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Long treated with a wary eye, soaring gas costs and improved processes and materials have led investors to start taking solar seriously

Recently DailyTech reported on how companies like Sungevity are revolutionizing the consumer solar power industry. Companies are cutting costs in estimating using satellite imagery, cutting production costs with mass production and computer optimized installation infrastructures, and utilizing improved materials.

The solar industry has been booming and experiencing the heaviest financial investment in years.  Among them are a plethora of enterprising web startups looking to connect people to solar panels in the most efficient way possible.  Among them is Joseph Brakohiapa, CEO of Clean Power Finance.  His company just scored a major contract last Friday with German solar panel manufacturer Conergy, which use the company's financing options and software resources in its U.S. distribution network. 

The founder of Clean Power Finance is Gary Kremen, a rather legendary investment entrepreneur, known for his acquisition of the infamous domain name Sex.com.  Kremen and other big names in investment capital are showing newfound enthusiasm for the solar industry and online options.  Their take is by making the panel buying and installation process more like leasing a car, customers will take to it in droves.  In their mind, once people see how much money they'll be saving in a month, and how little hassle it will require, it will be easier to bring them onboard.

The biggest challenge is upfront costs.  Solar panels can cost $20,000 to $35,000 on a standard size home, and installation can be as high as half the cost of the panels themselves.  Tax rebates help to dull the blow, but it’s still a sizeable expenditure.

This means that most growth is limited to green consumers and corporations, two groups willing to part with large sums of money for long-term financial and environmental returns.  Brakohiapa states that the problem is that these green consumers have already bought panels.  He states, "For the industry to continue to grow in the residential space, we have to appeal to the mass market and find ways for the everyman to step into solar and get the benefits.  At some point, it's going to be difficult to convince people to make large investments simply based on the fact that it's green."

Clean Power Finance and rival SunCity both have lease programs in the works.  SunCity already rolled its program out in several states.  SunCity CEO Lydon Rive states that by leasing customers should see an immediate return and can have the option of eventually buying the cells.  Clean Power Finance has thus far only implemented a loans program to help with the initial capital, but plans to soon roll out a similar program.

Yet another enterprising idea is to allow neighbors with panels to sell electricity to their non-panel-equipped neighbors, using a setup similar to the standard pre-determined electrical rate used by power companies.

One of Clean Power Finance's big initiatives is to provide a SalesForce-like compilation of data.  The company provides up to date info on the tax rebates in every state and local region, on the electrical production of available panel models, and on utilities' electrical rates across the country.  This info helps installers give better estimates on the cost and return.

Brakohiapa says that one challenge is getting the more technical-geared solar power industry up to speed in sales competence.  He states the need for using more straightforward figures with customers; "Solar is still a technical sale. Installers are more comfortable talking about kilowatts but the consumer really isn't there.  Tell me that if my monthly payment to the utility is $500, I can get it to $450. Then I'm in."

Last year, solar start-ups looking to develop more efficient solar cells netted $1B USD in funding.  Solar experts say that along with the resulting benefits in production, the cost of cells will also be going down due to increases in the scale and capacity of manufacturers, essentially from increased and optimized mass production.

Many companies that currently sell to utilities looking to build solar plants, or to companies, are looking to jump into the consumer market soon.  Nanosolar CEO Martin Roscheisen has a "fabulous residential solution" in the works, and also looks to bring the power costs of his company's panels down to $1 per watt.

These advances march solar power closer and closer to "grid parity" without tax rebates -- meaning that solar production will soon match traditional fossil fuel production in terms of cost per unit of power, with infrastructure investments factored in.  Some companies are even deploying in-home displays in new homes to show customers how much power their using, and potential savings from solar.

With the credit crunch, and sagging economy, some of the consumer growth in solar has slowed.  However investors like Brakohiapa believe that Wall Street Lenders will soon be jumping on solar.  He points out that they are already involved through companies such as SunEdison and SunPower, which signed a deal with Morgan Stanley.  He states optimistically, "Some investment banks are realizing that they can reach consumers and they can start investing in energy portfolios.  Over time, we are going to see more players in the financial space."



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Still expensive
By PrinceGaz on 4/28/2008 7:46:07 PM , Rating: 4
As much as I like the idea of solar power replacing carbon, nuclear or other conventional means of electricity generation, like all current "green" alternatives, it is not economically viable.

I say "green" because I personally consider nuclear (fission) a quite green form of electricity generation, and one which not only doesn't contribute to global warming, but can also provide reliable power 24/7 from an abundant fuel source which will last for decades even if all the electricity generated worldwide was produced that way.

In fact it would last for centuries once the price of uranium rose enough to consider extracting it in more expensive ways, and it would hardly effect the price of electricity as the uranium itself is only a tiny part of the cost of nuclear power generation (unlike coal or gas where it is the cost of the coal or gas they burn which is the major factor).

I'm all for green power sources, but wasting money on solar cells which cost more to produce than the electricity they generate over their lifetime is not the way forwards. Until we perfect the technology needed to create a sustained and controlled nuclear fusion reaction, nuclear fission is our best option.




RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 4/28/2008 10:04:33 PM , Rating: 5
> "but can also provide reliable power 24/7 from an abundant fuel source which will last for decades even if all the electricity generated worldwide was produced that way"

Decades? We don't need to consider "more expensive" means of extracting uranium to get a fuel source that would last tens of thousands of years. Most of the large uranium deposits in the world haven't even been found yet-- when reserves are in the 200+ year range, no one bothers to prospect. Furthermore, thorium can be used almost as easily as uranium...and thorium is several times more abundant an element.

Finally, breeder reactors are dozens of times more efficient at fuel use than conventional ones.


RE: Still expensive
By ThisSpaceForRent on 4/28/2008 10:42:58 PM , Rating: 2
CANDU reactors are pretty sexy too. Basically any fissile material can be used as a fuel, with minimal processing. Of course you need a ton of heavy water, and that kind of evens out the cost as compared to a LWR.


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/28/08, Rating: -1
RE: Still expensive
By Ringold on 4/29/2008 12:10:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And we still have to wait 5+ years before new ones generate any electricity...


Ever bother to look in to why? Hint: The delays often have nothing to do with actual construction time.


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/29/08, Rating: 0
RE: Still expensive
By Ringold on 4/29/2008 12:31:03 AM , Rating: 5
Ah. I see. Environmental loons shouldn't be stopped from slowing progress on nuclear plants, they should be appeased by less rational investment choices. :P

Accepting irrational investment choices landed us with ethanol, this nasty parasite that no doubt well take a decade or more to dislodge, if not longer.


RE: Still expensive
By SectionEight on 4/29/2008 10:39:55 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention the low amount of power per installation of wind versus other methods. The largest wind farm in Illinois will produce 400 MW when it is completed; the smallest nuclear plant (single reactor) produces more than 800 MW. And all but one of the nuclear plants in Illinois are double reactor designs, some producing in excess of 1,000 MW each.


RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 4/29/2008 10:54:50 AM , Rating: 4
> "The largest wind farm in Illinois will produce 400 MW when it is completed"

Even that figure is a numbers game. Wind farms generally have about a 30% availability factor, meaning they generate less than 1/3 of that amount on a continual basis.

Nuclear (and coal) plants have AFs in the 80-90% range, meaning a 2000MW installation will generate 15 times what a 400MW windfarm will.

Furthermore, a nuclear site with multiple reactors can stagger offline time, meaning it is always generating *some* power. But when the wind stops blowing, all the windmills stop at once.


RE: Still expensive
By jlips6 on 4/29/2008 4:11:00 PM , Rating: 2
wind isn't that bad. The penninsula in Canada I go to for vacations too uses giant windmills to export electricity. Even the farmers up there get in on it by renting space for construction. Those things have a payback time of 5 years, and on even on days which have seemingly no wind (of which there are few up there) the windmills still turn, albiet slowly. As far as cost analysis goes, windmills are an excellent investment.


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/29/08, Rating: 0
RE: Still expensive
By Ringold on 4/29/2008 4:00:19 PM , Rating: 2
I seriously doubt "most environmentalists were opposed to bio fuels" several years ago when this really got moving, and doubt your ability to convicingly prove it, but Hillary and Obama both support it now, despite the clear harm its now causing.


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/29/08, Rating: -1
RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 4/29/2008 9:33:46 PM , Rating: 4
> "Most environmentalists were opposed to bio fuels. "

Stuff and nonsense. Environmental groups were THE driving impetus between biofuels in the 1990s and early part of this decade. When it became obvious just what a farce biofuels truly where, they (to their credit, I admit) quickly changed face:

2005 Quote: "The Sierra Club applauds these [biofuel] efforts and we encourage our members to support biodiesel use in their local community "

http://sanfranciscobay.sierraclub.org/yodeler/html...

2003 Quote: "Greenpeace supports the use of bio-fuels to curb greenhouse gas emissions"

2006 Quote: "Coordinated action to expand biofuel markets and advance new technologies could relieve pressure on oil prices while strengthening agricultural economies and reducing climate-altering emissions," says Worldwatch Institute President Christopher Flavin"

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/4079

2005: "Green Party to Exempt Biofuels from Taxation"

http://www.mail-archive.com/sustainablelorgbiofuel...


RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 4/29/2008 9:58:23 PM , Rating: 4
A few of the major acts which pushed ethanol and biofuels:

quote:
The Energy Policy Act of 1992 set a national goal of 30 percent penetration of alternative fuels in light-duty vehicles by 2010. It also requires the federal government, alternative fuel providers, state and local governments and private fleets to purchase vehicles that run on alternative fuels. In 1998 , the Transportation Efficiency Act of the 21st Century extended the ethanol tax incentive through 2007...
Both these acts were signed by Clinton, and both received rave reviews from environmentalist organizations.


RE: Still expensive
By phusg on 5/6/2008 6:23:55 AM , Rating: 2
A wise blogger on dailytech once said,
quote:
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds."

Why are bio-fuels so bad? Because they have driven up food prices in the short term? Yes that is bad, but it is only happening because we are not compensating the rising demand from bio-fuels by reducing our demand for food-stuffs elsewhere.

Note this does not mean anyone going hungry or not eating nutritiously, but quite simply means eating less meat , which is the most inefficient way of using land to turn food into food.

If everybody on the planet were to eat less meat, food prices would fall, no-one would go hungry and there would be land/food left over for converting into fuel!


RE: Still expensive
By jlips6 on 5/6/2008 9:42:45 PM , Rating: 2
there would also be no bacon. I think this is the main flaw of your plan you want to work on


RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 4/29/2008 12:36:46 AM , Rating: 2
> "Yep, and that makes renewable energy a less risky investment"

The "risk" in solar and wind plants is the enormous cost of the power itself. Power companies that invest too heavily wind up being forced to charge prices that bring customers to their doors with torches and pitchforks in hand.


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/29/08, Rating: -1
RE: Still expensive
By Ringold on 4/29/2008 1:20:38 AM , Rating: 4
Notice the word "subsidy" didn't appear once in either article. Not exactly "fair and balanced."

Cramer did a segment recently where he pushed wind stocks, and a caller asked about subsidies and what would happen if they were yanked. He agreed it'd be devastating (at least from a stock investment perspective), but had faith no such thing would happen.

So they pay for themselves, with heavy subsidies, in 3 years? Call me when they can do it without charging the rest of the nation higher taxes.


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/29/2008 1:49:12 AM , Rating: 1
...about $0.03/kWh.

Maybe from an investors point of view it would devastate wind. From a businessman's point of view, it would just take 5 years to pay for itself instead of 3. After that, pure profits...


RE: Still expensive
By BansheeX on 4/29/2008 9:47:07 AM , Rating: 3
Good catch. I hate, hate, hate subsidies. Morally repugnant, often used on bad decisions (ethanol), they distort the market, they destroy competition. Fuh! If something is worth making, the market will provide it and it will succeed. It's that simple. The government taking money from potential buyers and investors and redistributing it to god knows what just slows everything down.


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/29/08, Rating: -1
RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 4/29/2008 2:25:46 PM , Rating: 4
> "Without this subsidization, it's possible dailytech.com wouldn't exist"

50 cents to the first person to name the logical fallacy inherent in this statement.

> "Many historians argue that letting the free market solve all the problems caused the great depression"

Many more argue that government interference in the free market, vis a vis the federal reserve and its artificial manipulation of interest rates, along with protectionist legislation such as Smoot-Harley, are the true cause of the Great Depression.


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/29/08, Rating: -1
RE: Still expensive
By Ringold on 4/29/2008 3:57:02 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Control didn't start happening till the FDRs term, when things started to improve...


The recession ended before FDR implemented all his fascist bull, it ended in March of 1933, the month he took office. All the great programs liberals attribute to bringing a close to the Great Depression were either not yet even on paper or passed at the very end of the quarter in March, therefore not having time to impact the outcome at all. Economists attribute lingering unemployment and weakness to his programs that, at that point, served only to divert labor from productive business to things like digging ditches in the middle of forests. It took until 1940 for absolute employment to return to pre-recession levels. The Great Depression was also not noteworthy until it accelerated AFTER market interventions, including Smoot Hawley, raising the top income tax bracket to 63%, etc.

quote:
(I'll give you a hint, even the economists with PHds are still arguing the exact cause...)


What of the Depression of 1907 and 1920? Ever hear of them? The free market wasn't intereferred with at all, and both were over within a year, that is probably why you likely havent. What most PhD (little h, big D) economists do agree on is that FDR likely prolonged the misery and market interventions and central bank incompetence made it significantly worse than it otherwise would've been. The exact cause of the initial downturn doesn't matter. Many would also agree that the Keynsian idea of responding fiscally to every movement in GDP hasn't served us all that well and that the best response to economic problems is none at all.

Don't construe economists arguing over minor details as being a large disagreement with the above consensus.


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/29/08, Rating: -1
RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 4/29/2008 9:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
> "I'm too lazy to read the rest of your BS"

You know, I think that's your most effective rebuttal yet!


RE: Still expensive
By Ringold on 4/29/2008 2:51:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Many more argue that government interference in the free market, vis a vis the federal reserve and its artificial manipulation of interest rates, along with protectionist legislation such as Smoot-Harley, are the true cause of the Great Depression.


For what its worth, MadMaster, Masher is correct, and I'm aware of no reputable school of economic thought, neither here in America or even out of socialist Europe, that believes otherwise. Your propaganda is therefore out of date. The data suggesting that the free market had started to turn an otherwise typical recession around before legislation and intervention caused the recovery to reverse and become the greatest depression in modern history is overwhelming.

Just to dangle a little red meat, modern liberal economic policy combined with a Federal Reserve that thought it was a commercial bank* caused the Great Depression.

*: Alternative interpretation -- fiat currency.


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/29/2008 2:55:49 PM , Rating: 1
Pop quiz, what caused the great depression??

(I'll give you a hint, even the economists with PHds are still arguing the exact cause...)


RE: Still expensive
By BansheeX on 4/30/2008 9:44:52 AM , Rating: 2
A Friedman for your thoughts.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=O7pnjzCuSv8


RE: Still expensive
By Amiga500 on 4/29/2008 4:59:26 AM , Rating: 2
Don't go citing pish like that as evidence of a renewable power source working without understanding the problems.

When there is no wind where is the replacement electricity generated?

It is generally accepted within the electrical engineering fraternity that variable sources (such as wind or solar) can only account for around 20% of a grid's total power generation. After that the redundancy required within the system becomes cost prohibitive.


RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 4/29/2008 11:04:15 AM , Rating: 3
> "Businessmen find wind profitable..."

In addition to the subisidies issue raised by Ringold, there's a much larger problem. Both your links are planned installations, not actual profitable operations.

People have been planning on making a profit from wind energy for a very long time. When such farms are actually built, they find them seriously underperforming due to pie-in-the-sky estimates about wind availability, maintenance costs, etc.


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/29/2008 2:46:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
People have been planning on making a profit from wind energy for a very long time. When such farms are actually built, they find them seriously underperforming due to pie-in-the-sky estimates about wind availability, maintenance costs, etc.


You are soooooo far out of the loop it's not even funny... we added 5 GWh of capacity last year. How much capacity of nuclear was added last year???

http://www.eere.energy.gov/windandhydro/windpoweri...

Also, about 26 billion kWh were sold in 2006, amounting to about 2.6 billion dollars in revenue (without subsidies)...


RE: Still expensive
By djc208 on 4/29/2008 3:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
Of course if you look around for a little bit there's this from http://www.nrel.gov/wind/

quote:
Much of the wind industry's success can be attributed to the research conducted at NREL's National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Wind Energy Technologies Program, research conducted at the NWTC has led to the development of multi-megawatt wind turbines that produce electricity at a cost that is starting to compete with conventional energy sources in the marketplace.


So even the government admits this is only just starting to be economically practical, and then because the Government has spent large amounts of your tax dollars to fund the research, development, and installation of these systems.


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/29/08, Rating: 0
RE: Still expensive
By jlips6 on 4/29/2008 9:26:54 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pessimistic about fusion. I know it sounds great and all... but that's all I'm getting. Sound. No benchmarks, no updates on progress, just potential, potential, potential.


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/29/2008 10:35:11 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, and our government has spent Billions on fusion. Wind is generating electricity NOW.


RE: Still expensive
By BansheeX on 4/30/2008 9:37:15 AM , Rating: 3
[Q]A lot better than spending my money on a crappy war![/Q]

While that's all well and true, you're justifying a bad government policy by comparing it to a terrible one. The socialist idealist goal of what you're suggesting can't be met (the expectation that politicians will choose the CORRECT technology rather than waste everything on a bad one like ethanol, or spend the money as efficiently as a for-profit business who MUST produce results or they go bankrupt). Suppose that money were left in the hands of the people from whom it was appropriated. More investment and buying power of things like this in the free market:

http://www.aptera.com/

Did the government make this? Did Henry Ford revolutionize the auto industry under political orders or the incentive of making a profit?

No more subsidies, no more special privileges, no more tax breaks, no more no-bid contracts. All it leads to is lobbying to corrupt politicians trying to secure their election in return for special privilege legislation. That disrupts the free market and makes us all less able to afford the proper technology.


RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 4/30/2008 10:25:50 AM , Rating: 1
> "Do you have a problem with our government researching fusion? "

I have no problem with our government researching wind, solar, and other alternative energies also. The problem comes when it offers massive subsidies to try to force a technology into use before its economically viable.

And, by the way, when you count those subsidies, the federal goverment has spent considerably more on alternative energy than it has fusion.


RE: Still expensive
By arazok on 4/30/2008 10:06:41 AM , Rating: 2
I've been reading your threads throughout this article.

Do you know that your brain isn't working right?


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/30/2008 5:29:23 PM , Rating: 2
Duh! What planet are you from?

Now, where do you live? I want to eat your children! :D:D


RE: Still expensive
By andrinoaa on 4/28/08, Rating: -1
RE: Still expensive
By Ringold on 4/29/2008 12:13:29 AM , Rating: 2
I can't tell if you were being sarcastic or serious. :P

Posts with points 90% nonsense (you are right, it's not loved, and the "hip" thing is indeed solar) can go both ways.


RE: Still expensive
By andrinoaa on 4/29/2008 8:26:55 AM , Rating: 2
a bit of both really, it helps to drive home some basic points. Besides, its good to put a rocket up some people!
Can't you feel the warm inner glow? lol


RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 4/29/2008 12:44:36 AM , Rating: 2
> "LET GO. Its time for solar in all its forms to be the "in" subject."

And then, the sun went down, and all the lights went out.

Sorry, but solar power just isn't a viable solution. Even for daytime generation, in the most favorable locations on earth, solar power is *still* several times more expensive than coal or nuclear. At night, or in high-latitude areas or ones with large amounts of rain and clouds, solar power is comically unsuited. It just doesn't work.

Make solar cells twice as efficient at half the cost, build a superconducting power grid across the entire US, and come up with a quantum leap in energy storage technology...and then solar might -- just might -- be able to replace other forms of power generation. But until then, its a fringe source, in use only because legions of environmentalist activists have forced the government to heavily subsidize its exhorbitant costs.


RE: Still expensive
By andrinoaa on 4/29/08, Rating: 0
RE: Still expensive
By Amiga500 on 4/29/2008 7:51:01 AM , Rating: 2
No one has done anything to prove to me that nuclear energy "pays its way". Therefore I conclude it is no good.
Show me the figures!
eg what is the TOTAL cost of storage for 10,000 yrs?


How can you provide definitive proof of the future? :-|

Anyway, accelerated particle reactors will transmutate the waste long before 10,000 years are up (probably more like by 2025).

As for nuclear power working... France has the cheapest electricity prices in Europe, the generate around 80% of their power from nuclear fission. Go figure.


RE: Still expensive
By andrinoaa on 4/29/08, Rating: -1
RE: Still expensive
By Amiga500 on 4/29/2008 9:05:22 AM , Rating: 2

"How can you provide definitive proof of the future? "

LOL LOL LOL
THATS MY POINT!!!!!!!!! Why go with something you may burden future generations with, something you don't have total control over, don't have positive solutions for? dooh?
Can I have your crystal ball. lol


OK. You wanna start that prospective pish. How many people will die from coal/oil/gas or hydro etc related accidents in the future?

We cannot categorically state global warming is not influenced by carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide etc. How great a death toll could that be?

We can gather some historical data and extrapolate that into the future:

The London Smog of 1952 killed between 4000 and 8000 people due to coal burning. How many more die in cities annual due to smog related causes?

Over 800 people have died in accidents relating to offshore drilling. I wonder how many more have died in oil wars (Iraq is over 1 million and counting last time I checked), or in oil refineries...

The Banqiao Dam failure in China resulted in over 170,000 deaths.

How many people around the world have died from gas leaks or gas explosions? For instance over 20 died in Belgium in 2004.

Now.... you go tally up your nuclear deaths and extrapolate those.


RE: Still expensive
By andrinoaa on 4/29/2008 9:30:37 AM , Rating: 1
do you know the future too? Why do you think its a good idea to repeat past mistakes? Do you have shares in the nuclear cycle? What is it about nuclear that gives you a warm inner glow? great phrase, very funny..
No one has answered my basic questions yet. We are to trust in god and "probable future" science are we? Great, the ion engine that gets me to another galaxy quickly, is only a few years away - get real.
As for extrapolation, you only need one more accident to blow your arguement away. Don't say it can't happen, because thats total bull. Haven't you learned yet, if it can happen it will! (basic experimenter's handbook, lol )
Besides your arguement is rather silly. These things we are trying to get rid of, cause so many deaths , yet nuclear, because it has caused fewer deaths is some how less deadly. Go on, give it another shot.


RE: Still expensive
By Spuke on 4/29/2008 10:31:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
No one has answered my basic questions yet.
Yes they have answered it you are just not liking the answer. My question is, do YOU know the future? You are quick to piss on their statements with this argument, yet the same argument can be used against you.

Frankly, arguing about these things is pointless because at the end of the day, we all leave believing the same thing we did before.


RE: Still expensive
By andrinoaa on 4/30/08, Rating: 0
RE: Still expensive
By Amiga500 on 4/29/2008 10:39:41 AM , Rating: 1
These things we are trying to get rid of, cause so many deaths , yet nuclear, because it has caused fewer deaths is some how less deadly.

Exactly. You cannot argue with the facts. Nuclear is less dangerous than all viable alternatives.

No matter how much you, or your tree hugging buddies might like to argue that - all empirical evidence points to one conclusion.

No one has answered my basic questions yet.

With regards waste?

I have already pointed out accelerated particle reactors will be transmutating waste in the medium term future (I even gave an estimated date of 2025). Seemingly you've ignored this - quite similar to other green activists I've seen in the past. Give them a factual answer and they adopt the classic ostrich technique.

Transmutation has already been demonstrated in research AP reactors, and is currently being scaled to industrial level designs.


RE: Still expensive
By andrinoaa on 4/30/2008 4:39:39 AM , Rating: 2
estimated date? what kind of fool keeps believing bulltish for 50 odd years, without questioning too? I have heard it all before. lol


RE: Still expensive
By andrinoaa on 4/30/2008 5:24:39 AM , Rating: 1
"Nuclear is less dangerous than all viable alternatives."
many stupid assumptions go into this statement.
You may think nuclear and all its shit is acceptable, but get this, there are a hell of a lot more people willing to stick it were it hurts! I don't beleive that the problems have been solved to an acceptable standard YET. Don't bullshit that they have, because by you own words, its sometime in the future ie 2025 or ... sometime
Solar is NOW


RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 4/29/2008 10:43:27 AM , Rating: 5
> "Why go with something you may burden future generations with"

There is no "burden" to future generations, and there is no waste problem. It is a nonissue, pushed upon a public by anti-nuclear activists preying upon ignorance and fear.

What do we do with nuclear waste? The simplest solution is to refine out all the plutonium, vitrify it, then just drop in the deep ocean somewhere. There's already so many millions of tons of radioactive uranium, thorium, radium, and other radionuclides, that we could do this a thousand years and still not even measurably change the background radiation of the sea.

If you don't like that solution, then just bury it in the ground in a desert. Yes, you're right-- some might eventually begin to leak out, if a major earthquake happens to strike right underneath. So? You go in and clean it up then. It's not like we can't easily monitor it....and the chances of this happening are many millions to one.

The truth of the matter is Mother Nature has already left so much nuclear material on the planet that the amount generated from nuclear power pales by consideration. If you live in a Rocky Mountain or New England state, the first meter of topsoil in your own backyard has hundreds of pounds of radioactive materials in it. The very granite used to build Grand Central Station is more radioactive by far than the NRC-allowed limits for nuclear power stations...and a single shipment of bananas is radioactive enough to set off the US Customs nuclear hazard monitors, due to the radioactive potassium found naturally in the fruit itself. And let's not forget cosmic radiation...simply living in a high-altitude city live Denver will increase your radiation exposure by far more than working in a nuclear power plant.

Anti-nuclear nuts like to scare people with talk of long half-lives. But most waste products are dangerous forever -- they never decay. Lead, chlorine, mercury, etc...never break down. Radioactive waste is unique in that it breaks down....automatically and irrestistibly.

Furthermore, there's a simple relationship between half-life and radioactivity...the truly dangerous radionuclides have half-lives measured in days of less. After six months in a cooling pond, these have decayed totally. The long-lived products are easily dealt with, simply because they are so very small by comparison. Especially when compared to the much more massive amounts nature has left lying about.


RE: Still expensive
By monitorjbl on 4/29/2008 1:50:34 PM , Rating: 2
Not that I don't believe you or anything, but do you have sources for some of the things you said?


RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 4/30/2008 10:12:06 AM , Rating: 2
> "but do you have sources for some of the things you said? "

I should be able to prove any and all the above points to any reasonable person's satisfaction. Which particular ones were you questioning?


RE: Still expensive
By MadMaster on 4/29/2008 2:09:59 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
What do we do with nuclear waste? The simplest solution is to refine out all the plutonium, vitrify it, then just drop in the deep ocean somewhere. There's already so many millions of tons of radioactive uranium, thorium, radium, and other radionuclides, that we could do this a thousand years and still not even measurably change the background radiation of the sea.


Not only is that expensive, but you're going to have a hard time passing that by the public.

Nuclear is still pretty dang expensive ($2000-$8000/kWh http://www.theoildrum.com/files/capital_costs_nucl... ). Add the other issues of dealing with waste, monitoring waste sites, etc. etc, it turns out it could be more expensive than PV!


RE: Still expensive
By Ringold on 4/29/2008 4:04:41 PM , Rating: 2
Theoildrum.com, yeah, a credible unbiased professional source. </sarcasm>

Try again?


RE: Still expensive
By teckytech9 on 4/30/2008 1:09:43 AM , Rating: 2
Its nice to hear the views of those that are pro-nuclear power. You're exactly right, there is no inherent danger in radioactive waste, especially high level waste, when properly contained. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea does mention statues for dumping nuclear waste.

As for lead and mercury never breaking down, thats the job for some good old plants and trees (greener the better). I heard that its also not safe to swim in the public pools too. Using bleach can burn if ones not careful. Tap water has chlorine so letting it sit overnight before adding it to the aquarium won't hurt the little fishes.

By the way, I read that there does not exist a single container that can outlast the radioactive waste (high level waste) contained inside that specific container. If the container decays first (corrodes), then its safe to assume that the bad stuff will eventually leak.


RE: Still expensive
By andrinoaa on 4/30/2008 4:36:34 AM , Rating: 2
Looks like I succeeded in rattling some one's cage! My basic premise still hasn't been answered. SHOW ME THE FIGURES. Some time soon is just pure fantasy because I have been hearing it all my adult life! Ah , yeh, scientists have done this and that but nothing ever materialises. What I do know is that if the public is not with you, you might as well take your bat home. THATS WHERE WE ARE AT!
The arguement is one you cannot win. Its not 1950 any more, we are not all dumb arses who just accept and shut up. These issues are a real concern. If you cannot put up, you will never get nuclear any further. Don't shreik this and that is comming because, quite frankly, I don't beleive it till I see it. Solar is "in", get on the band wagon or get left with your warm inner glow. People are investing NOW in solar, not sometime in the future, thats the point, or do you still not get it , masher2?


RE: Still expensive
By andrinoaa on 4/30/2008 4:57:51 AM , Rating: 1
Did I read right, there is no waste problem? What planet are you from?

its like we all live near nuclear material and no one ever dies from radiation poisoning. I can confidently stand in the sun for hours but can you safely stand next to radio active material? dumb vitiol indeed!
We see and hear what the nuclear industry is doing, but on our understanding of the facts, we don't like it and say so, so by your definition we are nuts? Maybe you WANT to beleive everything in the nuclear cycle is hunky dory. Ever thought that YOU are wrong! There are serious issue which have not been addressed properly.
Million to one chance? The lottery here is 4million to one and every week some one wins.


RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 4/30/2008 10:36:59 AM , Rating: 3
> "there is no waste problem? What planet are you from?"

Earth, the planet where -- even though environmentalists have prevented the use of a true, properly-constructed permanent disposal site-- waste from a commercial power site has never harmed anyone.

We've generated half a century of nuclear waste in the western hemisphere, from hundreds of nuclear reactors...and even though a proper solution has been denied to us, with waste simply piling up in temporary storage facilities -- we're still fine. What does that tell you?

Meanwhile, environmentalist wackos are keeping coal plants in existence, the waste product of which kills and sickens tens of thousands of people each year.

Truth truly is stranger than fiction.


RE: Still expensive
By andrinoaa on 5/1/2008 12:40:35 AM , Rating: 1
You trully are a sad case masher2, "environmentalists have prevented the use of a true, properly-constructed permanent disposal site".
And why do you think it happened that way? MAYBE the person in charge was scared that the waste issue was TOO F'N BIG TO HANDLE! NOT, NOT POPULAR!! NOBODY wants it their back yard. I don't blame him, who wants to get tared and feathered ?

"environmentalist wackos are keeping coal plants in existence" , now , you can't PUT UP, so you attack the messenger? Doesn't that say something about your arguement?
How did you come to this "wacko" conclusion?


RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 5/1/2008 10:13:27 AM , Rating: 3
> "You trully are a sad case masher2, ""environmentalists have prevented the use of a true, properly-constructed permanent disposal site".

I'm sorry, but there's no disputing the facts on this one. The history of the Yucca Mountain repository (as well as many previously planned smaller facilities) is an ongoing saga of legal challenges and protests, organized by opposed environmental groups.

Thus, we keep the nuclear waste from existing plants in temporarily facilities which were never intended for such, and continue to fuel half the nation's electricity with dangerous, polluting coal.


RE: Still expensive
By slunkius on 4/29/2008 1:05:32 AM , Rating: 2
sooo, could you please disclose a source proving that uranium reserves are "in the 200+ year range" (and that would mean proven reserves)


RE: Still expensive
By BlackIceHorizon on 4/29/2008 3:45:31 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, at 2004 prices proven reserves aren't "in the 200+ year range"; they're at 4.7 million tonnes, or 85 years at present demand according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):

http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/News/2006/uranium_r...

If you know anything about commodity economics though, this is quite a bit higher than the proven reserves of a large number of more essential nonrenewable natural resources. When proven reserves are so high there's little incentive to prospect.

Still, if we seriously increase nuclear power use these resources will not be enough. Fortunately, the IAEA says there is strong geological evidence for more than 35 million tonnes of economically exploitable Uranium at present prices. With these resources, even a 5x increase in nuclear power use—enough to provide 100% of the world’s current electricity demand-would leave us with 120 years of Uranium fuel.

And as previous posters mentioned, even small increases in price greatly increase economically viable reserves, Thorium is ~3x more abundant than Uranium, fast breeder reactors could use the fuel 100x more efficiently, etc. There are a number of highly productive undeveloped solutions that still lie between us and fuel shortages. Fuel supply really isn't an issue for nuclear power.


RE: Still expensive
By Amiga500 on 4/29/2008 5:07:07 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, at 2004 prices proven reserves aren't "in the 200+ year range"; they're at 4.7 million tonnes, or 85 years at present demand according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Now, now.

Be more careful reading in future.

That is the amount that can be mined for less than $130/kg.

As you may (or may not know), nuclear power is very insensitive to fuel costs, with them composing a small fraction of overall direct operating costs. The financially viable uranium reserves are indeed in the 200+ year range.


RE: Still expensive
By djc208 on 4/29/2008 12:14:38 PM , Rating: 2
The unused fuel in a "spent" fuel rod can also be re-collected and recycled if required. It's not cost effective or convenient to do so now but if demand was great enough to change that, you can wring much more power out of a fuel rod than we currently do.


RE: Still expensive
By alanlim on 4/30/2008 11:05:43 AM , Rating: 2
Nuclear is "green" in a certain way but the mass waste produced are harmful.
Where are we suppose to store the waste without polluting the are with radioactive. Even the so call depleted uranium after 50 years of storage can cause cancer.
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/95178_du12....
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs257/en...

As world population growth at exponential rate in our era, do you think we have enough land to store this waste?


RE: Still expensive
By masher2 (blog) on 4/30/2008 11:54:58 AM , Rating: 2
> "Even the so call depleted uranium after 50 years of storage can cause cancer."

Depleted uranium is less radioactive than the natural uranium we dig out of the ground itself. It is, in fact, far less dangerous than natural lead...a substance that for decades, we painted on our walls and even breathed on a continual basis as we burned it in the fuel in our cars.

> "do you think we have enough land to store this waste? "

Urban dwellers who live their entire lives within 50 meters of a road tend to get a slanted view of reality. The fact is that, even today, nearly the entire planet is still unoccupied.

We can fit every person alive today in the state of Texas, and still each family would have enough room to have a luxurious two-story 7,500 sf home.

Oh, and lets not forget the incredibly small volume that high-level nuclear waste consumes. By volume, a reactor generates less waste in it's entire 50-year lifetime than does a a coal plant does in a single week.


By someguy743 on 4/29/2008 10:21:34 AM , Rating: 1
Solar photovoltaic still has to get more efficient and cheaper before it will become a common product on everyone's roof. It'll get there, it just needs more time for research and development and more time for "efficiencies of scale" to kick in to make it cheaper.

I bet a LOT of people who buy the new "series hybrids" like the Chevy Volt in 2010 will want to get some solar panels so they can be 100% off the grid. Unfortunately, like cavemen, we Americans still get 50% of our electricity by burning stuff ... coal and natural gas. Some Chevy Volt drivers may only have to buy gas 4-5 times per YEAR. The Chevy Volt is going to be revolutionary ... a real screw OPEC and Big Oil kind of car! I can't wait to get me one. :)

In the meantime, people don't realize that "solar thermal" is 40% efficient RIGHT NOW at converting sunlight into energy. There are technologies available RIGHT NOW for storing the solar thermal heat in tanks so it can provide power 18 hours a day (maybe more). As energy storage gets better, solar power will get better.

They are also going to start mass producing solar thermal plants exactly like they do cars on assembly lines. The power plants will pretty much look exactly alike. Out in the high sunshine areas like the deserts, the builders can put them together efficiently and inexpensively like assembly line workers. This is MUCH quicker and cheaper than building nuclear plants. For long distance transmission, they have low loss, High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) power lines available RIGHT NOW. In the future, the transmission losses will be radically lower as they roll out high temperature superconductor power lines ... which are just now coming out.

Gotta compete on PRICE in the electricity business. Cheaper usually wins unfortunately. Solar plants will get cheaper while coal plants get more expensive. Wait and see. Just like with oil, the price of coal is going up because of increasing demand from China and India. Then, there's the inevitable cap and trade legislation or carbon taxes or whatever. That's inevitable. Coal plants are going to fade away like the steam engines on trains.

Put the new solar thermal power plants in desert areas like the Mojave desert or the Sahara and you have VERY viable, economical power available that will NEVER run out ... er, not for a few BILLION years at least. :)

http://www.desertec.org/concept.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_thermal_energy

http://www.news.com/8301-11128_3-9907089-54.html




By masher2 (blog) on 4/29/2008 10:49:50 AM , Rating: 3
> "a LOT of people...will want to get some solar panels so they can be 100% off the grid"

Until they sun goes down, that is. Power storage isn't an option yet-- current options are some combination of inefficient, dangerous, dirty, and exhorbitantly expensive...sometimes all of the above.

> "Put the new solar thermal power plants in desert areas like the Mojave"

And how do you propose to get the power from the desert to the rest of the world? Electricity today is generated within a few hundred miles of where its consumed, simply because we can't transport it lengthy distances without losing most of it.


By MadMaster on 4/29/2008 3:01:54 PM , Rating: 2
The Mojave is very close to a few major markets... (within a few hundred miles)

- Tuscon
- Phonix
- Los Angelous (Freakin all of Cali for that matter which has 60 GWh peak demand)
- Utah

All together these places use something like 100 GW - 150 GW peak demand... (and growing)


By Spuke on 4/29/2008 3:10:38 PM , Rating: 2
How many square miles of desert will it take to supply 100-150 GWh of demand? Some of you may not realize this, but the open desert is a huge recreation area for southwest residents not to mention there are building restrictions for most of the desert anyways. We would like to keep the visual pollution to a minimum.


By MadMaster on 4/29/2008 6:45:32 PM , Rating: 2
140 GW (20% efficiency and 1/3 of the land spaced used to generate electricity) capacity will take up 1500 km².

By comparision... NY city is 8800 km² and LA is 4400 km²...

You can't convince me that this solar power plant in the middle of nowhere will have a smaller environmental impact than LA...

quote:
Some of you may not realize this, but the open desert is a huge recreation area


I don't think you've been the the southwest. There are large swaths of NOTHING land, nobody uses...
the Mojave alone is 57,000 km².

One resource we have in abundance in the USA is deserted useless land...


By masher2 (blog) on 4/29/2008 9:52:31 PM , Rating: 2
> "140 GW (20% efficiency and 1/3 of the land spaced used to generate electricity) capacity will take up 1500 km²."

But a solar plant that generates 140 GW at noon produces zero at midnight. To generate that much around the clock requires one twice the size -- assuming no clouds, rain, and 100% efficient energy storage and retrieval. Not possible.

A more realistic assessment of 50% efficient power storage (still better than current schemes such as molten salt are deriving) means a plant TRIPLE that size. Now we're up to 4,500 km² ... and that's just to produce 1/10 of the total power the US requires.

Oh, and we're still generating power in the middle of the desert. That's fine for supplying LA, but how do you get that power to northern cities like NYC and Boston? We don't have anywhere near the grid capacity for that, and even if we did, we'd lose half the power in line losses. Oops...now we have to double the size again. 9,000 km².

If we want solar to be our sole power supply, replacing fossil fuels and nuclear together, we need to multiply by a factor of 10 again -- 90,000 km².

That's an area equal to Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont... combined .

Ouch!


By andrinoaa on 4/30/2008 6:07:25 AM , Rating: 1
You pose an intersting arguement for solar. It is very good for 12hrs , no? We can therefore solv about 2/3ds of the energy problems. What time of day is most power consumed?
Cutting 60% of emissions is good no? We can then fit other sources around it .
Solar is more than PE cells. Its thermal, wave , tide, wind.
If every house had 10kw capability, another big chunk can be delivered when everyone is at work. You guys just don't get it.


By masher2 (blog) on 4/30/2008 10:42:34 AM , Rating: 2
> "You pose an intersting arguement for solar. It is very good for 12hrs , no?"

No. Solar is good for about six hours-- if it's not raining, cloudy, and you're in a low latitude location. For another six hours, its generating some power, but not as much. For the remaining 12 hours-- it generates nothing.

> "Solar is more than PE cells. Its thermal, wave , tide, wind"

In places with a large tide differential, tide generation is a great source. Too bad environmentalists have been so dead-set against construction of those sites.

Geothermal is actually an excellent source...in places where nature has conveniently provided us a large thermal differential (such as Iceland). Unfortunately, those are few and far between.


By MadMaster on 4/30/2008 4:00:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No. Solar is good for about six hours-- if it's not raining, cloudy, and you're in a low latitude location. For another six hours, its generating some power, but not as much. For the remaining 12 hours-- it generates nothing.


Not all solar systems.

http://anz.theoildrum.com/node/3882
http://www.news.com/8301-11128_3-9838555-54.html

In fact, it's already implemented commercially
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nevada_Solar_One


By masher2 (blog) on 4/30/2008 4:09:07 PM , Rating: 2
> "In fact, it's already implemented commercially"

Oops -- you've again been victimized by reading a poorly-constructed Wikipedia article. Nevada Solar One does *not* implement energy storage, which the article does in fact state, though in an incredibly obtuse manner.

As I have pointed out many times before, solar energy storage is far from feasible today. It wastes at least 50% of the total energy created, and raises the price per kWh by a factor of ten or more.


By MadMaster on 4/30/2008 5:40:54 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.nevadasolarone.net/the-plant/how-it+-wo...

It even uses supplemental gas if needed at night. Also, my statement wasn't wrong. Heat is stored in the oil.

quote:
As I have pointed out many times before, solar energy storage is far from feasible today. It wastes at least 50% of the total energy created, and raises the price per kWh by a factor of ten or more.


Energy isn't created, it is converted. Also, nuclear, coal, and natural gas are only 50% efficient (or less) when converting energy from nuclear/chemical to electrical.

10X? where's your numbers? Everything I've seen has said $0.20/kWh or less.


By masher2 (blog) on 4/30/2008 9:14:22 PM , Rating: 2
> "Also, my statement wasn't wrong. Heat is stored in the oil"

Your statement *was* wrong. The mineral oil is used as a heat transfer fluid only; not a heat storage mechanism. After a pass or two through the system, the oil cools....it cannot provide power once the sun goes down.

> "Also, nuclear, coal, and natural gas are only 50% efficient (or less) when converting energy from nuclear/chemical to electrical"

Of course. But assuming a 20% efficient PV cell and a need for energy storage with 50% efficiency, solar becomes only 10% efficient by comparison.


By MadMaster on 4/30/2008 3:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Oh, and we're still generating power in the middle of the desert. That's fine for supplying LA, but how do you get that power to northern cities like NYC and Boston? We don't have anywhere near the grid capacity for that, and even if we did, we'd lose half the power in line losses. Oops...now we have to double the size again. 9,000 km².


Who said anything about piping energy to the NW?

That's your idea man, and it's crackpot!


By masher2 (blog) on 4/30/2008 4:11:36 PM , Rating: 2
> "Who said anything about piping energy to the NW?"

You did, when you postulated supplying the entire US with solar power generated in desert areas. Overcast weather and the higher latitudes make solar power even more infeasible in areas like Boston and Seattle....not to mention that sawing down half the trees in Oregon to make way for millions of acres of solar farms is sure to make quite a few people unhappy.


By MadMaster on 4/30/2008 5:49:08 PM , Rating: 2
MadMaster: I like spaghetti.

Masher2: You shouldn't eat pizza, it's unhealthy!

MadMaster: *looks puzzled at Masher2* I never said I like pizza.

Masher2: You did, when you postulated that you like Italian food. Since you like Italian food, you like pizza. Pizza makes people big, which is unhealthy. You shouldn't eat pizza!

MadMaster: *Walks off*


By someguy743 on 5/1/2008 9:37:01 AM , Rating: 2
You should read more about solar thermal. Solar thermal is going to grow a LOT in the next 10 years.

This company, Ausra, says "over 90 percent of the U.S. electric grid and auto fleet's energy needs could be met by solar thermal power."

http://www.ausra.com/news/releases/080306.html

It does not take a lot of land to do solar thermal. Ausra says it could be done on a 92x92 mile solar thermal park. They might could put a bunch of them in desert areas where NOBODY would want to even visit very often. There's plenty of places like that in the Southwest.

http://www.ausra.com/technology/reports.html

They can use High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) power lines to transport the power over long distances with very low losses. In the future, high temperature superconducting powerlines might be cheaper and used a lot more. They already are using them in New York on Long Island you know. They are buried underground. They aren't huge steel tower powerlines.


By masher2 (blog) on 5/1/2008 10:29:57 AM , Rating: 3
> "It does not take a lot of land to do solar thermal...Ausra says it could be done on a 92x92 mile solar thermal park."

That's 10,000 square miles, an area larger than nine of the US states. I call that a "lot of land".

Furthermore, that's a wildly optimistic company press release. The actual amount of land required to fill "over 90%" of US needs would actually be more than double that.

> "In the future, high temperature superconducting powerlines might be cheaper and used a lot more. They already are using them in New York on Long Island you know"

Unfortunately, that system is half a mile long, and cost nearly $30M...wholly infeasible for current usage.

As I said, in a few decades, a superconducting power grid spanning the nation might be feasible. But it's not a solution today.


By MadMaster on 5/1/2008 1:23:56 PM , Rating: 3
To quote masher2 above...

quote:
That's 10,000 square miles, an area larger than nine of the US states. I call that a "lot of land".


And yet you change your mind...
quote:
Urban dwellers who live their entire lives within 50 meters of a road tend to get a slanted view of reality. The fact is that, even today, nearly the entire planet is still unoccupied.


You're arguing for me! This is too easy...


By masher2 (blog) on 5/1/2008 1:46:45 PM , Rating: 2
> "And yet you change your mind..."

Change my mind? No. There is certainly far more than 10,000 square miles unoccupied in the world. Does that mean we should paper it all over with solar cells?

Let's look at this another way. 10,000 square miles isn't that much smaller than the size of ANWR...and the Southwestern Desert has at least as much plant and animal life as the far Arctic north.

Drilling for oil in ANWR would be only minor disruption to a few hundred acres of the total. On the other hand, covering the desert with 10,000 square miles of solar cells would be far more disruptive to the local biosphere, result in far more death of local plant and animal life, far more road and infrastructure construction, and require a far larger human presence. Yet environmentalists are opposed to ANWR drilling, and support these mega solar-farms?

Truly, truth is stranger than fiction.


By andrinoaa on 4/30/2008 6:16:21 AM , Rating: 2
sorry madmaster where did you get "1/3 of the land spaced"
If I am telling others to give me the figures, I need these too! After all, we have to analyse any premise if we are to get to the truth.


By MadMaster on 4/30/2008 12:58:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'm assuming only 1/3 of the land is used to collect sun energy. I'm also using the solar constant of 1.4 kW/m2. If it is a tracking system, it will see 1.4 kW/m2 for about 10 hours in the summer per day. If it's just a horizontal tilt system, it will see about 80% of that in the summer...

Masher2 pointed out that it won't be generating all the time. That's why I used peak demand, peak demand for all of Cali for last summer was about 48GW (Peak was in the middle of the day because of AC units). Average demand will be about half of this (with night time going down to about a quarter of this... or less). Keep in mind that a lot of people are building heat storage systems (past experimental) so they can generate electricity at night.

The point is, to generate a lot of electricity from solar, you really don't need an insane amount of area. The area you would be using is desolate, hot, arid places. Also, to build 140GW (That's A LOT of power) of capacity will take something like 5% of the Mojave desert (or about half the area of LA). These places also average something like 300+ days of sunlight per year. Overcast days are Extremely rare ( about 1 day per year).


By masher2 (blog) on 4/30/2008 1:08:56 PM , Rating: 1
> "I'm also using the solar constant of 1.4 kW/m2."

That'd be close to correct if the planet had no atmosphere. Unfortunately (for environmentalists, at least), it does, and the SC as measured on the surface of the earth is considerably less. For locations at high latitudes or on cloudy days, it can be as little as 200 watts/m^2, even at noontime....and, of course, it's drops fast as one approaches morning or evening.

> "The area you would be using is desolate, hot, arid places"

As I pointed out earlier, that works for powering Phoenix and LA. But we have no practical means of piping power from the Mojave to the Northeast or the Northwest...the areas of the nation which use by far the most power.

Furthermore, if you attempt to generate 140GW in the middle of the desert, you're piping that much heat energy *out* of the area. If the solar cells are 20% efficient, that means a few million acres of desert are now receiving 20% less heat energy from sunlight. That would cool the area enough to cause increased condensation....and suddenly voila! You now have a large number of cloudy days in the middle of your desert.


By MadMaster on 4/30/2008 3:51:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As I pointed out earlier, that works for powering Phoenix and LA. But we have no practical means of piping power from the Mojave to the Northeast or the Northwest...the areas of the nation which use by far the most power.


So?

Coal doesn't work everywhere (transporting tons of coal is not a simple task). Natural gas doesn't work everywhere (transporting NG is not exactly simple either, and not always economical).

Just because solar doesn't work in the northwest, does it mean people in California can't benefit from it?

Lets look at it another way...

In Iceland they have plenty of Geothermal. Since Florida has little geothermal, does that mean Iceland can't build geothermal plants?

Michael, your logic makes little sense. California has a demand for renewable electricity, and there is plenty of land in the Mojave to build solar plants to meet this demand...

PS I used the 1.4kw/m2 for capacity measurement (actual tracking insolence gets very close to this number on clear days in the high deserts).

Also, keep in mind, if they use a thermal storage system, they will be able to exceed the capacity (20% efficiency * capacity) for short periods of time, which is needed for peak demand.

quote:
Furthermore, if you attempt to generate 140GW in the middle of the desert, you're piping that much heat energy *out* of the area. If the solar cells are 20% efficient, that means a few million acres of desert are now receiving 20% less heat energy from sunlight. That would cool the area enough to cause increased condensation....and suddenly voila! You now have a large number of cloudy days in the middle of your desert.


LMAO! Dude! COME ON! That's just plain funny man. This shows how detached you are from reality. But hey, it might cool it off a degree to counteract global warming. (instead of 119 degrees, it will be 118) :D


By masher2 (blog) on 4/30/2008 4:27:31 PM , Rating: 1
> "Coal doesn't work everywhere (transporting tons of coal is not a simple task)."

Coal does, in fact, work everywhere, which explains why the only areas that don't use coal to generate electricity are those which have access to cheaper sources, such as abundant hydropower or volcanic geothermal sources.

> "Just because solar doesn't work in the northwest, does it mean people in California can't benefit from it?"

The entire thrust of the argument seems to have escaped you. Yes, solar power is a possibility for reducing some of the daytime demand in areas like the SW US. It's not the best solution by far (it's still much more expensive) but its at least a possibility.

What is *not* possible is for solar to replace all or even a majority of electric demand in areas such as the NW or NE (the lion's share of the demand) or even within the SW US during night or early mornings/late evening times.

> "LMAO! Dude! COME ON! That's just plain funny man"

I'm sorry, but this is pretty basic physics here. Pipe 140GW worth of heat on a continual basis out of a thousand square miles of desert, and you'll measureably cool the area. Albedo increase will counteract a portion of that, but the resultant surface cooling will still be enough to induce some measure of increased precipitation.


By MadMaster on 4/30/2008 6:09:56 PM , Rating: 2
You keep touting solar in the NW, and I keep telling you you're crazy!

quote:
and you'll measureably cool the area


Yeah, I think .1 degrees C is measurable. You're not wrong there.


By andrinoaa on 5/1/2008 12:55:31 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry masher2, but you are starting to sound a bit shrilly.
If you generate 140gw at 20% efficiency, you are not removing 140gw of heat , you are assuming only the infrared spectrum is used, are you not? You are only using 140gw from 560gw PE potential? Basic physics? Learn basic maths first. How can we now trust you on the basics of nuclear energy if you can make such simple "quantum" leaps in logic?


By masher2 (blog) on 5/1/2008 10:36:04 AM , Rating: 1
> "If you generate 140gw at 20% efficiency, you are not removing 140gw of heat , you are assuming only the infrared spectrum is used, are you not?"

No, and no. It's a very simple problem in physics, needing only the law of conservation of energy and the second law of thermodynamics to solve. The energy in the entire solar spectrum incident on a surface will eventually wind up as heat. A 20% efficient PV cell converts 20% of the light to electricity, leaving 20% less energy to heat the surface.

That electricity will, once used, generate the exact same amount of heat as if the solar cell had not been functioning...but it generates it where the energy is consumed, not where the solar cell is.

Thus, a solar farm that outputs 140GW results in the transfer of some 140 GW of heat energy from the farm to elsewhere.


By MadMaster on 5/1/2008 1:19:24 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, you're weird masher2. Just can't be wrong, have to argue argue argue...

Second of all, lets do some math...

quote:
A 20% efficient PV cell converts 20% of the light to electricity, leaving 20% less energy to heat the surface.


20% conversion. As you stated somewhere above, probably only 1/3 of the capacity is used all the time. Also, only about 1/3 of the area is used for solar

Now you're only piping away %20/9 = %1.1 percent of the energy hitting the entire area of the solar plant. Now, since you were worried about clouds, remember, clouds form at high altitudes... this temperature change will be at the surface (and the change will probably less than a degree centigrade). If you have a wind, well it's all mixed up and it doesn't really make an effect.

Btw, your stance has always been "a few degrees doesn't matter." Why are you flipping now?


By masher2 (blog) on 5/1/2008 2:06:14 PM , Rating: 2
> "As you stated somewhere above, probably only 1/3 of the capacity is used all the time"

Oops, the point you miss is that most of that "capacity" isn't being used because it's night, early morning, or late evening. In other words, there's no sunlight to pipe away in the first place. Net effect = zero.

A 20% efficient cell is going to transmit away 20% of the total available solar flux. The only time this isn't true is if the plant is taken offline during daylight hours...and this would only happen during rare periods of forced maintenance.

A 20/3= 6.7% drop in solar insolation is quite large. By a strict Stefan-Boltmann calculation, that would reduce mean temperatures by about 7 degrees C. Nighttime temperatures, though, would be barely affected...daytime temperatures would be affected by nearly double that.

Atmospheric convection and albedo changes would reduce that figure considerably, but it will still likely be in the 5-8C range for a daytime temperature drop.

And you still miss the primary point here. If you cool (or warm) the entire earth a degree or two, total precipitation barely changes. But if you cool a 10,000 square mile area by 8C, while simultaneously warming the area around it, you're going to increase local precipitation, perhaps dramatically so. Is that a global catatrophe? No, but it means your bright, shiny desert is seeing substantial amounts of cloud cover and precipitation...meaning the overall performance of a solar farm there is going to drop substantially.


By Doormat on 4/29/2008 3:33:55 PM , Rating: 2
Las Vegas (2M or so people)


In the mean time...
By Doormat on 4/28/2008 6:56:05 PM , Rating: 2
Large companies looking to do a solar power install are faced with higher prices. My company did a solar power install that worked out to about $7.25/W (panels + install). Now we're looking to expand and the price has gone up to close to $9/W. Part is that the weakened US dollar, part is the surge in demand.

Everyone likes to talk about getting prices down but I dont see that happening anytime soon. Installation for large grid-tied 1MW+ systems will still be a big part of the cost, even if panels only $1/W (they're currently $5/W or so for the typical solar panel).




RE: In the mean time...
By jlips6 on 4/28/2008 7:03:54 PM , Rating: 2
my cousin got a tracking solar array that costed $40,000 dollars and it powers his entire house and then some. However the energy company around here (detroit edison) still makes his bills the same as ever. I think that'll be a huge problem since it is allowed for utilities to have monopolies.


RE: In the mean time...
By ajfink on 4/28/2008 7:18:11 PM , Rating: 2
That's ridiculous. Part of the reason for installing solar panels is to NOT use electricity from the grid when you don't need it, and thus NOT have the bill. In some cases people actually sell excess electricity back to the power companies.

Your brother's local laws are shafting him.


RE: In the mean time...
By jlips6 on 4/28/2008 7:52:14 PM , Rating: 2
Josh Barclay if you want to look it up on google. And the DE gets him by selling him electricity back to him on cloudy days and at an huge mark-up, and makes him pay for putting out electricity, and a bunch of other BS. Don't even start about the paper work.

(Oh, and he's my cousin. If he was my brother I would be Jlay6. :p)


RE: In the mean time...
By BlackIceHorizon on 4/29/2008 3:54:23 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I live in Michigan and from what I know it's a state law, or more accurately a lack thereof. Some states require utilities to buy excess production from small-scale electricity producers at wholesale grid prices, which seems pretty fair. Unfortunately our state doesn't, at least not yet.

So much for deregulation. Simplified access to the market is essential to a well-functioning market economy. In some industries (e.g. cpu foundries) high startup costs are inherent and unavoidable and all we can do is lament the lack of competition. But when a grid already exists that was subsidized by taxpayers, why not allow open access at fair prices?


RE: In the mean time...
By Doormat on 4/29/2008 10:36:16 AM , Rating: 2
Time to lobby for a net metering law - I know my state has one. As long as you produce less than 50kWh/yr or something the utility has to do net metering. People with solar panels pay maybe a $5/mo connection charge.


RE: In the mean time...
By TomZ on 4/28/2008 7:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
However the energy company around here (detroit edison) still makes his bills the same as ever.

That doesn't make sense, since much less power is being bought from the utility, surely it must cost less than if there were no solar panels?


RE: In the mean time...
By jlips6 on 4/28/2008 7:54:02 PM , Rating: 2
It costs more. It makes me mad just thinking about it. My family was working on some legislation for metering that wouldn't allow DT to do this, and it'll be going through congress soon.


RE: In the mean time...
By jlips6 on 4/28/2008 7:54:23 PM , Rating: 2
*DE not DT.


RE: In the mean time...
By TomZ on 4/28/2008 8:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
How does buying less electricity cost more?


RE: In the mean time...
By jlips6 on 4/28/2008 8:24:21 PM , Rating: 2
he has to pay for the transformers and wires for putting electricity back in to the grid, + DE buys his electricity wholesale (almost nothing), sells electricity retail(I also think there's a mark-up), combine his loans, and you have yourself a whopper of an bill that you pay for electricity. It's ridiculous I know.


RE: In the mean time...
By masher2 (blog) on 4/28/08, Rating: 0
RE: In the mean time...
By MadMaster on 4/29/2008 12:13:12 AM , Rating: 2
Ugh, I don't share your enthusiasm for the power companies...

With out competition, the companies have turned into overstaffed bureaucracies.

But then again, If I were a CEO of a power company, I wouldn't want people generating their own electricity...


RE: In the mean time...
By masher2 (blog) on 4/29/2008 12:34:06 AM , Rating: 1
My enthusiasm is for capitalism and free markets; government-sponsored monopolies such as power companies don't really fall into that category.

However, inane legislation such as forcing them to buy power at retail price, or paying the cost of retrofitting customer installations, doesn't help the situation at all.


RE: In the mean time...
By jlips6 on 4/29/2008 4:24:09 PM , Rating: 2
they should pay for it because they force him to sell him his electricity he produces. It is legal for utilities to have monopolies, hence, there is 0 competition, and he has no other choice unless he wants be without enough power on cloudy days.

As for tripling the size of his power array, the idea is ludicrous. The payback time (which was originally supposed to be 25 years, and now is 112) would grow exponentially because of the loans he would have to get to expand his array. It is not an option.

Monopolies on utilities make sense, and I know they should be allowed, but that doesn't make everything they do right, and it doesn't mean it won't piss me off. I never meant to imply that DE should pay his loans, but if they covered the cost of the hardware to sell his electricity, then it would reduce the amount he has to pay so he could actually make money.


RE: In the mean time...
By TomZ on 4/29/2008 6:41:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
they should pay for it because they force him to sell him his electricity he produces

Hmmm, I'm not sure about that logic. How are they "forcing" him to sell his excess electricity? Surely he has the choice whether to sell it, store it in batteries, or waste it.


RE: In the mean time...
By jlips6 on 4/29/2008 4:28:37 PM , Rating: 2
About the retail vs. wholesale argument, it doesn't make sense. All DE has to do is read his meter, and bill him accordingly. What he has to do is make sure that they don't try to mis-bill him, and turn what he gave back in to what he used up. Which they tried to do. He does have to maintain his array, he has to deal with the enormous hassle of dealing with his worst and only customer, which is DE, and if he was able to bill DE for his power, it would make his life a lot easier.


RE: In the mean time...
By masher2 (blog) on 4/30/2008 9:24:15 PM , Rating: 2
You miss the point entirely. He's not selling any power to people who can actually use it. He's selling it to another company, which has to transport it to those who DO need it (over a network of expensively-maintained power lines, transformers, and substations) then parcel it out to customers, read THEIR meters on a monthly basis, bill them, process payments, and write off some small portion for which they never get paid. He doesn't need to maintain a large fleet of trucks and repairmen, or a billing or customer service department. If his array stops working in the middle of the night, he doesn't have to get up and have it fixed immediately, because his sole customer is on the phone screaming to him.

In short, he's acting as a wholesaler, with a small fraction of the cost structure and hassles of a retail organization. So he gets the wholesale rate. Sounds very fair to me.


Batteries
By MicahK on 4/29/2008 2:54:23 PM , Rating: 2
It seems the biggest downside most people think is an issue is the 12hr of light per day. Have you people never heard of batteries?

We have a small solar system out at our cabin, and it can run for a week without any light just off of battery power... It simply produces more power then is used, so thats stored in a battery for use later. And this is off a relatively small panel with two car battery sized batteries. Granted this is for a small cabin, the system can be scaled up to meet your needs.

So as long as you are conscious to not waste energy during times of low sun, you're fine. And if thats too much to ask, you can have a backup power supply.

Theres also lots a person can do to consume less energy. For example, switching light bulbs to LED or CFL (huge power savings here... per bulb its a few watts compared to 100 for an incadescent).

Most people don't (or don't want to) realize how little oil there is left in the world. We are going to be facing an energy crisis soon. Personally I would rather buy in while its still economically feasible to produce these panels. Also, power from fossil fuels is going to get way more expensive, and then you'll be rethinking how "expensive" you think solar energy is. If you wait around for the government to implement solar, you'll be waiting for a long time, they're too preoccupied with securing more oil...

Now I'm mostly talking about solar for personal use, versus huge power plants, which does introduce a lot more complications into the equation. But if more people adopted a solar system, we would reduce the overall reliance on the power grid. Plus, huge bonus, when there's a power outage, you're the only one on the street who still has power...

Furthermore, solar thermal can be implemented in a person's house to heat it (ie. in-floor heating). It has high efficiency, and you can heat a swimming pool with the extra heat generated in summer!




RE: Batteries
By ChronoReverse on 4/29/2008 3:28:12 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno. I live in the province next to Alberta, Canada and there's a tremendous volume of oil there. It didn't used to be commercially viable to extract it, but it is now.

The same applies to many other repositories of oil.


RE: Batteries
By MicahK on 4/29/2008 3:58:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry but just because its commerically viable doesn't mean anything... its just proof that oil is running out. We are having to go to further and further extremes to get at oil. I know here in Alberta, we burn tons of natural gas to provide the energy to get the oil out of the tar-sands... seems pretty wasteful to me... burn one fossil fuel to get at another. Most countries have passed their peak oil production, look it up... and just wait til people in China start driving cars... The fact is with increasing population, there is no way to keep up with the demand...


RE: Batteries
By Spuke on 4/29/2008 3:33:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
For example, switching light bulbs to LED or CFL (huge power savings here... per bulb its a few watts compared to 100 for an incadescent).
Have you ever tried this? I hear people saying this alot but I swear none of you have ever tried this. I changed all of my heavy use light bulbs to CFL's and didn't see ANY difference in electricity usage. Not to mention, I can't throw these things in the garbage when they do go out because of the mercury in the ballast. I have to take them over to the hazardous materials disposal site. What a pain in the a$$!

As for your battery statement, there's no way in hell I'm going to put a bank of batteries outside of my house. Those require hazardous disposal also, BTW. A typical car battery lasts about two years under those conditions being under direct, hot sunlight in the summer and under freezing conditions in the winter not to mention rain.

You go ahead and put them outside of your house.


RE: Batteries
By MicahK on 4/29/2008 4:19:51 PM , Rating: 2
Thats fine, if you don't want batteries outside your house, no one's forcing you, although I don't see why you wouldn't. You keep a car full of gasoline and a battery in your garage... But hey, I'm sure you have your reasons.

Just because they're car-battery sized doesn't mean they're like car-batteries. They actually have a lifetime of 15-20 years, which I don't believe is too bad, and this will only increase with better technology being developed.

And as for CFL's, yes, I do agree that disposing of them is a pain in the a$$, but they do last longer, so you have to change them less. Also just because you didn't notice a difference, there are too many other factors in your power usage to count that as anything. There's been tons of studies that say otherwise, for example:
http://www.nef.org.uk/energysaving/lowenergylighti...

If you don't like having to dispose of CFLs, look into LEDs. LEDs are even more efficient then CFLs and have HUGE lifetimes. Their only downfall is their light tends to be unnaturally white and directional. But advances are being made to deal with these problems.

Anyways I'm glad you switched to CFL, I hope you consider still using them, even despite their obvious disposal issues.


RE: Batteries
By Spuke on 4/29/2008 4:35:38 PM , Rating: 2
Gasoline in a car doesn't corrode its container and leak out. Also, the cars battery is NOT in direct sunlight or cold. Batteries in cars last a HELL of a lot longer than a battery directly exposed to the elements. Ask your neighbor that owns a trailer how long his two marine batteries last.

As far as CFL usage is concerned, if I can't see the point in using them, ie the current propaganda that they lower your electric bill, then what's the point in using them? Not to mention they're more hazardous to the environment than the bulbs they're replacing! What sense is this?

I have looked into LED's and initially was going to use them although I knew they cost more but I wasn't expecting $65 a bulb although I think I saw them recently for $35 a bulb. No way, no how and I'm paying that much money for ONE bulb.


RE: Batteries
By MicahK on 4/29/2008 5:44:48 PM , Rating: 2
Propoganda? So I'm guessing you don't believe any studies done? I'm sorry, but these are tests run in a controlled environment versus your "method." But you do raise a good point as far as the mercury in CFLs are concerned, thats why I like LEDs better.

And yes LED bulbs seem pretty expensive, but consider the fact that they have a lifetime up to 60000 hours it seems more reasonable. But they will continue to come down in price, hopefully to the point where the average consumer is comfortable enough to buy them.

As for the batteries, we keep ours in a small utility shed, in a vented box. That solves that problem.... Not too mention, we didn't "cheap" out on the batteries so leaking hasn't been a problem yet, and even if it is, we have the batteries in a suitable place to deal with this. There are better options out there, such as AGM batteries that will not leak even if broken, if this is a concern, although they cost 2-3 times more then a standard deep-cycle.

And these batteries are not comparable to marine or car batteries. They are deep-cycle batteries, car batteries are LSI batteries, designed to start cars, not to maintain voltage for a long period of time. And marine batteries are usually a hybrid between the two. Furthermore in my experience, my car battery has leaked more then anything...


RE: Batteries
By masher2 (blog) on 4/29/2008 10:05:38 PM , Rating: 2
> "It seems the biggest downside most people think is an issue is the 12hr of light per day. Have you people never heard of batteries?"

Batteries are not a viable option. Among the many problems, the sheer cost of a battery array capable of holding many megawatt-hours of power would be astronomical, and would raise the price of such power by more than an order of magnitude.

This is why large-scale solar plants now being designed for round-the-clock output don't even consider them. Most are looking at heat or mechanical-energy based options like molten salt, compressed air, etc.

> "Most people don't (or don't want to) realize how little oil there is left in the world. We are going to be facing an energy crisis soon"

In 1975, I was taught in school that the world would be "totally out" of oil in 30 years. Today, more than 30 years later, our known reserves are closer to 50 years. In fact, since 1960, we've found 5 new barrels for every three we've burned.

All the way back to the days of WWI, people have been saying oil is about to run out. In fact, in 1929, President Coolidge convened an emergency council to study the problem, based on official reports that claimed the world would be out of oil within a decade.

Doomsaying has a long and inglorious history. Too bad we never learn from it.


RE: Batteries
By MadMaster on 4/29/2008 10:33:16 PM , Rating: 2
http://anz.theoildrum.com/node/3882

Cool isn't it? Just one of the many storage developments with solar...

quote:
In 1975, I was taught in school that the world would be "totally out" of oil in 30 years. Today, more than 30 years later, our known reserves are closer to 50 years. In fact, since 1960, we've found 5 new barrels for every three we've burned.


Interesting to point out that the (real) price of oil today is higher than it has ever been. I find it hard to believe it's all speculation.


RE: Batteries
By andrinoaa on 4/30/2008 5:52:54 AM , Rating: 2
Some people still think the earth is flat and resources are infinite! lol
Ok so the date is wrong, the eventual outcome is still valid. Its just a shallow reading of the predictions.
We all did the experiment with mice in a confined environment, didn't we? Well in case you didn't, they exhausted their environment and began to self destruct.
THATS THE POINT, the date is just speculative. If you don't see it that way, you need your mind read. And these guys think the DATE was the moral of the story.......


Prediction
By MikeMurphy on 4/28/2008 7:50:16 PM , Rating: 2
My investment dollars tell me that solar "panels" will eventually become dirt-cheap to produce and will be integrated into everything from standard building roofing to car fenders, hoods etc.

While I don't see them as replacing a primary energy source, I do see them play a roll as a passive supplement.

We shall see!

Cheers,




RE: Prediction
By MadMaster on 4/29/2008 12:03:31 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. There's a company that got a billion dollar loan to build a 550 megawatt solar powerplant. That's exciting, because it puts solar panels in the $2/watt range... about a quarter the price of current systems. That's very economical...


RE: Prediction
By AlphaVirus on 4/29/2008 12:34:11 PM , Rating: 2
The only problem with this is for people who live in average to less-than-average neighborhoods will have solar-jackings.

I'd hate to retrofit my car with solar panels and such, only to have it stolen or vandalized.

If I did not have this fear, I would have dont things the solar way a long time ago. Between a solar car and solar house, the savings and eco-friendly style pay off in the long run.


RE: Prediction
By Spuke on 4/29/2008 3:14:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'd hate to retrofit my car with solar panels and such, only to have it stolen or vandalized.
The priority is the environment dude. You'll just have to get them replaced and eat Ramen Noodles for the next few years. Oh, and you have too many kids.


RE: Prediction
By AlphaVirus on 5/2/2008 3:29:17 PM , Rating: 2
I always try to do things to help the environment. I dont hug trees but whatever I can do that will not impede on loving my life I dont mind doing.

I dont eat ramen noodles anymore after I found out they attract rats easily. I know rats eat everything but for some reason rats invaded my place and strangely thats all they would search for. I then tested and put the packages at the top of the pantry and they scaled the walls to get them. Since then I never buy them or eat them.

If you ever buy them, look for little scratches on the package, at first I thought they were damaged during shipping but it turned out rats had nibbled on the package.

And I have no kids yet.


Need rules for these things
By djc208 on 4/29/2008 3:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
The problme with all these discussions is that we keep arguing "economically viable" vs. "environmentally correct". These are very different arguments, and are too broad to argue without agreeing upon some baselines.

If you really want to be environmentally correct go live in the woods, I'll take your clothes and cell phone, here's a sharp stick.

Otherwise let me ask you this about wind/solar/tidal: what was the environmental impact of putting up that wind turbine? How much energy (the cheap coal/nuclear stuff to make it cost competitive) was used to refine, transport, and machine all the components? How much hazardous material was generated in fabricating plastics, paints, coatings, and composites? How about the impact on wildlife, property, and land? Doesn't the whole impact need to be evaluated?

Truth is we all pick the impacts that suit are needs and are most convenient, but they all have environmental impacts. Living in the woods naked with your stick still has an impact on your environment, just one that doesn't last as long after you die.




RE: Need rules for these things
By andrinoaa on 4/30/2008 7:00:51 AM , Rating: 2
I think you have made a quantum leap in logic. You assume, being environmentally aware equals stone age. Sorry but have I got news for you. I reason that solar energy is free and renewable. the infrustructure costs. I am prepared to pay. Nuclear has problems and I am not prepared to pay ANYMORE!
Coal burning has problems and I am not prepared to pay ANYMORE.
I still want my plasma and transport. But I also understand that it may not always be what it is today, new technology is leaping ahead and gadgets are getting more and more efficient. There is a marked push in that direction. ( excepting Trucks made in US of A ) The arguement is not
"environmentally correct" vs "economically viable". The two are entwined. You cannot eat dollars just as we cannot go back to medievil times. We have the ability and tools to chew and spit gum.
Just as some people misunderstand my stand on nuclear energy. WHEN IT SOLVES its problems and they are "SEEN" to have been solved, I will get on board. On past performance, not holding my breath.
Pushing the environmentally aware agenda has many benefits.
Less polutants means cleaner air , water and food.
More efficient gadgets means less strain on resources and keeps resources relatively cheap for longer periods
Less need for war to grab resouces
Less need for armies because less need for war
More equitable distribution of resouces means fewer people on this planet may starve
If all of the above means I am a tree hugger, so be it, but at least I am a Human being who can empathise with other humans. I also wish my kids get to enjoy a rich life. Just have a look at china at the moment, they are having bad air days leading up to the olympics. Is that what you want? Sorry but NO AMOUNT of greed is worth that.


RE: Need rules for these things
By masher2 (blog) on 4/30/2008 9:16:39 PM , Rating: 2
> "You assume, being environmentally aware equals stone age"

quote:
We have wished, we ecofreaks, for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us into the Stone Age, where we might live like Indians in our valley, with our localism, our appropriate technology, our gardens, our homemade religion—guilt-free at last!
— famed environmentalist Stewart Brand, writing in the Whole Earth Catalogue


RE: Need rules for these things
By andrinoaa on 5/1/2008 1:04:35 AM , Rating: 2
You need to change your name to Shallow. Now you have really lost it masher2, guess I win the arguement! What part of my blogg didn't you read? Is that how you come to your conclusions? As some one said already, I walk! lol


Grammar and Thoughts
By DCstewieG on 4/28/2008 7:04:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
show customers how much power their using

/grammar nazi

That would be cool.

Personally I have to admit that I wouldn't be installing solar panels unless it was saving me money. I'd be first in line once the price is right (or close) but I'm definitely not one who would spend thousands for the sake of being green. Besides, I can already get wind-generated electricity through my city if I care to spend a few bucks extra each month. I plan to at some point.




RE: Grammar and Thoughts
By andrinoaa on 4/30/2008 6:23:20 AM , Rating: 2
I'm with you too. In Spain, they are paid more for the power PE cells provide into the grid than what they pay for electricity off the grid. They are putting lots of money in, a form of pension. This is some of the lateral thinking required to get the ball rolling.


RE: Grammar and Thoughts
By masher2 (blog) on 4/30/2008 10:16:27 AM , Rating: 1
> "This is some of the lateral thinking required "

If by "lateral thinking" you mean socialistic idiocy, then you're correct.

Forcing the local power company to more for electricity than they can generate by selling it back to others is just a sly, dishonest way to make your neighbors pay for your solar cells. Imagine the economic chaos if everyone in Spain (or even just a respectable percent of the population) tried to take advantage of this. It can never be a solution.


RE: Grammar and Thoughts
By andrinoaa on 4/30/2008 5:13:15 PM , Rating: 2
Mr Ludwig von Thatcher, we live in a civil society in which we share the bounty and the burdons. If you don't want to live in a civil society, take your chances in another country like Somalia or Zimbabwe. Its a free for all there!
What the hell do you think you do at the moment on a whole lot of levels, play marbles by yourself? I cannot beleive your naive and simplistic arguements .


Translation
By Ringold on 4/29/2008 12:09:02 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
"At some point, it's going to be difficult to convince people to make large investments simply based on the fact that it's green."


Translation: The supply of village idiots is running dangerously low, we'd better modify our business plan to be price-competitive before we run out!

On another note, I think it's worth mentioning the articles from several business publications that've noted that many companies aren't making these investments because they think that they are sane -- they are making them because they can more easily attract young, typically liberal fresh college graduates easier when they greenwash themselves. In some cases, small businesses have been able to get young liberals to accept lower pay than they could get from their larger rivals simply due to being comparatively green! Some also play an old trick in a green way; offering incentives, like cash for buying a hybrid car, knowing full well the majority of employees probably wont capitalize on it.




RE: Translation
By andrinoaa on 4/29/2008 8:47:19 AM , Rating: 1
what drugs are you on, I want some too!
At some stage, companies will make investments because they like to live in a clean safe environment/society. You can't breath clean air in "soup city" no matter how much money you have! Greed is not the only gospel in town you know
What your sarcasm alludes to is shallow. Very rash generalizations indeed. Maybe, just maybe, some of us care!
pass the joint.


Can anyone explain why
By Andy35W on 4/29/2008 2:37:49 PM , Rating: 2
the USA, which is the most technologically advanced country on the planet is still using heating oil for a good percentage of it's domestic heating?

It's so 19th Century :)




RE: Can anyone explain why
By Spuke on 4/29/2008 3:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
the USA, which is the most technologically advanced country on the planet is still using heating oil for a good percentage of it's domestic heating?
Because it's cheap and it works. Next question.


RE: Can anyone explain why
By andrinoaa on 5/1/2008 1:56:12 AM , Rating: 2
No moral contortions as to its suitabillity to job at hand?
I think you did a great job, straight to the point and nothing illogical. DMUL ( dirtied my underware laughing !)


A "big name" ?
By masher2 (blog) on 4/28/2008 10:39:55 PM , Rating: 2
> "Kremen and other big names in investment capital are showing newfound enthusiasm..."

Time lists Kremen's net worth at about $10M. I think an entry on the "big names in investment capital list" starts at about half a billion and goes up from there.




RE: A "big name" ?
By teckytech9 on 4/29/2008 1:17:37 AM , Rating: 3
Big names like Mr Sunshine (STP) and Mr Light (LDK) come to light.

Suntech (STP)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSVb-Yc6Yuo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0i4zBOWLhs

LDK Solar (LDK)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F43amvIzBY

As for other big players, First Solar, Inc. (FSLR), JA Solar (JASO), Yingli (YGE), Renesola LTD (SOL) all have large market caps of more than $1 billion. There are also ETFs for solar, such as (TAN), (KWT) and (SPEGX).


Solar Roof Tiles.
By teckytech9 on 4/28/2008 8:29:00 PM , Rating: 2
When the cost of producing asphalt roof shingles approaches the cost of solar shingles then there will be mass acceptance for the average household. The idea of selling excess capacity (net metering) back to the utilities is a very lucrative investment opportunity.




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