Saturday, August 9, 2008

Solar Energy

Is it any wonder that the world is looking at alternate energy with world conditions the way they are today? We are already beginning a recession due to the continually rising prices of gasoline and other petroleum products.

A world food crisis is beginning due to the cost of shipping food worldwide. Added to that are the problems with the world rice harvest. Already people living in the third world are dying of starvation. Rice is a staple food for more than three billion people world wide. The increased rice prices are causing wide-spread starvation in some countries. But the problem doesn't there.

While the financial pinch we are feeling due to the rising cost of gasoline used to transport foodstuffs, petroleum produces more than gasoline. The Rankin Energy Corportation ( provides a partial list of products made from petroleum. This list represents only 144 of 6000 items made from oil.

Solvents, Diesel, Motor Oil, Bearing Grease, Ink, Floor Wax, Ballpoint Pens, Football Cleats, Upholstery, Sweaters, Boats, Insecticides, Bicycle Tires, Sports, Car Bodies, Nail Polish, Fishing Lures, Dresses, Tires, Golf Bags, Perfumes, Cassettes, Dishwasher, Tool Boxes, Shoe Polish, Motorcycle Helmet, Caulking, Petroleum Jelly, Transparent Tape, CD Player, Faucet Washers, Antiseptics, Clothesline, Curtains, Food Preservatives, Basketballs, Soap, Vitamin Capsules,
Antihistamines, Purses, Shoes, Dashboards, Cortisone, Deodorant, Footballs, Putty, Dyes, Panty Hose, Refrigerant, Percolators, Life Jackets, Rubbing Alcohol, Linings, Skis, TV Cabinets, Shag Rugs, Electrician's Tape, Tool Racks, Car Battery Cases, Epoxy, Paint, Mops, Slacks, Insect Repellent, Oil Filters, Umbrellas, Yarn, Fertilizers, Hair Coloring, Roofing, Toilet Seats, Fishing Rods, Lipstick, Denture Adhesive, Linoleum, Ice Cube Trays, Synthetic Rubber, Speakers, Plastic Wood, Electric Blankets, Glycerin, Tennis Rackets, Rubber Cement, Fishing Boots, Dice, Nylon Rope, Candles, Trash Bags, House Paint, Water Pipes, Hand Lotion, Roller Skates, Surf Boards, Shampoo, Wheels, Paint Rollers, Shower Curtains, Guitar Strings, Luggage, Aspirin, Safety Glasses, Antifreeze, Football Helmets, Awnings, Eyeglasses, Clothes, Toothbrushes, Ice Chests, Footballs, Combs, CD's, Paint Brushes, Detergents, Vaporizers, Balloons, Sun Glasses, Tents, Heart Valves, Crayons, Parachutes, Telephones, Enamel,
Pillows, Dishes, Cameras, Anesthetics, Artificial Turf, Artificial limbs, Bandages, Dentures, Model Cars, Folding Doors, Hair Curlers, Cold Cream, Movie Film, Soft Contact Lenses, Drinking Cups, Fan Belts, Car Enamel, Shaving Cream, Ammonia, Refrigerators, Golf Balls, Toothpaste, Gasoline

Americans consume petroleum products at a rate of three-and-a-half gallons of oil and more than 250 cubic feet of natural gas per day each! But, as shown here petroleum is not just used for fuel.

If the price of petroleum continues to rise, we could be in for a world-wide recession.

So…what can we do? Is there a way to make changes now and avert disaster? Several new technologies are being investigated as replacement sources of energy. Probably the one most talked about is solar energy.

Shi Zhengrong, the world’s first solar billionaire, predicts solar power will rival oil and coal before the end of the next decade.

Even though solar energy remains more expensive than nearly any other form of energy, it is being investigated now due to concerns about climate change. However, carbon is becoming more expensive and improved technology combined with increased capacity has driven down the manufacturing cost of photovoltaic cells (directly convert light into electricity at the atomic level) to reduce the price gap between solar and other energies.

Two examples of how the use of and interest in solar power is taking off.
· Last year in China, the National Development and Reform Commission, announced that solar projects would be initiated in ten provinces
· Florida started a solar rebate program that proved to be overwhelmingly successful. If residents of Florida purchased and installed a new solar energy system into their homes between July 1, 2006 & June 30, 2010, the state would rebate a portion of the purchase price

An excellent website which discusses ALL aspects of solar energy is:
They compiled the following list describing the pros and cons of solar energy.

Solar Energy Advantages

Saves you money
  • After the initial investment has been recovered, the energy from the sun is practically FREE.
  • The recovery/ payback period for this investment can be very short depending on how much electricity your household uses.
    Financial incentives are available form the government that will reduce your cost. (visit to find out about incentives available in the state you live in!).
  • If your system produces more energy than you use, your utility company can buy it from you, building up a credit on your account! This nifty little scheme is called "net-metering".
  • It will save you money on your electricity bill if you have one at all.
    Solar energy does not require any fuel.
  • It's not affected by the supply and demand of fuel and is therefore not subjected to the ever-increasing price of gasoline.
  • The savings are immediate and for many years to come.
    The use of solar energy indirectly reduces health costs.

Environmentally friendly

  • Solar Energy is clean, renewable (unlike gas, oil and coal) and sustainable, helping to protect our environment.
  • It does not pollute our air by releasing carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide or mercury into the atmosphere like many traditional forms of electrical generation does.
  • Therefore Solar Energy does not contribute to global warming, acid rain or smog.
  • It actively contributes to the decrease of harmful green house gas emissions.
  • It's generated where it is needed.
  • By not using any fuel, Solar Energy does not contribute to the cost and problems of the recovery and transportation of fuel or the storage of radioactive waste.

Independent/ semi-independent

  • Solar Energy can be utilized to offset utility-supplied energy consumption.
  • It does not only reduce your electricity bill, but will also continue to supply your home/ business with electricity in the event of a power outage.
  • A Solar Energy system can operate entirely independently, not requiring a connection to a power or gas grid at all. Systems can therefore be installed in remote locations (like holiday log cabins), making it more practical and cost-effective than the supply of utility electricity to a new site.
  • The use of Solar Energy reduces our dependence on foreign and/or centralized sources of energy, influenced by natural disasters or international events and so contributes to a sustainable future.
  • Solar Energy supports local job and wealth creation, fuelling local economies.

Low/ no maintenance

  • Solar Energy systems are virtually maintenance free and will last for decades.
  • Once installed, there are no recurring costs.
  • They operate silently, have no moving parts, do not release offensive smells and do not require you to add any fuel.
  • More solar panels can easily be added in the future when your family's needs grow.

Solar Energy Disadvantages

  • The initial cost is the main disadvantage of installing a solar energy system, largely because of the high cost of the semi-conducting materials used in building one.
  • The cost of solar energy is also high compared to non-renewable utility-supplied electricity. As energy shortages are becoming more common, solar energy is becoming more price-competitive.
  • Solar panels require quite a large area for installation to achieve a good level of efficiency.
  • The efficiency of the system also relies on the location of the sun, although this problem can be overcome with the installation of certain components.
  • The production of solar energy is influenced by the presence of clouds or pollution in the air.
  • Similarly, no solar energy will be produced during nighttime although a battery backup system and/or net metering will solve this problem. See for details on how net metering allows you to save electricity and money.
  • As far as solar powered cars go - their slower speed might not appeal to everyone caught up in today's rat race.

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