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"...just a few days after reading your incredibly easy to follow guide, I was confident enough to build grid-inter-tied solar power system as outlined. This not only powers my entire house, but literally makes my electric meter run backwards! This guide easily paid for itself many times over in just a few weeks... "
Adam W
Venice, CA

"...your book answered all my questions about solar energy, wind turbine energy, and more!...I didn't know there were different options including the portable options, my first project and very easy... and off the grid too!... with your help, anyone can save money on their electric bill and help the environment by going green with your solar energy, wind energy, and other ideas. I think my own mother could do this...NOW!"
Louis Zanolli

"...just wanted to drop a line to say thanks. After receiving your guide we made our own solar panel grid, and it's giving us more than enough energy to power our household appliances. OUr next step is to build a wind powered system for those cloudy days. We've already noticed how much money we can save!

Thanks again for giving us the know how to help make this a better world for our kids and grandkids."
Pleaman

"...After reading this valuable information, I now can create my own energy saving solar generator as well as a wind turbine. This book made me realize how easy it is do these tasks. Maybe easy is not the word, because it does take energy on our part to get out there and use these devices to work for us! I would recommend to anyone wanting to save the environment (for our children) to grab hold of this book, and more importantly use it. You won't regret it..."
Mya Rubio
CA

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December 26th, 2008 

The Politics of Solar Power Homes

I recently came across this article in New York Times which got me thinking about the politics of Solar Power. Let’s face it. No matter how much people like you and me love Solar Power Homes, this is not going to take off without some federal government backing.
 
A survey by the Nuclear Power Industry discovered that people’s top choice for generating energy was solar. Not nuclear, coal or natural gas. However, at the same time solar just provided for less than 0.01 percent of America’s electric supply. Solar energy is popular, but alas, no money!

In Washington DC where the energy policies are made, the lobbyists for solar energy companies typically work with a budget of tens of thousands of dollars. Compare that with the tens of millions of dollars that the lobbyists for nuclear, coal, oil and gas industries have at their disposal, and you can make a pretty good guess as to what kind of energy policies will be made by our beloved politicians.

One only has to take a look at how government policies in Germany and Japan have helped boost solar power adoption into stratosphere. This government support has also helped lower manufacturing costs due to economies of scale, and also advance the solar technologies.

 

John McCain’s vision of future energy.

Image courtesy: http://redgreenandblue.org/2008/06/21/mean-joe-green-14-mccains-vision-for-renewable-energy/

 

I know this idea of government intervention is very unpopular in USA, where most people believe that markets should be left alone to fend for themselves. But take a look at what that leading proponent of capitalism and free markets, a venture capitalist, has to say about this. Vinod Khosla is a partner at one of the world’s most prestigious VC firm, and a major investor in green technologies. According to him, “market-driven improvements are not happening fast enough to put solar technology beyond much more than a boutique investment”. Amen brother!

Despite all this cause for gloom, there are 3 dynamics in place which give me hope, no, even confidence that Solar Power Homes ’ time has come and that they will prevail.

1) Our president-elect Obama and his new administration is decidedly unfriendly to big oil and coal, and has made green technologies a priority. Additionally, the way our law makers work will also hopefully change for the better with new laws limiting the power and influence of lobbyists in the capital.

2) States like California and Hawaii are not waiting for Washington DC and have decided to take matters in their own hands. Governator Schwarzenegger’s “Million Roof” initiative is being promoted as not only creating a home-grown industry, but also creating thousands of jobs and at the same time reducing global warming.

3) Finally the individual Solar Power Homes dweller. All this would come to naught if people were not interested in solar power. As mentioned above, this is far from the case. People are not only interested, but they are also putting money where their mouth is. Even though it takes years to pay off initial investments in solar equipment, people still do it. Sometimes, even in cases when there is no pay off. Hats off to these pioneers. Let’s keep going solar, and keep supporting organizations and politicians who support green technologies!

Technorati Tags: residential solar power, solar energy home, solar power for homes, solar power homes, solar power house, solar powered home

December 4th, 2008 

Solar Electric Car stars with Vin Diesel in 2008 release “Babylon A.D.”

French automobile manufacturer Venturi has created a new movie star. Its Eclectic Concept vehicle proved to be so popular in the automobile shows that it decided to mass produce the model. The car comes with roof-mounted solar panels powering an electric motor. The car is roomy and practical and has a unique European look.

The Eclectic can be yours to own for $30,000, which is not outrageous for full sized vehicle, especially considering that it is solar electric powered. The range tops out at 30 miles and it can achieve top speeds of about 30 mph.

I think it is important that solar electric vehicles be driven more mainstream by their adoption by more public faces, and showcasing in popular media. Look how iPhone has become the most popular phone in the world even though majority of users use it ‘just to make phone calls’. For that functionality alone, that’s an expensive piece of calling device at several 100s of dollars. But its adoption has been driven so much by the cool factor that it has become a must have device.

Similarly while Solar Power Homes and other solar electric devices will take their time to stand up on their own and while technology drives costs down. The other way to drive costs down is by making these technologies cool, and increasing first user adoption. And one way of doing is that precisely by what Venturi has done. After all how many solar electric cars get a major role in a world-wide block buster alongside Vin Diesel! Now we really need to feature a high tech Solar Power House with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie living in it :-)

Image courtesy www.venturi.fr

Technorati Tags: home solar panel, residential solar power, solar diy, solar energy home, solar kits, solar panel, solar panels for home, solar pannel, solar power for home, solar power homes, solar power house, solar power lights, solar power residential, solar powered home, solar roof panels

November 23rd, 2008 

Solar Decathlon – A Competition for the Best Solar Power House

Solar Decathlon is a great first step towards bringing cutting edge Solar Power House technologies to market.

What is Solar Decathlon?

Solar Decathlon is a biennial competition sponsored and organized by the US Department of Energy in Washington DC since 2002. It showcases latest cutting edge Solar Power Homes designed and built by college students worldwide. The objective is to completely design and built a fully independent Solar Power House. It typically take a college team 1-2 years to do so, hence the biennial frequency of the event. This year’s top 3 winners were:

First Place: Technische Universität Darmstadt Second Place: University of Maryland Third Place: Santa Clara University

The DOE gives each of the 20 finalist team $100,000 to defray the transportation costs. The key word here is defray, as it can take up to $1 million to actually design, build, and transport these Solar Power Homes to the event. The money typically comes from donations, alumni, and sponsorships.

Solar Decathlon is a fantastic initiative by government to bring Solar Power House market into mainstream

The event is well thought out. The rules ensure that each entry has to prove that solar power homes are practical, livable, and do not involve any sacrifice. Each Solar Power House is 100% off-the-grid, i.e. not connected to the electric utility in any way.

Yet these Solar Power Homes are architectural masterpieces. They are beautiful inside…

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid Carnegie Mellon University

 

And beautiful outside…

Texas A&M University  Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Every featured Solar Power House can support a typical American family lifestyle; TV for 6 hours/day, computer 5 hours/day, cook meals, dish washing, 2 laundry loads/week, four 15 minute showers/week, temperature around 70-78 degrees, recharge an electric car.

Additionally some of these Solar Power Homes have hot tubs, outdoor hot showers, SubZero refrigerators, mood lighting and luxury home entertainment systems.

In brief, all of these Solar Power Homes are really livable by a typical American household. No sacrifice involved to go green.

For more details go to www.solardecathlon.org
Images: Department of Energy

 

Technorati Tags: solar power house

November 13th, 2008 

Solar Power Homes for the Rest of Us

Green technologies are often accused of being too expensive to be adapted on a wide scale. Who can blame the perpetrators of this thought when the most public users of clean technologies like solar power are personalities like Al Gore and Hollywoodites who often spend tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on solar power homes to reap few hundreds of dollars of benefits. The last I heard Al Gore’s electricity bill was more $30,000 per year. He rides around in a Gulfstream jet which costs and burns as much fuel as Boeing 737. The difference is that the 737 carries 130 passengers, while Al Gore the environmentalist’s Gulfstream carries him and up to another 8 friends/family.

Well weep no more folks, there is a way for us hoi polloi to access Solar Power Homes. The trick like in most cases is to do yourself a certain part of your solar power home project and leave only the really complicated and technical parts to expensive contractors.

I came across this practical article on Solar Power Homes which talks how by purchasing the necessary components through internet or at local hardware stores you can get your own solar panel system constructed for $200 or less.

With the commoditizing and dramatically reduced costs of solar power hardware, along with a plethora of DIY guides/books available on the internet and elsewhere, the clean and green movement is no longer just for the hippies and the elites, but has truly become a mainstream lifestyle option with real practical benefits.

The same article also contains a link to various DIY books and guides along with their reviews. I personally can’t speak for any of them since I haven’t read any of them yet, but it does seem like a good place to start your research when planning for Solar Power Homes.

Technorati Tags: solar power homes