SCOTT SKLAR, WHO SHOWERS WITH SOLAR-HEATED water, who drinks his skim milk from his solar-powered refrigerator, who commutes via solar-powered car, who tells time by a solar-powered watch, who wears a sun-faced ring and sun-spotted tie, sweeps into a French restaurant on North Capitol Street in Washington, D.C.
Sklar, who has lived the Solar Energy Industries Association for more than a decade, is bald up top, but his hair sprouts out around that spot in grey-brown brillo. Glasses hug his eyes. His beard threatens to strangle him and his mustache pitches in.
Today's Monday, a sunny Monday, the start of the work week for this executive director-solar lobbyist.
7:50 A.M. Sklar is only five minutes late (the watch?),
powered today by his maroon Dodge Caravan, vanity plate "S Sklar." The solar auto is on the chocks, "something wrong with a solenoid." Hey, the thing runs (em backward, "very, very well, but that's a little dangerous here."
Here? In Washington, D.C.? Appropriate, no?
And as appropriate for the solar energy/renewables lobby?
The solar lobby, or business, earning $1.5 billion a year these days, is something many utilities toyed with in the 1980s. More have found it worthwhile in the 1990s, with the advent of spin-off energy services companies and more straightforward tax credits that make it profitable to offer customers solar-powered heating and appliances.
And after all, 80 percent of SEIA's companies weren't around in the early '80s to offer services to utilities. Even today, 75 percent of their solar products ship to the Third World.