Thursday, May 22, 2008

PBS Nova: "Saved by the Sun", progress with solar energy


On May 22, MPT rebroadcast NOVA’s documentary about solar energy, “Saved by the Sun,” with this website. The film starts out by showing large solar farms in the Mojave Desert and near Las Vegas. It shows solar power in Sommerville, MA, in Maine, and at a Whole Foods shopping coop in New Jersey, where there was a county sponsored plan for businesses to invest. Flat roofs on many buildings in most cities could provide significant power to be sold back into the system with reverse metering. The program then examines solar power in Germany, where government policies encourage farmers and communities to invest in solar farm panels, much more so than in the United States. A clean room at a solar cell plant in Germany is shown, with the workers in bunny suits. A pig farmer, who borrowed over $1 million in US dollars to invest in a solar farm, is interviewed.

The film goes on to examine other possibly more efficient solar cell design, including using titanium compounds and nanotechnology (reminds me of "Jake 2.0"). A innovative home owner in Colorado, with his son, give a tour, including an indoor solar greenhouse almost in the middle of the house.

The United States gets only about 1% of its electricity from solar and wind power right now, a number that must go up.

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