My journey from the soccer field to the solar arena.
I’ve always counted representing my country as a leader of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and raising three children with my husband, Nomar Garciaparra, as the most important milestones in my life. As a professional athlete, playing soccer is a huge part of my identity — and as a mom, I want to ensure that future generations are able to enjoy the same fields, air, and natural environment that have meant so much to me. Every time I see my children play outside, I’m reminded that I want to give my grandchildren and great-great grandchildren the same opportunity.
This summer, when we’re watching the 2014 FIFA World CupTM from the comfort of our home, our television (and entire house) will be powered by solar technology. For Nomar and me, going solar was an important way to meet that promise for our own children and for future generations. Thousands of Americans who have already made the switch to solar, including my family, will tell you that it’s about feeling good about your energy choices. It’s about thinking long term. What impact can each of us have on our planet, and how can we protect it for future generations?
I’m convinced that the time for solar is now: it is more affordable and more widely available than ever before. In fact, the average cost of a solar system has decreased by over 50% in just the past four years. When Nomar first began to research going solar, he learned that homeowners who invest in solar receive a return on their investment within the first three to six years, and the average solar system’s payback is $20,000 over 20 years! Based on our experience, it’s a smart economic investment, and with many companies now offering solar installations for zero money down, you could start saving immediately, and without any upfront costs.
Going solar is helping homeowners across America, including Nomar and me, feel more confident about paying for their children’s education, better prepared for retirement, less anxious about high electricity bills (especially in the summer – that AC can become costly in southern California), and more secure about our nation’s energy independence.
After doing our research, we selected Yingli Solar panels for our home because of the company’s reputation for high-quality products and because of their affiliation with the FIFA World Cup and U.S. Soccer – they were the perfect match of soccer and solar. Investing in quality products was non-negotiable, but supporting a company that shares my love for the game was a nice bonus. Working with Yingli and their recommended installer, Verengo Solar, was a seamless experience, and it was a proud moment for our entire family when Verengo completed our home installation.
Now that I’ve seen the difference it makes, I wanted to reach out on Yingli’s blog to help others understand their options to go solar. When I talk to family and friends about solar energy, I generally hear a variation of, “It’s too expensive” or “I don’t know how to get started.” I want to debunk those notions because going solar can be easier than many other home improvement projects like retiling the roof or landscaping the yard. As for cost, many people can now go solar for no money down and start saving on day one. More people need to be educated about the benefits of solar and to realize that it’s actually a simple commitment process.
Will my support of solar make an impactful change in the world? I’m not sure. One family out of seven billion people can seem insignificant, but it’s a lot like being part of a team, and my role within this team, no matter how small, is to do my best to improve it. So while I can’t rest easy about the world’s environmental future just yet, I know I’ve taken a big step in making it a better place for my children and their future.
Mia Hamm is a U.S. Women’s National Soccer team legend and founder of the Mia Hamm Foundation.
Yingli’s Friends and Family of U.S. Soccer program gives homeowners who qualify an additional $250 in savings to go solar. So if you’re a fan of Mia Hamm and soccer, sign up now!