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Indiana community welcomes Business Electricity Comparison wounded vet with free house
On December 11, 2009, Matt Moeller of Fort Wayne, Indiana was severely wounded by an IED while serving in Afghanistan. On Tuesday, his community showed their gratitude by breaking ground on a new home for the Moeller family, free of charge. WANE-TV's Jesse Hawila reports.
September 25, 9:46 PM
A Green Electricity Comparison
With electricity prices soaring and global warming a growing concern, there has never been a better time to invest in a residential source of green energy. Perhaps not by coincidence, there have never been more options available for home electricity generation. When shopping for home power generators, there is a bewildering array of options, and no one system is best for every household. With that in mind, a green electricity comparison can help take some of the legwork out of the decision making process.
Green Energy From Residential Solar Systems
Residential solar systems, or photovoltaic systems, are perhaps the most common and well known sources of green energy, and can certainly be a good choice either as a stand alone system or as one component of an integrated alternative energy design.
Solar panels generally involve a higher upfront cost, but have been shown to be durable and reliable over the long haul. In Photovoltaics: Design and Installation Manual by Solar Energy International [Solar Energy International, 2004] it is estimated that modern photovoltaic systems can be expected to work reliably for up to 25 years or more. Other advantages of residential solar systems include:
Low maintenance: once installed, residential solar energy systems require only occasional inspections and minimal maintenance.
No ongoing costs: while initial outlay costs are comparatively high, once installed, residential solar systems work essentially for free.
No sound pollution or greenhouse gasses: residential solar systems work silently and without emissions
Safety: photovoltaic systems involve minimal movement and no combustible fuels, and as such are exceptionally safe compared to other alternative energy sources.
Potential Drawbacks of Solar Energy
Residential solar systems are not without their disadvantages. Photovoltaic systems are not ideal as a primary source of electricity for areas of variable solar radiation. This can include high latitudes, or areas that are often overcast. Additionally, it is unlikely a residential solar system will be able to provide all a household's electricity needs without either a sizable initial investment or significant changes in energy consumption.
Renewable Energy From Home Wind Turbines
Probably the second most popular residential source of green energy is the home wind turbine. Wind energy, like solar, takes advantage compare business electricity of a natural phenomenon to produce green energy, with few costs after the initial installation.
Wind turbines can be as rustic or as sophisticated as the owners themselves, and so costs of electricity are difficult to calculate. For example, in Wind Power: Renewable Energy for Home, Farm and Business by Paul Gipe [Chelsea Green Publishing, 2004] the author describes a hand made wind generator based on a recycled brake drum. By comparison, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) quotes prices of $6,600 to $22,000 for a commercial, professionally installed home wind turbine.
As with residential solar systems, home wind turbines come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Some of the considerable advantages of using home wind turbines to produce green energy include:
Potential for Easy and Affordable Set-up: Home wind turbines are a great choice for the backyard engineer, and have been known to bring out the tinkering spirit in those who are so inclined. For those who are not so inclined, there are any number of qualified green energy companies happy to take care of installation.
Low Maintenance: Like solar panels, home wind turbines are intended to be a long term investment. The AWEA asserts that a commercial home wind turbine can be expected to perform with minimal maintenance for at least 20 years.
Reduced Electricity Bills: Even for those not going fully off grid, many families using supplementary wind turbines have reported monthly electric bills under $20.00 for most of the year.
Limitations of Home Wind Turbines
No green energy system is perfect, and home wind turbines are no exception. Larger wind turbines can make some noise, and are therefore not always an ideal choice for urban or suburban homes. They are reliant on wind movement, and only produce electricity when actively turning, and so a back-up generator or a grid-tie system is often recommended. As with solar generators, the initial financial outlay for a commercial model can be daunting. However, both wind and solar power have the potential to pay for themselves over time in energy savings.
Comparing Electricity Sources: A Combination of Green Energy Sources Works Well
Many households find a combination of wind and solar energy works best to meet their sustainable electricity needs. The two systems tend to work well together, each offsetting the limitations of the other. The initial cost can be defrayed by adding components in a modular fashion as finances allow, or by buying a complete system and using energy savings to cover the cost of the payment.
Most importantly, whichever system is used, it will provide a reliable source of sustainable, emission-free green energy, and therefore is not only a financial investment, but an ecological one as well.
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