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Author Topic: Why solar energy still can not have a large-scale promotion ?  (Read 3196 times)

Offline weijing3333

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Such as title.


 

Offline wolfekeeper

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Because of the cost of the equipment to generate electricity from it, solar energy is one of the more expensive source of power. Wind power is much cheaper for example.

However, the cost of solar panels is coming down, and is starting to be cheaper than the price of domestic electricity. However, even then, solar power is only available during day, and it is not usually competitive with industrial sources of power.
 

Offline evan_au

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Another factor is that in our economic system, the full costs of power are not charged to the end user. So conventional power generation has numerous "hidden" costs which are not factored into the selling price.

On the other hand, solar cells have very little ongoing costs after construction (except for an occasional cleaning to get rid of dust), and so are fully-funded by the consumer.

This economic anomaly in conventional power has been progressively changing over the past couple of centuries, but it still has some way to go.

In earlier days:
  • There was little requirement for safety in mining, and many coalminers died from explosions and rockfalls. This spurred many technology developments, including the Davey safety lamp, dynamite and motorized mining machinery. Today safety is a prime consideration on mine sites in the "Western" world.
  • There was little or no protection for other land-users when mining started. Now you will receive some compensation if your farm is taken over by mining, or your house collapses into a coalmine.
  • There was no requirement to restore the landscape after mining, leaving large scars on the landscape. Now there are increasing demands that trees be planted after mining.
  • The water was considered "free", resulting in polluted waterways. Most countries now have regulations that prevent powerstations from washing out ash into waterways, and limit other pollutants. There are still problems with exotic wildlife blooming in the warm water released by the powerstations, and in juggling water usage between power generation and other water users (especially in dry climates).
  • The air was considered "free", resulting in killer smogs and forest die-back. Most countries now have regulations that require powerstations to limit output of ash and oxides of nitrogen and sulphur.
  • Some mining, energy production and energy-intensive refining still take place in countries which would not meet our own standards for environmental protection.
  • Arguably, some wars have been fought to prevent economically-challenged countries from obtaining a fair selling price for their major primary export - oil.
  • Many countries still consider their environment to be "free" (eg fish stocks and wildlife), and so they do not yet place a price on greenhouse gases like CO2. There are some moves to pump CO2 into underground storage (which will be expensive), but some of the alternative carbon capture technologies are even more expensive.
  • As far as I know, no country currently places a price on restoring fuel sources after consumption, or forces miners to remediate coal mines (eg by replacing burnt coal by an energy-equivalent in oil..).
In another generation, I expect our children will look back, and wonder how their forebears (us) could ignore some of the costs which are apparent, even now.

I was surprised when travelling in remote areas of Thailand to see solar panels on individual thatched bamboo houses. When you consider the cost of developing a conventional, centralised generation and distribution capability, solar actually comes out ahead, in some scenarios.
 

Offline Pecos_Bill

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Those vile prostitutes of the California Public Utilities Commission have... but wait, here is what a local newspaper said..

"For years, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric have wanted to raise rates for those who use the least and lower rates for those who use the most, and the California Public Utilities Commission made it happen in a 5-0 vote. The plan approved Friday also leaves the door open for new fixed charges for consumers, another utility industry goal." (1.)

So bear that in mind as you watch Ed Begley Jr. tell how his solar panels will repay his investment in 7 years for going fully solar in his house.  So who would you rather your money went to? Yourself or the thieving so-and-so's at PG&E or the ones that  currently have their mitts in << your >> pocket?



(1.) http://www.desertsun.com/story/tech/science/energy/2015/07/03/california-approves-major-electricity-rate-changes/29665347/
« Last Edit: 12/07/2015 09:55:26 by Pecos_Bill »
 

Offline wolfekeeper

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Whatever. Most things you buy are subject to economies of scale anyway.
 

Offline Pecos_Bill

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Yeah, right. Low flying pig alert.

That money you would save after the breakeven point would probably be put to much better use by the shareholders and executives of the utility company than if you saved it for your old age.


That north sea oil will never run out either.
« Last Edit: 12/07/2015 23:08:31 by Pecos_Bill »
 

Offline Pecos_Bill

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Hunger is a great motivator. In western societies innovations found in research labs are not exploited, because bloated companies are (a.) too lazy and (b.) to chicken to exploit them. Solar energy is a prime example of this.

Because the labor costs are very low  ( and ambition there is greater) China is able to exploit these opportunities. In America, the Obama administration invested heavily in a solar power startup called "solyndra" but they were undercut and went bankrupt by Chinese companies whose labor costs were much less.

Many Americans were outraged, but it can be shown in Economic theory that both China and the US economies are better off if China produces the solar panels. That is so, even if individuals in America must find other work because of it.

As China's labor market gets better, then you will see production shift to either robots or Cambodians, Laotians., or whoever is hungriest.

By the way, Mr. Weijing3333, if you google "free online English grammar checker" you will find out how to communicate better with english speaking readers.

Stay hungry, kid.
 

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