- Oct 12, 2007
Agree that decentralized is more efficient, at least in regard to employing current technology in solar panels.
Decentralized residential solar or wind can easily satisfy most residential lighting requirements, but heating, cooling, and cooking (assuming electric) are bigger issues. Who can, or would want to, go days without heat, cooling or cooking? Or even overnight? Battery backup? Not yet cost effective or practical.
Why not generate your own power? Because it is not reliable!!!
Even if you could convince Wal-Mart to put solar panels on the roof tops of all their stores, even if it were more economical than being on the grid, a commercial establishment will opt to have backup power available, either as the grid or a diesel gen-set. No one will shop a store that is dark. And hardly anyone these days can earn a living without reliable power.
Solar often fails us when we most need it. Consider a home in the extreme latitudes where, in winter, the sky is overcast 8 days per week. Heat is the need, and getting it from stored energy is not practical, either from batteries, or from water which is the most practical way to store renewable sourced energy.
I designed my own home. I considered all the energy saving technologies available circa 1995. In the end, I decided to forsake "getting off the grid" strategies and went with conservation strategies. I cool a 2400 square ft home in the Texas heat with 2 tons of air conditioning. My annual propane consumption for heating is typically 300 gallons per year (includes hot water and cooking).
Perhaps, in the next several decades, technology may offer new strategies to consider. That will be too late for me, likely you as well, but we can hope our grandkids will utilize them.
Slick, too much today, not enough tomorrow thinking. Like Butch said to Sundance, “I’ve got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals”.