Posts Tagged With: solar


Things are far more complicated than they seem, certainly more complicated than I’m capable of imagining.

I try to buy whatever I need made in America and  avoid buying stuff made in China, nearly impossible in my community. We don’t have the variety of shopping options that city people do. And, I’m a solar nut. I love it, I’m delighted that California leads the nation in solar installations and even without taking the subsidies away from big oil, solar is booming. Now, listen to this:

Solar is booming because cheap panels are coming from China. That leads to competition. Solar panels made in the USA, Germany and Japan are still available and China has forced prices down everywhere.  Since we have a trade deficit with China, it is nice to see it benefit us in such a big way.  American installers are doing a brisk business and we are moving toward sustainable energy because  clean technology is almost as cheap as dirty fossil fuels. The US and the European Union are threatening to stifle this breakthrough. So, how?

Both the US and EU give billions in taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil and Coal. Do they turn those subsidies to clean energy?  No, they are about to drive solar prices back up by putting tariffs on China and China is threatening to retaliate?  Oh, let’s have a trade war. Who would benefit by hurting the burgeoning, green solar industry?  The oil and coal industry, of course. I’m not saying we don’t need oil, I’m just saying we shouldn’t subsidize it anymore. Why not turn those subsidies into clean energy. The oil companies rake in billions in profits and we still subsidize them?  Enough is enough.

I’d rather see them rescind the whole trade agreement than tariff solar. China has a poor human rights record and they supply us with our own stuff at cheaper prices. I read in Smithsonian Magazine where one expert claims that “Every major company in the United States has already been penetrated by China.”  He also fears they have implanted logic bombs , trapdoors and Trojan horses in our electronics, l that can be activated on command like a cyber-Pearl Harbor attack. That may be fear mongering, but we certainly stand to lose our competitive edge. Our F-35 Bomber technology- important and our early American quilt patterns- irritating.

The farm industry in the U.S. has been facing declining beef and pork consumption in the U.S.  Now, land grabs for grazing land are being taken over to keep beef flowing to Asian countries. Yup!  They take our electronics, steal or buy our technology, and now we export our food to them.

China has a poor human rights and environmental record, and its strategy of flooding the global market with subsidised goods is annoying and costly to jobs. The best thing is not to blame China, but to aggressively entreat our leaders to subsidize US solar manufacturers with cheap loans just like China does. We should learn from their practices.

Experts predict that tariffs could cost 60,0000 US jobs. So, cheaper panels provide more work for people. Forget the tariff. It only sounds like a good answer.

More information:

NYT — “U.S. Slaps High Tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels”

Bloomberg – “U.S. Solar Tariffs On Chinese Cells May Boost Prices”

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The day before yesterday, I was delivered two Warriors T-shirts and two souvenir basketballs for tonight’s game with the NETS at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. I’d like someone to use the free tickets, so, anyone local, who wants them, call me. I’m in the phone book.  I hate to see these box suite tickets go to waste. I tried to give them to an Oakland friend, but he wasn’t interested. I didn’t think about anyone around me until this morning. Anyway, here they are for the asking.

The reason I got them is because Mark Danenhower, of The Solar Company, was selected as the solar installer for the Warriors practice facility and he has invited his former customers to a free game to celebrate. It is a huge contract and no one is more deserving than Mark.

Mark was a building contractor and solar was a newish enterprise  in 2003. He took the classes, signed up with the state, and got started. It was a tough change. Solar was expensive.   I got bids from two other installers. Neither one got up on my roof and measured it and checked to see where the roof trusses were located, like Mark did. They did everything on paper.  Since I had five brothers, a son, and a nephew  in the construction trades, I knew instantly I was in good hands with Mark.

I asked him how many installations he had done and he could have told me any number.  It was under five. I checked out everything, his insurance, the vendors he bought his panels from, I got ratings on the panels. He checked out tops on everything. I had faith in him and he used me many times for a reference after that.

I can attest to the fact that solar pays for itself. The price of PG&E continues to rise, but my electricity is practically free.  My installation took place late in 2004, my first bill was late in 2005. PG&E charges approximately 6.00  a month to read my meter. And, as I’ve purchased new electrical devices, electronics, mostly,  and a hot tub, etc. my use has gone up. My bill for a year, including meter fees was  178.41 in 2005.  It was 141.38 in 2008. It was 178.81 in 2010, my highest bill so far.

I did a video for our local Public Access Television Station entitled, “I Am My Own Power Company” , and I believe the statistics that show we could cut our carbon footprint in half  if  just 5% of buildings used solar. I’m so proud of the fact our new jail being built in Calaveras County includes solar. I prodded the new Mark Twain St. Joseph’s hospital to include solar when it was built several years ago.  What a wasted opportunity. They did not. We have one solar winery in county and many homes. If our local government would require all government buildings to use solar, what a difference it could make in our taxes.

Mark Danenhower only does solar now. He is available at 877.607.6527.   I don’t often promote businesses;  I’ve certainly trashed a few in this blog.  But, I’m proud to endorse

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An Early Morning Walk In The Desert…

I’m currently parked at Slab City, an old deserted military base deep in the deserts of Southeastern California. I’ve been here numerous times and have written many Blog entries about Slab City. If you want to see some of them…look in the past years archives in December. For a general understanding of Slab City…just enter those two words in your Internet Search Box and you’ll find several sites describing this most unusual place. I’m here to upgrade our solar system on the motorhome, for which I have an 8:30 AM appointment this morning.

While here I’m parked directly in front of my friend Leo’s motorhome. I thought you might enjoy to see some of the photos during our about 45 minute walk yesterday morning. As always, you may click on the photos to see them in an enlarged view and then click on them once again to see an even larger view.

About one-half hour before sunrise I stuck my head out of the driver’s side motorhome window and took this photo of Leo’s front yard under a full moon…

We left right at sunrise  and shortly thereafter cast long early morning shadows upon the desert floor…

Two of the motorhomes in the distance are ours…

Leo’s is center left and mine is center right in this zoom shot…

A graded road makes for easier walking…

Leo’s Doberman Deja’ can be seen in this photo of a gaily painted deserted military base water tank…

The Slabs has quite a nice pet cemetery…

A close-up of one of the graves…

Oh, I almost forgot to show you last night’s sunset…

And a few minutes later…

It’s really peaceful and quiet here miles away from any city. During the night one can only occasionally hear the long mournful sound of a diesel train passing about three miles away…and the beautiful sounds of the coyotes howling at the Moon!

And speaking of the Moon…how about a full Moon rising photo…

Now…that’s something to howl about!!!

It’s a lousy job…but someone’s got to do it!  🙂

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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Yesterday I Did A BM…

Every six months…more or less…during the months of April and October…it’s time for me once again to do Battery Maintenance.  This is a photo of our coach batteries. They are connected to the large solar panel on the roof where the sun keeps them fully charged when we are parked. They are two six-volt golf cart batteries wired in series to produce 12 volts which power all of the 12 volt devices on board. They are located under a cover of the entrance steps to the motorhome…

The battery maintenance process involves cleaning the batteries and connections of any residues of grime and accumulated battery acid build-up. Once the batteries are cleaned then I usually have to add some distilled water to the battery cells. In addition to these two batteries I also do the engine-starting batteries on the motorhome, Bronco and Mary’s pick-up truck. I did such a good job of cleaning them six months ago that this time the process was accomplished in less than two hours. This type of preventative maintenance when accomplished while in a convenient working location prevents problems while out on the open road. It’s time well spent.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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No Super Bowl Watching For Me…

Jim says:

Yesterday we drove motorhome the about 175 miles from Lake Havasu City, Arizona to Henderson, Nevada. I say we, but it was really me. Mary rode in the passenger seat. She’s very talented, she can read a book and take a nap at the same time…without losing her page!


Southwest of Boulder City, Nevada we passed by a huge solar power generating station.


Here’s a view from Google Earth…


From a distance along the road it looks like a lake, but they’re solar collectors…


(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Here’s a Wikipedia link about this particular generating station…

Here’s a photo of Las Vegas in the distance as taken from the highway in Henderson…


We’re parked next to her oldest son’s home in front of a neighbor’s house who are away.


.Mary’s oldest son Ken and his family, including Mary, watched the game. I retired to the motorhome and read a good book.


The Super Bowl holds not the slightest interest to me. If you are a regular follower of my Blog, you know I haven’t listened to the news in the last 14 years…and that’s just fine with me!

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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Above And Beyond The Call Of Duty…

Jim says:

In yesterday’s Blog entry I ranted and raved about the U.S. Postal Service. and it was well deserved.

When I went to the Pensacola Post Office on Friday in search of my package and it wasn’t there…Sandy (who would be the only employee working there on Saturday), volunteered to call me if it came in. She did call and it did come in. Hallelujah!

Sandy – A service orientated postal employee.

The Priority Mail package that took five days from St. Louis, Missouri to Pensacola, Florida, a distance of 734 miles. I think it must have traveled by Mule-Express!

Back to the motorhome…time to install this puppy dog. Its function is to take the 20 volts created by the solar panel and reduce it to 14.1 volts so the coach batteries do not boil. Once the batteries are fully charged it shuts off the current flow. When I use the batteries for a function like watching TV, the controller once again allows the current to flow into the batteries until they reach full charge.

Not a very complicated device…just have to be sure to get the wires in the right connection.

It took about one-half hour to install properly. The reason it malfunctioned was because the original installer did not properly secure the wires to something stable. While bouncing down the road the wires jiggled around and broke the connector off of the circuit board. I’ve got the wires secured now and hopefully I’ll not have to deal with this issue again.

Installation complete…functioning properly.

Sandy retires in one year, two months and two weeks and wants to go RVing! Happy Trails, Sandy!

Thanks, Sandy for going out of your way to assist me!

Thanks to American Legion Post #240 in Pensacola, Florida for allowing me to park in their lot for the last 13 days while I took care of this matter.

I’ll be back on the road again soon.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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