Life, Liberty, and Solar Panels
Welcome back, Shit Givers.
Look, sometimes I start writing and almost immediately, it gets out of hand.
Today’s post is one of those. You’re welcome/I’m sorry.
It’s — well, SLIGHTLY — more satirical than usual, and with MODERATELY more profanity, but it’s still grounded in facts and the opportunity to improve our vital infrastructure by meeting people exactly where they are (YMMV).
📧 New here? Sign up to join 15,000+ other Shit Givers
🤝 What We Can Do
⚡️ Last week’s most popular Action Step was finding a nearby climate resilience hub using Climate Crew’s interactive map.
⚡️ It’s getting hot out there. Direct your city officials to the Heat Action Platform Policy Tool to explore existing heat adaptation solutions for your community.
⚡️Thinking of becoming a nurse? Bless you, and thank you. Here are some resources including FAQs about education requirements, salary, and benefits.
⚡️ Representation in books helps kids build self-esteem and increase self-acceptance. Find kid-affirming books for your family or classroom with a ColorPop Book bundle.
⚡️ Defend rights to digital privacy all over the world by donating to The Electronic Frontier Foundation.
⚡️ Align your money with your values by finding a financial institution near you with sustainable banking services.
Texas is melting. Baking. Air frying. Being absolutely barbecued with no end in sight.
Whatever your metaphor, whatever your politics, two things are incontrovertible:
Texas is getting hotter on average, and more likely to suffer extreme heat events
Texas gets a whole hell of a lot of sunshine
Look at all of that sweet-ass liberty sunshine
There’s simply no better place and no better time for a rooftop solar revolution than Texas in 2023.
Because when it comes down to it, is there any greater threat to liberty than multiple layers of government telling you how you can power your home?
Think about it this way: Is there any better way to say “fuck the libs” than powering your home from the sun?
When I say “liberty”, what I’m talking about is personal freedom, autonomy, and self-sufficiency.
For a statistical minority of the popular vote and simultaneously almost exactly half of the electoral vote, these things are inviolable.
And in a world where ERCOT is actually holding up against a relentless heat wave — with Texans using more energy than they ever have to run air conditioners at full blast — it’s helpful to understand that rooftop solar, not utility-scale solar, is a nearly perfect embodiment of those principles.
Like the act of decentralizing the power grid itself, let’s break it down.
Refuse to depend on big government for anything? Great. Let’s have you generate your own electricity, from the SUN, a tangible, measurable manifestation of personal freedom and autonomy around which everything else resolves — just like Texas.
So autonomous, in fact, that Texas doesn’t have a net metering law, which means you can’t even feed your extra power back into the grid, nor get paid for it.
To go even further, you’re basically choosing to secede from government-run or even government-regulated utilities. You can truly be on your own.
Get off on extra-protecting your family and property from whatever comes your way? How about some kick-ass panels and some big-ass batteries that can keep all of your essential appliances running when ERCOT inevitably goes down again. I don’t say this in jest. It’s hot as hell out there and only getting hotter (we don’t even have to discuss why).
You (and billions of other freedom lovers in southeast Asia, and soon, Europe) need AC to survive.
Pride yourself on being “fiscally responsible”, like your elected officials before you? Rooftop solar panels generally pay for themselves over time through savings on your electricity bill.
Want to prove that less-regulated markets actually work? Buy rooftop solar, the pieces of which have become drastically cheaper and measurably more efficient over the past twenty years. How did that happen? Market competition (*in part, we won’t talk about the other reason why, and, sure, most of the pieces come from various countries in Asia now, but more and more solar panel parts are being made right at home in Texas)!
Speaking of domestic production, let’s keep those hard-earned dollars at home. Want to spell out 🇺🇸 America First 🇺🇸 with your new panels? Great, good for you. No more buying foreign fossil fuels or shipping it abroad, either.
(Again, forget the fact that America First tariffs — by any of the last three presidents — definitely didn’t kickstart, nourish, or even offer life support to domestic supply chains or manufacturing. The point is, we’ve learned our lesson. Right?)
Those coastal elites and the lib tech companies they work at (who, sure, design and sell the device you’re reading this on) helped make Taiwan the most likely ground zero for World War III, and of course you know this, and you’re planning for China to bomb the daylights out of our extremely brittle infrastructure.
Good news again.
Decentralized rooftop solar means you and other Cowboys fans — who, again, you’re not actually connected to anymore, except in a lack of trophies for most of your life — will be more resilient when the shit/hypersonic missiles hits the fan/your local water utility.
Rooftop solar is patriotic as hell.
And also, it works. “Late Thursday afternoon, wind and solar were providing 40% of the power on operator ERCOT’s grid — around 30,000 megawatts, about even with the amount of power coming from natural gas. At the same time, prices in Texas stayed relatively low.“
Which is great, because you and I both know exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
Texas Governor Adds Backup Prayer System To State Electricity Grid
— The Onion (@TheOnion)
Jun 29, 2023
“But fossil fuel production is inextricable from increased economic prosperity, and a lack thereof is why there’s so much energy poverty around the world”, you bellow.
Maybe in the past! And also it’s super complicated and they 100% lied to you, but also rooftop solar has massive job potential.
In fact, ”clean energy electricity technologies accounted for almost 87% of net new jobs in the power generation sector.”
Want to know what the big holdup is? You guessed it: government regulation of permitting and transmission.
I would ask you to consider that permitting reform include extensive considerations for precious ecosystems and low-income marginalized Texans who work nearly all of your service jobs and who are most likely to historically live inexcusably close to toxic fossil fuel infrastructure, but you already knew that.
And government waste? How about solar waste? Just look at all this sunshine just aching to power your house:
Texas & northern Mexico have been sweltering in record-breaking heat, with temperatures up to 115°F (46°C). Shown here is “brightness temperature,” which is a measure of the heat radiating away from land, clouds, or water. Dark red indicates hot areas, while blues are cooler.
— NASA Climate (@NASAClimate)
Jun 29, 2023
One downside to markets — as you know — is volatility. And today, energy markets are intensely volatile, subject to the war in Ukraine, fancy weirdly small-fridge European energy needs, and the whims of Saudi Arabian dictators who definitely — at least — condoned 9/11, but we still sell jets to. Ok.
Anyways, 20 American-made and installed panels on your roof connected to a battery in your garage — a battery most likely manufactured in a fellow red state like, say, Georgia — is a really great way to disentangle your liberty from all of that UN-nonsense.
If Ukraine can add rooftop solar explicitly to tell Putin to go fuck himself, you can do the same damn thing.
I’ve got some upsetting news.
While Texas is (of course) a top 2 state for utility-scale wind and solar, your state representatives are pocketing fossil fuel lobbying dollars on a daily basis and preventing you (you!) from choosing how to power your home.
They want you to remain beholden to a gas infrastructure that’s more likely to fail in emergencies and in danger of being regulated even further by big government.
Look. I’m not alone here in wanting more (clean) liberty for you, your neighbors want it too.
Add it all up and the opportunity for you to GO BIG is just enormous:
And there’s more great news: the White House (lol) estimates that “Texas, the top producer of wind energy, is expected to draw $66.5 billion in investments, the most of all states.”
Sure, your reps didn’t vote for any of it, but isn’t that even better? They get to lie and take credit on social media, you’re getting the money from the feds, AND you didn’t have to flip-flop on your principles like some goddamn vegan tuna fish. Hell yeah!
But here’s the problem: Right now — you’re 2nd in installed solar. 2nd! Behind CALIFORNIA.
WTF is that?
What would Jerry Jones think? Sure, he’s neck-deep in gas fields for the rest of his days, the Cowboys haven’t made the playoffs since I was 13, and your average temps were way, way lower than they are now (see chart above).
And yet — Jerry doesn’t play for second place (except for every one of the last 27 years), and certainly not to California.
So — look.
What I’m saying is, you’ve got an opportunity here to go to SolarReviews.com and find out exactly who the most reputable Texan installers are in your area and how much it’ll cost to kickstart your hot gas ball-powered liberty.
Sure, you’ve only got the 2nd biggest economy in the country, and you’re also only the 2nd biggest in total square miles — both of which “might as well be dead fucking last”, you mutter to yourself — but there’s a future, here.
From Texas Monthly:
Instead of continuing to bank on revenues from crushed up T.rex bones (hell yeah, carnivores!) as your most lucrative natural resource — dooming you to a future where you’re basically Alaska — look to the sky, look back down to your rooftop, ok look back up at the sky, and realize the most important thing you’ve ever realized:
There are exactly zero worlds where the feds should ever stand in between you, the sun, and how you charge your F-150 Lightning (no matter how many kids it can roll over without you even noticing).
And now, in 2023, thanks to that same exact sun, the markets, and a metric-ton of cash your reps definitely didn’t vote for, you can make sure they never do.
Support Our Work
INI is 100% independent and mostly reader-supported.
This newsletter is free, but to support our work, get my popular “Not Important” book, music, and tool recommendations, connect with other Shit Givers, and attend exclusive live events, please consider becoming a paid Member.
📰 News From My Notebook
Health & medicine
Scientists are engineering microbes to benefit our health and the environment
A new research model is allowing researchers to gain new insights into human embryonic development
The number of people with diabetes is expected to double by 2050 — to 1.3 billion people
Our terrible health care system, explained by a nurse
Extreme heat will result in $1 billion in health care costs this summer alone
How you can prevent power outages during a heat wave
UK ad regulators are clamping down on greenwashing
Can we blame heat and wildfires on the jet stream?
💦 Food & water
3M is paying out a $10.3 billion settlement for contaminating public water supplies with toxic forever chemicals
Beekeepers are keeping US honeybee colonies “relatively stable” after nearly half of colonies died last year
How real people are being impacted by cuts to the food safety net
Refilling rivers is beyond what rain can provide. Here’s the case for desalination