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Nov. 18th, 2001 | 03:52 pm

Real Goods is torturing me.

They sent their catalog with their latest renewable energy products in it.

And as a renter I really have no idea how I could go about building my own little solar power system.

The whole needing to screw the panels into the roof seems problematic, and the trees and apartment complexes surrounding the converted house I live in, seem to be blocking the sunlight during the winter.

And I can't afford to buy a house, and am not sure if a condo would have the needed features to go solar.

Then there's moving elsewhere, but then I lose the ability to walk/bike to my cushy academic job.

*sigh*

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Nov. 19th, 2001 12:33 am (UTC)
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No fair, dang homeowners associations preventing me from saving the planet....

Maybe I can afford one of those 600 square foot 1890's houses in pasadena.

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Nov. 19th, 2001 12:57 pm (UTC)
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Well, according to a few articles in home power and that real goods catalog. If you get the state refund for installing solar and switch to time of use metering you can actually hit the break-even point in about 5 years.

I think that's even for a professionally installed system.

As I understand it he time of use metering is key, because you end up selling power to the grid at the peak daytime 31 cents per kwh, yet buy the power back at night for 8 cents. Not to mention getting the state to pay for 40% of the system.

However to really use solar effectively you also need to focus on efficienty. And I suspect that getting most renters to remember to turn the lights off when they're not using them is probably pretty tough.
Not to mention strager things like using a spindryer and clothesline instead of a dryer.

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Nov. 19th, 2001 01:59 pm (UTC)
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I guess I was confusing off-grid solar vs. utility-intertie solar.

With off-grid, it becomes really important to minimize your waste as you have a finite ability to generate and store power. If someone leaves a light on that's power you expected you'd have later.

With intertie, it just offsets your electring bill. If you use more than you produce it just comes from somewhere else.

The biggest problem would be in landlord-pays-utilties buildings.

You mean like my building. I even tried suggesting switching some of the external lights to compact flourescent. The landlord thought they were too annoying to install, and that 100 watts wasn't that much.

I've been trying to build up the courage to call them and try and negotiate a lower rent for conservation measures. But I'm really not sure how well that'd work.

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Nov. 20th, 2001 12:08 am (UTC)
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Thanks for your suggestions so far...

I just need to actually try and do something...

Perhaps the easiest thing right now would be to talk to the landlord about me upgrading my refrigerator to something newer and amazingly energy efficent.
Though perhaps for $300 I can provide portable solar power my laptop. That might be fun.

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