Does Solar Really Work in Alabama and Georgia?
I have been interested in solar energy since the late seventies... In fact, the last paper I wrote in college many moons ago was "The Market Feasibility of Solar Energy." I really wanted to get into solar energy after graduation but decided that the market and technology wasn't really ready for prime time and ventured down other paths.
Fast forward 30+ years - the efficiencies and effectiveness of solar (and wind, micro-hydro) technologies have made tremendous strides. Many of us have read about solar - generally featured in in other areas of the country. I kept hearing how with relatively inexpensive electricity rates and our location solar "really wasn't feasible." As one that appreciates liberty and freedom I think one reason for my continued interest is that solar represents that ability to be "off the grid," to disconnect, and to really be energy self-reliant.
Well, on a recent hot and humid June day in our neck of the woods in east central ALABAMA I finally witnessed solar energy in action. I found myself sitting in a comfortable 72 degree interior of a metal (inherently hot) construction trailer converted to a retreat "cabin." All the creature comforts were there - central air and heat, hot water, ceiling fans, satellite TV and Internet, lights (and an efficient electrical backup system). If you walked into this incredibly comfortable place blindfolded, you would never know that all of these conveniences were being magically driven by technology that converts free sunshine to electrical power!
What did I learn? Solar (and other renewable technologies) have come a long way baby. Effectiveness has improved throughout the system - from photovoltaic conversion rates to all the creature comfort appliances efficiencies have improved - drawing much less power. (Think about LED lighting.) Also - check out the significant tax incentives effectively reducing your capital outlay.
Residential wind and micro-hydro systems have also come a long way. See some of the links below for additional information on these systems.
What does this mean for the land owner / buyer? For me and others that own or are considering "remote" property off the grid, this stuff really works! Maybe that beautiful property without power that was awesome but in your mind but not "feasible" is now very do-able!
- Don Ellers aka "LANDCRAWLER"
Some interesting green energy search and related topics...
Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency - Click your state.
Google: small house solar energy system - some great info!
Google: renewable energy tax credits
Georgia - Green Power EMC