Parker County Today June 2017 - Page 49

There’s a Solar Solution for Your Electrical Needs! By Allison Stamatis, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Life Sciences Weatherford College M options are automatic gate openers and well pumps. My primary motivation to move toward solar applications is to reduce my ecological footprint by using more sustainable forms of energy production. In Texas, 40% of our electricity comes from the burning of coal. Coal produces more carbon dioxide than any other method of electricity generation. In addition, coal releases toxic metals and particulate matter into the air that we breathe, and adds to the problem of acid rain. The harvesting of coal from the ground is also an environmentally destructive process, and in the end is not a sustainable solution. If saving money wasn’t enough, then you can feel good by making choices that help save your environment, also. When you are considering an upgrade for your home to reduce your dependency on the electrical grid, don’t give it a second thought on upgrading to solar. The cost reduction will be realized in a very short time from the date that you install it, so your pocketbook and the environment will both be happy! ost of us would agree that we would like to save money on our utilities. The addition of solar panels to your home may be a great step toward energy independence for some, but for many it may be cost prohibitive to add solar panels in the near future. There are numerous cost- effective ways that you can add solar to your life’s resume, however. Household appliances can be a big drain on your electricity usage, so upgrading to a solar-powered water heater can make a big difference. If you have a heated swimming pool, a solar water heater specifically for your pool can lead to tremendous savings. Let the sun do all of the hard work! A solar attic fan or vent can help to pull hot air out of your attic during the summer months, saving you significant cooling costs. There are even solar powered full-size refrigerators and freezers that can fit into your lifestyle! As you gear up for summer activities like camping, boating, or RV traveling, there are many solar applications that you can accessorize your trip with. Folding solar panels are lightweight and a great choice for rugged and self-sustaining power. You may even opt to purchase a solar hot dog cooker if you don’t like the char from the camp fire. This season is also prime time for working in your garden, so consider adding solar lights to highlight a path through your beautiful green space. If gophers are wreaking havoc on your lawn and garden, a solar mole and gopher chaser may be just what you need to keep them away without harming them. An outdoor light post or lanterns may also be powered by the sun while increasing the beauty of your home. Other outdoor applications for your ranch or ranchette that have solar powered 47