Friday, February 1, 2013


Other than the alliteration there is no connection between Solar (the conversion of the sun's rays into electrical power) and Shakespeare (the greatest writer--in any language--of all time) save that I have an interest in these subjects. I have studied literature most of my life and I have been working with Solar Photovoltaic for the past seven years. Take a look at the article "Sun and Shakespeare" in Home Power Magazine Issue #90 Aug./Sept. 2002. So how am I going to combine these two subject in an interesting and informative post? I do not know. With readers' input I can only try and see what happens.

Retirement from Shakespeare Springs Utilities

Upon the event of the retirement of Henry LeRoy--Prometheus is free.

The Charles Dickinson novel, “A Tale of Two Cities,” starts with this line: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” This could also start the story of my career at Prospero Power Plant. I will remember the best of times and forget the coal dust, the fly ash, the heat, the cold.

I will remember the times when operators, mechanics, electricians, I &C, management, admin, building services, engineering, planning, and stores all came together to solve a problem. Or those start-ups that, because of teamwork, went on without any problems and the generator breaker was closed in and load was dispatched when requested.

Then the bosses tell you “good job.”

I will remember those long nights when the machines would operate without a hitch. We would arm ourselves against the siren of sleep with stories and even though we had told each other the same story a hundred times before, we all still listened because it was a well told tale.

I will remember the funny hour--usually around 4 o’clock in the morning of the fourth nightshift—when everything anybody said seemed funny and we would laugh and get through another shift.

Some of us remember people like Bottom the Weaver and the late John Falstaff they were both such characters that we smile when we think of them.

My wife Diane and my son Reed will remember that I always came home safe.

I will remember summer nights--the plant being so un-godly hot I would go out on the roof to catch some cooling air and see the city lights. Those shining lights always inspired me. Because of what we do here, our city’s lights glow across the horizon.

Because of the power Prospero Plant generates, people are eating hot meals. They are reading and writing, watching television and computing. They will be having parties, listening to music, singing and dancing. Babies are being born and someone will be dying.

The design of a power plant is to burn coal to make steam to make electricity. The goal of all the men and women who work at Prospero Plant is to bring light to the city of Shakespeare Springs. That is the important job that you all do.

I thank the operators that I supervised. Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.

Our goal was to generate safe, clean and economical electrical power. I like to think that we did some good towards that end, and if we did it was because of their hard work.

I will remember those who were with me during the best of times and those that stood by me in the worst of time. I will remember all of you warmly.

After nearly 21 years working for Shakespeare Springs Utilities at Prospero Power Plant, I can say that the last two years have been the Best of Times.

Adios, good luck, Prometheus is free.

Why Solar?

When I speak of solar I speak of power,
Of atomic actors on a silicon stage.
Electric power produced on photovoltaic panels.

The panels take the sun for fuel and convert it to electricity—bringing light to a dark world.

No different in its purposes than the coal fired power plant where the sons and daughters of Prometheus combine the elementary elements--earth, wind and fire—to bring light to a dark world.

I believe that photovoltaic power systems are the safest, cleanest and most economical way to generate electrical energy.

Shakespeare Springs Sustained Solar Development Project (Part I)

Shakespeare Springs is a fairy tale--it is a mid-size city on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The City is powered by two coal fired power plants and two modern hydro-generating stations. Here is a plan for it future power needs.

Part 2
Part 3

The sun is shining--shining 1000w/m2 of full sun power on Shakespeare Springs. One large solar photovoltaic array could collect this energy and supply a city’s electric needs. This could be viewed as environmentally friendly; however it would only create another eggs-in-one-basket energy system, requiring many acres of undeveloped land and leaving useless the great generating system that helped build this community.

Still, a Sustained Solar Development Project can give citizen safe, clean and economical electrical generation. Solar development will give value, improve customer relations and contribute to the community

A Utility InterActive PhotoVoltaic solar grid could be built on the many acres on south-facing rooftops on residential and commercial buildings across this city. These systems could be co-owned by Shakespeare Springs Utilities with home and business owners. It has been shown that a residential site UIA PV system will return a minimum of 30% of its daily generation to the grid. (Strong and Scheller 1993). Larger Utility-Scale Photovoltaics can also be part of this distributed system. A Utility-Scale Generating PV station will send all its power to the grid.

Utility Interactive Photovoltaic Systems include panels, inverter, distribution panel and a meter. No batteries needed. The panels and inverter supply and control power to the home. When excess power exists it is sent to the grid. During low sun conditions or during high demand periods grid electricity is taken into the home

A 2.5 kW Utility Interactive Photovoltaic will generate 13 kW a day. During daylight hours, generally peak demand times, the UIA PV system will be putting power on the grid. A common configuration for this machine can consist of 24, 120w PV panels and a 2.5 kW utility interactive inverter. The UI inverter turns the DC voltage of the panel into AC voltage and conditions it to synchronize with and match the power quality of the grid.

A Net Metering device is essential; this allows electricity flowing to and from the grid to be metered. The meter must be able to measure power in and out thus allowing the UIA PV Partner to be paid for the power that is put on the grid. To receive maximum power from this machine, it would need 300 sq. /ft of rooftop oriented within 14 degrees east or west of south and get 5.5 sun hours a day. Wiring components, mounting bracket and safety equipment are needed in the complete system for a total cost of $30,000.

The citizen of Shakespeare Springs will benefit greatly from a project of Sustained Solar Development, a program with annual goals in which a set amount of UIA PV generation goes online each year. As the return of investment is realized on earlier systems money will be freed up for more solar development. A ten-year development program should easily yield 10 mw of generation. This will supply over 30,000 energy-efficient homes and small businesses

Part 2

Part 3

More Solar Energy information