New Jersey global warming skeptic loves his solar panels

Lifelong Jersey City resident Adam Szpala describes himself as a climate change skeptic. And cap-and-trade programs? He “thinks [they're] crazy when the economy is suffering as it has been,” according to The Jersey City Independent.

But this contractor and rental property owner loves him some solar panels… and plunked down $45,000 four years ago to install them on his own house as well as the building next door he rents out. His incentive: cost savings on energy. Because he lives in New Jersey, which has had some of the most generous rebate programs in the country (they’ve dried up some lately), he’ll likely recoup his initial investment in just a few more years. He saves about $200 a month on electricity, and also receives Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC) payments to the tune of around $7000 a year.

“I feel great when the checks come in,” he told the Independent.

Do we need to convince global warming skeptics that they’re wrong?

That’s always the temptation… I know I’ve fallen prey to it on many occasions. And while I remain convinced that the science behind climate change is conclusive, when I read stories like Adam’s, I have to wonder if I and others need to spend so much time trying to convince skeptics to agree with me.

Or do we need to just show them the money?

New Jersey’s been a real leader on this front: it’s second only to California in the number of solar arrays.While funds for state rebates aren’t available for the next few months (they were moved to close a budget gap), the state’s director of the Office of Clean Energy at the Board of Public Utilities believes the SREC payments from energy suppliers will keep the solar panels going up… and that’s good for climate change, whether you believe in it or not.

Can clean economic growth, however it’s incentivized, trump climate change denialism? Let us know what you think…


Image credit: Photographer Bob Gibson and NREL/DOE