The Solar Economy and the Environment

Growing up, I spent hours roaming the woods of my backyard in Sterling, Virginia. Every chance I could get I was outside building a tree house, creating a bike jump over a creek, or simply just exploring. (In 7th grade, my friends and I built a tree house big enough to warrant an eviction notice from Loudoun County.)

This upbringing fostered a passion for the outdoors and excitement for building and creation. At this point, Leesburg to Tysons was mostly cow pastures and farms; the calm before the storm. In the years since, Sterling all the way to Washington DC has been heavily developed. This magnitude of development has created an incredible amount of opportunity for personal and commercial advancement. Watching this transformation has made me continuously contemplate one question; is all of this urbanization sustainable?
Yes, I believe metropolitan area we live and work in can be supported in a sustainable manner. However, we are going to have to lead by example to set a new standard in the way we design buildings and communities, in addition the way we harvest our energy and food. Renewable energy, specifically solar, plays a huge role. This is why I chose a career in renewable energy. I feel a great sense of accomplishment every time we flip a switch and put more solar energy on the grid.

Some of my motivation for working as a solar installer comes from the desire to do my part for the environment. Honestly though, the element I am most passionate about is the ECONOMICS behind it all. Generally I have found, if you bring up the topic of solar economics, people’s eyes glaze over. While I completely understand the unwillingness to discuss economic issues, the fundamentals of economics are absolutely imperative to our daily lives, especially in the development of solar energy.

I’ve been told by a few people I need to make up my mind. Solar economy and the environment are two very different things-either be an economist or an environmentalist! Well, I decided to be both! I received my degree from Clemson University in Economics and Minored in Environmental Science and Policy.

The economics of solar can be a tricky subject to navigate. Don’t let your eyes glaze over! For me, it’s relatively simple, as it comes down to resource scarcity. The sun has 7 billion years of life left, while on earth we have already arguably reached peak oil, and have about 100 years of natural gas left- even with new innovative drilling techniques. It’s a scary thought that if I’m lucky enough to have a grandchild, he may not have access to the same energy that has been the lifeblood of our current society.

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It is easy for me to point to the big picture and say investing in renewables is the right thing to do. But the truth is, due to innovations in technology and financing, solar is affordable now. In many states such as Maryland, DC, and New Jersey, you can go solar for no money down AND pay less on your electricity bill. This list will continue to grow as the cost of conventional energy continues to go up and the price of solar goes down. This is exciting. I mean really exciting! With close to 120,000 solar jobs in the U.S. this industry isn’t going anywhere, it’s just growing stronger and getting smarter.

It’s incredibly empowering to generate your own electricity with renewable energy. Thank you to everyone who has already joined the cause, and I look forward to meeting all the new people that will be powered by Prospect Solar.