Solar Panels at Infineon Raceway

Infinion Raceway is a year round racetrack located in Sonoma, California and is home to some very exciting, top-tier racing such as NASCAR and Indy. When we think of racing, we think of speed, power, adrenaline, crashes, technology, and a lot of noise. We don’t however think about green efficiency, solar panels, and the environment. Well, that may be about to change!

In association with Panasonic, Infinion Raceway has just installed over 1,600 solar panels to provide over 40% of the facilities power needs. The system privides 353 kilowatts of power for the entire facility. A very substantial amount.

Now I know there will be a lot of people out there who will mock this attempt at a raceway trying to be green. Yes, it can seem ironic for a sport, whose primary purpose is to use fuel for speed to install solar panels. I mean, isn’t auto-racing basically the opposite of green? Anyone who has ever been to a racetrack can attest to the smell of burnt rubber and gas fumes. Wouldn’t it be smarter just to get rid of racing?

Though I am definitely for clean, efficient, sustainable living, I say no! I think one of the biggest problems with the green movement today, is that it is an all or nothing thing. In order to be green we all need to be vegetarians, who wear hemp clothing, live in the forest, and ride a bicycle. While this may work for some people, it would be a drastic, almost unfathomable change for others.

Instead, I think we need to make smaller changes and improvements to the way we live. Changes that we continue. For example, not everyone can afford a full solar panel. But if each house and business bought just one solar panel, how much difference would that make? Many people might not give up meat, but they might stop eating meat once or twice a week. People can’t be expected to make drastic changes all at once. I mean, if we look at sports in general, they waste a lot of electricity, rubbers, plastics, etc. Should they all be eliminated as well? How about Disneyland?

I think it is the same thing for Infineon Raceway. Yes, motorsports are not the cleanest sport around. Driving a car a round as fast as it will go definitely uses a lot of gas. Driven at full speed, a Toyota Prius got lower gas mileage than a BMW M3 Sports Car. However, Infineon Raceway’s has made a substantial effort (more than a lot of other companies are doing) to make their operations more green. 1,600 solar panels is a lot of solar panels and a lot of power.

In addition, I would say that it’s not car enthusiasts who create the pollution problems. It’s the commuters and the populations of everyone combined driving their cars. How many people are driving large cars and SUVs to work? Removing the raceways isn’t going to solve our global problems. It should also be mentioned that auto racing does help manufactures make more efficient cars. A lot of what makes Hondas and Toyotas so good is from what they learned in F1.

So, while it does seem a little ironic that a raeway installed solar panels. I think that they should be applauded for their effort. Imagine if the rest of the companies around the world got half of their power from solar panels. Or imagine how much money you would be saving each month if you had half of your home powered by solar panels.

Solar Panel Electricity

It’s true that solar panels aren’t for everyone and everywhere. There are certain climates that just don’t get enough sunlight, or houses that don’t have a place to add solar panels. However, there are a lot of places that should be using solar panels and aren’t. My island here in Okinawa is one of those places. We have had a couple of very large wind turbines and one very small solar field, but that is about it. We are a sub-tropical island (think hawaii), so we get a lot of sunlight each year.

On top of that, this island is designated as an “eco island” which means there is supposed to be a focus on green energy and sustainable living. Unfortunately, this is really more of a title than it is a push to make the island sustainable and clean. The island gets a ton of money from the Japanese government so we have a ton of parks, baseball parks, tourist locations, and now an underwater tunnel. So why don’t we have solar panel electricity?

Most of it comes down to politics and the fact that our island is a tourist island, so the money is put towards things to get more tourists to come. The politicians don’t think about the long term benefits of getting electricity from solar panels. In fact, there aren’t even really solar panels for sale here on our island.

However, this is about to change. The government is currently installing a large solar panel field that will allow our island to get about a percentage of our electricity from solar panels. If it works out well, then we may see more projects in the future. Solar panel electricity makes a lot of sense, since not only do we get a lot of sun, but during storms it can also be difficult to get gas to run the generators. Not to mention the extra costs associated with having it shipped here.

As you can see from the picture above, the field is substantial and is supposed to be finished this year. They did unfortunately, cut down a small forest to put it in place (as they destroyed a coral reef to put up the underwater tunnel). On the good side, trees and plants grow incredibly fast here.

I will keep you up to date and try to get some pics once it’s completed.

Completely Green and Independent

Hi All! It’s been a while since I have written on this blog (been busy with life and planning a wedding), but today I came across this really great video about a family that has not only remodeled their yard to grow their own food, but have also created a living out of doing it. ANd the best part, they d it all on a fifth of an acre.

The film is very inspiring and a good example of what we could all be doing with just a little bit of work. Check out the video and let me know what you think. Do you grow your own food? What kind of energy are you running? Have you looked into solar panels? How much do you rely on others? All great questions.

You can also check out their website Path to Freedom.

Solar Panels, Solar Energy, Green Projects, and Evil Geniuses

Okay, the title is a little bit long. A few weeks ago on solar panels for sale I wrote about ordering some new books. In particular: Solar Energy projects for the Evil Genius, 50 Green Projects for the Evil Genius, and The Home Energy Diet: How to Save Money by Making Your House Energy-Smart. Well, they arrived and I have had a chance to take a look at them. And to be honest I am a little surprised at the results.

My primary purpose for these books was to see what types of helpful projects they contained for installing or making your own solar panels, solar heater, solar cookers, and other types of green energy. I was also hoping for tips and help on making a home more energy efficient. So what did I find out?

Well it depends on what you want. The one I was looking forward to the most Solar Energy projects for the Evil Genius turned out to be the one that was the least helpful. It had a few unique projects on making solar cookers or water heaters, but most of the projects seem to be more about learning a concept rather than something that is actually useful.

50 Green Projects for the Evil Genius actually turned out to be pretty cool. It has info on how to install solar panels on your house, make compost bins, build water purifiers, and a whole bunch more. The thing I liked about this one was that most of the projects were useful.

The Home Energy Diet: How to Save Money by Making Your House Energy-Smart also turned out to be a decent book, but only for someone who owns or is building their own home. It was very comprehensive on how to get the most energy efficiency with your house. However, it was also not a simple book. I felt like I needed to be a contractor to understand half the things I read through. Unless you are building or own your own house this probably isn’t a great choice.

Solar Panels For Sale- Solar Panel and Energy Books

solar energy evil genius 50 green projects evil genius home energy diet

A few days ago I ordered a three of books about solar panels and green energy: Solar Energy projects for the Evil Genius, 50 Green Projects for the Evil Genius, and The Home Energy Diet: Ho to Save Money by Making Your House Energy-Smart. Two are for myself and one is a gift for a friend.

Once they get here I will post review on the books and of course any of the projects that I complete. I live in Japan, and the books will be coming from the US, so it might be a week or two before they arrive.

My hope is that these books contain some serious green energy and solar panel  projects and not just science experiments. I have mentioned before that there are a lot of pre-made solar panels for sale, but that you can make your own much cheaper (you can find more information on this by clicking the ad in the sidebar) and I am hoping these books will also include various methods to create other cheap green projects.

**Update: Since I posted this post this morning, I found out that the books have arrived in the US and will be shipped to me tomorrow. If all goes well I should have them within a week

Installing Solar Panels and 49 Other Things to Go Green

green grass, water drops and blue sky / background

Recently I have been spending a lot of time researching going green and especially solar panels. Today I stumbled across a little “green” gem called “A little Green E-book”. The book is put out by Morgan Stanly and contains 50 tips to help you save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

Solar panels will certainly help you save money and use less energy, but there are also a lot of other things you can do. Take a look and start making some changes today.

A Little Green E-book