Wow – this photograph from our front deck does well to introduce this new series, Solar Sundayeven considering the cloudy weather.

Here is a fact you may not know: every hour the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year. (source – National Geographic)

So, on the occasional Sunday as Sol Power moves me, I will feature numerous examples of how sunlight is utilized to provide home power needs.


Solar Sunday at the  Lake 2



slides0075 - 1975 Solar Presentation



4 -175 watt solar panels in bedroom awaiting installation

I have utilized solar energy for more than 30 years. Back in early 2010, when my wife and I upgraded our home power system, we stored in our bedroom (with great passion) 4 new photo-voltaic modules. They were later installed by Sun Water Power Systems which is owned by my friend Peter Talbot (seen in the photo below).  Also note the solar water heater under the deck railing.

Since 2010, solar electric panels have dropped in price by 46%, and costs continue to fall. Many people don’t have any idea that  solar modules continue to produce electricity even on cloudy days, usually around 10-20% of the amount produced on sunny days.

(source– Solar Energy USA) 

Peter Talbot of

Even though it’s rainy and stormy here today, the computer and satellite dish that I’ll use to upload this post are both powered in part with stored solar energy.

An upcoming feature will illustrate another one of our major energy sources –  liquid sunshine or falling water via our hydro powered turbine. 

You also may enjoy my previous series called WOW – Watts of Wind (on Wednesday).     


               72 Pounds per square inch test flow       Sun image2

Here’s hoping for a future of many happy solar powered Sunday’s.



Cheers ~ Bruce


Solar Sunday at the Lake



  1. Great photo!
    We have fields full of solar panels around here at the moment – sadly I think driven by government subsidies than any real environmental drive. On a personal level we looked into getting some fitted to our house and, apart from its age raising difficulties, the guy was more interested in selling us the idea of revenue generation through commission on sales via an advertising board on the house than he was in the benefits of the solar panels. It seems that people are still too intent on looking after themselves rather than the world we live in.

    • Thanks for weighing in Noeline. It’s great to hear from you. I agree that too many people and so many companies are driven by greed and the maximization of profits.

      The catch 22 with government incentives, carbon credits, etc. is that although they do help level the playing field with big oil, they also tend to encourage speculative investments based on the subsidies alone. On the other hand there are many noble people working towards positive change…

      Here’s a practical example – we purchased a 2nd hand solar hot water heater (that’s leaning against the deck in the photo) 28 years ago for $1200.00 from an ethical renewable energy salesperson. He allowed us to pay in small installments over one year with no interest, as he preferred that to a credit card with the banks also making money.

      The simple batch solar heater is a black tank behind double pane glass – like most solar water systems it is a pre-heater, except that this unit has no electronics or moving parts – when you turn on the tap cold water goes in & warm water comes out. The unit is working trouble free today. Once, I didn’t drain the water out soon enough to avoid winter freeze up, and the tank cracked which then required welding.

      Hope this helps shed light on your shady experience with solar dealers, if you can excuse the pun. 🙂

      Cheers – Bruce

  2. What an amazing photo! I am Texas it should be mandatory here in Texas we would save so much, thanks for sharing I need to learn more about it.

    • Thanks Doris, The solar resource in Texas is enormous – probably twice the hours of sunshine per year that we have here in the Pacific Northwest. So it makes almost twice as effective.

  3. Fantastic photo! This is the kind of energy we need, not the pipeline type. Are you listening Endbridge? charles

  4. I agree with Woolly’s statement that solar power in some capacity should be built into all houses going forward> Living in Florida which bills itself as the Sunshine State, I’m amazed that solar power isn’t utilized more. But I guess that would cut into the natural gas and electric companies monopolies. Many campers and rv’s nowadays use solar power, also. Why not cars themselves? Looking forward to this series, Bruce.

    • It’s ironic that both Florida and California were leaders in installing Solar Hot water batch heaters in the early 1900’s. These States are in relatively ideal Solar locations, as you refer to.

      Monopoly power has been quite silent about energy efficiency, up until recently. I read that the fossil fuel industry gets 100 times more tax payer subsidies than does renewables. And this doesn’t account for the massive spending on the U.S military to provide so-called energy security.

      Subsidies vary from country to country of course, and the continuing success of Germany’s embrace of sustainable energy is largely due to creating a more level playing field. We have 3 decades of the Greens to thank for that.

      Maybe it’s time to consider a reverse Marshall Plan. Just sayin… 🙂

  5. We’re surrounded by very tall trees – Big Leaf Maples, mostly. We’ve been told that we cannot use solar on this house, because of that. Any comments? We have moss growing everywhere and even have trouble growing vegetables, not enough sunlight. We love the privacy and shade in the summer, but…

    • Hi Susan – I made a comment about this a moment ago to Woolly Muses (below)… “building codes should … mandate the use of solar technology (unless the site is completely shaded).”

      I have a good friend, who has been a solar cooking facilitator and avid social justice advocate for decades. Jack Anderson lives in a similar location to what you describe, and with the careful removal of a few trees, he was able to carve out a garden and a location to solar cook. If your lot is quite small this may be difficult.

      I have a few other thoughts about people who lack solar Access. Have you thought about investing in a solar co-operative?

      One step further, the author Jeremy Rifkin has written about a truly democratic “smart grid” integrated with the world wide web – people could invest and barter energy credits across the planet. In a practical sense, this is the overarching concept behind carbon credits, and this could really work, if not co-opted by the ruling elite. It sounds pie-in-the-sky, but if you had asked me 20 years ago what I thought about a technology like the internet, I would have said – oh that’s crazy.

      So don’t despair – although your own home may be sun poor, much of the world is sun rich. I’ll send you a few rays beaming through our windows this moment, via our solar powered computer. How’s that for sharing?

  6. We installed solar in May 2012. For nine months we did not pay for electricity and last winter’s account was over 33% cheaper. Solar power should be mandatory on all houses.

    • What a testament to the merits of solar energy… a wise and ethical investment with the energy savings still paying you and the planet quite a substantial dividend.

      I agree that building codes should immediately mandate the use of solar technology (unless the site is completely shaded).

      Thank you Woolly Muses, about your practical lived experience.

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