Indicators include the news that Solar Night Industries intends to start churning out “portable power supplies, home and energy power grid solutions, consumer outdoor/indoor products, portable 110V plugs, solar sporting solutions and many more.” Currently Solar Night Industries specializes in the very lovely but not particularly, um, useful fiber optic daylily (pictured above).
Indicator two: Solar power makes homeowners happy. Am I the only one who thinks that’s just about the cutest headline ever? The article begins, “Today’s solar home buyer is not a stereotypical green enthusiast.” That’s good news, people. It goes on to report on a small survey of residents of new solar home developments in California (of course):
- 53 percent said their top reason for buying a solar home was to save money; 15 percent said it was to reduce environmental impacts.
- 70 percent reported their electric bills were significantly less; 17 percent said they didn’t know if their costs had changed.
- 86 percent said they had no problems with their solar home; 92 percent said they would recommend a solar home to a friend.
Hey, whether trying to be earth-thoughtful or not, the fact remains that they’re being accidentally thoughtful, which makes me happy! It’s like when you don’t want to dance at a party because you’re a terrible dancer, and your rhythmo-phobic fiance thinks you’re being all sweet and not dancing so you can keep him company. Which has never happened to me.
Where was I? Ah yes. Sounds like those homeowners are finding solar cost-effective — but they’re wrong. Because according to people who know these things, it will be another half-decade until solar can compete in the energy market.
“We’re four to five years away from the point at which solar is cost-effective with traditional electricity generation without any subsidy,” Norm Taffe, executive vice-president for the consumer and computation division at Cypress, told the Globalpress Summit conference in Monterey earlier this month.
Whew! Then the massive solar subsidies doled out by the government won’t be draining our budget as much. Maybe that’s the key to getting out of this nasty
little big-ass deficit!
Sold on solar? You don’t even have to design a new house, or get exciting solar gadgets for your own house. If you’re willing to uproot yourself and move to the middle of a university campus — and really, who isn’t? — Cornell University is auctioning off a solar home that was built by students and now sits empty. It offers a “combination living room-study-kitchen.” How can you pass it up?