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2008 was a tumultuous year for everyone primarily due to the volatile price
of one commodity – oil. The world is so heavily dependent on this
one commodity that any prolonged volatility of its price has a staggering spin-off effect on just about
everything else. Who could forget when the price of oil hit an
all-time high of $147 per barrel sending shock waves to every other market? And speculation that it would likely hit $200 per barrel only served to
exacerbate the situation.
As if the effect of the roller coaster price of oil was not enough, the world had to contend
with the US sub-prime mortgage crisis. It is said that when the
US sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. How
true. Just like how oil is the predominant fuel of the world,
the US economy is the most influential economy in the world and the US dollar is the most highly accepted
currency in the world. Therefore, when the US suffers, the rest
of the world suffers along with it.
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The skyrocketing price of oil last year triggered a domino
effect on the prices of just about everything else, from the cost of transportation to the prices of essentials
like utilities. Thus many people have had to tighten their belts,
cut costs and try to earn some extra income. That led many to cut
down expenses on their electricity bills through finding alternative energy sources.
The good news is that it is now possible to use
alternative energy sources quite cheaply. The 2 most
practical sources of renewable energy are the sun and the wind. You
can turn your home into an alternative energy home that uses solar and wind energy to power your appliances and
thus reduce your electricity costs.
With solar energy, the process basically involves using solar cells to change the energy of
sunlight into electricity whereas with wind energy, you will use a wind rotor to generate electricity through
a motor. The electricity from both these sources is then
channeled into a battery that stores it for later use. Through a
battery, you would have a constant source of electricity that is not dependent upon whether the sun is
shining or the wind blowing. The battery’s electricity is in the
form of DC current, so before connecting to your home appliance, you need an inverter to convert the DC
current into AC.
Solar cells can be bought relatively
cheaply from places like eBay that sells factory seconds or blemished cells which are just as good in generating
electricity. The solar cells need to be wired together in series in
a solar panel like how batteries are arranged in a flashlight. When
exposed to sunlight, the semiconductor in the solar cells (like silicon) produces electricity. Then they are connected to a battery as mentioned above.
Many people supplement the electricity they generate from
solar energy with electricity that comes from wind power. You can either buy or make your own wind turbine blades and connect them to a
motor to get electricity. Once again, eBay is a good source for
both wind turbine blades and motors. Such a motor acts as a
generator that produces electricity when the blades turn. This
electricity is also stored in a battery.
Many people (including myself) have reportedly slashed their monthly electricity bill by up to
80% through the methods mentioned above. If we can do it, so can
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