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November 04, 2009

A Dispute Over Solar


Karen and Doug Kitt live in a lovely Victorian apartment building in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco, one of the most progressive communities in the country. For the past four years, the Kitts have been saving up to go solar. They've recently installed almost 50 panels on their rooftop, which will provide power for all three flats in their building, and an electric car. 

Two days before installation was completed, neighbors complained about the panels blocking their view. The Kitts' permit was pulled by the city, and a court date was scheduled. The Kitts talk to Dick Gordon about neighborhood politics, and the clash between scenic views and green energy in the city by the bay.

  • Read about the conflict in the San Francisco Examiner



Larry Lof was 14 years old when he and his siblings moved into their newly-built home in Denver. His sister Linnea was 5. The home was an architectural showpiece, down to the two tall red tubes in the foyer. But the really unique thing about their home was that the tubes were filled with rocks that were heated by solar panels on the roof. It was the 1950s, and their father George was a leader in solar energy innovation. 

Larry and Linnea talk to Dick about their father's legacy and what it meant to grow up at the beginning of the solar power age. They say just before he died last month, their father George was saying the time for solar energy may finally be here.



What's your story about alternative energy?

Teri Buhl wrote to us about her dad, Bill Buhl, who once built an electric car for General Motors. Bill says that electric car was very fast and very heavy. Eventually, GM canned the project. Bill was so disappointed he walked away from electric cars and has never gone back. This story originally aired on April 1, 2008.

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