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(TreeHugger)   In the USA, there are now more workers in solar power than coal miners   (treehugger.com) divider line 304
    More: Spiffy, USA, solar energy, workers  
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3683 clicks; posted to Main » on 23 Apr 2013 at 11:11 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-24 08:46:10 AM  

thorthor: Mountain top removal is not the 'strip mining' of old. Forests are not devasttaed, and rural communities benefit, do not suffer from it. And yes, conventional mining still occurs.

fark you it isn't.

Fark you indeed. Come and visit a mountaintop removal site w/ me sometime and see if you can still deny the "devastation". You obviously do not know anything about the process or the everlasting detrimental effects.


The same rural communities where MTR happens have the highest poverty and cancer rates in the country. Many of the communities where these sites are located live in constant fear of the same sort that devastated Buffalo Creek, WV and Martin County, KY.

In what ways does the extractive industries "benefit" the communities they are in? They damage the environment (not only through the loss of forests, which in turn leads to increased erosion of top soil, but also through the release of heavy metals and radiation into the ecosystem by exposing rock that is normally free from exposure to surface water, this doesn't take into account how the blasting damages existing water tables and how valley fills destroy the streams they are shoved into), they damage infrastructure (Semis running with full loads on one lane county roads built for light car traffic have a pretty devastating effect on those roads and the bridges that are on them), damage homes (all that blasting tends to crack foundations, plaster, and windows), and I won't even get into the health effects on people living around those communities and the workers who actually work at the sites. Even if a site is properly reclaimed, the damage caused by these sites is far more extensive than any beautification of them after the coal is gone can fix. MTR offers very little in the way of jobs in comparison to deep mining, and the extractive industries add absolutely NOTHING to the communities they are in. If they did the Appalachian coal fields should be one of the most developed places in the country by now.
 
2013-04-24 08:46:16 AM  

Tommy Moo: Whenever this argument rears up I feel the need to point out the strangeness of people being happy about jobs for jobs' sake. If the solar industry hired fewer people but managed to produce the same amount of power, wouldn't that be a good thing? We are so hell bent on creating jobs these days. Jobs are a necessary vehicle to create wealth; they are not the end point of an economy. If we all lost our jobs and sat around sipping lemonade while robots did all of the work, all that would need to be figured out is a system for properly distributing the wealth and preventing a population explosion.


Don't worry, I'm sure we can just make a robot that does that too!

/Could always joint the Reeks and Wrecks
 
2013-04-24 09:04:27 AM  
Bunch of fools actually think this is a good thing. Amazing
 
2013-04-24 09:09:12 AM  

Lidocaine: I'll stand up and cheer about such stats when my utility bills start trending in a downward direction instead of their current upward climb...


Solar subsidies are probably making your power bill go up, not down.
 
2013-04-24 09:11:11 AM  
Solar is nit yet profitable by itself, and is itself heavily subsidized both by tax breaks and straight government handouts.

So, there are more people on the government dole in solar than there are in profitable coal mining.

Got it.

Obama 2016.
 
2013-04-24 09:14:21 AM  

12349876: DrPainMD: As soon as the solar power subsidies expire, it will go back to being more coal miners.

No, it will just be more natural gas.  That's what's hurting coal right now.  Nothing else.  Just natural gas.  As long as that's cheaper to get out of the ground that's what they'll be doing instead of coal.


Also -- natural gas is MUCH more environmentally friendly than coal.  It's actually quite a good stop-gap as we develop better batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, and solar technologies.
 
2013-04-24 09:17:31 AM  
Would be awesome if the solar power companies actually did something besides default on government loans and go bankrupt.
 
2013-04-24 10:08:30 AM  

AlwaysRightBoy: Just wait until we piss off the sun with our shenanigans.

 You'll see.  For a little while.


I thought you did that when you reelected Barack Obama. All Rupert Murdoch's papers hit the roof about it. I guess they still had the topless girl on page 3 though.
 
2013-04-24 10:17:15 AM  

js530: Rambino:

Allow me to highlight one key difference between solar energy and oil/gas/coal/nuclear:

When we stop tending to the mines/pipes/boilers/CTs, what happens?  The energy stops flowing, and the lights go out.

When we stop tending to the now-installed solar panels, what happens?  The energy keeps flowing, and the lights stay on.

Every solar panel installed is semi-permanent infrastructure that we get to enjoy for decades at no additional cost or effort.  That other stuff, not so much.

If solar is a "semi-permanent infrastructure", the average nuclear plant is the most permanent damn infrastructure in existence. There's no way in hell solar infrastructure will last 30-ish years, the average age of current nuclear power plants. Existing solar doesn't last that long. Solar inverters, like all electronics and power electronics in particular, are constantly being fatigued, by light/dark cycles (1/day) and power switching cycles (thousands/second). Panels are losing a percent or two a year (the magic of compounding rates...). Coverglass is being covered in dirt and bird shiat. Hail and wind storms are taking out panels. All of these require maintenance, labor and expense.

The idea that solar infrastructure is permanent is a complete falsehood.


True, but...

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2165/when-the-zombies-take- ov er-how-long-till-the-electricity-fails
"... how long, assuming I survived [a zombie apocalypse], would I continue to receive hydroelectricity from my power company? "
Power plants are incredibly complex facilities with an enormous number of controls, and consequently an enormous number of things that can go wrong. The level of complexity and reliability of the plants is a function of the type of power plant, the control systems installed, and the plant's age and condition. In addition to the possibility of unplanned events causing shutdowns, there is also the problem of maintaining a fuel supply without human intervention.
...
At most coal power plants the coal is stored in a huge outdoor pile, where it is typically pushed by bulldozers onto a conveyor and carried to large silos or bunkers at an upper level of the plant, from which it is fed to the burners. When the plant is operating at full output, these bunkers theoretically have a capacity ranging from 8 hours to more than 24 hours.
...
Two nuclear plant operators I asked about this wondered what I had been drinking, then said that a modern North American nuclear plant would likely run unattended for quite a bit longer than a coal power plant barring a mandated operator response - perhaps as long as a few days to a week.
...
Hydro plants for the most part are highly reliable and require relatively few controls. Since their "fuel" is the water contained behind the dam, their "fuel reserve" can often be measured in weeks or months. Barring sudden equipment failure or other unusual circumstances, most hydroelectric plants in good operating condition would last days or weeks unattended.
...
Bottom line? My guess is that within 4-6 hours there would be scattered blackouts and brownouts in numerous areas, within 12 hours much of the system would be unstable, and within 24 hours most portions of the United States and Canada, aside from a rare island of service in a rural area near a hydroelectric source, would be without power. Some installations served by wind farms and solar might continue, but they would be very small. By the end of a week, I'd be surprised if more than a few abandoned sites were still supplying power.

Solar (and wind)- what will keep the lights on after a zombie apocalypse (in some areas. Conditions apply. See warranty for details. Do not administer by mouth. Keep out of reach of children.)
 
2013-04-24 10:34:24 AM  

incrdbil: But thanks to Oabamas War on Coal, we faced reduced energy options--


OK 'tard,
How is increasing the number of energy options a reduction?
Hint: Solar doesn't end coal as an option.
 
2013-04-24 11:16:43 AM  

Rambino: People_are_Idiots: Hollie Maea: Martian_Astronomer: I used to work in solar R&D, so I'm getting a kick....

I still do, so so am I.  Man, conservatives sure do hate solar. The mouth breathers on the local paper forums would love nothing more than to have me living under a bridge just so they could revel in how horrible solar is.

Which is kind of strange, since solar represents one of the easiest ways for one to give "the man" the finger and still be able to have nice things.  You would think that conservatives would be all over that.  But they are so terrified that the granola eaters would say "I told you so".

To me it depends on the solar. Those 10-20 year panels? Meh. Solar Thermal? Cheaper and sustainable. Problem is.... still not enough power to substitute coal/NG/nuclear.

10-20 year panels?  Where are you shopping?  Today's panels come with 25-year warranties.  WARRANTY. That means that on average they last a whole lot longer than 25 years...

I am hard pressed to think of any PV solar panel, ever, failing after 10-20 years (subject to baseballs).  The badly manufactured ones fail pretty quickly--after that they are good for a few decades.

And not enough power?  That's just because we haven't installed enough of them yet.  Give us time.


The average PV panel tends to start losing effectiveness (as in not generating its peak energy) if not properly maintained (which a house model typically is not) after 10-15 years. Not saying all now, but these items are quite delicate as it is. They have to be cleaned and checked for cracks, and still effectiveness can be lost. Generating 21Kw? That can drop to 19Kw in around 10 years (which you can notice if the average household uses 20Kw). (Link here: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5850116_solar-panels-energy-efficient_.html )

Solar Thermal is much more durable and requires less maintenance (usually cleaning the mirror) than the PV cell, and also does not lose voltage over time. If I had the choice, I would choose ST over PV.

As far as "not enough of them yet..." even if you glittered the desert with solar panels, it wouldn't be enough to replace many of the other types of energy generation we still use.
 
2013-04-24 11:55:59 AM  

Rent Party: Wow! I'm in Maple Valley, and didn't think that kind of setup would float year round out here. I've got a bit more square footage and my kitchen and water are gas, but I still have considerable electrical use.

Who did the install, since we're kind of neighbors?


Yep, grew up in Enumclaw, work in Tukwila and live in Sumner. My best friend comes from Maple Valley (now lives in Covington). Up here in WA, expect to see a 5-7 year ROI, with current costs and incentives.

Before ponying up the money for PV panels, make sure to make your house as efficient as possible. Here's now I did mine. It includes the major milestones, and doesn't include the little stuff I did like LED lighting and air sealing:
sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net

I know that since adding the electric car, it's taking up a large share of my annual PV production. I still need a full year's worth of data before I can figure out exactly how additional PV I need to get back to net-zero energy. One nice thing though, is that my energy costs are still way, way down. As the long summer days start to come around in the next few months, I expect my 2013 electrical costs to plummet (these numbers don't include the ~$2,400 production incentive I'll get back from the state in August)
sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net

As for installers, there are quite a few options. If you don't want any money out of your pocket, SolarCity is the largest installer in the USA, do all the financing/leasing in house, and are now available in WA. Caveat Emptor; I've never done business with them, and only have word of mouth. They work their program so that your monthly lease will be less than what your current electrical bill is. However they use components that aren't local and keep all the incentives.

Washington State has a very generous renewable energy production credit - especially if you use locally made solar panels and inverters (both manufactured up in Marysville). If you use out-of-state products, you're incentive is $0.15 kWh. If you use locally made stuff, it's a much higher $0.54 a kWh. That is guaranteed as an annual payment from the state's Department of Revenue through 2020, with a maximum rebate of $5,000 *per year* (a former classmate and friend of mine runs that program for the state). In fact, there are quite a few incentives available to different ratepayers in WA State.

As for a local installer, my guy is Pete from Galaxy Electric. He's done 3 arrays for me now (work, home and at my parents). Nice guy, fair deals, good installs and easy to work with. We also went to school together, taking the same PV installation and theory classes. Of course, he can't help if your house is constantly shaded by trees. Hope that helps you out.
 
2013-04-24 12:02:49 PM  

Lsherm: [img844.imageshack.us image 492x369]

Two things I don't understand about this:  Why is New Jersey installing more solar panels than anyone else, and what is getting Pennsylvania ahead in manufacturing?

I realize these are state-by-state numbers, so we aren't dealing with a big picture.


PSE&G is inovating in small panel installation on utility poles.  You see the panels all over the place.  They are experimenting with operating a distributed generation grid.  Cool stuff.  Wish JCP&L would do something similar.  (Parents on PSE&G, I have JCP&L - I hate them both, but PSE&G is at least trying)

Also, a good number of houses have gone solar enhanced.  We have a fairly small number of HOAs that block that kind of thing, so people are able to retrofit onto existing structures.  Funny - a state usually known for horrific regulation for some reason forgot to put roadblocks in this one particular area.

As for PA mfg - I don't know.
 
2013-04-24 12:16:10 PM  

People_are_Idiots: The average PV panel tends to start losing effectiveness (as in not generating its peak energy) if not properly maintained (which a house model typically is not) after 10-15 years. Not saying all now, but these items are quite delicate as it is. They have to be cleaned and checked for cracks, and still effectiveness can be lost. Generating 21Kw? That can drop to 19Kw in around 10 years (which you can notice if the average household uses 20Kw). (Link here: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5850116_solar-panels-energy-efficient_.html )

Solar Thermal is much more durable and requires less maintenance (usually cleaning the mirror) than the PV cell, and also does not lose voltage over time. If I had the choice, I would choose ST over PV.

As far as "not enough of them yet..." even if you glittered the desert with solar panels, it wouldn't be enough to replace many of the other types of energy generation we still use.


Delicate? Lol.

If you want, you can drive over them:
sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net

sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net

Install them on oceanfront seawalls.
sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net

Before UL testing, they even submerged a couple of these panels at the bottom of a 12' deep pool for a week. They pulled them out and they fired right up. The front and back laminated glass kept all water intrusion out.
sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net

You can find the largest guy you can find to jump and stomp on them, which is fun. No damage.

Heck, you can even shoot them with a .22 or .38 repeatedly (notice the bullets don't penetrate the panel) and they'll still keep producing power, albeit, with that kind of damage, who knows for how long. They are in every sense of the word, bulletproof.sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net
Interestingly, these ballistic glass panels recently underwent a longevity test through the DOE NREL. The NREL found that after a simulated 70 years, these panels showed zero degradation of output (while all of the other tested panels saw the typical 0.5% annual reduction). The original test was designed to go through 40 years, but when zero losses were found, they extended the testing. After the equivalent of 70 years, they gave up. In light of the verified testing, the company bumped their warranty up to 30 years.

The 10 KW rooftop array I have at my office is now 7 years old (using Sharp panels). I go up there once or twice a year, just to check that nothing has been gnawed on. They've been entirely maintenance free, and I haven't measured any reduction in production.

But I do find it funny when you call solar panels "delicate." Maybe ones built 40 years ago, or Chinese made junk, but these panels are by no means delicate.
 
2013-04-24 12:30:06 PM  

bdub77: Further proof that Obama is destroying this country. What happens when the sun runs out of energy, Obama? HUH? WHAT HAPPENS THEN?


We'll all die!
 
2013-04-24 12:33:51 PM  

MrSteve007: As for a local installer, my guy is Pete from Galaxy Electric. He's done 3 arrays for me now (work, home and at my parents). Nice guy, fair deals, good installs and easy to work with. We also went to school together, taking the same PV installation and theory classes. Of course, he can't help if your house is constantly shaded by trees. Hope that helps you out.


And for those in the Portland area who are interested in Solar, send me an email.  One of my classmates is an installer who has very good prices and does great work.  Even if you think you can't get it, let them do an assessment for you.  Most of the "I can't get solar because _____" end up to be misconceptions.
 
2013-04-24 12:35:20 PM  
Solar panels are possibly toxic in both mfg and disposal according to that conservative rag, Mother Jones. I'm actually all for solar power, I just think the rhetoric on both sides of the argument gets less and less logical and more emotional every day.
Why not both? Smart kid.
 
2013-04-24 12:58:23 PM  
Haliburton Cummings:

MMM A THREAD FULL OF GOOGLE SEARCH EXPERTZ ARGUING!!!!

I really don't know if you want to go down the road of calling the likes of Hollie Maea, MrSteve007, Ringshadow et al. "google search experts" on this particular topic.

One of the things I like about Fark is being able to read stuff by people who actually work in fields of interest to me.

Heck, even in my own small contribution, I'm currently designing a 4kW grid tie system for my dad's farm. I've had to do a little more than just google stuff. So am I a "google search expert" on this topic?
 
2013-04-24 01:10:25 PM  

studs up: Solar panels are possibly toxic in both mfg and disposal according to that conservative rag, Mother Jones.


Again, that is an issue in some of the thin film device structures--primarily Cadmium Telluride.  But these are not a large proportion of the solar industry.

What's more, thin film is actually on the decline due to the rapid fall in the prices of polysilicon.  First Solar is the main player in the Cadmium Telluride arena.  Three years ago or so they were kicking everyone's asses with prices per watt peak less than half that of monocrystalline Silicon, which made up for their relatively low efficiency.  In the intervening years, their costs have only fallen a little while Silicon has halved or better.  Today there is only a small price delta, and First Solar is struggling.  Meanwhile, here is what is in our cells:

Silicon
Silver
Aluminum
Glass
Silicon Nitride (<.1%)
SIlicon Oxide (<.01%)
Boron (< 1 ppb)
Phosphorus (< 1 ppb)

That's it.  You could blend it up and dump it in your breakfast cereal.
 
2013-04-24 01:16:05 PM  

incrdbil: So a useless mountaintop, among many, is altered. The fill does not go into stream beds--it goes into areas that are pressed, allowed to settle, then reclaimed--according to many regulations, and monitored afterwards--before being developed. Granted, there have bene earlier incidents that led to this increased regulation, but firms doing this work now do not want lawsuits chasing them years later. It is not good buisness.



A "useless mountain top" huh?  Either you are a troll or stupid (or a Massey).

You obvioulsy have no idea WTF you are talking about.  The Fill DOES go into streams, or should I take you to about 20 sites nearest my home where indeed streams did once exist.

I work on a "repurposed land" of sorts where I watch a 1/2 mile of streambed dissappear every year from the operations of the active mine.

Oh or howabout the Spruce #1 mine here in WV that JUST got smacked down from the EPA, because they were gonna fill 6 MILES OF STREAMBED.  The sad thing is, they said that if they just applied to fill 3 or 4 miles they probably would have been ok to proceed.

That "pressed" soil is otherwise called "compaction" which inhibits water infiltration and greatly slows growth of pioneer and timber species.  The water that does make it through is laden with heavy metals (especially selenium) that has been freed from the ground, broken and crushed so it is more available to be broken down by the elements. It's basically only good for -as you have already pointed out- residential and commercial uses.  Alot of what these companies are doing now to sidestep the near impossible reclaimation is to sell the land to develop as offroading parks and now they are trying to give it (and the future problems) away to the Military for training land. Some claim turkey habitat or woodcock habitat reclaimation.  My bet is you live in Kentucky where they have brainwashed people to think strip mines are good because  "they give me a place to live".

The thing that pisses me off MOST about MTR/Strip mining and the whole "Obama is killing jobs" is that these MTR sites provide MAYBE 1/10th of the number of jobs that traditional deep and longwall mining do, although dangerous at least a community can benefit from that.  Only the owners of a strip mine truly benefit.

I assume you have never watched one of your favorite places be completely wiped from the face of the earth to never return.  Never had "your" mountain flattened, stream filled in, fish killed THEN silted over so there is no hope for return and THEN poisoned for generations to come just for good measure.  As years pass all those heavy metals eventually end up in the water supply and the living organisms. Unfortunately this is not just a one time experience for me, it's more like a once a year kinda thing...but hey, it gave you a place to put your house though!

Or howabout the thousands of miles of waters in WV that are so heavily acidified by either AMD or acid rain that they CANNOT sustain any life without limestone fines and/or turn the stream bright orange and stain the rocks and banks like easter eggs.  (Really, some places in WV they gave kids crayons and asked them to draw a stream for them.  In many of the areas all the kids colored their stream in ORANGE!) The truth is the effects are not relugated to the specific locale of the mining nor do they subside when the mining stops.

Right now it is a necessary evil, but I like the way things are going as far as pushing coal out.  The thing is, if the industry wasn't so dead set on NOT changing and not budging on their anti-regulatory stance, they could have been using all that energy (no pun intended) to find ways to make the resource cleaner, less detrimental to the environment and in all a viable resource to harvest.  The coal industry has shot itself in the foot and they are getting what they deserve.

Good business?  It doesn't have to be "good business" when you are making millions a day...have you not ever met anyone that worked on a mine (that didn't own it?)

/I work on strip sites sometimes
//Have friends in the Mine Reclaimation  and Abandoned Mine offices
///Have friends, family and acquaintences in mines and operating MTR heavy equpiment
////Don't have my head in my ass
 
2013-04-24 01:20:46 PM  
Prince George:

Infernalist: studs up: I was believing the math until this from tfa:

solar workers outnumber successful actors in California

bull-farking-shiat
bullshiat

Better?

OK, how about Solar works working for companies that can turn a profit without huge government subsidies?


By Jove, I think you're on to something...

i34.tinypic.com
i34.tinypic.com

Yes, let's discuss huge government subsidies for particular energy sources... Like spending more in direct cash from taxpayers for fossil fuels than we spend in *any* form for renewables.

CS, B: When my grandma died, she bequeathed a pretty big chunk of XON stock (originally Standard Oil) to me and my siblings. The dividends from that have pretty much always covered what I owe the Feds every year on April 15.

I'm not sure what that means, but there's irony in there somewhere.
 
2013-04-24 01:24:36 PM  
I really don't know if you want to go down the road of calling the likes of Hollie Maea, MrSteve007, Ringshadow et al. "google search experts" on this particular topic.

One of the things I like about Fark is being able to read stuff by people who actually work in fields of interest to me.

Heck, even in my own small contribution, I'm currently designing a 4kW grid tie system for my dad's farm. I've had to do a little more than just google stuff. So am I a "google search expert" on this topic?


You actually believe the shiat that people claim they are here?
wow.
 
2013-04-24 01:46:58 PM  

Mean Daddy: Did they factor in that a lot of miners are out of work due to policy and that a lot of solar workers are employed due to subsidizing?  Don't let facts get in the way of making you feel better or smug.



Heard this so much during this last election.  Actually most of those "lost jobs" were absorbed by the other nearby mines.

During Obama's term, the # of employees in the the WV coal industry actually INCREASED the entire time.  ( and boy was the "obama is killing coal" propaganda thick in these parts)
 
2013-04-24 01:57:36 PM  
doubled99:

I really don't know if you want to go down the road of calling the likes of Hollie Maea, MrSteve007, Ringshadow et al. "google search experts" on this particular topic.

One of the things I like about Fark is being able to read stuff by people who actually work in fields of interest to me.

Heck, even in my own small contribution, I'm currently designing a 4kW grid tie system for my dad's farm. I've had to do a little more than just google stuff. So am I a "google search expert" on this topic?

You actually believe the shiat that people claim they are here?
wow.


I eagerly await your proof that MrSteve007 faked all his photographs and demonstrated expertise, that Ringshadow doesn't work as a nuke safety geekette, and that Hollie Maea doesn't work for a PV producer. Jim_Callahan also seems to know his stuff regarding this topic.

Go on... Tell us how deep the rabbit hole goes. Does it hurt you so badly to hear people who work in relevant fields telling you things that you don't agree with?
 
2013-04-24 02:06:37 PM  

MrSteve007: Rent Party: Wow! I'm in Maple Valley, and didn't think that kind of setup would float year round out here. I've got a bit more square footage and my kitchen and water are gas, but I still have considerable electrical use.

Who did the install, since we're kind of neighbors?

Yep, grew up in Enumclaw, work in Tukwila and live in Sumner. My best friend comes from Maple Valley (now lives in Covington). Up here in WA, expect to see a 5-7 year ROI, with current costs and incentives.

Before ponying up the money for PV panels, make sure to make your house as efficient as possible. Here's now I did mine. It includes the major milestones, and doesn't include the little stuff I did like LED lighting and air sealing:
[sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net image 850x476]

I know that since adding the electric car, it's taking up a large share of my annual PV production. I still need a full year's worth of data before I can figure out exactly how additional PV I need to get back to net-zero energy. One nice thing though, is that my energy costs are still way, way down. As the long summer days start to come around in the next few months, I expect my 2013 electrical costs to plummet (these numbers don't include the ~$2,400 production incentive I'll get back from the state in August)
[sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net image 605x362]

As for installers, there are quite a few options. If you don't want any money out of your pocket, SolarCity is the largest installer in the USA, do all the financing/leasing in house, and are now available in WA. Caveat Emptor; I've never done business with them, and only have word of mouth. They work their program so that your monthly lease will be less than what your current electrical bill is. However they use components that aren't local and keep all the incentives.

Washington State has a very generous renewable energy production credit - especially if you use locally made solar panels and inverters (both manufactured up in Marysville). If you use out-of-state products, y ...


MrSteve007: Rent Party: Wow! I'm in Maple Valley, and didn't think that kind of setup would float year round out here. I've got a bit more square footage and my kitchen and water are gas, but I still have considerable electrical use.

Who did the install, since we're kind of neighbors?

Yep, grew up in Enumclaw,


Now this is just farkin' spooky.   I grew up in Enumclaw (EHS, class of '87.  Go Hornets).  I probably know you, or someone that does.   That's just how it is on the plateau.

work in Tukwila and live in Sumner. My best friend comes from Maple Valley (now lives in Covington). Up here in WA, expect to see a 5-7 year ROI, with current costs and incentives.

Before ponying up the money for PV panels, make sure to make your house as efficient as possible. Here's now I did mine. It includes the major milestones, and doesn't include the little stuff I did like LED lighting and air sealing:
[sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net image 850x476]

I know that since adding the electric car, it's taking up a large share of my annual PV production. I still need a full year's worth of data before I can figure out exactly how additional PV I need to get back to net-zero energy. One nice thing though, is that my energy costs are still way, way down. As the long summer days start to come around in the next few months, I expect my 2013 electrical costs to plummet (these numbers don't include the ~$2,400 production incentive I'll get back from the state in August)
[sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net image 605x362]


I drive a Hyundai that gets upwards of 40MPG if I'm gentile with it, which is why I'm not so interested in the electric car.  The other information is useful, though.  The house isn't very efficient, and I'm pretty sure the prior owners had it wired by retarded monkey brother-in-law contractor guy.   We also have a hot tub on the deck that is expensive to run.  I don't ever expect the place to be 100% efficient, but if I can get those kinds of gains, I'll take them.
 
2013-04-24 02:19:51 PM  
MrSteve007:

Fun fact - California alone is now installing more than 1 GW of solar PV capacity a year, and it's growing at a ~25% rate.

Fun fact - 1 GW of installed solar capacity is equivalent to a single gas turbine generator. Not a gas turbine power plant, not a combined cycle gas turbine, just a single large gas turbine generator. If your argument for solar relies on "impressive" numbers without any sense of scale or measure of cost effectiveness (how much will that 1 GW of capacity cost?), it's likely because solar is nothing more than a feel-good energy distraction.

Even California broke ground on a nuclear power plant today, since it takes about 8 years to construct, CA will have installed some ~12 GW of solar capacity. Even if you factor in a 30% for solar, solar will still win on output. Never mind the ridiculous amount water consumed by nuclear plants (or spat out, back into the environment as hot water) - or the several tons of high level radioactive waste the nuclear plant will generate each year.

12 GW of peak capacity, or about 4 GW. Or 4 gen iii reactors. About one nuclear power plant. God forbid we build two at once over those 8 years. And can you tell me what environmental catastrophe is caused by increasing seawater a couple of degrees? Or the environmental damage caused by this high level radioactive waste? Several tons is, what, a small truck full? How many truckloads of used inverters, panels, and general semi processing waste will your solar pipe dream create?

Plus you have the added benefit of less peak loading that needs to be met by peaker plants, and less demand to the grid during mid day and hot summer days.

Because natural gas is not doing a good job powering peaker plants? Because the subsidies spent on solar are more effective than for grid improvement or energy efficiency?

As others have pointed out, even if you don't give a shiat about nuclear waste, environmental impact, or meltdown dangers - nuclear is a bad financial bet. That's why even with 100% government backed financing, it's damn near impossible to get one built in the USA. They have a long history of not penciling out. I know, I'm still paying in my utility connection fees for several nuclear plants that never even came online, since the demand never appeared and construction costs skyrocketed.

Nuclear power is a financial nightmare.


Meltdown dangers? The probability of a meltdown in a US nuclear power plant is less than the probability the planet is ended by an asteroid. I'm glad the anti-nuclear people are using fear to support their arguments.

I'd like to see a statistic about how many solar deaths and injuries we have. Falls, electrocutions, if it's anything like wind, we would kill thousands of people yearly to completely supply the US electricity demand.
 
2013-04-24 02:25:00 PM  
Rambino:

Mr.Steve has lights during a blackout because of his solar panels. That's the kind of thing that the military takes pretty seriously. And unlike, say, a nuclear power plant or a coal plant, you CAN put a metric butt-load of solar panels on a military base without interfering with operations.

At night when it's dark and you need light?  Solar power is very inefficient at night.
 
2013-04-24 02:27:34 PM  

nmrsnr: bdub77: Further proof that Obama is destroying this country. What happens when the sun runs out of energy, Obama? HUH? WHAT HAPPENS THEN?

[upload.wikimedia.org image 826x758]


That image made my head hurt. I realize it's not a function, but I have NO IDEA how to interpret that thing.
 
2013-04-24 02:38:42 PM  
js530:

MrSteve007:

Fun fact - California alone is now installing more than 1 GW of solar PV capacity a year, and it's growing at a ~25% rate.

Fun fact - 1 GW of installed solar capacity is equivalent to a single gas turbine generator. Not a gas turbine power plant, not a combined cycle gas turbine, just a single large gas turbine generator. If your argument for solar relies on "impressive" numbers without any sense of scale or measure of cost effectiveness (how much will that 1 GW of capacity cost?), it's likely because solar is nothing more than a feel-good energy distraction.

Even California broke ground on a nuclear power plant today, since it takes about 8 years to construct, CA will have installed some ~12 GW of solar capacity. Even if you factor in a 30% for solar, solar will still win on output. Never mind the ridiculous amount water consumed by nuclear plants (or spat out, back into the environment as hot water) - or the several tons of high level radioactive waste the nuclear plant will generate each year.


For your consideration:

If enough people install grid-tie systems, a utility doesn't have to spend half a billion dollars to build a gas plant that only gets spun up during the business and air-conditioning hours.

Some utilities get that. Some don't. Constellation Energy is pretty good about that, they encourage such things. And they *have* a nuke plant that they're looking to expand. They're also pretty good about conservation. They realize that they have two choices to meet growing demand... Either spend a farkton in capital or spend a little in giving people breaks for conservation / smart meters / AC cutoffs / power buybacks. It's sort of a no-brainer, but some utilities evidently have no brains.
 
2013-04-24 02:46:15 PM  

MrSteve007: People_are_Idiots: The average PV panel tends to start losing effectiveness (as in not generating its peak energy) if not properly maintained (which a house model typically is not) after 10-15 years. Not saying all now, but these items are quite delicate as it is. They have to be cleaned and checked for cracks, and still effectiveness can be lost. Generating 21Kw? That can drop to 19Kw in around 10 years (which you can notice if the average household uses 20Kw). (Link here: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5850116_solar-panels-energy-efficient_.html )

Solar Thermal is much more durable and requires less maintenance (usually cleaning the mirror) than the PV cell, and also does not lose voltage over time. If I had the choice, I would choose ST over PV.

As far as "not enough of them yet..." even if you glittered the desert with solar panels, it wouldn't be enough to replace many of the other types of energy generation we still use.

Delicate? Lol.

If you want, you can drive over them:
[sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net image 850x566]


Anyone can drive over a metal plate... drive over the glass covering first, which is what KEEPS water out of that panel.

[sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net image 850x566]

Install them on oceanfront seawalls.
[sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net image 850x637]

Before UL testing, they even submerged a couple of these panels at the bottom of a 12' deep pool for a week. They pulled them out and they fired right up. The front and back laminated glass kept all water intrusion out.
[sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net image 850x637]


Answer: Hailstorm. We had a lot of high-end panels become paperweights with one hailstorm. (high-end meaning made in the USA)

You can find the largest guy you can find to jump and stomp on them, which is fun. No damage.

Heck, you can even shoot them with a .22 or .38 repeatedly (notice the bullets don't penetrate the panel) and they'll still keep producing power, albeit, with that kind of damage, who knows for how long. They are in every sense of the word, bulletproof.[sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net image 850x286]


Nope, bulletproof means zero damage to the panel. As you JUST admitted, there would be damage to the panel. Great for hiding behind in a gunfight, bad if you're actually using them to generate power.

Interestingly, these ballistic glass panels recently underwent a longevity test through the DOE NREL. The NREL found that after a simulated 70 years, these panels showed zero degradation of output (while ...


Did they test them in the real world, or a lab? In a lab I can make an elephant hang onto a petunia over the side of a cliff. Real world has stated PV is fragile, prone to failure after a relatively short time, and not cost effective. I'm not saying ALL solar power is fragile (The Solar Thermal arrays are nothing more than metal mirrors after all), but the PV permenantly loses effectiveness if caught in a typical violent storm, or a kid with a .22 THEN a normal rainstorm (after all, it did penetrate the glass...)
 
2013-04-24 02:48:31 PM  

maxheck: I eagerly await your proof that MrSteve007 faked all his photographs and demonstrated expertise, that Ringshadow doesn't work as a nuke safety geekette, and that Hollie Maea doesn't work for a PV producer. Jim_Callahan also seems to know his stuff regarding this topic.


Naaa, that's no fun. I rather enjoy the idea that I'm some sort of bot, or astroturfer - as part of some ultimate ploy to lure unsuspecting internet viewers into believing that solar power works, by quickly Googling things.

That's been my nefarious plan all along, since I created my fark account 10+ years ago.

Nevermind my obviously photoshopped experience in custom PV fabrication and installation:
sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net
My adtroturf photoshopping skills are nearly unmatched!
sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net

Indeed, zero experience.
sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net

sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net

I obviously don't know what I'm doing.
sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net

Those national awards I won last year in New York, from the US Green Building Council for my efforts in green building design? All falsified & photoshopped!
sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net

sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net

And don't even get me started on the faked national small business EPA award I got a couple years ago, which included one of the first building integrated server waste heat recyclers (a design I came up with).

You have no idea just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Now excuse me while I get to work on my next project to be falsified, an eco-tourist beachfront resort on the Caribbean Island of Roatan. Which shoehorns nicely with my recently renovated, but falsified, low impact beachfront resort in Maui - most recently featured in Feb's Sunset Magazine as one of the nation's top weekend getaway spots.

sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net

/but what do I know?
 
2013-04-24 02:49:39 PM  
js530:

I'd like to see a statistic about how many solar deaths and injuries we have. Falls, electrocutions, if it's anything like wind, we would kill thousands of people yearly to completely supply the US electricity demand.

We await with bated breath your evidence that solar and wind kill more people than coal.

Don't keep us waiting. This will be interesting.
 
2013-04-24 02:54:18 PM  

BetterMetalSnake: nmrsnr: bdub77: Further proof that Obama is destroying this country. What happens when the sun runs out of energy, Obama? HUH? WHAT HAPPENS THEN?

[upload.wikimedia.org image 826x758]

That image made my head hurt. I realize it's not a function, but I have NO IDEA how to interpret that thing.


It's not so bad. Basically it's showing what happens to a sun-like star over time. Think of the star tracing out that line as it gets older.

Or, for a fuller explanation: Starting from the main sequence, when the star starts dying it gets colder (moving to the right on the chart) but brighter (moving upwards). Then it chills out as a Red Giant for ~ a billion years, after which it gets hotter, but slightly dimmer. Then it does a big expansion making it much colder, but also much, much brighter, this is the second up and right part. After that it loses a bunch of its mass, leaving just a very hot, bright flash (planetary nebula), and then a white dwarf.
 
2013-04-24 03:10:38 PM  

People_are_Idiots: Anyone can drive over a metal plate... drive over the glass covering first, which is what KEEPS water out of that panel.


I'm not sure if you're seeing the same image that I am. What I see is a single PV panel (glass faced on the front and back - spanned without any support in the middle, holding up the front end of a large work truck. There is no metal plate. That is simply glass that is holding up the truck, no metal. These panels are frameless along the top and bottom, and span 48" between supports.

encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com

I'm not even sure if I should attempt to reply to the rest of your comments. You think it isn't impressive that the panel's glass will stop multiple, repeated & point-blank hits from bullets without full penetration, then you talk about how hail could damage the panel, you're frankly an idiot. A .38 bullet has an order of a magnitude more inertia than a baseball sized hail ball - let alone the differing compression and breaking values of ice vs. lead at high speeds. It's analogous to being afraid of hitting a small rock with your windshield while driving down the road, after I show you that it can stop farking bullets.

I can't speak for all panels out there, but I'd put good money that no naturally formed hail, anywhere on the planet could damage the panels I've put on my office and my house. They're built like tanks. I also fully believe that they'll long outlive me, and likely that of my unborn children. 3rd party testing has shown that, on top of my own personal experience with handling and abusing the panels.

I've more than enough shown that I know what I'm talking about, typically providing links that backup my claims. And you simply reply, and say, "No - won't work." without any proof. It's obvious that you're either simply a contrarian or that you frankly have no idea what you're talking about.
 
2013-04-24 03:45:12 PM  

MrSteve007: maxheck: I eagerly await your proof that MrSteve007 faked all his photographs and demonstrated expertise, that Ringshadow doesn't work as a nuke safety geekette, and that Hollie Maea doesn't work for a PV producer. Jim_Callahan also seems to know his stuff regarding this topic.

Naaa, that's no fun. I rather enjoy the idea that I'm some sort of bot, or astroturfer - as part of some ultimate ploy to lure unsuspecting internet viewers into believing that solar power works, by quickly Googling things.

That's been my nefarious plan all along, since I created my fark account 10+ years ago.

Nevermind my obviously photoshopped experience in custom PV fabrication and installation:
[sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net image 720x444]
My adtroturf photoshopping skills are nearly unmatched!
[sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net image 720x537]

Indeed, zero experience.
[sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net image 720x480]

[sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net image 720x468]

I obviously don't know what I'm doing.
[sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net image 850x566]

Those national awards I won last year in New York, from the US Green Building Council for my efforts in green building design? All falsified & photoshopped!
[sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net image 850x606]

[sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net image 850x1274]

And don't even get me started on the faked national small business EPA award I got a couple years ago, which included one of the first building integrated server waste heat recyclers (a design I came up with).

You have no idea just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Now excuse me while I get to work on my next project to be falsified, an eco-tourist beachfront resort on the Caribbean Island of Roatan. Which shoehorns nicely with my recently renovated, but falsified, low impact beachfront resort in Maui - most recently featured in Feb's Sunset Magazine as one of the nation's top weekend getaway spots.

[sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net image 850x545]

/but what do I know?


So mr. Solar expert man...I'm interested in going solar with my house, half of my garage is south facing with an easily accessible attic and right over the electrical junction box.

I'm in Louisville, KY.    Where would I go to get started and where can I find an easy to understand list of subsidies I could get for the installation?

Also is there a ballpark figure of how much I should expect to spend?
 
2013-04-24 03:51:43 PM  
Girion47:

So mr. Solar expert man...I'm interested in going solar with my house, half of my garage is south facing with an easily accessible attic and right over the electrical junction box.

I'm in Louisville, KY. Where would I go to get started and where can I find an easy to understand list of subsidies I could get for the installation?

Also is there a ballpark figure of how much I should expect to spend?


You could be sneaky, like my dad did. Invite a local solar installer to give an estimate and spec out the system, and then use that as a baseline to build the system yourself for 1/4 of what they were asking.
 
2013-04-24 04:00:17 PM  

Girion47: So mr. Solar expert man...I'm interested in going solar with my house, half of my garage is south facing with an easily accessible attic and right over the electrical junction box.

I'm in Louisville, KY. Where would I go to get started and where can I find an easy to understand list of subsidies I could get for the installation?

Also is there a ballpark figure of how much I should expect to spend?


The best place for a breakdown of available grants and incentives in the US, broken down by Federal, State, City and even individual utility: DSIRE.org Your single largest incentive will be the 30% credit from the Feds when you file your taxes. Looks like you also have a state income tax credit (up to $500). Depending on just how big and tricky you want to go, there's always the option of creating an LLC to own and operate the panels, which would then open you up to corporate tax credits, incentives, power purchase agreements and grants - but it sure is a hassle.

It certainly sounds like a textbook install. With prices these days, I wouldn't pay a cent more than $5 a watt for a simple grid-tie install (3,000 watts of panels = $15,000), *before* incentives.
 
2013-04-24 04:15:48 PM  

MrSteve007: Girion47: So mr. Solar expert man...I'm interested in going solar with my house, half of my garage is south facing with an easily accessible attic and right over the electrical junction box.

I'm in Louisville, KY. Where would I go to get started and where can I find an easy to understand list of subsidies I could get for the installation?

Also is there a ballpark figure of how much I should expect to spend?

The best place for a breakdown of available grants and incentives in the US, broken down by Federal, State, City and even individual utility: DSIRE.org Your single largest incentive will be the 30% credit from the Feds when you file your taxes. Looks like you also have a state income tax credit (up to $500). Depending on just how big and tricky you want to go, there's always the option of creating an LLC to own and operate the panels, which would then open you up to corporate tax credits, incentives, power purchase agreements and grants - but it sure is a hassle.

It certainly sounds like a textbook install. With prices these days, I wouldn't pay a cent more than $5 a watt for a simple grid-tie install (3,000 watts of panels = $15,000), *before* incentives.


Thanks for the info!
 
2013-04-24 04:23:10 PM  

MrSteve007: You think it isn't impressive that the panel's glass will stop multiple, repeated & point-blank hits from bullets without full penetration, then you talk about how hail could damage the panel, you're frankly an idiot.


But what about this video of a solar panel being destroyed by a hailstone?  Oh wait, it's not opposites day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI6K3xlgYoY">http://www.youtube.com/w atch?v=aI6K3xlgYoY
 
2013-04-24 04:29:46 PM  

MrSteve007: People_are_Idiots: Anyone can drive over a metal plate... drive over the glass covering first, which is what KEEPS water out of that panel.

I'm not sure if you're seeing the same image that I am. What I see is a single PV panel (glass faced on the front and back - spanned without any support in the middle, holding up the front end of a large work truck. There is no metal plate. That is simply glass that is holding up the truck, no metal. These panels are frameless along the top and bottom, and span 48" between supports.

[encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com image 275x183]

I'm not even sure if I should attempt to reply to the rest of your comments. You think it isn't impressive that the panel's glass will stop multiple, repeated & point-blank hits from bullets without full penetration, then you talk about how hail could damage the panel, you're frankly an idiot. A .38 bullet has an order of a magnitude more inertia than a baseball sized hail ball - let alone the differing compression and breaking values of ice vs. lead at high speeds. It's analogous to being afraid of hitting a small rock with your windshield while driving down the road, after I show you that it can stop farking bullets.

I can't speak for all panels out there, but I'd put good money that no naturally formed hail, anywhere on the planet could damage the panels I've put on my office and my house. They're built like tanks. I also fully believe that they'll long outlive me, and likely that of my unborn children. 3rd party testing has shown that, on top of my own personal experience with handling and abusing the panels.

I've more than enough shown that I know what I'm talking about, typically providing links that backup my claims. And you simply reply, and say, "No - won't work." without any proof. It's obvious that you're either simply a contrarian or that you frankly have no idea what you're talking about.


If it is any consolation you have completely transformed the way I think of solar panels. I wondered how they would stand up to hail (I live in Oklahoma) and see that at least some would shrug that stuff off. Treat yourself to a cookie tonight, you've earned it.
 
2013-04-24 04:31:14 PM  

js530: And can you tell me what environmental catastrophe is caused by increasing seawater a couple of degrees?


Oh, for fark's sake.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/26/rising-ocean-temperatures_n _2 024930.html

Or the environmental damage caused by this high level radioactive waste? Several tons is, what, a small truck full? How many truckloads of used inverters, panels, and general semi processing waste will your solar pipe dream create?

Wait, so the problem with radioactive waste is that it fills trucks?  Not that it is, you know, farking radioactive?  Or are you suggesting that inverters and panels are also radioactive?

You're a plant, right?  Designed to make opponents of renewable energy look ridiculous, right?  You couldn't possibly be this stupid in real life, am I correct?
 
2013-04-24 04:34:31 PM  

BetterMetalSnake: at least some would shrug that stuff off.


All of them.  That's one of the tests they have to pass for certification.

http://tuvamerica.com/services/photovoltaics/ArticleBasicUnderstandi ng PV.pdf

Search for the term "hail"
 
2013-04-24 08:08:51 PM  
this thread is full of lulz
 
2013-04-24 08:09:15 PM  

MrSteve007: People_are_Idiots: Anyone can drive over a metal plate... drive over the glass covering first, which is what KEEPS water out of that panel.

I'm not sure if you're seeing the same image that I am. What I see is a single PV panel (glass faced on the front and back - spanned without any support in the middle, holding up the front end of a large work truck. There is no metal plate. That is simply glass that is holding up the truck, no metal. These panels are frameless along the top and bottom, and span 48" between supports.


What I saw was the metal inside the solar panel. Glass and forms of Plexiglass can bend, but the weight of a truck can easily shatter most thin-wafer glass. Only one not breakable is Transperant Aluminum (which only exists is Star Trek).

I'm not even sure if I should attempt to reply to the rest of your comments. You think it isn't impressive that the panel's glass will stop multiple, repeated & point-blank hits from bullets without full penetration, then you talk about how hail could damage the panel, you're frankly an idiot. A .38 bullet has an order of a magnitude more inertia than a baseball sized hail ball - let alone the differing compression and breaking values of ice vs. lead at high speeds. It's analogous to being afraid of hitting a small rock with your windshield while driving down the road, after I show you that it can stop farking bullets.

It can stop small calibur bullets that leave a smaller impact area than hail. Care to see hail's damage?

collisioncenternorthscottsdale.com weblogs.marylandweather.com www.smh.com.au

Can .22 and .38 calibur do this kind of damage? Possibly, if it were coming from a full-auto rifle.

You speak of it stopping bullets. I notice you avoid saying hail. Why must that be... (SPOILER: Here comes the math)

While a .22LR bullet has a similar imapct energy as a standard garden variety baseball-sized ball of hail, however, the magnitude of the momentum is way different. A .45-caliber bullet would have a momentum from 3.5 kg*m/s to 4.5 kg*m/s. The .22LR has a momentum less than 1 kg*m/s. What about a baseball? Thrown at 90 mph, it would have a momentum of 5.8 kg*m/s. So, the hail would be more like a baseball. Baseball-sized hail is more equivilant to getting hit with a baseball thrown at terminal velocity. This only takes into account perfectly spherical hail, and not the normal hail generated in a severe storm (they can have imperfections, but most of the time they become oblong).
 I can't speak for all panels out there, but I'd put good money that no naturally formed hail, anywhere on the planet could damage the panels I've put on my office and my house. They're built like tanks. I also fully believe that they'll long outlive me, and likely that of my unborn children. 3rd party testing has shown that, on top of my own personal experience with handling and abusing the panels.

I've more than enough shown that I know what I'm talking about, typically providing links that backup my claims. And you simply reply, and say, "No - won't work." without any proof. It's obvious that you're either simply a contrarian or that you frankly have no idea what you're talking about.



http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/05/big-hail-is-bad/

Again, I like the idea of solar... but I want solar thermal energy.
 
2013-04-24 08:09:55 PM  

Hollie Maea: BetterMetalSnake: at least some would shrug that stuff off.

All of them.  That's one of the tests they have to pass for certification.

http://tuvamerica.com/services/photovoltaics/ArticleBasicUnderstandi ng PV.pdf

Search for the term "hail"


Hail no!

/jk
/great info. Thx.
 
2013-04-24 09:53:23 PM  

Gyrfalcon: Befuddled: Befuddled: That's close to 22 tons of coal a day for just one powerplant.

Sorry, that's 21,917 tons of coal a day.

22 tons, or 22 THOUSAND tons? That's kind of a big difference....



Plant Scherer in Georgia, burns over 1200 tons per hour, right at 30000 tons a day...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_Scherer
 
2013-04-24 10:15:05 PM  
Steven, you truly are one magnificent bastard.
 
2013-04-24 10:56:27 PM  

People_are_Idiots: Care to see hail's damage?


Yes, hail farks up cars, as most people are aware.  But it doesn't fark up solar panels.  The glass used in solar panels is far more robust, and the panels are tested and certified to be able to withstand the worst of hail storms.  This thread contains several citations for this fact.
 
2013-04-24 11:22:04 PM  

MrSteve007: Rent Party: Wow! I'm in Maple Valley, and didn't think that kind of setup would float year round out here. I've got a bit more square footage and my kitchen and water are gas, but I still have considerable electrical use.

Who did the install, since we're kind of neighbors?

Yep, grew up in Enumclaw, work in Tukwila and live in Sumner. My best friend comes from Maple Valley (now lives in Covington). Up here in WA, expect to see a 5-7 year ROI, with current costs and incentives.

Before ponying up the money for PV panels, make sure to make your house as efficient as possible. Here's now I did mine. It includes the major milestones, and doesn't include the little stuff I did like LED lighting and air sealing:
[sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net image 850x476]

I know that since adding the electric car, it's taking up a large share of my annual PV production. I still need a full year's worth of data before I can figure out exactly how additional PV I need to get back to net-zero energy. One nice thing though, is that my energy costs are still way, way down. As the long summer days start to come around in the next few months, I expect my 2013 electrical costs to plummet (these numbers don't include the ~$2,400 production incentive I'll get back from the state in August)
[sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net image 605x362]

As for installers, there are quite a few options. If you don't want any money out of your pocket, SolarCity is the largest installer in the USA, do all the financing/leasing in house, and are now available in WA. Caveat Emptor; I've never done business with them, and only have word of mouth. They work their program so that your monthly lease will be less than what your current electrical bill is. However they use components that aren't local and keep all the incentives.

Washington State has a very generous renewable energy production credit - especially if you use locally made solar panels and inverters (both manufactured up in Marysville). If you use out-of-state products, y ...


You entire setup is impressive, but how much money overall did it take to set it up?  I know you have state incentives, but if you could include the total cost because those aren't countrywide, that would help.

These are investments.  If you spent $80K setting everything up for a null electricity bill, that's still going to take some years to get the money back.
 
2013-04-24 11:40:36 PM  

Hollie Maea: People_are_Idiots: Care to see hail's damage?

Yes, hail farks up cars, as most people are aware.  But it doesn't fark up solar panels.  The glass used in solar panels is far more robust, and the panels are tested and certified to be able to withstand the worst of hail storms.  This thread contains several citations for this fact.


The glass used on the most expensive panels is the tempered "safety glass," which also is used on all vehicles, and are not "hail proof." Yes they can take some damage, but a big baseball-sized piece of hail will penetrate. (Link: http://gold-coast-solar-power-solutions.com.au/posts/solar-panels-hai l /  ). Typically, the "garden-variety" solar panel is mostly the same pane glass one finds on old houses.

Here's a good rundown on what PV solar panels are weak to: http://www.ehow.com/info_8005809_damages-solar-panel.html

Why is Solar Thermal better? All metal, easier to generate electricity, no delicate parts.... no need for glass, and can withstand a lot more.
 
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