When Walter McCarty was playing basketball for the Boston Celtics, Tommy Heinsohn — the seemingly ageless broadcaster and former coach and player — used to loudly proclaim during TV broadcasts, “I love Walter!” Tommy’s phrase describes how I feel about the 26 solar panels installed at my house about 19 months ago. My solar panels generate more electricity than I use in a month, except in the darkest winter months. In the summer, my panels more than make up for that deficit. It was a great decision to install the solar panels.

So, “I love solar!”

I love the feeling of energy independence the solar panels provide. I have several other sources of heat, propane and wood, but I also have a mini-split heat pump that I use to heat a formerly cool part of my house. The heat pump provides gentle yet substantial heat in which it is a pleasure to bask while the wind and snow beat on my windows. All my other electrical needs are amply covered by the electricity generated by my solar panels, and Charles Mingus just sounds better flowing from my speakers on the electricity my solar panels generated.

My panels were installed and are serviced by Insource Renewables from Pittsfield. Every encounter with the folks at Insource Renewables, whether by phone, email, or in person, has been pleasant, professional, informative and productive. During the brief time it took for the installation, I looked forward to the presence of the crew; they were friendly, knowledgeable and good conversationalists. The job site was always clean and neat.

The installation was a significant cost for my family, but it pays back every month. The tax credits in place at the time reduced my cost by about one-third. With daily news headlines describing the impact of global climate change both locally and worldwide, I am so glad to make this small positive impact by generating my own electricity.

A favorite aspect of the installation is the software that continuously updates me on the amount of power generated by each panel and at what capacity percentage the panel is currently operating. The software also lets me know the amount of carbon dioxide that using the solar panels eliminates by noting the number of trees that would have to be planted to eliminate an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. Every day I check how many kilowatt hours generated and how that compares to a year ago, or last week for that matter. We have saved 19,642 pounds in carbon dioxide emissions, and this, my software indicates, is equivalent to having planted 495 trees.

My electric bill formerly ran between $60 and $70 a month. I still “pay” the standard $19.17 delivery charge for my electricity, but since I generate, in nine months out of 12, much more electricity than I use and that is banked by Central Maine Power, I never actually have to send money. In October of 2017, we used 370 kilowatt hours of electricity and generated 529 kilowatt hours. While it will take 15 to 20 years to completely recoup my out of pocket expense. In doing some quick research on the internet about the installation’s impact on my home’s value, it seems that the added value is at least equal to the cost of the installation.

Without meaning to, as a group, we humans increasingly burden the earth with so many of our activities. Using solar power to generate electricity feels like a small, very small, even micro, unburdening of the earth.

I have spent time on the water my whole life. I learned how to sail before I could ride a bike. I dug clams as a teenager; I still dig clams but now, mostly, with linguini. I feel most alive when the wind comes up and the waves start to get curly and white on top, and my boat looks to me for steadiness and confident guidance.

The Gulf of Maine, one of the greatest food producing bodies of water on the earth, is warming faster than just about anywhere. We have all but lost our cod fishery, and our lobster fishery is moving east at a rapid rate. Casco Bay has already suffered a falloff in lobster production. We know of the natural and human devastation of last year’s storms in the Caribbean.

Our 26 solar panels are our response. No, it is not enough, but it is a start.

Yes, I love solar.

Jonathan G. Rogers is a retired attorney living on the shore of the Sebasticook River in Benton.

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