First of all I would like to share with all of you, my esteemed readers, that this blog reached an important milestone a few weeks ago. I am told by people in the know about these things that it is important in such a narrow interest field as ours:
For the first time in 6 years, this blog has achieved over 40,000 readers in the last 12 months.
Of these, 60% are new readers and 40% are returning friends.
So, I have to give thanks for that.
Thanks to all of you that read me, and those that comment about the blog, and those that recommend others to read the blog.
We also "went green" and for the first time our electric energy bill came in at almost zero! You can never get rid of the connection fee ($8.00) but seeing the bill drop to that level was greatly gratifying. Perhaps in this item a little more explanation is in order because it is a rather technical thing that MIGHT interest some of you.
When we moved from Connecticut to Maryland, part of the search for the house centered in a place that would have good solar potential. As much as I would like a cabin in the deep woods, it's not the best place to raise a family of 4, so we looked for a house with sufficient land to shoot, and run, and play, without too many trees,with lots of sun on the south facing roofs. We found what we wanted and after one year of settling in, we decided to install solar panels.
The obvious is that solar panels convert sunlight to electricity, what is not so obvious is that the electricity produced by the solar panels is DC, while the electricity you use in your household is AC (remember the Tesla vs. Edison controversy?), and so you need a special piece of equipment that's called an inverter. You may have, or seen those that are designed to run AC loads from your car's connections and, yes, they are more or less the same stuff, with one difference: Those that are made to run individual loads have no need to synchronize to a frequency or a power angle. Those that are installed in solar panel systems need to synchronize to the AC side of the power net.
And, mostly, this is the weak link in most solar power system designs. The cells are passive and quite resistant to weather and other stuff, the cables are simple, but the idea of concentrating all the DC power in one unit to invert it into AC was somewhat disturbing for this Power Systems Engineer.
After some research, we found a local contractor company that utilized a distributed inverter technology. This means that every panel has an inverter, and that they are connected in a "daisy-chain" style with the last/first entry point that is the meter.
In essence, then, what you have is a group of small generating units, all "AC", all linked, synchronized, and in phase. If one fails, it simply does not provide power, but all the other elements of the array can keep on working.
An added advantage is that since every panel/inverter pair is "intelligent", they can be monitored / controlled / serviced remotely.
Lastly, and this is something that you would have to research in YOUR area, houses that are equipped with solar systems are now selling at a premium over houses that aren't. It may or may not be a factor in your decision, but it is something to know.
My wife, Veronika has a cousin that is a true "property shark", he is a very successful real estate person and when he came to visit recently, we had to tell him that the house had a solar system because this one is so unobtrusive.
Installation took two half days, we were not cut from the power net, and it was really "painless".
It was a good thing that our contractor understood that they were dealing with special customers and adapted to the requirements and conditions of dealing with professionals in the construction and power systems field.
If you are interested in a solar system, by all means, do not procrastinate. Incentives (reduced taxes and rebates) will disappear as the systems become more popular and the installations more prevalent.
Look for a LOCAL contractor to YOU. But always keep an eye on the quality of the system offered.
Service and support are also very important. SO, DO YOUR HOMEWORK and everything will turn out real well.
Another thing we have to be thankful for is that we are all healthy. NOTHING is enjoyable if you are sick. Not even sick leave, LOL!
I am thankful that my children have a lovely set of grandparents (Oma and Opa) on Veronika's side
I am thankful that I have good friends and business partners in DIANA, a long time dream of mine that this year came true.
I am thankful for the world of airgunning and Field Target that has allowed me to meet so many nice people.
Yes, there are tons of things to be thankful about. SO, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
And thanks to you again.
Keep well and shoot straight!