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As the solar industry booms, so does R&D. Here are 8 exciting new research developments in solar energy research. From Tech Republic

 

Excerpt:

 

"We've said it before, and we'll say it again. 2015 is going to be a huge year for the solar industry. A photovoltaic system is installed every four minutes in the US. There are now 142,000 jobs in the solar industry alone. Some experts are even saying that rooftop solar will reach grid parity in all 50 states by 2016.

 

The research behind solar energy is booming, too. Scientists are discovering new ways to decrease costs and increase efficiency of solar panels and coming up with creative, impressive ways to generate power. Here are eight examples.

1. Bionic leaf

 

2. 3D printed solar powered trees

 

3. Perovskites

Perovskites are materials with a specific crystalline structure. Stanford University researchers found that using lead, ammonia, and iodine, they could make a lot of it for cheap. Perovskites are more efficient than silicon in some ways, so the idea is using them to supplement rather than replace silicon may be a way to increase the efficiency of solar cells. At Stanford, a silicon solar cell with an efficiency of 11.4% increased to 17% with perovskite.

 

4. Thin film solar

New research from Cornell, published in Nature in January,

 

5. Carbon-based solar cells

Another cheap alternative to silicon that has emerged is printed carbon-based, or organic, solar cells.

 

6. Colored solar panels

Scientists have found a way to make solar panels a little more aesthetically pleasing.

 

7. Polymer solar cells

Polymer solar cells, called P1D2, may increase solar cell efficiency.

 

8. Solar concentration technology

Concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems are giant and have to be angled very accurately to get the right amount of sun during the day. They work great, but they're not ideal for roofs. Now, a team of researchers is working on using that high-efficiency technology for rooftop PV systems by building them with miniaturized, gallium arsenide photovoltaic cells and 3D printed plastic lens arrays. The systems weigh less, cost less, and are much smaller than CPV systems, though, and can be optimized for rooftops."

 

OK, each of the above has a link to a full webpage detailing the breakthrough, and I omitted most of the descriptions in the interest of showing all the types in the full article here: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/8-crazy-new-solar-research-breakthroughs/?tag=nl.e101&s_cid=e101&ttag=e101&ftag=TRE684d531

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What no comments?

 

1. Bionic leaf

Scientists at Harvard recently created a bionic leaf, which uses a catalyst to make sunlight split water into hydrogen and oxygen, then a bacteria engineered to convert carbon dioxide and hydrogen into a liquid fuel called isopropanol. They're almost at a 1% efficiency rate of turning the sunlight into the fuel -- in other words, they've found a way to recreate the efficiency of photosynthesis.

http://hms.harvard.edu/news/bionic-leaf

 

2. 3D printed solar powered trees

Researchers at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland created a solar powered electric forest with 3D printed trees. That's quite a bit of buzzworthy tech in one project. The trunk of the trees are made from 3D printed wood biomaterials, and the leaves are the solar "panels." They are much less efficient than traditional PV panels, but the research they're doing for solar cells is promising as well.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QswunfBC8U

 

3. Perovskites

Perovskites are materials with a specific crystalline structure. Stanford University researchers found that using lead, ammonia, and iodine, they could make a lot of it for cheap. Perovskites are more efficient than silicon in some ways, so the idea is using them to supplement rather than replace silicon may be a way to increase the efficiency of solar cells. At Stanford, a silicon solar cell with an efficiency of 11.4% increased to 17% with perovskite.

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/534511/a-cheap-material-boosts-solar-cells-by-50-percent/

 

4. Thin film solar

New research from Cornell, published in Nature in January, showed that scientists are reporting better solar cells by changing the chemistry of the materials. Thin film solar, which is a photovoltaic material onto a substrate like silicon. The ones made by these researchers at Cornell are organic-inorganic metal halide perovskites, which the team has been studying for a while. The new solar cells use a liquid source and a simple coating, which can make it appealing for more commercial uses.

http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2015/02/researchers-report-better-solar-cells-through-chemistry

 

5. Carbon-based solar cells

Another cheap alternative to silicon that has emerged is printed carbon-based, or organic, solar cells. The efficiency is still relatively low compared to other materials, and the research surrounding it peaked about a decade ago. But, as perovskites gain popularity in reducing the cost and increasing efficiency of cells, carbon-based options are looking like contenders, too.

https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/printed-solar-cells-poised-breakthrough

 

6. Colored solar panels

Scientists have found a way to make solar panels a little more aesthetically pleasing. They layered silicon dioxide, often used to make glass optical fibers, and titanium dioxide, used to absorb UV rays, to make a photonic crystal structure that can absorb sunlight. Colors appear when light is reflected and absorbed, and the colors change depending on the thickness of the materials.

The problem is, these panels are much less efficient than black solar panels, only reaching up to 9%. The blue, for instance, is only about 6%. The hope is that as the technology advances, the efficiency will increase -- but for now, it's a way to possibly mainstream the idea of solar even more.

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl504349z

 

7. Polymer solar cells

Polymer solar cells, called P1D2, may increase solar cell efficiency. The research comes from the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular Engineering, and Argonne National Laboratory. The polymer breaks down easier and allows more electrons to travel faster. The researchers said in a test, it increased solar cell efficiency by 15%.

http://cleantechnica.com/2015/01/19/new-polymer-solar-cells-boost-efficiency/

 

8. Solar concentration technology

Concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems are giant and have to be angled very accurately to get the right amount of sun during the day. They work great, but they're not ideal for roofs. Now, a team of researchers is working on using that high-efficiency technology for rooftop PV systems by building them with miniaturized, gallium arsenide photovoltaic cells and 3D printed plastic lens arrays. The systems weigh less, cost less, and are much smaller than CPV systems, though, and can be optimized for rooftops.

http://news.psu.edu/story/343520/2015/02/05/research/high-efficiency-concentrating-solar-cells-move-rooftop

Edited by RV

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I'll make a comment, it is my own, but perhaps the feeling of others here.

 

Renewable energy has tantalizing possibilities. Wind energy, for example is gaining in efficiency, but on a commercial scale is just plain ugly. Drive through the Sweetwater area of Texas and there are miles and miles of wind farm. Interesting the first time you see it, but in time it just becomes as monotonous as the rest of the scenery there. The technology is such that it can be reduced in size and appearance so that it would not be out of place on any house (any more than a satellite dish), but no one seems to be interested in doing that at a price that has a reasonable purchase price and ROI. And by reasonable, I mean in the range that an average homeowner could afford without taking out a second mortgage.

 

The same applies to solar. Some of things mentioned above may make solar more appealing and affordable, but until it is there, don't expect the average homeowner to jump on board.

 

I find there to be some hypocrisy in the ecological/conservation community that screams and yells to protect this and that, yet gives a free pass to all the birds, bats and other wildlife that are killed by the darling projects of solar and wind.

 

I think what bothers me most is that we have proven, pretty efficient, ways of generating power but those seems to meet (a lot of) resistance. Why? Hydroelectric comes to mind. Why is it worse to create a reservoir than create miles of wind farm? Nuclear power is another that comes to mind. Sadly, all that sticks in peoples minds is Chernobyl, Three Mile Island or Fukushima. They ignore not so little tidbits like the fact that the U.S. Navy has successfully and safely been using nuclear power for over 50 years. Or that France, generates nearly 75% of it power that way compared to about 20% in the U.S.

 

There you have my two cents. I know this is the view amongst most of my immediate friends, but then, birds of a feather......

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Just depends on who convinces the "leaders" as to which is best.

 

All "energy" is "renewable" as we are not really interested in "renewing" it, but just having a large enough pool that our use, seemingly, has no impact on the supply. For years I've considered wind energy conversion to electricity visually polluting, and having the largest potential to impact our climate of any conversion. Consider, if you will, the impact of planting wind rows of trees, how about the wind shadow of a city, or mountain. Once upon a time it was fine to dump sewage in lakes, rivers or bays. But at some point in the increase of the action, the impact will become a concern.

 

Solar has a problem with old battery technology. Batteries are getting better, but they are still the limiting factor for a practical application. They do however work great for providing for the day time demand of industry and business on our present generating facilities.

 

Coal, oil and hydrocarbons pollute, but how about the manufacturing, transportation and maintenance of the first two ? I doubt very much that these are "clean" processes, nor are either of the first two possible without the last two.

 

Nuclear... Personally think that it is the best option, but here again, try to make it without the use of oil.

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All "energy" is "renewable"

 

From a physics standpoint no energy is renewable. Everything will run out eventually. But the sun will last a lot longer than most other sources.

 

If anything is evidence for solar it's the RV niche.

 

Here's an example. Five years ago we took our little 21' 1970s Streamline travel trailer to Southern California for Christmas. Doheny Beach State Park in Dana Point, CA is right on the ocean but it has no hookups of any sort; not even the $60/night front-row-to-the-beach sites have power. We had two 35-watt solar panels leaned against the trailer hitch and we were the only RV in that park with solar. Everyone else had generators. I fielded a lot of questins that revolved around, "Does it work?". Well ya... we stayed a week in the winter on one 12vdc battery and no generator and had lights to read by, laptops on charge and the radio whenever we wanted it.

 

Yesterday, using Google Earth, I counted the RVs at Doheny Beach. Not counting the tents and vans, there were 40. Of those 40 I could see solar panels on the rooftops of 11 RVs.

 

So in five years that relatively popular (and expensive) RV park went from 1 RV with solar to 25% of RVs with solar. Now that wasn't a scientific analysis by any means... but it certainly has some relevance.

 

Namely: if solar can work on RVs then it can work on houses. And even the power utilities are moving to lease rooftop grid-tied solar to homes and businesses now. They can see the writing on the wall. Grid-tied distributed solar will mean that all the utility companies will have is the grid in ten years and they can't pay off their bonds on the tiny profit that might produce. If they can't get into solar on a point-source model (and they can't in time) then they have to do something.

 

It's happening now. Direct Energy, which provides electric power to 14 states, has signed a deal with SolarCity (Elon Musk's solar provider) to lease grid-tied solar installations to home and businesses in those states. http://www.forbes.com/sites/uciliawang/2013/09/10/how-utilities-use-solar-energy-to-woo-customers/

 

And no one will ever have to evacuate 200 square miles for the next 10,000 years because the solar panels broke.

 

WDR

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Correct Mr Rat, energy is not renewable.

 

I fully agree on the solar for RV's. The silence is priceless....well, not really priceless, but well worth the cost. Just wish the Chinese would come up with a small fuel cell, or nuclear reactor, or something that would fully power the RV, incl air conditioning.

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You guys get out much?

 

I am feeling much the same as I feel when I get someone telling me that no solar car will ever be viable today. They have no clue about Tesla. Think everyone is lying to them. :blink: But the funny thing is that they don't want to know about anything that disagrees with their life politics. They will bury their heads in the sand here locally rather than even click on a link that they think might make them have to reassess what they thought they knew.

 

Electric cars and solar energy systems are not left wing despite them being the definition of progress. Who painted greenie all over anything solar, wind, or environmentally sound. That a car can be electric and exciting is a great thing and a fact. If anyone uses the old tired" but it is expensive" they have no clue. Are Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Porsches expensive? Why aren't they ridiculous in price? You do know the Teslas are much faster, as a luxury sedan, than any Corvette or Porsche you can buy. They cost the same as their luxury car counterparts. Less than their super car class counterparts. And in the next three years the new models will cost no more than other ICE bottom and mid priced cars. This is a done deal. Musk insured it by releasing his patents a few months ago and now in the last few weeks we are seeing announcements left and right about how the BMW/Honda/Toyota/Ford/GM/Mercedes and the rest are all going to compete with Tesla in two years.

 

First off I get paid personally for leases from the natural gas Frackers. I thought great, lets let them in. You think wind farms are ugly? Try having flammable tap water from your home spigots. The wells and storage facilities are really pretty when they blow up. We have about two gas well fracker fatalities a year and two years ago five or six just in the Shreveport to Minden fields I live over. Fatalities run about three a year average.

 

I love the implied ties to tree huggers that seems to taint facts. Not even really an interesting bunch of oft repeated just plain wrong strange stuff I see in the fringe press.

 

I will admit to being about green, greenback dollars that is.

 

I want to be self sufficient but for now am just putting in a 25KW water cooled whole house auto switched propane genset running off the dedicated 200 gallon Propane tank ( we have city utilities and our heating and cooking is natural gas from the utility.) It cost $6k to get the original 15KW air cooled unit including a purchased not leased 200 gallon propane tank, installing it and the lines to the Genset, and then wiring the inside switchbox and breakers. No way we can get a return on that. But when the lights stay on while all around us fail for days and nights of outages, we're like Motel 6, We'll leave a porchlight on. If I want it, and can afford it, I will get it.

 

The comments about solar never going full bore? OK, here are the articles about the countries going 50% renewables and in Germany and several others they are way ahead of the US. The new hybrid massive mega capacitor Lithium ion battery hybrids are going into service everywhere for grid uses and for the engineers there are links in all of the articles to more..

 

Big renewables only in dreams? I'll post what is actually being done and has already been done with a series of short excerpts and then the full article.

 

Germany Announces First Tender For Ground-Mounted PV (150 MW)

 

Excerpt:

 

"The president of the Federal Network Agency, Jochen Homann, stated: “The pilot process to tender for the promotion of photovoltaic ground-mounted systems, we propose a new chapter in the promotion of renewable energies. The promotion will be converted from a administratively fixed subsidy rate on competitively determined rates of support. The Federal Network Agency will pay close attention to the bidder to comply with the rules of the game, we are confident that the existing stakeholder diversity is reflected in the commandments.”

 

Seems good.

 

On a related note, the German Energiewende (Energy Transition) is apparently still right on track (despite recent comments suggesting otherwise) according to a recent report from Agora Energiewende. While the name of the organization does give away some bias, it’s worth noting that the former head of the Berlin-based think-tank (Rainer Bakke) is apparently now the chief advisor to Germany’s energy and economics minister on the future of the Energiewende. So, I think it’s worth listening to.

 

As per that report, Germany is still on track to hit its target of 40–45% renewables by 2025. And following that, 55–60% by 2035, and 80% by 2050.

 

http://cleantechnica.com/2015/02/28/germany-announces-first-tender-ground-mounted-pv-150-mw/?utm_source=Cleantechnica+News&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=727030b6d2-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_b9b83ee7eb-727030b6d2-331970081

 

Here is an entire page of solar news starting with and article titled "Christian Coalition Pro Solar, Solar + Trains = Big Win… (Clean Power Link Drop) Each article is numbered and just click on any of the 28 articles in this page alone; they are active links:

http://cleantechnica.com/2015/02/27/christian-coalition-pro-solar-solar-trains-win-clean-power-link-drop/?utm_source=Cleantechnica+News&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=727030b6d2-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_b9b83ee7eb-727030b6d2-331970081

 

I love the repetitious rants about solar storage. Her is what is being installed now hard technology already done: Ireland’s First Combined Ultracapacitor & Energy Storage Facility

 

Excerpt:

 

"Ireland intends to achieve 40% renewable energy by 2020. This is an ambitious goal, considering most of this electricity comes from large-scale wind farms. “The challenge is that it is an island grid, with only limited connection to the UK,” said Klaus Harder, Business Development Manager at FREQCON GmbH. Some winter nights, the Irish grid will have to take 75% of its electricity from renewable sources. This calls for additional services, so FREQCON deployed Ireland’s first ­combined ultracapacitor & energy storage facility for the Tallaght Smart Grid Testbed in South Dublin County.

 

“This 300 KW/ 150 kWh system was developed to demonstrate that a combination of lithium-ion batteries, Maxwell Technologies ultracapacitors, and FREQCON power converters can deliver what is needed. For us, this is a good foot in the door to the Irish market and we’re getting a lot of interest from people who want to look into this space,” said Harder.

 

Though this is a trial run in Ireland, one of FREQCON’s recent contracts was a 5 MW/ 10 MWh facility in China.

 

Around 90% of its business is in Asia. Most of this is in China and South Korea. One of its clients is China’s leading wind turbine developer, Goldwind.

 

FREQCON was one of Maxwell’s first customers, 15 years ago. It first used the San Diego company’s ultracapacitors for pitch control in wind turbines.

 

“We have been promoting the grid energy storage applications in the past years,” said Wolfgang Beez, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Maxwell."

 

http://cleantechnica.com/2015/02/27/irelands-first-combined-ultracapacitor-energy-storage-facility/?utm_source=Cleantechnica+News&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=727030b6d2-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_b9b83ee7eb-727030b6d2-331970081

 

SolarCity To Partner With Google To Finance $750 Million In Residential Solar

 

Excerpt:

 

"American solar energy company SolarCity has announced the creation of a fund that is expected to finance $750 million in residential solar projects, with a significant investment coming from Google

 

The new fund is set to cover the upfront costs of solar panel installations for thousands of homeowners across 14 states in the US, as well as the District of Columbia.

 

Google has committed $300 million to the new fund, the company’s largest single renewable energy investment to date.

 

“We’re happy to support SolarCity’s mission to help families reduce their carbon footprint and energy costs,” said Sidd Mundra, Renewable Energy Principal at Google. “It’s good for the environment, good for families, and also makes good business sense.”

 

Simply, the fund will cover the costs of installation and the solar panels and other equipment, giving homeowners easier access to solar power. In return, the homeowners will pay SolarCity for the electricity the solar panels produce, “or monthly rent for the panels in the case of a lease.” And while there is still a monthly bill to be paid, as SolarCity says, it’s “cleaner, and usually cheaper, too.” Of course, this model is well known in the US now, as it is how the majority of rooftop solar power systems are installed. Note that it does have its critics, however, with a recent study finding that simply financing a solar power system with a loan can save homeowners up to 30% compared to solar leasing.

 

http://cleantechnica.com/2015/02/27/solarcity-partner-google-finance-750-million-residential-solar/?utm_source=Cleantechnica+News&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=727030b6d2-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_b9b83ee7eb-727030b6d2-331970081

 

I just realized that I bit. Here are some last links that each have about 10-20 articles in each page that all here can choose to read or ignore because it will prove most of the naysayings said, 180 degrees off. So here. Very good sources. If you don't want to read about clean tech great! But saying the world is flat does not make it so.

 

From the Sola Impulse 2 Solar PV aircraft being readied to fly around the world solar powered only, to the big batteries being built in a hybrid capacitor, to the fields of renewables that are already supplying 20-30% of their power today, it is all real, done, and requires no faith to believe. They are real and not dreams my fellow travelers on spaceship Earth. We have already, in reality, traveled through space for millennia as a solar system.

 

Yes the solar energy provided by the sun will dim one day, entropy is happening. But renewables means we can harvest it and keep using it. It does not require a million years underground or polluting. By then we will have destroyed ourselves, our planet or both, or some colonies might exist elsewhere. So here is a wealth of links on a single website where you find what is real, and what is still being worked on. It is funded because there is big money in bringing cheap renewable and/or sustainable affordable to the world. Ands we get to breathe deeply of freshened air, and drink unpolluted waters..

 

Go here: http://cleantechnica.com/category/clean-energy/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You guys get out much?

 

.....

 

If you don't want to read about clean tech great! But saying the world is flat does not make it so.

 

 

"The absolute worst thing that you ever can do, in my opinion, in bringing science to the general public, is be condescending or judgmental. It is so opposite to the way science needs to be brought forth." ~ Brian Greene

 

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The same applies to solar. Some of things mentioned above may make solar more appealing and affordable, but until it is there, don't expect the average homeowner to jump on board.

 

I find there to be some hypocrisy in the ecological/conservation community that screams and yells to protect this and that, yet gives a free pass to all the birds, bats and other wildlife that are killed by the darling projects of solar and wind.

 

 

 

"The absolute worst thing that you ever can do, in my opinion, in bringing science to the general public, is be condescending or judgmental. It is so opposite to the way science needs to be brought forth." ~ Brian Greene

 

Chalkie, solar is already there and being installed around the world and here as fast as installers can put them up.

 

What does ecological/conservation communities screaming and yelling have to do with Engineers and scientists building the sustainable energy generation technology? No PETA paint splatterer ever built a bridge.

 

You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

US humorist, novelist, short story author, & wit (1835 - 1910)

Edited by RV

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Yep, solar is great stuff, till the sun goes away, or you need A/C. Elon seems to be the only person in the US focusing on the storage issue....and he seems to be just trying to improve present technology, we need a break thru !

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Yep, solar is great stuff, till the sun goes away, or you need A/C. Elon seems to be the only person in the US focusing on the storage issue....and he seems to be just trying to improve present technology, we need a break thru !

 

Yep, and we have driven through the Sweetwater area on a hot summer day when it appeared that maybe only 25% of the turbines were turning. Wind is just great as long the wind is blowing. Wind and solar have real potential but until they can produce energy 24/7-365 they will always be on the margin of what we need, or at least have come to expect. I agree, we need a breakthrough.

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I think solar will continue to have growing, but limited applications over the next few years until some of these breakthroughs (mainly in inexpensive, light weight energy storage) filter down to the production level, improving their economics to the point where they can compete head to head with other forms of energy in the free market (without government subsidies and intervention). Nevertheless, this doesn't mean that solar isn't useful and desirable in its growing market, which indeed is no longer a niche market anymore.

 

In 3-6 years I will be adding a large, (1,500-2,000 watt) 48v solar system with a high-efficiency, mini-split, DC heat pump to my planned full-time trailer for off grid independence. Hopefully the price will come down and battery technology will improve a little by then. Will it provide electricity cheaper than metered campground rates? Certainly not. But that's not the point - independence is. Being able to stay where you want, whenever you want for as long as you want not only has value in and of itself, but the money saved, vs paying to be packed like a sardine in a can in some RV parks and campgrounds makes it economically feasible. In other words, one should compare not only the $100 a month or so in metered electricity costs saved, but the $300 a month or more in avg. campground fees saved (making a total savings of $400/month) vs the amortized cost of a large solar/battery system, say $200/month to pick a round figure (taking into account initial costs, depreciation over the various useful lives of the components, maintenance and repair costs, the time value of money, etc.) yielding a net savings of $200/mo. for this hypothetical system. Of course this number could be more or less, yet I doubt even with today's technology that it would exceed both RV park rates and metered electric rates combined. One can save even more if one's lifestyle includes more frequent moves. Not only does such a system allow one to boondock in relative solitude in the most beautiful, pristine wilderness areas our great country has to offer, but it gives you the versatility of being able to move at your whim and pleasure, or when weather dictates, not having to wait a specified period of time (to get the best monthly or seasonal CG rates.) Sure there are additional fees a boondocker must pay, such as dump fees, additional propane use, occasional generator fuel, the fuel mileage hit and reduced carrying capacity of having an extra 1,000 lbs. so on board, etc., but these can be easily funded (with money to spare) by your projected savings.

 

Bottom line: Politics aside, solar is practical today and will be more so in the future (as supplemental wind power often is) - in limited applications, but all forms of energy has advantages and disadvantages depending on the application. I certainly wouldn't want to go without propane in my camper, diesel to power my TV, or gas to power my generator and motorbikes. You just have to choose the best energy source for your particular application and needs. In today's world, all are sorely needed - it's not some kind of either-or dilemma some would make it, for whatever reason.

 

Chip

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Two areguments against solar have been around for decades (my first solar panels - on a cruising sailboat - were in 1983):

 

1. Storage.

 

2. What can you run on solar?

 

We already have sufficient "storage" in the existing grid. After all, it's providing most of the power now. All solar has to do is provide NEW capacity or replacement capacity.

 

If you want off-grid or emergency power then batteries become an issue. Distributed power can provide for all the new power requirements as well as replacement (for failed or too-expensive-to-modernize coal-powered plants.

 

And as far as the second point goes, you can run anything on solar as long as there are enough panels feeding power into the grid (or into storage) because it's cumulative.

 

Try not to get focused on batteries because they are only needed if the grid fails.

 

WDR

Edited by wa_desert_rat

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Dave,

Battery tech? I posted the two biggest breakthroughs. One is the MIT study, used to create a 200% denser lithium battery which finally overcame the safety issues.

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/534626/a-battery-for-electronics-that-lasts-twice-as-long/

That was a link from this article: http://cleantechnica.com/2015/02/09/lithium-batteries-200-typical-energy-density/

Then up above I posted the link to the hybrid capacitor battery storage technology being installed already in Ireland that "buffers" the daytime power surges from both solar and the wind surges in wind from very windy days rather than idle some turbines.

I can easily run my A/C with 25 KW. The current Tesla battery packs, made up of thousands of lithium ion batteries all tied together in 60 - 85kWh.

 

Excerpt:

 

"Tesla and SolarCity aren’t the first to try out batteries to back solar power. Japan’sPanasonic and Hitachi are installing home-based, solar-backed energy storage in pilot projects. In the United States, battery startup Xtreme Power is eyeing smaller-scale solar-backed applications to match their big, substation-sized grid batteries, and utility AEP is working with S&C Electric Co. on “community energy storage” systems that back up grids at the neighborhood level. General Electric just inked a partnership to integrate its nickel-saltDurathon batteries with Arista Power’s power balancing system to back up solar and wind power."

http://www.myelifenow.com/2012/10/the-numbers-behind-tesla-and-solarcitys.html

 

Here is at least a week's reading, but do some searches on German solar and wind now installed and the fact that it works quite well. Did you look at the link to the Youtube video I posted here amillion times showing the Mike Stritzki Hopewell house project with fully self sustaining solar which excess power produces hydrogen by electrolysis, stores in twenty tanks and has a hydrogen fuel cell for backup as well as all vehicles converted to run on combuste hydrogen? My goodness this was done in 2005 and completed in 2006 when this video tour was done. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_vgB_k00o0

 

The key is to click the links within the article.

 

Chalkie,

I'm going to pass on answering because I believe that the effort to actually read the links provided is not the problem.

 

To everybody, we have all the major problems licked enough to take them to market and take advantage of economies of scale. Too bad the comments made here when I posted that Tesla was going into production.

 

The status quo isn't as good as it used to be, it never was. Blame is an empty meal when one is watching and booing the great achievers all the way to the finish line. If one does not want to click on links to get as excited a I am about the breakthroughs great! People needing clean air and water to be healthy is fact, not politics.

 

I'm for people and science at the expense of not a single belief. If one is happy believing the world is flat, science is fake, then go type on technology that connects the world instantly and not see the hypocrisy great as long as they are happy. But what is that technology? Witchcraft?

 

It is a wonderful time to be alive. I am going to be 63 in May. My two years younger brother died at 56. I will be very happy if I am around five more years to see what happens once the gigafactory is open, the economy EVs are out, and battery solar systems are manufactured in quantity and cheap. I will have a solar standalone installation in the next year or three. But until then I have my backup 25kw genset. Fossil fuels and pollutants are not evil. Holding back clean sustainables when the spin doctors know better is. Not questioning our sources is the responsibility of each. As are the consequences either way. But it is fun to watch happen and participate in the changes at least as an investor as I and many others have.

 

Before we set our hearts too much on anything, let us examine how happy are those who already possess it.

Edited by RV

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I'm fascinated by the progress on renewable sources and look forward to seeing how this discussion evolves over the next few years. I remain baffled by the "all renewable energy sources" vs "just stick with oil/gas" discussions.

 

No matter how we slice it, oil and gas are going to run out. We can argue on how long that will take, but they will. And they come at a high price on the environment. I live in New Jersey and I know all too well what that price looks like. Further, because many of the major sources for oil are in places that are hostile to us, avoiding the discussion on reducing the need ignores the fact that we are pumping money into regimes that are hostile to us. That has a separate cost and risk to our security. I'm not sure why this alone hasn't shifted the discussion away from the view that renewable sources are a left wing tree hugger thing.

 

Renewable sources have their own price and we need to be careful to manage those over time, but right now there is plenty of room for growth with minimal impact. In this area, we are seeing solar pop up on houses constantly. As a total SWAG, I'd say that in this area about 3-5% of houses are sitting under solar installations. Five years ago, that would have been <1%. New business arrangements account for many of these installations and most of the people we've talked to say that they are seeing significant out of pocket savings using them. If we were going to be in this house for five years, we'd have them, too. In addition, our county buildings with sufficient land have installed banks of solar arrays outside. I don't know the $$ benefits, but knowing this area and our politicians, it's hard to believe that they don't think this will at least break even.

 

I just don't understand why the discussion so often degenerates into an "either/or" thing. I think there's strong arguments on both sides. It's not practical to think that we will eliminate our dependence on oil in the near term, there's just too much infrastructure that doesn't exist to replace oil in the next decade. But I do think that we need to be on the path and I don't like the oh my heavens abandon oil now crowd. So I'm excited by the new research and look forward to it moving to the market place over the next five years. And we will probably be part of those on the bleeding edge when we go full time (hello lithium batteries!). But we'll still be riding with a generator in the coach, because we will be hedging our bets.

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The reason you see so many solar houses now is that the government (that means you) are paying for as much as 80% of it (like in Louisiana). If homeowners had to fund it themselves it wouldn't happen, cause it's not cost effective at today's prices (which would be lower without government regulations - if you look at the sunelec website you will see export only solar panels as low as $0.57/watt, while we Americans are forced to pay over 25% more. Why?) For the record, I'm against any and all subsidies, including oil subsidies (as well as punitive taxation of any industry). Let's allow the free market set the price and the energy industry live and die by it?

 

I would not accept a solar subsidy, but intend to buy my RV solar system with my own money, not yours. I have no choice on the oil subsidies, but I feel the outrageous oil taxes offset these subsidies, so I'm OK with it. What choice do I really have? It's like ethanol, without subsidies, corn conversion plants will die a natural death and the product will be diverted to animal feed, lowering your beef and pork prices. I think we should be smart and use whatever form of energy is to our advantage (with more attractive properties, such as cost, cleanliness, density, portability, availability, etc.) we should not let some government dictated artificial rules make our choices for us.

 

I'm a big believer in freedom of choice, not government planning, social engineering or monopolistic business practices limiting our freedoms. Sure we need to invest in research, but this should be funded by private investors, who should be allowed to enjoy all the free market generated profits for their risks and efforts - then they can reinvest most of it into more neat science breakthroughs and bring them to market. New discoveries that are not brought to market benefit no one. Our future is bright indeed, as long as we behave like moral human beings and don't try to steal from each other, or kill each other like animals fighting for table scraps. I'll take equal justice over social justice any day - the same holds true with free-market, competition driven capitalism over monopolistic, crony capitalism, which is a bigger threat to this free nation than communism ever was.

 

Chip

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Derek, you are never going to convince some people that any change is good. We tend to be less open to new technologies you know, set in our ways so to speak. I would imagine this will still apply a century or two longer until we wise up.

 

DMAFB in Tucson has something around a 15 MW PV power plant and the project will continue to grow. While there are those that think the wind generators are ugly, we find them interesting and proof that we can make changes to benefit us. I've rode / drove across deserts that were totally featureless and there are places where you could build hundreds of wind generators with very few people knowing they exist.

 

Massive solar arrays in the Mojave where very few will ever notice them.

 

I suppose we could sit on our thumbs and blissfully resist any new technologies but IMHO, we need to look at a bigger picture and realize it isn't just all about us.

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Well said Troy!

It is good to have you aboard. It is getting rare to read reason rather than just rhetoric. Regarding fossil fuels eventually running out I doubt it will get that far. I agree with Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal who told why they will continue to keep production high and prices low.

 

Excerpt:

 

"Speaking to his favorite money-honey, billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal told Maria Bartiromo that the negative impact of a 50% decline in oil has been wide and deep. As USA Today reports, the prince of the Saudi royal family said that while he disagrees with the government on most aspects, he agreed with their decision on keeping production where it is, adding that "if supply stays where it is, and demand remains weak, you better believe it is gonna go down more. I'm sure we're never going to see $100 anymore... oil above $100 is artificial. It's not correct." On the theory that the US and the Saudis have agreed to keep prices low to pressure Russia, the prince exclaimed, that is "baloney and rubbish," adding that, "Saudi Arabia and Russia are in bed together here... both being hurt simultaneously."

The article here: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-11/saudi-prince-warns-we-will-not-see-100-oil-again-calls-anti-russia-conspiracy-balone

 

 

I hear ya Dave,

 

But the change is a done deal. Germany already uses solar and wind to replace all their nuke plants, and coal plants over there are all but gone. It is found that the cost to build sustainable power generation plants is less than the cost for a non sustainable, fossil fueled plant.

 

We have fallen behind in the thing that used to be America's strongest suit - putting new technologies to work. Today, that has also been outsourced. And the monopolistic entrenched business monopolies pay millions to keep progress at bay. They get legislation passed at the state level the doesn't just discourage, but prevents small businesses from coming in from the local citizens and compete. They legislated barriers then cry that breaking down those barriers to allow municipalities and small biz startups to compete is unfair interference, while they do that daily and pay billions to get their narrative repeated over and over. Of course no facts just that some "people have said . . ." Yeah! some people have said they are Napolean but that doesn't make me believe them.

 

So we see several states saying that it is illegal to sell direct to the public, but we can order from mail and online catalogs direct from the manufacturer. If WalMart tried to pass laws against selling wholesale direct online how would that go over?

 

There is a lot of fear out here. But little actually being done by the fear mongers or the fearful.. We could use a little old fashioned American ingenuity about now. Musk, from S.Africa, is supplying it for now. While many just wring their hands and get all worked up over the things being done, and siding with oligarchs, tell everyone what they've been told, but little that they've learned themselves and no sources.

 

I'm not trying to win anyone over. I pass along some of what I read to share what I find to be exciting stuff, actually being done. And get folks naysaying without opening one link. Hey that's great, except for them because some others do read them. The ones reading realize someone isn't credible. And it's not me.

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The reason you see so many solar houses now is that the government (that means you) are paying for as much as 80% of it (like in Louisiana). If homeowners had to fund it themselves it wouldn't happen, cause it's not cost effective at today's prices (which would be lower without government regulations - if you look at the sunelec website you will see export only solar panels as low as $0.57/watt, while we Americans are forced to pay over 25% more. Why?) For the record, I'm against any and all subsidies, including oil subsidies (as well as punitive taxation of any industry). Let's allow the free market set the price and the energy industry live and die by it?

 

I would not accept a solar subsidy, but intend to buy my RV solar system with my own money, not yours. I have no choice on the oil subsidies, but I feel the outrageous oil taxes offset these subsidies, so I'm OK with it. What choice do I really have? It's like ethanol, without subsidies, corn conversion plants will die a natural death and the product will be diverted to animal feed, lowering your beef and pork prices. I think we should be smart and use whatever form of energy is to our advantage (with more attractive properties, such as cost, cleanliness, density, portability, availability, etc.) we should not let some government dictated artificial rules make our choices for us.

 

I'm a big believer in freedom of choice, not government planning, social engineering or monopolistic business practices limiting our freedoms. Sure we need to invest in research, but this should be funded by private investors, who should be allowed to enjoy all the free market generated profits for their risks and efforts - then they can reinvest most of it into more neat science breakthroughs and bring them to market. New discoveries that are not brought to market benefit no one. Our future is bright indeed, as long as we behave like moral human beings and don't try to steal from each other, or kill each other like animals fighting for table scraps. I'll take equal justice over social justice any day - the same holds true with free-market, competition driven capitalism over monopolistic, crony capitalism, which is a bigger threat to this free nation than communism ever was.

 

Chip

 

 

Couldn't agree more. Well put!

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Exxon/Mobile, Chevron and Arco accept their government subsidies. I don't see why someone doing solar shouldn't.

 

Just sayin'.

 

WDR

 

There might be a point there if the oil companies actually received subsidies. Since they don't and ethanol, solar and wind do, well......

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2013/01/02/oil-gas-tax-provisions-are-not-subsidies-for-big-oil/

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There might be a point there if the oil companies actually received subsidies. Since they don't and ethanol, solar and wind do, well......

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2013/01/02/oil-gas-tax-provisions-are-not-subsidies-for-big-oil/

Well then, tax provisions for solar and wind wouldn't be subsidies either, would they? Although a private citizen doesn't get depreciation tax benefits until (and unless) they sell the panels or wind generators.

 

Even so... why give a "depletion allowance" for something that, because it's not renewable, you will eventually run out of? And why not give subsidies to something that will replace what you are depleting and yet you won't run out of?

 

WDR

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The point I was trying to make, poorly apparently, is this. A subsidy is a

sum of money granted by the government or a public body to assist an industry or business so that the price of a commodity or service may remain low or competitive. The tax breaks, if you will, that coal and oil get are not different that those given to other industries or companies. Renewables are great, and if the technology is as good as some would have us believe, then there should be no reason to grant them the tax breaks that oil and coal get (which they are too eligible for) as well as subsidies. They are either advanced enough to sink or swim on their own, or they are not. If they are not, and they really are viable, then let private industry backed by private investors sink the dollars into the research and reap the eventual profits. In the meantime we are handing out tax dollars AND paying more out of pocket in the form of higher utility bills and higher food costs.

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Here is an interesting piece on energy subsidies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_subsidies

 

As long as any subsidies expire and as long as the goal (and end result) is a benefit to the country as a while, I'm not against them. I took a Federal tax break last year on the $300 worth of solar I installed in 2013 and I'll take a tax break (soon) for the $1,000 I installed in 2014. I'm not bothering to try to get any subsidies from the state of WA, though.

 

Installation of solar on rooftops is something that I believe will greatly benefit the USA; and the more people who do it, the greater the benefit (in not building more coal or nuclear generating facilities). Plus the rooftop (distributed) solar doesn't require a new grid (which point-source generating facilities almost always require. Plus the ability to "wheel" electrical power across the grid (paying the utilities that own/control that grid for it) means that people with solar in areas with sun can provide power to customers in areas without sun (and perhaps at a cheaper price).

 

We won't ever completely do away with hydro or coal generated power; partly because of politics and partly because of the limitations of solar/wind. But all we have to do is use solar for the new power generation requirements as it is much cheaper than building a new nuclear plant (for instance).

 

WDR

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