Like many households in Santa Cruz County, Kevin Flynn and Emmanuelle Pancaldi-Flynn recently took the big step to go solar. The Flynn’s house in the mountains above Scotts Valley has good sun access in the middle of the day, which is the primary requirement for an efficient solar system.
The next step was a financial analysis to see if going solar would make economic sense.
Last December I drove south to Joshua Tree National Park to hang out with friends in the desert. I hadn't visited the area for decades, so I didn't anticipate the major sprawl around the desert town of Yucca Valley on Highway 62 leading to the park -- housing developments, a Walmart, a Home Depot, and other big-box stores. To avoid the Yucca Valley sprawl, my friends rented a little house between 29 Palms and the town of Joshua Tree, just outside the park boundary. From our house, we could walk up the road a few hundred feet and venture into the park's vast stretches of red rock formations, punctuated with iconic Joshua trees, yuccas, and barrel cacti. Beautiful! Looking across miles of big sky and expansive desert sands, I observed what appeared to be a strangely irregular, large blue lake. I asked my friend, "Is that a lake in the middle of the desert or is it a mirage?"