Tuesday, March 30, 2010

on the problems of non-existent sunshine

I am very proud of Rutgers' solar energy farm. It covers about seven acres somewhere on the desolate Livingston campus - at least, it looked desolate when I went to do a broadcast at the campus TV studios in the dankness of a pouring wet late March afternoon. It's a 1.4 megawatt farm, supplying, supposedly, about 10% of the Livingston campus needs.

But. The "but" is an obvious "but" - solar energy would like some sun in order that the photovoltaic modules can suck it in, and turn it into electricity. It has been very, very wet. It has been wet for what feels like years, but is probably just a large chunk of March, since it stopped snowing. The ground is so sodden that there's nowhere for water to go apart from, it would seem, our basement, where a small stream has circumnavigated the waiting mounds of newspaper and other absorbent stuff and puddled determinedly in the center, causing bad damage to only one box, though, which in turn indicates my dubious taste in tapes in the 1980s (Phranc, anyone?). Back in Murray Hall, one of the 2nd floor lecture rooms is dripping water; in another, a very large ceiling tile crashed off rather surprisingly, narrowly missing a member of the history department. Supposedly, this weekend is ushering in a heat wave, which should make the mold multiply very happily indeed.

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