QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Jun 5 2003, 06:54 PM)
What has always baffled me is the poor spread of solar technology. The cost of installing solar panels on the roof of a house is under $3,000 and they pay for themselves extremely quickly. In an area like Houston or LA if even 15% of the homes were to have them the savings would be extraordinary.
Do you mean solar electric? This is an alternative method of producing, but it still fosters consumption, it adds little to actual conservation. One of the considerations when the class discussed the Alternate Energy methods was the contribution to pollution. Overall expense per KWH was the ultimate consideration, but handlling the raw materials and processing the waste products are a big part of that. Once electric solar panels are made, there is no pollution, but the mining, processing, refining, disposing of waste byproducts, etc. of some of the materials used to manufacture the cells is very polluting. The company I used to work for used them a lot for remote communications sites. An additional problem was theft of the panels!
Likewise batteries if used with solar panels, they are very polluting to make and dispose of. At least solar cells have a fairly long life, battery technology still has a long way to go.