Sunday, July 08, 2007

Solar Conference

I wanna go solar! After a morning at the Solar 2007 Conference in Cleveland, I was convinced. Solar panels on my roof -- oh, if only!

For 5K, I can get a portable solar panel about the size of a ping pong table that can sit anywhere outside and simply plugs into my electrical system, offsetting a good amount of electricity that is probably coming from a nuclear plant or coal. For a heck of a lot more money, I could be completely off grid.

The exhibit hall was rocking and it wasn't even noon yet. I looked at miniature and portable panels that can be used to recharge batteries, cell phones and other electronic devices. And I picked up a huge bag full of information to read on solar, geothermal and wind energy sources.

A lot of the exhibits were really technical. People were displaying various materials, hardware, software, electrical systems -- even an electrical car to plug in and charge on your solar powered system.

In one corner of the exhibition room, job openings in the solar business were posted and many young people were checking them out. Dustin Hoffman famously received the sage advice of "Plastic" as a metaphor for his generation. I'd say that the new word for the current generation has got to be "solar." And may it signify something more positive than plastic!

I found an educator's display table with lots of resources for teaching solar and alternative energy in the classroom. Other tables had piles of the latest books on a wide variety of solar topics, including how to build your very own outdoor solar oven. I joined Green Energy Ohio, which is the central clearing house for alternative energy information in Ohio.

It was very encouraging to see so many people in attendance. The Solar 2007 Conference at the Cleveland Convention Center is going on until July 12th and the exhibition hall is open to the public at certain times of the day. Check here for all the details and be sure to look for the solar coffee maker, somewhere outside of the hall on the west side:

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