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Solar panels and other green stuff
Solar panels, windmills and bio-fuel installations seem to be on the increase and, generally, that has to be a good thing. I feel forced to make the distinction between energy systems that feed into the power-grid and those where the energy is used at the location it is created. The reasons for grid connection are varied but, in my opinion, this does seem to be a self-defeating way to use the energy (please see my section What's wrong with the grid). For this reason, therefore, and throughout my website, I am mainly going to concentrate on systems that efficiently create energy that is used locally as, in the absence of any better plan, that is the only sensible way forward.
For some reason the media seems to have become fixated about wind or tidal power as representing all alternative energy effort. Both of these would generally fail my non-grid connection requirement. With an efficient energy policy neither of these would be necessary (or nuclear for that matter), before we even begin to consider the devastating impact both would have on our countryside and wildlife. In my opinion, tidal energy would be one of the most damaging and least rewarding strategies and I could almost cry when I see the proposals for the Severn Estuary here in the UK. I understand that this would be a huge civil engineering project with 'big bucks' for someone but, making better use of our energy so that such an apparently stupid project was not required seems to me to be the only sane option! As far as large, white, many might say gross and ugly, windmills are concerned - NO THANK YOU! Please see my section Nuclear, fracking & windmills for further explanation on this.
Small wind and hydro-electric power projects are not going to be accessible to the majority so, although I whole-heartedly applaud them, they naturally can't form part of the core effort of an energy strategy that I see for the future. Once again I must return to my constant war-cry and say that local energy produced from local fuel as far as possible with all of the heat going into local homes makes the most sense. We simply cannot be sympathetic about the loss of profits for a wealthy minority as our primary objective must be to eliminate the damage caused by oil, gas and coal.
So, apart from bio-fuels and several other options, solar panels are an easy, cheap and reliable way to instantly reduce bills and reduce the need for fossil-fuels. It is obvious that any intelligent government that cares about the interests of its citizens would be making maximum use of this technology. I can confirm, that here in Britain at least, it only has very limp support with a system wretchedly based on profit and grid connection, I despair! I'll ignore this foolishness for now and concentrate on solar-panels owned and operated by the user for their own energy requirements.
Solar panels fall into two main categories, heat or electric. Although you will see fancy names and acronyms for both there is no great mystery behind the two. In the UK solar panels that produce heat (thermal) are mainly used for providing hot water and can make some contribution over most of the year but peaking in the summer. Similarly, electric (photo-voltaic or PV) solar panels produce most output in the summer but can still be very effective on some days in the winter and they do not require direct sunlight to start operating. Obviously the more panels of either type that you have the more energy will be available. It is beyond the scope of this site to suggest how many might be needed for a particular installation but, usually, price of purchase and installation is the limiting factor when compared with the likely savings over future years.
I couldn't be more in favour of solar panels and it is shameful that the decision-makers haven't made them compulsory a long time ago. Any objections on the grounds that they are unsightly appear trivial if the alternative is large white windmills across the countryside or huge concrete tidal barriers in our estuaries resulting in the destruction of countryside and wildlife habitat for many miles inland.
These websites may also be of interest (click on Web addresses):-
See more information about solar (PV) panels here: http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Generating-energy/Choosing-a-renewable-technology/Solar-panels-PV
See more information about solar (thermal) panels here: http://www.which.co.uk/energy/creating-an-energy-saving-home/guides/how-to-buy-solar-panels/solar-water-heating-explained/
©2014 FIRECRACKER™GUW ALL RIGHTS RESERVED