Friday, March 07, 2008

A different type of solar farm

I've been fascinated with solar energy ever since high school. The one longer work I've written that's more distant future science fiction than my usual secondary world fantasy of whatever technological era (and for which I'm waiting to hear back from a publisher after a rewrite request on the final chapter) has a character who runs a solar farm. It never gets into the technological details of how they make it work, but it does play a role in the story.

So this article I find interesting. It's of a solar farm that relies on the heat of the sun rather than the light. It seems like an exciting development.

Colorado is a good place for solar panels of a more traditional sort--we get something like 340 days of sunshine here. I don't have a panel on our house. We just don't have the money to install something like that. But we do have some south-facing glass doors and a large window that I always open the curtains of right away in the morning, and so our furnace rarely runs during the day. I'm always paying attention to developments in solar panels that might make them cheaper and more efficient--it combines what I consider an obligation to care for the environment with cool new tech. So even when other energy sources have seemed more likely as the fuel of the future, I still gravitate toward solar in what catches my attention. Hopefully a combination of all these things--wind, tidal, geothermal, solar, and biomass (I'm not holding my breath on fusion, and while hydroelectric is very clean once the dam is built, in many cases there are other environmental consequences, so I'm cautious about that)--will help us stop burning fossil fuels. And my dream is that it's done in a way that's socially just, that provides further economic power to the disenfranchised rather than corporations.


TK42ONE said...

Ever watch Les Stroud's "Off The Grid" show? It was very interesting to see how much work (and how little work) it took to make things just that much more efficient. I'd like to think that if i were single, I'd be that little hermit guy living in the desert in a mud hut living off the land.

But the heat of the sun is an interesting twist.

Daniel Ausema said...

Yeah, I imagine myself doing such as well, but I haven't seen that show. I'd love to be more self-sufficient when it comes to food too, and we have as big a vegetable garden as our backyard will allow, but it's not much. I'll have to keep an eye out for that show.

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