Friday, November 11, 2011

Solar Energy and Sailing

One thing I love about living on Bettie is how little energy we use because of our solar panels. Not only is that good for the planet and my granola eating, pocket mulching heart, but it's also helps out our cruising budget. And to make matters even more exciting, I just read in Scientific American that solar energy might be subject to something similar to Moore's Law for computers, which says that the amount of computing power on a chip doubles every 18 months. Sounds thrilling, I know. But, if accurate, it would mean a drop in price for solar energy technology, which means we could get more bang for our buck, which means we could power Vlad's prized waffle maker while at anchor! And we could use the fridge! And still have lights!

I might be getting ahead of myself, but according to the article, over the past 30 years the price of solar energy has dropped seven percent annually. Here's an interesting statistic from the post:
In 88 minutes, the sun provides 470 exajoules of energy, as much energy as humanity consumes in a year. In 112 hours – less than five days – it provides 36 zettajoules of energy – as much energy as is contained in all proven reserves of oil, coal, and natural gas on this planet.


  1. Yes! my thoughts exactly. Our boat Sundowner came with 4 55 watt solar panels. They are "old" in technology years, but probably still work fine (will hook them up soon to test). Tate and I are going to wait until right before we leave to invest in some new solar and wind power. Hopefully in three years, major advancements will be made (i.e. cheaper since we don't have any first born children).

  2. I really, really hope so. Cause that waffle maker seriously rocks! Plus, it's satisfying to know that you can produce all the electricity you need without having to rely on fuel or a dock hookup.