Hmm - I dunno if that's really a good test, since at least some of the
heat must have been residual (stored in the slab, tools, solid surface
Now if you'd put in a trio of 8-foot panels, instead of that lonely
4-footer, and the temperature had been close to 23C... then you'd have
had a more credible test. ;)
Solar cells don't operate with clouds. They need Red/yellow.
Clouds only let in ultraviolet which is a ray that will do some in water...
Electronics is different than water. Simple as that.
Martin [ who has used three solar cell company calculators for my lat/lon]
Morris Dovey wrote:
I did - I never built another water-heating panel. :)
It's taken from April of '73 until April of '09 to convince myself that
it might be worth another go. The memory of that mouthful of 180F water
is still pretty vivid...
Bah! I'll bet you drink room temperature coffee. I also meant illustrating
the effectiveness of solar. Consider yourself twice blessed. I'd be more
skeptical if my black Lab does't sit out in the winter sun to watch the
neighborhood, and come in hours later toasty warm.
Noooo, can't say I have. I flush every source of water till my finger
likes it and I know that the rubber/plastic taste has flushed away.
I had a brother who used to put the hose in his mouth and let the water
shoot out both nostrils. And he could squirt you with his dual nose water
cannons form a good distance away too. Totally freaked out anybody female
and a few males as well. Makes my nose hurt just to recall it.
Most folks only do it once, however. :)
I enjoy building things that push the state of the art - but I've made a
point of /not/ building things that have the potential to cause injury
(or that lend themselves to being weaponized).
Consider it just one of a number of personal quirks.
No, but I've done worse. Had my wisdom teeth removed in the hospital. I was
pretty groggy afterwards recovering from the anaesthetic, but was able to
gather a urine sample at the request of the nurse. Fell asleep after that,
but work up thirsty a little while later. Naturally, I reached for the
little cup sitting on the beside table and took a sip. It wasn't water...
I used to work for a crazy inventor type who made a lot of parabolic
reflectors. He used to go for the extreme displays at fairs, etc. He ended
getting kicked out a a couple of them because his demonstrations were
considered too dangerous for a public setting. He even burnt up a couple of
his parabolic dishes.
I would get nervous when he started brainstorming another solar powered
stunt. The stupidest one was when he put a bunch of powdered magnesium in
the focal point. That on almost burnt down a building and half destroyed
Yikes! It's probably not great form to quote my self, but here's an
extract from an e-mail I sent to a gentleman in Montreal who's thinking
of building a parabolic trough:
"Although the mirror width is 48", the trough (with the mirror curved)
is somewhat less, but still provides concentration to more than 100 suns
- resulting in dangerous temperatures and extreme brightness at the focus.
You should protect your eyes with something like welding goggles when
you work with your concentrator outdoors - and /please/ remember that
shiny bright things attract children, and that even older children do
not listen well to warnings about dangers to their eyes."
He'd already read the warning at
I'm with you. These things need to be handled with care.
The solar craze went through Houston in the early 80's and it sucked. It
literally cost more than it saved. And yes it was solar in its infancy.
I have heard that there is a new community on the NE side of Houston that is
using solar roofs and the community was about 25% dependent on pole
electricity, or so they claimed. I have not heard much lately about it
I know what you're talking about. A lot of the early solar stuff wasn't
very well designed or built and, sadly, too many of the current products
are just copies of the old stuff.
It's just about impossible to make a good economic case for PV-generated
electricity for anywhere except remote off-grid areas.
OTOH, solar heat for either space heating and/or water heating is hugely
more efficient and can be a real cost saver for a substantial fraction
of residences and a smaller fraction (but still significant number) of
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