Solar panels.

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    Apr 25, 2009 9:08 AM GMT
    I just read that to replace one oil refinery and it's output of energy, it would take 7 square miles of solar panels. Square miles. That is seven times seven. 49 square miles of solar panels to replace the output of an average refinery. That is assuming that the sun shines. And each one of those panels needs to be cleaned at least once a week due to dust, ect. And each would need to be washed at least once a month with water. And that water would be in the thousands of gallons, if not millions, to wash 49 square miles of solar panels. And, assuming that these panels would be located in sunny areas, which generally do not have much water like the Southwest, that water would have to be imported. Like from the Colorado River, which is already overtaxed.

    So, we will build huge fields of solar panels, decimating the local enviroment much more than anything proposed in ANWAR, wash them with water that we do not have, to produce energy that only comes during sunny days.

    GO SOLAR!!!!
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    Apr 25, 2009 9:12 AM GMT
    Not saying I doubt you, but can you provide a link or citation.

    Pretty please.
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    Apr 25, 2009 11:17 AM GMT
    WOOOOW Totally mind blowing.. I mean... OMG Who'd have guessed it.. I mean.. I certainly didn't.. WOOOOW.. I'd no idea that you where an idiot.. go figure..
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    Apr 25, 2009 11:31 AM GMT
    I don't doubt any of that.
    And I'm plenty skeptical of cost vs. return claims for some alt energy or max efficiency products.

    But...imagine if the sun-oriented portion of every roof was equipped with solar panels. There are shingles that have solar energy receptors so the aesthetic objection is no longer an issue.

    All those panels would have no environmental impact, assuming they were manufactured responsibly. The houses or commercial establishments underneath would still need connection to the grid....(at least until the next big tech breakthru that grabs more solar power.)
    ....but the demand relieved from the power plants would become available for charging electric cars, for example.

    Ain't no single solution.
    So maybe let's not poo poo each one individually.
    icon_wink.gif
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    Apr 25, 2009 1:59 PM GMT
    7 square miles is not 7 x 7.

    So, multiplication was a challenge, tigger? What a shock.
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    Apr 25, 2009 2:17 PM GMT


    A better solution, especially for power density....

    http://www.vestas.com/

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    Apr 25, 2009 2:28 PM GMT
    Triggerman:

    1. Please provide us a link or a youtube video or anything we can look at.
    2. Yep, 7 sqr miles is about 2.7miles x 2.7 miles.
    3. Solar technology is developing and when PROGRESSIVE world leaders such as OBAMA fund their research they will get increasingly efficient.
    4. You dont need to have a perfectly clear sky. Even diffused light in overcast conditions, does generate electricity.
    5. You dont have to clean the panels every week with water. It is much less frequently and damp wiping surface is OK. Even if it were water, the water can be gray water- ie water that is flushed down lavatories- not suitable for drinking- but good for cleaning panels or irrigation.

    So, the only thing youre probably correct about is the 2 words "GO SOLAR".




  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 25, 2009 2:31 PM GMT
    as opposed to the cost and environmental impact of a coal plant, huh? duh.


    besides...I agree with Beaux (and not just cause he's cute). I have 3 acres and 2800 square feet of roofspace on my house.

    (lets see, that's 2800x2800...that equals 7,840,000 square feet...and 7,840,000 is a WAY bigger number than 49, so that means I win!)
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    Apr 25, 2009 2:34 PM GMT
    sundayswim said
    Math seems to be optional in American schools.



    easy there, asshat. just cause one boob can't do math don't come down on all of us. I see you are IN the U.S. We must be good for something...
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    Apr 25, 2009 2:43 PM GMT
    Triggerman said I just read that to replace one oil refinery and it's output of energy, it would take 7 square miles of solar panels. Square miles. That is seven times seven. 49 square miles of solar panels to replace the output of an average refinery.


    I think your math needs a little help. You first state that it takes SEVEN square miles of panels to replace an oil refinery's output. Then miraculously, it turns into 49 square miles for the same output. I think you're using some fuzzy logic there.

    edit: damnit - I got sidetracked while replying to this post and in that time a bunch of others commented on the same thing.
  • CAtoFL

    Posts: 834

    Apr 25, 2009 2:52 PM GMT
    I live in an area of the U.S. where solar is becoming increasingly attractive (we have 350 days of sunshine a year).

    Right now, the problem is the initial cost of panel installation. Even with rebates, the payback period for the average installation is about 15 to 20 years. Not TOO bad, but not great, either. So I think a lot of the reluctance to convert to solar IS the thought that there's something better around the corner - i.e., some improvement that will make solar more economically feasible for the average homeowner.

    We'll get there.
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    Apr 25, 2009 2:52 PM GMT
    I'd like to take this time to direct you all to my comment.. although brief, it certainly sums everything everyone has said so far up into one neat little package ;) icon_razz.gif
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14313

    Apr 25, 2009 2:53 PM GMT
    It would be awesome to see more solar panels being used and our reliance on fossil fuels greatly decreased. But the oil industry will do everything in its power to slow down even stop the development of solar energy and other alternative energy sources just to protect its obscene, huge profits.
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    Apr 25, 2009 2:56 PM GMT
    roadbikeRob saidIt would be awesome to see more solar panels being used and our reliance on fossil fuels greatly decreased. But the oil industry will do everything in its power to slow down even stop the development of solar energy and other alternative energy sources just to protect its obscene, huge profits.


    Ever watch the docu-movie "Who Killed The Electric Car"?
    Fascinating facts, some of which are in the category you mention....like Texaco buying up the rights to a battery that would have made electric cars feasible years earlier...
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    Apr 25, 2009 3:50 PM GMT
    I have some property and I'm hoping to build a ranch/cabin up there some day. I plan on not only using the newer generation of flexible, high-output solar panels on most of the roof, but also a wind turbine or two, AND a hydrogen cracker that generates hydrogen from water (Jay Leno is building one of these also), which can fuel a generator, and even stoves (with special modifications, of course). I live in an area where many others are supplementing their imported Edison power, and some are even off the grid totally. It is getting a lot better and easier than it was ten years ago to do this.

    Larry Hagman has a small solar and wind farm on his property on the California coast, and he actually generates enough power for five other homes, which he distributes to the neighbors. Hagman's last electric bill was less than $30 for the entire YEAR.
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    Apr 25, 2009 5:55 PM GMT
    In the south/southwest, I think that the better approach with solar would be to start installing a few panels on each newly constructed home or building, and where possible, to retrofit existing buildings with a few panels. The goal would be to make individual homes or businesses partially, if not completely, energy independent (as least as it pertains to electricity).

    I've also read that home-installed panels don't usually require regular cleaning:

    http://grosolar.com/solar-frequently-asked-questions/#clean

    Wind energy is probably a better alternative in cloudier climates, although having an unsightly wind turbine in your backyard would be a practical, if not aesthetic, adoption barrier in most urban and suburban areas.
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    Apr 25, 2009 6:06 PM GMT
    Oh, and after Ike hit Houston, I had another bright idea that has apparently already been patented. In many parts of the city, traffic signals and street lights were out for days, if not weeks. In rural areas in Texas, you see warning signs with flashing signals powered by a small solar panel attached on the same pole above the sign. Solar powering each street light or traffic signal would go a long way toward reducing public energy consumption, although it would probably take many years and lots of $$ to retrofit a big city like Houston. In terms of natural disasters or city-wide power outages, an approach like this could help mitigate the effects of such events. This could help to reduce side-effects like looting, and could also help first-responders with recovery efforts.

    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4200904.html
  • coolarmydude

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    Apr 25, 2009 6:09 PM GMT
    There's an oil refinery just outside of my hometown that has been closed since May 1997. It is my dream job to be able to buy it, tear it down and recycle as much of the plant as possible and set up a solar farm in its place.



    Triggerman, were you drunk on 7 & 7s when you created this thread? icon_lol.gif
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Apr 25, 2009 6:14 PM GMT
    PSCalif said, "Right now, the problem is the initial cost of panel installation. Even with rebates, the payback period for the average installation is about 15 to 20 years."

    I think it's more like 3-5 years. But, there's already development in the works for introduction within the next few years that increases the PV efficiency, thus producing and keeping more of the energy.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Apr 25, 2009 6:15 PM GMT
    roadbikeRob said, "It would be awesome to see more solar panels being used and our reliance on fossil fuels greatly decreased. But the oil industry will do everything in its power to slow down even stop the development of solar energy and other alternative energy sources just to protect its obscene, huge profits."


    That's exactly what frightens me as I plan to start up solar and wind farms in south Louisiana in a few years after I retire from the army.
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    Apr 25, 2009 7:39 PM GMT
    Solar farms to power a city seems like a waste of land space. Nuclear is still the "cleanest" compared to coal, for that type of power. But of course, everyone is scared to have a nuclear power plant anywhere near them.

    I think solar is awesome though. But there at least two things prohibit mass implementation. 1) As others have mentioned, cost is a big one. Some cities/states do have rebate programs that help offset the cost of installation. But you still need to pony up the cash to install it before you can get that rebate. 2) Efficiency. I don't have exact data, but I heard that current solar panel technology can only capture/utilize 60% - 70% of the sunlight. Plus, the panels are huge, ugly, and fragile. If your rooftop is small or if you don't have a plot of land, then your choices are limited.

    But it's just a matter of time. Technology gets better and better. I was watching some news piece on a company that's making solar panels that look like roofing shingles. Thin, flexible, unnoticeable, and 90% efficient.

    Ideally, every home would have these solar panel shingles and be connected to the grid, creating a collective solar farm. But I guess we just have to wait and see.
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    Apr 25, 2009 8:02 PM GMT
    I am surprised no one has mentioned it yet, but one of the main advantages is the fact that if you have panels on or by your house, you don't get all of the lost energy that happens in the hundreds of miles of lines from the plant to your house.
  • Webster666

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    Apr 25, 2009 8:08 PM GMT
    First, you said 7 square miles of solar panels.
    Then, you said 49 square miles of solar panels.
    Which is it ?
    And, I've never heard of solar panels needing to be dusted and/or washed.
    Do people who have them on top of their houses or businesses, climb up there and dust and wash them regularly ? I wouldn't think so.

    I'm all for "carpeting" the entire width and length of Death Valley with solar panels.

    Nevertheless, we're choking to death on the exhaust from the gazillion cars around the world, polluting our air. Bees, fish, and wild life are dying out.

    Electric cars are the ONLY answer.
    It's a new day, and we need new ways to generate power.
    The days of fossil fuels being the only choice, or even the predominant choice, have to end.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Apr 25, 2009 8:15 PM GMT
    "Nuclear is still the "cleanest" compared to coal, for that type of power. But of course, everyone is scared to have a nuclear power plant anywhere near them."
    __________________________________________________
    Is it okay if we bury all the tons of nuclear waste in your back yard ?
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    Apr 25, 2009 10:15 PM GMT
    Breeder reactors are more efficient and produce less waste. And in some cases, ZERO waste. But we'll never know. I don't foresee any new nuclear reactors being built ever again in the US.