Because my wife and I fell in love with Taos, NM during our trip this past spring, I always enjoy reading about Taos and what is happening there. I read about real estate, art exhibits, what restaurants are good, etc…yes, it might seem strange seeing as how I don’t live there, but I think that has something to do with Taos Mountain grabbing hold of me. Anyway, in looking around the internet I came across the website for K-TAOS, Taos’ solar-powered radio station. Since it comes up at the top of the search results for radio stations in Taos I am guessing it is one of the most popular (if not the only) station there. But either way, it is a pretty cool station (you can listen online) with music that is all over the map, so to speak. The coolest thing though is that it is 100% powered by solar power:
The K-TAOS transmitter power utilizes a Photovoltaic system,
which was installed in 1991 as the innovative brain child of Brad Hockmeyer, founder of K-TAOS. K-TAOS transmits up to 50,000 watts from atop Picuris Peak at an elevation of 10.800 feet. This unusual application of solar technology has received national and international attention (NBC, CNN, BBC, MTV, etc.) Our transmitter is powered by an array of 140 photovoltaic panels.
Photovoltaic cells are silicon wafers that convert sunlight into direct (DC) current. Each panel in the 50 x 50 foot array generates 32 kilowatts per day. This electricity is stored in a 6000 amp/hour battery bank and housed in a self sustaining “Earthship”, which is made of recycled dirt-filled tires, aluminum cans, bottles and cement. It was designed and built by Solar Survival Architecture. Paradise Power Company of Taos, a company that designs alternative energy systems, installed the photovoltaics. The system has performed flawlessly since it went on line on Thanksgiving 1991. “It’s about as maintenance free as you could possible dream of, so it addresses some of our financial concerns, “says Hockmeyer, “”¦and because sunlight is a renewable, non-polluting energy source, it satisfies some of our environmental concerns.”
If a radio station can be solar powered, imagine what else could be out there in New Mexico and Arizona. And California, for that matter! It is quite ridiculous that we do not take advantage of this free non-polluting power source we see all day in the sky.
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