Monday, November 06, 2006

Climate solution

With the so-called Climate Summit starting today in Nairobi, I have changed my usual photo on top of the right-hand column of Chez Rémi, and put one with my photovoltaic solar panels instead.

My 36 solar panels are connected to the grid, to which I sell the clean electricity which I produce. Yesterday, I sent to the electricity company my invoice # 66. Sixty-six months selling clean energy, not bad.

It entails a bit of paper work (invoicing, VAT, annual production reporting to the Industry Ministry for their statistics, etc), but not more than the paper work you have to go through for owning a car, really. And the initial investment I made nearly 6 years ago was not more than the price of a new car (maybe less, depending what kind of car you're talking about). One basic difference is that after six years, a car would be almost good for scrap (and it would be consuming fuel), whereas my solar installation has a twenty year guarantee from the manufacturer and it's producing fuel, not spending it.

Many people ask me about maintenance. Well, there has been practically none in those five and a half years. If there has been a thunderstorm it's wise to check the fuse (like with any electric installation); in summer when the air gets dusty it's a good idea to spray the panels with water from time to time to maintain production at an optimum level; in autumn I've got to remove a few dead leaves from nearby trees now and then. That's it, I can't think of anything else so far.

It's good to feel part of the solution. It can even be fun. And economic.

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