We’re building a solar movement, and you don’t even have to own a home to get involved. Our Solar Ambassador program gives anyone in the U.S. the resources to spread the word about the power of solar. Meet Michael and Susan Ufer, the latest Ambassadors we’re highlighting in our ongoing blog series.
Michael, a LEED certified architect, and Susan, a landscape architect, live in Dallas with Giles, their youngest of three children and a high school senior.
Why did you decide to go solar?
Susan: We’ve been doing everything we could to consume less electricity and conserve resources since we moved to Dallas 13 years ago. We changed to energy efficient light bulbs way before it was the “thing” to do, purchased wind energy from the utility, even took our pool out! Once we learned that we could further reduce our carbon footprint by generating the bulk of our electricity from clean, renewable power—and lower our electricity bill—it became a no-brainer.
Why did you choose SolarCity?
Susan: Our friend John went solar with SolarCity, and his wife Lisa said it was like he found a new religion. He was so excited, like a kid in a candy store. So we called SolarCity right away.
Michael: John had had solar panels on his home for over a year and was very willing to answer any questions we had. It was great to have him as a personal reference. Also, the other companies we looked at didn’t have SolarCity’s track record. We liked the idea that by leasing rather than purchasing the panels, SolarCity would take care of all repairs and maintenance. We get a lot of hail in Dallas.
How do you feel about generating and using clean solar energy?
Michael: It’s fantastic. We want to do all we can for the planet today, and for our children’s generation.
Susan: We love it. To be stewards of the land, that’s the mantra of landscape architects.
How have your neighbors reacted to your installation?
Susan: Over the years, our electricity rates have kept going up, so creating a hedge against that was a big reason we went solar. Our neighbors have been like, “We need to look into that too!” We’ve locked in a rate for our solar electricity, with a cost-of-living increase, for the next 20 years. You can’t see our panels from the front of the house, only from the back and the side. But since we live on a corner lot and have kept our SolarCity signs out, lots of people notice the installation and say, “You’ve got solar panels!” We talk to everyone we can.
Would you describe the process of buying solar from SolarCity?
Michael: Joe Maushart was our energy consultant. He was terrific. Essentially, he showed us a satellite photo of our roof and we moved forward from there. It was simple.
What inspired you to become a Solar Ambassador?
Susan: I’ve been more of a homemaker these last few years and I’d like to further pursue my interests in sustainability, dovetailing with my work in landscape architecture. Being a Solar Ambassador seemed like a good step in that direction.
How long have you been a Solar Ambassador?
Michael: Since October 2014, shortly after our system was turned on.
Are there specific ways you spread the word about solar?
Susan: Anybody that will listen, I’ll talk to them about it.
As a Solar Ambassador, do you feel part of a bigger movement?
Susan: Oh yes, especially when I look at the map of states where SolarCity operates. I can’t wait until the whole U.S. map is colored in.
Any tips or inspiration for others thinking of becoming a Solar Ambassador or going solar?
Michael: It’s easy to talk about something you’re passionate about, especially when you’re seeing results. It’s also nice to know that, as Ambassadors, we can make the process easier for other people. As for going solar? With so much sunshine here in Texas, it just seems irresponsible to not take advantage of the sun.
Interested in joining the solar movement? Contact us here.