Solar Bonds Blog

The New Yorker on SolarCity and the rooftop solar revolution

June 25, 2015 | SolarCity

In this week’s The New Yorker magazine, writer Bill McKibben covers the rise of rooftop solar in the United States, and utility opposition to that rise. We were excited to be profiled, alongside others who are rethinking the way we power our homes, schools, and businesses, including Green Mountain Power in Vermont and New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) program.

McKibben visited a five-person SolarCity crew in Surprise, Arizona and stood on a rooftop with CEO Lyndon Rive chatting about SolarCity’s rapid growth:

… Solar City has grown by a hundred per cent each year for the past seven years, in part by lowering the soft costs of installation. A job that once took three days can now be done in one, and Rive showed me a training video of a California crew that could do two houses in a day and still have time to surf. By next year, solar will be the fastest-growing new source of energy in the country, approaching half of new capacity. That’s still only a fraction of the total capacity, Rive said, “but if you just maintain that, just plot out the line with the retirement of old plants, it’s inevitable that it will be over fifty per cent of the total generating capacity eventually. And that’s assuming nothing changes."

Solar, combined with other technological improvements, can save consumers a lot of money – and the upheaval McKibben describes is both necessary and possible in a world threatened by climate change:

Dave and Karen Correll live across town from the Borkowskis, in a well-kept Colonial Cape that was another of the original batch of “E-home” renovations. First, contractors re-insulated the basement and the attic. Then came the air-source heat pump, which the Corrells lease from Green Mountain Power for forty-seven dollars a month. Their oil bill fell sixty-seven per cent during the course of Vermont’s long, cold winter of 2015. “I can’t wait to see what comes out next,” Karen told me. “Our furnace is about at the end of its life, and I can’t wait to replace it.”

Neither the Corrells nor the Borkowskis changed their homes out of concern for global warming. (“If it’s not on the Disney Channel, I don’t hear about it,” Sara Borkowski said.) But that’s the point: a bold reworking of energy systems, long necessary and expensive, is now necessary and much more affordable. That could make for a very different world.

You can read the whole article here.

This article originally appeared on the SolarCity Blog.

What are Solar Bonds and how do they work? Learn More