Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It Will Take You Less Than 60 Minutes

I'm asking you to do a favor for me.
  • It will take less than 60 minutes.
  • It's not hard to do.
  • It will not cost you anything.
  • In fact, it will most likely save you money.
  • It will be good for you, your children, your neighbors and the environment.
  • It will make me happy.
  • Did I mention it will take you less than 60 minutes?
Here's the deal. If you've ever, even once, found something good on this blog, I'd like you to do this. It doesn't even have to be something I wrote, it could be something I linked to (most likely it was). Maybe even it's something you disagreed with but it helped you think through and justify your own position. Maybe it was a video of our faculty dance that made you laugh. Maybe it was something that made you cry. Or something that made you angry.

But, if even once, you found something worthwhile on this blog, I'd like you now to pay it forward. Many of you are about to have some time off (if you're an educator in the Northern Hemisphere), so it won't be hard to find 60 minutes to do this. Even if you're not about to have some time off, it shouldn't be that hard to find 60 minutes in the next few weeks (after all, most of the shows you watch are having their season finales right about now, so that will free up some time). Please, give me less than 60 minutes and do this.

What is "this"? I want you to make an appointment and have a company come to your house and give you an estimate on solar panels.

Yes, I'm serious.

It will take less than 60 minutes and will be easy to do. If you live in Colorado or 14 other states, perhaps contact Solar City. I have no connection to Solar City, they've just got an excellent reputation. Feel free to contact a different company or, if you're not in one of the 15 states Solar City currently services, use "the google" to find a company that does. Then contact them and make an appointment to come out and give you an estimate. It will take less than 60 minutes.

Some of you are thinking right now, "Wait a minute, he said this wouldn't cost me anything." It won't. Many companies such as Solar City now offer solar leasing. You pay nothing up front, you just pay for the electricity you use and - for many of you - you'll pay less than you are paying right now. That's right, you pay nothing up front and will pay less each month than you currently do for electricity. (Some of you will pay the same, and some of you may pay a bit more, but you just might decide it's worth it anyway.)

Now, if you want, you can choose to purchase the solar panels, which will cost you money up front but, in the long run, will save you even more money. But I realize lots of folks don't have that kind of money available to pay up front, or aren't sure enough of this to wait for the payoff, which is the beauty of leasing. It literally costs you nothing and at worst might not save you much but at best will save you hundreds of dollars (or more) per year. And if energy prices go up (any bets on that?), yours won't.

We purchased solar panels for our house a little over four years ago (leasing wasn't available to us then). We haven't paid for electricity since. In fact, at the end of each year we get a small check back from our utility company because we generate just a little bit more than we use. We'll break even in the next couple of months on our up-front costs, so from here on out it's all money in the bank. Here's what the last 12 months looks like:

Not sure you believe it? That's okay, but give me 60 minutes anyway. Contact a solar company in your area, have them come out and give you a bid, and see for yourself. For some of you it may not make sense. Perhaps you have large trees around your house, or perhaps your roof is oriented really poorly, or perhaps in your state the built-in incentives aren't quite as good, and you won't save money. If that's the case, then no problem, all you're out is 60 minutes.

There are a whole bunch of people, including many of our so-called leaders, who don't think we are capable of making good decisions. They don't think we're capable of educating ourselves, or making decisions based on the long-term, so they pander to us. They manipulate us. And, if you're like me, you often feel like there's not much you can do.

But there is. You can do this. Will it change the world? Maybe not. Will it solve the climate crisis? Perhaps not. But if enough of us do this, it will start to make a difference. And it will demonstrate to our leaders that not only are we capable of making good decisions, but we are capable of leading ourselves. And perhaps they should follow us.

So make that appointment. And if you decide to install solar panels, then I want you to share that information. Blog/tweet/facebook/instagram it (you could even leave a comment on this post if you want). Tell your friends and family. Tell your neighbors. Share your experience and ask them to do you a favor.

Tell them it will take less than 60 minutes.


  1. I'll do it. I've been thinking a lot about this lately.

  2. We did it - but we have too many trees in our yard. The benefit of trees is that we don't have to cool our house in the summer months - we never turn on our air-conditioning. In the winter when the trees are bare, the solar rays that come in our windows help keep our house warm. I'm all for solar but also a big proponent for conservation. Put on a sweatshirt in the winter and walk the stairs a couple of times to warm up. Keep your thermostat no higher than 65 - the world's most perfect temperature...

    1. Yeah, those darn trees sometimes get in the way. Depending on their location and how big they are, sometimes you can trim them back a bit to make it work, but sometimes not.

      Thanks for taking the time to look into it. Now you just need to talk to all your friends and family who don't have big trees near their house . . . :-)