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A ray of sunshine


Image from http://www.solarnavigator.net/images/solar_cells_panels_array_monocrystaline.jpg

One thing I’ve always wanted to do is disconnect my house from the power grid. It would be so cool if I could generate my own power and heat from nothing but solar and wind energy. There are people who have done this or who have set up a system that is still connected to the power grid. This works such that when the self contained power plant isn’t producing enough electricity for the home, additional electricity can come in through the meter and when the home’s self contained plant is producing too much power, it is sold back to the power company by back feeding through the meter and spinning it backward. This, actually, is probably a better more eco friendly and cost effective approach to what is called “grid independence? as there is no need to invest in a network of batteries or something to store your electricity in. What you don’t use can be used by someone else if you stay physically connected to the grid.
There are quite a few firms on the web that sell solar panels and wind turbines and even a few that are set up specifically for the homeowner that wants to become “grid independent?. There are a few different wattage outputs of solar panels to choose from as well as turbines.
Getting my own home off the power grid might not seem like a very grand save the environment scheme. However, imagine if every middle to upper class home in the country had the capability to generate it’s own green energy. The country could begin shutting down coal and gas fires power plants and phase in a system where the citizens of the society generate their power. What a sense of community that would be!
If we could mandate that every home be roofed with solar panels we could easily accomplish this goal. The initial cost might be a bit off putting at first (about $6000 per home if the mandate was 10 panels per home) but the massive chunk this would take out of the power grid would be well worth it. Even if we could just phase out coal powerplant it would be a big step in the right direction. The huge business this would generate for solar power companies would be great too, new jobs and businesses could spring up form the ashes and revive economically stagnant cities.
Now Tax increases would of course be necessary, but I think... no I KNOW it is well worth the money! Who’s with me?...

Some web sites of interest:
Solar power for your home forum

Wholesale Solar

Comments

What happens when you use too much power from the grid? Will the energy get a chance to be distributed evenly? But I agree with you that we should start creating solar grids.

Reply to Lighting:

Well it probably would be necessary for some traditional power plants to stay up and running so they can be switched on to pick up any slack. Naturally there isn't round the clock sunlight in the country (the desert southwest would produce more solar power on the average day than, say, the east coast for example) and the grid couldn't possibly be supported by solar homes alone.
If I understand a power grid correctly, I imagine excess electricity from one home would go to the next nearest home that is in need of power. But I'm not an expert on this so I can't really say if power would be evenly distributed across a state or country. I can be pretty sure, as I said, that even if all the homes in the US produced solar power, this would certainly not be enough to sustain it's self. That is why I would assume total dependance on solar probably isn't possible and must be supplemented. However, if we also invest in things like wind farms, we may be able to eliminate all fuel burning plants which we are going to have to do sooner or later.

Thanks for the comment.