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Wrong Marfa is Right for Solar Power

If you ever find yourself at the flashing traffic light in the main intersection of downtown Marfa, walk a block south and then turn right. When you see the supersized orange neon horseshoe in front of an old church, you will know you’re at the wrong spot. Make that the Wrong Store. If you get there at the right time (hours are laid-back, so you may want to call first), you’ll find an artist and a shopkeeper with a collection of quirky and eclectic treasures.

The creative couple has deep roots in the Marfa community. Buck Johnston has done turns as a graphic designer and political activist who is currently running for a Marfa City Council seat. She also happens to runs the Wrong store and gallery, which features the work of artist Camp Bosworth. Camp started in painting but these days has made a name for himself in sculpture. His specialty is carved wood. In 2016, Camp was even commissioned to create the crosier (staff) for Cardinal Blase Cupich, formerly the Archbishop of Chicago, when he was promoted by the Pope.

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Together, Buck and Camp “play hard and work hard,” as Buck says. So how did they end up making their own clean energy?

Buck explains that the deciding factor in choosing to go solar was advice she received. “Bill McKibben said there are two things you can do for the planet: 1) Go solar and 2) Buy a Tesla. And while a Tesla is not practical for our lifestyle or location, we can and did go solar.”

After the 2016 election, a group of Marfans got together to talk about positive actions they could take for the community. That’s when they connected with Ballroom Marfa. Freedom Solar had just started a rooftop solar project for the art space.

Buck and Camp’s project is being completed in two phases. The first 3.6kW system of SunPower X-series modules was installed in August of 2017 to cover their residential electricity usage. The second 2.52kW system, which is scheduled for installation in April, will cover a portion of their shop and gallery’s energy use. The commercial array was made more affordable with a Renewable Energy for America Program grant from the USDA.

At their initial consultation, energy consultant Craig Hawker explained our 7-step installation process and discussed financing options. Next, our ace site assessor Stefan Reyes got up on their roof to confirm the system design. Three weeks later, the residential solar PV system was up and running. Buck and Camp appreciate that Freedom Solar has been “very responsive, helpful, professional and so friendly. They care.”

Now, the couple is proud to have rooftop solar for the environmental benefit and the savings, not to mention bragging rights among their friends. “It helps the planet and it makes sense … we live in the freakin’ desert!”