Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. (Applause.)Last Saturday, I took an action in line with the President's call by investing in solar electricity generation.
Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices. (Applause.)
Remind folks there’s no contradiction between a sound environment and strong economic growth.
This investment is far from my first in solar, as my home makes clear.
Saturday's move was a bit different and has more meaning for me because there is far more behind this than simply choosing to "invest".
For the past 15 or so years, much of my professional (and, well, personal volunteer) life has been involved / participating in efforts to help move the U.S. military toward a smarter approach to energy issues. This has involved work on issues like Fully-Burdened Cost of Fuel, helping run (pro bono) a DOD-funded energy lecture series, giving presentations, writing articles (many without my name on them), participating in seminars and wargames, advising government offices (sigh, essentially also pro bono), and ... well, a wide range of interactions, work, etc ... I have been investing -- my time, my passion, my intellectual contributions -- along with many others (e.g., I am a small cog as part of a large not necessarily coordinated effort) in seeking to move the U.S. military toward more sensible energy policies and practices. My investment portfolio (sadly, not Koch-like in size, but still a "portfolio") has not reflected this work and this investment. At least, not until a few days ago.
An email from Billy Parish, founder of Mosaic, sparked a change to the equation. Mosaic is crowd-sourcing solar projects -- giving people a chance to invest their money in putting up solar panels $25 at a time. Billy's email announced their latest project: putting up 12.27 megawatts of solar panels at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Burlington
County, New Jersey (McGuire Air Force Base, Fort Dix and Naval Air Station Lakehurst). Part of the larger move to make U.S. military bases more resilient by having on-base power production and cleaner through energy efficiency and renewable energy (there are a lot of solar panels, wind turbines, etc going up on and around military bases across the nation ... and in overseas bases), the solar panels will be installed on 537 homes and supply an estimated 30 percent of home energy requirements. (Note that it is unclear whether the Mosaic-funded project is part of or in addition to the January 2013 announced plans to put solar on 1500 of 2200 United Communities homes at Joint Base McGuire.)
Thanks to Mosaic and the ability to invest $25 at a time (thus, my $100 counts as four times???), when it comes to renewable energy and the U.S. military, I've now put my money where my mouth has been for over a decade.
1. See Parish's post What Makes Solar Energy a Good Investment? for a discussion of their "investment product".
2. TO BE CLEAR -- (a) I do not receive any compensation from Mosaic; (b) I am not "endorsing" this as investment, make up your own mind; and (c) do not invest without reading (or at least looking at ...) the prospectus and understanding how this fits (or doesn't fit) with your financial situation.
3. Some material on solar on U.S. military bases:
As of early 2013, there are more than 130 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems powering Navy, Army and Air Force bases in at least 31 states and the District of Columbia. Combined, these installations provide enough clean energy to power 22,000 American homes.RECHARGE: US military bases could host 7GW of solar, says DoD study
US military bases in California’s Mojave Desert could host 7GW of economically viable solar power, even after eliminating 96% of their land area to account for conflicts with military uses, environmental concerns and other factors.And .... the list can go on and on and on ...
A study, commissioned by the Department of Defense (DoD) environmental research programmes and carried out by ICF International, says the power-production potential is equal to 25% of California’s 2015 utility renewable-energy requirement.