On June 20 of 2019, Stone Creek announced plans to build a 766kW solar power plant for the Buffalo Island School District. This plant is expected to offset 95% of the electricity demand for the school district.
As per the agreement, Stone Creek will build, own, and operate the solar plant on 4.5 acres of land adjacent to the school district. Upon completion, the school will enter into a service agreement to receive power at a lower rate from the plant.
The power produced from this plant over the next twenty five years will offset the equivalent of 28 million pounds of coal, making this a huge boon for both the environment and local tax payers.
On our end, we feel honored to be partnering with such a forward-thinking district, and we hope that the success of this project will encourage other districts and municipalities to start considering solar.
We’d say that Old Glory is looking pretty darn spiffy today! Nice work, Betsy Ross.
Bonus fact: When we added Alaska and Hawaii, we had to figure out how to fit two additional stars onto the flag. At the end of the day, the creator of that design was a high school sophomore from Ohio named Robert Heft.
I’m not sure what he did with his life after that, but I’m feeling like ‘designer of US flag’ probably made for a pretty great line on his resume.
One question that we get asked nearly every day is ‘What if the sun stops shining?’
We know that what you’re really asking is ‘What if we have more cloud cover than usual this month? How will that impact my utility bills?’
Still, we couldn’t resist having a little fun with the topic.
As such, Stone Creek is now happy to offer our very own Sunlight Guarantee.
That’s right: If the sun goes more than 365 consecutive days without shining, your solar system is on us.*
Granted, if the sun disappears for that long, I suspect we’ll all have far bigger concerns than the financing arrangements on solar panels to worry about, but still, we like to offer peace of mind in such apocalyptic scenarios.
*Standard disclaimer: I may be a contract lawyer, but I haven’t actually thought through the details on this. This post is meant for entertainment purposes only, an in the event of an actual apocalypse, terms and conditions may apply.
Confession: This post is not as straightforward as most of the things we discuss on this blog.
But, the other day, inspiration struck.
You see, we had been dealing with day. After day. After day. Of rain. It was like that scene from Forrest Gump where he was in Vietnam, except without the whole war thing.
Now, those in the office who’ve spent years around me know that rain is the death knell to my happiness. If we have three or four cloudy days in a row, everybody just starts avoiding me entirely, stepping through my door only to deliver junk food, as though I’m the Babadook.
Unfortunately, one of our engineers had never been given this warning.
As such, the poor man comes in in the morning and starts to make polite small talk, completely unaware of what’s about to transpire. Before he knows what’s happening, he’s getting to listen to an entire diatribe about how much I hate everyone and everything, and about how my entire life has been a waste, and how I really think every single one of my neighbors ought to shove it.
In shock, he just starts to stutter for a moment before asking the polite questions, trying to figure out exactly what went wrong.
It was at that time that John walked by, and simply advised that we both look out the window.
It was raining.
As a longtime veteran of my rainy day moods, John advised our poor engineer that I’m basically a giant solar panel: Great and fabulously productive when it’s sunny, but pretty much a useless piece of sadness when it rains.*
This got us all to thinking: Are people not all giant solar panels?
On a completely basic level, we need the sun to live.
We need the sun to grow our crops and heat the planet and all of that, yes, but we also need the sun to properly process all of the vitamins and minerals we take in.
Moreover, the sun does impact our moods and productivity. There’s a reason that people talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder and the winter blues. There’s a reason that when it rains, we all just want to curl up and take a nap (or explain to the engineering department why everything in life sucks).
Just as how the sun creates a series of chemical reactions in photovoltaic panels, it also sets off a series of chemical reactions in our brains, and without it, we don’t produce as much serotonin. Our melatonin levels rise and fall at the wrong times. We become draggy, and cranky, and we want to sleep when we’re supposed to be working; only to stare at the television for hours when we’re supposed to be sleeping.
We do, as it turns out, run on solar.
*Our marketing department just corrected me, and said not to label solar panels as ‘sad’ or ‘useless’. Then, looking out their own windows as the downpour continued, they were quick to add that I’m also not ‘sad and useless’, but rather ‘slightly more attuned to the unfortunate nuances of life, but still really, really wonderful’.
In any industry, there’s a fine line between ‘visionary innovation’ and ‘no way that’s ever going to be commercially viable’.
Renewable energy, of course, is no exception.
For every one breakthrough that offers a truly promising solution to existing limitations (or at least a rough beta version of that end solution), there are five others that probably won’t live up to investor hopes.
In honor of that latter category, I present Energy Harvesting Clothing.
The goal is to design yarn that can generate electrical currents through the wearer’s movements.
The problem? Right now, those electrical currents…aren’t so strong.
As in, not strong enough to recharge a cell phone, much less anything more dramatic.
Now, if we’re being honest, my snark is partially coming from a place of jealously. I mean, I feel super shortchanged that my Arc’teryx jackets don’t produce any electricity, and I’m more than happy to take that angst out on those researchers at Vanderbilt!
Still, I can’t help but question whether this isn’t an incredibly complicated solution to a problem that could better be solved with a $50 Fitbit.