Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thinking Solar in NE Ohio

As the last week of summer break for this teacher draws to a close, I'm happy to report that the thesis writing project is also reaching the final stages. There are a few holes left to fill in and then it must be examined by my academic advisers who will no doubt have valuable critiques that call for revisions here and there. But the bulk of it feels like it will stand on two legs and make its way through the official channels and eventually end up in electronic format for all to peruse.

I look forward to blogging regularly once again as well as having more time for participation in local events both environmental and theatrical. After attending last night's E4S session on commercial applications for solar power investment, I feel a wee bit more hopeful about Akron's chances of stepping forward and taking leadership in becoming energy efficient. The need to educate the public and private sectors remains paramount.

Last night we looked at solar installations at some forward-looking NEOhio businesses. Lake Erie Business Park near Toledo is installing a massive solar panel display on their roof. Prospective renters will benefit from lower energy costs, making this incubator highly attractive.

What most people don't get is how many grants and tax credits are available for commercial solar installations. Panel members at the presentation last night put up their figures for a number of installations and we could see how the initial cost figures are rapidly reduced by taking advantage of both federal and state assistance. Sorry I didn't take the time to write down the exact figures, but I can tell you we were all impressed to see 100k plus projects whittled down to a start up figure of between 20 and 30 thousand dollars.

The biggest hill to get over is resistance to invest in something that takes five to ten years before savings show up in energy expenditures. And yet, the solar panels (which are the most expensive part of the package) are good for 50 years. The electrical apparatus (not nearly so costly) will need to be replaced once every 20 years. Meanwhile, we know for sure that energy costs are on the rise. Both First Energy and AEP are petitioning to raise rates -- not just slightly, either! AEP is pushing for a 45% rate increase! First Energy is going for at least a 15% increase over the next three years.

If you live in or near the Akron area, don't forget the Green Energy Expo this Saturday at the JS Knight Center. It's free to attend and features an exposition of 50 plus vendors as well as a keynote address by Dr Lonnie G Thompson, on Retreating Glaciers: A Paleoclimate Perspective from the World's Highest Mountains. Dr Thompson was a featured adviser to Al Gore in the making of the Inconvenient Truth documentary. The afternoon will feature breakout sessions on a wide array of green energy issues, including solar, wind, wood gasifcation, LED lighting, energy efficiency, creating a sustainable office, investing in the green economy, and much much more -- and as cannot be stated too often -- it's free and open to the public!

September 10 -- put this date on your calendar so that you will attend the next E4S Akron session, at which the group working on Akron's Greenprint will be presenting some of their ideas and soliciting responses.


microdot said...

I haven't commented very much lately because my slightly brain damaged antique iMac takes so long to load your blog. I also cannot load the additional plug ins your page tells me I need to make it function properly.
That said, I think I am just about on target to be the first one to wish you a joyous blogiversary! 2 Years?

I was very happy to recieve my latest issue of the weekly magazine Nouvelle Observateur in the mail yesterday and find a major article that was titled...Beyond The Age of Petrol...
It was a great article that showcased what is available to the French public in government grants for energy saving technology as well as the latest advances.

There is actually a program to revive the small railway lines that once threaded through the country side and utilize new technology.
They are talking about a light railway service powered by passive electricity generation.

I bike a lot and find the old beds of the lines and the ancient stations...many of the stations have been sold and are small homes.

We are only using our car on the average of twice a week...of course the incentive is much greater here,
the price of the cheapest diesel is average 1,30 Euros a liter. Figure out the gallon price in dollars...the exchange rate is 1.49 went down!

Village Green said...

Congratulations on your blogiversery, Microdot! We'll be celebrating ours on August 19th -- wow, two years of blogging fun! It feels like some kind of accomplishment!