Eastern Arizona residents got a crash course in renewable energy onFriday Oct. 22, courtesy of the Arizona Cooperative Extension andArizona Land and Water Trust.
The Energy Options Workshop at the Graham County Cooperative Extension in Solomon, Arizona coveredeverything from the basics of how wind energy works to how to install —or find someone qualified to install — those Arizona solar panels thathave become so prevalent. One featured speaker was Chuck Smith, arenewable energy expert who currently teaches at Eastern ArizonaCollege. Smith discussed, among other topics, his school’s own renewable energy program, the curriculum of which covers renewable energytechnology, solar photovoltaics (PV), solar heating and cooking, andwind generation.
But the hot topic of the workshop was (youguessed it) cost. The presenters tackled questions concerning upfrontcost for solar installations on homes, businesses and even ranches.Chuck Lines of SunPumps — a manufacturer of solar powered water pumpingequipment — drove home what was arguably the most important message ofthe night: you don’t have to completely convert your property torenewable energy to make a big environmental impact and save money onyour monthly utility bill. Therefore, paying for the installation of asmaller, less expensive system will still be helpful.
Other topics discussed during the workshopincluded maintaining your panels so that they perform optimally, theimportance of battery back-up systems and battery cost. We aren’t awareof any other similar workshops being hosted in the area, but we’ll keepyou updated if one pops up.