It has been fun discussing who knows J.R. Ewing and who doesn’t with some of my blogging friends (a discussion which got tipped off by engadget’s story, “J.R. Ewing’s back to promote solar power, no one under 30 knows why this is so funny“). And, although I am of the under 30 crowd and thought “J.R. Ewing? Who’s that?” when I first saw mention of this news, now that I know who the guy is, it seems like too good a story to pass up.
If I got this right, J.R. Ewing was a Texas oil tycoon on the hit TV show “Dallas” (the actor who played J.R Ewing, Larry Hagman, also played Major Anthony Nelson in the sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie,” which is why his face looks somewhat familiar to me — I watched that show on Nickelodeon Classics or something like that as a child).
Anyway, the reason I’m writing about him here on Cleantechnica now is that Larry Hagman has (ironically) become a super solar enthusiast. And he has even brought back the J.R. Ewing character to try to promote a more widespread transition to solar energy.
Hagman is now “a spokesman for SolarWorld, a German-based manufacturer of Photovoltaic arrays that has manufacturing facilities in California and Oregon,” engadget reports.
On his own estate in Ojai, California (where he grows vegetables and has 200 avocado trees), Hagman has installed a 94-kilowatt, $750,000 Photovoltaic array (which he got a $310,000 rebate on). The LA Times reports that this installation has helped Hagman cut his electricity bill from $37,000 to $13 a year.
“It doesn’t make any noise and does a wonderful job,” he said. “I’ve realized that if the infrastructure is so delicate, then I better look after myself.”
With a seemingly strong grasp of the energy and economic issues facing the United States and the world, Hagman is encouraging Americans to buy solar panels made “by Americans, for Americans.”
“It’s keeping jobs here,” he says. “This can turn things around.” Furthermore, he says, “The thing is, these solar panels are manufactured domestically and can provide a lot of jobs for soldiers returning from all those wars we have fought.”
Hagman is also a board member of the Solar Electric Light Fund, “a nonprofit that brings solar systems and Internet access to poor people in remote corners of the globe.”
Regarding his work at the Solar Electric Light Fund and trips he has made to Bhutan, Brazil, and Rwanda to pitch sun power, Hagman says, “It does good, and it’s been fun to be able to help people on a daily basis. I get a charge out of this.”
Hagman recently talked with the New York Times about what got him to bring back J.R. Ewing in this new professional role.
“With all that oil gushing away in the gulf,” Hagman told The New York Times, “I figured it was time to call for a new direction in where we’re getting our energy. Since Sarah Palin is saying, ‘Drill, baby, drill,’ I’m saying, ‘Shine, baby, shine.’ It’s a lot cheaper and cleaner.”
Image Credit: juglar del zipa via flickr