West Texas Artist Chooses Solar for Our Future
January 8, 2018
Carolyn Macartney’s work as a photographer and filmmaker has attracted acclaim and awards the world over. Recently she has taken an interest in painting signs and solar energy. She bounced around the globe before settling in Alpine, Texas two years ago. Carolyn fills her days blending her entertainment and her artistic calling by painting everything from signs to buildings to trailers. Her remaining time is devoted to attending arts, music, and cultural festivities in Marfa and outdoor activities like bicycling, hiking, and visiting Chianti Hot Springs.
Solar power has always captured Carolyn’s imagination, but she worried about affordability. Six years ago in Dallas, she explored it only to find that trees shaded her roof and ruined the financial viability of solar. This year, she heard about Freedom Solar from her friend Peyton Gardener at Ballroom Marfa and decided to revisit the idea.
Freedom Solar energy consultants Craig Hawker and Alex Seyer walked her through a solar proposal for her home. Because her roof gets a lot of direct sunlight and she has entirely electric appliances, the savings potential was substantial. “Learning that it would actually save me money and that I could afford to do it straight away through financing made total sense to me,” said Carolyn. “Why wait?”
Carolyn was ready to move forward after that first meeting. The site assessment crew came out a couple weeks later, she handled the remaining paperwork by email, and the system was installed on her home and studio rooftops shortly after she inked her contract. Ever since, she has watched a credit balance slowly grow on her electricity bill. She has also noticed that her house and studio stay cooler in the summer thanks to the shade the panels create over much of the roof, which would otherwise be absorbing heat from the West Texas sun.
Carolyn believes in the importance of taking small steps to conserve resources, such as recycling and reducing energy usage, but that we should look for opportunities to do more and think bigger – switching to renewable energy, for example. “Going solar is a much bigger investment, and has a greater positive effect. And thankfully increasingly affordable for the normal person like me.”
Ultimately, converting to solar power can be a choice for long-term thinking and a sense of duty. She recalls growing up in England among oak, beech, ash, chestnut, and other hardwood trees that existed because of conscientious planters hundreds of years prior who were thinking of future generations, not just their own lifetimes. That inspired her to plant oak trees at her former home in Dallas, and it is why she chose solar. Knowing that the power she uses in her daily life is created by the sun makes Carolyn feel that she is doing her bit to preserve and protect the earth we call home for a very long time.