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Floating Solar Panels Or Windmills? Millionaires Weigh In.

Solar power is a buzzword even among millionaires—as long as it doesn't ruin their view.

Man-made islands—actually 25-meter-wide collections of floating solar panels—will be installed in the Swiss lake Neuchâtel this August. They’re an experiment in eco-power, and their flatness could have a surprise benefit: Will this be a model for harvesting energy offshore that keeps wealthy landowners happy, unlike the wind turbines that caused a row among residents of Cape Cod? (Some claimed the tall equipment ruined their view.)

We asked 10 millionaires: "Which would you prefer to see outside your waterfront home?"

SOLAR PANELS 50%

"It’s low to the ground, so I won’t see it."
—Doctor, Florida

WINDMILLS 50%

"The gentle movement of those windmills is very soothing."
—Venture capitalist, Massachusetts

And the tiebreaker goes to: Audra Parker, president and CEO of Save Our Sound, the primary Nantucket Sound opposition group. "I would need to better understand what the trade-offs are," she defers. It remains a tie!

Illustration by Till Hafenbrak

A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.