Thursday, September 13, 2012

Solar PV & Electric Cars are a Liberation, not a Limitation.

“The inertia of the status quo, is a powerful foe of progress”

The inertia of the status quo is always traveling into the future, blinded by the simple knowledge of today and yesteryear. The defenders, those invested in the status quo, love to throw stones at the uncertainty of tomorrow from the security of the front porch of today, no matter how decrepit and dangerous the condition of that porch.

As mankind progresses, our history is littered with defeated defenders of the status quo.  They’re  riding horses, using morris code, reading  by candle light,  taking pictures with a square disposable rotating flashbulb with Kodak film.  No better example of this axiom exist in our current timeframe, as does the “Stone Throwers”  against renewable energy and electric vehicles…and there are a lot of stone throwers.

Recently Michael Reagan the son of an authentic Republican, Ronald Reagan, was the latest “Stone Thrower” pointing to the limitations of electric vehicles and renewable energy in this Neo-Luddite writing.

Michael Reagan, your dad would have said to you “Aw Shut Up” as he famously did to a group of hecklers in San Diego’s Mission Valley in 1980.   I was there, we went bonkers!

Americans… Democrats and Republicans, all,  have always looked to the future with science and technology ushering in prosperity, problem solving, and the pursuit of a better world.   I trust and hope that you do see a problem in the combination of oil and transportation, your dad sure did.

To you, I write this response, crafted from reality not fear, from experience not rhetorical assemblages of talking points , from a realized dream not what was handed to me as fait accompli,  and from American patriotism not partisan attack on a political foe.  
Our experience (not opinion) is that Solar PV and electric cars are a liberation not a limitation.  
The first step.

When we  constructed our home in 2006 with conservation in mind (conserve is a root word to many others words  like "conservative")  we included a 4.5kw Solar PV System.  This system generated 8000kwh per year and along with reductions from our lighting retrofit, covered 90% of the 8800kwh per year household use.   I received a federal tax credit off of my own taxes when I made this investment, not from your taxes but off of my taxes, there is a huge difference.  In 1981 your dad Ronald Reagan instituted a tax investment credit and accelerated depreciation (another tax break)  if I went out and purchased new equipment for my several bakeries.  I did just that along with millions of other American businesses.   Your dad was right in 1981 and so is the investment tax credit for renewable energy.   With our Solar PV we had a 14% ROI and were saving $400 a month in utility bills. We found that to be liberating and a small measure towards independence and self reliance.

The second step.

In 2009 we began driving the electric BMW Mini-E,  We drove that car 18,000 miles a year. We found it liberating that we could provide the power to our car from electricity that we generated on our roof.  We added a 3kw system as our own personal fuel station for life. We nicked named it our Sunco Station.  The ROI was 33% and we saved $250 a month in gasoline cost.   We found that making our own fuel was liberating and another small measure towards independence.

The third step.

After driving 2.5 years electric and never needing a gasoline car, my wife, an elementary school Principal,  stepped into the driver’s seat of the BMW ActiveE.  After several months of driving, she/we discovered that our family did not need a gas car at all so we sold our gas car. This gave us a solar powered home and two electric cars that we generate the electricity for.

The bottom line.

We love our home and our life.  We are optimistic about our nations future. Our 2007 investment in our own future with Solar PV has completely paid for itself. Our cumulative change to EV's and PV has changed what use to be a bill of $4800 a year for utilities, a gasoline bill of $3000 a year for our first car, and $2400 a year for a second car to an annual bill of $0-$300 for all of the above.

We find it liberating   that the significant cost of utilities and gas is replaced by a paid off solar PV system and a utility bill of $300 a year powering our home and cars.  That’s almost $10,000 a year that our family can spend in our community creating American jobs and strengthening our community as opposed to enriching Oil Sheiks and Oil Barrons and exporting our nations wealth.

We find it liberating that our money is not going to nations that are hostile to the US.  Did you know that one out of every six barrels of oil comes from nations that are hostile to the US.

We find it liberating that our consumption does not contribute to national economic drain caused by the seven trillion dollar expense of securing the waterways and protecting the supply of oil since the 1990 Iraq invasion of Kuwait.  Do you remember the burning oil fields?

We find it liberating that our decision to generate zero emission renewable energy and drive zero emission cars is a small measure towards cleaner cities that most of our nations population live in.  Do you know that in our urban cities over 65% of our emissions are from our transportation choices and 15% from our houses?  I’m sure you understand that air quality and health care cost are related.

We find it liberating that we are contributing to the advancement of solar PV and electric cars that will one day soon replace oil. Oil that is so necessary and predictable in its transit routes in the theatre of war, essentially sitting duck oil tankers,  that 40% of our US casualties come from IED’s and attacks of our resupply convoys. That it is measurable for ever 24 fuel convoys an American soldier suffers a casualty and for every 50 fuel convoys an American soldier is killed.  

We find it liberating that we don’t visit gas stations and no longer need to worry about the volatile price spikes of gasoline that so damage the incomes of our families and our nation’s economic health.

We find it liberating that they are so easy and far less costly to maintain.  Solar PV lasting for 25 years plus and electric cars with 10% of the complexity of gasoline cars.

We find no difference and no limitations of solar PV and driving two electric cars one driven 20,000 miles and one driven 12,000 miles a year as compared to our prior experience with utility supplied electricity and gasoline cars.

Our experience is that Solar PV & Electric Cars are a Liberation, not a Limitation.

Michael Reagan,  it is my hope that you would be more supportive of American examples of this, a new front porch of American ingenuity, science, technology and wealth generation for American households.  I know your dad would be. 

It is my hope that we embrace the "blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity"  as contained in the preamble of the constitution which stands in stark contrast to your selfish  comment, go out and buy the biggest damn SUV you want. Enjoy your life. Step on the gas. 

That's prosperity for you Michael, at the expense of liberty and posterity for our children and the nation.  Your dad knew the difference.

One last thing Michael, drive a Chevy Volt or another electric car sometime, it’s a much more quiet, smooth, quick and enjoyable driving experience.   


Peder Norby 
County of San Diego Planning Commissioner


  1. Another good one Peder! I Love reading your posts, they challenge me to do better on my blog!

  2. Thanks Tom,
    This guy is a shadow of his dad.

  3. I'm wondering how many registered Republicans are going to vote for Obama in November because on the rights anti-EV stance. I personally know about 10.

  4. My wife is shocked that I am considering it as well. I have read that a top adviser to Romney is an electric car supporter so I am waiting to hear more, and I want to find about about the guy and his position.

    Energy policy and a strong direction toward energy independence is a priority for me.