Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

July 17, 2013

The magic sun pie

Imagine I have two pies. Any kind: apple, pecan, lemon meringue — it doesn’t matter, but I’ll take cherry. Now one pie is ordinary and one is magic. When I eat the ordinary pie, it’s gone. Delicious, but depleted. All that’s left is a dirty pie plate. To get more, I must take a trip to the cherry tree that has a limited supply of cherries.

The other pie, however, is magical. Take a piece and it renews itself over and over. No dirty pie plate, no picking more cherries— just a never-ending cherry pie. Which would you choose?

I recently attended a presentation at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis (UUI) at which member Ray Wilson explained the efforts behind their recent 10-kw installations of solar panels, funded partially by a grant from the Indiana Department of Energy.

My mind usually wanders with lots of techno talk like kilowatt-hours, photons, micro inverters, photovoltaic, silicon crystals and such. But Ray caught my attention when he explained that he also installed panels on his home, and that he has banked credits from IPL for electricity generated but not used by his family. (This function is called net metering). He estimated his payback on the panels would come at around 10 years. With the panels guaranteed for 25 years, he anticipates about 15 years of very low-cost electricity.

What further excites me with this solar technology is that, like the magic pie, there is no need to pick more cherries or blast off mountain tops for coal. No more dirty pie pans or polluted waterways for coal ash. It’s just a never-ending supply of clean energy.

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.

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