Alabama Solar Association Solar Tour 2021 in Memory of Morton Archibald
October 2 - October 3
The Alabama Solar Association, a chapter of the American Solar Energy Association, dedicates its 2021 National Solar Tour to a passionate, long-time leader of solar in Alabama, Albert Morton Archibald Jr. who was called home on August 28, 2021. The various Solar Sites showcased virtually and in-person throughout Alabama can be found on the NST map. Each showcases a variety of energy-saving and solar technologies.
For years, Morton was president of ASA and an outspoken advocate of solar energy. He organized solar events throughout the state while educating and influencing 100’s, if not thousands, of Alabamians on the practical aspects of solar energy. This 2011 video from Alabama Solar @ Green U Festival 2011 illustrates his typical passion for spreading the solar word. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8fmCbpYkxA
Archibald’s longtime interest in energy started around the mid-1970s, when a reliance on foreign oil led to America’s first energy crisis and created an energy-conservation movement. Later, he was the energy manager at Redstone Arsenal. He then became the president of the Alabama Solar Association. The Huntsville Times quoted him in 2021:
“I’ve always been about becoming more energy efficient,” Archibald said. “I want to put in solar panels. But before I can do that, I’ve got to seal up the leaks.”
“Money is why everybody should be interested in this,” Archibald said. “If you don’t think $4 gas isn’t coming back, dream on. Any time I get a chance to preach the gospel of energy conservation, I’m all for it.”
This story retold by his son Steve Archibald, illustrates Morton’s passion for the solar prerequisite of having an energy-efficient building envelope prior to adding solar panels:
“One of Dad’s many stories (only a few of which I’m good enough to remember) is that his first job was “sealing the envelope.” I have no idea when that phrase came to be, but this is essentially what he was doing as a pre-teen. (His dad was a travelling salesman of building supplies, so my dad learned some important lessons early on.) Dad would buy a tube of caulk and go door to door in his neighborhood in Rome, Georgia, and offer to seal up thermal leaks in peoples’ houses for a minimal fee. I have no idea how much money he made, but as a pre-teen, I’m betting he was pretty happy with any proceeds of his own, even in 1940s/1950s money.”
Steve went on to say:
“Dad was born in Gadsden, AL on March 23, 1942. His family moved around the area a little, settling in Rome, GA, when he was around 5 or so. He lived in Rome through all of his primary education years and up until went to Auburn around 1963 or 4. His mother had gone back to work so that Dad could go to Auburn. (His parents loved their two children as much as Mom and Dad love my sisters, me, and all of our spouses and children.) Dad graduated from Auburn in 1966 with a Civil Engineering degree, upon which he built a very successful career. He absolutely LOVED being an Auburn Man. He would exchange jabs with Bammers and others, but never would he dismiss anyone based on school association or any other group affiliation.”
And finally, Steve shared comments on Morton’s final journey on earth:
“Dad’s wish has long been to be cremated and to have a small, family-only memorial. Since Mom and Dad bought a boat last year, he added further instructions for us to carry out in the event of his death. The new instructions are for us to take his ashes aboard the boat, pilot upstream from Huntsville, through the Guntersville Dam lock, and on to Lake Guntersville. There he wished for his ashes to be scattered on the lake so that he can travel downstream to the Ohio River, over to the Mississippi River, and down to the Gulf of Mexico. From there, he’ll join the oceans of the world.”
May the sun always be shining wherever his travels lead. While visiting the various solar energy tours in Alabama from the north to the south, whether in person or virtually, may we remember Morton Archibald and be inspired by his passion for energ-efficiency and incorporating solar into homes, businesses, and electrical vehicles.