Waco Friends of the Climate normally meets on the first Monday of the month at Poppa Rollo’s Pizza, at 703 N. Valley Mills Dr. in Waco, with a free buffet followed by a documentary film or a guest speaker.

To subscribe to our email list and learn about our meetings, campaigns and actions, please email anorthc@aol.com

To enter the 4th Annual Climate Crisis Art Exhibit in October 2020, please email anorthc@aol.com

Monday, November 28, 2016


Alan Northcutt reports the following on his year-long experience with a photovoltaic solar system at his home:

Solar panels, also called photovoltaic cells, were installed on my roof around New Year’s Day 2016.  Since that time my average electricity bill has been $3.13.  In fact, for 3 of those months my bill was $0.00. Yes, $0.00.  So I would like to share my amazing experience with solar energy through a practical overview applicable to Central Texas.

Cost:  Although the exact price of a home solar system depends on multiple variables, I will provide a general example for illustration. Importantly, now is an excellent time to go solar in light of plummeting panel prices and available incentives.  A 7.5kW system (producing about 850kWh per month) has an invoice price of approximately $25,000.  If the home is within their service area, ONCOR’s generous incentive would lower the purchase price to $20,000.  And at income tax time, the 30% federal tax credit of $6000 would further lower the final price to only $14,000.  The average time to pay for a system with electric bill savings is 7 to 8 years.  After that, the system generates income, through these lower or absent electric bills.

Obstacles:  The primary requirement is that the roof be unobstructed by trees or other objects. (But if an obstruction exists, many installers erect ground based solar arrays in the customer’s backyard.) A south facing roof generates maximum energy, but is not mandatory.  Finally, homeowners’ associations will often assert that rooftop solar is not allowed.  Fortunately, this claim is false, and these associations are not able to restrict solar installations in Texas.  In reality, solar panels are not an aesthetic detriment to the roof. Their sleek, black futuristic appearance is actually an improvement over mundane gray shingles. 

Installation:  Waco is fortunate to have an excellent, experienced local installer in Holtek Solar, my provider.  One advantage of a local business is the rapid attention paid to any questions or problems.  Another option is Freedom Solar, based in Austin, which offers a no money down plan, with monthly payments.  Installation involves attaching the panels to the roof, attaching the inverter (converts DC to usable AC) to an outside wall, and wiring the system components, connecting to the existing electric service.  The process surprisingly only takes a couple of days.
Operation:  One delight of home solar is monitoring the function of the system.  Through one’s computer or smart phone app, the system data is displayed: weather conditions; daily output graph; weekly, monthly and annual outputs; individual panel generation; and cumulative cost savings in dollars.  And through net metering, the excess production during the sunny hours is credited by the grid provider, lowering one’s electricity bill. 
Maintenance.   With no moving parts, solar panels are essentially care free.  If the data monitor does show an output drop from a given panel, a cleansing spray of water is corrective.  But in 10 months of operation, my system has required no maintenance. 
Rationale:  In conclusion, the reasons to install rooftop solar are multiple:
  • Once the system cost is recovered, monthly electricity bill savings represent income.   Further, the systems are guaranteed to produce 80% of initial output for 25 years!
  • Home value may increase 3 to 4% upon the addition of rooftop solar systems, according to a 2011 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Conversion of the world’s energy system to renewables is a race against time, to avoid climate change catastrophe.  Installation of residential solar is a powerful contribution toward winning this race.  
  • The immediate lightening of one’s greenhouse gas footprint is a potent step to combat anthropogenic climate change. 
  • Decreasing the use of fossil fuel energy helps combat its serious health impacts, including lung disease, cardiovascular disease, and 30,100 premature US deaths per year.  

 “Sunshine is Nature’s hug and spirit breath to the earth,” wrote Terri Guillemets.  I concur with this sentiment, and invite others to consider powering their homes with this limitless, clean, zero carbon resource. 

Alan D. Northcutt, M.D., is a local physician and director of the Waco Friends of Peace/Climate (www.friendsofpeace.org)

Friday, November 18, 2016

NO DAPL Action Successful

The NO DAPL action hosted by Waco Friends of Peace/Climate on November 15th at the Federal Courthouse in Waco was a huge success, with participation by over 35 people and media coverage by two TV stations and the Waco Trib.

To subscribe to FOP/Climate email list: anorthc@aol.com

Thursday, November 10, 2016

NO DAPL PROTEST - Global Day of Action

On Tuesday, November 15th, Waco Friends of Peace/Climate will host a protest action in front of the United States Federal Courthouse at 800 Franklin Ave in Waco.  The action will last from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm.

This event will be part of the actions around the world on November 15.  The NO DAPL movement is the biggest issue at this moment in the climate change community.  It is a REAL issue for the Standing Rock Sioux people, as they work to protect their water and sacred sites.  It is a REAL issue as the science tells us we must build NO more new fossil fuel infrastructure if we are to have hopes of surviving climate change.  And it has become symbolic of our struggle: the people and science against the greed of the fossil fuel corporations. 

And with the election of climate change denier Donald Trump as President November 8, we must work even harder the next four years, starting immediately.  This protest is the perfect opportunity to express our commitment to defeating the environmentally destructive policies Trump has promised. 

  • This will be a legal protest on a public sidewalk.  We have informed the Courthouse personnel in order to avoid conflict.  No need to fear arrest.
  • We will provide the giant banner.  Please express yourself by bringing your own sign.
  • We expect a sunny pleasant day, but bring gear in case of rain.  We will protest, rain or shine.  The Standing Rock Sioux have endured attack by dog--we can survive a little bad weather. 
  • We start at 4pm because of Courthouse hours.  But come whenever you can:  your presence is what matters. 
  • Dinner at a downtown restaurant after would be great if members agree.
  • The protest serves as our November meeting.  PLEASE join us and help create a huge crowd.  If you have never joined a protest before, I encourage you to take part--you will never regret doing the right thing.  Let's fill up the sidewalk.
  • Questions:  contact Alan Northcutt at anorthc@aol.com.