PV solar panels are real independence?

The greatest fight for independence was the US declaration against the then oppressive rule of the British in 1765.

The White House has stood proudly as a symbol of independence – and even more so, now it has been equipped with PV solar panels (photovoltaic).

PV solar panels are a technology before its time.

PV solar panels are a technology before its time.

This move has become a renewed symbol of independence as the American people look for alternative ways to fight for energy independence in an increasingly volatile and energy-hungry world.

This statement by the US authorities of national pride in their solar panel industry while duplicated in our country and within our own lives.

The most significant power of the 20th-century has finally vindicated my decade-long pursuit of the solar-panelled dream. From the earliest days when people only saw solar technology as a ‘green statement’, to its current status as a wise person’s long-term investment.

This is not the first time the White House has installed solar panels.

In 1979 under the Jimmy Carter administration, solar heating panels were installed to provide hot heated water for the west wing. We commonly think of photovoltaic’s nowadays when solar panels are mentioned, but before 2009 when the feed-in tariffs were introduced, solar heating panels were the most widely installed technology.

Unfortunately, in a world and in the administration of Ronald Reagan, the mindset that we were still living in the ‘golden age of oil’, was instrumental in getting the panels uninstalled. Now only forty years later, we live in a world of peak oil, fracking and looming wars over the last of the oil resources. We now see the 21st-century administration under Obama eagerly promoting solar panels to establish a thriving homegrown industry – I digress.

The last vestige of the solar technology critic was the issue of subsidies. Current feed-in tariff incentives allow business or homeowners to be paid for the power they produce, even if they use it themselves.

The final nail in the critics’ argument, is that traditional power generation and fossil fuel exploration supported for the last 50 plus years. Even today, fracking is subsidised, the last of the North Sea exploration is being supported, and that overall cost has grown year on year as the easy-to-reach resources are replaced with smaller and hard-to-reach oil fields.

Anything that attempts to replace this now declining fossil fuel industry will need to level the playing field. The big difference here and which can trump any debate is that solar panels or any other alternative energy subsidy cost will go down year on year as take-up rises – the opposite is true with declining fossil fuels.

Nobody is saying solar panels will entirely replace oil and gas, but as energy costs continue to rise year on year, the long-term relief that this technology gives will continue to look even more favourably year on year.

To finally see the awakening to this 100-year-old technology and the beginning of a solar panelled 21st-century (that even the most hardline sceptics now concur). Not only strengthens my pride in this emerging industry, but also my generation of politics that finally made it happen.

Independence through technology

So, how do you deal with the idea of a world struggling to keep up momentum on the downside of the peak oil spike? Embrace alternative technologies to reduce dependence is a right place to start.

However, the majority of your fellow citizens are choosing to ignore the warning signs? Do you also disdain any serious discussion of the topic because it may cause fear or discomfort? Or, like a small, but growing minority, do you consider with an open mind the possibility that heavy oil price-related times may just be around the corner.

Regardless of your viewpoint, the desperation of our governments to fill the energy deficit through fracking, alongside the oil-related wars of the last decade – is evident to all who want to see. Knowledge is power, and this has never rung so true as it does with this subject.

Reducing dependence and “Being prepared” is as the Scouting movement suggests, wise!

Those who dismiss the idea of ‘peaked oil’ will never truly comprehend the full picture of our civilisations precarious situation and can be forgiven for it, as they have been misled, misinformed by mainstream media and are ultimately missing a large piece of the story.

But, not a year goes by that the cost of powering and heating your home is not raised again and again. People still don’t want to see or admit the obvious. The world’s energy companies are struggling to uphold the status quo. Not only that, the early rumblings of new energy-related wars are already beginning to stir.

It is this issue that I have written about countless times and one that deserves serious consideration because, sooner or later, we will all have to face the consequences of a civilisation starved of its lifeblood, oil.

At which point between now and then, do we cross the threshold of knowing the truth about our slide down the uncomfortable side of the peak oil problem and having an open acknowledgement of it?

It may be several months from now, or it may be several years, but what is certain, when this point comes, it will push world energy prices still further into the stratosphere making energy unaffordable to all but the most wealthy, nations and individuals.

Nobody is suggesting here that solar panels are the complete answer to such monumental problems, but when the ‘global energy markets’ have forced our energy companies to increase bills to unaffordable levels to most during the last decade, the next decade is undoubtedly going to be even worse.

At least with my solar panels generating power most days of the year, I know that I will be in a better position than those households.

Is it time to invest in your independence day?

"Light is life."

Stuart Lovatt 2014-05-20