Arizona Solar Project

(By the way, here in late July 2004, have you seen this 380,000 lb. power transformer that's being trucked--very slowly--into Arizona from California? Yes, "trucked"; apparently there are no more train tracks in the southwest.)

Hi. Welcome to Phoenix, Arizona. It's Summer time (hot), this is a desert, and the state is in a drought. We also have a power problem. The population here used to be dominated by the super-rich "snowbirds"; golf courses and country clubs. We still have a large number of the snobby rich, yes, but the population is now multiplying even more quickly because of the rushed influx of people coming from/through Mexico. Some reports have more than 2000 bodies a day coming into Arizona--mainly due to our joke of border patrol. As you may know, Mexico has a very poor water system. New people into this country, with relatively excellent water now (by comparison) are going to use LOTS of it--and you would, too. So we can blame the water shortage on our poor border security (well that was easy). Let's go back 30 years and play with power.

A long time ago (the 1970's) there was an experiment tried out here in Arizona. At the time, it was a sophisticated solution to "potential" power shortages of the future. Homes near the Black Canyon Shooting Range (west of Phoenix) were equipped with solar panels and storage batteries. The power system was so efficient that meters ran in reverse(!). The power company would send out monthly checks to these homeowners for power that was actually PUT BACK into the power lines. The idea to use the sun for power is brilliant, and this experiment was a total success in every sense of the concept.

The solar panels and batteries of today are different; they don't capture and hold power even half as well as the experiment from 30 years ago. Even with some solar power, houses today still need to get MOST of their power from a local power company. Read that last sentence again, and get ready to ask the obvious question with me--are you ready? "Shouldn't the modern-day solar panels be EVEN BETTER than those which were already so successful back in the 70's?" Can ANY conspiracy be more obvious than this one?

Let's just PRETEND (ha) that I'm correct about this, and dream: With so much extra solar power running through the power lines, couldn't we also purify more water--and thereby eliminate the drought AND power shortage? Golly. And yet our power company here, APS, now charges us (Static Girl and me) MORE money on our monthly bill so that APS may BEGIN to use SOME solar power in their overall provisions. That's backwards.

Solar power is good; it's cheap, and it's readily available. This is a desert. Phoenix should have the cheapest power in the universe; solar power--panels on every building! Am I missing something here? And I'm just a messenger. Other semi-bright people I talk to every day agree with me on this solar stuff--like, where is it? I DID stretch the extra power over into purifying more water, which is actually a great idea--and worthy of study, but that hardly makes me a sociological genius, right?

People back on the east coast have asked me (innocently) how much solar power we use, here, in our apartment in the desert. And I say "None. But the power company is charging us extra so that they might start using some. Soon. Maybe." This place is messed up. I don't know if I'm going to make it out of this town alive, but either way I'm NOT going to miss it.

PS: To the government I would like to say this: I'll give you Kennedy, I'll give you the Lunar Shuffle, and I'll even give you aliens--if you want them--I don't care. But why, oh why, oh why are there not solar panels on every building in Arizona? What were you thinking? Hello? (I used to think that the LACK of hybrid/alternative fuels automobiles was the most obvious conspiracy. I was wrong. It's the lack of alternative power.)

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