Answers to Key Questions about Putting Solar Panels on Your Roof

One Block Off the Grid's mission is to educate people on the ins and outs of going solar. Here's are 10 links that address key issues for homeowners who might be considering solar power.

 …It is easy for the average homeowner to get confused by the all of the conflicting information and technical jargon that is flying around in today’s market. Some solar installers have even used this confusion to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers…

  • The Pro’s and Con’s of Solar Energy – Curious about why solar is such a good idea for homeowners and the environment? This article lays out some important points to consider.
  • Feed-in Tariffs (”FiTs“) – What homeowners need to know about this hot new topic. Europe’s been doing it successfully for years…and it’s already landed in the US. Learn more about Oregon’s Feed in Tariff program.
  • Facts and Statistics about Solar – Learn more about the history of solar panels and what is currently happening in the industry.
  • Solar Tubes – Explains just what the heck solar tubes are and how they work.
  • Solar Panel Trackers – There isn’t much good information out there about solar trackers. This entry helps summarize the data and gives homeowners the facts needed to ask their solar installer intelligent questions.
  • Solar Inverters – Here is a simple explanation of this piece that is found in every solar array – including what it does and why it is necessary.
  • Solar Pool Heaters – Want to keep your pool warm year round? Learn more about replacing that gas-powered heater with solar collectors for your pool.
  • Solar Panel Efficiency – There is lots of inaccurate information out there about how efficient solar panels are at converting sunlight to energy. Read this page to get the real low down.
  • Solar Powered Hot Tub – You might not believe it, but we get a lot of questions from homeowners about how many solar panels it would take to power their jacuzzi. Find out here.
  • Personal Solar Estimator – Finally, an easy and highly customizable tool that allows anyone to see how much money they would save by going solar. 1BOG’s solar estimator is the best on the web and makes exploring the advantages of solar quick and easy.

If you want more information about putting solar on your roof, check out the rest of 1BOG’s solar University for everything you need to know.

Is Wind Power the Way? The Top 7 Alternative Energies

New Scientist reports that a study by Mark Jacobson of the atmosphere and energy programme at Stanford University found wind power to be by far the most desirable source of energy. Excerpts below.

Link: Top 7 alternative energies listed – environment – 14 January 2009 – New Scientist.

The US could replace all its cars and trucks with electric cars powered by wind turbines taking up less than 3 square kilometres – in theory, at least. That's the conclusion of a detailed study ranking 11 types of non-fossil fuels according to their total ecological footprint and their benefit to human health.

The study, carried out by Mark Jacobson of the atmosphere and energy programme at Stanford University, found wind power to be by far the most desirable source of energy. Biofuels from corn and plant waste came right at the bottom of the list, along with nuclear power and "clean" coal.

Watch a video of Jacobson discussing his findings.

The energy sources that Jacobson found most promising were, in descending order:

• Wind

• Concentrated solar power (mirrors heating a tower of water)

• Geothermal energy

• Tidal energy

• Solar panels

• Wave energy

• Hydroelectric dams

To compare the fuels, Jacobson calculated the impacts each would have if it alone powered the entire US fleet of cars and trucks.

He considered not just the quantities of greenhouse gases that would be emitted, but also the impact the fuels would have on the ecosystem – taking up land and polluting water, for instance. Also considered were the fuel's impact on pollution and therefore human health, the availability of necessary resources, and the energy form's reliability.

"The energy alternatives that are good are not the ones that people have been talking about the most," says Jacobson.

"Some options that have been proposed are just downright awful," he says. "Ethanol-based biofuels will actually cause more harm to human health, wildlife, water supply, and land use than current fossil fuels."

A Critique of “An Inconvenient Truth”

Global Warming Hoax (can they be objective with that name?) points out some problems with Al Gore’s movie and slide presentation, according to their set of facts. I wholeheartedly agree with one conclusion from the report — see below.

Link: Global Warming Hoax: Facts and Fictions of Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth"

The only way to reduce atmospheric CO2 would be to have solar panels on the roof of every house and building, windmills in every yard and electric cars in every driveway. It is something we will have to do anyway because someday the fossil fuels will run out. Doing these things will not require the political will that Al says people need to have. People will be more than happy to convert because it will save them the ridiculous amounts of money that people spend on home utilities and gasoline.

via Chris A.