McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Features

August 28, 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 | Photo Reprints
Features
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground
NDN Video
GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" Trailer is Here! Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.