10 valuable lessons I learned from a year of COVID-19

My thoughts from inside a sustainability based and community solar company 

covid in nevada county grass valley california

1. We need a new type of plastic. 

Covid skyrocketed our use of single use plastic and we have to slow that down and innovate quickly. Do you like swimming up to a plastic bag in the lake, river or ocean? I don’t. A silver lining we learned about the Covid response is that big changes can happen very quickly on a massive scale. Isn’t it time we applied that to conventional plastics? 

2. Energy is Essential

Over the past 12 months SEG really found out that we are basically a local power company.  With that said, we are lucky that solar panels barely need service, but as we install more batteries and generators we are becoming even more “essential.” We thank you for choosing us to help in this essential part of our lives.

3. We need to grow more local food and do so in greenhouses in the winter. On top of that, power them with solar and batteries.

I can never stop preaching that we need more local food.

Remember when COVID first hit and we feared we would not have food? Remember how empty the shelves were? 

I want to give a big thank you to Briar Patch and other grocers that support our local farmers along with the groups like Sierra Harvest helping train and support farmers and Bear Yuba Land Trust’s program Forever Farms supporting farmers in an amazing way by helping them stay on their land.  

Growing in greenhouses and indoors is one of the biggest pieces we need to solve in our community if we want to make it through the winter gracefully during an emergency. Let’s create and support these enterprises.  Check out Stephanie and her local mushroom growing business doing the work we need more of locally.

4. Our community needs and wants backup power and noisy gas powered generators just won’t do. 

Gasoline Generators are not cool considering the other options. They are dangerous, loud and breakdown often as they are usually not serviced correctly. I understand they are less expensive, but they cost a lot to run and don’t last. We install high quality, automatic, Generac generators, which are quiet and made to handle a whole house electricity demand. Couple that with solar and a battery and you now have completely independent reliable energy source for power outages. 

Or maybe you prefer…

electric company near us who installs generators and battery backup

5. We have to support our kids (and parents).

What kind of life are we giving them, and what kind of planet are we leaving them? Are we transferring our fear and anger to them? Or show them patience and love? Covid has been especially hard for them and their parents. How can you support a family near you? Suicide rates among children right now are scary.

*Side note: This statement does not discount that we could all use a little support right now. Let’s focus also on our most vulnerable in our community which include our elderly, economically unstable and those with health conditions that are particularly effected by Covid.  

6. COVID did affect our supply chains and made installing batteries and solar a little more “time consuming. “

We had instances during the past 12 months where certain critical parts and materials where needed but very hard to purchase. This challenge is now just ours as it is happening in solar companies all over California and the US.  Although demand is a big factor for battery backup supply challenges, COVID for sure did not help. 

To put it lightly, we are all waiting very patiently for our batteries to arrive and we thank our customers for hanging it with us. Believe us, this is happening all over and we are working hard to help. That is why we urge our customers to get in line early if you need battery backups and generators. Demand is high and supply is coming very soon.

7. When we come together as a community we can get past anything.

Thanks to SEG’s support, about 1 year ago in April we created one of the most extensive Nevada County’s COVID resource lists that is still useful to this day. Guides like this and people and groups offering community support helped us get through and I am proud to be apart of this community.    

resource guide nevada county covid nevada city grass valley sustainable

8. The rise of large corporate solar companies acting like they are “local” to our area. 

Don’t be fooled by Google listings that say a company is local when it’s simply a sales person selling to you from their home office.  Shortly after the sale, out of town installers come (killing local jobs), slap up some panels and from our experience, are not there for you later when you need service.

Ask the salesperson,

How long have you been INSTALLING AND MAINTAINING solar systems in our town? SEG has 17 years of top rated service.

Solar lasts for many years and people are getting stuck in contracts that don’t allow us to service and expand their systems, leaving our community wishing they went local with a company with solid roots like SEG.  Our local founder Ray Darby has been living and breathing solar and backup power for over 40 years! We are going to see you in the Grocery Store and around town. Think about that…

9. Selling a home with a solar lease is a hassle.

Make sure you really know what happens when you sign a solar lease. Trying to sell your home while under a solar lease can become a losing deal for you and the buyer. Trust us or ask Best of Nevada County’s Realtor Mary Margaretich about the horror stories and lost home sales she has witnessed on homes with solar leases. 

10. Take a news diet.

I started mine news diet about 2 months ago and I know it has been helping my mental well being. If you haven’t noticed the news likes to be sensational even from sources that we feel are legit. Switch your daily news read into something that brings you joy, a hobby you want to know more about. Here are the links that I have open automatically when I start my internet browser. Good News Network, Treehugger.com and because I am a solar geek, PV Magazine. Also take a moment and read some good local sustainability news at our blog.

There are so many other lessons we have learned during this time and the image on this post from Blessing Manifesting really shows how we can help ourselves deal with anxiety due to such challenging times. 

Tell us what lessons you have learned from this year of Covid on our social media (see links below).