Letters to the Editor

PATRICK HAMEL: Why not hybridize the use of solar energy?

There are many different approaches to harnessing solar energy.

The way that is most expensive and complicated seems to be what is in the news most often. The full solar home takes DC power from panels or solar shingles and stores it in batteries. It then takes the DC from the batteries and produces AC to run the house.

If there is not enough DC, the central (city) power is used. If there is a surplus of solar power, it is fed back into the central power grid. It sounds good, but it is way too expensive for people living on Mississippi wages.

AC is our major use of electricity. A more practical approach would be to develop an air conditioner that can be powered both from solar panels or solar shingles, through the direct current, and, if necessary, with AC as backup. The hotter the day, the more solar power needed to cool a house.

This would require no batteries to be constantly checked and no big control system to power the whole house and feed back into the grid. The system could be installed and maintained by current AC servicemen and installers with very little extra training.

In the simplest form, the difference would just be a dual-powered motor for the compressor and fans and a small AC/DC controller hanging on the house beside the unit.

Again -- the hotter the day, the more solar power needed to cool a house.


Long Beach