My family ‘going green’ is not about clean energy, its about saving money

Kent Kroeger
10 min readApr 2

By Kent R. Kroeger (April 2, 2023)

Solar panels in New Zealand (Photo by Smtzzz for Southern Plumbing; used under the CCA-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

There are no zero emission energy supplies,” French physicist Jacques Treiner.

My family put 27 solar panels on our home last November, with zero upfront costs. And after three full months of operation, we are saving nearly $100-a-month in electricity costs.

How we arrived at our neighborhood home version of the green revolution may highlight why going green has a real chance of success on a household-level, while still falling short on a global scale.

Here is the story of my family ‘going green’…but, first, here is one reason that left me feeling uncompelled to go ‘green.’

‘Green’ isn’t all that green

A recent YouTube video of nine Congolese miners escaping from a collapsed gold mine captured the world’s attention, the ecstatic cries of their fellow miners as their trapped co-workers emerged from what would have otherwise been horrific deaths.

Naturally, the news media’s coverage of the event emphasized the miners’ bravery and heroism. But I couldn’t help but think of the miners from other mining operations across the globe that didn’t survive tunnel collapses.

One estimate is that 15,000 miners in the world die every year, but that is almost certainly an undercount. And that doesn’t factor in the long-term health impact on miners.

Worse yet, some of those deaths are children. And for what? The raw mineral inputs — such as coal, iron, aluminum, chromium, copper, nickel, lithium, cobalt, tin, uranium, and gold—that are necessary to drive the world economy. These are the inputs that underlie every major electronic, transportation and power storage product we use everyday.

Our cellphones require copper, tellurium, lithium, cobalt, manganese and tungsten. The lithium batteries in electric vehicles (EVs) need lithium, cobalt, manganese, nickel, and graphite. And the solar panels my family recently installed on our roof use aluminum, cadmium, copper, gallium, indium, lead, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, silver, selenium, tellurium, tin, and zinc.

Kent Kroeger

I am a survey and statistical consultant with over 30 -years experience measuring and analyzing public opinion (You can contact me at: