Thirty years ago, when I was handling PR at the newly-formed Office of Energy Conservation and Solar Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, we released a TV public service announcement called "Master of the Sun (video)." It featured a Ponca Indian poet high on a Colorado mountain talking with his young son: "Since the beginning, the American Indian has valued the power of the sun," he intones. Against pretty visuals he tells his son what the sun can do for us, then concludes as the music crescendos: "The sun is power. The sun is security. The sun is your future. The sun is available now and forever."
In the last shot, over his noble Native American profile uplifted toward the sun, appear the words: " EXPLORE SOLAR ENERGY," followed by an 800 information number, and the slug, " U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY."
For years this ad appeared regularly on late night TV.
Then solar advocate Carter lost the election, and Pres. "America-didn't-conserve-it's-way-to-greatness" Reagan changed solar's course. He removed Carter's solar hot water panels from the White House and proceeded to gut the solar and conservation programs at the Department of Energy, and his transition team destroyed the remaining radio and TV Public Service Announcements we had ready to go. America entered the dark age of renewable energy.
Recently I found an old reel of the original "Master of the Sun" video - and now it's on YouTube.
We've entered a new era, at last. And yes, the sun is power, security, your future and mine, and it's still available! And the good news today is that we have another pro-solar president, Barack Obama, who mentions solar energy in nearly every speech he gives on energy, the environment and the economy. Solar power today has become the fastest growing business on the planet. Finally.
Birth of a blogger
I started my career as a crusading (and opinionated) journalist, long before my experience in the solar business. When my friend Doug Arrison asked me to write a blog for his online solar business, I was delighted to have the opportunity to jump back into the debate and help provide information to an inquiring public.
This "solar blog" will seek to carry on the message enunciated by our Indian poet 30 years ago. It will cover much that has happened since, and will be all about what is happening in the solar world. I will draw on my experience worldwide developing solar projects and companies in 11 countries, and launching, 4 years ago, what has become the largest installer of residential solar systems in the Mid-Atlantic region.
These are exciting times and there is much to write about. Watch this space!