Political and personal considerations are typically linked to the environmental considerations when making the decision about whether going solar is for you or not.

If you’re a “greenie,” you almost certainly lean left in your political orientation.

You’re also probably quite aware of the connection between personal, individual (in)action and the larger environmental and global and social whole.

If you’re a “greenie” who recognizes that individual action affects the social and environmental whole, and vice versa, and are therefore dedicated to doing what you can to pushing the whole in a positive direction, there are few better ways to do this than to go solar.

If you’re a “greenie,” you almost certainly lean left in your political orientation. You’re also probably quite aware of the connection between personal, individual (in)action and the larger environmental and global and social whole.

By going solar, in one action, you accomplish the following:

  • you reduce your carbon footprint and overall contribution to air pollution;
  • you help grow the solar industry, and the green economy in a concrete and substantial way; here, it’s worth noting that if “greenies” don’t go solar first and collectively help create the momentum needed to push solar beyond the so-called ‘tipping point’, there is a very good chance that this will never happen;
  • you make a very public statement about your political and environmental views by putting solar panels on your home for the world, or at least your neighbors, and everyone who drives by your house, to see!
  • you get the personal satisfaction of showing your green face to the world, while also concretely and actively growing the foundations of a larger, society-wide green face

For the politically oriented among us, I think it’s safe to say there are few things more satisfying than showing the world that: a) renewable energy is viable; b) it can be done; c) it is being done.

Solar as a powerful political statement – and persuasive inspiration
At this point, it’s necessary to tip our hat to the energy efficiency folks out there, who might say:

‘You could do more for the environment by investing in energy efficient appliances, insulating your home better, turning off your lights, unplugging your computer at night, and so on than by going solar.’

Maybe.

If you’ve already completed many of these energy efficiency measures – and we have, our annual electric use in a household with four people is 5,500 kWh — solar represents the next logical step.

Going solar and showing the world you are living green is extremely effective advertising; it’s advertising that – unlike the extra insulation in your attic – might well motivate others to go solar, and even to potentially solar-charge their EV/PHEV, and therefore immediately make the world a better, greener place!

Even if you have not done all of these things – and, I’ll go along with the energy efficiency folks and agree that you should – I disagree with the energy efficiency wonks who say don’t go solar unless you do all of these things.

Going solar is far more sexy than being energy efficient (though, again, I advocate doing both!).

No one else sees your energy efficient furnace, hot water heater, or the extra insulation you add to your attic and/or walls. And a handful of people might see your energy efficient fridge or washing machine.

In other words, “going energy efficient” doesn’t allow you to advertise your commitment to green living.

In contrast, everyone sees your solar panels. And, if you advertise the fact that you’re powering your EV/PHEV with solar energy, everyone sees that too!

This is extremely satisfying — and, yes, somewhat narcissistic.

So what?!

Going solar and showing the world you are living green is extremely effective advertising; it’s advertising that – unlike the extra insulation in your attic – might well motivate others to go solar, and even to potentially solar-charge their EV/PHEV, and therefore immediately make the world a better, greener place!

Energy efficiency wonks miscalculate
Energy efficiency advocates don’t calculate this “X” factor – and it’s a very big one — into their environmental equation when they admonish others to forego a political statement in favor of “invisible” energy efficiency measures in the home.

Putting solar panels on your house is far more powerful, far more influential in getting others to follow your lead than rolling out extra fiberglass insulation in your attic.

attic insulation vs. solar panels collagePeople are impressionable, they’re inspired by others, and they take action based on what they see others around them doing.

Putting solar panels on your house is far more powerful, far more influential in getting others to follow your lead than rolling out extra fiberglass insulation in your attic.

In short, the question of sexy solar or mundane energy efficiency is not, as some of the energy efficiency folks would have it – the Sierra Club’s Mr. Green comes to mind — a question of outrageous narcissism vs. reasoned practicality.

There is tremendous value – political and social value – in installing solar panels on your home, and better yet, solar-charging your EV/PHEV and advertising that you’re doing this on your EV/PHEV.

You grow the green and solar economies, you prove solar can, and is being done, you prove the naysayers wrong, and you motivate others to go out and do what you are doing.

Finally, there’s a good chance that:

  • many of those who you inspire to go solar have already invested in energy efficiency in their home, with their car purchases, etc;
  • even if they have not yet done so, once they go solar, they will indeed do many of these things because they will have more motivation to be energy efficient than ever before;

Going solar series–>

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