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Mon Mar 7, 2016, 11:04 AM

Solar energy is poised for an unforgettable year

Source: Washington Post

New statistics just released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration suggest that in the coming year, the booming solar sector will add more new electricity-generating capacity than any other — including natural gas and wind.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/03/02/solar-energy-is-poised-for-an-unforgettable-year/



Maybe all is not lost in regards to preventing global warming......

burfman............

29 replies, 2434 views

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Arrow 29 replies Author Time Post
Reply Solar energy is poised for an unforgettable year (Original post)
burfman Mar 2016 OP
kentauros Mar 2016 #1
Kelvin Mace Mar 2016 #10
jpak Mar 2016 #13
Kelvin Mace Mar 2016 #14
William Seger Mar 2016 #12
2pooped2pop Mar 2016 #26
Botany Mar 2016 #2
Sunlei Mar 2016 #3
mahatmakanejeeves Mar 2016 #15
Sunlei Mar 2016 #16
burfman Mar 2016 #17
cprise Mar 2016 #21
FLPanhandle Mar 2016 #4
Kelvin Mace Mar 2016 #11
tabasco Mar 2016 #18
Kelvin Mace Mar 2016 #22
tabasco Mar 2016 #25
Kelvin Mace Mar 2016 #29
Yo_Mama Mar 2016 #24
tabasco Mar 2016 #27
rladdi Mar 2016 #5
Blue State Bandit Mar 2016 #6
AxionExcel Mar 2016 #7
Javaman Mar 2016 #8
Kelvin Mace Mar 2016 #23
ffr Mar 2016 #9
47of74 Mar 2016 #19
bananas Mar 2016 #20
NickB79 Mar 2016 #28

Response to burfman (Original post)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 11:06 AM

1. Now if we can just get rid of the industry-written laws

preventing the collection of solar power by individuals. Same goes for the collection of rainwater.

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Response to kentauros (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 12:00 PM

10. Where at?

 

I am in NC and installed an array in October. The only part of the rules I don't like is that the tax credit expired at the end of last year and that once a year, my account "resets" to zero if I am running a surplus of power. So, each month I produced more than I use, the excess rolls over to the next, until May 31st, at which point any surplus is lost.

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #10)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 01:19 PM

13. Nevada and other states

n/t

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Response to jpak (Reply #13)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 02:01 PM

14. Oh yeah,

 

I heard about Nevada, the practically killed the whole solar industry in the state. But I though they were the first.

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Response to kentauros (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 01:01 PM

12. I'm seriously looking at the solar farm idea

... where you buy one or more panels on a farm that feeds metered power into the grid, and then you get a credit (or even a profit) on that on your power bill. Seems to be a lot more sensible than installing one on my house, for a LOT of reasons.

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Response to kentauros (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 07:37 PM

26. which is why it has taken this long for solar to get a good hold

 

If the people can do it themselves, how the hell will the billionaires make money on it/

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Response to burfman (Original post)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 11:20 AM

2. But the GOP, energy companies, and ALEC are trying to stop this trend

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/01/opinion/nevadas-solar-bait-and-switch.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-5&action=click&contentCollection=Opinion®ion=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article&_r=0

"The American Legislative Exchange Council, which drafts model bills for right-wing state legislators
and receives financial support from fossil fuel interests, has campaigned for rates like those the
commission adopted, and, according to Greenpeace, NV Energy was at one time an ALEC member."

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Response to burfman (Original post)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 11:25 AM

3. Sea Water should be passively siphoned uphill & narrow channeled down through turbines

the extra evaporation will do the climate good and if they use porous holding the water seeping would help replenish the water table.

Mine/oil/fracker Corps should pay for that out of their fabulous profits.

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #3)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 02:09 PM

15. Moving water uphill

Energy will have to be added to the system to move water from a low place to a high place.

Like this, for example: Thermosiphon

Or a wind mill can power a pump. But you will have to power this movement somehow.

Once the seawater is at this high place, if it evaporates, there will be a bunch of salt on the ground. That will have to be removed.

If the seawater seeps into the soil, the water table will no longer contain fresh water, but a mixture of fresh water and sea water. Is that a good idea?

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #15)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 03:19 PM

16. Thermosiphon looks very interesting, thank you.

We mine salt from ancient seabeds. Seawater contains many other minerals that could be put to good use.

Freshwater naturally floats above seawater in groundwater table near the sea. That's how we have freshwater wells on islands and in coastal communities.

Evaporates could also be caught on fog nets, or covers- this is fresh water that could be passively collected for crops or drinking.


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Response to Sunlei (Reply #3)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 04:34 PM

17. Maybe you are thinking of OTEC?

Ocean thermal energy conversion

Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_thermal_energy_conversion

It works, but I think it is not inexpensive......

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #3)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 06:23 PM

21. Probably a better alternative is pressurized underwater tanks

They can store renewable energy as air pressure, and reclaim it using turbines. Its like the reverse of a hydroelectric reservoir.

Thermosiphon would be subject to large thermal losses without vast amounts of insulation... wouldn't be efficient enough.

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Response to burfman (Original post)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 11:32 AM

4. And this is happening in a year of cheap oil too.

If solar can be competitive in a era of cheap oil, it could dominate when oil is expensive again.

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Response to FLPanhandle (Reply #4)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 12:07 PM

11. Solar hardware is extremely cheap, less than $1 a watt

 

But installing it is expensive, around $4-$5 a watt.

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #11)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 05:22 PM

18. I looked at some panels today on Harborfreight.

 

An el cheapo 45-watt system costs $200 (no batteries included).

$1 a watt? What am I misunderstanding here?

If I DIY install, why would that add to the cost?

Just trying to learn here. I want to go with a small residential system someday soon.

ON EDIT: I see some panels on eBay for about $120 for 100W but that includes just the panel.

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Response to tabasco (Reply #18)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 06:28 PM

22. Couple of things,

 

I was referring to the panel cost, sorry, I should have been clearer. You have to add wire, inverter(s), mounting hardware, and an interface module to monitor the array.

Once you get into that, costs creep up to around $2-$3 a watt. A professional install is $4-$5. I don't recommend a dIY system unless you REALLY know what you are doing, meaning you are comfortable with the carpentry needed to install the hardware (roof mounting looks easy, but you done wrong and your roof will leak), and the electrical expertise, since you can actually electrocute yourself if you are not careful. Also, installation must meet building and electrical code standards, and will require an inspection by your city or county. There are permits that must be obtained and forms properly submitted to the utility. Failure to get any of this done will result in the system not being approved.

Now, can you get a little DIY 45 watt kit and put it in yourself? Possibly, but the smaller the system, the greater the cost per watt.

Here you can see the price for kits which include pretty much all you need starting at around $5500 plus shipping for 2.6kW array (please note, I provide this link for illustration only, I do not have any connection to this site or know anything about their customer service).

Depending on where you are and the mounting setup, a 2.6kW array would produce 9-12 kWhs of power each day, in full sun light. (For best results panels should face South, and have no shade) The closer you are to the equater, the more sunlight you will generally get which converts to electricity.

Assume 10kWhs from this system, that comes out to about a third of the daily consumption of an average American house. Electricity averages about 11 cents a kWh from the utility, so this system would produce about $3.00+ a day's worth. Of course cloudy days, rainy days, snowy days will cause production to drop.

My array was switched on in October and has averaged about 13.5 kWhs so far, but the number has been rising sharply as sunnier days have arrived. So far this month I have averaged 29kWhs a day.

To give you a comparison, the 45 watt panels you mention would produce under nominal conditions 0.21kWhs of power a day. A 100 watt system would produce 0.48kWhs (I am assuming daylight time based on my location in central NC). A single 60w equivalent LED bulb burns 9 watts an hour, so you could run such a bulb for 34 hours and 53 hours respectively. A CFL bulb would burn for half that time, and an old fashion incandescent would burn for 3.5/8 hours (you can see why LED bulbs are the way to go).

Now the prices we are discussing for all of this does not include any tax credits. The Federal credit of 30% is still good until the end of this year. My state had a 35% credit, but it expired at the end of last year. Together, that translated into a 65% discount on the cost of my system. Your credits may vary depending on your tax bill and state.

Hope this helps clarify my muddy point.

(You can see my array here: https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/pv/public_systems/h6KS723670/overview )

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #22)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 07:22 PM

25. Thanks for the info.

 

I have an electrician friend who has installed solar systems who would help me out. I just need to save a few bucks to get the hardware.

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Response to tabasco (Reply #25)

Tue Mar 8, 2016, 11:13 AM

29. Excellent!

 

Just a few suggestions. If you plan to start with a small array and add to it as your budget allows, use microinverters instead of a single invereter. A single inverter is cheaper, but is generally sized for your array, and if you want to expand it in the future, you have to buy a bigger inverter. Microinverters are added to each panel, costing a bit more, but allowing you to expand in the future and to more efficiently monitor and control panels individually, in some cases down to the cell level, affording you less loss of power due to resistance loss.

Good luck!

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Response to FLPanhandle (Reply #4)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 06:47 PM

24. Oil is not used to produce electricity, except in some refineries burning some of the waste.

So oil prices and solar generation are logically independent.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #24)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 07:38 PM

27. Actually...

 

There are more than 1,000 oil burning electricity plants in the U.S., but they only produce about 1% of the country's electricity.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/power-plants/

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Response to burfman (Original post)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 11:33 AM

5. I find this article interesting in that the Republicans and big energy corporations

have waged a war on solar energy and also wind energy. Several Republicans states push back on solar energy, taxing home owners that used it. Forcing out solar energy manufacturing, as in AZ. IN AZ, Fl, and OK they ban using solar energy or tax it so high it not affordable to use. Much of this is the results of the Koch bros. attack on solar energy and Republican controlled states enforcing that.

The Koch Bros are stuck back a century, being so old and senile, they cannot see the future of American and this world.

The sooner tax payers and voters realize what the GOP stands for, this pushback will continue.

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Response to burfman (Original post)


Response to burfman (Original post)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 11:38 AM

7. "No, no no. HELL no." - Republicans

This would be great for America,
you you can bet the Repubes will
do all they can to thwart it.

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Response to burfman (Original post)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 11:55 AM

8. I've had my panels now for 6 years...

and the most I've paid for electricity is .50 cents. that was the prorated amount in the very first month after we switched over.

I run everything in my house on electricity except my heater which is still on natural gas. I'm looking into an getting an electric heater/ac unit soon.

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Response to Javaman (Reply #8)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 06:32 PM

23. What size array

 

and what part of the country are you in. I have a 7.15kW array and live in NC. I am grid-tied and last months bill was offset 50% by solar, also counting my driving to work in my Leaf. This month I may generate a surplus.

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Response to burfman (Original post)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 11:59 AM

9. That will get halted with Drumpf as president

Just as every Republican before him has done. They're all in the pocket of big oil polluters.

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Response to burfman (Original post)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 05:41 PM

19. I know my dad has considered it for his farm.

He even had one of the solar companies come out and do a survey. He's got enough space for a good sized array on the farm.

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Response to burfman (Original post)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 06:03 PM

20. EIA numbers are only for large utility-scale solar arrays and do not include rooftop solar

EIA reports that planned installations for 2016 include 9.5 gigawatts of utility-scale solar — followed by 8 gigawatts (or 8 billion watts) of natural gas and 6.8 gigawatts of wind. This suggests solar could truly blow out the competition, because the EIA numbers are only for large or utility-scale solar arrays or farms and do not include fast-growing rooftop solar, which will also surely add several additional gigawatts of capacity in 2016.

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Response to burfman (Original post)

Mon Mar 7, 2016, 07:56 PM

28. This article is discussing NEW capacity, added on top of existing systems powering the grid

And the existing systems are largely coal and natural gas fired plants, with no plans to retire them anytime soon. At best, we're converting older coal-fired plants to natural gas, which may or may not actually be better for the environment depending on how much methane escapes when we frack for it.

For example, if we used 600 GW of power in year X, and 10 years later we were using 650 GW of power but 30 GW of the new capacity was from solar, we're still adding massive amounts of carbon to the atmosphere from all the previously built fossil fuel capacity.

We aren't going to stand a chance at even slowing climate change until we start actually shutting down and replacing all the old, coal and natural gas fired plants with solar and wind. This is a point we have not reached yet.

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