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Elderly Australians ill due to extreme heat – solar air-conditioning is the answer

Solar-air-conditioningGrandparents Carking It In The Heat? Install Renewable Energy!, Clean Technica March 1, 2013 Ronald Brakels
World temperatures are rising, resulting in increasing mortality from heat stress. Or to put it another way, more people are dropping dead because it’s too damn hot. Unfortunately this is nothing new in Australia. Dropping dead from damn hotness has always been popular in these parts. Here in South Australia about 75 people currently die from it each year.
But as our population gets older and we slowly cook the planet, the number of deaths from it being too damn hot has the potential to sky-rocket.
One of the factors in Australia contributing to old people carking it in the heat has been increases in electricity prices. Apparently some old people are too price sensitive to turn on the air conditioner even when the temperature approaches the too hot to live limit. But a much bigger problem is that as people age they tend to lose the ability to tell that it’s too damn hot and so can pass into suffering from heat stress without realizing it. And then there are elderly people living in poverty who can’t afford electricity to run the air conditioner………

Other people building wind turbines or installing solar on their roofs can push down electricity prices for everyone and help prevent old people from dying when it’s too damn hot, but an excellent way to keep down electricity prices for the elderly is to put solar panels on the roofs of any old people whom you’d like to see continue to shuffle around on this mortal coil.

Rooftop solar is especially good for powering air conditioners as it produces the most electricity on hot, cloudless, summer days. It is particularly good for air conditioning when it faces west, or partially west, as then it can produce plenty of power all through the afternoon. It will produce less electricity when it’s cloudy, but it’s not so hot when it’s cloudy, so that’s not a real problem. And sure, it can still be hot after the sun goes down, but that’s not such a big deal if the house is already cool. No one is likely to die from it being too damn hot if they turn off their air conditioner at sunset.

For most Australians the feed-in tariff for new solar is now about 8 cents a kilowatt-hour. This means it will cost a person with a couple of kilowatts or more of rooftop solar perhaps 18 cents an hour to run a room air conditioner in a heat wave. Considering that ice-cream cones can cost $7.50 here, that’s a pretty good deal and only the most price sensitive of Australians would be too cheap to turn on the air conditioner at that cost.


March 2, 2013 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, renewable

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