The RetrieverTraining.Net Forums The Retriever Academy
Total Retriever Training with Mike Lardy
Hawkeye Media Gunners Up Tritronics Outdoor Media
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Another Step Forward

  1. #1
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Another Step Forward

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/sc...6solar.html?hp

    A 45-megawatt system proposed by Chevron Energy Solutions and featuring arrays of up to 40,500 solar panels will be built on 422 acres of the Lucerne Valley. When complete, the two projects could generate enough energy to power as many as 566,000 homes.

    By the way, this industry is generating a lot of good jobs all over the country. Several factories have emerged in the dying "Silicon Forrest" up here in the NW. Good companies. Good jobs. And made in America baby!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    7,083

    Default

    I agree that solar is going to be a very important part of the energy picture.

    I'm wondering though, if for homes it isn't more effective to install the panels on individual homes, rather than have to distribute the electricity. A major issue today is the deterioration of the electric lines. History channel just had a piece on that ... electric grid infrastructure is as old as our bridges; and utility companies would have to invest something like $1.5 trillion to bring the grids nationwide up to standard. A area was mentioned (I think in Ohio) where there were almost 500 outages in a month's time. That's incredible!

    There is a brouhaha right now about the fact that China is a major manufacturer of solar panels ... because the govt has subsidized the industry. The objection is that govts are not supposed to subsidize industries for export products (only supposed to subsidize for internal use). The subsidies are making China's panels pretty cheap compared to what others can produce.

    If the Chinese can screw up toys with lead paint; dog food with melamine; and drywall with hydrogen sulfide ... can hardly wait to see what they do to solar panels.
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
    "Know in your heart that all things are possible. We couldn't conceive of a miracle if none ever happened." -Libby Fudim

    ​I don't use the PM feature, so just email me direct at the address shown above.

  3. #3
    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Western Pa
    Posts
    6,161

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Clinchy View Post
    I agree that solar is going to be a very important part of the energy picture.

    I'm wondering though, if for homes it isn't more effective to install the panels on individual homes, rather than have to distribute the electricity. A major issue today is the deterioration of the electric lines. History channel just had a piece on that ... electric grid infrastructure is as old as our bridges; and utility companies would have to invest something like $1.5 trillion to bring the grids nationwide up to standard. A area was mentioned (I think in Ohio) where there were almost 500 outages in a month's time. That's incredible!

    There is a brouhaha right now about the fact that China is a major manufacturer of solar panels ... because the govt has subsidized the industry. The objection is that govts are not supposed to subsidize industries for export products (only supposed to subsidize for internal use). The subsidies are making China's panels pretty cheap compared to what others can produce.

    If the Chinese can screw up toys with lead paint; dog food with melamine; and drywall with hydrogen sulfide ... can hardly wait to see what they do to solar panels.
    if you want to know just how successful residential solar panels can be, read up on Germany's program. It has far exceeded goals, and in doing so, has reduced the cost of panels, increased efficiency, and decreased non-solar energy demands. Didn't someone mention that for the US a while back?
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Brookings, South Dakota
    Posts
    6,813

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Clinchy View Post
    I agree that solar is going to be a very important part of the energy picture.

    I'm wondering though, if for homes it isn't more effective to install the panels on individual homes, rather than have to distribute the electricity. A major issue today is the deterioration of the electric lines. History channel just had a piece on that ... electric grid infrastructure is as old as our bridges; and utility companies would have to invest something like $1.5 trillion to bring the grids nationwide up to standard. A area was mentioned (I think in Ohio) where there were almost 500 outages in a month's time. That's incredible!
    If we want to move forward with plug-in electric vehicles, we need a transmission and distribution system. I happen to work in the electrical power industry, and I was very excited to hear talk about stimulus spending on electric system infrastructure. But alas, I was disappointed that in order to get a Republican and Conservadem vote or two, all that was sh!t canned in favor of tax cuts. We don't seem to be interested in investing in our futures anymore. One thing they got right during the great depression, they spent stimulus money on stuff that we are still making use of today... If you're going to spend money that future generations will have to pay back, they should at least be paying on something that they benefit from...

    As Dave points out however, residential solar systems can be great for taking the off of the distribution system. I've seen some cool systems where electricity from solar panels are used to make hydrogen by electrolysis, then later when the sun isn't shining, fuel cells use the stored hydrogen to produce needed electricity.
    Last edited by Buzz; 10-06-2010 at 08:30 AM.
    "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." -- Luke 12:48

    Raven - Moneybird's Black Magic Marker***
    (Esprit's Power Play x Trumarc's Lean Cuisine)
    Mick - Moneybird's Jumpin' Jack Flash***
    (Clubmead's Road Warrior x Oakdale Whitewater Devil Dog)
    Peerless - Moneybird's Sole Survivor
    (Two River's Lucky Willie x Moneybird's Black Magic Marker)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    7,083

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
    if you want to know just how successful residential solar panels can be, read up on Germany's program. It has far exceeded goals, and in doing so, has reduced the cost of panels, increased efficiency, and decreased non-solar energy demands. Didn't someone mention that for the US a while back?
    Maybe that was me? I mentioned above the story from Germany that was relayed to me by another friend interested in the potential for solar for homes.

    There is a building in NYC ... that runs almost energy independent. They have solar panels & rooftop gardens, re-cycle heat generated within the building, etc.

    One problem that occurred locally recently. One home in a development had solar panels that were reflecting into someone else's home ... severely so. However, changing the angle of the panels on the offending home fixed the problem. Another facet probably not considered before ... that the reflective potential of the panels could be used elsewhere ... as well as in the home to which they provided electricity.

    Making each home electric independent would remove a lot of the maintenance cost of the lines for a utility company's local area. If the panels were damaged, it would be the homeowner's responsibility to fix them ... but it might be worth the utility company's while to subsidize the installation.

    Right now PA law (not sure about elsewhere) requires that a home wire its solar panels into the meter (and thereby also the utility co's grid). The utility company is mandated to pay the homeowner for any electricity that is "overage" for the home & feeds back into the grid.

    If one removed that requirement ... and allowed the utility company to simply subsidize the installation of the panels in lieu of the electrical "payback" the utility company could be relieved of the future financial burden for the cost of that electricity ... which could be used to provide electricity to other homes.

    PP&L, our local electric company, sells a lot of power "wholesale" (they got "burned" by California, when PP&L did not get paid for the power it provided to that state some years back). It appears PP&L has excess power, since the big issue right now is building power lines through the Delaware Water Gap "park" in order to upgrade the regional grid that allows NJ and NY to draw on PA power.

    My latest "project" ... my water heater needs replacement. I started looking at the "hybrid" water heaters. They use surrounding air to run a "mini" heat pump attached to the unit. Most (if not all) of the energy to heat the water comes from the heat pump unit, rather than resistance heating of heating elements in the water heater. Water heater heating elements are 4500 watts.

    I found a price of $1498 on one of these units. A "decent" regular water heater of the same size would run about $525. Difference $973. Electric company gives a $300 rebate for purchasing such a unit. Difference reduced to $673. (Installation cost the same for both standard & hybrid units). Fed govt (this year) gives 30% tax credit. ($1198 X .30 = $359) Net cost of the unit becomes $973 - 359 = $614 ... when the "standard" unit would have cost $525! The kicker here is that the hybrid unit should use about 1/2 the electricity of the "standard" unit during the course of a year. The estimated cost for the 52-gallon unit (which is supposed to serve a family of 4) is $189/year (at 10 cents/kwh rate). Someone who installs one of these units would have it pay for itself in less than one year.

    These units, when the heat pump function cannot provide enough demand, automatically draw upon resistance heating .. or you can set the unit to remain in the heat pump mode only.

    You can imagine how well this works in places like FL ... where most of these units are put in garages where there is plenty of heat to feed the heat pump. The unit will reduce the temp of the surrounding air somewhat, but most users report no noticeable difference in their garages.

    I happen to have a "thermal storage unit" heat pump system (yes, I live "in the country" so the only choices for heating are propane, oil or electricity ... pellet, coal & wood stoves, also an option, of course)

    The purpose of the TSU (when the elec co encouraged installation of these systems ... last one installed was in 1995) was to use electricity during the night, when there was less draw on their power plants ... and, of course, you can't just shut the power plant down, so there was all this "excess" electricity that nobody was using v. daylight hours when everyone was using power in offices, businesses, etc. Thus, the 300 gallons of water heated up overnight & the heat pump used the BTUs stored in the tank to "feed" the heat pump BTUs during the rest of the hours in the day. This "exchange" is accomplished by a hydronic coil that was installed in the heat pump for the TSU system (and that coil can be "salvaged" when the heat pump needs replacement & put into the new heat pump when replacement is needed.)

    Since heat pump technology uses much less energy than resistance heating, I asked the brightest guy I know in HVAC why the same technology couldn't be used to heat the water in my TSU. His suggestion was to get the largest hybrid water heater I could find & discard the 300-gallon tank and use the water heater to fulfill that function, as well as domestic hot water.

    The water heater needs 750 cubic feet of air to operate. My ranch basement is about 88,000 cubic feet (which remains at a constant 55 deg during the winter ... a bit warmer in the summer).

    Essentially, my basement will (hopefully) operate like a ground-source heat pump. Since the water heater unit will not shut off during the day (as the TSU does) I do not need 300 gallons of stored heat ... the heat for the water "storage" can be replenished constantly.

    There are relatively few TSU heat pump systems ... and PP&L is advising people to change off that system because it will save PP&L a lot of power usage, which they must decrease by state mandate. There are, however, MANY standard heat pump heating systems throughout PP&L's service region which are getting back-up in cold months from purely resistance heating (VERY expensive for the customer & an energy hog from PP&L's end).

    I'm not entirely sure what our legislators were thinking when they placed their mandate on electric companies. The electric company is willing to pay people to switch to gas or oil heating! That may decrease electrical usage, but doesn't necessarily save energy!

    Further, if the electric company sells less electricity ... but it still must maintain the delivery and generation facilities ... my mind says they have to charge more per kwh to maintain income since they are selling fewer units. So, the legislation allows PP&L to remain solvent, but consumers will pay as much, or more, for less "product" than they used before. Does that make any sense?
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
    "Know in your heart that all things are possible. We couldn't conceive of a miracle if none ever happened." -Libby Fudim

    ​I don't use the PM feature, so just email me direct at the address shown above.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Brookings, South Dakota
    Posts
    6,813

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Clinchy View Post
    Right now PA law (not sure about elsewhere) requires that a home wire its solar panels into the meter (and thereby also the utility co's grid). The utility company is mandated to pay the homeowner for any electricity that is "overage" for the home & feeds back into the grid.


    You do not have to specifically connect your solar panels into the meter. If your solar system is connected to your home electrical system, it is automatically connected to the meter and the power company's system. This is known as an on grid application. What your state requires is what is known as net metering.

    What is net metering?
    Net metering measures the difference between the electricity you buy from your utility and the electricity you produce with your solar energy system. Under net metering, any excess electricity produced by your solar energy system is delivered back into the utility grid, effectively spinning your meter backwards. Your meter spins forward when your solar energy system is not producing all of the electricity you are currently using. Your electric meter keeps track of this net difference as you generate electricity and take electricity from the utility grid.

    Do all states require utilities to offer net metering?
    Many, but not all, states require utilities to offer net metering, but the size and technology requirements vary. If your state does not provide for net metering, you can still use the electricity in your house and enjoy the benefits of clean reliable power from the sun. However, you must purchase a second meter to measure the amount of electricity your system produces and make special arrangements with the utility to receive credit for excess electricity produced by your solar electric system.

    The way this works is, one meter measures how much energy is produced by your solar system. The other meter belongs to your utility company and is placed at the point where your electrical system connects to the grid. At the end of the month, if your meter shows more power than the utility company's you generated more than you used and they pay you for the difference.
    Last edited by Buzz; 10-06-2010 at 10:04 AM.
    "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." -- Luke 12:48

    Raven - Moneybird's Black Magic Marker***
    (Esprit's Power Play x Trumarc's Lean Cuisine)
    Mick - Moneybird's Jumpin' Jack Flash***
    (Clubmead's Road Warrior x Oakdale Whitewater Devil Dog)
    Peerless - Moneybird's Sole Survivor
    (Two River's Lucky Willie x Moneybird's Black Magic Marker)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •