Few Choices Abound for Energy Self-Sufficiency In US

Small power systems for homes and businesses growing as solar panel sales quadruple.

Published: 07-Apr-2001

NEW YORK, April 6 (Reuters) - For homeowners spooked by California's energy crisis, there are two options to ensure the lights stay on during blackouts. One will barely keep a fan running, and the other will likely rouse the ire of neighbors.

For $7,000 to $14,000, homeowners can install solar panels that generate 1 or 2 kilowatts of power, enough to power a computer, microwave and a few lights, but not enough to run the refrigerator while doing anything else at home.

The cheaper alternative, gasoline-driven generators, cost much less than the ecologically sound solar panels, though one producing 5 kilowatt of power -- enough for an entire house, less air conditioning -- is best installed off-site with plenty of insulation to keep a damper on the din they generate.



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