Clotheslines Rock … and Solar Panels, Too!

By James F.X. Payne

Here’s down-home advice for Earth Day from a creative Georgetown resident that saves the planet and money.

To many readers, a clothesline is a totally alien thought as opposed to the high energy tool dryer. The thought of hanging up wet clothes to dry (inside or outside) seems a foreign process even though clotheslines were a standard tool for thousands of years. Somewhere along the way the clothesline achieved scorn and many suburban sprawl communities outlawed them.

Today, I am privileged to live in the heart of the historic Georgetown where I regularly “desecrate” this lovely space with a 25-foot plastic-coated clothesline. It is on this clothesline where I openly display my “unmentionables” in addition to towels, sheets, robes and a wide variety of washable items. I proudly display my goods and hope my neighbors will mimic my behavior. The clothesline is a zero-energy conservation play. It is gentle on my clothes with endless pleasure of clean air scents, and I do not have to buy any fancy tool or take training to be clothesline certified.

For these reasons I call on my fellow villagers to see the beauty/art of the clothesline. Let’s bring back the clothesline. Unleash your inner Christo, and show me your undies!!

Solar Panels, Too?

When someone says, “too good to be true” that is usually when you hear my phone go click. In the case of solar panels on my roof in historic Georgetown, however, this frequent aphorism seems to be true.  

Since I am not always the early adaptor, the team I worked with at Solar Revolution, and Pepco was probably worn down with questions from not only me but my lawyer and accountant. had to see the numbers to be convinced. Then, I realized if I were going to be a serious energy conservationist, this option had to be fully explored.

The opportunity lies with the fact that Pepco has a federal mandate to convert a fixed percent of its power to alternate source. Space limitations and high real estate costs, however, make this a challenge for Pepco. Even the often onerous Georgetown historic review process approved this investment!

For these reasons, our residential roofs make a credible alternative to the solar farms most states and municipalities use to meet this goal. The bottom-line for me is that I am now the proud owner of 21 solar panels on my flat roof, and I have reduced my monthly electrical bill to $13.  Even allowing for financing costs, my panels now generate a net-cash positive monthly check of over $200. Add into this mix a 30-percent tax credit for the new roof which I decided to install since it was at end-of-life and a one-time $8,000 solar panel tax credit for 2023.  All of these I will use to write down the loan increasing my monthly revenue. 

I invite my neighbors to get serious about energy conservation and consider your roof a revenue and energy conversation source. It won’t hurt one bit!

Solar panels on the roof of a house on 31st Street NW. in Georgetown.



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