The real question might be, why wouldn't anyone want to convert the
family homestead to function off the sun's rays? Sounds like quite the
formula for happiness, right?
The truth is, deciding to go solar has some pretty big benefits -- but
they're somewhat offset by potential drawbacks.
Solar power is free, after the initial investment of setting up the
system. Solar power is also efficient (although its actual level of
efficiency is debated by some experts) and free of pollution. But once
you decide to go fully solar -- off the grid -- you've got to cope
with foul weather that might put a damper on your plans.
If you stay on the grid (the traditional electric system), you can
still use traditional utility-provided power in situations where you
can't make enough power or don't have any power stored. The goal is
often to eliminate the need for fossil fuels entirely, but this option
might be enough to convert some skeptics who are hesitant to make the
leap. The terminology might also be off-putting, since "going off the
grid" is sometimes associated with tax dodgers and serial killers.
Rest assured, a wholehearted solar home is entirely wholesome.
Planning to run your house completely on solar power requires
considerable financial, mental and emotional investments. The
infrastructure is a little more complicated, the calculations must be
more precise, and a mistake can leave you without enough juice to get
by. At least there's already a light to guide you along the way.
Solar power ? Pollution Free ? Bullshit...
Just like with the Hybrid Electric Vehicles the "pollution"
is concentrated into the batteries for a properly installed
solar power system...
The solar power panels do not last forever, the batteries
have to be maintained regularly and replaced, and you have
to have a room full of them somewhere unless you are
willing to totally ration power down to almost nothing
when it is stormy and cloudy weather...
Solar power is a viable option in places where you would
be looking at having to pay for miles and miles of distribution
cables and utility poles to be installed to connect to the
closest power source or if you have a small island and
would be looking at underwater cables which are very
Solar Panels, Combiner Box, Charge Controller,
Battery Racks, Batteries, Inverter, System Grounding...
You would not want to put all your eggs in one basket
if you are going "utility independent" you would also
want a wind turbine and an emergency generator
with a large enough fuel tank...
You need the other power sources when you are not
connected to the power grid because of weather,
system component failures, maintenance which
requires powering the system off, etc...
The cost benefit analysis of choosing solar power
over a utility provider must be based on the initial
connection charges and maintenance of any wiring
which is on your property which can be burdensome
if you have long runs of utility poles to reach your
house... The cost of a solar grid of the correct size
and capacity to power a typical house with no grid
connection needs a lot of roof or ground area as well
as a provision for batteries for system power storage
capacity... The controllers which operate these systems
are not cheap, nor are the correctly sized back up
systems like wind turbines and emergency generators
all of which must be sized for the full system load
so when you are maintaining your "utility independent"
system you don't have to be in the dark while doing
But only a loon would use batteries when the grid is
available, so this is the pathological case and not
indicative of the cost or environmental impact of
solar in general. There are millions of
solar systems in increasing numbers around the
country and almost none have batteries.
I can see one additional source, but let's not go
Again, the pathological case.
The cost of a solar grid of the correct size
On Tue, 26 Jun 2012 16:45:16 -0400, Metspitzer wrote:
Well, there's limited panel life and the maintenance of keeping them
clean to think about.
Panel efficiency is really rather poor, isn't it (only a very low
percentage of energy is converted into electricity)? Optimal efficiency
requires tracking the sun's rays, but even then you need large panel area
to get useful output.
Other than the 'cost' of producing the panels.
And that little thing that some of us like to call 'night'. :-)
Run your home off sunbeams?
I'm reminded of the observation by Samuel Johnson, limited by my failing
"A woman in the pulpit is like a dog raised up on its hinder legs. It is not
surprising that the act is done poorly; what is surprising is that the dog
would want to do so at all."
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