Sometimes, I just wonder when solar energy can be as common as your dishwasher or a TV in your home. I simply cannot understand why this cannot be possible… if there’s a will, there’s a way right?
With gadgets that allow you to simply point a solar panel to the sun and plug-in to your nearest electrical outlet in your home to provide extra power, I don’t see why this can’t be mass produced and sold in retail stores as a home appliance that actually saves you money.
Some samples of these gadgets:
http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/innovation/08/17/plug.in.solar.energy/index.html or http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20013704-54.html (Clarian Technologies “Solar SmartBox” product)
http://www.josh.com/Solar/ (Solar in a box product)
Think about it, if every home (there are about 100 million in the USA) just had a small 100W solar panel producing power the whole day, how much power can the whole country save? (100w * 100 million = 10 billion watts or 10 Gigawatts)… How many nuclear plants or coal plants can be taken out of operation just from these savings alone?
What’s nice about this is that it is simply a plug-and-play system.. with no moving parts and should last for at least 25 – 30 years.. it just simply works as long as the sun is shining. It also doesn’t need a battery bank (unless you want it to act as a power back up system), charge controllers, or other expensive equipment to use… which lowers the cost a lot.
I’m not an engineer and don’t know much about the electronics needed to make these plug-in gadgets but i’m pretty sure if these are mass produced and standardized, these can be easily be sold at a much lower price range.. and if the government pitches in with subsidized panels/gadgets, it can be much much cheaper! (We can subsidize those digital tv converter boxes so why not subsidize these technologies that actually save money for the end users and make the country more self-sufficient?)
Another positive side effect of this is that it essentially creates a decentralized grid of energy producing nodes (your homes). If your home produces more electricity than is needed (like during the day when no one is home), then it could theoretically send that electricity back to the power company who then can redistribute that electricity to others who may need it at that time (factories, businesss, and even other homes). If done right, I believe it can even help in still providing power to the grid in case of emergencies when large power plants suddenly don’t work. Think of it as the “Internet” of electricty… decentralized nodes providing power to the grid so that even if one part of the grid goes down, the rest of the other nodes still keep working to provide power.
President Obama, with your move for greater American energy self-sufficiency (which I greatly admire by the way), can you and your technical experts please look into this possibility?
Can a $100 100-watt plug-in solar panel be available in our nearest Wal-Mart soon?