Friday, November 11, 2011

Best solar around

We had a visit from a friendly solar salesperson yesterday. It was a big day for us, as we had avoided taking steps towards investigating solar for so long. I had read many websites and the official Consumer Guide to Solar PV from the Clean Energy Council (CEC) but a lot of the information felt like gobbledygook until we spoke to a real person face to face.

It was an enlightening discussion in many ways. I finally understood what STC's (Small Technology Credits) were and why they were so important for reducing the cost of installing solar. I also discovered how grid-connected solar is meant to reduce your electricity bills. I was glad to have the information explained with diagrams so I could ask questions. All the information I read previously started to make sense.


Yarrow


With the price they were offering (a saving of about $1200 AUD for a cash sale) anyone would think it a perfect opportunity to jump at. I must say, we are dearly tempted and still undecided. But there are still two areas I have not reconciled yet. Firstly, is value - what exactly are we buying and how do we reduce our electricity bills. Lastly, does it really meet the need intended?

Let's start with value: it's simply the best offer around. But in that offer comes two possible inverters, made by two different companies (one Asian and one Australian). I've done my research and the Asian made inverter has a reputation for breaking down. The Australian inverter does not. I discovered later (after more research) the man I was talking to was only a sales person, not the accredited solar installer that would have to design the placing of the panels on our roof, and what pieces of equipment were required. He informed me, they may need extra things that didn't end up being quoted in the price.

So what I got was a piece of paper stating what equipment would be installed, labor included, but still had no idea of the final price or what equipment would ultimately be needed. There's a vast difference between quoted offers and and paying for an operational solar system. Once you've signed that piece of paper and put down your deposit, that's it - you're committed. I would go with them if only they'd been more precise with details, and sent an accredited professional to tell me exactly how my system was going to fit on the roof. He didn't even get up on the roof.

In all fairness to solar installers though, a lot of different factors determine whether you get the value from your system or not. You could have the best equipment, skilled installers, a roof plastered with as many panels as could fit - and if your outside temperature is constantly above 30 degrees Celsius, with little wind to cool the units down, those panels won't work effectively as in ideal conditions. Same amount of money invested, but less efficiency produced.


Flander's Poppy


A lot of people shrug it off and assume that's just the price of renewable energy. I guess it is too. However it's also a bit of a design flaw. Especially in the advertising of what could "possibly" be saved on electricity bills. Apparently, the best way to reduce your electricity bill is NOT to use your household electricity during the day. Because that's when the panels will be at maximum production and can feed back to the electricity grid.

I've read a little about power traveling along cables (whether it's generated from solar or fossil fuels) losing a certain percentage to entropy. So more power has to be generated to replace the loss. It's not a huge amount compared to what power makes it through, but entropy does add up. I would think, efficient use of resources would encourage maximum electricity being used, closest to the source generating them. It's not like grid connected solar is the same as stand alone solar - where you may need to charge your batteries during the day so you have electricity at night. We have an electricity grid to plug into any time.

Less waste to entropy, would mean less demand to generate more electricity, because you're not losing entropy when the sun is feeding power directly to your house. But I gather there isn't a lot of money to be made from efficiency. The more I investigate grid connected solar, the more I realise it's about complementing fossil fuels and our existing economy - not standing apart at all. It seems consumers go to the expense of buying solar panels, taking all the financial risks that involves - only for the purpose of sending power back to the grid so we can buy it back.

My brain is still trying to rationalise that one aspect alone, LOL.

Which brings me to my second irreconcilable issue: the ideology behind grid connected solar. Does it really meet the need? We're told the need is two-fold, to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and to save the planet. In it's current form however, renewable energy seems very dubious. The same wasteful fossil fuel system designed for profit, has been given a new logo called Green Energy, thanks to renewable energy input. Some might suppose, what then is a better system?

I will never claim to be a genius or a scholar, but as a gardener, I've observed the best solar around! Have you noticed all the pictures of flowers in this post? They've been directly powered by the sun too.


Day Lilly


Above is a Day Lilly. A very beautiful flower - but only opens for one day and then dies. The power of the sun makes it bloom, but it also kills it. Maybe there's a lesson to be had in that too? Everything lives and dies under the sun for a purpose. We may have more opportunities than a Day Lilly, but I wonder how many of us appreciate the wonders that come down from the sky, has more value than a dollar sign?

I've been observing my Day Lillies opening and closing for the past week, each one unique and beautiful. No-one paid me for that privilege either. Maybe I'm onto something? ;)


PS: I know there will be some people reading who have grid connected solar. Bear in mind, this post is not a reflection on your individual choices but rather my coming to terms with understanding the process. I keep looking for that golden nugget of truth, but all I see is a lot money used towards generating the same old problem. For anyone who has grid connected solar, does it feel weird sending solar power to the grid only to get mostly coal power back again?

Has anyone chosen not to make the savings on their electricity bills, to use their grid connected solar more efficiently (ie: use it during the day when the sun is available?)

Also, before all the jokes start about powering my house with flowers (that thought even amuses me, LOL) it's really a metaphorical example of how far we've moved away from the natural solutions we supposed.

22 comments:

  1. A polite notification: links to commercial sites, will be deleted. :)

    This area is for genuine readers who like to leave comments, not one sentence wonders leaving commercial links.

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  2. I agree with the you on the failings of grid connected solar.
    However needing an expensive battery system is not so good either. It's necesary if you are stuck beyond the grid.
    All I know is if you do follow the recommendation of not using power during the day then depending on the size of your system and how much power you normally use there is quite a saving to be made on your usual bill. How many quarters it takes to recoup your outlays I have no idea. But it probably isn't hard to work out.
    One could go the other way and cut down on how much electricity you use and that would be win win for you and the environment.
    But that takes a good undestanding of which appliances and fittings are the the power hogs and finding ways to eliminate them or replace them with more efficient items.
    If you haven't had the climate smart people yet I would thoroughly recommend it. As the wireless power meter will educate you on what power everything in your house uses.
    Then whenever you need to replace a broken light or appliance you can replace it with a more efficient one. Or decide it's not necesary.
    One more thing I consider the battery standalone systems a little like living on tank water. You become much more responsible with your use of the resource when you know you have a finite amount to work with.
    Oh and congratulations on that delicious looking pineapple.

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  3. Hi Chris
    We are in the same dilemna with wind turbine. I'm not even ready to invite a salesman over! I think though that I'm more inclined towards standalone- for some of the reasons you state- and because this is partly about self sufficiency for us.

    I've been working my way through a circa 1974 Rodale book titled Producing Your Own Power that I bought at a garage sale for a quarter. I believe that the technology might have changed only a bit but the basics are easy to understand. Tis book has a section on each energy producer- buy it, or DIY it. If you can find similar books they are not so gobblydegook. If I can understand, anybody can:)

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  4. Since I am so cold, I am also thinking like you and LindaM, only mine is so low-tech that it does not even compare.

    I have not written a post on it yet.

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  5. I've just enjoyed a lovely weekend in the garden with family, which is why I'm a little late in replying.

    Thanks so much for adding all your thoughts however, as there's many ways to look at the issue. You've struck a few similar chords as me gullygunyah, in that either grid-connected or stand-alone solar, there's a substantial downside.

    Stand alone makes you more aware of electricity usuage, but the battery bank can be expensive. You don't have that expense with grid connected solar, but the system encourages people to avoid using solar as a means of power to their household - rather transporting it back to the power companies, so they can buy it back.

    That's the biggest issue I cannot fathom to justify the outlay. It looks like you're playing your part in green power generation, but ultimately the power companies still gets the controlling profits and your own is determined by how much the State government is prepared to subsidise the buy back price.

    We were also thinking along the same lines as you, in reducing our power usage instead. Our biggest users at the moment are the septic and water pump. Perhaps we could look at getting a smaller stand alone solar set-up for those two?

    We're also looking at a Climate Start evalution soon. At the moment we switch off everything we don't use, so I suspect it's the septic and water pump clocking up the KW/H. Ironically, we already have a solar hot water system. ;)

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  6. LindaM I think you really hit the nail on the head, regarding what alternative power supply means to you. It's a form of independence, or something you control the set-up and usage for.

    I don't think I explained it very well to people living outside of Australia, that we have a system subsidised by both our Federal and individual State governments, to assist in the purchase of a grid connected solar system. Business gets to trade in some of those benefits, which drives down the cost for the person wanting solar panels on their house. The only catch is, they have to sign over their rights to those government subsidies.

    As far as I can see from this arrangement, it's the individual who ulimately takes 100% responsibility for their own system (having to chase up warrantees if parts and labour aren't up to scratch) yet it's still the main players - power comapnies, business and government who get most of the benefits from the system.

    As a consumer, we get to buy a cheaper solar system and that's where the benefit ends. There's an opportunity to reduce your electricity bills, but that all hinges on (of all things, the weather, LOL) how much electricity you use and how long the government subsidies inflate the price of solar power.

    What you and I are in the same mind about however, is wanting to have more control over how that alternative energy is used. It allows you to have power when the electricity grid goes down, but you also get to justify the value (or the cost of setting up) by your own behaviour.

    In Australia, currently, the only way to recoup the costs of outlay, depends on NOT using electricity in your house during daylight hours. That defeats the purpose of buying solar panels, considering the whole technology is based on harnessing energy close to the source it's to be used.

    It would be akin to a community all connected independently to their own alternative power sources, but the only way they could access it, is by getting it from someone else's house. How the government has made the system affordable to the community, is by exceeding the design capacity for solar technology.

    Do I want to buy into that system? Maybe I could, I just haven't found the way to bypass my independence. I figure if I'm going to buy an upgrade for my house, I want it to be useful to our household - not to the power company or the government's green energy targets.

    After all, the power company doesn't get paid for the power I don't use, and the government can't win a green election campaign when I'm not sending solar power to the grid. But I just want to take responsibility for our family's personal energy use.

    If I want that kind of alternative energy system though, it looks like I'll have to take the harder route and pay more for it. The time has come to impliment the lessons we learned, from paying for a cheap off-the-shelf house. We're still paying for some of those lessons, LOL. ;)

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  7. Following my last comment, I just had to give an example: didn't we wish we went for the more expensive, house on stumps when the flood came down our hill, LOL?

    Lesson one: raise the house upwards if you happen to live on a large hillside. ;)

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  8. Lo-tech Linda, you've discovered my favourite kind of technology - the simple variety. Because the more complicated a system is, the more things can go wrong.

    I feel myself turning into a no-tech type of person also. I was a teenager when home PC's became big news, so that's probably about my limit - PC's and DVD's. Everything else goes under the radar.

    I thought I was being rather daring for getting a mobile phone with camera capabilities. When it evolved into a hand-held mini computer though, I drew the line, LOL.

    I can't imagine what they're going to invent in my lifetime, but if it has more proceeses involved than a direct circuit (they're complicated enough, LOL) then I don't want it in my life. I actually think the PV's in solar panels are quite a simple ingenious technology, but when you try to hardwire it into an electricity grid to supply other houses, that's when it starts to get complicated.

    Give me lo-tech, I love lo-tech! :)

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  9. I'm still on the fence about grid connected solar too. It's such a hard decision really.

    I did have to say though, that having the climate smart people out is one of the best things we've done. The little meter they install is brilliant, and really helps you get an idea of where your electricity is going.

    I posted about it on my blog, but basically most of our power is used by our washing machine (which heats the water itself), dishwasher and stove and oven. Even then, that isn't that big a deal. The biggest challenge to our electricity usage is our hot water system on an overcast day. An overcast day can bump up our daily usage by 3-4kw a day.

    Our water pump doesn't actually use much. Maybe .5 of a kw an hour, and usually it's only on for a short period of time. Our air conditioner (which we only use when we really need too, looking into shade options to reduce it's usage at the moment) actually uses less than the oven or stovetop.

    Definately worth getting, as you just have no idea what appliances are using the most power. A real eye opener, and I reckon it will have paid for itself on the first bill.

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  10. Chris... with the pumps it would depend on their rating and how long they're on. They are the two variables in all devices. So you could have a low consumption device that is on 24/7 adding as much to the bill as something more hungry that is on infrequently.
    I got a shock when I worked out the consumption a tv signal booster pack used when on 24/7. It only used 100 milliamps but because it was always on it added up.
    watts = amps x volts
    .1 amps x 240 volts = 24 watts
    24watts x 24 hours x 90 days = 51840 watt hours
    1000 watts = 1 kilowatt
    so we have in a quarter 51.84 kw/h
    out of a tiny device like that. Which at say 20c per kw/h = $10.37 per quarter.
    On the other hand say your tank pump was rated 300 watts. But it's only on for an hour a day. Just an example. It would depend on length of showers and whether you use it to irrigate as well .
    then that is only 300 x 1 x 90 =27000 or 27kwh. About half as much as the tv signal booster even though it's capacity for consumption is many times higher.
    Ok your pump might use 600 or 1200 this is really just an example.
    Remember your oven you had fixed. The element replaced in it would be about 2400 watts or close to it. Now if you used it for an hour everyday then that would be 216 kw/h per quarter or perhaps approx 40 dollars on your bill.
    A woodstove or barbeque could save some here. And if your block is like mine there is more than enough firewood provided by dead limbs without ever needing to chop a tree down. And it is one of the most satisfying low tech appliances to use.
    One way that solar is useful say is to use it to pump water up to a header tank and then your tank is your battery kinda. The tank can withstand a lot more cycles than the best quality deep cycle battery as long as it's good quality and installed well. And then you don't need to pump the water to anything below it if you have enough head.
    This is just one idea I have in mind to minimise dependence on batteries in my off grid shack.
    Sorry I could go on but this is ridiculously long already.
    Thanks for raising an interesting topic.

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  11. Hi Rinelle, glad you got your money's worth with the Climate Smart home visit. I'm going to write it down so I call them tomorrow. I think you can even book on-line.

    That said, I'm glad to hear you're posting on your blog again. I'll have to catch up with your garden endeavours - I already had a quick peek but have to take a closer look soon. I hadn't realised you were posting again. :)

    It's interesting what you said about the solar hot water system though, as this was something I suspected could be pushing up our usage too. The system is way too big for a family of three, but the builders installed one to supply a four bedroom house. It takes a lot of sun to heat that amount of water - but also a lot of electricity when the panels aren't working at optimum efficiency.

    I know we used the same building company, so it was interesting to read your take on the appliances as well. I've been switching off the oven and stove-top at the wall: that oversized button they put in the kitchen, when I'm not using them.

    The solar salesperson also keyed me into the fact my washing machine heated the water during a cycle as well - I did not know this. I purchased the front loader initially to save on water, little realising it would increase electricity usage!

    Live and learn though, LOL.

    I'll look forward to reporting what we glean from our Climate Smart home inspection.

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  12. Gullygunyah, that information was really interesting to read. Thanks for breaking it down. It all goes to show that understanding what we are buying, should meet the need and not exceed the design, because that's where waste can happen. Like in the case of the tv booster for example.

    We have one of those too, very necessary to get tv reception out here. We took to switching it off at the wall when we aren't watching the tv. In fact, we switch pretty much everything off when not in use: mircowave, radio, lamps, dishwasher and washing machine. Where we could improve is buying an eliminator board for the PC, as we find it difficult to reach under the desk to swich it off. With an eliminator board and remote, it will be much easier to cut any electricity being sapped by the PC, when we're not using it.

    Having said that, I'll have to see how much electricity eliminator boards use too (if they use them) I'm still researching options.

    I came to the same conclusion as you regarding header tanks and solar pumps - using the pressure of gravity instead to feed the house. Being on a slope, we have the ability to put a tank on a hill above the house, only we'd have to muck around with engineers for approvals. As I'm fairly certain one of our retaining walls would be carrying enough surcharge to need council approval.

    What I would give to start the building process over again, LOL. Can't look back though, have to keep moving forwards.

    I loved your thoughts on wood heating and outside ovens, as we've been mulling this over as well. When the power was cut off for 6 days after the flood, it would have been so useful. I was relying on butane gas to do a lot of cooking, when we have the wood supply in abundance.

    I feel like discussing these things with everyone here, has cemented my resolve for some of those low tech options, instead of investing in more high tech solutions. Just like nature, it pays to diversify. :)

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  13. Hi Chris
    I didn't know how it worked in Australia. That seems like it defeats the purpose and you are paying for infrastructure in a sense.
    Diversifying is a part of our plan. We will heat and cook with wood, tap into passive solar in a serious way and light with oil or kerosene. Using less of all resources even if alternative is still a part of that plan for us.
    Is it an option for you to add solar in increments? A friend did that until she reached her desired capacity. Her system is stand alone.

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  14. You're absolutely right LindaM, we are paying for infrastructure and we are responsible for it while we own the house.

    How are people duped into believing this is a good investment for them, without realising the massive responsibility they're taking on board? Because what wouldn't you do if it meant saving the planet? It's all sold on the concept we're making a difference to future generations, and at a bargain price too!

    But alternative energy was never meant to belong to a single power grid that expanded long distances. It's design was always meant for close range, limited supply. It's awfully clever to get individual home owners focussing on their limited part, as the expansive single grid, sucks their solar power into oblivion.

    Green energy makes a wonderful camouflage for hiding the actual increase in emissions we make as a country, as we meet our governments population growth target for increased GDP.

    We are no more aware of where our power comes from, than we know about the laws of thermodynamics. Yet alternative energy systems were founded upon harnessing and directing thermodynamics, to the point it CAN be useful.

    Our governments system doesn't reflect that design at all, and I'm guessing it was never meant to either. In as much as they were never going to overhaul an industrial system that is so lucrative to our Australian economy.

    What they were always intending was to set up another profitable system, designed to boost public support. What better cause than saving the planet and making a quid from it too? They have met that objective, but they better hope people don't cotton on to the actual "facts", about the limitations of energy transfer over long distances.

    Sorry for my rant on behalf of my country's near-sighted approach to change. I look at the hard working population and what they're prepared to make sacrifices for, and their reward is a conniving (double-dealing) government prepared to sell them a fantasy, rather than prepare us for reality.

    Our Nation is intending to increase growth in the mining sector, at the same time they increase the camouflage of green energy targets. What we're supposed to focus on is the fact we're making an individual difference.

    So the population are given solar panels to play mini power brokers with, while the same fossil fuels that make our country so rich today (and destroy our planet) are set to increase in output.

    Therefore it's very heartening to read of people such as yourself (gullygunyah, Rinelle and Linda) all thinking out the process for yourselves. Looking at what alternative energy means to you all, and how it fits your needs. Not just that, but how you look at other areas to improve as well.

    It's been an absolutely smashing discussion and I'm thrilled you all took part. Even if solar panels become a reality for some of us (or all of us) at least we are prepared to wager it's value and design first.

    As for buying solar in increments, that can become a tricky exercise too. The inverter size has to match the amount of solar panels you put on your roof. Some people install a larger capacity inverter with the intention of putting more panels up at a later date. What we learned from the salesperson, is you want to have a plan to install more at a maximum of two years.

    Why that amount of time? Because you've paid for the larger inverter and you don't have the amount of panels generating the power it can handle, so in effect, you're wasting your money. Solar panels also lose their efficiency over time.

    The more I learn about solar limitations though, the more I realise it cannot possibly be a mainstay of alternative power generation. It's just too unpredictable, depending on the weather. Hybrid systems (solar, and wind, for example) are probably better if you want to stay off the grid and have reliable power.

    For now, I'm going to focus on low tech solutions and learning to limit my own behaviour.

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  15. Here in the US, the way I have read it done is obviously different from AU. People can sell the excess to the power companies. They don't produce power, send it off, and buy it back. I would be wary of the situation with the salesman and "maybe more" cost.

    There are plenty of sites about how to build your own solar power set up. Using less power is the way to go for some. And, getting completely off-grid is the goal of others. Off-grid would really suit me.

    I read about a guy who had solar power only. He had few appliances on his solar system. And, he was careful how and when he used power. He did live in a mountainous area where he rarely or never needed ac and heated with wood.

    www.practical-parsimony.blogspot.com

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  16. I wonder how dissimilar our two systems are Linda? What you explained is what happens here too, we sell our solar power to the electricity company, and purchase electricity over what is produced.

    To get the maximum dollar value however, you send as much solar power to the grid as possible. The only way to do that is by not using electricity during daylight hours - when the panels will produce the most power.

    To give you a personal example, the standard 8 panel system (or 1.52kW) would save us an average of 6.3kW a day. That's given our solar panels work efficiently every day! Now our lowest usage is around 24kW a day. During winter it can go around the 50kW mark because we heat with electricity.

    That's going to come down when we get the wood heater installed, hopefully next year. Even if we could bring it down to the 18-20kW a day the average Australian household is meant to use, that 6.3kW savings, isn't going to cut it. We're still going to have to import roughly 10-12kW per day from the grid.

    Granted, it's a reduced amount we have to pay for dollar wise, but how much extra money had to be spent to get the savings? And how much extra power had to be generated to cover the loss in transit?

    Like you, I use to think it was about being paid for the solar power, households exported to the grid. But the only way to get "extra" to export, is by not drawing from your panels to begin with. Especially if you have a small system.

    The whopping 27 solar panel system (or 5.13kW) that wouldn't even fit on our roof, and cost us $13,000 more than the 8 panel system, would only save us 21kW a day.

    We'd still have to export roughly 4kws of power a day from the electricity grid. Which wouldn't amount to very much, but it goes to show you the massive amount of infrastructure required (at great expense to the individual householder) to make an "estimated" savings.

    Complicated much? ;) I got quite a shock when I actually learned how the system of import and export worked. The standard 8 panel system wouldn't supply an average Australian household's usage. It's any wonder all the brokers with an interest in power supply, are pushing the 8 panel system the most. They are the most cost effective system in terms of recouping your outlay in roughly 4 and a half years.

    Which is once again, all determined by the weather, LOL. People would be shocked by reading their guarantees as well. They would find the solar system is allowed to run to around 80% efficiency, before it's deemed replacement worthy under warrantee.

    Yet all estimates for savings on daily kilowatts, is when the panels are working at optimal efficiency. I'm still trying to figure out how people rationalise the expenditure on estimates, when the world is so much more unpredictable than that.

    How many factor in the cost of maintanence for the lifetime of the system? It may work great for the first 10 years, but then you're up for possible repairs. While it may happen at the latter end of the systems life, it still reduces the profit margin of it's output.

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  17. I wouldn't invest in a system that didn't allow me free use of my own electricity during the day personally. I also steer away from "opportunities" to help others stay in power as a matter of course. What you are describing is the system trying to keep people reliant on them rather than going smaller scale and independent. Control the energy and you control the people. That is never good. I'm sorry to hear that so many are buying into this. I know they just don't know.

    I will ask my friend if your salesman was right about the two year limit to growing your system. I think that she took much longer to do it but I could be wrong. I wish I could get you connected to her! She's a former engineer and really has a grasp on this technology but can explain it in simple terms.


    Plus, I don't think you were ranting at all. I think this issue is so important!

    I hope that you can find some easier solutions and there are many. The bottom line is that to invest in a grid that is destined by its current nature to fail all of us is not a wise decision. We are going off grid as much as we can and as fast as we can afford. I know that you read the Archdruid Report. Did you find his link to the Cultural Conservers site yet? Some good tips there for low tech solutions.
    Also, Build it Solar has some ingenius things to offer.

    Don't give up on solar though. You have the chance to use passive solar at anytime if you have the right conditions. We have one room that remains unheated that is warm even when its 25 degrees farenheit outside and we haven't even begun to encourage passive solar yet. I think that is the place to start personally.
    Thanks for this topic Chris. As always, thought provoking.

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  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  19. Hi LindaM, I hope it was okay to delete your other post? It was exactly the same as your first one, but I didn't realise this until after I released it from the blogger Spam folder.

    I still have no idea why it ended up in there. I've never had problems with your posts being refused automatic publishing before. Maybe something's up with Blogger?

    Anyway, I just need to clarify people have the freedom to use their solar whenever they want, but from the political advertisements to the businesses selling the systems, it's all about getting your money back quicker. It's about reducing the cost of the household electricity bills - not about the way to use solar as it's design intended.

    As a result, people buying into solar are trained to use it only one way. They have another option (to use it when the sun is out), but that's not how the scheme is being promoted.

    I'm just a little too analytical I suppose, because I like to understand how things work. Doing research on how solar panels work, showed me they are most effective at the point they are generating power, because the energy doesn't have to travel very far. The longer you intend to store renewable energy however, the more energy you need to generate to keep it alive.

    It's not common knowledge how solar generated power is best used. What is common knowledge though, is you can buy a cheap solar set-up to generate renewable energy, to reduce the cost of your electricity bills. You don't have to use it that way, but that's what's being promoted as the best way.

    The weirdest part for me, is not knowing how the system works from the electricity supplier's end. I tried asking mine once, a few years ago when they were promoting people pay extra for green power (only if they wanted to). I asked what I was meant to be paying for: they said investment in renewable energy. They said a portion of my power would be from wind farms, etc.

    I asked how that reaches my house from the wind farms, and they said it didn't actually come to my house directly - it was all part of the system. I could choose to pay extra for green energy, they buy it from the farm and that's how the investment in renewable energy is done.

    Hmmm, that cleared it up nicely. Or did it, LOL? Who knows where their solar power goes once it leaves their house - could it return to the transfer station because they sold it to the power company, maybe it's going directly next door because that's how the power company has arranged to use their solar power - really, who knows?

    It's a very lucrative system, but I think I'd rather contemplate my flowers demonstrating how the energy of sunlight was meant to be used. ;)

    I'm looking a lot to nature nowadays, for sustainable solutions. I'll look a little deeper into the Archdruid Reports links. Thanks for the info. :)

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  20. Hi Chris
    That is how its done here too. We can invest in renewable grid energy but where it comes from and how it gets to final destination is just not sustainable at this point.

    Example of that end of the business:
    We have a local issue-fighting off the installation of power lines from a company in another state that needs to put these lines up to send their renewable energy to a city 100 miles south of here.

    By putting up those lines though, they are ruining the landscape which is raw and beautiful and they are putting the lines up near homes that are off grid by choice. The property values of these homes will suffer and of course having power lines isn't always the healthiest when they are right there outside your door.

    But most of all, this area will not benefit from that renewable energy at all. Its not a part of our system-we are just on the pathway to its final destination.

    The company tried the guilt trip-"Don't you think its important to sacrifice for renewable energy?" That didn't go over very well.

    The people who invested in the big city think they have done a good thing of course but they are not sacrificing their way of life and are probably not told what it will entail for this system to work.

    Agree. Solar and renewable energy was meant to be used locally and even directly.

    I was having computer trouble yesterday so that might explain all the problems you had on your end with my comments. No problem with you deleting repeats:)

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  21. I agree, not many know what alternative energy actually involves - it will be an increase (not a decrease) in more carbon pollution, on top of what fossil fuels are already producing.

    But the sentiment is genuine from people who want to do something positive for the future. It's just the usual spin masters who tell them everything they want to hear, without the awful truth attached to the end.

    Someone's home/land/community ends up being sliced and diced in the name of progress. That's always the toll. :(

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  22. Here's how to cut your electricity bill by 75%: DIY HOME ENERGY.

    ReplyDelete

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