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Renewable Energy

In the years between 1970 and 1980 less than 900 US homes were able to generate their own power. That number has grown to more than 100.000 and every year thousands more will join those who are already off-the-grid. They are turning to renewable energies, such as wind, water and sunshine in oder to generate power for their homes. 

But why are more and more people doing this? Very often it is because these people live far away from the grid and can't afford the cost of a power line to their home. 

As a result of thins strong interest, it has become big business to supply homes with renewable energy. The yearly sales for the solar-energy industry alone have already reached $1 billion, and wind and hydro systems for domestic users add millions more.

Recently many off-the-grid homes in the USA opened their doors to show how they keep the refrigerator cold, the shower warm and the bulbs lit without help from the local power plant.

Wind Power is generally used for industrial and commercial applications. However, the most popular off-the-grid technology for private homes is the use of solar energy. Although photovoltaic systems are nearly twice as expensive as wind power, the sun provides energy for more than two thirds of America's off-the-grid homes. This is because solar energy is easy to install and does not need a lot of maintenance.

The main customers now are private homes and companies who have realized that photovoltaic systems are often cheaper in the end. For example, private Companies can install that system cells on phones or on highway signs which are very far away from the grid and can't get connected. 

Even some electricity companies now use solar energy in oder to avoid to build more traditional power plants and to save the environment

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Vocabularies

off-the-grid nicht am Stromnetz
angeschlossene (Haushalte)
renewable energy erneuerbare Energien
grid Netz, hier: Stromnetz
power line Stromanschluss
refrigerator Kühlschrank
bulbs Glühbirnen
power plant Stromkraftwerk
expensive teuer
photovoltaic systems Systeme die mit Hilfe von Solarzellen
Sonnenstrahlen in Strom umwandeln
provide liefern
maintenance Wartung
customers Kunden
highway signs Autobahnschilder
environment Umwelt
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