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Energy Crisis

            Currently, the United States is experiencing an energy crisis. Gas prices have skyrocketed, reaching the highest prices in decades. It is obvious that America cannot drill itself out of this dilemma. In the midst of this energy crisis, it is every American's duty to do their best to help the United States become less dependent on non-renewable resources. They have an obligation to consider using an alternate energy source. With this in mind, the feasibility of installing various alternate energy systems in an average home in Duchess County, New York will be assessed.
             Hydropower has proven to be a very efficient source of energy in the past. It is a very realistic approach for the average home owner. However, there are no water bodies near my house, making hydropower an impossibility.
             One possible source of energy for my house is a photovoltaic system. Geographically, New York is not the most ideal place for solar power. With less than five hours of peak sunlight per day on average, solar power will not yield as much electricity as it would in southern portions of the United States. Also, large trees stand to the south, east, and west of my house. This may prove to be very significant because solar panels usually face the south in order to capture a maximum amount of sunlight. The shade could play a major role in the efficiency of the system. Cutting these trees down would be costly and time consuming. To make matters worse, many of these trees lie on my neighbors" property. In addition to this obstacle, solar modules must be kept free of debris. This would be particularly problematic in the fall and winter. Leaves and snow are likely to hinder the system's ability to produce electricity. Economically speaking, solar power can be a major economic burden. An average photovoltaic system includes numerous modules, a deep-cycle battery, a charge controller, and any number of inverters. For my house, it is estimated that the system would cost around $9,000.

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