, because we have so many clouds. You are wrong. We don't get as much solar energy from a panel as we would in Lancaster, CA, but it is a practical source of power, even here. We have six kilowatts of panels on our roof just north of Seattle. They provide 1/3 of our household electricity needs, which includes heating in the winter. With incentives currently available, the investment will be paid off in 15 years. But that investment was made before the dramatic price drops described by the mayor of Lancaster, CA. The rule of thumb here is that 1 kilowatt of installed capacity yields 1000 kilowatt-hours of energy in a year. That is about half of what we would get if we never had clouds.

Apr. 11 2013 08:57 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

What a neat story. What are peoples projected savings from using these solar panels? How much does it cost? Can other towns follow suit, can solar panels become a fad like in Japan?

Apr. 11 2013 11:42 AM

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