Rice Owls Light Up a Rainy Day With Solar Energy

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“The sun was not shining, it was too wet too  play . . .” but the ZEROW House was still generating away!

The Rice University ZEROW House meter was still showing that it had sent net energy to the grid, even after days of rain and cloudy weather.

The Rice University ZEROW House meter was still showing that it had sent net energy to the grid, even after days of rain and cloudy weather.

With apologies to Dr. Seuss, I have to put in a big plug for the students of Rice University (my alma mater) and the other Solar Decathlon teams that braved a “stunning streak of record cold, sopping wet weather” to show off some fantastic homes. My wife, three kids, and I joined a crowd (seriously) of people who braved the rain to check out the houses.

At left, I’m holding an umbrella to keep the rain off of one of the ZEROW House guides showing me the utility meter. In spite of the days of lousy weather, the solar panels were still generating electricity and the meter was still showing that the house was a net generator of electricity.

Opponents of energy policy reform claim that “hot and humid conditions” limit solar energy’s potential to “niche generation in the Southeast.” Well, Rice University helped show that solar can work on a cold, rainy day in October in a mid-Atlantic state, “proving that zero energy can be attained at a modest price and without compromising aesthetics or functionality“!

I'm getting rained on here . . .

I'm getting rained on here . . .

My wife and kids also really enjoyed the houses. I’m the energy geek in the house. My wife loved the LED lighting in the Rice house, which can be quite cost-effective in new construction. The kids thought the TV that pulled out of the wall in the Ohio house was pretty cool.

We also liked the vines growing up the “green wall.” We planted these same vines on our house in Houston and know how beautiful their flowers are all spring and summer.

By the way, if the electric meter wasn’t a digital, I would have named this post “Spinning in the Rain.” But maybe that is too nerdy and obscure . . .

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Pingback by CleanEnergy Footprints » Archive » Rice Owls Light Up a Rainy Day … | brownrice on October 19, 2009 1:48 pm


I found this post to be very interesting, I bookmarked the page and put a link to this page on my website.


Comment by Florist Edmonton on November 6, 2009 12:17 pm


Led lights are great because they are long lasting and consumes less electricity.:’.


Comment by Bailey Singh on May 11, 2010 6:27 pm


It seems that the solar panels commonly in use by individual households get coated by dust and are relatively dirtier during summers thus reducing their efficiency and capacity to fully utilize the bright summer sun. On the other hand, during winters while the sun may not be shining at its brightest, the solar panels are relatively dust free and cleaner. This in turn allows them to more efficiently convert what little sunlight they do get into electricity.


Comment by Solar Energy Facts on February 22, 2012 6:13 am


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