Skip to content
Do you have adblock enabled?
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Fortune)   You know it's hot when even solar panels can't handle it   (fortune.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Nuclear power, solar power industry, solar panels, grips of a record-breaking heat wave, nuclear power plants, temperature records, high season, electricity demand  
•       •       •

1540 clicks; posted to Business » on 19 Jul 2022 at 11:54 PM (19 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



21 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2022-07-20 12:06:50 AM  
Cool them with evaporative coolers since conventional air conditioning is prohibitively expensive.
 
2022-07-20 12:39:17 AM  
This is a known problem. It is also known to be exaggerated. The remedy is simple.

Let's say you are going to have 20% less generation on REALLY hot days over, say 35 degC. And 10% less generation at 30 degC and higher. Meh. Build 20% more generation capacity and forget about it. OR double your solar and get one more inverter and get a refrigeration unit for the inverters and you are done.

With EVs, the solution seems to be "make the battery bigger" and with coal generation plants, the solution is "let's make more, and not clean coal either, let's do it dirty." Solar is not a "finesse" thing. More is better. And it is cheap, and you already have the hardware, just bolt on some more panels and stop crying.  It just works. So build more. Way more. You need more? Build more. It is a no brainer.

And enjoy your greater capacity the rest of the year too.

I consider it to be a non-issue. Really. As a solar owner, it has never bothered me. I guess you want to factor it into your original plans, but people usually overbuild systems anyway.
 
2022-07-20 12:47:57 AM  
So overbuilding is the easiest workaround. There are others.

Floating solar gets support for protecting water resources, but the water and shade also cool the backs of the panels somewhat.

I have heard of active systems that do not actually refrigerate the backs of panels, but, for instance, swimming pool heating coils can be set up behind solar panels to pull some heat from under the panels and use it for water heating.

I suppose, if this were a hugely important issue, spraying clean water on the panels would clean them and cool them at the same time. Seems extreme to me, but the hottest areas are also those with a lot of dust buildup on panels, probably, so why not clean and cool them at the same time?
 
2022-07-20 1:44:54 AM  
Anyone who has solar has seen this phenomenon. Your peak output is in very sunny but mild months. Our best month seems to be June every year even though August is the sunniest. It's important for people to know about this, but it's also important not to let disinformation peddlers to run with this. Solar is cheaper and more reliable than it's ever been. It's the best solution for a warming world because it happens to work when people need A/C the most. Fossil fuel-burning power plants suffer in extreme heat as well. At least the solar panels aren't shiatting out pollution. They also don't rely on a massive extraction and transport industry that burps massive amounts of GHGs into the sky at every point in the supply chain.
 
2022-07-20 1:46:52 AM  

2fardownthread: With EVs, the solution seems to be "make the battery bigger"


Tell that to the Nissan Ariya, any entry level Korean EV, or the new Tesla Model Y Standard Range AWD.

You almost made it a whole post without spreading weird propaganda. Almost.
 
2022-07-20 1:51:11 AM  

uncoveror: Cool them with evaporative coolers since conventional air conditioning is prohibitively expensive.


I've seen some panels here in Japan have cooling loops almost like a high-end gaming PC. Obviously the panels can never be cooler than ambient temperature, but clearly the boost in efficiency from not being  outweighs the power used to move water through the system (I guess? Or else it wouldn't be a thing, right?)
 
2022-07-20 4:11:02 AM  
I wonder if you could just run town water through them.

Every time you turn the cold tap on, water runs through. Water the garden? That water is first passing through the solar panels. Etc.

It's not like it matters if the cold water tap is dropping is 10'C or 30'C.
 
2022-07-20 6:53:37 AM  

dyhchong: I wonder if you could just run town water through them.

Every time you turn the cold tap on, water runs through. Water the garden? That water is first passing through the solar panels. Etc.

It's not like it matters if the cold water tap is dropping is 10'C or 30'C.


It gets so complicated that all of the costs get out of control and it just becomes more trouble than it is worth... BUT....

Here is a convoluted solution. You could have a 500 gallon tank of water or water mixed with antifreeze/pglycol and then run your mixture through some simple heat exchangers behind the panels. Then you can run a compression loop/heat pump to take the heat from that tank for use with your water heater, or for home heating. That would give you high efficiency for your heat pump, but separate your system from icky hot hoses on the roof. And then of course, the solar can run your pumps AND your heat pump.

So it gives you some "products" in the winter and summer, which are hot water and higher panel efficiency.

There is another wrinkle, which is that you could you could make the heat pump work in reverse, so that the solar panels would chill the water. You could run it to cool your panels AND your house in summer.

All eminently doable. All synergetically operated. Heat pumps and solar are a great pairing of technologies.

But as stated above, just get a few more panels and skip all the plumbing and fuss.

Personally, I find that, and although some farkers hate the phrase, "supply creates its own demand." Whenever you have a lot of some resource, which might be compost, trees, myoga, wood ash, garlic, and PV generated electricity, you start looking for ways to use it because SOOO many things become efficient or give you "comparative advantage" when you have a cheap and plentiful resource that most people do not have.

Solar PV goes GREAT with plug in hybrids, greenhouses, AC, heat pumps, refrigerators, freezers, etc.

There will come a day when AC will be used in greenhouses in summer to grow spring and autumn crops because it will be cheaper than shipping them from the Southern Hemisphere. People will hang out in greenhouses in winter to keep warm and in summer to keep cool.

Solar PV man. We are being distracted from it. It could turn the world upside down.
 
2022-07-20 10:23:53 AM  

Likwit: I've seen some panels here in Japan have cooling loops almost like a high-end gaming PC.


Are they for secondary heating?  They are used here in Australia to heat pools.

As far as extra panels, the panel part isn't the expensive part anymore. I'm looking at putting more panels on the existing system to deal with the heat issues.  The current wholesale rate for panels by the pallet is US$0.27 per watt. 8x450 watt panels is under $1,000.  That will provide 3kw or about 5,000 kwh per year.  The real problem is battery storage is so expensive.
 
2022-07-20 10:31:00 AM  

DON.MAC: Likwit: I've seen some panels here in Japan have cooling loops almost like a high-end gaming PC.

Are they for secondary heating?  They are used here in Australia to heat pools.

As far as extra panels, the panel part isn't the expensive part anymore. I'm looking at putting more panels on the existing system to deal with the heat issues.  The current wholesale rate for panels by the pallet is US$0.27 per watt. 8x450 watt panels is under $1,000.  That will provide 3kw or about 5,000 kwh per year.  The real problem is battery storage is so expensive.


I couldn't say. I've only seen them a few times. It could be for hot water. Solar water heaters are really popular in this area.
 
2022-07-20 11:03:09 AM  

2fardownthread: Build 20% more generation capacity and forget about it. OR double your solar and get one more inverter and get a refrigeration unit for the inverters and you are done.


That costs money.  It may also result in a lower capacity factor if the extra capacity has to be idled during peak generation months.

In the future, I expect that businesses will be built around a model where they suck up excess intermittent renewable power at rock bottom prices.  Until then, utilities need to be very mindful of excess capacity.
 
2022-07-20 11:28:28 AM  
My plan for my next house, the forever home so to speak, will be to interconnect the AC's outdoor component with the pool's water filter loop and a solar panel array.  The AC mixing with the pool is the very easy no brainer part provided they come close to each other, but what I'm wondering is whether or not its worth sending the pool water through a solar array.

I've seen solutions that run the actual pool water through the array and I've also seen closed-loop setups where the water in the array is contained there but passes through a passive heat exchanger that has both the pool water and the array's water passing next to one another.  The one added difficulty in either is my region has winter so I'd have to make sure I could drain out the water from the solar array each fall and if its a closed loop I'd have to fill it up each spring.
 
2022-07-20 2:39:58 PM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-07-20 3:41:32 PM  

uncoveror: Cool them with evaporative coolers since conventional air conditioning is prohibitively expensive.


Great use of water in a drought!
 
2022-07-20 3:43:20 PM  
Once again, they handle this regularly in Phoenix and Vegas. What are European solar panels made out of? Do they have ANYTHING over there that isn't set to some kind of exact tolerances that are exceeded all over the world on a daily basis with no issues? Roads, railroads, now solar panels. All things that survive 115 degrees, day after day, in certain parts of the world, so why can't we just standardize this shiat instead of building it to fail?
 
2022-07-20 3:46:43 PM  

dyhchong: I wonder if you could just run town water through them.

Every time you turn the cold tap on, water runs through. Water the garden? That water is first passing through the solar panels. Etc.

It's not like it matters if the cold water tap is dropping is 10'C or 30'C.


Yes, it matters. Think it doesn't? Go to Phoenix in June and turn on the "cold" water. I've measured that shiat coming out of the tap at 95 degrees here. You don't realize how much you use cold water until there isn't any. I've poured waaaaaay too many glasses of warm water to say "it doesn't matter".
 
2022-07-20 5:05:54 PM  

Mikey1969: Once again, they handle this regularly in Phoenix and Vegas. What are European solar panels made out of? Do they have ANYTHING over there that isn't set to some kind of exact tolerances that are exceeded all over the world on a daily basis with no issues? Roads, railroads, now solar panels. All things that survive 115 degrees, day after day, in certain parts of the world, so why can't we just standardize this shiat instead of building it to fail?


The issue isn't that the panels fail, but rather, that their efficiency goes down.  Same thing happens to panels in Phoenix when it becomes very hot.

Silicon is temperature sensitive, with conductivity decreasing when cold (more insulator-like) and increasing when hot (more conductor-like).  As such, panels are designed with an ideal operating range.  Also, they come with different rates of efficiency loss when operating outside of the range (temperature coefficient).  All of that affects cost and overall efficiency, so sometimes compromises are made.
 
2022-07-20 5:47:54 PM  

Mikey1969: dyhchong: I wonder if you could just run town water through them.

Every time you turn the cold tap on, water runs through. Water the garden? That water is first passing through the solar panels. Etc.

It's not like it matters if the cold water tap is dropping is 10'C or 30'C.

Yes, it matters. Think it doesn't? Go to Phoenix in June and turn on the "cold" water. I've measured that shiat coming out of the tap at 95 degrees here. You don't realize how much you use cold water until there isn't any. I've poured waaaaaay too many glasses of warm water to say "it doesn't matter".


They should raze Phoenix and make everyone move. What a stupid farking place to build a city.
 
2022-07-21 3:11:44 AM  

Likwit: uncoveror: Cool them with evaporative coolers since conventional air conditioning is prohibitively expensive.

I've seen some panels here in Japan have cooling loops almost like a high-end gaming PC. Obviously the panels can never be cooler than ambient temperature, but clearly the boost in efficiency from not being  outweighs the power used to move water through the system (I guess? Or else it wouldn't be a thing, right?)


Heating loops to get rid of snow and ice
 
2022-07-21 3:28:46 AM  

Boomstickz: Likwit: uncoveror: Cool them with evaporative coolers since conventional air conditioning is prohibitively expensive.

I've seen some panels here in Japan have cooling loops almost like a high-end gaming PC. Obviously the panels can never be cooler than ambient temperature, but clearly the boost in efficiency from not being  outweighs the power used to move water through the system (I guess? Or else it wouldn't be a thing, right?)

Heating loops to get rid of snow and ice


It doesn't get that cold here. We rarely go below zero, and we get a light dusting of score perhaps once a winter. Summer is farking scary hot, though. I can only imagine those loops are for cooling.
 
2022-07-21 11:09:27 AM  

Likwit: Mikey1969: dyhchong: I wonder if you could just run town water through them.

Every time you turn the cold tap on, water runs through. Water the garden? That water is first passing through the solar panels. Etc.

It's not like it matters if the cold water tap is dropping is 10'C or 30'C.

Yes, it matters. Think it doesn't? Go to Phoenix in June and turn on the "cold" water. I've measured that shiat coming out of the tap at 95 degrees here. You don't realize how much you use cold water until there isn't any. I've poured waaaaaay too many glasses of warm water to say "it doesn't matter".

They should raze Phoenix and make everyone move. What a stupid farking place to build a city.


Wehre are you gonna relocate 3 million people? Your neighborhood?

What I'm saying is that people say this,. pat themselves on the back, and walk away, convinced it's some wonderful nugget of wisdom. Same with the whole "Great Salt Lake is drying up". Where are you going to put these people? What's going to happen to all of that property and equipment?

This sounds cute, but it would be a catastrophic shift, financially, and from the human toll.

So come up with a solution that is actually at all feasible.
 
Displayed 21 of 21 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking




On Twitter


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.