Solar panel sleight of hand

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ian
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Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by ian » Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:55 pm

Here are the major sleight of hand magic tricks solar panel advocates invariably pull from a hat when discussing solar panels........<p>1) Greatly exaggerated costs of current technologies.
2) Completely ignoring other marginally viable forefront technologies.
3) "Off the grid" means I don't have a hot tub, I don't have a toaster, I don't use an oven, I have a backup generator, I heat with gas, I live in a cottage with minimal powaer.
4) When comparing solar panel systems to being on the grid, energy conservation becomes part of the solar panel system but not part of the grid system.
5) Solar panels last forever.
6) Solar panel support systems aren't needed or somehow aren't part of the cost.
7) The land needed for the system is always available for everybody.
8) Solar panel conditions are always based on ideal conditions, i.e. Texas is never averaged with Michigan.
9) Somehow all of the convertable light is on the panel, but no mention of the cost of a solar tracker or the land it takes.
10) No mention of the work involved to maintain the system. It's a hobby for them, that's ok, but what if you're an esthetician?
11) "There's all kinds of houses off the grid, using only solar power." There isn't any! See 3).

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Chris Smith
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Re: Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by Chris Smith » Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:12 pm

Canadian myths, inaccurate, but funny.
We Can blame it on youth, ehh canuck?
Is your brother in law a arab oil sales man?
Didnt mean to cut into his business or profits?

Dean Huster
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Re: Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by Dean Huster » Mon Apr 25, 2005 1:44 pm

Myths? Inaccurate? Better to argue each of the eleven points presented to prove each wrong. That would be a pretty hard task if not impossible. I think "realistic" may be a better word. There is also 12) The "clean" power that solar cells provide is more than offset by the filth created in their manufacture and eventual disposal.<p>I'd love for photovoltaics to be able to provide practical electrical power. They're just too inefficient. Now, if you include other solar systems, such as water heating, heat storage, insulation, solar design, etc., then you have a chance of PVs providing enough power to be comfortable. But they won't work universally.<p>A similar list can be made for the all-electric car:<p>1) The 100+ mile ranges specified are under ideal conditions and any variance from perfection drastically reduces the range.<p>2) The "clean" energy electric car requires dirty production of charging electricity, dirty production of batteries and dirty disposal of batteries.<p>3) The batteries must be changed out every few years at a breathtaking cost.<p>4) Gas pumps are easy. Try to find an electrical outlet for your free use wherever you park.<p>5) Is it hot outside? You ain't got nuthin' but 2-60 A/C for your use. Any true A/C murders your range.<p>6) Night driving need lights everywhere. There went your range.<p>7) Is it cold? You need electric heat. There's that range thing again.<p>8) Rainy? You need wipers and more than likely defrosters. Did I mention the range?<p>8-1/2) Now try driving on a cold, rainy night and see how far you get. "Hey, Pop? Can I leave my car here at your place and you take me home in the Buick?"<p>9) Going on a cross-country vacation? Better allow a month for the trip just for charge time. <p>Electrics are best suited for short-distance commuter cars providing you don't mind sweltering in the heat and exhaust gasses of backed-up freeways or freezing in the dead of winter. Until a cheap, long-lasting, quick-charge, ultra-high-energy battery is developed, you can forget practical all-electric cars. Yeah, they're cute. Cute doesn't provide reliable transportation.<p>Dean
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

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Chris Smith
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Re: Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by Chris Smith » Mon Apr 25, 2005 2:09 pm

Its all been covered in the other solar post Dean. <p>
And Chrome plating is dirty compared to making solar panels, while our two million dollar water treatment plant took care of the really bad stuff, and we still made huge profits off chrome.<p>All we hear these days is myths, as to why it cant be done. Same goes for getting to the moon, or buildning the hover dam. Myths.<p>[ April 25, 2005: Message edited by: Chris Smith ]</p>

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Re: Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by josmith » Mon Apr 25, 2005 3:33 pm

No real need to bash alternative energy,it's already pretty much dead. Conservation and wise use would be much more practical but that seems to be pretty much dead as well. Now we have remote car starters so millions of cars can idle for 15 to 20 minutes before they go anywhere. The horsepower war is back on and the auto executives think they'll call a truce at around 700 hp. Small efficient front wheel drive cars are out, replaced by Hemi Powered rear drive sedans. My neighborhood is filling with enormous houses. The explanation is that the land is so expensive that the house has to be big to make the whole package profitable. Energy use be damned. So relax enjoy the cheap energy. Our grand children can worry about freezing in the dark.

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haklesup
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Re: Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by haklesup » Mon Apr 25, 2005 4:03 pm

Alternative energy is not dead, just the myth that we can gerenate our own energy at an affordable cost on site. Unless you live in Iceland and have your own steam well, forget it for a while.

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Chris Smith
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Re: Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by Chris Smith » Mon Apr 25, 2005 4:57 pm

They said the same for electrification in rural areas in the last century. But we did it any way, and it was affordable. So now we need to get off our duff, and make another national commitment to power, and solar fits the bill.<p> I don’t know about you but the cost of solar and the cost of a couple of utility poles costs about the same, yet this nation is cris crossed with both unaffordable utility poles and transformers, and even more expensive wire. <p>Imagine if we listened to the nay sayers in the last century, it cant be done they also claimed.
There is nothing stopping solar except small imaginations and greed.

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Re: Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by wolfcreek » Mon Apr 25, 2005 7:16 pm

The cost of two utility poles would not amount to much in solar panels. We regularly buy utility poles for less than $200 each. The 160 watt solar panel I bought last year cost $600. With six bateries it can produce 1 amp at 24 volts 24 hours per day.

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Chris Smith
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Re: Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by Chris Smith » Mon Apr 25, 2005 7:33 pm

The cost of a utility pole set in the ground from the utility company is 1000 bucks a pop, and the wiring to wire up to your property is charged at 10 bucks a foot or more.

My property comes to $12,000. <p>Poles are cheap, but you cant do it your self.<p>And when solar becomes a national priority, you can laugh for being the first to get ripped off as they drop to a buck a square foot in mass. <p>Just like I laugh at all the buyers of big screen TV owners who just had to the be the first on the block to own a wide aspect ratio TV? <p>5 grand and more,... they love to spend? <p>When I buy mine, I expect a couple hundred bucks will be the norm.

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Re: Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by wolfcreek » Mon Apr 25, 2005 11:36 pm

Here they will set them for about $100 each

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jwax
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Re: Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by jwax » Tue Apr 26, 2005 3:12 am

Where do you live, wolfcreek? And who sets them for $100? Also, what do you pay per KWH in your neck of the woods?
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ian
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Re: Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by ian » Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:44 am

Anyone know what a strawman argument is? You set him up and you knock him down! What kind of comaparison is a solar panel to a pole?
Just a thought, for laughs you might do a cost analysis on poles and panels. It's apples and oranges but how much power can a set of 100 poles deliver as opposed to 100 solar panels?

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Chris Smith
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Re: Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by Chris Smith » Tue Apr 26, 2005 1:03 pm

Solar only costs what they can rip you off for. In a national system, they cant. <p>Boom, the straw just fell down.

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Re: Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by Dean Huster » Wed Apr 27, 2005 8:53 am

"Its all been covered in the other solar post Dean."<p>Regardless of whose forum I'm on, I don't usually mess around with 7-page threads with 92 posts. Besides, why would electric car material be under a solar topic? Oh, wait. It's under this one, now, isn't it? :) <p>"... buildning [sic] the hover dam. Myths."<p>Now, see? There's a myth right there. A dam that hovers.<p>But we had most of the technology for going to the moon or building the Hoover dam. In the case of going to the moon, we were spurred on by cold war threats; in the case of the dam, it was more of a big government project to employ thousands during the depression.<p>Regarding this utility pole thing ...<p>It only cost us the membership to our electric coop and they ran the 9.6KV, installed a transformer, ran the 240/120 to the meter base and even left a little extra cable so I could make my run from the meter to the service panel. Everything was run underground ... no utility poles. Yes, it's all poles along the road up to the property line, but 300+KV is a little impractical to run underground.<p>"Solar only costs what they can rip you off for. In a national system, they cant."<p>And THERE is the key to it all. Government subsidies. They can't rip you off? They do it on a daily basis. Farmers. River transportation. Electricity. Wind power. Railroads. Solar power. I haven't ridden on a train since I was three years old, but I've been paying for the railroads ever since my first taxable paycheck. I help pay farmers to NOT plant a crop. I make the cost of running electricity cheaper. I help provide tax refunds/credits to folks who install wind generators and solar systems. I help fund research on why cockroaches fare better on a diet of organically-grown garbage than they do on commercially-grown garbage.<p>Want practical electrical power from photovoltaics? Get them at least to the efficiency and cost of an incandescent lamp and you'll put the power companies out of business.<p>Dean<p>[ April 27, 2005: Message edited by: Dean Huster ]</p>
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

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jwax
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Re: Solar panel sleight of hand

Post by jwax » Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:12 am

How about "Nuts & Votes"?
Hand me that orange crate!
:)
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