Michael Shah is a strong advocate for rooftop solar. Partnering with our utilities, he believes the future of decentralized power generation is already here. It’s easier and more affordable than ever. In addition to his work with Save the Ozarks, he volunteers with Eureka Power and Light, sharing knowledge gained from his own DIY solar installation. He’s convinced that locally distributed solar and micro wind turbine production not only benefits our environment and tourism/retirement economies, but are in the best interest of National Security.
In just 16 months, his solar panels have captured enough power from the sun to offset 10.2 tons of carbon emissions, equal the benefits of 252 trees, and power 470 houses for one day! He’s happy to send excess clean, peak-hour, kilowatts to Carroll Electric every month, since his system produces 25% more than the manufacturer’s estimates. Whether Shah uses all his “credits” or not, he has high hopes for the future of this partnership and wants to see Carroll Electric get more aggressive with rooftop solar leasing programs. He is positive that it is only a matter of time. There is too much money and too many jobs in it for Arkansas to sit on the sidelines.
Bottom line to Michael is this: Nature IS our economy. Nature deserves a seat at the business/industrial roundtable. Tourists brought 5.9 billion dollars to Arkansas last year. Tourists and retirees do not visit or move to “ugly”. He sees Save the Ozarks’ mission as a turning point for Arkansas. As other states around us trash their scenic vistas with High Voltage Transmission lines, we become more valuable as a rejuvenating destination.
Michael wants Arkansas to be a shining star and avoid the collateral damage brought to rural areas by massive, destructive, and unneeded projects. At this point, he thinks there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this sparsely populated region does not need high or extra-high voltage transmission lines.
Shah first discovered Eureka Springs back in the early 1970’s. He traveled to the top 7 “ideal retirement locations” published by the Dept. of Commerce, chose Eureka Springs, bought a small farm and enjoyed the quiet, unmatched natural beauty and unique people of the area.
After many happy years here, he returned to Washington DC with his wife Faith Pettit Shah (whose parents lived on Beaver Lake) to restart the family business. For 35 years, they worked hard to create a unique, vibrant, retail business, two blocks from The White House. Michael is very proud of his son, Colin, (born in the Eureka Springs Hospital) who leads the family tradition into the Fourth Generation.
Faith and Michael Shah never forgot Eureka. In 2005, they purchased a small farm and began traveling back and forth, planting thousands of saplings, renovating a small farmhouse, stabilizing a 100 year old barn and converting the milk barn into a woodworking studio.
Their plans to retire in 2015 changed abruptly in April of 2013 when they learned of SWEPCO’s plans. They retired immediately, moved to Eureka Springs full-time, joined Save the Ozarks and have both been keenly active in STO’s efforts to preserve this increasingly rare expanse of natural beauty. They are not alone in their beliefs that massive high voltage power grids are outdated technology, pose enormous risks to our environment, and, in STO’s case, create no local jobs.
Shah is delighted to work with Save The Ozarks. He truly believes that we owe this effort to our future generations. The inspiring all-volunteer organization is a big part of his new network of friends and he is encouraged every time he hears, “Ah yes, We’ve heard of STO. You are wonderful. THANK YOU”.
You’ll see Faith and Michael Shah collecting signatures and talking to people about STO at local Farmer’s Markets and at many community events. Their decades of sales and marketing have certainly been put to good use.