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(The New York Times)   Lancaster, California wants to become the "Solar capital of the universe." Well, I suppose that sounds a lot better than "Last stop until Bakersfield"   (nytimes.com) divider line 101
    More: Unlikely, universe, alfalfa, Antelope Valley, House-building, Ohio Republican  
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1905 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Apr 2013 at 10:13 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-10 08:56:34 AM  
Is global warming indeed a threat? Absolutely, he said. "I may be a Republican. I'm not an idiot."
www.cyclonefanatic.com
 
2013-04-10 09:49:31 AM  
Betelgeuse is about 1000 times larger than our sun, so I would say that it is more of a candidate for "solar capital of the Universe" than Lancaster, Ca.
 
2013-04-10 09:55:10 AM  
But what do the Amish think?
 
2013-04-10 10:07:12 AM  
Are they going to put that award right next to their Meth Capital of Southern California trophy?
 
2013-04-10 10:16:18 AM  

JerseyTim: But what do the Amish think?


Honestly, if solar energy could be harnessed within a small community, the Amish would be all for it. They aren't so much anti-tech as much as anti-not-local. Think of them as neo-hippies.
 
2013-04-10 10:21:10 AM  
As long as the backbone of the grid they intend on creating, even the local (i.e. house/neighborhood) grids are expandable and easily upgradable, then rock on. It would be a shame to build something and not be able to upgrade it as solar tech will likely get more efficient cells in the future.
 
2013-04-10 10:21:32 AM  
um ...is not the actual Sun the "solar capitol" of the universe? You know ...Sol, Solar ...our sun?
 
2013-04-10 10:22:03 AM  
I don't think so.....

mediroid.com
 
2013-04-10 10:22:36 AM  

Sybarite: "I may be a Republican. I'm not an idiot."


If only more of them realized this was an option.
 
2013-04-10 10:22:37 AM  
Well, it wouldn't take much.

solarenergyfactsblog.com
 
2013-04-10 10:23:05 AM  

vernonFL: Betelgeuse is about 1000 times larger than our sun, so I would say that it is more of a candidate for "solar capital of the Universe" than Lancaster, Ca.


Sorry, on mobile, but this is pretty fun; http://htwins.net/scale2/
 
2013-04-10 10:23:37 AM  
I just found out yesterday where Lancaster CA is, II know it contributes nothing to this conversation.
 
2013-04-10 10:23:47 AM  

vernonFL: Betelgeuse is about 1000 times larger than our sun, so I would say that it is more of a candidate for "solar capital of the Universe" than Lancaster, Ca.


VY Canis Majoris tells Betelgeuse to sit it's punk ass down.  :star flex:
 
2013-04-10 10:24:30 AM  
userserve-ak.last.fm
knows of Bakersfield
& it's streets
 
2013-04-10 10:24:58 AM  
Hopefully it will turn out better than Nevada's bid to become the Saudia Arabia of Geothermal Energy
 
2013-04-10 10:25:12 AM  

The Irresponsible Captain: Well, it wouldn't take much.

[solarenergyfactsblog.com image 654x492]


NO NO NO NO. We *MUST* put solar panels in SPACE! Burn that heretical picture! This mud ball is DOOMED! Only SPACE can save us!
 
2013-04-10 10:25:36 AM  

RoxtarRyan: As long as the backbone of the grid they intend on creating, even the local (i.e. house/neighborhood) grids are expandable and easily upgradable, then rock on. It would be a shame to build something and not be able to upgrade it as solar tech will likely get more efficient cells in the future.


THIS

You're going to see much more solar adoption when it reaches a point that either:

A. The technology is known to be mature and no municipality risks adopting too early and getting stuck with a system dramatically less efficient
B. Upgrades are economically and physically feasible, such that early adopters aren't heavily penalized for going solar too early.
 
2013-04-10 10:25:58 AM  

The Irresponsible Captain: Well, it wouldn't take much.

[solarenergyfactsblog.com image 654x492]


Like all renewable energy, the problem isn't getting the power, but rather, storing it. Power plants that run on coal/gas/nuclear are great in that they pump out consistent power 24/7.

Luckily, due to the rapid adoption of smartphones, battery tech is the new hot area of research and there have been many many potential advances in the past decade.
 
2013-04-10 10:28:16 AM  
Build a few of these in the Southwestern states:

www.solar-thermal.com
 
2013-04-10 10:29:14 AM  
Maybe the President will give them a government backed loan they don't have to pay back when this all goes belly up.
 
2013-04-10 10:32:26 AM  
Lancaster may not be in the middle nowhere but you can see it from there.
 
2013-04-10 10:33:41 AM  
the brio in his tone indicating that it would be parsimonious to confine his ambition to any one planet.

I like this Felicity Barringer person.
 
2013-04-10 10:34:33 AM  

vernonFL: Betelgeuse is about 1000 times larger than our sun, so I would say that it is more of a candidate for "solar capital of the Universe" than Lancaster, Ca.


Stellar Capital of the Universe is probably more accurate, and here it is:
upload.wikimedia.org
R136a1, 265 solar masses, 8.7 millions times as bright as the sun.
 
2013-04-10 10:36:22 AM  
img.bhs4.com
Just make sure you clear out all those stupid guard dogs before you turn it on.
 
2013-04-10 10:37:58 AM  
The Irresponsible Captain:
Well, it wouldn't take much.

...just an area equivalent to about 1/6 of the area of all of the urban/suburban areas of the planet.

In other words, look at any city over about 50,000 people, and imagine covering 1/6 of that area with solar panels. And yes, that includes ALL of the area, roads, parking lots, buildings, trees, parks, lakes, et cetera.

That's not even considering the cost. At $100/square meter (insanely cheap for an installed system with storage), you're looking at $100 million per square kilometer, times 400,000 kilometers = $40 trillion dollars. This is a fantastically low estimate...

No, thanks.
 
2013-04-10 10:38:10 AM  

imgod2u: JerseyTim: But what do the Amish think?

Honestly, if solar energy could be harnessed within a small community, the Amish would be all for it. They aren't so much anti-tech as much as anti-not-local. Think of them as neo-hippies.


Think of them as neo-hypocrites you mean.  You're right that the Amish have no problem with technology, they have a problem with having their name on it.  So when Zechariah whips out the cell phone that's in his "English" neighbor's name in order to ask for a ride in the van that his family paid someone to buy for them, to go borrow the power tools that his son (who has left the church and can own cool shait) owns, he won't go to hell, because HE doesn't own any of that stuff.  They remind me of a bunch of lawyers, looking for every loophole they can find.  My in-laws are surrounded by old order Mennonites and Amish where they live, and the only reason they have internet is because the Amish carpenter living next door pays them for it, so he can use their wi-fi for his business.

/wife's family is from Lancaster County, PA
//niece married a guy who left the church.
 
2013-04-10 10:39:03 AM  

vernonFL: Betelgeuse is about 1000 times larger than our sun, so I would say that it is more of a candidate for "solar capital of the Universe" than Lancaster, Ca.


To be fair, the word "solar" refers specifically to our star and not any other.
 
2013-04-10 10:42:35 AM  
FTFA: In Republican-controlled Florida, state law prohibits third parties from installing the rooftop solar panels and then selling power to the homeowner, relieving the homeowner of large upfront costs.

This isn't so much a NIMBY thing, or Reactionary Republicans as it is cutting off scammers before they can start!  Seriously, who wants to pay to have solar panels installed and then buy the power produced?!?
 
2013-04-10 10:42:49 AM  
The problem with solar isn't harnessing the energy, it's storing the energy for later use.
 
2013-04-10 10:45:28 AM  
Last stop to Bakersfield?

It's not on the road (CA 14) to Bakersfield. To get there you'd have to either take CA 138 to I-5 or further north to CA 58.
 
2013-04-10 10:45:36 AM  
Subby needs to learn how to read a map.
Lancaster is nowhere near the last stop before Bakersfield in any direction.
 
2013-04-10 10:46:52 AM  

DubtodaIll: The problem with solar isn't harnessing the energy, it's storing the energy for later use.


And the distribution of it. Moving solar part from the west to say New York or Boston isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world
 
2013-04-10 10:47:37 AM  

cirby: The Irresponsible Captain:
Well, it wouldn't take much.

...just an area equivalent to about 1/6 of the area of all of the urban/suburban areas of the planet.

In other words, look at any city over about 50,000 people, and imagine covering 1/6 of that area with solar panels. And yes, that includes ALL of the area, roads, parking lots, buildings, trees, parks, lakes, et cetera.

That's not even considering the cost. At $100/square meter (insanely cheap for an installed system with storage), you're looking at $100 million per square kilometer, times 400,000 kilometers = $40 trillion dollars. This is a fantastically low estimate...

No, thanks.


I mean, you're crazy to try to sail around the world. You'll fall right off the edge.
 
2013-04-10 10:48:41 AM  

vernonFL: Betelgeuse is about 1000 times larger than our sun, so I would say that it is more of a candidate for "solar capital of the Universe" than Lancaster, Ca.


I think Canis Major is a fair bit larger than Betelegeuse. Though I'm not sure if can contend with that solar cluster listed above

Also props to the invidividual for the HELIOs One reference
 
2013-04-10 10:48:58 AM  

peterthx: Last stop to Bakersfield?

It's not on the road (CA 14) to Bakersfield. To get there you'd have to either take CA 138 to I-5 or further north to CA 58.


Good job Lancaster. It takes a LOT of power to keep those meth labs cranking.
 
2013-04-10 10:50:31 AM  

DubtodaIll: The problem with solar isn't harnessing the energy, it's storing the energy for later use.


While battery storage is kind of an issue, it is more of an issue of it being expensive to install, with the investment paying off years, if not a decade at least, down the road, as well as cell efficiency and the cost of production.
 
2013-04-10 10:52:00 AM  
Subby must be from Victorville/Hesperia because anyone else would take the 210 to the 5 and avoid Lancaster completely.

And let me tell you, Victorville and Hesperia aren't in any position to laugh at Lancaster or Bakersfield. They're all shiatholes.
 
2013-04-10 10:53:47 AM  

Elroydb: DubtodaIll: The problem with solar isn't harnessing the energy, it's storing the energy for later use.

And the distribution of it. Moving solar part  electricity from the west to say New York or Boston isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world



Once electricity is put on the grid the source does not matter.
 
2013-04-10 10:54:52 AM  
Germany currently seems to be the leader in solar power production. My girlfriend works @ a German-owned business that added roof panels and drastically cut their power bills. The top floor of our building is currently unlit, but she's warm to the idea of doing a 12V regulated/ solar/ car battery/ LED lighting system- much as what you'd find on a sailboat. 12V appliances may be found in truck stops.
 
2013-04-10 10:56:11 AM  
♫ ♫ ♫
Sol! Sol!
That's what we call,
The Home of Humanity!

Of fighters and thinkers,
Of writers and drinkers,
And Lords of the Galaxy!

So Tremble, Tremble
Stumble and shudder and fall!
And Woe to the systems who stand in our path!
Tomorrow belongs to Sol!
♫ ♫ ♫
 
2013-04-10 10:56:54 AM  

BradleyP: peterthx: Last stop to Bakersfield?

It's not on the road (CA 14) to Bakersfield. To get there you'd have to either take CA 138 to I-5 or further north to CA 58.

Good job Lancaster. It takes a LOT of power to keep those meth labs cranking.


well, now that the illegal alien detention facility is closed, they gotta have  something....
 
2013-04-10 10:57:10 AM  

DubtodaIll: The problem with solar isn't harnessing the energy, it's storing the energy for later use.


But the upside is that solar generates during peak load time.
 
2013-04-10 10:58:35 AM  

The Irresponsible Captain: Well, it wouldn't take much.

[solarenergyfactsblog.com image 654x492]


Yep.  As part of a senior research project back in 2009 I calculated that covering just the roofs of every stand-alone house in the US with currently available solar cells would power the entire US residential and commercial sectors.  The problem was the cost of building all of those panels.
 
2013-04-10 11:03:52 AM  

cirby: The Irresponsible Captain:
Well, it wouldn't take much.

...just an area equivalent to about 1/6 of the area of all of the urban/suburban areas of the planet.

In other words, look at any city over about 50,000 people, and imagine covering 1/6 of that area with solar panels. And yes, that includes ALL of the area, roads, parking lots, buildings, trees, parks, lakes, et cetera.

That's not even considering the cost. At $100/square meter (insanely cheap for an installed system with storage), you're looking at $100 million per square kilometer, times 400,000 kilometers = $40 trillion dollars. This is a fantastically low estimate...

No, thanks.


You are so completely wrong, I have no idea what you're talking about.  You must be trolling.  For home solar installations, it's usually 2 watts of power generation needed for each square foot of house.  1000 square foot home = 2 kilowatts, (2000 watts).  That's about 10 2.5'x4' panels.

A system like that costs $17000.  You can finance it by paying interest only on an equity line of about $50 per month.  You'll save more than that on electricity costs monthly.  It's now cheaper than buying coal/gas power from the city.

I did it.  I'm solar powered.  Those are the numbers.

Don't be stupid.
 
2013-04-10 11:05:05 AM  

devildog123: imgod2u: JerseyTim: But what do the Amish think?

Honestly, if solar energy could be harnessed within a small community, the Amish would be all for it. They aren't so much anti-tech as much as anti-not-local. Think of them as neo-hippies.

Think of them as neo-hypocrites you mean.  You're right that the Amish have no problem with technology, they have a problem with having their name on it.  So when Zechariah whips out the cell phone that's in his "English" neighbor's name in order to ask for a ride in the van that his family paid someone to buy for them, to go borrow the power tools that his son (who has left the church and can own cool shait) owns, he won't go to hell, because HE doesn't own any of that stuff.  They remind me of a bunch of lawyers, looking for every loophole they can find.  My in-laws are surrounded by old order Mennonites and Amish where they live, and the only reason they have internet is because the Amish carpenter living next door pays them for it, so he can use their wi-fi for his business.

/wife's family is from Lancaster County, PA
//niece married a guy who left the church.


Erm...I think you may misunderstand the Amish, much as I did before I listened to this Planet Money piece on them and this one convention they all have to trade tools to each other. Like I said, the Amish aren't anti-tech. They don't think using tech on an individual basis is immoral or any such nonsense. They think that if they adopted various forms of tech on a mass scale (that is, every Amish person has a smartphone), it would hurt the cultural and communal identity they have.

Granted that culture is one of head-in-the-sand, closed-off, if-you-don't-know-about-the-world-you-won't-be-tempted type of repression, but it's a completely voluntary one and one that doesn't preach any vitriol of resentment. Hard to say about most other societies.

Individual Amish people aren't forbidden from using technology if it's necessary. If one had a heart attack, they aren't going to say no to an ambulance or refuse medical treatment from a defibrillator. They just don't want to use it all the time.
 
2013-04-10 11:06:54 AM  

dryknife: DubtodaIll: The problem with solar isn't harnessing the energy, it's storing the energy for later use.

But the upside is that solar generates during peak load time.


Don't get me wrong, I think tapping in to the power source that already powers nature is a good idea.  But, as it has been mentioned already, the current methods we are using to transport electricity are inefficient.  Our current grid is designed around the idea of constant 24 hour supply.  You do not get 24 hour unbroken supply from solar.  Also while solar will be a great solution for areas that receive lots of sun year round, there are large portions of the country that will go without direct sunshine for weeks at a time.  We should pursue solar as a serious power source, but I think nuclear is a better overall solution.  Why try to feed off the rays of the sun when you can essentially create a sun in a box yourself.
 
2013-04-10 11:07:13 AM  

stevarooni: FTFA: In Republican-controlled Florida, state law prohibits third parties from installing the rooftop solar panels and then selling power to the homeowner, relieving the homeowner of large upfront costs.

This isn't so much a NIMBY thing, or Reactionary Republicans as it is cutting off scammers before they can start!  Seriously, who wants to pay to have solar panels installed and then buy the power produced?!?


I think you misread that. The homeowner doesn't pay for the solar panels or the installation. They just pay for the power produced. That's the business model.
 
2013-04-10 11:09:40 AM  

StrangeQ: Yep. As part of a senior research project back in 2009 I calculated that covering just the roofs of every stand-alone house in the US with currently available solar cells would power the entire US residential and commercial sectors. The problem was the cost of building all of those panels.


Going all solar-power, or at least mostly, would likely require something akin to the federal act (IIRC?) that requires every person to pay a $60 one-time fee when building a new house or unit to install a landline, no matter how far from the pole you are. Whether your house is a mile from the road or 10', everyone pays the same, and everyone will have a landline installed on their property. Might have to go about it the same way, since not likely the amount of panels on a home can power it, it would have to be a one-time utility fee that has the cost spread out over everyone (houses and businesses alike) like the initial landline cost.

Not something I'd be against, but oh Lordy... trying to get that passed would take nothing short of Jesus coming back riding on a T-Rex with a lightsaber in one hand and an American Flag in the other and saying "make it so", especially after the similar act proposed by Bush to get lay copper for cable was shot down.
 
2013-04-10 11:12:10 AM  
I think what's most impressive with Lancaster is this building code - which is now law:

"require that almost all new homes either come equipped with solar panels or be in subdivisions that produce one kilowatt of solar energy per house. He also was able to recruit the home building giant KB Home to implement his vision, despite the industry's overall resistance to solar power."

They are also requiring similar regulations with commercial buildings.

/glad to see the solar know-nothings are already spouting their ignorance.
 
2013-04-10 11:15:15 AM  
The Irresponsible Captain:
I mean, you're crazy to try to sail around the world. You'll fall right off the edge.

This isn't exploring a new world, or sailing somewhere to explore trade routes. It's plain-vanilla economics and hardware installation. It's not the thrill of exploration - it's "how much does it really cost, and will it be cost-effective compared to everything else out there?"

The "solar revolution" happened a decade or so ago, and then people started noticing that the math wasn't coming out like they hoped, since they forgot that the panels don't install themselves.

You do realize that right now, the major cost of installing solar panels isn't the panels? It's the labor and cost of support systems (power conditioners and storage), along with permitting and other government costs. The costs of electrical contracting alone will keep prices relatively high. Even with a panel cost near zero, someone has to climb up on the roof and put the panels there, connect them to the house wiring system, and make sure the storage system is installed correctly and safely.

Heck, try pricing a replacement roof with asphalt shingles, then realize that a solar system is pretty much the same thing, with a big battery pack and other electronics, plus a thousand or more to get the thing wired up without burning down the house.

There isn't going to be a "solar revolution" until someone comes up with a radically new and insanely cheap way to install and use the suckers.
 
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