Solar Update: May 2010, heat hits Bay Area and reflections on our energy consumption

    The green movement has led to a marketeers fantasy. Labels abound: "all natural", "organic", and "green".

    Sunpower Solar Monitoring May 2010

    Sunny, warm weather has finally decided to make the Bay Area home, at least for the summer season. The graph for this month’s solar production reflects the longer, brighter days.

    Our solar system does not generate all our household electricity needs, but does supplement it nicely. The size of the solar system we put in place was limited by the roof space we had that was south-west facing. Perhaps when the technology becomes more efficient, we’ll look at installing additional systems on the roofs that face other directions.

    With the BP oil drilling disaster in Gulf of Mexico and photos of the oil-covered birds just starting to appear on the Internet, it really puts into light the responsibility that each one of us has to look for ways to conserve and source sources of energy. The scrutiny placed on government and big corporations is important. However, I think we must look to ourselves and our consumption patterns.

    We can not chide businesses for seeking a commodity that we are so ready to pay without examining our own behaviors. The US is only second to Canada for having the largest energy requirements per capita. Reduction, like exercise, requires discipline and sacrifice. Nothing comes easy as much as we like to believe we can have our cake and eat it too.

    The green movement has led to a marketeers fantasy. Labels abound: “all natural”, “organic”, and “green”. Ultimately though, like fad diets, we need to face the truth that nothing comes easy and the truest form of “green” is to reduce consumption.

    There is no perfection and I do not claim to be the model of low carbon footprints. However, like a healthy lifestyle, it is not a single decision that determines success or failure. Instead, it is the accumulation of many decision that determine the outcome. We just all have to get better at making the right decision, more of the time.

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