Bella Energy, a Boulder based solar energy company that installs and maintains solar energy systems in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region, has installed a 22.8 kilowatt solar system on Oceanic Preservation Society’s Boulder film production studio.
Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS) is a non-profit organization that makes films about the declining state of the oceans, founded by Boulder residents Louie Psihoyos, a career National Geographic photographer, and his retired-ballerina wife Viki Psihoyos. Louie was the main contributor to the "Material World Project", a U.N. sponsored show of family portraits depicting 40 families from different countries with their material possessions.
Louie Psihoyos knows that renewable energy production is the best way for an individual citizen to reduce the country’s dependency on polluting coal plants. He has made a personal commitment to use solar electricity to lower his carbon footprint not only for his studio but also his car, a Zenn electric car. “We are doing what we can here,” says Louis Psihoyos. “Our OPS film team uses a dozen monitors, editing machines and tons of RAD for data storage. The place literally throbs with electricity.”
Scientists are studying a connection between increasing CO2 levels and mercury content in the oceans and in our seafood, which can cause neurological and heart problems. The highest concentrations of mercury are found in larger predator fish, so high that experts warn women who are pregnant or breast-feeding and children not to eat such fish as fresh tuna, Chilean sea bass, swordfish, shark or grouper. Alarmingly, seafood provides 70 percent of the planet's protein.
“Since our upcoming film points out the connection between increasing levels of CO2 in the air and mercury levels rising 2% a year in the oceans, we tried to lower our own personal carbon footprint and set an example to others,” says Viki Psihoyos. “We are practicing what we preach.”
The 22.8 kilowatt solar system, with both south and east facing panels:
- cost about $175,000
- received a $45,600 Xcel Energy Solar Rewards rebate, with Renewable Energy Credits collected at an estimated $3,335 annually for 20 years
- will fix the company’s electricity rates when rates are rising at 3-7% per year, saving about $3,000 per year
- will prevent 29 tons of CO2 emissions per year
- will produce an estimated 90% of their film studio’s energy
- will pay for itself in about 10 years
It was an honor for Bella Energy to work with such an organization. The world will be a better place for their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and because of the effects of their powerful film!" said John Shaw of Bella Energy.
OPS is also designing a new energy efficient home with a similar sized solar system where they can charge their electric Zenn car. “I never want to pay for electricity again and plan to install as big a solar system as needed to make that happen,” says Louis Psihoyos. “We will be our own Conoco station, and the sun’s going to run it.”