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Monday, March 31, 2008

Do it now!

I have lived on photovoltaic systems for 25 years that are not grid-intertied. These systems include long-life batteries which means that if the grid goes down you still have power. Properly designed and installed solar electric systems with backup do not normally experience power outages. It also means that your electrical equipment lasts longer without the high voltage transients and brownout conditions that effect the grid. I strongly recommend this approach.

For people who are already on the grid they can use the electric company as their backup.

In Hawaii, such an energy system for a single person household would typically run about $15-20,000. Add a person and it will cost another $7-10,000. Household members after the first 2 are maybe about $5000 additional. The solar panels that run these systems can last up to 40 years. They typically have 25 year warranties! The most robust, active, manufactured product ever developed by humans!

In such a system you need to make an investment as well in Energy Star equipment because these system's effective use requires not wasting energy. The costs of these systems can typically be financed with home equity credit lines. If you shop around for equipment and be your own contractor, you should be able to save a lot in terms of equipment costs. Plus there are lots of tax incentives if you have taxable income. The payback would generally be less than 10 years. After that your power becomes very cheap.

And you have helped to avert the destruction of life on earth. Its not just the CO2, but a very wide range of toxic contamination deriving from a fossil fuel energy regime. All those people in Asia want the same standard of living as most westerners enjoy. But if everybody is made comfortable using fossil fuel technology, the planet will rapidly become inhospitable to life. So if you can afford to switch to solar, do it now. To wait is a fools game, since no one can say for sure when it will be too late!