Alternative Energy and the
prospect of a changing climate and the need for finding less polluting
energy sources, was brought home today when a visit to a local house
was made to investigate a newly installed power generator, harvesting
energy from the wind. Followers of this site will know that the weather
has been a strong focus from its outset. Likewise it is hoped that
there is also a strong environmental theme that we need to understand
our environment to look after it.
Many houses in Lake Tyers
Beach have photo voltaic silicon cells on the roof and these not only
supplement their own use of electricity but often make more than they
need and can sell it back onto the grid. These cells are
and low maintenance and certainly point in the right direction
environmentally. Houses can reduce their carbon footprints
dramatically with this technology. Viewing the houses of Lake
Tyers Beach from the channel markers on the lake reveals row upon row
of solar panels. Well done guys, early adopters!!
is a 8 panel system with up to 1500 Watts Solar electro
system. The owner of this house was delighted with his
installation, as he could see his old fashioned spinning wheel
meter going backwards when he was generating excess
Nice one eh? Smart Meters put an end to that
is a combination of a Savorious and Darrious wind turbines that
generates up to 2000Watts of power. This turbine was spinning
easily even though in a relatively sheltered position and
light winds. It looked impressive!!
of these systems are used to supplement electricity use in the house.
Both also have inverters that allow excess electricity to be
back to the grid. Other systems such as Solar Hot Water systems set out
to avoid the use of electricity and simply tap into the energy in the
form of heat directly. Likewise well designed houses with
verandas and eaves can also reduce the need for energy as well.
systems have computers that allow the tanks to be lower than the
panels, and the tiny computer senses when the solar panels are hotter
than the water in the tank, and that there is valuable energy
available. The computer starts up a low power pump (5Watts)
pushes the cooler water from the tank, up into the panels, and forces
the heated water in the panels down into the tank. When the hot water
tank has sufficient hot water at the required temperature (often much
hotter than a person normally afford to heat it electrically) the pump
So what does this have to do with the weather?
Well obviously how much cloud cover, hours of illumination
ambient temperatures all effect the home generation systems and also
our demand for power. The draw back for solar is that we tend
have our highest demand for power in winter when our hours of
illumination are lowest and days of cloud cover are highest.
wind generators would seem to be able to fill a hole here and could
potentially augment our electricity supplies all the year around, and
24/7 at that. We could come to love those darn Easterlies.
However observers of this site's wind charts will realise
that wind can also be a fickle friend, with usually a land/sea
initiated breeze coming from somewhere, either onshore or
offshore. Usually in the change over, the wind drops to very
speed and a wind turbine would grind to a halt.
interesting and very encouraging to see that these technologies are
becoming realities for the average house owner to acquire and reduce
their electricity bills and carbon foot print. The vested
interests in power generation and therefore control of power to the
consumer will not take this lightly as it directly eats into their
profits. However until they meet the high environmental
that the systems on our homes meet then they have a long way to go to
be able to claim to be a superior system in every way. No
they find it irritating that their system is becoming less and less
important to many people, although obviously still essential, as
mentioned above, access to a reliable supply of power is still required
when the alternative sources are not available. Power
should be the first and biggest sellers of this technology, not resent
it, otherwise they will go the way of Kodak not recognising the
potential of the digital camera (yet they made one of the very first
Some people were lucky to get onto a 66cent
per kilowatt tariff for feeding power back into the grid.
who sign up now, get much less. However what it is
and impossible to legislate against, is the fact that as the costs of
power rise, any kilowatt
saved will always exactly equal what it would have cost to buy it
investing in solar now is really investing in a power-full