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Plugged In

Plugged In

More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives

6 things about solar PV, from one who actually knows

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My friend Mark Turner just finished up his own solar PV roof installation, and like everybody else I've been curious about how it worked -- and how it's working out.

He responded with a blog post that answers just about every simple question, so I thought I'd share it here. I hope we follow along sometime soon. I'll let you know if we do.

He notes that though his roof isn't perfect, something is better than nothing. With solar and wind power both expected to soon be cheaper than fossil fuels, he makes the point that any generation is better than none, at the very least because it helps provide the push towards economic viability that these technologies need -- and the adoption that will convince remaining naysayers. He also makes a small but very important point -- that it's better to know what you're using. He says using an eGauge, which helps him monitor not just generation but usage, has made him hyperaware of his family's electricity use: "The meter’s made me so aware of our energy I can actually tell by looking at it when a light bulb has been left on somewhere in the house. Just getting an energy meter can drastically alter your energy use and make you a greener household, all for a small fraction of the price of a PV system."

Hybrid drivers say the same: just seeing them MPG fluctuate provides a feedback loop enabling them to consciously drive more economically.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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