I’m staying with a friend in San Francisco who just recently (in the midst of doing a massive renovation of his 1870s row house) put up a solar PV system on his roof. Two systems, actually, one to power his unit and one to power the downstairs unit.

After all the city, state, and federal subsidies and tax breaks, the total for the two systems together came to under $2,000. They provide more than 100 percent of the electricity for both units. They’ve already paid themselves off, and now, for as long as he lives here, he and his downstairs renters have free (and guilt-free) electricity. PG&E won’t yet allow him to sell the electricity surplus back into the grid, so actually he has a surplus of clean electricity lying around. He feels like he should leave the lights on!

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As I stood on the roof checking out the system, I noticed that there were at least five or six other systems on surrounding rooftops. He said they’d all gone up in the last year.

How will it change people’s lives when they begin taking it for granted that they produce and manage their own power? I gotta say, just sitting here blogging with clean electricity feels a little … different.

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