P.C. retiree says solar is the way to go | ParkRecord.com

P.C. retiree says solar is the way to go

Steve Phillips, Record contributing writer

David Ludema is passionate about the environment. That’s why he’s concerned when 60 percent of the electrical power provided to Utah homes comes from coal-fired power plants. His own home in Park City is 100-percent solar powered. Through the summer months, his system actually puts more power back into the system than he uses. He installed his state-of-the-art solar array three years ago.

"It’s very efficient and economical and should pay for itself in about 10 years," says Ludema, noting that his power bill averages about nine dollars a month. "I have no objection to what I’m paying now, but I’m concerned that the power company wants to impose a surcharge on residential solar power users," he says. That’s his only criticism of the state.

Ludema and his wife, Diane, moved to Park City in 2007 after he retired. An avid skier, hiker, hunter and angler, he says the town suits him just fine. "I like small towns and I love to ski, hike, fish and hunt," he says. Diane introduced him to skiing, a skill he acquired here in Park City at the age of 56. He also enjoys spring and summer fishing jaunts to Strawberry Reservoir, east of Heber. Eschewing a boat, favored by most anglers there, he walks three miles to his favorite spot and fishes from shore. "I catch both rainbow and Bonneville cutthroat trout, and am working on a new lure setup to get down to where the Kokanee salmon are," he says.

The Michigan native has fond memories of roaming the fields and lakes near his hometown of Hudsonville, hunting and fishing. Growing up, he admits he was "a poor and recalcitrant student," though he managed to squeak through high school. A stint in the Navy in the 1960s cured that. "Thank goodness for the G.I. Bill," says Ludema, who studied radiology (X-ray technology) at a local community college while married with small children.

After becoming a licensed medical radiologist, he worked at an area hospital while attending Grand Valley State University in Grand Valley, Michigan. Ludema took his bachelor’s degree there and went on to take his master’s and doctorate degrees at universities in Michigan and Delaware, respectively. From 1974 through 1986, he was director of radiology education for the Sisters of Mercy Health Corp. in Michigan.

Ludema owned a farm in Michigan during those years, where he raised horses and cattle. "It was more of a hobby than a business. My career was as a college teacher and department chair," he says.

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In 1986, Ludema accepted a position as chair of the Department of Radiology at Delaware Community College in Georgetown, Delaware — a post he held until his retirement in 2006. In 1998, now divorced, Ludema noticed another teacher at the school. "Diane taught a variety of subjects at the school, from English grammar to mathematics. I could tell she was an excellent teacher," says Ludema. "She’s very bright, has a good education and likes to travel." They began dating and were married in 2006.

Ludema is a deeply committed conservationist and wildlife enthusiast. In the summer of 2009, he spent two months on Kodiak Island in Alaska as a volunteer on a bear research study. He’s developed a 90-minute program on North American bears which he presents to students from third grade through high school.

His discontent with the power company lingers. He opposes efforts by Rocky Mountain Power to place a surcharge on residential solar power users. Claims by regional power providers that they’re going broke because of increased residential solar power are unsubstantiated, says Ludema. He hopes the Utah Public Service Commission will continue to deny their petition to impose such a charge. "It would be counter-productive to the continued growth of residential solar power, which I strongly support," he says.

VITAL STATISTICS:

  • Favorite activities: skiing, hiking, fishing, hunting
  • Favorite foods: "To quote Baxter Black, ‘red meat and candy.’"
  • Favorite music/performers: Music from the 1950s through the ’80s; Garrison Keillor
  • Favorite reading/authors: "World War II history, fantasy fiction, nonfiction Arctic tales. Farley Mowat, Bernard Fall, James Hornfischer, Mark Twain, Stephen Ambrose, Robert Heinlein."
  • Bucket list: "Learn Spanish and live in Spain for a summer following the corrida."