Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Breaking News

Z_CNHI News Service

August 21, 2013

Power plant defender makes a sun salutation

SALEM, Mass. — From his house on the banks of the North River, state Rep. John Keenan can see the sun rise over the stacks of Salem Harbor Station, a coal- and oil-burning power plant once considered to be among the state's worst for pollution.

Keenan, the co-chairman of a legislative committee on energy and utilities, has been a defender of the facility that is the city's top taxpayer and is due to close next year.

Against that backdrop came an interesting development last week on the roof of Keenan's house - solar panels.

Keenan, a 48-year-old Democrat, said the installation of the panels is not a political stunt. It was instead a choice made by his family that reflects his belief in a mix of energy sources.

Keenan said solar panels also make financial sense. With tax credits, rebates, utility savings and something the state calls “solar renewable energy credits,” the Keenans will pay off their nearly $32,000 solar system in five to six years.

The Keenans' 25 panels will produce more energy than they consume, which means they may not pay an electric bill ever again, either.

They are not alone in their enthusiasm. Massachusetts has experienced a virtual explosion of interest in solar energy over the past few years. There are an estimated 10,000 solar installations in the state, most residential, with the majority coming in the past few years.

When the state's Green Communities Act passed in 2007, only 3 megawatts of the state’s energy was produced by solar power. Today the total exceeds 300 megawatts.

That may be minuscule by power standards — Salem Harbor Station, for example, had a capacity of 745 megawatts — but it's enough to power about 300,000 homes.

Solar panels aren’t for everyone. They are best suited for south-facing houses with little shade. While their prices have dropped, the initial investment is not insignificant, and not everyone qualifies for credits and rebates.

But more families are putting up panels. If nothing else, it gets the neighbors peering over fences.

“That’s part of what we’re trying to do,” Keenan said, “is start the discussion.”

Tom Dalton is a reporter for The Salem, Mass., News.

1
Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Warren's populist pitch on student loans is off key

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren's populist rhetoric pumps up students about their loan burdens, but she conveniently neglects to mention the real problem - the exorbitant cost of college - much less how she's benefitted from those high prices.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 4.49.09 PM.png Train, entertain your pets with these 3 smartphone apps

    While they may not have thumbs to use the phone, pets can benefit from smartphone apps designed specifically for them.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stepping forward: The real Colbert

    Letterman changed the late-night TV game between his run on NBC's "Late Night" and starting the "Late Show" franchise in 1993. And while it's tough to replace a pop-culture icon, Colbert, in terms of pedigree and sense of humor, makes the most sense.

    April 11, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 10, 2014

AP Video
Business Marquee
College Sports
Pro Sports
Facebook