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Laguna’s got to get off the grid – go solar, not underground

Laguna supposedly prides itself on being “progressive” and “forward thinking”, yet the city wants us to invest in old 20th century technology by undergrounding utilities.  The city has fast and furiously been spending our taxpayer dollars to blitz residents with ads on TV, Facebook, newspapers, etc. (just under $30,000 in April alone) on its “fear and fire” undergrounding campaign to scare voters into agreeing to tax ourselves hundreds of millions of dollars to underground a soon to be obsolete method of delivering power.  

Why are we not planning for the very near future, and instead encourage every property owner to invest in solar technology and become individual self-generating power sources? The technology is here now, and the recent breakthroughs in lithium-ion battery storage capacity and cost makes spending millions on “old school” utility power technology a very poor return on investment. 

Another bonus is that lithium-ion solar batteries are virtually maintenance free.  Likewise, the price of installing solar has dropped dramatically, and solar panels are now incorporated into roof tiles that are unobtrusive and aesthetic as well.

California just passed legislation requiring all newly built homes to have solar panels beginning in 2020. That’s less than two years away, and more than likely before the City would even begin to break ground on undergrounding Laguna Canyon Road.

Why should residents be expected to cover the cost to improve SCEdison’s aging, archaic infrastructure on Laguna Canyon Road? We certainly aren’t being given “stock” in exchange for this misguided taxpayer “investment”.

The new state mandate is a quantum leap toward the future, embracing solar technology so readily available in our coastal state and encouraging power self-sufficiency.  Let’s get off the grid, and not send hundreds of millions of dollars under ground.  

Think about it – Laguna has no major industrial business within its six square miles, so it has no need for major power production. Our residences can generate more than sufficient power for home residential use and charge our vehicles. Laguna could become one of the first self-sufficient “solar cities” in the state, and the nation. That’s progressive action we can all get behind (or ahead of!).  

Many small islands are already 100% solar self-sufficient.  If they can do it, so can we. Stop taxing our property to pay for old technology.  Let’s lead and sembrace the future. It’s a much better return on our investment and our tax dollars.

Jennifer Welsh Zeiter

Laguna Beach

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