It's a shame that an idea like solar power - an idea I find very Elvish - takes a hit whenever gas prices drop, but that's the way of things. Forms of energy ere interchangeable, to some extent, so when there is plenty of cheap gas, far fewer people are interested in things like solar or geothermal power because of the cost of the initial investment.
The idea of a basically passive and nearly invisible system to draw power from the earth or the sun is, as I say, very Elvish. I think Tolkien would approve. The idea of making individual families more independent of "the grid" is not only practical, but spiritually healthy... a distributist approach. Solar and geothermal (and other green alternatives) will never be able to provide for all of our power needs, but if families were to trim their power demands and be more responsible in terms of waste, it could provide a much bigger chunk than it does at present.
I just read yesterday that scientists have been developing a method for squeezing 10 terabytes of data or more onto a disc the size of a DVD. That's about 200 times the capacity of a Blu-Ray disc.
Surely if we really ramped up our commitment to research into solar and other alternatives, we could squeeze a lot more efficiency out of the technology. But people are fickle, and Americans in particular suffer from a kind of cellective Attemtion Deficit Disorder when it comes to making lifestyle changes.
Now, see, some of you probably thought I was anti-environmentalist, but it ain't so. I just think environmentalism - like any "ism" - will eat you alive if you let it get out of control. In it's proper relation to a comprehensive philosophy of responsible stewardship, environmentalism is a necessity. But stewardship makes no sense unless it is tethered to a healthy and ordinate love for creation as the expression of a loving Creator.
Ordinate love for all things... God first - One in Three... and all else in relation to Him.