The Year Ahead With Tom Price
This post is part of an ongoing series. To access all the profiles in this series, visit The Year Ahead.Who: Tom Price, executive director of Black Rock SolarEco-resolution: My personal goal is to stop driving my petro-Honda. (I'm giving it to a friend who's converting it to run on carbon-negative gasified biomass, but there may be some bugs in the process, so in the meantime he's giving me an old 1981 Mercedes I can run on biodiesel.)
In my professional life, I hope to build 500 kilowatts of low- or no-cost solar power for schools, hospitals, and community centers across Nevada, proving that solar power can be accessible to everyone. In the past, solar power has only been accessible to either large institutions with big pockets or wealthy do-gooders, but if we're going to address climate change, everyone has to do their part. By matching up large scale fiscal capital from our partner MMA Renewable Ventures and donated labor á la Habitat for Humanity, we're proving solar can be done in a way that saves money from day one. (And yes, until the cost of photovoltaics comes down, public rebates are a key piece of our strategy.)Outlook for '08: This will be the year we go way beyond green; it will become such a part of our daily lives—like eating healthy food has become—that it will be ubiquitous and non-controversial. What is really exciting—and a little nerve-wracking—is the way that climate change, peak oil, and, lately, peak money are all combining to give us one huge jolt to our old, wasteful ways of doing things.
The challenge then will be to maintain a positive outlook, as the full bill for our profligate, self-indulgent lifestyles comes due. By continuing to focus on the opportunities ahead while acknowledging the real impact of what we've done, we'll be able to smooth the transition for people whose lives will be as radically altered in their substance and texture as were those of our grandparents when they moved off the farm and into the city.
Kenny Luna covered Tom Black Rock Solar for TreeHugger in December, when the group donated PV panels to a school in Nevada. Last May, on TreeHugger Radio, we spoke to Tom Price about the greening of Burning Man. He was then environmental manager of the event.