What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Laureate 2010: Michael Grätzel for Organic Solar Cells

As a result of Hydro One moving to Time of Use (TOU) pricing and the HST that goes into effect July 1, 2010 that will see an additional 8% tax on our electric bill, I have moved up my plan to become totally solar powered.  Going solar is definitely heading in the right direction.  Not only will it eliminate a utility bill, going solar will bring us one major step closer to reducing our carbon footprint.

I have been doing a lot of research on solar energy.  Solar is either passive or active.  For example the solar tube alternate lighting I have on my list of must have solar items is passive as is most electricity producing solar panels.  Active solar is usually found in solar water and air heating where a pump in the case of water heating and a fan in the case of air heating is used.  In most cases the fan or pump is also solar powered. 

The main deterrent for most homeowners looking to go solar is the cost.  Solar panels are expensive.  While it is true there are a number of homemade devices for using solar power to heat water and air, if you want to generate electricity using the sun you need solar panels.  Despite their cost the beauty of setting up any solar system whether partial or entire household is it is a DIY project that is quite flexable and expandable.  The 2010 Millennium Prize Laureate Michael Grätzel is the father of third generation photovoltaic dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC).  These cells promise electricity-generating windows and low-cost solar panels.  The cells have just made their debut in consumer products so this is quite exciting news for homeowners.  Just imagine being able to replace your old energy inefficient window panes with these new cells that will turn your windows into electricity producing solar panels.  I am extremely excited about this!  Here is a video of Michael Grätzel explaining his new solar cells:

Garden Gnome