If you had a REAL McDonald's in the UK, you might think differently.
For those of you who haven't experienced a UK Big Mac, think of a sandwich
made with fried lamb and garnished with cucumbers instead of tomatoes. Oh,
and it has a sauce so secret that no one can remember where it came from or
Not if it takes more fossil fuel to excavate, refine,
manufacture and distribute a solar panel than the
energy the panel can produce during it's working life.
It is a toy for people who can get government subsidies.
Here's a real world example:
A 25 watt panel costs about $125 . That is the cost
to produce the panel and get it into the hands of a
homeowner -- i.e. the selling price, typically.
Use Dallas as a location. 10 cents per kwh
and a yearly average of 5.5 hours of "full sun" per day.
OK $125 means 1,250,000 watt-hours of electricity
That means 1,250,000 / (5.5 x 25) = 9091 days of
power generation at full panel ability.
That means 9091/365 = 24.9 years to break even on
cost of generated power, assuming zero maintenance
and zero damage from rain and hail.
An unsustainable scenario.......
And if you figure in the cost of external infrastructure
that's needed --- batteries, wiring, power converter,
installation costs, maintenance on the infrastructure...
..... the business decision is a no-brainer....
Solar is a TOY, unless there is no other possible
way.......Even a gasoline generator is more
Clearly you have never been to Germany.
Solar panels are cost effective because they need no fuel to run
them. Their projected life is around 25 years. And they produce no
pollution once manufactured.
You have to buy gasoline to run your generator. You have to maintain
it and it has a lifetime of a few thousand hours at best. And the cost
of fossil fuels will rise.
And fossil fuels are too valuable to burn.
And you have to buy a new Solar DC-AC convertor, when the old one fails
after a few years.
Want to estimate the cost, when your original supplier is out of bizness?
My guessimate comes out at 4 to 8000 dollars/euros.
Not to mention, what replacing one or two failing panels costs.
25 years without maintenance costs is quite impossible....
You need panels with the same properties.........
A few years?
My first hit on MTBF for DC-AC converter says 1 million hours.
365*24 = 8760. Looks like 114 years.
Seems a little high, but a few years sounds nuts.
Those Chinese must be pretty clever if they can sell something like
I agree that the MBTF is out beyond a few years but we don't know how
well they hold up to lightning. That may not be important everywhere
but we have an ass kicking thunder storm just about every day here in
the summer. (Florida). Then there is that 150 MPH hurricane thing.
I wonder how well a collector holds up to a coconut hitting it at
100mph or so? I know my pool collector didn't hold up too good and it
is just a low tech plastic deal.
There are now 'microinverters' that only produce about 300 watts and are
easy to replace. You do have about 24 of them per panel. With todays cost
it only takes about 5 years for a payback when you factor in all the tax
breaks in the US.
Again look here for a real user.
My neighbour is a real user, about 16 big panels.
The panels are in series, and the convertor
converts high-voltage DC to 240 V ac.
I am an electronic engineer, and I know some high-voltage equipment
to fail on occasion.
Even if a salesman tries to convince me thats not the case.
Besides, the whole installation came from China, in a multi-customer
contract to a chinese firm, including installation and convertor.
It is not a simple convertor, a lot of smart control buildin.
Now where to find such an animal in about 5 years?????
A failng panel is easier, you can take it out of the loop, and keep
on using the rest. That just decreases efficiency.
You did put your finger on why this may actually take off some day.
When China gets the system price down to a buck a watt, they start to
Unfortunately we just trade the old dependence on foreign oil we had
for a dependence on foreign solar collectors right at the time when we
have a fossil energy surplus here. Coincidence? Maybe but I smell rich
people manipulating a market.
On Wednesday, February 13, 2013 11:12:32 PM UTC-5, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
If there's such a surplus then why are prices going up-up-up?
We're supposed to be on the "cheaper" winter blend right now and prices are
creeping back to $4 a gallon.
Frankly I'd rather pay the Chinese for solar panels than the greedy old white
men manipulating the gas prices.
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