Letters to the Editor

Electricity unlikely to get any cheaper

I saw a letter to the editor in the Jan. 24 paper concerning power options, thermostat settings, etc.

I perform energy management for the U.S. Air Force and have some comments. First, the writer has his thermostat set at 71 degrees. The federal recommendation is 69 in heating season and 76 in cooling season. You better get some warmer clothes.

Second, I was studying the possibility of solar power for an air base, and I came upon some enlightening publications. I recommend anyone interested go to the following website: www.nrel.gov/gis/femp.html and study the section showing the photovoltaic maps. (This is the current technology that turns sunlight directly into electricity.) The maps show various breakdowns indicating financial viability of photovoltaic systems.

It is too complicated to try to discuss the details in a letter to the editor; in short, it is not economically viable to make electricity from photovoltaic sources in the U.S., except in a very few special places. The only times it makes sense at all are when there are heavy utility or government subsidies; South Carolina has very few subsidies available and even when those are applied, because we already have cheap electricity, the payback is very unattractive.

We'll have to look elsewhere for our electricity, and don't look for it to get any cheaper.

Michel Whitaker Cat Island