Author Topic: Solar panels.  (Read 502 times)

Jocko

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Solar panels.
« on: September 02, 2017, 09:35:50 AM »
Saw this on today's news. Very interesting, seeing I have been reading a great deal about the "disruption" solar energy is bringing.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41122433

This too (which I watched last night), is worth a look.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWLzlrGGuxQ

peteo48

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Re: Solar panels.
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2017, 11:34:41 AM »
Saw the YouTube clip - I watch all of the Fully Charged episodes. I thought the chap from the installers who Robert Llewellyn interviewed at length was excellent in how he explained the technology, the costs and the likely returns. He was very honest about the fact that at current prices you would only break even over the lifetime of the battery although that will change as batteries get cheaper.

Being morbid for a bit, at my age I'm unlikely ever to see the benefits of solar in cash terms. There were some schemes where a company would install for free and just take the feed in tariff (you benefited from the electricity as and when you used it) but you never owned the panels. I'd look into that if such a scheme were relaunched.

TG

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Re: Solar panels.
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2017, 10:10:22 PM »
Anyone driving down the A1 must notice that field of solar panels; must generate a better return than wheat....  Not unusual in southern Europe but probably marginal here.  You do notice more warehouses and commercial buildings with the whole roof covered these days, that makes more sense.
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culzean

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Re: Solar panels.
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2017, 08:50:56 AM »
Anyone driving down the A1 must notice that field of solar panels; must generate a better return than wheat....  Not unusual in southern Europe but probably marginal here. 

Yeah, solar farms spring up by us and we are farther north and west, even more marginal due to lots of cloud most of the time, apparently because solar panels absorb a lot more energy than the vegetation does, and only turn a fraction of it into usable energy these farms can cause localised warming of the environment (ie they contribute to global warming LOL).

So we waste arable farmland on marginal solar and then pollute the planet importing wheat from halfway around the world.  Makes as much sense to me as replacing coal with 'bio-mass' in coal fired stations,  99% of the bio-mass (another word for chopping down trees and reducing then to wood chips) came from Canada / North America, about 1% from UK, some scientists worked out that it was taking more energy to chop the trees and mulch them ship them across 3000 miles of sea than we actually got from the fuel LOL -  and when it was burnt the wood released all the CO2 it had absorbed while growing back into the atmosphere,  CO2 absorbed over 40 years all released in a couple of days.

Pity our politicians do not understand science better,  they think that doing something is better than doing nothing, even if the 'something' is much worse than the status quo.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 09:16:51 AM by culzean »
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Jocko

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Re: Solar panels.
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2017, 09:16:03 AM »
waste arable farmland on marginal solar
I don't know where you get the idea of "marginal solar". Solar in the UK could provide all our needs. And PV's are getting cheaper and more efficient at a phenominal rate.
Germany, with the similar hours of sunlight as the UK currently has 35 GW of solar power installed and is on track to reach 52 GW very shortly. That is 7% of their entire electricity needs. Hinkley Point C (at a cost of 20bn) will produce 3.2 GW (so 16 new nuclear plants to reach Germany's solar total). On 30th April this year Germany produced 85% of their energy needs from solar. Marginal my a*se.
Scotland is building its largest solar farm NE of Elgin. It will produce 20 MW. If Scotland can produce solar energy then the South of England can.
As for growing wheat. Most farmers prefer to grow Rapeseed, polluting the air with its pollen and causing a nightmare for asthmatics and hay fever sufferers.

culzean

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Re: Solar panels.
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2017, 10:53:39 AM »
Even in the Robert Llewellyn 'power wall' clip his solar input went down to 0.7KW when it clouded over (from a 5.5KW installed capacity)  - and never confuse 'installed capacity' with actual power generated,  people do that with wind - and the actual power produced worldwide is around 15% of the 'installed wind capacity' - but everyone still goes on about installed capacity.   I wish the fully charged program would repeat the same 'power wall' experiment in December,

The truth about solar is that it produces least when it is needed it most,  in the winter (unless you are using it to power air conditioning).  And if we are to believe the climate change bods, their projections show more clouds as planet warms - a contra-indication for solar.  EU are building solar farms in Tunisia,  which kind of makes sense even though it is putting you energy generation into a politically unstable region.

All that these diverse and fragmented power inputs to grid are making the grid harder to control,  no good putting power in unless it has somewhere to go,  and no use asking for power from solar and wind to cover sudden surges in power requirements (can't really compare renewables with Hinkley point either as Hinckley is catering for reliable base capacity - which we are rapidly losing because of misguided energy policies and carbon targets) - hope this winter is not too cold as we will be seeing the lights go out over UK,  unless we get more from Frances nuclear stations via the channel cables,  which will be really ironic.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/05/wind-turbines-are-neither-clean-nor-green-and-they-provide-zero-global-energy/
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 11:55:31 AM by culzean »
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Jocko

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Re: Solar panels.
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 11:11:14 AM »
Yes, I agree that the output of cells goes up and down depending on the sunlight. Solar without storage is pretty useless, but it is just a case of  having enough installed capacity and storage to even out the dips and troughs. And that can be done at a fraction of the cost of nuclear.
If Dungeness was to do a Fukushima, London would have to be evacuated. It would totally bankrupt the UK. We wouldn't even rate as a 3rd World country.
Copenhagen International School provides 50% of its electricity needs from solar. It is just a case of thinking big, install enough panels and storage for the worst case scenario, and enjoy the benefits of solar energy.

culzean

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Re: Solar panels.
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2017, 12:15:03 PM »
Storing power from July - August to use in December-January is a big ask.

Also beware statistics (there are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics),  A solar array may produce 50% of requirements annually,  and solar is probably more reliable than wind ( lets face it a BMW is more reliable than wind),  but that may mean 80% in summer,  50% in spring and autumn and 20% in Winter (which will have to be topped up from other sources or grid)  - if you take 80% for 3 months and 20% for 3 months and 50% for 6 months you get near 50% for the whole year - but you need the 80% in winter and 20% in summer.
Some people will only consider you an expert if they agree with your point of view or advice,  when you give them advice they don't like they consider you an idiot

peteo48

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Re: Solar panels.
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2017, 12:51:42 PM »
waste arable farmland on marginal solar
I don't know where you get the idea of "marginal solar". Solar in the UK could provide all our needs. And PV's are getting cheaper and more efficient at a phenominal rate.
Germany, with the similar hours of sunlight as the UK currently has 35 GW of solar power installed and is on track to reach 52 GW very shortly. That is 7% of their entire electricity needs. Hinkley Point C (at a cost of 20bn) will produce 3.2 GW (so 16 new nuclear plants to reach Germany's solar total). On 30th April this year Germany produced 85% of their energy needs from solar. Marginal my a*se.
Scotland is building its largest solar farm NE of Elgin. It will produce 20 MW. If Scotland can produce solar energy then the South of England can.
As for growing wheat. Most farmers prefer to grow Rapeseed, polluting the air with its pollen and causing a nightmare for asthmatics and hay fever sufferers.

Broadly agree with this. Of course there are problems with consistency of supply but these can be overcome in time. The rate of progress is huge and even oil companies are diversifying into renewables. The next big thing is renewable gas - Ecotricity have just started producing this from grass as opposed to food crops.

Oil is a valuable resource for all sorts of products - I really don't think we should be burning the stuff as if it will never ever run out.

Jocko

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Re: Solar panels.
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2017, 01:13:25 PM »
I am not advocating storing it in the summer to use in the winter. What I am advocating is enough PV's to supply our winter needs. At 20% efficiency that is 5 times the number we would need in the summer. PV's are becoming cheaper, more efficient (smaller area for same output) and the Thin Film variety work in cloud as well as sun (they are less efficient in sun than the heavy crystalline type but if we have 5 times as many as we need in the summer it won't really matter). Most detached and semi detached houses have enough space on their roofs for their needs, even in winter. At the moment price is the governing factor but as the prices tumble that becomes less of an issue.
AC coupled battery storage is also falling in price so storage is becoming more practicable.
If we stop burning oil then we have more than adequate reserves for what we do need it for. Growing grass to produce gas is not a very good use of the land, and we are still burning and producing CO2.

culzean

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Re: Solar panels.
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2017, 01:57:14 PM »
We need products from crude oil for more than just fuel, they are used for  building roads, plastics, foods, medicines etc etc etc. and these compounds form just a very small part of the crude we get out of the ground - so if we want to keep using these compounds and don't need the petrol and diesel that we still get from the refinery what are we gonna do with it - store it in huge bunkers, use it for domestic heating (still burning it and producing carbon).

Could probably get products from coal (as Germany had to do in the war) but still using fossil energy.


 I want alternative energy supplies to work - if only to free us from relying on middle east governments for our energy and watch them sink back into obscurity and lose the world influence they presently have but have not earned, and then they will have to get their democracy and human rights up to speed before we even talk to them in future.

Reliable tidal power (which we have plenty of in UK both from rise and fall and tidal stream sources ) needs more effort putting into it as a long term solution, as well as geo- thermal. With wind and solar we are just picking the low hanging, not very efficient fruit from the energy tree.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 03:17:46 PM by culzean »
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peteo48

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Re: Solar panels.
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2017, 05:01:07 PM »
We need products from crude oil for more than just fuel, they are used for  building roads, plastics, foods, medicines etc etc etc. and these compounds form just a very small part of the crude we get out of the ground - so if we want to keep using these compounds and don't need the petrol and diesel that we still get from the refinery what are we gonna do with it - store it in huge bunkers, use it for domestic heating (still burning it and producing carbon).

Could probably get products from coal (as Germany had to do in the war) but still using fossil energy.


 I want alternative energy supplies to work - if only to free us from relying on middle east governments for our energy and watch them sink back into obscurity and lose the world influence they presently have but have not earned, and then they will have to get their democracy and human rights up to speed before we even talk to them in future.

Reliable tidal power (which we have plenty of in UK both from rise and fall and tidal stream sources ) needs more effort putting into it as a long term solution, as well as geo- thermal. With wind and solar we are just picking the low hanging, not very efficient fruit from the energy tree.

On the reliance on oil from the middle east I gather the American behind the hypermiling movement was motivated by this far more than on environmental grounds. I agree about tidal - should be a no brainer.

Jocko

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Re: Solar panels.
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2017, 05:53:18 PM »
The island of Eday, in the Orkneys develops so much tidal energy they cannot use it all and the grid is so poor they have to turn it into H2 so that they can transfer it off the islands. Orkney has various units on test. I think if they can survive the seas round there they will survive anything the UK weather throws at them!

culzean

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Re: Solar panels.
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2017, 06:14:58 PM »
On the reliance on oil from the middle east I gather the American behind the hypermiling movement was motivated by this far more than on environmental grounds. I agree about tidal - should be a no brainer.

Due to their investment in shale oil and fracking the Good Old USA is a nett exporter of oil,  UK gets Liquified natural gas from them,  and maybe oil as well.
Some people will only consider you an expert if they agree with your point of view or advice,  when you give them advice they don't like they consider you an idiot

Jocko

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Re: Solar panels.
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2017, 07:47:54 AM »
I see there is a big stooshie in the US at the moment over PVs (solar panels). PV manufacturers in the States are going bust because they cannot compete with cheap imported panels, mainly from China. Two companies are arguing for tariffs to prevent these PVs being sold cheaper than US manufactured panels. However, if the tariff is imposed. then the sales on PVs in the states will drop considerably, to the detriment of the solar power industry.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41352259

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