"I had to go through heck down here in Tucson between the building department and TEP to get my solar up and running. They do not make it easy. That was after finally deciding that the cost was worth it. The way things are today in Tucson, you have to really want to be on renewables to make it happen. Until that changes there will be little adoption."
Actually, the PV solar panels and wind power are WORSE for the environment. But they are dang expensive, hence why you are allowed to build them.
Remember, PV cells are based on semi-conductor technology. That uses TONS of highly toxic chemicals to produce just a tiny amount of electricity. Given how much energy you put into making the PV cells, you won't break even for almost 2 decades, if at all. That means you contribution to reducing carbon is zero at best, but in reality these systems have increased carbon out put into the environment.
And the average EFFECTIVE lifespan of the cells is somewhere on the order 13-18 years. By 20 years you only getting a fraction of the power out of them. The cost of cells even after rebate requires you to own them for almost 20 years as well.
Then you have to dispose of them. And they are WICKED TOXIC. Yes, you have toxic waste up on your home. I bet they don't tell the people who buy them about that.
Wind power is a complete joke. Those wind generators are responsible completely hosing up the power grid. The entire Texas power grid choked last year when for less than a minute all of those wind generators stopped turning (the wind stopped). Just about fried the entire system. Currently they are running at about 8% wind power. They want to ramp it up to 30%. OMG! Can you imagine the power spikes and brownouts that will cause?
The Spanish system causes serious harm to the French system. The one and only reason why the French and Spanish systems (which are linked) works is because the French system is like 90% nuclear. Nuclear power is ROCK SOLID. But then we run into the toxic waste problem.
The wind generators are also completely unreliable. So remember, you want your refrigerator to run all the time in July, not once in a while. Once in awhile means your milk turns into cheese and your beef grows fungus. If you buy a room full of batteries you are, once again, contributing to the toxic waste problem because the only viable/economical energy storage system at your disposal are lead acid batteries.
If environmentalists were actually serious about this problem, and trust me from an engineering standpoint they are absolutely not, they would be working on energy storage solutions for the competely unreliable wind/solar power systems. You could build two level lakes next to each of these wind farms. When you are generator excess power you pump water up to the top level, when you are low on power, you use the dam to generate power down to the lower level. This is not rocket science and its been suggested for almost 200 years! But no one listens.
The one system that does seem to work better, but not very well, are the thermal storage systems. They use lots of mirrors to focus light on a tower. That tower heats up a huge salt cavern below the power plant. I think they said they *might* get it up to 500F on a good day. That means they might be able to supply power all night, if they had a really good day. In the winter these systems are basicaly going to shutdown.
If you really want to go "off the grid" and help the evironment, you need energy storage and renewable generation. Build yourself an immense water tower. I'm not talking a little farm water tower. I'm talking about the kind they used to have in downtown Mesa (anyone remember the enormous blue tank?). Pump water up to your tank with your generators during the day, and pump it down at night. I'm guessing this kind of system will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. And the amount of coal that will be burnt in producing the large water tank,solar cells, wiring, electronics, etc will far exceed the amount of energy you ever get out of the system. So in the end you have actually harmed the environment, but made a few men very very rich buy purchasing all of that hardware.