Paul Gallay is a resident of Cold Spring, NY and the president of Hudson Riverkeeper – a nonprofit organization working to protect the Hudson River and the drinking water supplies for nine million New Yorkers.
He became a SolarCity customer in 2015. We recently caught up with him to hear how solar has slashed his utility bill, and why clean energy is important to his family and community.
SolarCity: Tell us about your rooftop solar system
Paul: It’s 14 solar modules that together can provide more than 3.5 kilowatts of peak power. We’re leasing the system, which allows us to pay less for solar power each month than we pay for utility power. Solar energy is really a no-brainer in New York.
How have your energy costs changed since you went solar?
In our first year, our solar panels generated 93% of all the electricity we needed. It’s like having a power plant generating renewable energy on my roof.
I estimate that we saved a whopping $1,300 in the first year – about $500 from lower energy bills alone, and an $800 state tax credit. I tweeted about it and got quite a few likes.
— PAUL GALLAY (@PAULGALLAY) February 20, 2016
How are you using your bill savings?
I’ve been paying college tuition for my daughter and every nickel I don’t spend on immediate needs is going toward putting my daughter through college. It’s helping with that.
Why is using less electricity from the grid important to you?
I want my daughter and her children to have a sustainable supply of electricity that will allow us all to have a livable planet generation after generation. And no question about it, it’s nice to know that the SolarCity agreement locks in cheap, sustainable electricity prices for 20 years and takes pressure off the grid. In addition, we continue to go big on energy efficiency in our home, LED bulbs (save 75% of my electricity needs), Energy Star appliances, and other ways to conserve energy.
In 2010, you became the president of Hudson Riverkeeper, which works to protect the Hudson River and the watersheds that provide drinking water to New Yorkers. How does solar power relate to your mission?
Besides being both viable and economical for most home and business owners in New York, solar can play a large role in protecting one of America’s greatest rivers. One of the greatest threats to the Hudson is an aging nuclear power plant so, not only does SolarCity lower New Yorker’s energy bills, but when consumers opt for solar, it plays an integral part in replacing the power from less sustainable electric generation sources.
How do you spread the word about solar and its benefits?
We hosted a Solar Party at my house in October 2015 in partnership with our SolarCity energy consultant, Christian Toebe, We had 20 people, everybody seemed to get it, it’s a no-brainer cost wise, and it’s just good for the planet. And day-to-day in my role at Riverkeeper, I constantly promote the importance of solar power. One of the biggest ways we can improve the condition of our rivers is to generate more of our electricity with solar.