Solar energy might be a way for Americans to "get off the grid," which means to become completely self sufficient using energy that cannot be tracked and billed for by the government or a private company. Being off grid also limits vulnerability to attacks on the United States' power network -- a scenario not out of the realm of possibility with North Korea's successful intercontinental ballistic missile test.
Scientist and professor at the City University of New York, Dr. Joel Brind, has experimented with "off grid power," which he first started thinking about during the energy crisis of the 1970s. He told Jacki Daily on this weekend's "Jacki Daily Show" that he became interested in the concept of "co-generation," which means to use an energy source for more than one thing.
He got solar panels to help generate energy during periodic grid outages, and quickly realized he needed a way to store all the energy the panels collected. He also realized he needed to not accidentally put his solar energy back into the grid once it became operational again, which could "electrocute some lineman" trying to repair it.
He then discovered he could easily and inexpensively store that energy as hot water in a tank. He said that if we burn diesel fuel to generate heat, we can convert that heat to turn a generator -- taking us off the grid. "Imagine free electricity!" he exclaimed.
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