By jsavit on Feb 09, 2010
Sunny thoughts on becoming part of Oracle
Many people have blogged on their opinions and feelings about Sun being acquired by Oracle. For many of us this has been an emotional time, with great loyalty for a company with a distinct culture and with many contributions to the world of computing. Sun is the company that made Open Systems viable in the market place, and a track record of innovation greater than companies many times its size. Something to be proud of.
That said, I'm looking forward with great optimism to the possibilities inherent in the acquisition. Oracle is a great innovator and success in the market, with a wide portfolio of best-of-breed products. Adding Sun's products and expertise to that makes an even more formidable force, with the ability to create and deliver solutions encompassing every aspect of modern computing.
When I joined Sun almost exactly 10 years ago, I said to colleagues that "we have to make the transition from being a hardware and OS provider to being a full system, software and services provider". We're not making that transition in the way I had imagined (!) but I think the combination will be fantastic. I hope and expect good things to come of this for customers, shareholders, and employees. Time to roll up sleeves and do great things in a different organizational context.
As always, the views expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sun or Oracle.
More sunny thoughts - going green in the desertSunny thoughts in a different context -- Some months ago I blogged on my move to Phoenix from the East Coast, and how hot it was in summer. Really, really hot! Wikipedia says "Phoenix has the hottest climate of any major city in the United States" and I believe it. There are compensating advantages, as the weather is wonderful the rest of the year, and there are other lifestyle pluses. I'm glad to have missed the east coast blizzards of last week!
There must be something we can do with that
There's lots of sun making all that heat - it's sunny almost every day - so my wife and I decided to look into solar power to reduce our electricity consumption from the grid, and reduce our utility costs and carbon footprint. We live in a desert, and the sun is beating down on us almost every day - there must be some way to make use of it.
It turns out there are two primary ways homeowners use solar power. One way is to generate hot water, which can be done through heat exchangers. Hot water is apparently the second largest residential use of electricity here (for bathing, laundry, dishes), so this can be a big win. If I understood this correctly, water is sent up to the roof to be heated by the sun and then returned to the home's hot water reservoir, or fluid in a self-contained loop is heated and then exchanges its heat with the home's hot water supply.
Let's go electricWe decided not to take that alternative - perhaps we were influenced by our first summer here, where the dominant home energy cost was for air-conditioning! Even though we're moderate in use of the A/C, it's a noticeable hit.
The local power utility is APS, and they have a solar and renewable energy program. Making a long story short, they offer a set of incentives for putting in a solar power system, and have a list of suppliers and contractors.
After some study, we went with American Solar Electric (I have to admit, my hands want to keep wanting to type "Solaris" every time I type "Solar") and we contracted to put in a photovoltaic (PV) system. PV cells on the roof convert sunlight into direct current electricity, which gets converted to AC and put on the grid. In the photo (below) you can see how the PV cells are laid out (there's also a coincidental gap in the roof tiles - we were servicing the roof during the project). It was interesting being on the customer side of an engineering project for a change, where sales and engineering staff intereracted with me as the customer instead of the other way around. I'm happy to say that the project was done on time and budget, and without surprises.
Based on the available roof space (fortunately, the backyard roof faces almost due south), we got a system rated for a maximum of 6.0kW. I've seen over 5.7kW during the sunniest parts of the day, which I think is pretty good for the middle of winter. Even with the short days, the array is generating over 20kWh daily, and that should be much higher when spring arrives. During the day, the array generates more electricity than we use, so you can see the house power meter "going backwards", which is kind of fun. The system is so new that I haven't had my first utility bill since we installed it, so it should be interesting to see the net effect on utility costs - and to making a small contribution to reducing use of fossil fuels.
The Sunny Moral of the Story