Why not more solar power in Tucson?
I did not see a single cloud in my four days in Tucson last week. But what really surprised me was that I also did not see a single solar panel. The University of Arizona, which I suspect may be an intellectual bubble in the middle of Tucson, did spawn a large number of Priuses. Most people drive pickup trucks. The strip malls and subdivisions stretched out until they bumped up against a national park or a mountain range.
If there ever was a place suited for solar power, it is Tucson.
Air-conditioning is ubiquitous and peak power demands coincide with peak sunlight. If I owned a home there it would be covered end to end with solar panels. I might trade off an expensive car, some square footage and maybe some fancy kitchen appliances for them. If I designed it all tastefully, the panels would also immediately start providing me with status. Panel envy would ensue and pretty soon all my neighbors would have them. Solar panels would become cool. And, unlike those other status symbols, the panels would also pay for themselves. Conversations at barbecues would be about watt-hours instead of lawn care, global warming would end and we would all live happily ever after in peace and harmony. The end.
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