Roof with solar panels

In the small town of Abita Springs, Louisiana, the historical town hall is getting a new roof with almost 200 solar panels.

It’s the first stage of a multi-year plan, spearheaded by Republican Mayor Greg Lemons, to convert all the town’s buildings to solar. He also hopes to replace the street lights with solar-powered LEDs.

Lemons says the switch to clean energy provides a practical and fiscally-conservative path for Abita Springs.

Lemons: “We cannot continue to live off fossil fuel. First of all it’s not going to be there forever, and second of all, as the supply diminishes, the price will go up.”

In contrast, clean energy systems are getting cheaper, and the upfront costs are paid off over time with lower electricity bills.

Lemons: “We’re going to save about 600 dollars a month on electric bills for our main building after we install solar panels on it.”

So Lemons says, solar will benefit both the environment and the town’s bottom line.

Lemons: “I’m a realist. I understand business. I understand we have to live in this world and we have to exist in this world. And we have to make sure that it is safe, secure, and affordable, and environmentally friendly for our future generations. I believe sustainable energy is for the future.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Diana Madson

Diana Madson contributed regularly to Yale Climate Connections from 2014 to 2021. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition to her...