You’ve got to stay up on solar breakthroughs, and keep updating your system
We live in what is probably the most exciting time in history for generating your own power. There is so much research and development going on in the energy space lately that it’s sometimes hard to keep up. Fortunately, that’s why you have me! Here are 4 developments that could help you get rid of power company and go energy independent.
Solar Storage Advances
Oddly enough the oldest technology in any off grid system is arguably the in the most important part: the batteries. Lead-acid batteries are using science that has been around for a century, and hasn’t advanced a bit. Luckily lithium ion batteries are quickly becoming available at the size and price needed for solar applications. And solar storage is a major emphasis for university research. MIT has discovered a way to store solar thermal energy indefinitely: http://www.kurzweilai.net/new-way-to-store-solar-energy-for-use-whenever-its-needed
Solar Cells Applied to Everyday Items
Soon they will be printing solar cells on nearly any material. You might see solar cells on window glass, wall coverings, and just about anything else you want. These solar cells can be applied to nearly any material, folded, and unfolded with no real energy loss or damage to the cells. You think a solar tarp might come in handy for your survival kit? Solar shingles from Dow are being rolled out across the country too. These can serve the dual purpose of protecting your home and generating power.
Solar Thermal Catches Up
Solar thermal has been largely forgotten in the clean energy revolution of the last few years. The ugly solar water heating units that were popular in the 70’s haven’t change all that much in the last 40 years. Fortunately recent advancements could change all that. Today’s collectors are twice as efficient as the older panels, look better and work in less sunlight than ever. Plus they are getting easier and easier to integrate into an existing home’s water heating systems.
Solar Prices Are Coming Way Down
Of course the best news in all of this is that its getting more and more affordable every year to buy and build solar power systems. When I first started looking into this, solar was expensive and there were zero incentives available. Typical prices for a complete system were around $10 per watt. Now you can find complete systems that you can install yourself for as little as $3 per watt. Just 3 years ago systems cost $7 per watt. The rapid price decline, and how easy it is to install a system these days, has really surprised me – pleasantly of course.
And there are more changes coming too. Every day I read something that makes me think that every house will have solar and probably wind generators standard very soon. Plus, more and more of my independent brethren will be able to say goodbye to the power monopolies forever. Stay tuned for all the latest developments right here….
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