Solar Power – Why you REALLY need it!

Is solar energy part of your power backup planning? If not then it certainly should be! Why wouldn’t you consider installing solar – after all, it’s the ultimate free energy source? Most people though never start. This top rate article from Backwoods Home explains fully why you really  need to install solar:

 

It’s hard to know what to believe anymore. Some news outlets just repeat whatever their political handlers tell them, while others only print the stories they want you to hear. Many quote results of endless polls based on their biased questions, while federal agencies hide their real agendas and publish glowing reports concerning what a great job they are doing.

For example, did you know that last April 2013, 17 large PG&E transformers located inside a high-security fence were destroyed by a sniper team near San Jose, California? Just before the shooting started, they cut a fiber optic communications cable running near the facility which caused a total area-wide communications blackout. Although more than 100 shell casings were left behind, there were no fingerprints found and the multiple security cameras did not record anyone shooting — the snipers were well aware of the camera locations even in the dark. When this terrorist attack finally came to light almost a year later, it was called “old news” and chalked up to local vandalism, not terrorism. So just how safe is our electric grid?

First, there is no single electrical grid. The electric grid in the United States consists of hundreds of separate generating facilities and thousands of transmission lines owned and maintained by many different companies. Most existing power plants were built near reliable fuel supplies. Bodies of water that could be dammed determined where hydro-electric plants were built. Large rivers that could accommodate coal-barge traffic and provide a source of cooling water were ideal locations for coal-fired power plants. Nuclear power plants require lots of water for cooling and are also usually located near large bodies of fresh water. Gas turbine generator plants are usually located near major gas transmission pipelines.

Construction of any power plant attracts power-hungry industries to any area within reach of the new power transmission lines. Electric co-ops are then formed to extend this electrical power to the more rural areas of the country to serve homes, farms, and small businesses.

Over the years, the need to increase system capacity and improve reliability resulted in other types of generating facilities being added to existing grid networks to help balance out major swings in the hourly and seasonal electrical demand.

Although smaller gas-turbine generator facilities have a higher cost per kWh than the larger coal-fired plants, these turbine generators can be up and running in minutes to satisfy an unexpected peak load on the grid, while a coal-fired plant may take more than 24 hours to bring from idle to full production. Most of the independent electric grids today include a mix of generator plant types to help balance power production with power demand using the most economical mix of generating capacity.

In Bath County, Virginia, there is an artificial lake on the top of a mountain which has large pipes leading down to a lower storage basin and generator facility. This system can be operational in minutes by opening large valves and allowing up to 13.5 million gallons of water per minute to drop over 1,200 feet down to the lower water turbines which drive six separate 500 megawatt generators. Although this facility can provide an almost instant response to sudden peaks in power demand to six separate regional power companies, it can only produce this power for a limited time before the upper lake is drained into the lower storage basin. Later, when the power demand on the grid falls back to much lower levels, grid operators reverse the operation to pump the same water back to the upper lake where it will be ready for the next power surge.

Independent electric grid operators throughout the country have no control over what each of us plug in or turn on in our homes and businesses, so the power demand on the grid is constantly changing. Sometimes these changes are very rapid but expected, such as each weekday morning’s peak demand around 7:00 a.m. when offices, schools, and businesses start turning on lights and HVAC systems to prepare for another day. Seasonal spikes in the power demand are also anticipated when the weather forecasts indicate the next day will be extremely hot or cold. These advance warnings allow power plant operators time to bring additional capacity online just before it will be needed. There are also times when grid operators are caught totally off guard by a failed transformer or downed power line, which requires rerouting their generator output through other transmission equipment which bypass the trouble area….

 

Make sure to check out the rest of the excellent article at backwoodshome.com and get started on the solar path today!

Original image sourced from flickr.com, shown under a Creative Commons license.

 

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