# SOLAR ENERGY PANEL COST?

• posted on August 21, 2006, 3:56 pm
Yesterday, heard a talking head on TV say that solar energy kits are NOT cost savings. At the most, when you consider the tax breaks, they generate zero net energy savings.
All I want is enough panel to run a 12,000 btu AC during the summer when the sun is shining. What is it going to cost?
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<%-name%>
• posted on August 21, 2006, 4:36 pm

You need to do some studying.
Solar panels produce electricity. However, this electricity runs only small electrical items. In order to get enough energy to power larger items, it takes a system.
A system will consist of panels, batteries, switching devices, and converters. You don't just plug an air conditioner into a bunch of solar panels.
Systems are available for whole houses where people live in remote areas. They power air conditioners, microwaves, tvs, clothes dryers, and all. But it is a system, and not just panels you plug into your air conditioner.
Steve
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<%-name%>
• posted on August 21, 2006, 5:28 pm
about 20- 30 thousand dollars for a system. Every system says things like "NO" eklectric stove, base heaters or A/C units...
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<%-name%>
• posted on August 21, 2006, 5:36 pm

Cypress. He says PV panels should wholesale in the \$4 a watt range based on his cost. That may end up being double by the time it gets to the consumer. Your A/C probably pulls 1200-1800 watts, depending on SEER. Depending on how close you can get to a wholesaler and what machine you have it looks like you are talking about \$5000 to \$10,000 anyway and it could be more like \$15,000 if you pay somerone to do it. At my FPL electric rate (12 cents a kwh) it would take 50 years to get \$15,000 back. (based on \$8 a watt)
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<%-name%>
• posted on August 21, 2006, 6:43 pm
A real problem with solar panel is the plastic and rubber parts fail because of continuous sun exposure. The MTBF is shorter than the payoff period. Nobody has reinstalled them after they fail around Boston.
JimL wrote:

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<%-name%>
• posted on August 22, 2006, 3:45 am
On Mon, 21 Aug 2006 14:43:35 -0400, Stubby

is hard to beat the stuff that comes in that service drop for reliability and cost. The solar that really seems to work is a pool heater but you still have to be careful with the installation. Most of them get thrown away when the roof leaks.
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• posted on August 22, 2006, 4:11 am
I've had my solaroll pool heating system for 27 years. I rolled up and removed the whole shebang when i re-roofed to a metal roof 5 years ago. I hear they've gone out of business, but my system keeps on producing prodigious pool heating 6 months of the year.
Dave

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<%-name%>
• posted on August 22, 2006, 2:52 pm
JimL wrote:

You can't run this country (or much of anything) off of sunbeams.
The amount of the sun's energy falling on the earth is about 1300 watts/sq meter. At the equator. At noon. With no clouds. In North America, the average is about 250 watts/sq meter (about 5 kwhr/day). The only way to increase these numbers is to move the orbit of the earth closer to the sun.
At roughly 16 cents/kwh, one square meter of solar collector at 50% efficiency will save about 40 cents per day.
Assuming 50% efficiency, it would take a solar collector the size of the Los Angeles basin to generate sufficient electricity for California (~1200 sq miles). Plus, you'd have to light Los Angeles since they would be in darkeness due to the collector system.
Or, you could leave Los Angeles in the dark, which, come to think of it, has a great deal of merit.
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<%-name%>
• posted on August 22, 2006, 7:02 pm
HeyBub wrote:

With the exception of nuclear power, all energy used is from the sun.
Wind, oil, soy based bio-diesel, ethanol from corn, wood, you name it - all that energy came from the sun
BTW - in spite of your pessimism, you can do a lot with 5kwh/sq m/day.
Mike
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• posted on August 22, 2006, 7:10 pm

Nuclear power is from another sun, FWIW, but long ago sources are only really interesting to acedemics and shouldn't be brought into this conversation.

But not economicly. Take the money you might have thrown at solar, throw it in the bank and use the interest to buy regular power (made from whatever the power company finds to be the best buy at the time) and you'll find that you can buy power forever.
Solars time (for PV panels anyway) has not yet arrived.
John
--
Remove the dead poet to e-mail, tho CC\'d posts are unwelcome.
Mean People Suck - It takes two deviations to get cool.
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• posted on August 22, 2006, 8:50 pm
snipped-for-privacy@westnet.poe.com wrote:

Let's see... the power company offers to connect you to the grid for \$50,000. You still think that solar is a bad idea?
If you're in a city, you can tap in to the grid easily. Not everyone lives on the grid. For others, solar can be economical. I know folks a few hours from my house who only get electricity because of solar and wind. They'd go broke trying to buy it off the utilities.
In many parts of the world, there are people who can do a lot with nothing more than one solar panel, a single battery and charge controller. That technology is bringing computers, cell phones, lights and other things to remote areas that have nothing and it's doing it economically. There's no way you could build a grid for those locations with the financial resources they have. Solar is boot-strapping economies in parts of the third world.
Solar has a problem matching the needs of people who live in the west and are accustomed to wasting energy.
With all the interest in alternative sources of energy (like ethanol for fuel or biodiesel) ignoring the time+sun element is foolish. The energy we use next year may depend on what's planted today.
Mike