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  1. #1
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    Rapid Rise of Solar Tech

    7 impressive solar energy facts (+ charts)

    Until this year, solar has been a bad investment. Now it's on the verge of becoming the next big thing.

    http://www.abb-conversations.com/201...-facts-charts/
    Vacuum Technology:
    CRUD = Contamination Resulting in Undesirable Deposits.
    CRAPP = Contamination Resulting in Additional Partial Pressure.

    Change your vacuum pump oil now.

    Test. Testing, 1,2,3.

  2. #2
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    Install plug n play DIY solar system for $4000, according to consumer expert Clark Howard.

    http://www.clarkhoward.com/news/clar...st-4000/nbJXD/
    Vacuum Technology:
    CRUD = Contamination Resulting in Undesirable Deposits.
    CRAPP = Contamination Resulting in Additional Partial Pressure.

    Change your vacuum pump oil now.

    Test. Testing, 1,2,3.

  3. #3
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    While you could call this list of facts interesting, it is not making solar the next big thing.

    For example, the amount of solar energy hitting Texas exceeds the oil and gas being pumped out. I'd say that has always been true, and we can never capture that amount. Ever.

    Clark Howard lets out the dirty little secret: solar is only a viable alternative in certain geographic areas, and where electrical grids are not easily accessed. Africa, for example.

    You would have to make panels that can be purchased for a year's worth of electric bills, and then last for ten of them, and make them effective in producing power in places like Pennsylvania. Then, yes, it would be a good idea.

    And all of that increased capacity in the last few years? Taxpayers funded that. It's a bill we will not be paid back for. Ever.

    Now, if you want to talk about a revolution, fusion is coming. And that WILL be a big thing.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

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  4. #4
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    May 2000
    Location
    Rochester, NY, USA
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    it's all about the batteries, and those still are not were they need to be as far as cost effectiveness.

    Timebuilder is right, the Return on Investment is still not even close to where it needs to be.

    NOW!!!! My cabin in the Adirondacks runs on solar Panels and Batteries (feel free to compliment me on my new roof to LOL )

    Im running 707 watts of PV----> into a 45amp Morningstar charge controller----> into four 6v golf cart batteries-----> to a 1500watt inverter, which runs the cabin.

    The refrigerator and stove are LPG. AND Im installing a L-5 Eccotemp instant-on water heater

    http://www.overstock.com/Emergency-P...140105015031:s

    Fires on 2 "D" size batteries and propane.
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    BEING AN ADULT

    is the dumbest thing I have ever done

  5. #5
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    That is the sensible use of panels. Nice job.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by timebuilder View Post
    That is the sensible use of panels. Nice job.
    LOL its the only way to run the cabin without a generator. The previous owner use to run a Listor Diesel generator 6-7 hours a day (night actually) I didn't want to hear it, so the only option is solar/batteries.

    Batteries are expensive, Look up Trojan 2v batteries. They are huge, heavy and expensive, put a bunch of them in a series/parallel circuit and you can put out some very serious amperage. DC circuits are "different", cables/wires/length are much larger and they change with voltage. The big panels put out 87v on a bright sunny day with direct sun lite. a charge controller can handle up to 150v. Ya you get some crazy voltages with PV.

    The basics are fairly simple, it gets complicated when you start "stacking" charge controller and install combiner boxes. The code calls for grounds on EVERYTHING, they want Earth Grounds on the panels, a separate earth ground on the Charge controller, and the batteries and the inverter. I have five grounding rods in the ground, 3' apart.

    Wire gets expensive, so we try to run higher voltages so we can reduce the amps thereby use smaller wire size. Ohms law becomes very important and you better do the math.
    BEING AN ADULT

    is the dumbest thing I have ever done

  7. #7
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    Jun 2013
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    Austin, TX
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    Rather than trying to make the batteries big enough to hold the entire night load, what about use smart controls to try to use the energy as it's being produced? For example, use cheap thermal storage instead of expensive batteries for HVAC, hot water, and refrigeration. With those big loads out of the way, a few deep cycle batteries (a few hundred dollars worth at most) will easily handle what's left.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NiHaoMike View Post
    Rather than trying to make the batteries big enough to hold the entire night load, what about use smart controls to try to use the energy as it's being produced? For example, use cheap thermal storage instead of expensive batteries for HVAC, hot water, and refrigeration. With those big loads out of the way, a few deep cycle batteries (a few hundred dollars worth at most) will easily handle what's left.
    yep , thats a great way to go, in the south. Up here we have to plan on a minimum of 3 consecutive days with no sun and snow covering the panels. Last week, between Christmas and New Years we had no sun for 7+ days. AND we had 18" of snow. Cloudy/crappy every day. Even with no sun a PV panel will produce power, although it will be very small amps. and then you have to account for partial panel coverage. For example if you have an acre of solar panels and you get 18" of snow.......you're kinda screwed with out a large battery bank AND a generator back up to charge the batteries if the panels are covered and stop producing. If lived in the south, I would not hesitate to install an entire field of solar panels.

    Panels don't HAVE to be on your roof. Many people install them in a field or on Poles that can track the sun.


    The cabin in the Adirondacks works because we use the cabin on weekends (for now~~we may end up using the cabin for a summer retreat and stay there all summer) On a weekend I can run every light and appliance in the place without draining the batteries. But that works because the batteries have all week to recharge. AND during the summer we really don't need lights on til late, after 8pm because the cabin faces the west, so the sun shines right in the front~~~which is all windows and doors (The sun also reflects off the water/lake~~~we have 400' of lake frontage which kind of doubles the amount of light we get in the cabin)

    Oddly, PV Panels are much more efficient when they are cold, the colder, the better. A 300 watt panel, will NOT give you 300 watts, there is a very long and complicated explanation as to why, I can try and find the link if you really want to read it. But the point is, you MUST plan accordingly or your batteries will get drained and things will start to burn out due to insufficient power.
    BEING AN ADULT

    is the dumbest thing I have ever done

  9. #9
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    Jun 2013
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    Up north, CHP (Combined Heat and Power) starts making an awful lot of sense. In some areas, wind nicely complements solar and there are also some more exotic alternative energy technologies like a stationary bicycle generator.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by timebuilder View Post
    While you could call this list of facts interesting, it is not making solar the next big thing.

    For example, the amount of solar energy hitting Texas exceeds the oil and gas being pumped out. I'd say that has always been true, and we can never capture that amount. Ever.

    Clark Howard lets out the dirty little secret: solar is only a viable alternative in certain geographic areas, and where electrical grids are not easily accessed. Africa, for example.

    You would have to make panels that can be purchased for a year's worth of electric bills, and then last for ten of them, and make them effective in producing power in places like Pennsylvania. Then, yes, it would be a good idea.

    And all of that increased capacity in the last few years? Taxpayers funded that. It's a bill we will not be paid back for. Ever.

    Now, if you want to talk about a revolution, fusion is coming. And that WILL be a big thing.
    You're right. We're not there yet. And geographic placement is important. In the US, the southwest is by far the best place to recover your investment in a relatively short period of time. See this color-coded map: http://www.mysolarpod.com/solarpodsneeded

    Here in Georgia, ROI is still over 20 years, excluding government kickbacks. By the time your investment starts paying you back, your system will have become obsolete, worn out, and long overdue for replacement. And you will have continued to invest in it just to keep it operational.

    As you said, the government is responsible for the increase in the number of installations -- so far. And it has been wasteful and sloppy in its "investment" of taxpayer dollars. We might have been better off if we had an agency comparable to NASA, which has developed a potent and efficient partnership with private industries in the space exploration sector. But that's a topic for another day.

    Don't get me wrong; I'm not an advocate of solar power. I have no desire to promote it. Nor do I care to see fossil fuel industries meeting an early demise.

    But the technology is changing. Solar panels have gotten cheap. New methods are in development that will make them more efficient. And there are new developments in battery technology. Batteries are becoming more efficient and lightweight.

    Solar tech is still a bad investment. It can't compete with the grid. And if you want less expensive, easy-to-use back up power for emergencies, you would probably be better off with a natural gas generator. But with the recent rapid and accelerating rise of technology, solar tech is on the verge of becoming a viable alternative.
    Vacuum Technology:
    CRUD = Contamination Resulting in Undesirable Deposits.
    CRAPP = Contamination Resulting in Additional Partial Pressure.

    Change your vacuum pump oil now.

    Test. Testing, 1,2,3.

  11. #11
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    If by, "on the verge," you mean to say another 25 years, then yes, I'm right there.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NiHaoMike View Post
    Up north, CHP (Combined Heat and Power) starts making an awful lot of sense. In some areas, wind nicely complements solar and there are also some more exotic alternative energy technologies like a stationary bicycle generator.
    I agree 100%, a Hybrid system of wind and solar would be ideal, absolutely no doubt. Except for one minor detail

    around here (and I expect in a lot of urban areas) the code says you may not have any type of tower (wind or antenna) that "should it fall over, may NOT TOUCH any buildings, including dog houses. So the highest tower I could have here, is about 25 feet. Up north I could put up a 200' tower if I could afford it.

    The basic point in all of this come back to ROI. It's still not viable, not around here.

    The ONLY reason i use solar up north is.......no power at all. If not for solar, I would be running a generator to charge batteries, and that gets noisy, even with a generator house 80' from the cabin.
    BEING AN ADULT

    is the dumbest thing I have ever done

  13. #13
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    Nov 2013
    Location
    Raleigh, nc
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    34
    If you're so far into propane with the fridge and stove, have you looking into permanent mounted propane lighting?

    http://www.propaneproducts.com/catal...ights-1-1.html

    One of the biggest variables with solar and other alternative energy is use and demand. The higher the demand, the larger the inverter, etc. has to be. The greater the usage, the larger the battery bank has to be.

    I will say however, generator technology has come far. I have a small inverter based generator that can run 12 hours on one gallon of gas. Output for that duration is probably around the 200w mark. It'll generate 1,600w continuous, but under less load will reduce RPM to match required output. I can have it running up near the back of the house, walk around to the front of the house and not be able to hear it running.. with a generator house 80 feet away, I'd consider one of these small quiet generators for battery bank charging, etc.

    I have toyed with the idea of modifying one of the motor homes for solar assist.. convert over to LED lighting and that's pretty much most of your load, aside from occasional water pump use.

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