Thursday, January 12, 2006

sun's out

let the "hard-nosed realists" scoff at photovoltaics. "too expensive", "too energy-intensive a component production cycle", "can't compete with computer industry for raw materials". whine, whine, yada yada. I don't suppose they allow much prognostication to disturb their real-world pragmatism, but anyone with an eye toward the not-so-distant future recognizes the term peak oil and knows it means someone better start to come up with something to move our energy economy away from dinosaurs and toward something a wee bit more sustainable. And, oh, lookee there! all that free sunlight pouring down like manna from heaven! how about that!

plants been doin it for several billion years, and they seem to have been fairly successful. I'd say that's pragmatic, wouldn't you? maybe we should take a look, too, huh? and maybe--- just maybe--- if we invested, say, a millionth part of the subsidies that the fossil fuel industry enjoys to bring us our ludicrously lavish energy-spendthrift lifestyle, in the development of more efficient PV systems, we'd find that, in the bigger scheme of things, it wasn't so inefficient or pie-in-the-sky an idea after all. or we could just keep the status quo, digging and drilling and hummering our way toward a road warrior future because solar power is "impractical".

so laugh away, you status quo pundits. we idealist wackos will continue to tilt at energy windmills (ha ha) to usher in the new world energy paradigm.


At 1/16/2006 3:24 PM, Blogger Ernest said...

Looking good, Algy.

That the current job? What are the stats? Size, generating capacity, cost. If I had one of them systems like in the picture, would I be able to run my fridge and my lights and my 'puter and alla that? Details, man!

At 1/16/2006 9:28 PM, Blogger Algernon said...

dat dere's a 1650kW nominal capacity non-tracking array. probably deliver somewhat less power than rating. comprised of ten Shell 165-watt panels, wired to power a 20-battery storage bank (five parallel series of four 6-volt deep cycle batteries). the client will use the system to power a moderately sized modular off-grid home, supplemented by a Whisper wind-power generator on a 30-foot tower. I'd say youse could run your fridge, 'puter, lights. as always, the recommendation would be to use the most energy-efficient of those items: compact fluorescents, Energy Star fridge and 'puter, etc. you could also bypass the inverter with some 24V lighting, losing less power to the inversion process.

At 1/18/2006 9:59 AM, Blogger Ernest said...

I am filled with excitement and questions:

Cost of such a home-power set-up?

And estimated time till it pays for itself?

And estimated amount of CO2 that the environment is spared by the use of such gear (including the CO2 emitted during manufacture)?

And estimated life of the system?

And what is the proper, responsible way to dispose of the gear when it is no longer working and needs to be replaced?



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