Duncan – In the letter headlined “Solar investors stupid”, Pat Mulcahy expresses the belief that people who install solar systems are “idiots” and “eco-freaks”, with “loose screws”. Yet there is also a mention in the letter of a group who “proudly” announced their commitment to solar energy. Are they proud of being stupid?
Mulcahy asks the question, “why would I invest in a minimum 25-year amortization at my age?” Perhaps answering this question can help explain why some people who invest in solar are proud that we do. Rather than subscribing to the narrow, selfish, self-centred, short-term economic thinking expressed by Mulcahy, maybe we are trying to do the right thing and build a better world for the future, even it doesn’t pay for itself.
Solar energy aside, many of us do this now. We support schools, save money for our grandchildren’s education, plant trees, recycle, donate to charity, protect land, volunteer, build churches, write letters to the editor, and do other things that offer a very poor payback or no payback at all. We do them because we care about the future, even if we are not likely to be here to enjoy it.
We have solar collectors on our roof. They are not there as an investment, but because we hope they can make a small contribution to the future by lowering the demand on BC Hydro, inspiring our neighbours, and supporting the local tradespeople in the co-operative who did the installation.
I don’t know if our solar panels will do any good, but I hope our grandchildren will be proud of us for trying to help, and not just being selfishly concerned for the short-term bottom line, to the exclusion of all other values.