Letter to Gambit Weekly
by Jeff Shaw

This letter was submitted to Gambit Weekly in response to their article about the high energy prices in Louisiana titled Electric Shock. 2/8/01

2/13/01
Mr. Verma,

I read with interest your cover story article on Electric Shock.  What amazed me was not how high everyone's electric bill was but the lack of interest in alternative energy in Louisiana.  As an example you mentioned that you could not find a solar house in Baton Rouge.  I wanted to let you and your readers know that although there are no homes operating "off grid" in the city, mine is being partially powered by solar electricity and has been for two years.  Every watt I get out of my solar panels is one less watt I need to buy from the electric company. 

Solar power is not an "all or nothing" option in powering a home.  It is more like buying a wardrobe of clothes.  You buy the basics and supplement as you get more money.  I installed my solar power system in 1999 and have enjoyed doing my part in becoming less dependant on the grid.  I can run about four rooms of my house "off grid". 

I wrote Richard Perez, the editor of Homepower magazine with an open invitation for anyone in this area to contact me about starting a user group.  We have started what we are going to call the Louisiana Solar Energy Society (LSES).  It will be an educational society and will share information with people considering solar power for their homes, businesses or camps. 

For most people money is their sole motivator.  Let's hope that the positive side of the high utility bills of this winter will be that it encourages people to look at alternative energy (and energy conservation) as something they should do today.
If anyone would like to take a look at the developing LSES website and see some pictures of my system they can visit the website lses.org

Thanks,
Jeff Shaw
 shaw@deliverbr.com


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