Slow Energy and the Cost of Solar Power
March 19, 2012
The coolness of solar energy is not to be underestimated. In the spirit of less is more, I have always admired folks who turn to the sun to serve their power needs. A heavily subsidized industry in Germany, solar power has cropped up on the roofs of many a neighbor over the past nine years we have lived in our tiny town north of Munich.
You could say I’ve experienced slight solar power envy, watching those bluish slabs appear, as if by the hand of magical nocturnal elves, atop the finest constructions across the entire area. Gas stations, clothing stores and even a bathroom fixture company recently raised their panels to the sky. I wanted in. And so did Husband.
Then we purchased a house with East-West roof exposure. It occurred to us (rather late) that most people with solar power had South-facing roofs. Just when I thought our future as fellow solar power users had ended, we learned that we’d only acquire 20% less energy than those positioned to the South. With a few more panels, we’d even out the difference. And so we signed on the bottom line for 14 panels altogether.
The surplus energy we create gets fed into the power grid. We are rewarded not only financially (we only pay for the night-time electricity), but also emotionally. How noble it feels to see those lovely collectors drinking in the sun rays, even on cloudy days! I am astounded by its beauty and the sudden urge to feel kissed by the sun.
Whilst in the Southwest of the United States last year, I was surprised to see that virtually no one used the power of the sun to generate electricity. In a place like Yuma, Arizona, for instance, where the sun shines 242 days out of the year, it would make sense to generate power from the sun for all those air conditioners that help you take leave of the very thing that’s keeping you cool in your adobe home. My friend, located in the Northeast, tells me she has plans to place panels on the barn roof…once they have a barn to put it on. Slowly but surely we’re creeping toward a smarter vision in which we use what we have.
Solar power is so hot, and yet sooooo cool!
Interested in solar power? This infographic gives you an idea of how much it would cost, how much you’d save and where you’d get the most bang for your solar buck.