Solar power companies from the 1970s are getting back in the picture and some have even resurrected old manufacturing facilities. As oil prices are hovering around the $100/bbl mark, investment in solar power is surging.

There is some more good news at a time when everyone is whispering the “R” word. According to a recent forecast from a panel of economists, a recession is not eminent. Among the panel of 49 National Association for Business Economics economists surveyed, about 45 percent said they believe a recession will have occurred by the end of this year. But most believe it will be short-lived. The remaining 55 percent said a downturn will be relatively muted - in other words, growth will slow to a crawl, but the U.S. economy will likely avoid a recession.

Couple some slow growth with high energy prices, and it is quite true that necessity is the mother of invention. Investments in new technologies will have an affect on the HVAC industry, whether directly or indirectly.

There will be a lot of new and old ideas tossed around about alternatives, even corn cob burning furnaces.

My idea is to leave a little corn on that cob while we’re heating the house and squeeze out some of granddaddy’s good old Kentucky shine.