“It’s not a trend to me,” said Clif Diver of C.P. Diver in Lewes. He is talking about the recent surge in “green” activity — green living, green dying, green cars, green jobs — Americans are being saturated with eco-friendly ways to do almost anything.
Recently, C.P. Diver joined a growing number of area businesses and residences installing solar panels for their energy needs. It’s not even their first use of solar panels. In 1979, CP Diver had panels installed for a passive hot water system.
“The technology finally made it feasible to get it done,” said Diver. “And I’m just a ex-hippie, you know,” he added, laughing.
“We used a company — Chesapeake Wind and Solar — out of Maryland. They’ve been doing it for awhile. And they had done some for people I know.”
The system employs 240 GE 200-watt photovoltaic modules manufactured in Delaware, along with 12 inverters. Given the system mounting requirements and local weather conditions, it has an estimated output of approximately 55,000 watts — 55 kilowatts — of energy per year.
The panels cover the entire roof of the main building, located off Route 1 in Lewes. From mid-June through November, the installation reduces the business’ pull on the electrical grid enough to reduce greenhouse gas production by more than 55,586 pounds of carbon dioxide — equivalent to the energy to power 910 homes for one day or the energy to operate a television for 188,053 hours.
As for what his customers think of his company’s move toward “green,” Diver said, “I don’t think people have actually come here because we are using the solar panels, but a lot of our known customer base has made it a point to tell me that they are proud of me and what we are doing here.”
“In my own life, I use a bicycle whenever possible, I use compost in my garden, I buy live Christmas trees and plant them, and have changed the light bulbs in my house to the more efficient longer-lasting ones,” Diver noted. “Sadly, ‘green’ has become a marketing ploy for some, so you just have to use your head and not follow the herd,” he added.
“This is about a $400,000 system, and with the grants that are in place, I could get about half of that back,” he acknowledged of the dollar sense behind the move. “But that’s not why you do it. Sometimes it’s just the right thing to do, and you have to think of it as money well spent.”