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Solar panels to power a society are woefully inefficient and environmentally catastrophic.
This thread has 62 replies. Displaying posts 1 through 15.
Post 1 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 15:21
Ernie Gilman
Yes, That Ernie!
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This thread title is a quote from [Link: remotecentral.com]. I think it deserves its own discussion.

When someone touts the efficiency of solar panels, I never hear A THING about how much energy it takes to make the panels, nor about the environmental impacts of the manufacturing process.

Recently it's come to light that California's environmental regulations make it impossible to manufacture some of the parts needed to make the trains for the high speed rail boondoggle in California. As a result, those parts are made in China where there aren't such regulations.

That is, environmentalists and the State of California have managed to move the environmentally damaging activities out of the state. They have NOT stopped them from happening.

Is it the same with solar cells? Are they clean now that they are here, but their damage has already been done somewhere else?
A good answer is easier with a clear question giving the make and model of everything.
"The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- G. “Bernie” Shaw
Post 2 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 19:37
buzz
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I think that we must look at the environmental cost of the whole life cycle from mining and refining the ore, manufacturing, installation and use of a product, then disposal at end of life.  For solar cells there is a significant manufacturing environmental cost. Some estimates that I’ve seen give solar arrays a 20 year service life. The real question to be answered is: Will the solar array show an environmental “profit” by EOL?
Post 3 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 19:41
Ranger Home
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Still hoping for California to secede.

Last edited by Ranger Home on December 24, 2017 09:29.
Post 4 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 20:01
King of typos
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According to this 2013 article, which is very vague too. Had mentioned that up until 2010. The solar panel making manufacturing had consumed more energy than its products produced. And that’s with the lower watt per meter surface area. Example, an 1 square meter panel in 2010 on average produced 120 to 150 watts. Fast forward to 2017, that same 1 square meter panel can produce 250 to 320 watts.

Not only are they producing more watts per sq meter, but they are using less material to build. And as stated in the article, probably different material too.

I don’t have the figures when a PV panel will produce enough electricity that it had basically “zeroed” its manufacturing process to be a “green” product. But I can tell you this... it will reach that point. Where as coal will never reach that point. Once coal is burned, it’s gone. It can never be reproduced to be burned again.

All the nay sayers about how the PV panels are just as bad as coal. Do not look at the schem of things. PV panels will produce power for a couple of decades before losing 10 to 15% of its ability to produce. Coal, well it lost its ability to produce once its burned.

Soooo back to this article. By 2020, the solar panel manufacturing will not only reached the “zeroed” mark of using more electricity that its products produced. But it would be paying it back... again, something that coal will never be able to do.

[Link: popsci.com]

KOT
Post 5 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 20:09
Fins
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refining the manufacturing process and improving efficiency of solar panels can’t improve without actually making panels.
Civil War reenactment is LARPing for people with no imagination.

Post 6 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 20:19
fcwilt
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Actually coal is a renewable resource - it just takes a long, long time.
Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
Post 7 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 20:23
fcwilt
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As to solar don't overlook the need for something to provide power when the panels are not producing.

I was having a discussion with someone who said they were 100% off the grid and had all the power their home required.

Turned out his system provide only 2500 watts.

I did the math on my home and assuming the Tesla battery packs for residential use it turned out I would need $36,000 of packs every 3 to 5 years IF I wanted to fully power the home. Big IF I know but I was just interested in the numbers.
Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
Post 8 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 20:33
highfigh
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On December 23, 2017 at 19:41, Ranger Home said...
Still hoping to the succession of California.

You mean 'secession', right?
My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
Post 9 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 20:46
highfigh
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It would seem that using solar panels for everything is foolish unless someone has a large amount of money to throw at the system. For someone whose house is too far from the grid to pay for the power company to erect poles or lay cable, solar is the way to go if it's the only way they can have electricity (no chance of using wind or water). The better approach would be to not have energy hog appliances, use firewood for heat, super-insulate the house and use LED lighting. If possible, a geo-thermal heat source or a generator could be used to augment the fireplace if the temperature drops too far.

I know someone who went off the grid around 1990- last time I spoke with him about ten years ago, he said he had replaced the batteries once and they were really nothing special but they weren't abused, either. He said they have a two story house with a fireplace on each floor but even in the worst part of Wisconsin Winters, they almost never directly heated the upstairs because the first floor was enough for the whole house.
My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
Post 10 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 20:58
Fins
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On December 23, 2017 at 20:23, fcwilt said...
As to solar don't overlook the need for something to provide power when the panels are not producing.

I was having a discussion with someone who said they were 100% off the grid and had all the power their home required.

Turned out his system provide only 2500 watts.

I did the math on my home and assuming the Tesla battery packs for residential use it turned out I would need $36,000 of packs every 3 to 5 years IF I wanted to fully power the home. Big IF I know but I was just interested in the numbers.

What size of home would that be for?
Civil War reenactment is LARPing for people with no imagination.

Post 11 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 22:29
Hi-FiGuy
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And where are we going to put all these panels?
The solar farms we have now are hideous and cover a massive amount of land for very little return, not to mention the plant and animal wild life they are killing.

Look I am all for electric power but it makes absolutely no sense to cover our planet with solar panels, its a bad move.
To power our current massively overloaded infrastructure with solar power, every single surface of land and structures would have to be solar panels and we would still fall short to run the industrial world.

It will always have its limitations due to nature and night time.

My opinion is it will always be an assist, not a total solution.
Do they speak English on What?
OP | Post 12 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 22:38
Ernie Gilman
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On December 23, 2017 at 20:46, highfigh said...
I know someone who went off the grid around 1990- last time I spoke with him about ten years ago, he said he had replaced the batteries once and they were really nothing special but they weren't abused, either. He said they have a two story house with a fireplace on each floor but even in the worst part of Wisconsin Winters, they almost never directly heated the upstairs because the first floor was enough for the whole house.

This reminds me of detail from a GREAT and funny book, A Girl Named Zippy -- Growing up in the 60s in Moorehead, Indiana.

They had a two bedroom house but in the winter the parents and three kids ended up living in the living room and kitchen because they couldn't afford to heat the other rooms. In a real way, your friend can't afford to heat the entire house. It's just stated in a way that doesn't sound like poverty.
A good answer is easier with a clear question giving the make and model of everything.
"The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- G. “Bernie” Shaw
Post 13 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 22:58
buzz
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On December 23, 2017 at 20:46, highfigh said...
He said they have a two story house with a fireplace on each floor but even in the worst part of Wisconsin Winters, they almost never directly heated the upstairs because the first floor was enough for the whole house.

In terms of environmental damage, how is this better than burning coal, oil, or buying power from the grid?
Post 14 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 23:13
Hasbeen
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I love any type of energy that gets us off of the Middle East teet.

I love the thought of wind and solar...I love diesel and coal.

I think Tesla is doing the most innovative work in the area.  Another member here turned me on to this, so I don't want to take credit for finding it because I didn't..

Very cool though...and I think they're actually available.

Yes, it's the shingles that are solar..Very cool ( I think anyway).

[Link: tesla.com]

I dare Tesla to make a 4x4 truck.  I'll be the first in line.
Post 15 made on Saturday December 23, 2017 at 23:27
tomciara
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I just finished reading the Elon Musk biography. Very very interesting read. Also available in audio book, for you commuters.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened." - Winston Churchill
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