Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Alternative energy FAIL

Below is a photo of an electric-scooter rental station located on Commercial Street, in Portland's waterfront tourist district. Apologies for the low photo quality, but the trailer says, "Go Green, Save Gas."
To drive the "green" point home, there is a solar panel. Presumably it's there to recharge the electric scooters. But I can say with some confidence that this solar panel is not charging much of anything, because it's tilted towards the northwest, and here in the northern hemisphere, most of our sunlight comes at us from the south.

I took this photo about two weeks ago and gave Scoot USA the benefit of the doubt for a while. Surely the owner or manager would notice that their expensive alternative-energy investment wasn't pointing towards the sun, right? But after considerable time, the panels haven't budged.

I suspect that the owners are pointing them towards the northwest because that's where the street is: if the panels were actually pointed towards the south, how would tourists walking past be able to tell what they were?

As far north as we are, solar panels generally don't perform very well as a source of electricity. But as billboards selling green snake oil, they're apparently worth the investment.

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