Solar Heat Works
Your solar article (July 2008) seems to be oblivious to the day-in and day-out solar thermal power plants of the parabolic trough design. We have partnered in the past with Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in making this type of green power more efficient for the last few decades while turning a profit for the investors year after year. The newest solar thermal power using the parabolic design was put on line earlier this year in Boulder, Nevada, by a few of my former coworkers who now work for Acciona.
Gordon “Solar Homer Simpson” Bishoff, Control Room Operator, Kramer Junction Solar Thermal Power Plants, Mojave Desert, California
More on Heat Pumps
Just in case you are keeping score, I would like to pass along my experience with heat pumps, which was the subject of two letters in your September issue. If the ambient temperature gets down below 40 degrees, you are in trouble with a heat pump. If it gets below 30 degrees, you are going to be cold unless you utilize the emergency heat strip supplied in most all heat pump units.
James Roundtree, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative
Good Track Record for 24 Years
I have two homes with heat pumps, and the one I am living in now has been serviced by heat pumps since 1984. I have replaced the compressor unit twice in 24 years.
Our winters can be very cold, but my heat pumps have kept me very comfortable all these years. On very cold days, the backup heat strips do come on line, and it certainly does cost more during the coldest months but not unreasonably so.
I have used Lennox, and my current system is Trane. Both worked very well.
Ernest Wells, CoServ Electric
Our Pumps Work
We have two heat pumps in our current home, and we love them. The downstairs unit is older than and not as efficient as the upstairs unit. Both the letter writers in the September issue need to have their heat pumps checked out. Something seems very wrong.
Tim Bennett, United Cooperative Services
Sizing Up Heat Pumps
In the September 2008 issue, two readers were bashing the performance of heat pumps. As a licensed HVAC contractor, I’ve installed many heat pumps and have one installed in my personal home.
What I see over and over again is poor-quality installation, poor equipment sizing and poor communication from the contractor to the homeowner. If a heat pump is sized and installed properly, it will keep your home comfortable at a competitive cost, especially in this climate. A qualified, experienced contractor will be able to make the determination if the equipment is properly installed and operating correctly—although please note that I did not say the cheapest contractor.
Scott Snyder, Fannin County Electric Cooperative
Eating Good I recently made the Aegean Shrimp Nueces that was featured in the September 2008 issue of Texas Co-op Power. It was wonderful! The feta cheese and olives made it taste like a true Greek feast. This recipe will certainly be repeated at my house. I also made the Mandarin-Pecan Spinach Salad that was located on the same page as the Aegean Shrimp Nueces recipe sponsored by the Texas Pecan Board. It, too, was a winner. My family ate good that night!
Kay Morse, Grayson-Collin Electric Cooperative