Posts Tagged ‘ev’

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Solar so far so so

August 9, 2008

An interesting quote from the AustinEV (off topic) discussion on solar. Bruce J from Madison WI has an array that cost $13k to install. Like my EV, it’s not a profit center. His says he did it “because it is SOMETHING. And if *everybody* does *something* then great things will happen.”

Solar is Austin is subsidized by the local power company, but still have very long pay back. California has demand (time-of-day) billing so their solar arrays produce power at peak (3 x $). Since home use is mainly off-peak, the California arrays can reduce utility bills dramatically.

The big problem with solar for US homes is that WE USE TOO MUCH POWER to make an array practical.  An off-the-grid array is either really expensive, requires a life style change, or uninvented technology.  I don’t think that it makes sense to turn roof-tops into solar farms because most individuals are not equipped to maintain them.   Parking lots, however, could be excellent solar sites!

Developing countries like Africa are a stark contrast to the US.  Their current power demand is near zero.  A tiny solar array can make a life changing difference.  For example, the BOGO light initiative sends solar LED flashlights to Africa and allows people there to have lights on a night.  THEY ARE SO POOR – THEY DON”T HAVE LIGHTS AT NIGHT.   They don’t care about air conditioning, dryers, or plasma TVs.  In these places, solar is a huge wind fall.

Buy One, Give On (BoGo) Light

Buy One, Give On (BoGo) Light

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Welcome to a brand new Earth Day

April 25, 2008

The overall media love that has become Earth Day is both overwhelming and comforting. Overwhelming from the blitz of green logos, magazine covers, and animated recycling symbols and comforting because people seem to be sincerely enthusiastic about it. Perhaps Earth Day is speeding towards Hallmark Holiday celebrity. Perhaps we’ve reached a tipping point now that a gallon of gas is more expensive than a Hallmark Earth Day card.

For these reasons and more, I’m choosing Earth Day 2008 to officially launch my TribalGrid blog. My interest in “social energy” and sustainability are stretching the scope of my EV blog and I don’t want pull a Venkman and cross the beams. I’m excited to be starting a new site to talk about something that resonates with my feeling of urgency about the environment. I find the passion that drove me to build the RAVolt has been growing and looking for ways to ignite the conservation spark in others.

Social energy focuses on community awareness of conservation, sustainability, and usage patterns. Hopefully this blog is helping emerge this concept and encouraging others to collaborate and extend it.