Lead yourself out of darkness, my children……………(hallelujah!! )


Climate change is real.  Even Newt Gingrich says so.  Betcha Baby-boy Bush even says so now.  We know Obama says so.  ‘Cause he actually did say so!  Out loud! Even the newt-brained Stephen Harper likely says so, too.  Maybe not too loudly at the Petroleum club in Calgary or Houston but they all know that climate change is real and exacerbated at the very least by BIG OIL.  To be fair, they are likely to follow that confession with, “Hey!  Waddya gonna do, stop driving?  I don’t think so!”

Then they all laugh heartily.

And that’s where the rubber leaves the road and loses traction.  We don’t have to stop driving to cut back on oil consumption.  In fact, we can drive more, have more jobs, be happier and, with less health disorders, we could even be prettier.  Piece of cake.  Just have to shift to another power source is all.

Suggestion: start the transitioning by withdrawing all the oil and gas subsidies and use that money to subsidize solar panel installations.  From my point of view, it’s a no-brainer.  Germany agrees.

But we don’t even need the no-brain bastards giving us our own money back.  We can do this on our own.

I use gasoline.  Get 60 gallons delivered every three months so I average 20 gallons a month or 2-3 liters a day.  Or, better put: I did.  The car takes even more, of course, but I drive so much less now (less than 5/600 kms a month) that no matter how you cut it, we use less fuel than we did when we lived in the city.  By far.  Use petroleum based consumption metrics and we use less than a 1/4 of what we used to.  Use BC Hydro electrical metrics and we use 1/10 of what we used to.

But all that was a gradual change.  We ‘transitioned’.  We went from an on-the-grid home-with-a-heated-pool to an off-the-grid one half the size.  Went from two cars to one.  We went from a larger boat to a smaller one when the building was over.  Then we used the smaller gensets as time went on.  And we added more solar panels. Planning our trips better was likely the greatest conservation method – we just did more with each trip than we did before.  Today, I don’t drive the car unless I come back with 2-400 pounds of stuff.  Ten years ago I would get in the car to go get a renta-movie.  It all subtracts down.

No question: we have a smaller carbon footprint.

But the most illustrative act was the recent addition of 200% more solar panel power.  I went from 640 watts of power generated to 2100 watts.  That turned out to be huge.  I have not run the genset in almost a month.  That’s right – not for 24 days and, at this rate of energy storage in the batteries, I can promise 30 days with no problem.  Even if it rains!  We have lived well, done laundry, used power tools and watched movies.  We have recharged batteries, used appliances and pumped water.  We have basically generated our own power for 24 days of high-numbers-of-guests and done so without the sound of the machine or the cash register.  It has been a delight.

“Geez, Dave.  We know that!  You are telling us what you have already told us before!”

You are right of course.  I repeat myself.  But this is a bit different.  Before August 20th we had solar panels and we used the genset.  I had some idea how much was coming from which source but not precisely.  I do now.  I now make more juice from the solar array than I normally use so I am always in the black, in the money, in the surplus…..whatever way you want to put it.  Even if I tap out a bit more than I should, I will get a top-up the next day.  No worries.

At least this is true this September.  This sunny September.  But, at the rate we are going, I don’t expect to hear the genset til November.  Seriously.

And that is my point: if everyone got panels and did so even at just 50% of normal consumption levels, I am pretty sure that the satisfaction derived would make everyone ‘conserve’ down so that the 50% panels did almost the job that the spending-easily-hydro did before.  What a deal!  And who has to be the leader in this?  No one.  Just go do it!

“Oooohhhh, shouldn’t the federal government give us a tax break or grant or something?”  Yeah.  And you can wait in line for that kind of intelligence from Ottawa as the C0-two climbs out of sight.  Wait for dickheads and all you get is dick-all.

Just go do it.  It’s worth it.


2 thoughts on “Lead yourself out of darkness, my children……………(hallelujah!! )

  1. Sweet ! You get to see the immediate benefits of your panel upgrade.
    As for the govt giving rebates for solar panels…..too many oil pipeline lobbyists would have a problem with that….
    Just curious,
    On the east coast of Canada some of my relatives have had entire barns disappear due to hurricanes. Do you forsee any issues with your panel array during a high wind storm?


  2. Well, our winds get up to 100kmh in the winter and that is enough to worry me. But I have them ‘cabled’ down on all four corners and each panel has some space between it and the next one – which helps diminish the ‘lift’ effect. As for total windage, I am pushing 140 sft I think and that is the same sft’ge as a jib on my old sailboat (when Sal and I lived aboard). So I have some sense of that power. Considerable. But I should be OK. NOT a LOT of safety margin, tho, so I am likely to add a few more struts on a few places. It won’t fall down – that I am sure of. But it could blow away, I suppose. One of the things with doing it yourself with cast-off and salvage is that there is no one else to blame. So, I usually overbuild to allow for my abysmal ignorance. In this case, the weight of things and my luck in finding them dictated a bit more than I would have liked.
    Worried? A bit. Gonna do something about that? A little. Basically, I feel the design is good and the base is good. My welding, perhaps, could have been better. Amen.


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