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September 9, 2006
News - Fun with Balloons
about 11 years ago
JP Aerospace has been offering a high altitude balloon launch service to the public for a long time:
Hundreds of elementary school kids through adults have sent up payloads via the "pongsat" (has to fit in a ping pong ball) program. They don't charge for this. You can also buy larger payload space.
This is perfect for Sparkfun experimenters.
My kids and I have participated in several missions. They have sent up marshmallows. I have sent up temperature loggers. Perfect for science fairs for the kids or an excuse to buy Sparkfun type stuff for the adults.
We have had mixed results -- sometimes you wait a long time or the balloon doesn't reach full altitude, once they didn't recover the payload. But the vast majority of their flights have been successful.
They mail you back your pongsats and a lot of documentation on the flight.
John (JP) is a great person to deal with, he and his volunteers are providing a great service. We usually make a donation or buy an ad to help them out.
Highly recommended if you are interested in a project like this.
News - Solar Economics
about 12 years ago
P.S. All this complication makes solar as a service MUCH more attractive in a practical sense than a DIY install. With solar as a service you just buy solar power at a fixed price for a fixed term. The utility installs and maintains its equipment at your location and takes care of all these calculations. SunEdison has figured this out for commercial installs. Home installs/contracts are tricker since people move but solar as service for homes will sort itself out as a market.
You also need to add in two other considerations: How much would you have earned if you had invested the same capital ($26k) in something else--such as an interest bearing account. That should be deducted from your return as it is your opportunity cost. Also are those rebates actually available at the time you do this? States in particular set aside so much for rebates per year and once those are gone for the year they are gone.
No public wish lists :(