Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, May 6 2013 at 3:42 PM, Updated: Mon, May 6 2013 at 3:53 PM
A Klamath Falls man pays less than you do for electrical power and heat...and he's now spending less time at the gas pump, as he's got a solar powered car.
Scott McMahon may have the only solar-powered car in Southern Oregon...
"There's probably a few out there that I don't know about, but as far as I know, I'm probably the first one."
McMahon put up solar panels 13 years ago to power his house...and now he's using that solar array to charge his Ford Fusion Energy, an electric / hybrid vehicle.
"Around town, it's 100% electric." Notes McMahon. "The engine doesn't turn on at all."
The car will go about 25 miles before it needs charging, and that's all McMahon and his wife need to get around town.
McMahon also taps into the Sun for hot water, and the solar panels take care of most all of his electrical needs year round...
"In the summertime, I generate excess electricity, and they give me credit, not cash - and then I use that credit in the wintertime."
While he's now saving money, McMahon says he doesn't expect the system to pay for itself anytime soon...
"I use it more as a hobby than anything else. To get the turnaround costs to break even, is probably long down the road. I'll probably be dead before it's paid off."
But for now, McMahon is getting a free ride.
McMahon says he caught the solar bug after attending a solar fair in John Day in the late 90's. Scott McMahon retired last October after serving for 30 years as station engineer at KOTI.
McMahon says his next project will involve generating power with vertical wind turbines.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.