Mark Hamill: Describes benefits of installing solar panels

Sunday, April 23, 2017
Describes benefits of installing solar panels

Last year we had solar panels installed on our house in Florence. Our cost was about $20,000, and much less after tax credits.

Since then the cost of solar panels has continued to decline. By some estimates solar already costs less than power from coal, oil and natural gas.

President Trump wants blue-collar workers to find meaningful work again. He is hoping to do it by increasing our reliance on coal and lowering air quality standards. Most people agree this is counterproductive and worsens the impact of climate change. Moreover, it’s common knowledge that coal jobs are not coming back.

I believe that every new house should be required to have solar panels installed on their roofs or property where it is feasible. As a percentage of the cost of a house, an investment of $20,000 is small, and that cost should only continue to decline. The energy generated is clean. After the investment is paid off, these panels will pay for themselves with decades of zero electricity bills.

It would also reduce our nation’s carbon footprint and put a lot of the people that President Trump wants to help back to work here in America at middle-class wages for clean energy, and with likely minimal retraining.

I wrote Congressman Jim McGovern to urge him to submit legislation like this. There are obviously some situations where it doesn’t make sense – for example, houses with little southern exposure or where dense clusters of trees reduce the amount of solar power that could be generated.

Perhaps houses that undergo roof replacements should have solar panels added too. It would be good for the environment and the economy, rush us toward addressing climate change, and likely provide well-paying, middle-class jobs that so many Americans need.

Mark Hamill