Passive solar done right
Sunlight is an incredible gift that we all receive each day. Mankind has recognized its’ energy and harnessed it through out time. Homestead Alternatives has had hands on experience with the benefits and limitations of solar heating, since the late 1970’s. We have saved thousands of energy dollars for our clients and ourselves. We have also seen solar collectors freeze and break, window seals fail, UV protected plastics discolor and government incentives come and go. While new labels have been placed on the design ideas of the 70's and 80's, the basics of early Greek and Roman solar architecture, combined with modern building materials, still provide the building blocks for good solar design.
In the late 70's and early 80's, many solar projects were designed and installed so that the owner could maximize tax credits. These credits created a thriving solar industry that all but expired with the government incentives. It was noted, at the Department of Energy Passive & Hybrid Solar Energy Update Meeting in 1980, that “Residential passive has the potential to achieve great success, but it could also falter if not properly developed and marketed”. With nearly thirty years to evaluate the effectiveness of those projects, we need to separate the wheat from the chaff before investing our money. Government programs should be built around the success stories and not a current popular political buzzword. The long term success of conservation and alternative energy development should be our goal. I would not want to see a million (just for kicks) "Haliburton Solar Water Heaters" installed for three years and then discontinued with the tax credits, just to prove that Americans are “green'.