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Sounding off on how “worthless” solar power is

22 June 2009 161 views No Comment
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I’ve been reading so much literature lately about solar power, namely, how crappy it is.  It seems there are a couple of sides to the debate. First, there’s those that talk about how wonderful solar power is, how it will “Save” us, its the future, etc. Then, there’s the naysayers. Those who say that solar power is complete crap, doesn’t work right, produces very little power, etc.

Understand there’s two sides to every story and this one is no different. To understand both arguments, let’s step into their shoes.

First, the proponents. Those who say solar power works and is the future. I hesitate to join this camp, namely, because I see how people use energy in their homes. Solar arrays are wonderful, and they do work when installed correctly and used appropriately. Unfortunately, I don’t think the world is quite ready for solar power en masse. For this to happen, our energy habits must change. We must insist on lower energy appliances, and change our energy habits. We must insist on green products that use less energy. We must lobby our leaders to push for higher standards of energy efficiency. We must boycott buying a product that is terrible on energy consumption simply because its “cheap”.

This might happen in the future. But it needs to start now. And it needs to start at home, in your home.

Now there’s the naysayers. I dont really count myself in this group either, because their main argument is “solar power doesn’t work” or “is pointless and doesn’t produce enough power, if any.” Nay nay indeed.

Solar power does produce power, albeit not as much as they are used to. Comparing solar power to the energy they are used to receiving is akin to comparing the water flow you get from your faucet from the output of Victoria Falls or Niagara Falls. There is simply no comparison. A small to medium solar panel will never, ever compare to the instant power you get when you look at the power the energy company is feeding you “for a premium.” So, I think there’s something to be said about that argument.

Yes, solar power is great for photo ops, to show “we care” as I read in one blog post comment today. But it is functional as well. I think its time to get off our butts and just do it for ourselves. Look, if everyone builds just one solar array (small) in their yard or on their roof and wires it correctly, they could produce enough power to remove several small appliances from the grid. You’ll start saving a few bucks every month, instantly.  People who say “nay nay” to solar power should give it a try before they diss it. And see that it does work.

Perhaps the problem is in comparing power output, as I mentioned before. In that case, expectations need to be set. And I’m here to set them.

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