IMPORTANT: Solar is local…roof by roof

Letter to National Public Radio/ KCRW today:

Dear Ms. Radziner and Mr. Olney,

This is boring but important. Please read.

Not all solar-electric systems need transmission lines.

* You are about to do a report tonight on large solar farms needing mass amounts of water to cool them down. Yes, this is because these solar farms are out in remote areas, sometimes in the desert triple-digit heat…and therefore would need water to cool them down.

Most solar-electric systems do not need water to cool them down.

By the way, many Californians still think solar is for the pool heating only. You are talking to a more educated audience on NPR/ KCRW radio, but still please stress this is electricity that you are talking about. Even stress electricity for your TV, computers and maybe even for your plug-in car, if you have one.

Solar, as in electricity from the sun, represents a cataclysmic shift in human history. Most solar, or photovoltaic…by the way photovoltaic means light energy. The abbreviation is PV. PV is solar electricity…

Most PV systems are localized, on the individual home or office. Unlike large solar farms, a residential solar-electric system or PV system for the home would not need water to cool it down. PV has temperature restrictions. It can work in triple-digit weather, but it’s much more effective in 30-99 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures than at 120 degrees F. Imagine yourself at the beach on an 80 degrees day, and now imagine yourself in the desert on a 110 degrees day. Panels are made of a tempered glass case with silicon crystalline technology inside and copper wiring underneath. The panels have an expected life expectancy of 40-50 years.

Solar or PV kicks ass! It works, no doubt about it, but Wall Street and the corporations want to have their cake and eat it, too. The most effective solar-electricity grid would be one on each individual home or office. Every building produces its own energy, and a little extra for the shared utility grid. That’s a pretty tough business model to make money on, going house by house, roof by roof. Wall Street wants to invest in a bundle-package. The corporations and publicly traded utility companies also want to work this bundle-package where only they have control of the energy flow. This is a moneymaking idea, but less efficient and more costly for Californians. We need water. It’s one of the essentials of life. We die without it. We can go without our cellphones, but a few days without water and you’re not doing so good.

We can’t waste our water for Wall Street’s bundle-package scheme, or solar farms in remote areas, that not only require a precious resource to cool them down but also longer transmission lines which are more costly and again not as efficient because you lose electricity along the way. That’s a simple fact of physics…loss of electricity over distance. That’s why a solar system on your roof plugged into your home works dandy! Local is better.

It’s going to be a long and hard row to hoe, this Great Recession turn-around. We need to go roof by roof to set up a winning system and a reliable energy infrastructure. Going roof by roof will create hammer-and-nail jobs all the way up through manufacturing jobs. This green revolution that is going to save our economy isn’t a bundle-package. It’s a roll-up-your-sleeves, get-your-hands-dirty undertaking like the Public Works programs under FDR when he put unemployed Americans to work building bridges, roads, the Hoover Dam.

President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into the state for hydroelectric dams, irrigation, harbors, parks, bridges, and roads.

* That’s just one state, the state of Washington. The WPA, CCC and other groups built up this country again, brick by brick. This time we got Obama and we’re going roof by roof.


Franklin D. Roosevelt
99 – Greeting to the CCC.
July 8, 1933

I welcome the opportunity to extend, through the medium of the columns of Happy Days, a greeting to the men who constitute the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Congratulations are due those responsible for the successful accomplishment of the gigantic task of creating the camps, arranging for the enlistments and launching the greatest peacetime movement this country has ever seen.

It is my belief that what is being accomplished will conserve our natural resources, create future national wealth and prove of moral and spiritual value not only to those of you who are taking part, but to the rest of the country as well.

You young men who are enrolled in this work are to be congratulated as well. It is my honest conviction that what you are doing in the way of constructive service will bring to you, personally and individually, returns the value of which it is difficult to estimate. Physically fit, as demonstrated by the examinations you took before entering the camps, the clean life and hard work in which you are engaged cannot fail to help your physical condition and you should emerge from this experience strong and rugged and ready for a reentrance into the ranks of industry, better equipped than before. Opportunities for employment in work for which individually you are best suited are increasing daily and you should emerge from this experience splendidly equipped for the competitive fields of endeavor which always mark the industrial life of America.

I want to congratulate you on the opportunity you have and to express to you my appreciation for the hearty cooperation which you have given this movement which is so vital a step in the Nation’s fight against the depression and to wish you all a pleasant, wholesome and constructively helpful stay in the woods.


Thank you for reading all of that. I think it’s important.

Warm Regards

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