Solar cells may provide U.S. energy solution By MIKE JELF Staff Wrilfr Solar cells, (hose little bits of silicon t h a i powered scores of space vehicles, are coming down lo earth to help the U.S. meet its energy needs. Simple and clean, the cells turn sunlight directly i n t o electricity without any of the pollution or moving parts associated with oil, coal, nuclear, wind or geothcrmal energy production. At first glance the little circles of crystal, connected with wires on panels c a l l e d "arrays," m i g h t seem the obvious solution lo most energy problems. Sunlight is the ultimate source of energy in everything from firewood lo windmills and oil. and the cells turn sunlight into electricity without the need for machinery or maintenance. Solar cells already have been used lo power small portable radios carried in Forest Service b a c k packs and for radio transmitters on remote ridgetops above the Mammoth Lakes region and in other places. The lack of moving parts or special fittings gives solar cells a potential advantage e v e n o v e r other types of solar energy devices which use sunlighl to heal liquids or gases. And solar energy will be available as long as the sun is. With all this going for them, why aren't solar cells sprouting across the nation? The answer is they are. but they're sprouting in a government- funded program to get production costs down and to create a mass production technology ami a m a r - ket for Ihem. The U.S. Energy Research and D e v e l o p m e n t Administration's I E U D A ) solar--cell project w i l l spend more t h a n -*20 million in IflVli alone on solar--cell development. The program's aims include lowering the cost of solar--cell arrays so thai by 1985 they'll produce a watt of electricity (or 50 cents, c o m pared with a current cost of J15. R o b e r t Forney, project m a n - ager of KRDA's Low Cost Silicon Solar Array Project at the California Institute of Technology's .let Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, says 30 contractors are w o r k i n g [o develop techniques to make the cells capable of widespread use.. No m a n u f a c t u r e r keeps exclu- sive use of research dala, he says. Information is shared. As manufacturers come up wilh a new production technique they submil il to the JPL, and it's , "made available to all other members of the industry," Fornicr says, "because it's government money." As manufacturing techniques are perfected, solar arrays marie by contractors arc purchased by the project. "We're sampling the industry, if you will, by these increasing buys." be says. The basic clement in the arrays develo|N'd is silicon crystal. which is made hy dropping a "silicon-- seed" crystal int.) a crucible- of molten material. A resulting crystal is cut and hand-assembled into arrays In .in e x p e n s i v e a n d time-consuming process. When the cells are installed in arrays, photons (units of light) from the sun strike (he c r y s t a l ami release electrons, and differences in layers of Itic- crystal create an electrical field. O n e t e c h n i q u e t h a i hold.- p r o m i s e of m a k i n g solar-cell (Turn to Page 1M. Col. :.) Concours d' Elegance A near-perfect spring day and more than 120 vintage automobiles drew about 7,000 persons to the Grand Prix Concours d 1 Elegance near the Queen Mary Sunday. Above, a camera buff gets a shot of an unidentified couple and their carefully restored automobile, while, at top, the sun sparkles off the chrome ; of Otis Chandler's 1931'Duesenberg J. At right, spectators mill through the parking lot, stopping here and there to get a close-up look at the classic cars, many of which are valued in excess of $200.000. -Staff Photos by TOM SHAW INDEPENDENT MONDAY, MARCH 22, 1976 SECIKDN -Poge 8-1 LakewoocPs mayor finds life pleasant under new regime By HERB SHANNON Aerospace Editor Coffee farmer Chuck Hochstct- ter was just beginning to appreciate the convenience of flying a Hughes 500C helicopter between his base in Guatemala City and plantations in remote mountain areas when a disastrous earthquake rumbled through Central America last Feb.-t. Hochstetter had l o g g e d 100 hours of instruction and business flight as of lhal date. One week later the total was increased by 50 per cent, all of it in emergency flights to open up improvised airstrips, distribute medical supplies and evacuate the injured. "Chuck did all Ihc flying," recalled Alberto Molina. Hughes distributor in Guatemala, visiting last week lo take delivery of anolher helicopter at Long Beach Airport. "Now he's an experienced disaster relief pilot." A good share of the seasoning came on the first day. when Hoch- stelter and Molina flew In I h e highlands to convert a section of m o u n t a i n road into a landing strip for fixed wing c r a f t Distracted by other obstacles, neither of Ihe men noliced a lelcphone cable slrung belwcen two dumps oi trees. 'The skids came down squarely on Ihc cable," Molina said. "Fortunately, we had no forward speed. We settled lo Ihe ground, bringing down [he cable as the two poles fell toward us oul of the Irces on eilher side. They just missed the m a i n rotor s p a n " M o l i n a used a machete to chop Ihe tangled cable f r e e and Die Iwo volunteers w e n t about their business of clearing the unimproved road for light a i r c r a f t loading needed supplies b a c k at La Aurora I n t e r n a t i o n a l Airport in G u a t e m a l a Cily. For seven days, Hochslelter and Molina continued lo set up Ihe iTurn to Page B--f, Col. 1) Hy ROBERT GOKK Stuff Wrtlcr Coffee planter becomes disaster pilot overnight "The atmosphere around city h a l l was getting very chilly. 1 wasn't getting the same information that others were and tlie staff WHS uncomfortable w i t h m e . " s a i d 1-akewoixt's new mayor. lint all that's changed, in a dramatic shift of power, (or Jo Bennilt. Three new council members ousted her former foes and the new majority quickly removed the city manager. " L i f e is considerably m o r e pleasant," she said. MRS. BKNMTT began her career with Lakcwood working for incorporation, becoming cily clerk in 1!)!7 after holding two secretarial posls. A former president of the Intern a t i o n a l Institute of Municipal Clerks, she became disenchanted with former City M a n a g e r Milton Farrell and resigned in September 197:!. She held a series of jobs and u l t i m a t e l y gained the one she wanted mosl, becoming a city councilwoman in 197-1. Mrs. Bcnnill lieat incumbent Charles Schweitzer and finished a h e a d of R e p . M a r k H a n n a f o r d , I ) - L o n g Reach-West Orange County, who was re-clci-li.il before going to Congress. Her administration as mayor lcgnn M a r c h 9 wilh several sweeping changes t h a t were unprecedented in Lakcwood history. The, city manager was removed, the- Comm u n i t y S a f e l y D e p a r t m e n t dissolved, t h e presale liousing inspection ordinance repealed. I he city administrator form of government was restored and all the members of two of the three city commissions were asked to resign. MRS. BENNITT said thai a majority of the council favors asking (he planning commissioners lo join UK- olher two commissions in resigning in the near fiilure. The u n u s u a l l y r a p i d - f i r e changes prompted many observers to comment t h a t Ihe council probably had agreed lo the plans in Die .series of closed door meetings hold during the week before, (hey look office. Cily Ally. John Todd told one council member lhal the meetings would have vinlalcd Ihc Hrown A c t , which prohibit* such sessions except for personnel anil some olher i.ssues, b u t t h e majority of the council had not yet been formally installed. The Ihrec new members and Mrs. liennitl had pledged publicly to support her creed of "openness, responsiveness and honesly" in cily government. M R S . B E N N I T T s a i d t h e closed door meetings are "ostensibly" a contradiction of her policy, but "there is no need to j u s t i f y them. We needed Ihe initial coming together. We were working (n make sure our heads were in the same place and we could work harmoniously." One of the closed door meetings included a slronj; pitch hy officials of Ihc county Sheriff's Department to lake over tin 1 functions of illicit y ' s Cnninuiiiily Safely Department. T h e c o u n c i l m a j o r i t y a p p a r e n t l y a g r e e d a n d q u i c k l y voleil In disband Ihe c i l y d e p a r t - nioiil. which provided inspections and other public safely f u n c t i o n s , by J u n e :iu. The sheriff's o f f i c e made nn w r i t t e n promises, M r s . Bennitl admitted, bill she pointed out lh:il no f i n a l decision has Iwi-n made by Ihe city. She said lhal some of the c o m m u n i t y safely functions may In: retained by the cily. THE PLANNING commission contended thai the presale housing inspection ordinance was the major force in insuring lhal Ihe cily's aging homes were kepi up by requiring t h e inspection before a house could be sold. Mrs. Ilcnnill said t h a t Ihe people were slrongly against llu- law. ami lhal il hail [o be repealed. She said Ihe cily is not prepared In tolally a b a n d o n Ihe idea of m a i u - laininj; q u a l i t y of homes, bill no one seems lo think il can \K doni 1 w i l h an ordinance. The redevelopment a g e n c y , another highly emotional Inpic w i l h Ihe voters, will lie dcall w i t h a I an April 2(1 public hearing, slu- saht Tin.- cily probably will recover Hie money Hie agency owes il In-fore closing ( l i e agency's doors, she said. No f u r t h e r personnel changes are lo be considered u n l i l Ihe b u i l g el hearings begin in May. she said. A d m i n i s t r a t i v e services, p a r l i c u larly Ihe public i n f o r m u l i n n o f f i c e and recreation department, will In scrutinized for possible cutbacks. Upper echelon a d m i n i s t r a t o r s w i l l lie Iliosc. p r i m a r i l y considered, she indicated. A C T I N G C i l y A d m i n i s t r a t o r Howard Chambers should stay on the job fur three lo six m o n t h s before a decision on a perinam-nl ap|M)intmi-nt is reached, she said This would give I ho council lime In deal with Die budget and oilier matters, according lo M r v Bennilt. MAYOR JO BKNNITT I.F.1TF.II F I I O S I MALCOLM EPLEY OAKLAND, Ca. -- We are here visiting an elderly relative, and when I lold him we flew in from Cedarville in Surprise Valley, he asked what airline serves Cedarville. Il was a logical question, but to us (he idea of airline service to the tiny valley metropolis was quite funny. Our trip was on a single-engine prop job (six- seated Cessna), chartered for our exclusive use because it happened to be the mosl sensible way to get down here without driving. We just didn't warit to drive Our pilot was Randy Humble, who operates the Surprise Valley A v i a t i o n outfi! on Ihe Cedarville airport. He flew us, straight as the (light of an arrow, over the Warners, the Sierra and the Sacramento Valley. I forgot to check but ! guess we covered about 360 miles. PEOPLE WHOSE Hying experience has been confined lo the big passenger planes -- or those who. like me, have flown only in big planes lalely -- will be a little surprised by small plane flying There's a difference. I learned that when I found myself sitting on a small piece of metal high over Surprise Valley after our windy take-off, ft took a few moments to gel over an uncomfortable feeling, although over Ihe years I've many times been up in small craft. But after a little orientation and mental discipline, confidence returned and I settled down to enjoyment of the visual experience which is m u c h easier and more intercsling than one gets in Ihe big passenger planes. MY EYES ROVKD the landscape all the way, and what a landscape! The rugged Warners and the more rugged Sierra present an impressive panorama, marked by many features of special interest like Ml. Lassen, Eagle and Shasta lakes, the feather River Canyon. Sierra Valley, the highways and railroads following the river lines through Ihe jagged heights. And then the great valley, set off in huge asricul- lural rectangles that speak eloquently of our stale's grea! food production. We crossed Beale and Travis Air Force bases, skirted Sacramento and descended over Ihe vast a r r a y of East Bay structures and the broad water expanses of Ihe Bay Area to the Oakland Airport. Whal a trip for us residents of a liny back country cow town. I've crossed the Atlantic eight limes by air, flown cross-country more times lhan I can count, ridden Die sky from Hawaii, but never h;nl a more enjoyable air trip. I'ltasc pardon a link- naive enthusiasm. THE ALTERNATIVE which we had considered was a 200-mile drive In Reno, an a i r l i n e trip In San Francisco Airport (there's no longer Reno to Oakland air service) and, by some fashion, back-tracking to Oakland through San Francisco. It would have taken us the heller p a r t of a A:\-j, and would have involved a lot of p a i n f u l baggji'.e transfer, car storage and other delails. As we did it, we k-fl Cedarville at 1 p m. ami at exactly 3 p m checked in al Ihe fronl desk of f-iki- I'ark, the towering r e t i r e m e n t set-up where our rcl-i live resides. A friendly tail-win/i had sped o u r pav-.a;;f. Everything about this journey was on the plus i:Â«Je.
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