|Me and my sibs, being all one with nature|
and stuff, circa about a million years ago.
I'm a firm believer in the fact that green living is about integrating eco-friendly choices into reality. I clearly recall that I didn't start blue-bagging until I lived in my first apartment, which had recycling bins in the parking lot. I didn't start separating organic waste from the rest of the garbage until I moved to Stony Plain, where we have Organicarts that are collected on a weekly basis.
Then there's this whole solar power thing. I'm not sure where my obsession with it began, but I do know that when Devin and I first started talking about building a home it was something I brought up very early on. And though he certainly was intrigued by the idea, he also tends to be a bit more pragmatic than I about this whole "let's save the world" business.
Fast forward a few years (and, you know, throw a baby in there just for fun) and the phrase "solar farm" (as in on our land) has actually befallen my ears via the mouth of my husband several times as of late. Be still my David Suzuki-lovin' heart!
So here's some info on solar power – specifically geared toward our Albertan climate, which we all know comes with its own set of… shall we say quirks?
|Ironically, this photo was taken in British Columbia.|
According to a recent study by the not-for-profit Canadian Solar Industries Association, "Alberta's solar energy resource is almost one million-billion kilowatt hours per year" (or 1,000,000,000,000,000… I didn't even realize there was such thing as a "million-billion"). Alberta is the best solar energy resource in all of Canada and, fun fact, even though Okotoks is more than 25 degrees of latitude further north than Miami, it still is a greater solar energy resource than "The Magic City" between the months of July and October.
|Just think – this could be you! For serious though,|
brushing snow from solar panels may not even be
necessary as "the albedo effect," i.e. sun reflecting
off of snow, "can make a panel generate more
electricity in the same way that it gives
skiers sunburn on sunny winter days." (Source)
I attempted to paraphrase (and then deleted) this article because of the nightmare-inducing equations, but then I found this one, which explained things just the way I like it – with words instead of numbers. Plus, it gives a grand total of nine explanations about the relationship between solar panels and temperature, one of them being: "As the solar panels get hotter, they will produce less power from the same amount of sunlight [than a colder panel]. Normally, electrons at rest (low energy) are excited by the sun (high energy), and the difference between their excited and rest energies is the potential difference (voltage) . . . Because we produce power from the difference in the states (at rest and excited by the sun), if the electrons have more energy at rest (your solar panels are hotter), the difference between the rest energy and excited energy (from the sun) is smaller, and our solar panels will produce less energy." What do you think, should I change my header to read "Of Houses and Trees: A Blog about Architecture, Interior Design, DIY Projects, Trees and, Of Course, Excited Electrons?"
|The days of ginormous solar panels protruding from the|
rooftops of only the crunchiest of hippies are coming
to an end. Behold... solar shingles!
"This is Oil Country" is O-V-E-R
No, I'm not talking about Connor McDavid (but, since I did bring him up, let me just say that poor kid is never going to live up to everyone's second-coming-like expectations of him – he's basically Barack Obama on skates). I'm talking about the glorification and shortsightedness that permeates our oil-soaked culture. Yes, we have a lot of oil. We get it already. But, as aforementioned, we also have a lot of sun. So pardon my idealism, but would it really be so hard to divert just a teeny bit of the time, the energy and the monies we put into the oil industry and send it on over to solar (and other alternative and renewable resources)? "That will never happen," you say. "It's all a conspiracy," you moan. "There are people who would have you shot just for saying that," you intone, twirling the tip of your handlebar mustache between your thumb and forefinger. "Bah," I scoff. "Change is coming," I muse. And then, I break into song… here comes the sun, little darling...
What say you? Is oil over? Have you ever thought about looking into solar power or other alternative energies? Do you care about where your power even comes from, or are you more of a "as long as I can binge-watch the new season of Orange is the New Black I'm all good" kind of person?