Friday, August 15, 2008

Let the Sun Shine In

our_sun While we wouldn’t mind having a few fuel rods in the basement to fulfill all our electricity needs, the likelihood of that happening in the near term is, um, poor.

However, solar panels are available now and unlike mini-windmills, which only show kids what the days of TV-aerial-choked rooftops looked like, panels can sit flat upon rooftops. Jimmy Carter famously installed panels in the White House (His successor, Ronald Reagan, took them out; who’s laughing now?), but they’re back. It’s like a comeback, only not a Norma Desmond-crazy kind of comeback.

We bring this all up to point you to a site we’ve seen at a couple of other sites – quite the cannibalizers, we – which allows you to locate your house or the house you’d like to own to see how plausible it is for you to fuel your big screen TV and Wii with solar panels.

The site encourages you to sign up if you want it to save your work, but you can play around with it without giving any personal data. We tried several possibilities: Morocco proved pretty darn good for this kind of thing, but our current abode will experience a few disturbing brownouts outside the summer months. However, even in other seasons, the panels can provide supplemental power.

The site will also show you panels - they call them roofrays – in your neighborhood to see who you might want to chat up at the Whole Foods market. And it lets you price solar arrays (though that feature may require a sign up).

A little Friday fun.

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Okay, enough fun. Solar energy got quite a serious boost today, out California way:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today applauded new agreements that would increase California's renewable energy supply with enough solar power to service approximately 239,000 homes annually. The agreements stipulate that Pacific Gas and Electric Company has entered into two utility-scale, photovoltaic (PV) solar power contracts, one that will create the largest photovoltaic plant in the world.

The agreements will generate an estimated total 800 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy.

That’s a start. California has 36 million people, so this plant will serve less than 1 percent of its population. The state is hopping a bit ahead of the curve on renewable energy – one might call that hopping a California trait, certainly, though, a positive one. (You can search on the Million Solar Roofs initiative, a Schwarzenegger-backed plan, to see more on California’s embrace of solar.)

Picture of Old Sol himself. Wouldn’t want to get between him and those solar panels. Quick to anger, we hear.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A two-megawatt PV station constructed next to Rancho Seco (35 mi Southeast of Sacramento) has been there for years already.