Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Why we are using solar power

Back in the early 1980's, my dad installed solar hot water panels on his house. Dave and I were so impressed that we had solar hot water panels installed on our house. It was a great investment. Our water has been heated by the sun for most of the last thirty years. The system paid for itself many times over. I wash clothes when the sun is shining. We bathe the dog and sometimes ourselves because the sun is shining.

About 18 years ago, we invested in a wind generator. It has also worked very well (though not as carefree as the solar hot water). The wind generator provides about 1200 kwhr electricity. We use what we need and sell the rest to the power company. We expected a twenty year payback on our investment and that's about what we got. With a few updates and repairs, our generator is now working on its second twenty years.

We expected that more and more people would invest in solar and wind power, and although the numbers are rising, it is a slow climb. Several things limit the expansion of these alternative energy sources One is initial cost. Wind generators are expensive and up until the last year or two, photovoltaics have also been extremely pricey. Government subsidies and encouragement by the power companies (that buy our excess energy at a good rate)  have helped, but there is still a big gap between the promise of alternative energy sources and reality.  Why we aren't using solar power, a video by Alexandros George Charalambides, uses yarn to explore one of the problems with solar power.

Even if the topic wasn't of interest to me, the yarn intrigued me. So if you are interested in solar energy or in what you can do with yarn, check out  Charalambides'  site. Then get out your yarn and begin making pictures or look at your home for opportunities to use alternative energy sources for your power.

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