If solar has gotten so cheap, why isn’t there more of it?

Why don't more homes have this sign? Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr.

Some people who worry about peak oil like to point out that renewable energy won't save us. That is, given the amount of fossil fuels that the world uses today, it would take an unrealistically large increase in the amount of renewables available now to make up the difference as oil, natural gas and coal start to deplete. So we might as well resign ourselves now to a future of shivering in the … [Read more...]

Solar panels face cloudy views

Solar Installation

After months of wrestling with the local County Building Department about permits and codes, excruciating financial gymnastics and down and dirty back-breaking spadework, we finally got our solar installation up. It’s a massive 3 kw (stc) photovoltaic pole mount. We feel like we created the best of two worlds, too, since we live way back in the woods while, at the same time, we're generating a … [Read more...]

Jilted by another smooth-talking oilman

Parody Chevron ad "We Lie Because You Can't Handle the Truth"

Every time I'm tempted to stop worrying and love oil companies, they do something to set me straight again. A few weeks ago, when I watched the documentary Houston We Have a Problem, I wanted to hug the Texas oil guys who said that the world was running out of oil and that the economy needed to find another source of energy. Or even start to conserve. Then, there was a heartwarming online … [Read more...]

Tune in, turn off, hang up

Bill McKibben wants Obama to save the world through solar panels.

In 1988, as an eighth grader in Mr. Cedric A. S. Paine’s Introductory to Physical Science class, I tried to create the greenhouse effect in a two-liter Coke bottle. It kind of worked, but more importantly, the project made a powerful impact on me that remains to this day. In 1989, a writer from the Adirondacks published The End of Nature. It was the first book for a popular audience about … [Read more...]

Solar power: the teddy bear of energy sources

teddy bear

Is there a more lovable energy source than solar power? Its fuel is light from the sun, which is free and available almost anywhere. It's entirely clean to run. It's easy to install and maintain. The big utilities can use it to generate green grid power, but you can also put it on your own roof to become your own utility or to go off-grid. And did I mention that it's powered by THE … [Read more...]