Sometimes I think I’m being too much of a hard-ass but then I read stories like Wired’s “Going Solar: My Year-Long Quest to Get Off the Grid” by Christopher Null and I think maybe I’m not being hard enough. The tale is illustrative of the problems facing renewable energy – the hassle factor is still unacceptably high, the cost is still high and entrenched interests still get their way making societal change of direction extraordinarily difficult if not impossible. It wouldn’t be so bad but we’re running out of time to get our planetary house in order.
Bill Maher can also testify to hassle factor. I hear he’s been waiting years for his solar to be blessed by the State of California. One can assume Mr. Maher has some resources at his disposal yet even he has been waiting years. What hope do the rest of us have?
Both of these examples are why I espouse off-grid systems and a distributed grid as opposed to grid-tied and a homogeneous grid - if you can afford the batteries and have some small amount of forethought. Not only do you get on solar faster but there’s something very American about self-sufficiency and independence. It is not a stretch to say it epitomizes the rugged individualism upon which this country was founded and built. Why rely on a government or a power company when we can do it ourselves? Not only does it feel good but in the near future it may be the difference between life and death. It's all about resilience.
I sought to address many of solar's short comings with the development of my tree: Rapid deployment, configurable aesthetics, tough as nails with survivability built in to take on just about any weather related event and above all, affordability.