Once upon a time, I was a young “Solar Fred” growing up in Manhattan in the 1980’s. I don’t remember what first alerted me, but I somehow learned about what was then known as the Citicorp Center.
That building was originally designed for small scale solar power. As a teenager, I didn’t realize the politics and economics involved in this grand plan, and ultimately, Citicorp failed to produce any solar energy, but it did inspire a young solar city dreamer.
I began telling my friends and family that I was going to be a solar engineer. I was going to design buildings and PV systems that would light up New York with solar power. Nobody believed me.
To show I was serious about my career aspirations, I built a 5 foot model of a solar apartment building where I envisioned living one day. At a Central Park South art fair, I bought a little solar powered stick figure riding a bicycle and a solar kit for building a solar oven, a sun dial, and other working solar toys. I also opened up my first checking account so that my name could be on the brown paper sleeve of Solar Today magazine, not my Mom’s name. I knew I was preparing myself for MIT and solar engineering greatness….
And so I turned to what came naturally. I became a writer in many fields, from television to a business writer in various health care specialties. But then a few years ago, I saw a double feature of “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Who Killed the Electric Car.” Walking out of that movie theater, I realized that there was still a use for me in solar.
As a boy, I thought I had to invent the technology. Thankfully, many brilliant scientists and engineers had done that work. But what they couldn’t do effectively was explain solar to consumers. As a lifelong communicator, that’s what I did best, and that’s why I’m here on SolarPowerRocks.com.
So what’s with the video? First, I have to thank environmental author Osha Gray Davidson for sharing the above video with me on his website, The Phoenix Sun. The video is a brief case study about The Kips Bay Towers in Midtown Manhattan, which recently installed a 55kW PV system. I know it sounds corny, but when I watched this video, I was moved. I think it’s because it represents my boyhood dream come true. We really can light up New York with solar, and with solar incentives, it’s not only possible, but also affordable.
I hope you’re also inspired by this video, and I sincerely urge you–where ever you live–to see if solar is right for your home, appartment building, or business.
Thank you for considering solar.
Last modified: March 4, 2020