Tuesday, August 08, 2006

well decision

after a long bout of alternative well and power research we've decided to keep it simple. our water options were: 1) a pump feeding a pressure tank; 2) a pump feeding a storage tank uphill 90 vertical feet; 3) two pumps, one feeding a storage tank in the kitchen and a second in the storage tank to feed a pressure tank.

we've opted for number one primarily for financial reasons, but also because it's the simplest system and can be easily operated. the other two options, if they were feasible at all, would have cost us substantially more, required more maintenance and operator know-how. with the budget for this project in the tens of thousands we can't tolerate any budget inflation.

for the time being, until we install a solar electric system, the pump will be powered by a generator. yes, it burns fossil fuel but we're taking the long view. the generator is a stop-gap measure we can afford that bootstraps the camp water/power system. as the camp evolves we'll install solar panels, maybe just one or two at a time, batteries, inverters and all the gadgets required to make your own "juice" and eventually we'll ween the camp from fossil fuels almost entirely. if anyone out there is feeling flush and wants to drop a cool $20k on us to speed up the process, we're happy to indulge you! it's tax deductible! donate here!

actually, waiting isn't imprudent according to the experts i spoke with at solarfest. they told me solar technology is going to make significant leaps in efficiency in the next couple years, on the order of two to three times, with the expectation that the cost per watt for solar could begin to compete with utility-generated power. some of the new technology is being prepared for production now and is expected to be available in a couple years. this kind of development is perhaps the silver lining of an energy crunch. it's now worth it to spend money to find alternatives to fossil fuel.


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