By Linda Nicholas
The answer is Democratic Energy.
The Greek word demokratia (demos = people + kratos = rule) has given rise to our present day word democracy. However, in order for the people to rule they must have clear understandable information to make clear and informed choices. It is and has always been left up to the people to obtain that information. [Yes this IS food for thought… (wiki leaks anyone?).] Democratic Energy then simply means ‘energy ruled by the people’. Not only is this a right, it is a responsibility.
I am writing this because I have just learned this simple and clarifying information. It is exciting and amazing and very much within reach for all of us!
For the past two years I have lived in a small straw bale house which is completely ‘off grid’. This means exactly that: All my electricity is solar generated. I must honestly say that solar power is a fair weather friend. I have learned the hard way how it is both a wonderful experience, and how it is also a nightmare with a lot of candle light involved. Having got that out up front I am here to say I am still a passionately devoted fan of solar powered energy!
In the process of dealing with all the ways it does not work, I am learning ways in which it can not only work for me, but how it can work for everyone. It is the fact that it CAN work for everyone that is exciting.
In one of the down days, I had a wobble and issued a heartfelt wish that I was hooked up to the ‘grid’! Then the sun came out and I was in love with it again. But this got me thinking that doing both would not be a weakness, in fact would be quite good. In fact why couldn’t everyone have both? The next time I was on line I did some research……..
Did you know that Germany has scored top in the world for the past three years for ‘green power’ generation? Neither did I. It has, and not because they have huge functioning Solar Powered Generation centers, which they do, but because people have solar powered generating systems on their homes and businesses which also contribute to the ‘grid’! A surprising 35 percent of Germany’s renewable energy is produced by individuals and small co-ops.
This means that homeowners are installing solar powered generating systems on their homes while remaining hooked to the power lines provided by (for us) NB Power and selling or Feed- in Tariff what they do not use back to the company at fair market price. This has the power, pun intended, to reduce a home electricity bill to $00.00 at best and to surprisingly low rates at the outside, depending upon the size of the system investment.
How can you go wrong? Well, the investment is the biggest hold up but with advancements in technology, start- up costs are falling. Realistically, a basic small set up can cost about $3,000 to install, but that would equate to three years of power bills in savings. Over all there is a big investment up front, but that investment will pay for itself many times over.
This is an on- going research for me, and I am working enthusiastically to develop presentations that will offer more clear and concise information for us all. So watch for further developments……..