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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunshine is Free, Unless Exxon Buys the Sun

Hear what Vermont Senator Bernard Sanders (I) says about concentrated solar power's potential to reverse global climate warming. He told Correspondent Mark Bralley, after a Senate Hearing in Albuquerque, he believes solar power will help America break its dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.  Listen to Bralley's interview with Sen. Sanders and Senate Energy Chairman Jeff Bingaman on "What's the Word?" blog here. Hear some hopeful news ...

July 6, 2008 at 08:05 PM in Energy, Environment | Permalink


There was recent controversy regarding the environmental impact of acres of solar panels spread across sensitive lands. The next question should be, so why use pristine land when we have plenty of surface area on urban rooftops and parking lots. Well, could it be that de-centralized power sources like that does not allow a few guys at the top to concentrate wealth as they sell energy to the people. Grid infrastructure already exists in populated areas such that individual buildings could be self-sustaining contributing excess energy to surrounding buildings or just to the grid.

Concentrated solar power is different than solar panels alone. This technology does have the potential as a tremendous source of clean energy. Sunlight is gathered or collected by parabolic mirrors and then focused to a point that can be thousands of degrees. This hot point can be used to heat say water which in turn generates steam to turn turbines. Realize that HOT WATER is really just the end product of nuclear reactors.
Parabolic mirrors could be used to concentrate sunlight onto solar panels making them more efficient on roof-tops. Parabolic mirrors can be used to purify water for drinking as well. The applications for a hot point are endless.
Mirrors are cheap and plentiful folks.
As for solar power generating jobs, well perhaps a few jobs could be created but the mirrors, panels and components, like everything else could be more cheaply fabricated in China or India. Still, solar power infrastructure has to be built here. Will these construction jobs be given to private contractors unwilling to pay dignified wages?
The notion of expanding solar technologies has me excited. One of my nicknames throughout my career building mirror arrays was Mirror Mavin, so trust me , this idea has legs. I hope I can find a job.

Posted by: qofdisks | Jul 7, 2008 12:07:29 PM

Helpful comments gofdisks. You should write a guest post about this topic for DFNM.

Obviously it's much more efficient to decentralize energy production. We have the same problem with energy middle men as we do with insurance middle men in health care. All they do is suck up money that could be used to do what's needed.

Posted by: Old Dem | Jul 7, 2008 1:07:09 PM

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