Sunday, August 2, 2015

Off Topic: Solar Technology Moving Forward in Texas?

There is a lot of debate about whether solar power will really play a big role in the future or not. But this Dallas Morning News article suggests that it is moving forward in Texas and likely to gain broader acceptance over the next decade. 


"In the more than 130 years since Thomas Edison released the electric light bulb on the world, households have more or less gotten electricity one way. Build a power plant, string power lines in all directions until you’ve connected as many homes and businesses as possible, repeat.
But in a nondescript white brick house a few miles outside downtown Houston, there is no need for a distant power plant spinning on a steady burn of coal or maybe radioactive uranium.
One moment the lights and home appliances are humming along like those in any building. Then, for a fraction of a second, the lights dim and the room goes quiet. Joe Coffey, an engineer with NRG Energy who spends his days testing out devices like portable solar panels and water heaters you put on your roof, has cut the house off from the power grid.
Only, the air conditioner is still running, as are the lights. In place of the grid — or the standard gasoline-powered backup generator — is a battery array in the garage and solar panels on the roof. On the patio, where the grill should be, sits what is essentially a 5-foot-tall miniature power plant hooked into the natural gas line.
“A lot of this stuff, it’s going to be years before it can be delivered to customers cost-effectively. But it’s like anything. There’s going to be early adopters, and we want to be ready,” Coffey said."

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