Wassenaar – This week I had an interesting meeting with Gabor Ellman (72). Mr. Ellman is a mathematician and settled in Wassenaar when he started to work at ESTEC in 1985 for a year. I asked him why he bought solar panels 2 years ago. There is a Scandinavian phrase, he replied, “Never buy a house which has no chimney”.
It took me a minute to understand the phrase. “It points out that, even if your house has a gas central heating, do not rely on that only. Solar panels are a good alternative power source. It gave me a nice feeling to have solar panels, and it still does. Gadgets like solar panels give me the feeling of being less exposed to the suppliers and the infrastructure.”
Mr. Ellman has more arguments in favour of solar panels. “Alternatives for solar energy are unevenly distributed. Oil, for instance, is found on particular places on earth, makes its price politically sensitive.” An interesting view on property and ownership follows. Ownership is no achievement. Human creating is. “Solar energy is a source that is evenly distributed over the globe” He has a strong point; essentially nobody can charge you for collecting solar energy.
But there is more good news. “Solar panels are without any fuss. It is extremely simple for the user. They say the full pay-back time is not short, but I do not care about that, because I am old. What I do find important is the increase of the property value. This is the case with solar panels”
He continues. “I calculated our household has an ecological footprint equals about 40 hectares of land, even with our solar panels. Compare my footprint with the 2,7 hectares on a world average! We travel a lot. My son is living in Canada, and my daughter in the UK. Our family has a major impact on our environment. Beside this, solar panels also challenge my intellectual curiosity.”
I asked him if it is important to buy solar panels at a local supplier? “The offer I got had reasonable price. And the company gave me a trustful impression. The salesman did not give me the impression he was a cowboy.”
This interview is the third out of a series of nine. On October 9th an event will be held for homeowners in Wassenaar how are interested in solar energy on their house. Check www.zonnigwassenaar.nl and see how to sign up for the event.
– written by Pim Schram