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The Solar Fraud: Why Solar Energy Won't Run the World, Second Edition 2nd Edition

2.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0971484542
ISBN-10: 0971484546
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Howard Hayden is Professor Emeritus of Physics from the University of Connecticut, and has been interested in the energy question for many decades. He receives no income whatsoever from the energy industry.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 281 pages
  • Publisher: Vales lake Publishing, LLC; 2nd edition (January 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971484546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971484542
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel L. Delong on August 6, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a solar energy supporter and bought the book thinking I would hate it based on its title. I am an engineer versed in the art, and expected to see an ivory tower professor disconnected from engineering. The title really is that bad. After entirely reading it and checking many calculations, it is obvious the author is very familiar with both conventional and "alternative" power generation. In other words: He's right, and goes to great lengths to show it. I have only 2 minor disagreements with the author, who criticizes solar power subsidies based on per KWHr generated. First, it is a legitimate function of government to subsidize new technologies that might grow up to be Good Things. Second, the author is missing a basic economics rule when he (correctly) states that photovoltaic panel prices are not dropping. This is because there is a huge demand at the current price and the manufacturers would be stupid to lower the price. They are expanding production as fast as they can. The fact that there are at least 3 profitable technologies (single crystal, polycrystal, thin film) says that costs are far lower than prices. Buy the book, read it, understand it, and tell your friends.
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Format: Paperback
This book has a lot of calculations and data about the 'alternative energy' sources. The word 'solar' applies in fact to all sources of energy that are ultimately derived from sunlight, as the book deals with alternative energies such as wind energy, biomass and tidal, not just photovoltaic. Here is an author who has a good grasp of the technical aspects of energy as well as the political ones.

In fact, the data and conclusions the author brings forward are cold harsh reality that might shatter a dream or two. This is good. Dreams that cannot come true but distract us from reality have to be shattered, the sooner the better. Making energy manageable will take enough efforts as it is, and distractions must be done away with. Especially people who think they want to do something 'green' but haven't really thought about it might want to read this book. Policy makers would do well to read it. Even the advocates of alternative energy might, if only to think about how to counter the author's arguments.

The use of language in this book is rather informal, as if it were a conversation being held around the coffee table. I imagine the author making his statements with a loud voice and with little room for misunderstanding his words. In fact, this is part of what annoys me about this book. It seems that the author has a great dislike of certain individuals or groups. The strength of the facts and explanation of the facts is undermined greatly by this. An author who makes a point of seeming to be biased can be dismissed too easily by his opponents. That would be bad in the case of Howard Hayden because his words need to be heeded especially by policy makers who are likely to waste tax money on unrealistic projects.
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I have the most mixed of feelings about this book! As I'm an eco-home design innovator with over 40 years involvement with solar techniques, the title certainly piqued my curiosity. And so I requested a copy from interlibrary-loan, to see just what its "fraud"-claim was based upon.

The author, Howard Hayden, would seem, from his bio, to have fine academic underpinnings - Ph.D in physics from the University of Denver, with an undergrad engineering background (and presumably some academic exposure to reasoning and sound argument), Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Connecticut,research in accelerator-based atomic physics, published research related to special-relativity theory. [...]

Yes, he does offer a range of most interesting and informative charts and diagrams, and SOME very insightful comments on a wealth of included energy-related data (that, I trust, is at least mostly accurate). [...]

(For just one example, in Chapter 4, a series of "Questions for Inquiring Minds", he addresses Seasonal Variations [in available solar energy], concluding with the [rhetorical?] questions: "Is there any way to use the summer sun to provide winter heat and winter electricity? And, if so, why isn't such a system available?" In point of fact, a number of "annualized" solar-heat storage techniques HAVE been evolved in recent years (since 1970)..."passive annual heat storage" (PAHS) and "annualized geo-solar" (AGS) as well as others...and are "available"...the Drake Landing Solar Community in Alberta, Canada is one such project, currently marketing 52 homes heated by a shared system of this type, and described in detail on its internet website.
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I enjoyed this book very much. At least I saw an honest and competent review of all forms of renewable energy backed by correct math, physics and numbers. Who wants to see and understand can see that the world cannot be driven by wishes and fuzzy science of people who have no idea of what the energy is and how it is generated. The author shows clearly that the world will not be driven by solar energy and the other renewable forms of it not because some bad guys want to destroy the planet, but because its flow and collection is not enough and cheap to run it. Why four stars? I did not like very much the controversial and acrimonious style in every step where the author attacks all his adversaries and supporters of renewable energy. Science and math is enough for me and it is correct to demonstrate author's ideas. As Einstein said once when his supporters told him: "Professor, many people are attacking your Theory of Relativity, what do you have to say?" And he responded: "This means that I am in the right track and my theory is correct. If it weren't right one article would have been enough to dismiss it." Therefore, the author did not need all this polemic style to make his point.
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