What's The Truth About Solar Energy?

Submitted by: theman01 1 month ago Science


From ColdFusion: For a long time, solar power has been very much hated from a cost-benefit standpoint but things are starting to turn around for the technology. Around the world, progress is being made to make solar power a viable alternative.
There are 13 comments:
Male 114
Don't forget about the cost to the planet in the form of rare element mining and manufacturing costs. Current technology for solar and battery technology requires huge energy input and resource exploitation to create finished products. If the endgame is to lessen the impact of terrestrial damage, taking advantage of kinetic energy is much more straight forward...unless you are a plant.
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Male 1,195
toetagmodel2  Yes and don't forget that China controls most of the Rare elements being mined in the world to day, thanks to the last president not supporting the only American company mining it.
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Male 128
Why just solar? Wind, tidal, solar anything that move can generate electricity. Use what gets you the best value.
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Male 7,631
taxidriver Wind, tidal, solar anything 

I've always thought that tidal would be more consistent than wind.  The power of the pull of the moon is pretty constant.
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Male 293
Is it viable   yes, is it the least-cost option for everyone?  Not yet.  But for some, it is.

My manager built his house where services weren't available.  He uses solar, with a propane generator backup.  His batteries store approx 3 days worth of energy, and his solar is designed to fill the batteries from empty in 12 hours of sunshine in the winter (so even faster in the summer).  The cost to bring electrical service to his house was near 2x the capital cost of the solar.  He's not paying out to the grid (no grid connection) but his entire solar payout will be payed back (based on the existing rural rates and delivery charges) in less than 10 years.  In 12 years, he will have recovered the installation cost and saved up for replacement batteries that will be needed in 15 years or so.

The worst months for sunshine up here are November and December, but other than those months, the average number of sun hours days means his propane generator won't need to run.  Family of 4 w/ two enormous dogs.
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Male 37,253
punko Sounds good, and is perfect for that situation!
Just wondering though, what sort of batteries last 15 years? I've never heard of one lasting more than 8, but haven't researched it or anything :p Those wouldn't be all that expensive anyhow, in comparison.
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Male 1,329
I looked into solar a coulpe years ago, it would have cost me $40k for a whole house system that I could tie into the grid.  I looked it up again, now the cost is closer to $10k.  When it gets closer to $5k, I'll make the jump.
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Male 66
insaneai most of the energy companies have be lowering the return since they want to profit more for your sell back of your excess energy.  In Las Vegas most of the "free" solar companies left since that was how they stayed in business.  the current owners of Nevada Energy have been brought Energy commission board for not honoring previous liftetime contracts.  currently Nevada Energy is only doing credit and not fair exchange at that.
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Male 525
I was looking at add solar panels to my house a few years back and the claims of lower energy bills and that they pay for themselves in so many years(10 I think I was told) didn't pan out. With the cost of maintenance, fees, and the lower return from the power company on any power I put back into there system it just wasn't workable.

However in resent years the area I live in added a requirement for all new houses to have fire sprinkler systems. I can easily see in the near future that all new houses also require some form of solar panels. By making it a requirement the house could be designed so the panels would be more efficient then just trying to put them onto an older house.
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Male 7,631
Nice, informative video theman01.

Is solar currently viable? No. But it's getting better all the time.  Like any technology it will get cheaper and advancement will be faster. 

I'm sure before long the lawsuits that it causes cancer will begin.
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Male 2,087
megrendel How about aura interference? I think the conversion of the natural sun energy to compressed, man-controlled electrons could disrupt the harmony of people's auras. I get anxious just thinking about it. Maybe there's a good homeopathic remedy for that.

*hee hee hee*
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Male 163
Ifmegrendel Thanks, well it can't be really be any worse than the carcinogens that coal plants put off : /
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Male 7,631
theman01 I wasn't saying it would cause cancer. 

Just that, like anything else that becomes in prominent use, once Solar Power is established and profitable, along comes the blood-sucking lawyers with handy-dandy class-action lawsuits to harass them.
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