Thursday, January 12, 2006

sun's out

let the "hard-nosed realists" scoff at photovoltaics. "too expensive", "too energy-intensive a component production cycle", "can't compete with computer industry for raw materials". whine, whine, yada yada. I don't suppose they allow much prognostication to disturb their real-world pragmatism, but anyone with an eye toward the not-so-distant future recognizes the term peak oil and knows it means someone better start to come up with something to move our energy economy away from dinosaurs and toward something a wee bit more sustainable. And, oh, lookee there! all that free sunlight pouring down like manna from heaven! how about that!

plants been doin it for several billion years, and they seem to have been fairly successful. I'd say that's pragmatic, wouldn't you? maybe we should take a look, too, huh? and maybe--- just maybe--- if we invested, say, a millionth part of the subsidies that the fossil fuel industry enjoys to bring us our ludicrously lavish energy-spendthrift lifestyle, in the development of more efficient PV systems, we'd find that, in the bigger scheme of things, it wasn't so inefficient or pie-in-the-sky an idea after all. or we could just keep the status quo, digging and drilling and hummering our way toward a road warrior future because solar power is "impractical".

so laugh away, you status quo pundits. we idealist wackos will continue to tilt at energy windmills (ha ha) to usher in the new world energy paradigm.

Monday, January 09, 2006

walking (limping) the talk

well, I gone and done it.

I got me a job as a solar power (and water) systems installer. I mean, someone had to do it; might as well be me. after many years of claiming a strong interest in starting a career in some pro-environment field, I decided it was time to give it a whack. now or never. (there is only now... but that topic's for another post.) I even turned down another year of work in a completely unrelated field--- at a place I knew and was pleased to work at and with good people to boot--- in order to make this longstanding dream a reality.

I don't know where it will lead. I'm not ideal contractor material, after all. the work, so far, has been hard--- mixing and hauling cement for pole footings, digging trenches, etc.--- but my co-workers tell me this particular job has been unusually difficult, not representative of most. I'm working for a small design/install outfit here in northern AZ that offers design and installation of PV power, solar water heating, and even some wind power (as on this job) and hydro (in dry AZ? are they kidding?). the pay is not high (though I'm told it's good for around these parts) and God knows what the future is, especially for someone like me (rather more of a right-brainer than most). but danged if I don't feel good about what I'm doing at the end of the day! time, instinct and the great spirit will direct my path.

I was finally led in this direction by a strong urge to be doing something front-lines in the cause of mother gaia. I feel there is urgent need for warriors of all stripes to step forward and take up the good fight. there are certainly many fronts which need fighters; I chose this front from my long interest in solar power and in renewable energy generally. and here I am, by God. and it feels great!

join me now on the front lines!