Why I Got Solar for My Home

The following text was sent out via email on August 16, 2023. Sign up for PEC email alerts →

Credit Hugh Kenny/PEC 

Dear Supporter,

By now, you’ve probably heard the many compelling reasons for going solar. Make yourself energy independent. Protect yourself from utility rate increases. Lessen your dependence on fossil fuels. Add a battery and run your home’s essential functions during extended outages. The list goes on, which is why year after year PEC promotes Solarize Piedmont, a campaign to simplify the process of getting solar panels for your home, farm or business.

But one aspect I don’t think we talk about enough is that it is exciting, revolutionary even, to actively participate in our energy transition. Creating your own energy on-site and using it, learning more about how electricity works and inspiring your neighbors makes the journey engaging and communal.

For a long time, solar panels were simply out of reach for most folks. The first commercial solar panels were patented by Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey in the 1950s. Not long after, NASA fired into space the first solar-powered satellite, the Vanguard 1. And for decades, solar panel usage was reserved for such expensive ventures. In the 1970s, during the energy crisis, the United States invested in developing more scalable solar technology, and by 2013, the U.S. Army had installed its first microgrid — solar panels plus battery backup that connects to the greater grid. Around this time, solar’s true cost benefit finally began to come to fruition. In the past 10 years, solar panels have dropped in cost by about 80%.

Check out this short video on our 2023 Solarize campaign.

We are finally at that moment when, after decades of scientific research and investment, solar energy is cheaper for consumers than any other form of energy. What was once reserved for orbiting the Earth can now be on your roof. Of course, like any cost-saving home-improvement decision, whether it be electrification or insulating the attic, there are considerations to take into account when making the jump to solar. Beyond that, however, to paraphrase Tom Cruise in Risky Business, “sometimes you just gotta say what the heck,” and go for it.

I have had solar panels on my roof for the past four years. Sometimes, after a long day of work and shuttling my kids around to activities, I’ll pull into my neighborhood, thinking about dinner, dishes and taking out the trash. And then I’ll look up at the panels on the front of my roof, smile for a moment, and think “Wow. Cool.” It’s kind of amazing that I have a power plant on my roof, that uses the sun to power my home, while saving me money. It also creates a permission structure for others to make the jump. I’ve truly enjoyed talking to my neighbors about it and watching many of them get systems installed. I hope that you’ll consider the journey as well.

Sign up for a free consultation to see if solar is right for you with Solarize Piedmont, a long running successful program with highly qualified installers and pre-negotiated pricing discounts. The program runs until August 31 at solarizeva.org. Need more info? Check out Local Energy Alliance Program’s (LEAP)’s recent webinar.

Please let me know if you have any solar questions I might be able to answer!


Ashish Kapoor
Senior Energy and Climate Policy Analyst
540-347-2334 ext. 7054

P.S. Coming soon! On November 14, PEC will hold a new workshop, Solar on the Farm: Working Ag, at Kildee Farms in Culpeper. Join us to learn about a host of incentives agricultural businesses can utilize to save money with solar, increase energy efficiency, and backup critical farm functions with battery storage. Stay tuned for more details on our website and social media.