Bill Stirlen and Shu-Tin Johnson cleverly disguised it as a house! Unless you're in an airplane, the only visible hint is an electrical switch next to PG&E's meter. And, if you look closely, on a sunny day you might see the dials that record electrical usage moving very slowly, or even running backwards. When the Stirlen's aren't using all their home-produced solar power, they earn solar credits with PG&E providing solar power for their neighbors.

This solar power plant is silent. It doesn't pollute the air. It has no moving parts. It's virtually maintenance- free. It runs on sunlight. It's a photovoltaic solar array, made of lightweight silicon crystal panels. And yes, even in the Monterey County & Pacific Grove, the foggiest city on the Monterey Peninsula, a solar energy system can affordably, reliably, environmentally meet electricity home needs.

Solar Panels on the Stirlen residence, Pacific Grove, Monterey County, California

When asked why, Bill says they "decided to add solar power for three reasons. First, with solar tax incentives offered by the state, the net cost of solar power comes down to the point where it makes economic sense - especially over the long term. We expect the cost of electrical power to continue to increase over time so we have effectively frozen a portion of that cost increase. Second, with the potential of power outages continuing to be a reality during hot summer time periods it gives us an additional defense against such possibilities. We have a number of salt water fish and reef tanks that require a lot of continuous electric power to maintain the right conditions. Between solar power and a back-up power generator we are well protected against extended blackouts. Last, we can contribute a no-additional-cost benefit to the environment by using less fossil-fuel-generated power."

A solar system is quite likely the largest economic impact an individual can have on the environment - yet this massive diversion of resources from polluting to sustainable technologies is available to any individual with little or no net cost. It does not increase the amount spent for electricity. It only changes the way in which it is paid. Instead of depending on massive corporate utilities and fossil fuel producers and paying their profits, you can invest in your own private solar energy utility, with a yearly return equivalent to that of an investment paying 10 to 15% or more.

The Stirlens' solar panels in the Monterey County will prevent the annual production of over 9000 pounds of carbon dioxide (the principal gas contributing to global warming) and eliminates emissions of sulfer oxides, nitrogen oxides and waste heat as well. Since fossil-fuel use is diminished, so are the destructive effects on wildlife habitat that accompany drilling and mining both here in the Monterey County and the whole of California.

Solar Panels overlooking the beach near Pt. Pinos Lighthouse, Pacific Grove

The solar power plant the Stirlens installed is reducing air pollution, fossil fuel depletion, and global climate change right here in the Monterey County with their money saving system. It produces solar energy during peak demand times, so helps smooth the Monterey Coastal energy peak demand curve, reducing the possibility of energy shortage induced blackouts in the rest of the County. The solar energy is produced at the site of consumption with the solar panels so it reduces the load on transmission facilities also, which, similar to production, are capacity constrained. An investment in the future, solar photovoltaic energy was the choice the Stirlens made to make a difference in the Monterey County, acting positively to improve the world we all share using a solar system right here in the Monterey County.

Built by Mickey Gawlawski, the owner of Adrian Construction, the home sits at the corner of Asilomar Boulevard and Surf Way. The solar energy system was designed, engineered and installed by Applied Solar Energy.

  • Adrian Construction
    Mickey Gawlawski
    phone: 831.484.2249

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Solar panels near Hopkins Marine Station on Monterey Bay

Applied Solar Energy is located in Pacific Grove and Carmel Valley, California. We design, install, and offer energy consulting for homes and businesses in Monterey County, Santa Cruz County, San Benito County, and Santa Clara County; including Carmel Valley, Salinas Valley, Santa Cruz, Prunedale, Hollister, Gilroy, Gonzales, King City, and Paso Robles. For additional information on Applied Solar Energy or to have an energy specialist contact you, call (831) 333-1919 or visit

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