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My Life as a Solar Panel

February 17, 2015

I grew up and still live to this day in San Diego, Calif. where the sun seems eternally on, and all good dreams are capable of becoming reality. But while so much of my life revolves around sports, it’s impossible to separate the synergies that our lives require for sustainability. 

Solar energy is our future -- a future that I clamor to be a part of. I stand tall and proud with the science, technology, entrepreneurs and vision that says we can make our world better, and I’m ready and willing to unlock the force, take control, and do something about it. 

In California, our terrific Gov. Jerry Brown has boldly pledged to generate a minimum of 50% of our power needs from clean, renewable sources in the very near future. But with Denmark on course to achieve 100% of its needs from clean sources, my immediate question is: why not us? 

I try to live my life by Neil Young’s challenge to us all: “Are you passionate? Are you living like you talk?” So in riding on the spiritual of Neil’s plea, I recently put solar on my rooftop -- a 12 kilowatt system that I look up at every day and watch as it turns the sun’s rays (somewhat magically) into electricity.

While gazing up at my solar array, I often picture myself as a giant mobile solar panel---soaking in the sun, then converting it into useful, productive things across all platforms of my life. 

Much of my world orbits around basketball, which is very similar to solar. Basketball epitomizes the ongoing struggle to incorporate solar into our ethos, culture and everyday world. The sun, like the ball, is out there, up for grabs. Just think: enough solar energy strikes our Earth every hour to power the entire planet’s needs for a whole year. But, like basketball, are we willing to commit and discipline ourselves to harness that awesome power? 

Solar energy encompasses everything that I believe in: Nature, common sense, public policy, teamwork, sacrifice, ingenuity, political will, tools, engineering, democracy, empowerment, economics, freedom, independence, innovation, and respect for our planet and the other people and things who live on it.

Getting on the solar express is cost efficient, ethically and morally correct, and allows each and every one of us to take a leadership role in the battle of our lives. Make no mistake: this is about our survival. Our job as human solar panels, gleaming in the golden light of day, is to educate, illuminate and advocate for things that seem so perfect, and so right, and are quite simply common sense.

I’ve been traveling this wonderful country of ours for 45 years. Every time I take off or land on a big jet airliner, I’m staggered, flabbergasted, but ultimately saddened and disappointed by the sight of so many bare-naked rooftops that don’t have solar panels on them. The good news is that these neglected, lonely rooftops mean that the potential for solar is everywhere. It’s high time we filled every rooftop in this great nation with solar panels – from the redwood forests to the Gulf-stream waters, from California to the New York island. 

It’s all so clear. Solar energy is the biggest no-brainer in the history of the world. 

Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a basketball legend, noted sports commentator and spokesperson for NRG Home Solar.

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Solar , Sustainability and Home solar

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