Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New East Tennessee Solar Plan, Get Wacked Out by Drinking Hemlock.

I grew up in East Tennessee, and got use to its climate as a child. It rains a lot in East Tennessee, and even when it does not rain, the sky is often cloudy for part or even all of the day. Similar climatic conditions extend over much of the southeastern united States. On an annual basis clouds block the sun in Knoxville and Nashville 44% of the time, while in sunny Chattanooga the sun does not shine 43% of the time. In Knoxville it is cloudy all day long 161 days a year, that is the equivalent of over 5 sunless months a year. November in Knoxville is positively gloomy, with the sun out only 42% of the time.and this is no light cloud cover either. Whole days may be spent in simi-dark conditions. Even during the most sunny months of the summer, clouds will block the sun over 1/3rd of the time. East Tennessee in particular offers a terrible environment for solar power. I am an enthusiast for solar water heating, but when I investigated the potential for solar water heating in East Tennessee, I quickly came to the conclusion that it was a financial no go.

So where does the United States Department of Energy plan to invest $31.5 million dollars in solar energy research? You have got it, at solar research institute associated with the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The research is expected to begin about the same time the sun emerges from the East Tennessee winter cloud cover in April. With the largess of the DoE, Solar is becomings big business in Tennessee. Two business's have emerged as leading lights in the often murky climate of Tennessee solar business. They are Wacker Chemicals, - I kid you not - and Hemlock Semiconductor - again I kid you not. Well the plan seems to be to wack us with ineffectual solar power which will have the same effect on us that drinking a concoction made from hemlock routs, and on people who were executed in ancient Greece. Well lets hope that hemlock does not grow on East Tennessee's numerous cloudy days.

Hat tip to Rebecca Roller.

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