Monday, January 14, 2013

powering up

After much procrastination and deep soul searching we have installed a 5kw solar system. We don't use a lot of power by normal standards, and we had solar hot water already. We were troubled by the return on the power to the grid, which is about double normal wholesale to the power company, so effectively it seems that those too poor to go solar subsidize those wealthy enough to get it installed. But then there was a deadline and we had to act now or never, so we did it and I am feeling guilty but there ya go.  

It should take about 5 years to pay it off, and then we can hopefully enjoy free electricity in our old age. I am altruistic enough to hope that enough roof panels on enough houses can keep another coal fired power plant at bay, to the benefit of the whole planet, not just my little dot on the map. The summer we are having makes you think about a hotter world, and what it will be like to live at 2 degrees more as an average. There would be fewer nice cycling days! Aaaccck!! 


Tim Joe Comstock said...

No need for you to feel guilty, Dee, for having a job and a little foresight. The guilty parties are the ones in a position to make solar affordable at a less expensive price.

Research subsidies, tax incentives for manufacturers, restructuring of organizations that run the coal and oil industries...I am just a carpenter on his first cup of morning coffee and I can think of ways to put solar panels on the roofs of the poor.

Remember, poor people by definition do not own their homes and there is absolutely no reason for slumlords to do anything about that situation, just as there is no reason in the world for power companies to encourage or enable the government or the landowners to be in a position to sell power BACK to source...

I'm drifting into one of my manifesto rants here. Let me say this:

Congratulations! By deciding to go with your new system you have struck a blow against the power elite(accidental pun)by removing one more demand point from their supply. If EVERYONE who could afford to put panels on their roof did so demand would drop and energy would likely be less costly for the rest of us here on the bottom.

As for myself, I live in a crappy trailer in Florida (another hot place) and for two years I have managed without air conditioning or heat. My daily average use of electricity is about 4 kWh per day.

Last year I paid about $360 US to the local power company. Solar would not be all that viable a solution for me, but I live pretty close to the ground, without television or air conditioning and recently, since the little refrigerator crapped out, without refrigeration.

But I am of course, an extreme case (in more ways than one) so it doesn't count. But I also am the only person I know who monitors his power usage on a daily basis. If my fellow poor people would wake up and start paying attention to how they squander what little they have they would be less poor and gain just a bit more control of their lives.

Good Lord. I AM abit of ranter, aren't I? Well, this is a subject that I am deeply involved in and when I saw your post the adrenaline kicked in. Sorry.


Theresa said...

Cool! We went from paying $200 a quarter to making $650+ on our last bill.

Dee said...

I loved the rant TJ! We blog because we care, and feel deeply. Good stuff. Sorry to hear about the fridge though. Keep an eye on your local Freecycle bunch (assuming you have one, they seem to have us all covered) I see lots of fridges offered up on ours.

Theresa, do you have a data logger on your inverter? Andy seems the type :p

Dee said...

Oh, and I should have explained that we get paid for our power, 44 cents per kWh, which is a LOT and explains Theresa's windfall. Australia is a bit socialist, like Canada (used to be = boo Harper!) so the Government does see that there is a return. We are currently losing ground (new solar installations only get 8 cents because our State Premier is an idiot) but I live in hope that things will improve.