Solar Power [Pic+]

Submitted by: Gauddith 3 years ago Science

It isn"t such a huge loss after all. Looks like America has some catching up to do.
There are 37 comments:
Male 14,330
[quote]Once upon a time, American wanted to lead technology. Now we wait and see what other countries do. Kind of like most of our tv shows. In many ways, we have become a copycat nation, not an innovation nation, and it`s sad. All the jobs we could create if we had the guts to innovate, rhyme intended.[/quote]

PSSSST! **whispers**

The solar cell was inventend in the USA.....
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Male 17,512
"Sci-fi is great for imagining things and sometimes scientists and engineers eventually make them real things, but it`s damn silly to gamble such an important part of your country on imagined things that don`t exist, won`t exist any time soon and might never exist."

Best comment of the thread.
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Male 12,365
CSP is probably a more practical and evironmentally friendly option in Arizona than PV is, given that you have a lot of sun and a lot of space.

CSP doesn`t require the rare and environmentally damaging materials that PV panels require.

CSP is quite close to being as controllable as a conventional power station (crucial and utterly ignored by renewables advocates).

CSP generates power for a while after sunset.

With a cutting edge grid, Arizona could use solar for a muhc higher proportion of its electricity generation than most places. Maybe as much as 20%, perhaps.

Unless, of course, large scale electricity storage somehow becomes possible in an even vaguely practical way (it can be done now, but it requires building lakes and is very inefficient).
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Male 12,365
[quote]Yes. It is basically sunny every day. Imagine if parts of the empty arizona desert were covered in efficient solar panels and we had a way to store and move energy effective. That could meet all the energy needs of the country. Removable batteries that you exchange like propane tanks. They could power your house, your car, everything.[/quote]

Why stop there? Why not imagine dilithium crystal antimatter reactors the size of sugar cubes that power everything for free? And replicators, of course. Tea, Earl Grey, hot.

Sci-fi is great for imagining things and sometimes scientists and engineers eventually make them real things, but it`s damn silly to gamble such an important part of your country on imagined things that don`t exist, won`t exist any time soon and might never exist.
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Male 12,365
[quote]Thorium nuclear power could be the solution, it`s safer and doesn`t produce the high radioactive waste of Uranium reactors.[/quote]

That seems a bit odd to me, since the Thorium is used to make Uranium for the fissioning.

Ah, I see it. Different isotope of Uranium.

It still results in highly radioctive waste, though. Just less of it.

I think uranium fission would be enough to tide us over until fusion is viable, although thorium-->uranium fission might be a useful improvement if it`s made viable before fusion is.

Renewables are fine for small amounts in some circumstances and large amounts in very rare circumstances (e.g. geothermal in Iceland), but they`re not controllable enough even if they could be made efficient enough. We need nuclear. It`s the safest way.
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Male 12,365
[quote]Obviously it isn`t on the same scale as this but I recently bought a small solar panel charger kit for when camping....didn`t hold out much hope for it here in the UK tbh but the whole set up including the solar panel, Battery pack, and various USB connectors to run to the battery was dirt cheap.

anyhoos, long story short, I`m really impressed with it - even in the grey skies of the UK it charges ipods, phones, NDS, kindle etc. all fine.[/quote]

PV panels are fine for slowly charging very low-power devices, yes.

But they suck donkey balls for large scale electricity generation.

Germany has blown a fortune a stupidly expensive, unsustainable and environmentally harmful way of generating electricity in a way that is so unreliable and uncontrollable that it is making their national grid so unstable that neighbouring countries have to use their own grids to stabilise Germany`s. I`m not joking about that - the situation really is that bad.
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Male 1,803
PS

For a 1 bed flat, my electricity, water and gas bill combined is 41 euros a month, which is $55 USD.

If I was eco conscious, I could probably drop that down to about 33 euros a month, but I can`t be bothered turning everything off, I leave my computer on permanently.
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Male 892
How about an article from a legit source next time?
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Male 3,947
(cont)

To put it another way, by the year 2100, Germany`s $130 billion in solar panel subsidies will have postponed carbon induced temperature increases by only 23 hours.

Well that is if you also don`t recognize that because Germany is part of the European Union Emissions Trading System, because they can exclude China from their calculations and say that Germany is producing lower emissions, they are simply allowing other parts of the EU to emit more CO2. Germany`s solar panels have only made it cheaper for Portugal or Greece to use coal, which they are currently building to reenergize their economies.

I could go on, but I have to mow my lawn. If you want to follow a expensive, economy killing, failure in action down the tubes, simply because it`s vast and built with good intent, then go for it, just don`t wonder why China has you over a barrel later on.
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Male 7,337
Agent00Smith-"a free energy source like the sun could have created a loss"

So research, hardware, contruction and land are now `free`?

"the grey-skied country logged 5.1 terawatt hours"

Wow, at that rate it could meet 0.24% of our energy needs.

HolyGod-"Solar panels are a matter of time."

Agreed. The will (probably) be viable in the future. Worth looking into (with private money). Either that or something else viable will pop up.

HumanAction-"Phoenix is about as perfect for solar energy as we can get in the US."

Whereas where I live we get the highest annual rainfall in the US, and in the last month we`ve seen the sun maybe 30 minutes a day. Will take a REAL efficient cell to convert that.
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Male 579
Oh I`m all for alternative energy sources, but only when they make reasonable and good economic sense to do so! I`ve been hearing "solar this and wind that etc" since grade school back in the, well, a really long time ago..., You lefties need to stop making policy that hurts people while the research continues!
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Male 3,947
(cont)

This has resulted in Germany’s largest gas, electric, and water utilities, like E.ON and RWE, threatening to pick up and leave, which would leave Germany dangerously dependent on good luck and their neighbors generosity for energy stability.

Defender of the panels have also stated that it has created "green jobs." But each green job costs around $200,000 to create, more than anywhere else in the economy, and the vast majority are over in China, with no benefit to the German economy.

Oh and on that note, because most of the rare earth minerals and solar panels they go into are made in China, who has no environmental protection standards, the net effect is cutting the carbon output by only 8 million metric tons, or about 1% for the next 20 years. That was the whole point of the solar panels, to cut carbon emissions.
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Male 3,947
(cont)

Oh, but it gets so much better...


Despite the panels only producing energy for half a day because there is so sunlight at night, it creates a surplus whenever the sky is totally blue, which sounds nice, but the government is still forced to pay for the unused energy. When the sky suddenly clears, it can cause surges in the grid of up to 30000 Megawatts which overloads the grids in neighboring countries, like Poland.

Yet thats only during the summer, during the winter time Germany`s solar panels produce only 3% of their capacity, to no energy at all, especially when snow falls and covers the panels. This has forced Germany to also buy France`s and the Czech Republic`s Nuclear energy every winter, which is not added into the subsidy cost.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to phase-out nuclear power in Germany by the end of the decade and replacing it with 25 new coal plants costing another $3.4 billion, brilliant.
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Male 3,947
So what I got from the article was that Germany has produced a huge amount of solar panels, is trying to reduce "soft costs", and the people who build them plan to make more. Why does this show that America should follow this?

First off, Philipp Rosler, Germany`s minister of economics and technology, has called the spiraling solar subsidies a "a massive threat to the economy." This isn`t merely because Germany has put out $130 billion, or 8% of it`s GDP, in subsidies just to build and maintain them. Its also because it forces Germans to pay the second-highest price for electricity in the developed world, exceeded only by Denmark, which aims to be the "world wind-energy champion". Germans will also be receiving a $260 hike in the average consumer’s annual power bill for last year`s building efforts alone.
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Male 3,081
Obviously it isn`t on the same scale as this but I recently bought a small solar panel charger kit for when camping....didn`t hold out much hope for it here in the UK tbh but the whole set up including the solar panel, Battery pack, and various USB connectors to run to the battery was dirt cheap.

anyhoos, long story short, I`m really impressed with it - even in the grey skies of the UK it charges ipods, phones, NDS, kindle etc. all fine.

It was indespensible when the kids were playing their NDS in the tent at night and then charging them up the following morning.

I didn`t realise till then just how far solar panels had come in last few years.
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Male 17,512
HG: "It is just a matter of making it financially viable."

It`s not viable without government subsidies and "experimental" achievements rarely result in practical product. I`ve heard claims of 50% efficiency, but as it turns out, it`s not sustainable.

Not to mention, mining some of the rare earth elements needed to make some of these experimental solar cells are ruinous to the environment. So much for solar being a "green technology".
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Male 560
Germany imports lot`s of energy from its neighbours and had to fire up a old oil plant in Austria for its demand. During the winter it struggles. Because it shut down the Nuclear plants it`s lost a large part of its energy backbone. When the renewable are not meeting demand it has no choice but to use very quick short term power. Germany`s CO2 emissions have been increasing despite a shift to "green"
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Male 2,357
@HolyGod

[quote]My electric bill can hit $600 in the summer months.[/quote]
Oh eff that.

[quote]Removable batteries that you exchange like propane tanks. They could power your house, your car, everything.[/quote]
I`ve had this exact thought. Standardized sizes and the ability to pool several together would go a long way.

[quote]Lunch is on me.[/quote]
That`d be cool if we could set that up. I`ll make sure to let you know when I`ll be done there.
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Male 1,803
PS

For a 1 bed flat, my electricity, water and gas bill combined is 41 euros a month, which is $55 USD.

If I was eco conscious, I could probably drop that down to about 33 euros a month, but I can`t be bothered turning everything off, I leave my computer on permanently.
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Male 1,803
To be fair, July was really fricking sunny here in Germany.

Ignoring solar, if you go to the old Eastern Germany, there`s a shed load of wind turbines, like thousands of the things, they`re everywhere.
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Male 7,907
HumanAction

"That would be nice; I imagine Phoenix is about as perfect for solar energy as we can get in the US. Then again, the AC usage must be insane."

Yes. It is basically sunny every day. Imagine if parts of the empty arizona desert were covered in efficient solar panels and we had a way to store and move energy effective. That could meet all the energy needs of the country. Removable batteries that you exchange like propane tanks. They could power your house, your car, everything.

I have a 4,000 sq ft house that I keep at 78 degrees. My electric bill can hit $600 in the summer months. Not awesome.

"Interestingly, I was supposed to fly to Phoenix tomorrow for a project; it got pushed back to October"

Lunch is on me.
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Male 2,357
@HolyGod

[quote]I live in Phoenix and I know lots of people who have installed solar and ELIMINATED their electric bill[/quote]
That would be nice; I imagine Phoenix is about as perfect for solar energy as we can get in the US. Then again, the AC usage must be insane.

Interestingly, I was supposed to fly to Phoenix tomorrow for a project; it got pushed back to October though so we wouldn`t have to work around labor day.
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Male 2,578
You guys can try and force the market on solar all you want, but it`s nowhere near maturity. Invest for the future, but still have a plan for now. These high energy costs are hurting our economy dearly. (Wind is ridiculous though, it`s primitive mechanical energy, and an eyesore at that).

And really. Thinkprogress? I can`t believe anyone would name their own website something that self satisfying.
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Male 7,907
HumanAction

"We still need a better battery before any of these environment-dependent sources can be taken seriously."

Absolutely. Advances in energy storage need to happen along with advances in energy harnessing.

I live in Phoenix and I know lots of people who have installed solar and ELIMINATED their electric bill, and that is with today`s technology.
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Male 2,357
We still need a better battery before any of these environment-dependent sources can be taken seriously.

As much as we want to use green energy, people won`t tolerate the power going out when it`s overcast and calm outside.
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Male 36,374
[quote]Of course oil / gas / coal and their lobbyists will do EVERYTHING in their power to stop or slow the development.[/quote]
@HolyGod: Seriously? THAT dead horse?
You have a dead horse to flog for EVERY occasion!

WHO do you think gets BAZILLIONS of $$ from the governments of the world for "green energy research"??? ENERGY COMPANIES! ie: Oil, coal and gas companies! Under "umbrella names" of course!

And WHO do you think will make the MOST money once "green power" is perfected? BIG ENERGY COMPANIES ie: Oil, coal and gas!

You imagine that "local `Mom and Pop` energy collectives" will run The Grid? Ever? Pfft!
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Male 7,907
Crakr

"It`s taken decades for them to get from 5% efficiency to 15% efficiency"

They are already over 40% in experiments. It is just a matter of making it financially viable.
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Male 7,907
Crakr

"Moore`s Law doesn`t apply to solar cells. It`s taken decades for them to get from 5% efficiency to 15% efficiency, at that rate 30% efficiency will take another 30 years."

It only takes one breakthrough.

Sometimes things take giant leaps. Look at TVS. CRTs get gradually better and cheaper from the 50s until the mid 90s. Then LCD technology took over and now you can get a 65" HDTV for $1,000.

Enough energy from the sun hits the earth to meet all our energy needs, it`s just a matter of harnessing it.

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Male 17,512
HG: "Once solar technology starts being consumed / invested in the way computer technology has been you will see the same thing happen as what happened to processors and memory."

Moore`s Law doesn`t apply to solar cells. It`s taken decades for them to get from 5% efficiency to 15% efficiency, at that rate 30% efficiency will take another 30 years.
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Male 17,512
As I`ve said before, solar and wind are not the solution. Thorium nuclear power could be the solution, it`s safer and doesn`t produce the high radioactive waste of Uranium reactors.
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Male 7,907
Solar panels are a matter of time.

They are starting to make HUGE breakthroughs.

Once solar technology starts being consumed / invested in the way computer technology has been you will see the same thing happen as what happened to processors and memory.

You`ll go from giant roof setups (huge room filling computers) to thin, cheap, light, powerful cells that will replace all other means of energy production in the world.

Of course oil / gas / coal and their lobbyists will do EVERYTHING in their power to stop or slow the development.
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Male 168
Yeah, lets take a wild look at cost per kw/hour.

Don`t want to do that?

Huh

Odd.
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Male 36,374
Um, yeah? no.
Germany`s electric bills have DOUBLED and will go up more!
They are CUTTING the subsidies given to panel power plants = many will close!

50 SQUARE MILES of jet-black solar panels do NOTHING to warm the Earth? Think again! And that`s just the equivalent of ONE Nuclear Plant... and NP produces 24/7/365... making the panels = more gas emissions than an NP plant... costs 4X as much...

The list goes on and on!

So instead of being "dependant" on Arabic Oil you`d rather be dependant of "China Solar Panels"?

Hey! Great idea! = LMAO!

So much more wrong, but I`m too polite to point them out at the moment.

Nuclear Power is why France has lower greenhouse emissions than Germany or Britain...any way you measure it!
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Male 15,832
5.1 TWh? WOW! That almost 0.1% of their total energy usage!
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Male 2,579
How anyone could have imagined that a free energy source like the sun could have created a loss is beyond any sort of logical realm of thought.
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Female 1,803
Once upon a time, American wanted to lead technology. Now we wait and see what other countries do. Kind of like most of our tv shows. In many ways, we have become a copycat nation, not an innovation nation, and it`s sad. All the jobs we could create if we had the guts to innovate, rhyme intended.
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Female 231
Link: Solar Power [Pic+] [Rate Link] - It isn`t such a huge loss after all. Looks like America has some catching up to do.
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