2016
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Is solar power the answer?

Solar powered clothes dryer
Solar for Water heating?
Absolutely yes, passive solar water heating is THE answer in some regions.

Wind?
Wind is caused by the sun and mountains etc.
Yes wind can drive a homemade turbine and heat 48 watt element and run a few bulbs. Wind can push a boat. Wind can lift water from a river or well.

Large scale windmills?
How much hydrocarbon does it require to make and install and maintain large scale windmills? I don't know.
40 years from now, will we have technology and resources to replace all the windmills that have been installed during the last 20 years/?
I don't know.

Sea currents?
Solar contributes to sea currents, same as moon contributes to tides.
Yes sea-wave technology might produce electricity.... but short-term, the fish are more important.
Solar can assist in desalination of sea water.

string of solar panels How about solar electric panels, photovoltaic, to power homes across the world? Hummm. No?
Here are my objections to photovoltaic, and I am probably the only one at the bar tonight not having fun.
Please add your opinion, but not a glossed-up 'industry' study... sure I've read the brochures and collaborated with a solar-electric guy to design a new water heater ... I've glanced at complexities of large-scale solar arrays, and power transmission ... which means my ignorance does not outweigh my ability to get schooled.

But my objections should be considered, as a practical street guy.... I want to see the full number... not what works for one man, but what works for the regular man.
I think the research into photovoltaic should include the political and social sciences as well.... and not rely so heavily on the science of promotion.
I think it is incomplete to analyze photovoltaic as a stand-alone creature without considering human behavior.

That said... the objections are ...next box
Whole-house solar electric panel installations are not mobile... you can't easily load the van with your sofa and 14 solar panels, wires and batteries etc and move to a new home located closer to work.... not unless every house has solar? And then only if new the home is not in the woods.... where you have to cut down the trees.
Photovoltaic might not be mobile for other reasons, such as contracts, distance, the shape and construction of new home, temporary job status, divorce, illness, loss of mortgage, downsizing, change in housing demand etc.
To offset mobility issue... resale of home with solar might offer benefit for next homeowner. But if panels and installation are 20 years old, then the usable life is declining, and that might prevent resale of home.
Photovoltaic panels drop in efficiency over time. They must be replaced at some point. Photovoltaic is expensive infrastructure. Outdoor wiring has a lifespan. Batteries etc have a lifespan. Repairs, maintenance, and replacement are considerations over a span of time that science cannot easily measure, but are practical issues to human beings.
A person might not have money to replace panels as they get older.
Panels and batteries are not cheap.

Solar panel installations are for well-off folks, where the homeowner is not planning to move, has a stable income, owns the home, and is reasonably vigorous and able to monitor and maintain the system.... or can afford assistance with batteries, connections, cleaning etc. And can afford replacement.
... AND where hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes, hail and lightning are not frequent.
... And where crazy ants are not invading.
... And where local theft of copper and valuables is not a problem.
... And where social unrest is not occurring.
... AND where homeowner insurance is available, affordable-to-the-owner, and the policy does not exclude wind-storm damage.... which certainly the free-market policy will exclude if everybody has solar panels. Moreover, this would drive higher costs for disaster recovery, and burden those without solar power.

Keep in mind, these are just questions from a practical man... they are not measured, and are not intended to inflame supporters of one idea or another. I support efforts to conserve and protect our environment using alternative or existing technology... I do not have a dog in the fight. I don't make money or friends writing this. Yes solar voltaic works. But it is not the answer that will supply electric power to the whole world, one house at a time at the same level of consumption and reliability that exists today. Which means your electronics might not work tomorrow, which would be a crisis for internet advertisers.

Overall, my best estimation shows that it takes more hydrocarbon fuel to manufacture-and-deliver modern high-tech solar panels than the solar panel saves.... is this true? If so, then total conversion to solar electric is unsustainable long-term.

But I cannot answer this question.
Does anybody have the science that includes the full end-to-end cost of photovoltaic, from the drawing board, to natural resources, to job training, factory construction, water consumption, use of plastics, disposal of byproduct, landfill space, transportation, sales and promotion and literature, political haggling, installation, processing tax discounts, maintenance, replacement....for every single part, panel, battery, wire, screw, brochure, hot air from me and other people ...  including food to supply the man hours? That's big science.

Fees for solar voltaic solar panels
Couple of comments to inflame everyone ... then capitalists that are pushing photovoltaics have offered 'science and research' showing a profitable outcome for buyer of their product. You will save money, and make money, by installing a photovoltaic system.
Except part of the cost analysis includes 'selling back to the grid at a profit to help out the other folks that didn't buy the product.'

Some public utilities have responded by adding monthly charges for those who 'sell back to the grid.'
This causes outrange among 'clean living' solar folks.

I say, quit fussing and causing a problem and get busy:
disconnect from the grid, do your own science, and check the profitability of your system.
I say, why don't the capitalist sellers of the photovoltaic product re-figure the 'science' and show how much people will save without re-selling to the grid......
I say this because it is BETTER when everybody works together to support the public utility... because you get better service, better pricing, fewer con-jobs from publicly-owned utility than a de-regulated profit-driven capitalist monopoly.

Bottom line, the problem is not the public grid.
The capitalist seller of photovoltaic panels has
exaggerated their product by excluding cost factors.
The grid is correct when they say solar does not contribute to grid maintenance. 

The grid is affected by unclean power. Transformers, and surge devices, and expensive end-user equipment are damaged by surge events.
Surge protectors and arrestors and suppressors are under constant strain and must be replaced periodically.
Absolutely, photovoltaic spikes the voltage up and down when the sun shines and then goes behind a cloud.
The grid computer must calculate total load and know when to activate co-generation.
... but how does the grid computer know when the sun is shining in Jones valley but not in Milford?
... how does the computer know when Bedford has partly cloudy warm conditions, but the higher elevation panels are getting cool wind and good solar.

The list could go on... during grid repairs, how does the utility contact every solar owner to shut off their connection so safe repairs can be made?
Conclusion: the grid is affected by large or small numbers of photovoltaic installations... and the public utility [the people] has a right to demand that capitalist sellers review their 'science' and tell people the real cost, and include ways to help the whole instead of serve the few.


In 2008, I read 'research' and glowing assessments from government and industry studies about a HIGH TECH COMMERCIAL PRODUCT when they introduced heat-pump water heaters.
Then I looked at the actual heater in Lowes, tall, heavy and expensive, and read the installation manual... and said... that is not going to be popular... and afterwards faced a hurl of wind from proponents that chided me for opposing efforts to 'save the planet.'
I decided to continue asking how they intended to solve the glaring problems that 'government and industry researchers' ignored.Nobody answered.
You cannot ignore the practical and then claim 'science' proves that you can.
Turns out the heat pump water heater science relied heavily on the science of promotion.... because the 'science' did not include the fact that HVAC air conditioning and heat were more costly, but this major fact was not part of the science. Nor did the science consider need for dehumidifiers. The 'science' ignored the cost of maintenance, difficulty and expense of repairs, lack of do-it-yourself repairs, and the replacement cost of the unit.
Sure the heat pump is a good idea, and works for some installations. But the science was not complete, and they used the public as the final science. But mostly I think they were promoting a product at a time when people were trying to save money, and people were more than slightly misled by government and industry 'science.'
I am a practical man, and ask for practical solutions.
Stand up and help solve the problem... and I believe the answer for sustainable energy is not promoting expensive high tech products like heat-pumps and solar voltaic that one man can afford and the other cannot.


How about claims of free electricity... the promotional junk that says they will reveal the 'secrets' of free electricity
I don't know how showing me a video with coils of wire proves they can generate electricity for free.
I admit to being a hick-bob from Kansas who worked hard labor in the Texas sun for 20 years and rode a bike 100,000 miles instead of driving... but I started wiring household electric at 14 and know how a generator works, and how a Tesla coil works.
Clearly the math behind electricity is beyond my pea brain, but understand from riding a bike downhill, that you have to ride uphill before you get the free breezy ride down.
Now if you have a paper that tells the world how we can ride forever downhill by merely expecting gravity to oppose itself, I will KNOW we have found a way to get free energy.
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