Meet Rep. Joe Barton: He understands global warming

Rep. Joe Barton of Texas is a former Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the chief author of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

I bet he knows his stuff about climate change and renewable energy, right?  I mean, to get to that post, and to author such important policy regarding energy, he must be pretty well informed, right?

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*sigh* Of course not.

This is paraphrased, the full quote is:

“Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can’t transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It’s just something to think about.”

Not as cringe worthy, as he made the thought hypothetical, but clearly doesn’t have a grasp of the scientific principles here.  Yet, he would tell you that there is NO way that humans are POSSIBLY responsible for Climate Change.  He would say it’s something more like Noah’s flood.

*sigh*

Introducing: DOW’s ‘Powerhouse’ Solar Shingles

DOW is not usually a name that comes up when discussing sustainability and clean technology.

That may change now that the company has start selling and installing their first rooftop solar shingles.  This modular PV system, dubbed ‘Powerhouse’ (oh, I get it) doesn’t just mount on your roof, it IS your roof.  These individual units overlap just like asphalt shingles and string together in a circuit, giving you much more flexibility in fitting your roof’s shape and size.

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What are the pros of a system like this?

-They are flush with the rest of your roof

One of the main complaints about roof mounted PV systems is that they literally stand out, detracting from the architectural aesthetic of a home

-No mounting brackets

The singles attach with nails, just like normal roofing shingles.  Also, no mounting brackets means less equipment to buy!

-Modular

You can install as many or as few as you like, or your budget will allow

Potential cons:

-No adjusting the angle

Solar installers typically put panels in at the optimum angle for electricity production, which varies by location.  This angle doesn’t always match your roof, so there could be decreased efficiency, especially on steep roofs

-Solar panels are less effective when hot

DOW may have a way of addressing this, but without air moving over AND under the panels, they might heat up more, making them less efficient.

 

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I wasn’t able to find any pricing information per shingle, but here is a good infographic from DOW explain the total costs of ownership:

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More info:

http://www.dowpowerhouse.com/

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/eiie45gfjl/madrigals-home-2/

 

The State of the Solar Industry

The Solar Energy Industries Association has released their Q2 report, and the news is sunny! (oooh, sorry ’bout that.  The pun was too tempting)

The highlights: 832 Megawatts of new solar installed in the second quarter of 2013, the second best quarter for solar, ever.

This brings the US total to 9,400 Megawatts of solar electricity, on pace to reach 10,000MW (10GW) by the end of the year.

To put that in layman’s terms, that’s enough to power 1.5 MILLION homes.  To put it another way, it’s like removing 1.9 Million cars from the road.

Powering 1.5 Million homes, or taking 1.9 Million cars off the road.  With that comparison, we can deduce that ‘going solar’ has a BIGGER environmental impact than buying an electric car, way bigger than buying a hybrid!

Click on SEIA’s infographic for more from their Q2 report:

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Source: SEIA.org

Why the U.S. Power Grid’s Days Are Numbered – Businessweek

Here’s a recent article from business week proclaiming that the days of the centralized regulated power grid are numbered.  We all know that monopolies are prohibited in the United States, except for areas such as utilities.  Now, as more people combat pollution and rising fuel prices with home-grown solar and geothermal power generation, there is a small yet growing challenge for the monolithic utilities.

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Sound far fetched to you?  Read the article to see why some industry experts think it is coming sooner than you think!

Why the U.S. Power Grid’s Days Are Numbered – Businessweek.