Reasons to go with Solar Power (PV)
Simplicity - Photovoltaic, systems create electricity directly from sunlight. They come pre-packaged, ready to be mounted and wired. Modules contain no moving parts, eliminating service a maintenance needs.
Versatility - PV systems come in a range of sizes and output. They are lightweight, allowing for easy and safe transportation in any terrain.
Modularity - New modules can be easily added to existing systems to expand with power needs.
Durability - PV systems are manufactured to withstand the most rugged conditions. Modules are designed to endure extreme temperatures, at any elevation, in high winds, and with any degree of moisture or salt in the atmosphere. Systems can be designed with storage capabilities to provide consistent, high-quality power even when the sun isn't shining.
Reliability - Not only do PV systems perform in almost any environment, they are built and guaranteed to last 10 to 20 years or more. The service and maintenance costs incurred over the life of the system are far lower than conventional alternatives.
Non-polluting - Since PV produces energy without fuel consumption, systems do not emit toxic gases and they don't make noise. And, PV does not cause habitat destruction from cooling, damming or waste destruction like nuclear, fossil fuel and hydro plants.
My Ham Shack is solar powered. I am using a 15 watt photovoltaic solar panel, and a homebrew solar charge controller. The solar panel delivers a maximum of about 1 amp.The charge controller was built from a construction project that I found in the June 94 issue of 73 Magazine. I made my own printed circuit board from the template provided in the construction article, but pre-made circuit boards can be purchased from Far Circuits for a very reasonable cost. The cost of the parts to stuff the PC-Board will run you about 5 to 10 dollars, depending on where you buy your parts. The controller is known as the MRP-4 Solar Controller.
This is what my 15 watt solar panel looks like. It is manufactured by ICP Global Technologies. The dimensions are 38" x 13" x 1" (HWD). The weight is 9.2 lbs.
Picture of my hombrew MRP-4 Solar Controller
Solar Power Warning (Humor)
groups and individuals are proposing that our government spend
money on research and development of systems to utilize solar energy. They
urge construction of vast solar energy collectors to convert sunlight to
electricity to supply our energy needs. They would even put solar collectors
on roofs of homes, factories, schools, and other buildings. Proponents of
this technology claim that solar power will be safer and cleaner than coal,
oil, or nuclear energy sources.
We view these proposals with alarm. Unscrupulous scientists and greedy
promoters are hoodwinking a gullible public. We consider it rash and
dangerous to commit our country to the use of solar power. This solar
technology has never been utilized on such a large scale, and we have no
assurance of its long-range safety. Not one single study has been done to
assess the safety of electricity from solar energy as compared to
electricity from other sources.
The promoters of solar power cleverly lead you to believe that it is
perfectly safe. Yet they conveniently neglect to mention that solar power is
generated by nuclear fusion within the sun. This process operates on the
very same basic laws of nuclear physics used in nuclear power plants and
And what is the source of this energy? It is hydrogen, a highly explosive
gas (remember the Hindenberg?) Hydrogen is also the active material in
H-bombs, which are not only tremendously destructive, but produce dangerous
fallout. The glib advocates of solar power don't even mention these
disturbing facts about the true sources of solar power. What else are they
trying to hide from us?
In addition to the known dangers cited above, what about the unknown
dangers, which very well might be worse? When pressed, scientists will admit
that they do not fully understand the workings of the sun, or even of the
atom. They will even grudgingly admit that our knowledge of the basic laws
of physics is not yet perfect or complete. Yet these same reckless
scientists would have us use this solar technology even before we fully
understand how it works.
Admittedly we are already subject to a natural `background' radiation from
the sun. We can do little about that, except to stay out of direct sunlight
as much as possible. The evidence is already clear that too much exposure to
sunlight can cause skin cancer. But solar collectors would concentrate that
sunlight (which otherwise would have fallen harmlessly on waste land),
convert it to electricity and pipe it into our homes to irradiate us from
every light bulb! We would then not even be safe from this cancer-producing
energy even in our own homes!
We all know that looking at the sun for even a few seconds can cause
blindness. What long term health hazards might result from reading by light
derived from solar energy? Will we develop cataracts, or slowly go blind?
Not one medical study has yet addressed itself to this question, and none
In their blind zeal to plug us in to solar power, scientists seem to totally
ignore possible fire hazards of solar energy. Sunlight reaching us directly
from the sun at naturally safe levels poses little fire threat. But all one
has to do is concentrate sunlight, with a simple burning- glass, and it
readily ignites combustible materials. Who would feel safe with solar energy
concentrators on their roof? Could we afford the fire insurance rates?
These scientists, and the big corporations which employ them, stand to
profit greatly from construction of solar-power stations. No wonder they try
to hide the dangers of the technology and suppress any open discussion of
Proponents of solar power present facts, figures and graphs to support their
claim that solar power will be less expensive, as conventional fuel supplies
dwindle and technology of solar power improves. But even if this is so, what
will stop the solar power equipment manufacturers and solar power companies
from raising prices when they achieve a monopoly and other fuel sources
Of course every technology has risks. We might be willing to tolerate some
small risk--if solar energy really represented a permanent solution to our
energy problems. But that is not the case. At best, solar energy is only a
temporary band-aid. Recent calculations indicate that the "Sun Will Go Out
in a Billion Years As Its Fuel Runs Out" (Source: newspaper headline) As
that calculation was made a year ago, we now have only nine-hundred
ninety-nine million, nine-hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine-hundred and
ninety-nine years left during which we could use solar energy. Wouldn't it
be better to put our human resources and scientific brains to work to find a
safer and more permanent solution to our energy needs?
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