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It may seem counter-intuitive to think of a big box store as a place to go to help save the planet.  But as they said when I started my psychology and social work degree:  "You have to meet people where they are!"

And so it is with convincing a population of gluttonous consumers who rarely think beyond the past of their own increasing ass, or beyond the distance of the exponential belt lines.  If you want to teach a nation of greedy pigs how to use less and conserve so that the Planet has a chance to catch up with our ravenous appetite for power, you have to take it to the Pig's Trough.

I have a Costco Card.  I'm not going to pretend I'm not among the oinking.  I may be a consumer pig, but I'm not a liar.  I've wandered up and down the aisles of Home Depot, salivated at the horn of plenty of a Lowe's Home Improvement Store.

The way to make us want more is to convince us that there is more than we could possibly want.  And like compliant little bovine, we set out to prove the prediction that we couldn't possibly finish it all a ridiculous miscalculation.

Big Box stores are places where you learn about "buying volume", and bulk supply.  It's where you go when someone has convinced you that your family budget is going to magically go black because you bought 20 rolls of toilet paper instead of 4.  Where you have to pay 50 bucks for a membership just to look at the wares.  Where you get to the check out and see what you and your neighbors are buying and you stand there in shock wondering, "what in the fuck am I doing?!"

So I am at a loss to find anything wrong with the hottest craze, the biggest new thing, the new toy that the neighbor has that I ain't got showing up at the Costo Store.

The solar kits are “grid-tied” systems that include Grape Solar panels, inverters, and racking systems that are ready to install onto the roofs of homes and other structures. Grape Solar says the kits are designed to be expandable, so customers can start small and grow their system over time if they wish. In order to facilitate installation, Grape Solar has developed a network of over 5,000 installers who will be available to provide locally based customer support.

Photobucket

According to Grape Solar, it launched a test program in several markets starting in July of 2010. Customer response was apparently positive, so the program was expanded to include other warehouses in high-demand solar markets. Once the products are available on-line, they can be ordered and delivered to a buyer’s home in just a few days.

Grape Solar and Costco have teamed up to make buying a solar kit to install on your home, making "going green" as chic as flashing the fastest, gadget laden automobile up and down your block.  There's the $18k 5060 Watter that would power a county fair.  The nine thousand dollar economy kit that's more likely what a little bungalow like mine would need.  Or the 880 Watt expandable kit that's really more of a tricked-out Muscle Generator.

"Look at the TEETH on this thing!!  I'm thinkin' about taking these HUNTIN' with me next year!!" (Louie Anderson, mimicking his father marveling at his new steel jumper cables)

I'm fond of the realists who avoid talking about Climate Change as though it's  a planetary crisis that we caused and have increasingly less time to fix, preferring instead to approach it as an opportunity to make a profit selling the items that fight Climate Change and create jobs designing new infrastructures.  The Costco/Grape collaboration is one such opportunity.  So now whether you're green-minded, or you're just a slop-slurping consumer who buys the newest iPhone, the fastest computer, the coolest video games and the biggest cars (whether you can afford them or not, because that isn't the point) ... outfitting your home with a new Solar Kit to save energy and help save the planet is not only possible but priced to buy before that asshole next door gets one.

Originally posted to Detroit Mark on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 07:18 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How Much of It's Made in the USA? nt (11+ / 0-)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 07:39:20 AM PDT

  •  I was at a Costco for the first time yesterday (17+ / 0-)

    In Yonkers NY, while visiting family in the Bronx.

    2 comments:

    Rooftop panels may be easier for some people to install and may be the only option for some buildings with limited property. But these days, I think pedestal mounted PV is more effective, since they can follow the sun.

    Also, if someone wants to go solar, they should also look at direct thermal use, i.,e., hot water first since that is at present more cost competitive in a lot of cases.

    "This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up."

    by itzik shpitzik on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 07:45:28 AM PDT

    •  This is an extremely popular (13+ / 0-)

      method of water heating in places like Greece and Turkey.  Probably a lot of other places I just haven't been yet.

      You see more black water heater tanks on top of peoples' homes that you see satellite dishes here in the US!

      Honk! If you're writing in Alan Grayson!

      by Detroit Mark on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 07:47:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My parents have such a system (6+ / 0-)

        on their house in Florida, which they use to heat the pool.  The house's hot water is provided mostly by heat recovery from the air conditioner, such that the water heater gets very little use.

        They also have about 3kW of PV panels, which lower the electric bills a bit.  FWIW, my folks are ultra-right wing; Dad went solar strictly for cost savings, and certainly not for any concern for the environment.

      •  I've seen these too, in Costa Rica (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Detroit Mark, koNko, Lujane, Radical def

        Where there's no danger of freezing, these can be made very simply.

        A storage tank at the peak of the roof, with a solar panel on the roof below.  With the tank above the panel, there's a natural convective circulation that takes the heated water from the panel into the storage tank. No pumps, completely passive.

        •  They are OK for freezing areas (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SolarMom, Lujane, Radical def, snafubar

          The heat retention of modern solar heaters is gretater than 90% and they are quite popular in Scandinavian countries to heat not just water for us but for home heating by floor or wall coils.

          In fact, the Danish company Grundfos is the global leader in pumps for circulation heaters.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 07:00:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe explaion how it works (0+ / 0-)

          In the new type you have two tubes, one inside the other. The space between the tubes is a vacuum which light can pass through (the clear outer tube) but insulates against heat loss. The inside of the outer tube has a thin film coating to make it a one way mirror so the light entering bounces around.

          The inner tube contains the water, either flow through or recirulated (for heating circuits) and can either be pumped or circulate naturally by thermosyphon. The inner tube has a highly matte surface to maximize absorption of heat.

          So even in sub-zero weather, the tubes remain warm.

          In nothern climates here there ar long dark winter days the systems are usually dual circuits with auxillary gas or electric heaters. There is also usually a stainless steel double walled storage tank with vacuum or foam insulation.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:40:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Seasonal drainage to prevent freezing... (5+ / 0-)

      or using antifreeze while maintaining precautions against contamination by cross-connection make solar thermal harder than it might seem in most of the U.S.

      There really aren't a lot of places in the country where you can install without precautions against freezing.

      •  Should not be done by do-it-yourselfers--- (5+ / 0-)

        ... but there is a big push for it in Vermont now, especially since it primarily switched people off fossil fuels (propane in most of the state) and also electricity, which is the #2 heat source.

        "This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up."

        by itzik shpitzik on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 08:28:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Solar water heating tanks are available with (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SolarMom, Lujane, Radical def, snafubar, JeffW
        precautions against contamination by cross-connection  
        already built in.  Put the tank in next to your existing water heater, hook the opening labeled "from collector" to the line from the top of the rooftop panel, connect the opening labeled "to collector" to the line from the bottom of the rooftop panel.  Connect the "cold in" opening to the supply of drinkable water, connect the "hot out" opening to the existing water heater.  Check for leaks, and you're in business.  It should be done by a licenced plumber, but making sure the antifreeze stays out of the water supply isn't the hard part.  

        Renewable energy brings national security.      -6.25, -6.05

        by Calamity Jean on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 06:12:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not true (4+ / 0-)

        See my comment above. Modern twin tube solar heaters to not have freezing issues. Even in sub zero temperatures the inside tubes are HOT due to retention of heat in the airspae and circulation within the loop.

        In very cold climates or for space heating closed loop systems with heat exchangers for tap water are used.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 07:04:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Also point out that solar collector tubes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko

          have anti-freeze in the water notsomuch to prevent freezing, but if they did not, on a good summer day even in Pennsylvania, the stuff would boil and turn to steam (and thus have expansion issues).

          The reason these systems I've seen are all indirect (which solves the cross-contamination issues) not because they did not want to heat the potable (drinkable) water, it's because  on a good sunny day way it heats the water in the collectors hotter than you would ever want comign out of the tap.

          That's my understanding of it, not that I'm the most knowledgable guy on the subject, but informed enough to be annoying/entertaining at parties depending on your perspective.

          :)

          George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

          by snafubar on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 07:55:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Have both types (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            snafubar

            Depends on system.

            For some Nordic country heating systems you have two tanks, one on the roof with the coils is like an expansion tank and one inside is a resovar with a pump to circulate  the hot water through floor or wall coils.

            And the heat exchanger type does use coolant as you mention, and some are using thermosyphon principle that exploits expanison as the water boils.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:51:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent point. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, Radical def, snafubar

      Solar water heaters are very popular in many countries and the efficency of modern heaters is excellent.

      BTW, China has the greatest number of solar heaters and highest utilization rate because it was part of the rural electricfication programs of the 80s and 90s'.

      Why? Because it is so simple and so cheap.

      The return on investment for solar heaters is good.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 06:55:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rooftop solar is a lot easier to install on (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koNko

        a cabin in the middle of nowhere than to run a transmission line at a few hundred kilovolts...

        Imagine what our rural electrification programs would have looked like if we had this technology in the middle third of the 20th century.

        George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

        by snafubar on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 07:57:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Excellent point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          snafubar

          And one reasonin the rural programs they chose to use solar heating and solar electrification - in such cases pv is actually cheaper because it is off-grind or small local grid not requiring long transmission lines.

          Also, rural people may not use as much power because they go to bed and rise early - something we city folks could do more to save power.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:55:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I just got a job selling solar (13+ / 0-)

    This will be some serious competition. Although the prices look comparable to what I'm selling.

    I hope they don't pick up the t5 lighting adapter too!

    "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by atlliberal on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 07:52:13 AM PDT

  •  heh (6+ / 0-)
    I'm fond of the realists who avoid talking about Climate Change as though it's  a planetary crisis that we caused and have increasingly less time to fix

    I'm fond of when Polyannas decide to rebrand themselves as "realists".

    Cracks me up. Good luck with that.

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

    by LaughingPlanet on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 08:00:01 AM PDT

    •  I said "fond of." (6+ / 0-)

      I didn't say "take a bath with."

      Honk! If you're writing in Alan Grayson!

      by Detroit Mark on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 08:02:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Have to say ... (6+ / 0-)

      that that sentence stuck in the throat, so to speak.

      Hmmm ... "realists who avoid talking about Climate Change as though it's a planetary crisis" because it is, what, a walk in the park? "that we caused" because it has nothing to do with our actions? "and have increasingly less time to fix" because, hmmm, we have more time to dilly-dally around with each passing minute?

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 02:50:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's a fine line. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LaughingPlanet

      people who talk about it with the seriousness it deserves are not chicken little, however the arrogant assholes who want to make Al Gore the Antichrist for political hay tend to use any grave assessments as a sign of hysteria to mock (and end) any productive discussion.

      So Mark is trying to say succinctly what is not said so succintly:

      We have to find a way to talk to talk to people about how seriously we are screwed if we don't move to renewables and urgently; but we have to do it in such a way that the real pricks that mock anything they know they are wrong about don't win the argument when Henny Penny and Chicken Little freak everyone out.

      We need to be motivated like we're freaked out, but in a way that everyone doesn't panic or laugh out loud.

      Easy to say, hard to do.

      George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

      by snafubar on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 08:02:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hate to be the naysayer (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmb, Lujane, Meteor Blades

    Do you really want Joe and Josephine middle america up on their roof drilling future leaks through their expensive roof? Do you want them running 600V DC wiring (in conduit as required by code-they got the tools for that too?). Will they also do all the permitting and applying for rebates to maximize their investment?

    Lastly to the made in America part:

    Grape Solar’s standardized manufacturing processes are practiced in each of the manufacturing facilities we directly or indirectly own and operate, be it in the United States or Canada or in Asia.

    Their modules are Chinese. That looks like a US Made PV Powered inverter and much of the racking is likely made in the US but can't tell from the picture.

    If we really want to create jobs and get everyone involved in solar, we should make our incentive monies geared to residential installs by qualified professionals. "Kits" at box stores and PV farms are not a good way to create jobs.

    -7.5 -7.28, Democratic Socialism...It's not just for Europeans.

    by Blueslide on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 08:14:57 AM PDT

    •  Yes. We do want them on their roof. (18+ / 0-)

      You may think Joe and Josephine are incompetent asshats.  I don't see that it has any relevance in whether solar kits are a good idea or not.

      We will live and learn.

      As to the "made in America" part.  Nothing is made in America to the degree that it's even a worthwhile discussion anymore, especially as it relates to finally getting people to buy the products that might dig us out of this mess.

      And besides, I didn't make the case that Grape was "Made in America".  I merely posted their statement.

      If a person thinks they're going to buy something that's been manufactured, and think there's some way to guarantee nothing was done in China ... that person's an idiot.

      Honk! If you're writing in Alan Grayson!

      by Detroit Mark on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 08:24:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I work in the PV Industry. (12+ / 0-)

        Many modules ARE manufactured in America including: Sharp, Kyocera, Schott, Mage, Solarworld, Helios, etc etc. Grape Solar is a relatively new start up selling their own brand. If there is a warranty claim needed on an expensive purchase such as solar modules, you want to be sure the manufacturer will be around and invested in their brand enough to do the right thing and honor a valid claim.

        I don't think all Americans are ass-hats. But the % qualified to mount 40+ pound solar panels on their roof and wire 600 V DC power lines into their household service is very low. This is a skill that takes training, we are not talking about knitting a scarf.

        I understand your skepticism about made in the USA. But consumers have aright to make that a priority if that option is available. That is why I thought the previous reference was important to answer accurately. These kits are NOT 100% US made and Grape Solar is little more than a sales office that manufactures nothing but rather has a "supply chain" which includes a US made inverter and Chinese modules.

        I would love to see PV modules on as many homes as is practically possible. My issue with these kits is that they could easily result in an extremely negative experience (poor performance, injuries, fires and death) for the buyer, thereby giving a bad name to the PV industry.

        -7.5 -7.28, Democratic Socialism...It's not just for Europeans.

        by Blueslide on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 08:40:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Arrow. Zing. Bullseye. This is exactly... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          snafubar

          ...what happened in the early '80s when cheap solar thermal systems for hot water heating were sold in large numbers. These are simple devices. But rip-off operations made them even cheaper by cutting corners and doing bad installations with poorly trained workers. This hurt solar of all kinds for a long time.

          Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:41:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Just because its sold direct retail does not (0+ / 0-)

          mean that it has to be installed by the person who paid for it. Joe and Jane homeowner can hire a local electrician.

          I think it's a "transition" period; see my other comments.

          The idea is to get homeowners too see that it's possible for them to make their own moves towards renewable; right now a lot of people think that the whole concept is out of their reach completely.

          George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

          by snafubar on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 08:11:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  So incompetent people won't hire someone (8+ / 0-)

      else if they can't do the job themselves? The 60-year-old couple'll say "by jiminny, I'm-a goin' put this in, and damn the arthritis!" An odd notion that every home improvement is done only by the homeowners and no one else.


      Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

      by Jim P on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:46:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What makes you think that Middle (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ybruti, KenBee, Radical def, OHdog

      America will be installing these systems?  It said right in the diary:

      In order to facilitate installation, Grape Solar has developed a network of over 5,000 installers who will be available to provide locally based customer support.  
      Middle America will buy the kits and have a professional installer put it on the roof.  

      Renewable energy brings national security.      -6.25, -6.05

      by Calamity Jean on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 06:04:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You want Joe and Josephine to at least (0+ / 0-)

      open their mind to the idea that they can hire their favorite electrician who they've done business with for years to do the job for them, and scrub clean from their mind that moving to renewables is SO BIG and SO EXPENSIVE and NOT WORTH IT UNLESS IT IT MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO LIVE COMPLETELY OFF THE GRID.

      Granted all people may be more Tim The Tool Man Taylor than Bob Villa when it comes to actually holding the tools, but it's still worth the effort to make the connecttion with the average homeowner that we don't need to recreate the TVA for every house in America.

      George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

      by snafubar on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 08:06:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting story... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, OHdog

    But I think it's kinda weird how you take such a negative approach, trying to twist this significant victory for the environmental movement into something...ugly.

    I think attacking consumers for being pigs, like you do, expressing such contempt and disdain for your fellow Americans, is not helpful.

    Yes, point out the waste, inefficiencies, over-consumption, injustices, etc. etc....all valid points.

    But I think it's also important to recognize that to a very substantial degree, standards, priorities and criteria for the production and distribution of goods and services have been completely manipulated by a contrived "market", and influenced much less by "consumer demand" than by the dictates of short term monopoly corporate fascist profits.

    The enemy is the dictatorship of monopoly corporate fascism, not the consumer, or the public.

    As annoying as it may be, to see the big box stores, and, say, oil companies, and even the nuclear power industry, bragging about how "green" they are, heh, it proves that they are on the defensive, playing catch up for a change, instead of completely directing and controlling the memes.

    This is a good thing, even if they are lying through their teeth, weaseling and ripping off, the same as ever... because it raises the hopes and expectations of the public, which is much harder to put back in the box, once those aspirations begin to emerge.

    (I feel similarly about Obama, heh)

    And it does show that we are prevailing, in the hearts and minds of the public, and forcing industry to change their practices, which is definitely a step in the right direction, toward real democracy, rather than merely maintaining the same old long-standing dictatorship of whatever industry chooses to make available (or not) in the market.

    It's not over yet...the struggle continues.  But we are winning.

    Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

    by Radical def on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 09:33:35 AM PDT

    •  Not trying to be helpful (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maybeeso in michigan, koNko

      Just writing a diary.

      You can write your own and put whatever particular perspective on it you like.  Won't that be fun for you!  :-)

      Honk! If you're writing in Alan Grayson!

      by Detroit Mark on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 12:08:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh?...Trying to be unhelpful? (0+ / 0-)

        Perhaps you'd like to convince us to hate and blame each other, for what the pigs have done to "engineer" our society in their favor?

        Or, "just" venting your spleen?

        Just saying...contempt for the masses will get you, or more importantly, us, nowhere.

        That doesn't necessarily mean ignoring the contradictions, but it does involve maintaining perspective on who the real enemy is.  

        For example, one could just as easily, and more correctly, present consumers as victims, rather than as the perpetrators of irrational markets.

        I get just as much "fun" out of commenting in others' diaries, as in writing my own...but I do both.

        Somehow I get the distinct feeling, though, that you want me to just STFU, and leave you alone, heh...but that's what comments are for, you know, is to...comment, and not necessarily just to agree with your perspective.

        Oh well...write on, write on.

        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

        by Radical def on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 04:49:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Boo fuckin hoo. To bad you can't buy an economy (0+ / 0-)

          sized sense of humor at CostCo.

          But since you've spoiled the moment.

          Your condescending references to 'the masses' are the most contemptuous words on this page so far. But I'm sure they appreciate the veil of ignorance you've raised for them. Grow some balls and accept that people are responsible for their choices and behavior.

          •  Can I buy any of this at Costco? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OHdog

            Photobucket

            Actually, there is such a thing as "the masses", as a collective entity with substantial common interests...as opposed to the elite interests of monopoly corporate fascism.

            I have enough balls to identify who the real enemy is, and also to challenge those whose choice of behavior is to blame the victims, rather than the perpetrators of crimes against humanity...

            Sorry to "spoil your moment", but you're so freakin' rude and crude that I'm not going to sweat that too much, considering the condescending contempt oozing from your own drivel.

            Misanthropic elitism is not funny, especially when cloaked as somehow being "concerned" about social issues.

            So stop your boo hoo, and just correct your perspective, like a good cranky bastard, mmk?  

            Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

            by Radical def on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 09:32:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's a lovely graph (0+ / 0-)

              To bad it contradicts the election and consumption choices people actually make in reality.

              Lofty goals. What I don't see is a question asking anyone if they are willing to sacrifice their personal material comfort in order to achieve any of them.

              I applaud anyone's efforts to pursue and encourage those goals, individually or publicly. But I don't excuse individuals who don't or won't pursue them, as victims or as having a right to be provided for in such a manner as they need not to forgo any convenience in order see them realized.

              Answering a poll costs nothing at all.

              I don't see taking personal responsibility as victimization.

  •  Thank you for the wondeful news, Mark. (17+ / 0-)

    Forty years ago I saw my first off-the-grid house on an Ozark mountainside. That's how long it's been suppressed by mammoth corporations. The corporatocracy refuses to stop the poisoning of our planet with oil, nuclear radiation, chemicals. Sounds like "the maket forces" are actually working, at least for now. I'm sure Halliburton will claim legal ownership of the sun.

    Seriously, it's an effin emergency right now in terms of life-or-death. It can get worse any nanosecond in the future: Fukushima!

    Hydraulic fracturing is poisoning the water in my state and around the globe. Last month we had a 4.5 earthquake in the Fayetteville shale that I felt, living three counties north -- equidistant between the New Madrid Fault and two 60-year-old Corps dams. Injection wells stopped, quakes stopped, and a new fault was discovered.

    So I don't much give a damn about the details. Solar electricity can save lives. We need it mass-produced, affordable, and widely distributed. The number of knowledgeable people and installers has been growing at a snail's pace. This will make it faster.

    I spread one myself. We're putting tiny solar on our tiny cabin, and the old friend who is doing it has gone from skeptical to enthusiastic. He's spread it to the younger man who works with him and a local electrician.

    There is no life without water, and we all live downstream. We might still have a chance to clean up our water, air, and a significant amount of land.

  •  I read about this collaboration... (9+ / 0-)

    ... of Costco and Grape at about the same time I read this bit of news:

    Rand revealed the research in a paper published in the Journal of Applied Physics. Instead of requiring semiconductor processing, the new technique would only require “lenses to focus the light and a fiber to guide it,” according to Fisher. “Glass works for both. It’s already made in bulk, and it doesn’t require as much processing. Transparent ceramics might be even better.” Rand and Fisher predict that they could achieve efficiency with this new technology that is equivalent to today’s commercial-grade solar cells.

    With efficiencies equal to current commercial-grade panels, the new solar tech could lead to more affordable home-based arrays that integrate more seamlessly into your home–maybe even directly into your windows

    Far too often, solar, wind and other true renewables are spoken of as static entities in which all you see and know right now is all there's going to be. Clearly, some very bright minds are pushing the envelop on all fronts.

    The big takeaway from this article: PV electrical generation WITHOUT Rare Earths!!

    The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

    by Egalitare on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 02:44:12 PM PDT

  •  This sort of step (8+ / 0-)

    is quite important to making the right choice, the easy choice on home solar power.

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 02:47:13 PM PDT

  •  Another way: (8+ / 0-)

    Rent the solar panels.

    The benefit here is, you're not locked in to current technology, and you can give them back or take them with you for free if you move once.

  •  Good to see some businesses betting on the green (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, mrkvica, Detroit Mark

    economy. The market can do a lot, but my favorite metaphor for understanding the role of the market vs. government policy / incentives is to think of a boat where the market rows and the government steers. The market can do all the kick ass rowing in the world, but if you don't have someone at the rudder who knows where to steer the boat then you're going to get lost at sea.

    We need some clear standards at the national level and some incentives that industry can count on being fairly stable in the coming years.

    When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a Glenn Beck and carrying a Sarah Palin.

    by tekno2600 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 06:06:15 PM PDT

  •  Do they make 1 that generates energy from drizzle? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, Detroit Mark, OHdog

    I live in Seattle.  I need grey drizzle panels, and I'm all set.  I could power a city.

  •  Once in a while you read a diary and it's as if (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, Detroit Mark

    someone wrote your own thoughts are on the page. Quite funny man. My experience at CostCo exactly. By the time I got the the check out lane, I wanted to just walk away in shame. I do seem to have an endless supply of laundry detergent and strawberry jam though.

    Unfortunately at the moment, nothing at 10 grand is priced to buy.

    •  Perhaps the difference between you and me... (0+ / 0-)

      It's been quite a while since I was in a Costco...but my reaction was not shame, over the people flocking to try and save a few bucks, but anger, at the crappy merchandise, and the relentless contrived pimping of a harmful consumer culture by commercial mass media.

      However, I did find cause for pride, in the few "green" products, I found, even if they may have been more or less fake, because they indicated a genuine popular democratic demand that the corporations could no longer "afford" to ignore.

      That made me proud of my fellow Americans, who have come a long way in the past 50 years, even if we aren't really quite "there" yet.  

      The only obstacle to getting there that I see is the intransigent refusal of monopoly corporate fascism to submit to the popular democratic will.

      The problem isn't peoples' choices, so much as the "choices" offered by the "market", which is contrived and manipulated,  to maximize profits, against the public interest.

      Photobucket

      Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

      by Radical def on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:18:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Shame can be applied at (0+ / 0-)

        the second half of your first paragraph. We are all part of this nation and it's consumption profile.

        I find your post self contradictory in that you apply green product placement to the forces of public demand while other, not in the public interest, products to profit driven market manipulation.

        That's some handy and romantic, selective representation you've delineated. No one who buys a Hummer really want's one? They are victimized by the producer?

        Consumers bear responsibility for what they buy.  At least I know I do.

        This is a good place to recognize the benefit of democratically elected government in moderating commerce through incentive and regulation, for the public interest.

  •  well done. (0+ / 0-)

    The hard part for me is how to answer people who have no intention (or maybe capacity) to have a rational discussion on energy matters.

    Mention solar? "The sun doesn't shine all the time"

    Mention wind power. "The wind doesnt blow all the time"

    Mention any answer to our problem - the realism you mentioned is that whatever amount of fossil fuels we have left is a finite amount; we have less of it every day, and our economy is dependent on growth which will ensure we consume what's left faster every second - and any incremental solution is dismissed because it doesn't solve it all at once.

    And hence, those cynics guarantee that whatever path to the solution is never taken in the first place.

    So if it comes from Costco, meaning that the bottom line driving it is making a buck and not ultimately making us green, maybe that shows our best tool to combat the rabid market forces that make our energy crisis a crisis is....market forces.

    Teach the world that they can make as much money being green as they can being blind, and we might have a chance.

    George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

    by snafubar on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 07:40:46 PM PDT

  •  So my oil burner has the capacity (0+ / 0-)

    to add a solar water heater to the system; my problem is that after upgrading to the new efficient boiler, I don't have the funds for the solar kit.

    I live in an area that is cold for six months of the year, not windy enough to make a rooftop wind turbine productive more than 15%, and solar probably not much more.

    I am however, a person who believes that this country, this world, must move incrementally whenever and wherever possible to give us more time to solve the bigger, systemic problems in our conversion to renewable energy sources.

    So the big question sometims is not willpower but resources.

    How much of any of this stuff comes with a CPA who knows how to get tax credits for it or grants to pay for it.

    I'm an electrician and a plumber, but I can't do my own taxes.

    George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

    by snafubar on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 07:48:32 PM PDT

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