backtop


Print 57 comment(s) - last by KristopherKubi.. on May 16 at 6:58 PM


Heliotube concentrators have integrated tracking built into the panel, allowing more sunlight to reach a smaller photovoltaic surface area through the day.
The same size as conventional panels, it doubles efficiency by tracking the sun.

A Pasadena, Calif., company has applied to patent a new solar panel that can produce electricity at half the cost of conventional rooftop panels.

According to the MIT Technology Review, Soliant Energy's new Heliotube panel produces the same amount of energy as traditional solar arrays used in residential electrical systems, however a unique design reduces the amount of expensive photovoltaic material by almost 90 percent. Semiconductor-based photovoltaic (PV) material is needed to perform the actual conversion of solar energy to electricity inside a solar array, but the material is costly to produce.

Commercial solar energy production systems typically use mirrors and lenses to focus sunlight on the PV surfaces, making for more efficient energy production with a smaller PV surface area. In addition, panels are often mounted on posts that can pivot to follow the movements of the sun throughout the day, further concentrating the amount of sunlight reaching the PV material. However, these more efficient designs with moving mechanisms are impractical for smaller residential systems, which usually rely on a limited number of stationary, roof-mounted panels.

The Heliotube design incorporates lenses, mirrors and movable panels that track the sun. However, all of these components are encased in a rectangular acrylic case that is the same size as a conventional rooftop panel. The 50-pound panels are equipped with trough-shaped concentrators that move throughout the day. Aided by inexpensive optics, the mirrored troughs intensify the amount of sunlight reaching smaller PV strips located at the bottom of each trough.

The first-generation Heliotube panels, due to start shipping later this year, pivot only on one axis, limiting their ability to track the sun's movement. The company is designing a new version which will divide the troughs into shorter sections that can move independently to track the sun from side to side and from top to bottom, increasing the efficiency. The panels are self-powered and do not require alignment, according to the company.

Soliant's founder and CTO, Brad Hines, who formerly worked at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said the company's goal is to offer consumers a "grid equivalent" cost of $0.06 per kilowatt hour in three years, not including tax incentives. "In industry terms, this means well under $1.50 per watt,” Hines said.

Soliant's technology partners include Boeing Spectrolab, MIT, Sandia National Labs, and SunEdison.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

the rubbiatron, anyone
By nah on 5/14/2007 5:09:35 AM , Rating: 2
from 28-42 cents to just under 6 cents-- masher, where are you ;)




RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 5/14/2007 5:15:29 AM , Rating: 3
He said he was going on vacation this week, but maybe he'll pop in. :)

I wrote something solar related on my blog a few days ago, here it is:

http://kristopher.us/2007/05/solar-carolina.html


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By phusg on 5/14/2007 5:41:26 AM , Rating: 2
What a pessimistic post that is. Sure solar (especially at current efficiencies) isn't the whole solution; reducing our energy demand/consumption is a much bigger piece of the puzzle.

But let's please not go back to nuclear fision reactors as you are advocating, the waste remains a real problem for a very long time, no matter how safely we think we've disposed of it.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 5/14/2007 6:00:33 AM , Rating: 3
I like solar, don't get me wrong. I just don't think anyone has the money to blanket 10% of the US in panels to free our dependency on oil.

Zero emission coal is looking good too, but the cost per MW is much higher than nuclear and solar right now.

As for waste, here is one of my favorite masher posts in his temporary absence:

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=6266&...


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By FITCamaro on 5/14/2007 7:10:19 AM , Rating: 3
Eh.....I don't know if the answer is to pump the CO2 underground instead of into the atmosphere. I just get the feeling that will lead to some kind of problem in a different way.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By rtrski on 5/14/2007 8:44:21 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I've read (no attribution - sorry, but seems to make 'intuitive' sense) that with increased CO2 the oceans are getting a bit more acidic, with consequences to coral and other sea life. Wonder if somehow any deep injected CO2 might not percolate back up into and affect the water table the same way.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By therealnickdanger on 5/14/2007 9:52:25 AM , Rating: 2
Aren't there already MASSIVE volcanic fissures on the ocean floors releasing all manner of toxic gases into the water? I'd suspect (no attribution here either) that we could not possibly beat out nature itself when it comes to pollution...


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By Chernobyl68 on 5/14/2007 11:53:55 AM , Rating: 2
yep. and the sea life at those depths has adapted to the environment at those depths over the millinea. but the dying coral reefs are a real concern.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By therealnickdanger on 5/14/2007 12:17:52 PM , Rating: 2
They adapted to it, eh? What exactly did these magical sea creatures do in the time between suffocating on the gases and not suffocating on the gases? These molten eruptions have been ongoing forever, they didn't wait for these little guys to evolve before getting more intense or something. My point being: reefs will adapt to, right? :P


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By Whedonic on 5/14/2007 1:40:08 PM , Rating: 2
Evolution takes a long, long time in most cases. So even if coral and others eventually manage to adapt, there could still be massive damage to sea life and the related economies in our lifetime. What good does it do us to say "yeah, they'll eventually adapt in a few millenia" if we're stuck with the problems now?


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By thatguy39 on 5/14/2007 4:46:12 PM , Rating: 2
To compare the CO2 & other poisonous gases released by volcanoes to spent nuclear fuel is ridiculous! Creatures actually live by those volcanic vents... Ive never seen anything living with radiation poisoning. period.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By Ringold on 5/14/2007 5:35:50 PM , Rating: 2
There's bacteria that has been found inside nuclear reactors, and lots of tech sites occasionally mention it just as a weird fact on a slow news day.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By FITCamaro on 5/15/2007 6:51:33 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah and we're not dumping our spent nuclear fuel into the ocean either buddy. It's going into sealed containers and buried in a mountain.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By phusg on 5/14/2007 8:58:48 AM , Rating: 3
> I like solar, don't get me wrong.

Ok, it's just from your blog post it sounds like you like nuclear and think of solar as useless/impracticle.

> I just don't think anyone has the money to blanket 10% of the US in panels to free our dependency on oil.

Of course they don't, luckily that's not necessary, especially if we reduce our electricity consumption.

As for the masher post, once again it's a skillfully crafted misleading post scattered with a few half truths. The half he's right about is that radioactive material occurs naturally on our planet. The half he left out is that the natural stuff gets less and less readioactive every day, whereas a nuclear fission power plant produces more! Also uranium sounds scary but uranium isn't always uranium. There are different isotopes that vary widely in their radioactivity. Guess which ones are natural and which ones are man made?

Please let's not make any more of the stuff than we have already!!! There are plenty of technologies here or in the pipeline that negate the need to start producing more nuclear waste.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By Shadowself on 5/14/2007 11:46:11 AM , Rating: 5
As an ex nuke and the person who first did non destructive assays of very low levels of transuranics and the person who did the first analysis of life shortening due to transuranics and the person who did the first U.S. implementation of gammay ray induced in vivo measurements of lead in people...

I can say your "half truths" are much more misleading than what you are trying to debate against.

>> I just don't think anyone has the money to
>> blanket 10% of the US in panels to free our
>> dependency on oil.

> Of course they don't, luckily that's not
> necessary, especially if we reduce our
> electricity consumption.

Electricity consumption has never decreased since it was introduced to the general public. Even in the days of the heated "war" between DC and AC the consumption steadily increased. Even with a major drive to minimize consumption of electricity the growth will only slow. It will not reverse. Thinking otherwise is pure lunacy.

> As for the masher post, once again it's a
> skillfully crafted misleading post scattered
> with a few half truths. The half he's right
> about is that radioactive material occurs
> naturally on our planet. The half he left
> out is that the natural stuff gets less and
> less readioactive every day, whereas a nuclear
> fission power plant produces more!

Absolutely wrong. The daughter products all decay to a stable form (eventually). If you take the material in a fuel rod of an active reactor, within a few hours it is on a steady decline in total radioactivity.

> Also uranium sounds scary but uranium
> isn't always uranium.

I disagree. Uranium does not sound nearly as scary to 99% of the population as plutonium. That's why there are extremely few fast breeder reactors which actually make more fissile fuel than they consume. And uranium decays to nastier things on its way to lead.

> There are different isotopes that vary widely
> in their radioactivity. Guess which ones are
> natural and which ones are man made?

There are extremely hazardous naturally made isotopes too. Look up Auger electron emitters. If you get those isotopes internal to you they are much more likely to cause cancer than any other form of radioactive isotope -- and many of these isotopes are naturally occurring.

Additionally, different kinds of isotopes decay differently. Alpha emitters are the most benign. You can wrap them in aluminum foil and safely handle large quantities -- such as most isotopes of uranium and plutonium. Conversely the gamma and beta emitters require a great deal more protective material. Gamma and beta emitter occur naturally too.

The decay chain from naturally occuring uranium in the ground in south east Pensyvannia is high enough that no one should live in a "basement apparment" without siginificant, constant ventilation. The natural hazard -- due to probable cancer causing effects -- if you don't is almost as bad as being a pack a day smoker (and as bad as a two pack a day smoker in some limited areas). This is from natural sources.

While there are many, many pieces to the total solution: conservation, solar, hydroelectric, hydrothermal, wind, tides, etc., nuclear, even nuclear fission, is a viable source of electricity. With proper handling and processing -- and reprocessing of spent fuel -- nuclear is not as hazardous as most people have been led to believe.

Personally, I'd love it if the solar industry could get realistic efficiencies of greater than 70%. Being stuck in the 30% range is what's killing it. That and it not being envirionmentally robust. People think a hail storm does significant damage to their roofs. Hail can completely destroy a solar array.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By phusg on 5/14/07, Rating: -1
RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By hubajube on 5/14/2007 1:59:04 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Again lots of facts illustrating that radioactive materials occur naturally. This is not something I deny if you read my previous post. My point is that we shouldn't be making any more of the stuff than we have already!!!
Way to back peddle dude!!!! That was awesome!


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By phusg on 5/14/2007 5:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
Eh?!?


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By Zoomer on 5/14/2007 3:46:17 PM , Rating: 3
With utmost care, coal plants release way more pollutants, including radioactive isotopes, into the environment.

The only viable alternative to coal is nuclear fission reactors. Or oil. Or gas. But we don't want to use oil nor gas. (Refer to G. W. Bush, cost, foreign dependency) No other method can let us produce the vast quantity of electricity required in a small space, at any location.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By Ringold on 5/14/2007 5:34:17 PM , Rating: 3
The health risks are those associated with the loss of income as environmental extremists force economicly unsound energy policies on an economy heavily dependentent on abundant, cheap energy to do the things that we all want it to do and benefit from. Loss of income, less money for quality foods and medicines and extraneous things like gym memberships, lower health. There, I tied current-generation solar panels to health risks. :P

As for nuclear power, I don't think anybody would claim the French are experts at or even relatively good at anything but making, and drinking, wine, but yet their track record for nuclear safety is impressive, and so is ours. Nothing can be done entirely safely, and nothing is a free lunch in terms of pollution or resources (solar panels consume huge amounts of very valuable metals and whatnot). People will die falling off roofs just the way, one day, a handful of people may end up getting killed in a release of radioactive waste. Does the manner of death really matter? I tend to think not; both are extremely safe, and nuclear powers record can't be intelligently disputed. The decision left to be made is an economic one and as it stands today nuclear power is ready to go and solar panels, unfortunately, are just putting their shoes on.

To be honest, the limited elements of the left-wing that are so fully against nuclear power are only betraying their true intent; the end of cheap energy. Whether or not that's your personal vandetta or not, someone who's indoctrinated you at some point along the line DOES have that agenda. Plenty of countries have for decades safely provided lots of electricity (and water) from nuclear power; the argument against them just doesn't exist until large, unlikely yet still potential risks are thrown in to the discussion in total disregard for their record to date.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By phusg on 5/14/2007 6:03:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There, I tied current-generation solar panels to health risks. :P

Well done, and it wasn't at all far-fetched :P
quote:
Plenty of countries have for decades safely provided lots of electricity (and water) from nuclear power

Decades you say? Oh well, carry on making waste that stays radioactive for thousands of years then, obviously nothing will ever go wrong if it hasn't done so the last few decades.

And for the record, yes I am for an end to cheap energy for the better off countries of the world there where it's generated unsustainably. It's the only way to ween ourselves off it the pollution it generates. The only reason it's so cheap is because the huge environmental costs associated with it's generation are not calculated in and are being passed on to future generations.

I'm all for economic decisions, but only when the hidden costs are also taken into account.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By Ringold on 5/14/2007 7:01:31 PM , Rating: 5
If you were for wise economic decisions you wouldn't still be trying to make a problem out of something that never has been one (the waste) and trying to hand-pick technology instead of allowing the free capitalist market to do so, no; you'd be advocating a carbon tax for every ton of CO2 released, indexed to take in to account whatever price would be necessary to reduce consumption over that given fiscal year to a level that's on it's way to what scientists say would be necessary to avoid whatever problem it is we agree as an electorate is worth taxing ourselves over, and also taking in to account the extra income consumers would have because the money raised from the tax on carbon would be off-set by tax cuts elsewhere (because you certainly wouldn't be a big-government liberal, would you?)

But since I've never personally heard a environmentalist utter that suggestion, and many environmentalists have likely taken an economics course and know that the above would maximize efficiency, the real conclusion is that they're not even interested in efficiency. Just returning man to some lower level of existance because heaven forbid we're the masters of our own damned planet.

As has been pointed out many times before, waste is often stored on site for long periods of times, and has never yet been a problem -- despite several generations now of humans producing it. There are already several technically sound ideas of how to permanently store the stuff, they're all just ham-strung by environmentalists that simply dont want to see any of it work for fear of nuclear power providing cheap power. NASA can't even launch a probe with some of it without hippies waving their signs!

Look, we started exceeding what is natural for our consumption when we started learning how to make fire artificially. That consumption has allowed the developed world, for which you likely enjoy the benefits of living yet have such ire, to live very nicely, and hundreds of millions of people in Asia are rapidly moving in to that same middle class as capitalism blesses them after decades of stifling modern liberal economic policy (or what used to be conservative). If your point is that cheap power is bad because of pollution, there's a solution, and if it's bad because of the lifestyle it allows us to live, then, well, I dont see how thats a logically defensible position because you obviously must be amish.. yet.. you're on a computer... Why aren't you making cheese?


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By phusg on 5/16/2007 3:45:11 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
... no; you'd be advocating a carbon tax for every ton of CO2 released ... But since I've never personally heard a environmentalist utter that suggestion

In your rush to disagree with anyone you brand as a extremist environmentalist you seem to have missed that this is something I actually welcome.
quote:
Just returning man to some lower level of existance ...

Again not something I've said. I also don't see how generating our electricity as cleanly as possible (without generating nuclear waste) and paying for the full cost of associated pollution is a 'lower level of existance'.
quote:
... we're the masters of our own damned planet.

Wow, big assumption there. Since when did this planet belong to humans? Last I checked we weren't the only species inhabiting it.
quote:
because you obviously must be amish.. yet.. you're on a computer... Why aren't you making cheese?

Apart from the distinct possibility my ancestors made cheese (I'm Dutch) I don't come anywhere near being Amish. As you point out I obviously use computers, which for your information are powered by electricity generated by wind turbines here in Holland.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By FITCamaro on 5/14/2007 7:12:17 AM , Rating: 2
I'm all for nuclear power. Its a near limitless energy source. With fuel reprocessing a lot of the waste can be reused instead of just labeled as waste. The only thing people don't like about it is that it produces more weapons grade nuclear material.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By theapparition on 5/14/2007 8:45:10 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The only thing people don't like about it is that it produces more weapons grade nuclear material.

Not at all,
Weapons grade is several orders of magnitude more refined than industrial grade.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By phusg on 5/14/2007 9:02:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The only thing people don't like about it is that it produces more weapons grade nuclear material.

No, the only thing that people don't like about it is that it produces nuclear waste . That this waste material is a stepping stone up to some of the most devasting weapons of mass destruction we have invented is just a bonus.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By Ringold on 5/14/2007 5:40:44 PM , Rating: 3
If I'm not mistaken, most (all?) the reactor's being built in the future are of a variety that can't be used to create good nuclear-weapons grade material. Not out of any security concern, but those designs are simply more efficient. At least, that's what I've heard.

Which to me is actually a problem if America ended up without a reliable source of the weapons-grade variety, but that's a different point entirely.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 5/14/2007 7:20:31 PM , Rating: 2
The major problem with nuclear plants up until now is that every single plant built in the US has been a one-off design. Westinghouse (yes, the guys who make LCD monitors) has made some incredible strides to reduce the nuclear cost by several magnitudes by making reactors that are small, cheap, safe and easy to maintain. This is a good thing imho.

There are other ways to manufacture weapons-grade materials without a breeder reactor. I say let the military deal with it and let the DOE go back to just making energy


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 5/16/2007 6:58:20 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, you're right - they split the company up in 1998.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By Chernobyl68 on 5/14/2007 11:51:40 AM , Rating: 2
then build breeder reactors.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By Reflex on 5/15/2007 12:23:19 AM , Rating: 2
There is no such thing as nuclear waste. That is a misnomer. All that 'nuclear waste' actually is is nuclear fuel waiting to be reprocessed. That can already be done safely and effectively, and is being done all over Europe, especially in France, today. The US is lagging behind in nuclear technology, but simply because we have not done it yet does not mean it cannot be done. Other nations are nearly totally nuclear powered(France again the prime example), and have had no safety or waste issues. The US lacks the will, not the means or technology.

Solar is a complementary power source, not a solution. It works for some areas some of the time. It can be especially useful to offset spikes caused by summertime AC usage, especially in southern states. But it will never be a meaningful replacement on a large scale. Its very similiar to wind in that regard.


RE: the rubbiatron, anyone
By Grast on 5/14/2007 1:31:25 PM , Rating: 2
Nah,

I do believe that masher has always said that if solar were more price effeciant it would be more widely acceptable. However until such systems are being installed and are shown to not have a large maintenance and reocurring charge due to optics, motors, and other mechnical part failures, I will be scheptical.

later..


At that price
By psychobriggsy on 5/14/2007 6:31:31 AM , Rating: 3
The other good thing is that if they only use 1/9th of the photovoltaic material, they can make 9x as many panels from this limited (and not exactly environmentally friendly to produce) product.

6 cents (3p) a kWh is great, and greatly undercuts the cost of mains electricity in the UK and probably many other European countries. $1.50 a Watt? 25,000 hours to recoup investment, which is 2.9 years ((1000 * $1.50 / $0.06) / 8766 (hours in year)) I probably messed this up somewhere - oh yeah, days are half dark, so make it 6 years.

I do have worries about the longevity of the motor system that directs the collector on this design however. Traditional solar panels are supposed to last over 20 years - will the motors and moving parts in this product last that long?

However solar power requires this level of cost reduction to become popular. Cheap efficient mass produced photovoltaics aren't looking so likely within the next 10 years although progress is being made.




RE: At that price
By AntiM on 5/14/2007 8:38:00 AM , Rating: 2
As the materials become cheaper, and new materials are discovered, I can envision a day when we will have some sort of photovoltaic roof shingle. Imagine an entire roof covered with photovoltaic cells.


RE: At that price
By RogueSpear on 5/14/2007 10:24:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I can envision a day when we will have some sort of photovoltaic roof shingle.

It's already being done, though I have no idea about the specifics such as material and labor costs, efficiency, etc.
http://www.oksolar.com/roof/
http://www.etmsolar.com/roof.htm
http://www.alphasolar.com/alpha_solar_062.htm


RE: At that price
By therealnickdanger on 5/14/2007 10:45:09 AM , Rating: 2
My dad is an architect and has seen it installed on a couple houses he's done. I think he said it was about $40K more than standard roofing and was only good for roughly 40-60% power generation with optimal placement (here in Minnesota, that is). Every house and location is different, of course.

I would really like to have solar on my house - I'd love to be able to be OTG (off the grid), but at current efficiency levels and my desire to live where I do, solar power has to make some more dramatic strides in cost/performance.


RE: At that price
By Screwballl on 5/14/2007 11:26:01 AM , Rating: 2
I would love to go with something like that but when you see a hurricane or strong tropical storm every few years here (FL), I can imagine the sticks and debris trashing your nice new solar roof and the insurance not paying out because it is a non-standard roofing installation and not covered by the policy. I wouldn't mind a removable group of panels like the story mentions though.. plus would help once the storm has passed and you have (some) power while everyone else is eating up gas with a generator or no power at all.
I have already been looking into this as an add-on for existing power and backup for after the storm knocks out power for a week or more.


RE: At that price
By ZmaxDP on 5/14/2007 1:25:09 PM , Rating: 2
Don't go "off the grid." The moment you do you need some other form of storage, think batteries. Batteries are very harmful to the environment. The best solution is to hook up solar panels to the grid as well. The grid is a massive storage system for electrical energy. Don't waste your money on batteries when you can just run your meter backwards during the day and forwards at night...


RE: At that price
By TheGreek on 5/14/2007 4:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
Does anyone know why passive solar heat is not addressed all that often? What's the bid deal about building some home made panels and placing all the heat into your cellar? If it gets too hot open some windows.

If I can't afford to live OTG why not at least be OTG on sunny days?


RE: At that price
By Ringold on 5/14/2007 5:47:37 PM , Rating: 2
"If it gets too hot open some windows"

I'm glad some hippies are willing to take it on their sweaty chins, but here in Florida, thanks but no thanks. I'll let my electric meter spin like a buzz saw while I kick back in the comfort of 77º and watch my horribly inefficient big screen HDTV while two computers run F@H 24-7... And still I end up with a manageable bill. For me, at least.


RE: At that price
By MarkHark on 5/14/2007 9:53:20 PM , Rating: 2
In fact, using lots of roof panels to collect solar energy would at most make your home cooler, not hotter.


RE: At that price
By TheGreek on 5/15/2007 4:42:48 PM , Rating: 2
""If it gets too hot open some windows"

I'm glad some hippies are willing to take it on their sweaty chins, but here in Florida, thanks but no thanks."

The original statement may indicate the local of the person, not his beliefs.

" I'll let my electric meter spin like a buzz saw while I kick back in the comfort of 77º and watch my horribly inefficient big screen HDTV while two computers run F@H 24-7... And still I end up with a manageable bill. For me, at least. "

Typical of the hyperindividuality 100% self absorbed attitude that has created the problem and enabled a president to win 2 elections on nothing but fear. I mean really, you have so much to be proud of. Don't forget to fumigate your home every 5 years for bugs and all the tornadoes. What intelligent person would live with those conditions? And Miami leads in what? Murder and road rage?


Installation Crooks.
By Mitch101 on 5/14/2007 9:24:44 AM , Rating: 2
I priced out solar panels on my home some time ago and while their should be a savings involved the installers of solar panels are the ones who are screwing this as being a good deal and idea.

Installers are charging rediculous install prices and telling the consumer that you get a portion back from the government through a tax deduction and through selling electricity back to the electric company. According to my estimate it would take 10 years to start recouperating the costs from doing this and I dont recall how long a solar panel lasts (30 years maybe) but as what I remember it wasnt worth it because we didnt anticipate living there that long.

The Install costs were so incredibly rediculous on the install that I contemplated installing them myself.

I want to do this but Im probably more peeved by the installers trying to make so much money on doing this that they are just exploiting the people who want to be green. Its like they want a cut of your profits for the first couple of years for themselves. There is a similar problem in house flipping and some agencies overcharging as if they should also get a cut of the house flip even though they dont risk a dime out of thier pocket.

I had a plumber try to tell me that hooking up a jacuzzi tub drain (Not even the electrical) would cost extra and they wanted $1000.00 to do it. The walls were already studded out. Two other places wanted around the same. I did it myself for $23.00 and that included buying the glue and a special tool and I had to cut the pipe twice. Then heard a plumber in home depot complain how they always give quotes on jobs and people never want the work done. Hmmm $977.00 savings difference and about a hours worth of work for me as Im not a pro.

Maybe its that most people are tired of Contractors ripping people off. I think you would see more solar panels if there were more honest people doing the installs.




RE: Installation Crooks.
By psychobriggsy on 5/14/2007 10:16:54 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
According to my estimate it would take 10 years to start recouperating the costs from doing this and I dont recall how long a solar panel lasts (30 years maybe) but as what I remember it wasnt worth it because we didnt anticipate living there that long.


There's an idea in the UK to set up long-term "mortgages" on long-term green energy installations, so when you sell the house, you also sell on the house's green-energy mortgage. This should mean that people are more willing to pay up front for such installations.

quote:
Then heard a plumber in home depot complain how they always give quotes on jobs and people never want the work done.


What they did over here (electricians and plumbers) was require that certain house work (bathrooms, electrical, extensions) had to be done by an accredited person. Talk about getting the law to protect your own nice little profiteering racket! So whilst you could still do it yourself, it effectively makes selling the house difficult. What it means is that plumbers charge up to £120 ($240) an hour in some areas.


RE: Installation Crooks.
By theapparition on 5/14/2007 11:28:58 AM , Rating: 2
The US is a little different. As far as I know, you are allowed to do any repairs/plumbing/electrial, etc to your home, as long as you follow code. You are not, however, allowed to go to your neighbor's house and do those same installs. When the house is resold, depending on the jurisdiction, ANY work may be questioned during a home inspection, be it your work, or a professional's.


By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 5/14/2007 7:28:28 PM , Rating: 2
Getting a permit is what varies state by state, county by county, city by city.

Where I live, as long as the work isn't structural, you can usually do a lot of the work yourself. You can have your friends assist, and even give advice I believe. However, most people who do the work themselves do not get a permit or an inspector. This is where it can actually get criminal.

Without a permit you run the risk of having an inspector deny your work completely when you try to resell your house. In addition, there are legal reasons you'd want to get a permit anyway -- say some fault electrical burns your house down and kills someone.

If you're already spending tens of thousands of dollars on a job like this, it's completely worth it to get it professionally done. If you're an EE or something, then by all means you should be able to do it yourself, BUT make sure you're following all the code to the letter and get a permit to do it.


RE: Installation Crooks.
By Grast on 5/14/2007 1:42:19 PM , Rating: 2
Mitch,

I had the same idea about doing the installation myself. However in California if you look at the rebate requirements, you need to be an authorized installer in order to qualify for the state rebate. This means that basically do-it-your self if out of the question.

I have found this requirement was added to the bill which established the rebate in order to ensure that union labor was being used for all installations.

Lovely huh.

Later...


RE: Installation Crooks.
By Mitch101 on 5/14/2007 4:06:51 PM , Rating: 2
Geez. Thanks for pointing that out.

I used to live in Jersey so it might have just been Jersey being crooked. Now that Im in NC it might be a different story but I have to question the Home Owners Association as they might have some sort of gripe. But we plan on selling in a few years and moving further out into the country where we wont be bound by any restrictions. Here is to hoping they make even more improvements before I wind up doing something like this.


RE: Installation Crooks.
By TheGreek on 5/15/2007 4:46:24 PM , Rating: 2
"I used to live in Jersey so it might have just been Jersey being crooked. "

Not just, but certainly the leader.


How many to power an Anandtech user's house?
By GoatMonkey on 5/14/2007 8:54:36 AM , Rating: 2
I'd like to know how many of these panels it would take to fully power an average Anandtech user's house. Considering that the site is populated by mostly computer geeks we tend to have more than average amounts of electronics and computer equipment.

It's probably safe to say that Anandtech users have more than 1 computer, or at least a computer and a game console. Currently most enthusiast computers use at least a 500W power supply. Then you have a display for each, big speakers for games, various peripherals (cameras, printers, routers, etc.). Of course, we have home theater systems, maybe an HDTV if were lucky.

Then of course, you have all of the standard stuff usually in a house like air conditioning, refrigerator, stove, etc.

My rough estimate says that if you keep all of these things running, you would need at minimum 50 of these panels, probably more than that actually.

With each of these panels being roughly 6' x 4', and getting 50 panels, would cover an area of 300' x 200'. That's pretty close to the dimensions of a football field.

Also, being computer geeks, many of us live in the city in apartments/condos, or in the nearby burbs. Those places are not going to have the space to fully run all your gear from these panels.

Yes, I realize that people don't really run all of their stuff at once, and that you don't necessarily need to power everything for this to be a benefit. I'm just saying, still not the most practical thing, but it's great that they're working on it.




By psychobriggsy on 5/14/2007 10:01:23 AM , Rating: 2
Err, 50 panels of 6'x4' is an area 300'x4', or 150'x8', or 75'x16', not 300'x200' :)

Even my small UK house could probably fit some 20 panels on its roof.


By GoatMonkey on 5/14/2007 10:32:10 AM , Rating: 2
doh! Yeah, I calculated wrong. But still that's pretty big.


By Ringold on 5/14/2007 5:59:04 PM , Rating: 2
Well, in theory, all of that really does run about all the time.

Many geeks apparently dont turn their computers off when they walk away even if they aren't running something like F@H -- which would mean nearly full-load non-stop if they did.

The AC is usually on all the time, though some people go to the trouble of programming their AC controller to allow it to get warmer (or stay colder) whilst most occupants are off to work, school, etc.

The refrigerator BETTER be on all the time, and it consumes a lot of energy. Hot water heater, much the same story.

Of course, there are a few things that consume monsterous amounts of energy, like drying clothes, that only occur while people are home.. but those things probably tend to be done closer to night after people come home, too.

I'm not disagreeing with anything really, though. Just saying, a homes consumption probably is relatively steady.


Chief Architect?
By ehovland on 5/14/2007 12:20:52 PM , Rating: 2
Having worked for Brad at JPL, I can say w/out a doubt he was not the Chief Architect. I don't even think the title exists. He was, before he left a fairly high level system architect for the Space Interferometer Mission. He was also one of the principle engineers on the Palomar Testbed Interferometer. I bet he is cringing that he was given this title in a public forum.




RE: Chief Architect?
By ehovland on 5/15/2007 12:05:02 PM , Rating: 2
Brad happened to see the above post and sent me a private reply. His title before he left was Chief Architect of the Space Interferometer Mission. A big title none-the-less, but there is no Chief Architect of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


YOUR ARTICLE IS INCONSISTENT
By mimiman76 on 5/14/2007 8:20:27 PM , Rating: 2
In paragraph 3, you mention that this technology is, "insufficient for residential"...I went to their website and it seems that this technology will be available for residential in 2008. That leads me to believe that it is not "insufficient"...Either I'm wrong, or you need to do more research before saying something about a company like this!




"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki











botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki