Another major issue with solar energy is that on a watt to dollar basis, it’s a relatively inefficient medium of creating electricity.
Households and businesses that generate their own electricity sometimes produce more than they need. The surplus energy is fed into the grid. Your meter reading then goes down. If you have a smart meter, what you use is offset against the electricity you generate.
Government support for home-generated energy.
The government does not charge you energy tax for the electricity generated by your own home solar power system. The government no longer offers grants to private households for installing solar panels or solar boilers. But you can get a cheap loan for energy-saving measures in your home.
But will you be going off the grid?
One of the issues that prevent solar energy from becoming a truly cost-effective medium of generating energy is that it comes with some impressive upfront costs. It’s not unheard of for these systems to reach into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Paying your utility bill is a necessary part of modern life. But what if it wasn’t? What if one day, you could phone your electricity provider and cancel your contract, choosing instead to go it alone.
Make your own energy source this is a possibility, and is predicting the massive disruption of traditional utilities companies, due largely to the advent of super-efficient solar energy, and new advances in battery technology and manufacturing.
Solar-cells or “photo-voltaics” do not use a generator; they are the generator. Usually arranged in panels, these devices take advantage of the ability of light to cause a current to flow in some substances. A series of cells are wired together and the current flows from the panel when sunlight strikes it. They produce no pollution when operating, and most scientists predict that the fuel supply will last at least 4 billion years.
Solar panels have been relatively expensive to make, and of course they won’t work at night or in foul weather. Some of the processes needed to manufacture them have recently been called into question environmentally. Not all of the sunlight striking a solar cell is converted into electricity, and boosting efficiency has been slow work. Yet, the idea of harnessing all of that free sunlight remains a powerful driver for solar power.
Although there are some important technical (and social) differences, nuclear power stations are thermal plants that make electricity in much the same way as fossil-fuel plants. The difference is that they generate steam by using the heat of atomic fission rather than by burning coal, oil, or gas. The steam then turns a generator as in other thermal plants.
Diagram of a Nuclear plant in the Hydro-Québec system
Nuclear plants don’t use large amounts of fuel and do not refuel often, unlike a coal plant which must have train-loads of fuel shipped in regularly. The fact that green-house gasses and air-borne particulates are minimal during normal operation makes nuclear power attractive to many who are concerned about air-quality. Waste water is hotter than that from a fossil plant, and large cooling towers are designed to address this problem.
However, the drive to field nuclear power in the US faltered in the face of public concerns over safety, environmental, and economic issues. As more safety mechanisms were specified, construction costs and system complexities grew. Also, plants have shown some unexpected quirks, such as boiler tubes wearing out prematurely. Nuclear engineers contend that early problems with nuclear plants are subject to technical fixes, and are working on new “inherently safe” plant designs. Opponents argue that simply using uranium and plutonium as fuel creates too many problems and risks, not worth any benefits the technology might have.
So far, one problem which has not been solved is that of disposing of spent fuel cores and contaminated accessories which may remain dangerous for thousands of years. Permanent burial in geologically stable locations is the plan being pursued at this time, though this is still very controversial.
High-profile accidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986 were, for the nuclear industry, public-relation disasters. Continuing economic problems have made nuclear plants much less attractive investments. Even though it produced 22% of America’s electricity in 1996, nuclear power’s future in this country is uncertain and hotly debated.
WaterSeer is a low-tech, low-cost atmospheric water condenser that could help create water self-sufficiency in communities around the world.
A new device developed by VICI-Labs, in collaboration with UC Berkeley and the National Peace Corps Association, aims to provide a sustainable source of clean safe water for the millions without a reliable water supply. In the developed world, where most homes and businesses have ready access to clean water at the turn of a tap, we don’t really have to worry about most waterborne diseases, or dehydration, or the ability to wash our selves, our clothes, or our eating utensils, but those worries are still very real for the millions around the world without a reliable clean water source. The WaterSeer could help to alleviate some of those water poverty issues.
The WaterSeer is relatively simple device, designed to be operated without an external power input, and without the need for costly chemicals or maintenance, that can ‘pull’ moisture from thin air and condense it into water using the temperature difference between the above-ground turbine and the collection chamber installed six feet underground. The potable water can then be delivered to the surface for use via a simple pump and hose, and the device is said to be able to produce up to 11 gallons per day, even in arid regions.
And the best part? Discover The Amazing Device That Turns Air Into Water
“Previous solutions based on condensation use a great deal of energy, usually in the form of diesel-powered compressors and evaporators. They are basically big air conditioners. Some use powerful and dangerous chemicals that can damage the immediate environment. They are also difficult to move, require high technical skills to operate, and expensive to operate and maintain. WaterSeer uses no power or chemicals of any kind. It is completely non-polluting and its simple construction is inexpensive and maintenance free.”
The above-ground turbine spins in the breeze, turning internal fan blades and sending air down into a condensation chamber, where the air is naturally cooled by the surrounding earth, which causes the water vapor to condense into liquid water that flows into a reservoir below. The current model of WaterSeer, which is based on a unit first developed and then tested at the UC Berkeley Gill Tract Farm this spring, will be field-tested in collaboration with the National Peace Corps Association over the next 6 months, with the intent of shipping the finalized design within the next year.
Goodbye Power Company: Why You May Soon Be Generating Your Own Electricity
Could you survive after an EMP attack? Would you be able to sustain your loved ones when all hell brakes loose?In this video, I will unearth a long-forgotten secret that helped our ancestors survive famines, wars, economic crises, diseases, droughts, and anything else life threw at them… a secret that will help you do the same for your loved ones when America crumbles into the ground.I’m also going to share with you three old lessons that will ensure your children will be well fed when others are rummaging through garbage bins. Click here to learn all about the 3 skills that will help you thrive in any crises situation.