Five of the top ten sunniest cities in the world are in the US, BTW. The US is technically the sunniest place on earth, followed by Egypt and Sudan.
God, it's like listening to paid shills for the buggy industry whine about how the Model T just isn't "right" for this country.
John Holmes Motherfucker
>>Solar, worth investing in, does have a long way to go.
That's the core issue here, right? Whether or not it's worth investing in. Keep in mind that most of you guys seem to agree about that, even as you're arguing about how long it's going to take.
But it's ALWAYS sunny in Philadelphia!
So how long after the next energy crisis will Fox blame liberals for holding back solar and wind technology in the U.S.?
I don't really buy the solar, believing in it has become something of a "are you one of us?" check.
Quantum yields are horrible, and hard to get a storage solution....I find taking for granted the required breakthroughs for viable solar a touch silly.
Alright SolRo, tell me what are the current quantum yields for production cells?
Also quantum efficiency is of greater importance to solar cells, rather than quantum yield. Creating charge carriers does you no good if they recombine.
Look, I'm aware of energy storage solutions, but they do have a lot of problems.
Here is a positive and, perhaps, more honest overview of the challenges:
my point is that it is unfair to label anyone critical of the approach as an oil industry shill. There are still lots of big problems to solve, and we haven't solved them yet. Assuming we will is hubris.
Using the word "quantum" on the internet is an instantaneous opinion discount. Sorry!
Do you know when we use the most energy?
During the day
When does solar produce energy?
During the day
Storage of solar energy is only an issue if it's a 100% replacement of any other type of energy, and acting like it's not extremely useful for reducing fossil fuel consumption -right now- is idiotic.
Rodents of Unusual Size
And I wouldn't be surprised that people are out of touch since it isn't exactly advertised just how incredibly far solar energy has come...TA DAAAA
Good thing China is the number one producer of gallium for those suckers, maybe a lesser third world hellhole wont get raped to death over this one.
I think it's pretty ridiculous to ignore what is happening with solar energy right now. Yes, it's true that Germany may have jumped the gun when they bootstrapped their solar industry, but it's not the end of the world, and in the process they've learned a whole lot about solar energy infrastructure.
Solar power is revolutionizing the African economy. When all you need is a little bit of power, free from the reigns of centralized government and corporate control, you can't beat solar.
Sure, it's still really cheap in Germany to tear town dozens of ancient downs in order to get at that extremely cheap and highly polluting lignite, but then you kind of have to ask "What is the actual cost of coal, I mean, after you tear it out of the ground, burn it, and dispose of the slag?" That challenge, Gmol, is about as divisive as the one you mentioned about making solar practical on a mass scale.
Also, who cares if solar is "economical?" The concept is so abstract when the benefits of energy independence and the economic ruin of environmental catastrophe are put into the equation. If the state you live in gives you a ,000 tax rebate to put paneling on your roof, is that not "economical?"
The cost per kilowatt for solar is now competitive with coal, in any case. To downplay the exponential growth of the PV industry is just silly.
Not to mention solar and wind can be set up and running NOW as opposed to years to a decade for other plants, especially nuclear.
The midwest could provide craploads of electricity from those to methods just with Kansas and the Dakotas installing the plants. The problem is that we've got no central trunk into the grid. We've still got this idiotic east-west divide on our power system (which is a tarball anyway) that, in addition to being a nightmare, is what let Enron put the screws on California.
How many of you guys put your money where your mouth is? How many of you are off the grid and using solar? I've looked into it and it isn't cost effective for me. It would take 25 to 30 thousand to get off the grid, and I wouldn't have that paid off for decades. Plus I'd still have to use batteries at night.
Right now, until things change, you will lose money with solar if you attempt to do it yourself. It might work on a large scale, but it isn't as powerful as nuclear and isn't very profitable.
If it were profitable, you'd see solar panels on houses left and right, and solar farms everywhere. It's not there yet, I'm afraid..
Baleen, the credit isn't enough, just like the credit for an electric car isn't enough. Solar isn't cheap or profitable enough yet, and as such in the west it's pretty much a toy for the rich suburbanites than can afford it.
How many of you use solar on your roofs or can really afford an electric car? How many of you have them, or is that for someone else to buy?
HarrietTubmanPI, yeah we're not there yet, but that doesn't mean we won't get there. There is an announcement or journal article almost every day from labs creating cheaper and smaller cells and firms getting record efficiencies. And we only just started investing in them in any real substantial way in the past 10 years.
The fossil fuel industry has had many many times the amount of government investment to keep them afloat and profitable, and no one has considered that investment a boondoggle. Yes China and Germany have shown that throwing money at it won't make it work overnight but they've seen huge improvements since they started investing heavily as well.
Most people won't be getting off the grid any time soon in the developed world, where we use a lot of energy, but I don't think it's hubris to say we'll figure this out by 2050. The leaps we've made in 10 years are not insubstantial, and I do not see the evidence that we are plateauing, especially with nano-materials just coming into play.
Give me an example of what a "nanomaterial" is and how it increases the efficiency of a solar cell. As far as I know, all materials are made out of nano-parts (e.g. wood).
There is a difference between science and what is in the press releases written by journals/university departments.
Harriet: I don't think anybody is saying that you can take PVP's with 12% efficiency and go off the grid, not with thousands of watts of energy use a month for the average home. But in much of Africa, where all they need to do is power a few lightbulbs and charge a cellphone, a single Chinese panel changes lives.
You can, however, do a lot with ,000 of free money in the USA. If a 5kW system costs around ,000-,000, then you're getting a rebate that pays for 15-25% of your energy. This is with a conservative 12% efficiency, which is already pretty low. Ten years ago I remember 6% being the cheap standard.
Assuming Moore's Law continues to apply to solar panels as it has been, it won't be long. With 40% efficiency recently announced in the lab, it's just stupid to not assume that these things will not be everywhere in 10 years. I live in a rented apartment and always have, so I can't put solar panels on my roof in any case.
Harriet, does that mean you put your money where YOUR mouth is and installed a coal-fired plant in your basement?
Solar can be individual, yes, but this is about a NATIONAL effort.
It's like someone saying "oh, you want people to start using more public transportation? Why aren't you throwing your car away?"
Then again, solar is already beating coal in the business, non residential market:
"Management is focused on achieving its 2014 sustainability targets: Mass producing thin-film CdTe PV cells with an energy conversion efficiency of 13.5-14.5%, and driving the cost-per-watt of its thin-film modules down by 16-30% to ##CONTENT##.52-##CONTENT##.63. In 2Q of 2011, one of its thin-film solar PV cells set a world record at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) by converting 17.3% of incident sunlight into electricity.
Having broken the /Watt module-manufacturing cost barrier in 2008, First Solar’s average cost-per-watt for manufacturing thin-film CdTe modules continues to decline. Module manufacturing costs dropped to ##CONTENT##.75 as of mid-2011, which is more than 1/3 less than the cost of “best-of-breed” crystalline silicon solar PV modules, according to industry researchers. Working to achieve an overall “balance of systems” cost of ##CONTENT##.98/W by 2014, First Solar came in at ##CONTENT##.99/W in 2Q of 2011."
You really don't get the issues with solar. It's like every problem with solar just bounces off of your ears.
I agree that we need to get off of fossil fuels, but telling me to build a coal power plant in my basement is a terrible counter to my argument.
It's all well and good to use it in Africa where electricity consumption isn't much, but here my consumption is high and it will be high no matter what I do. My job requires a lot of computer equipment and it uses a lot of electricity out of my house. As efficient as I try to be, I will still be a high end user of electricity.
You guys talk as if a ,000 credit or ,000 credit is going to be enough to swing the deal on an electric car or solar panel system. It's not for most people including me. I did get an ,000 credit when I purchased my home, but a house purchase is more of a necessity, and compared to a car or solar system, keeps it's value or even appreciates in value. In other words, a credit on a house is much better in the long run in terms of getting someone to do something.
Yes, I cashed in an energy credit for new windows, but was it enough to seal the deal? No. And, in the long term, even though it's saving me energy, it won't save enough to pay them off until about 40 or 50 years from now. If that.
I'm a home owner. I have actively looked into solar powering my home. Even if I use some of it, I'll still have to pay -15,000 and will still use coal and fossil fuels when they aren't being used. At that rate, it'll take about 30 years to pay them off. If I spend more and get off the grid completely, then although I'll save more, it'll still take me 30 years to get them paid off, and they will lose value over time, and efficiency, and eventually I'll have to either replace batteries or the inverter (and that is not cheap).
Also, I'll still have to use fossil fuels for my car - and an electric car doesn't have the range I need, and I don't have options of taking a train cross country.
Imagine we switched to massive solar farms out west - we'd still have problems of getting that energy stored so it can be used at night, and we'd still have problems with fossil fuels being used for heating oil, gasoline, natural gas, etc.
I agree, I think we should move away from fossil fuels completely - but to think of solar energy as some magic wand that can immediately fix us tomorrow is silly and stupid. Solar, worth investing in, does have a long way to go.
Also, baleen, it's silly applying Moore's law to solar panels.
We can't look at one energy source with disdain to the point where we can not see any good in it, and look at another energy source and pretend it's perfect.
Even if we could make a nuclear fusion reactor work right now, it would still not be a perfect system.
Harriet, if you read what I wrote carefully, I never said that solar was a "perfect system." I understand your pain regarding the price of going off the grid. Within 10 years, I said, it's going to be a different situation. I don't see how getting ,000 to install a few lower-efficiency solar panels to offset the costs of your consumption is a bad thing. Do you live somewhere without a lot of sunlight? Your argument appears to be that you can't afford it, that wherever you live does not subsidize it enough, and therefore it is irrational to be joyously pro-solar: Over COAL, not nuclear, that's what we were talking about.
Since I'm something of a Keynesian, I think you should get more money from the government to buy solar. That's my opinion, and the opinion of many economists. FDR expanded the rural poor South's energy grid by leaps and bounds. He is attacked for this, but the fact is that in so doing he transformed the lives of millions of people for the better. At what cost? Who cares. There was no market incentive to give hot water and electricity to penniless Okies, but how thankless they all are that they got it.
And it is not silly to apply Moore's Law to PVC technology.
The article in Forbes is much better reasoned, and explains why Moore's law is misleading in this context.
|John Holmes Motherfucker |
I recently read in here that if something is so loathsome you can't bring yourself to watch it, that's an automatic five stars.
|The Mothership |
this message brought to you by the natural gas industry.
Clean. Safe. Fracked directly into your faucet.
|Jet Bin Fever |
I trust any "expert" who starts out their spiel using the words "tons of jobs."
|Binro the Heretic |
I'm not too worried.
Once we burn up all the fossil fuels, we'll HAVE to switch to wind & solar.
PRAISE THE SUN!
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