Installing an array on your roof is environmental exhibitionism—and it’s contagious.
“Oh, you should totally do it,” my neighbor said.
I was nursing a beer at his winter holiday party as he told me about the solar panels on his Brooklyn brownstone roof. They’d cut his electricity bill down so much that in a few years they’ll have paid for themselves, he told me. I had questions: Did it damage his roof? Were there any complications? Any regrets? Nope: If anything, he wished he’d put up a bigger array, to produce even more juice. “It’s great,” he gushed.
I went home, intrigued. I’d been thinking about putting an array on my roof for years, but something about my friend’s confidence pushed me over the edge. I called up Brooklyn Solarworks, a local firm, and their crew of electricians arrived and, with a chill, we-got-this vibe, installed a gorgeous, sleek set of panels. It’s a “canopy” setup, with the panels raised 9 feet above my roof on thick, shiny aluminum braces, crafted with such perfect welds it made my engineering-nerd heart swoon. My house is old, built in 1902, so the canopy lends it a vaguely William Gibsonian aesthetic: a ramshackle blend of vinyl siding, snaky wiring, and dark promise. You can see the panels from a block away; they attract attention.
CLIVE THOMPSON (@pomeranian99) is a WIRED contributing editor.
This article appears in the April issue.
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