Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall, an early supporter of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, now has set an example by participating in it. His own home has the first PACE program solar power roof installation in the area.
As part of the “Green Corridor” program in Cutler Bay, Coral Gables, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, and South Miami, PACE enables property owners to borrow money to buy solar panels, wind generators, insulation or shutters for their homes, to reduce energy consumption.
“I’m very excited about it,” MacDougall said in an interview on Dec. 27. “Most of the array is on the front of my house. The way they put it on is they first figure what portion of your roof is best angled for the sunlight. Mine happens to be the front of the house.
“There are quite a few panels. They’re arranged where people can see them, which I think is really good because I want people to see them. I want people to think, ‘wow, maybe I should do that.’ I think it’s important that I lead the way. I strongly believe in PACE. I’m very environmental with pretty much everything I do, including the cars that we drive.”
MacDougall’s business, Choice One Companies, uses only Smart Cars for its staff. He said he hopes the new 10,000 kilowatt photo voltaic solar panel system on his home will reduce his electric bill by 75 percent. “My bill already is pretty low,” MacDougall explained. “I’ve got a 3,800- square-foot house that I built after [Hurricane] Andrew tore down the original house.
My bill last month was about $105 because I have double insulated glass and an insulated metal roof. It’s a pretty tight house, and besides the solar array I’m going to have energy-reducing lights and timers installed. My mission is to get the electric bill down to zero.”
Besides using PACE, MacDougall was able to take advantage of an FPL program for additional savings. Kent Crook and his crew from Mr. Solar installed the solar panels and related equipment fairly quickly.
“Installation took three days,” MacDougall said. “It took about a month from the time I applied through FPL and PACE. The contractor came out and did the engineering and design work. The exciting part for me is waiting to see the results. This is hooked up to my computer, so I log on and can see daily how many kilowatts I’ve generated for the day, for the month, for the year. It will give you a graph to see how much you’re saving through Florida Power & Light. It’s a pretty comprehensive system.”
But for MacDougall it’s not just the potential for lowering his electric bill that matters.
“It’s really less about what you save, even though that’s important,” MacDougall said. “It’s more about the environment and — most important to me and for America — is that we’re spending a trillion dollars every three years on foreign energy. This reduces it. That’s why I drive Smart Cars and have done so many things to my house to make it well insulated, because I want to reduce the amount of foreign oil we import. If everyone would just try to do a few extra little things, they could really reduce that. It’s patriotic.”
Kent Crook, owner of Wiremasters Electric and Mr. Solar, said that he’s seeing more interest these days in solar power installations.
“With PACE and the Green Corridor, there will be a lot more solar coming,” Crook said. “It’s right around the corner.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the PACE program or “Why Green” can visit the town’s official website at www.cutlerbayfl.gov and click on “Going Green” or call Town Hall at 305-234-4262. For more information on Mr. Solar go online to www.mrsolar.com.