Tuesday, November 8, 2011

LEDs and Solar Power, like Chocolate and Peanutbutter

ArsTechnica's look at the LED lighting landscape includes some nice tidbits on the current state of florescent lighting as well and is well worth a read, if only because it gives a glimpse into how the next generation might be decorating their houses.  Judging by the product lists available at the big box home improvement stores, we still aren't quite there yet, but the selection is getting better slowly.  LED lighting just makes sense, even if it does cost more at the moment.

The Navy's recent experiments into more energy efficient forward base designs noted the combination of LED lighting and integrated solar cells dramatically reduced both the power footprint and soldiers' battery use.  The general upward trend of fuel costs and the global economic slowing appear to be combining to encourage alternative energy sources.  The business opportunities surrounding alternative power generation seem to be taking hold, enough so that Slashdot featured a roundup of sources demonstrating a quickly growing US solar power industry.  Even Google wants to get into the game, by owning and subsidizing consumer solar installations, essentially turning themselves into a distributed utility.  Politics play a part as well, and several potential examples of shady political dealings have not stopped the government from continuing to push solar subsidies.

Lower power draw lighting solutions fit naturally into the futurist vision of ubiquitous photovoltaic power generation, and slowly economic and political forces are beginning to line up to make the changes happen.

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