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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:09 pm
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Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The solar industry saw about a decade of rapid growth as "early adopters" to the technologies were willing to pay the higher prices (in terms of price/watt-hour installed and loans mortgaged). To cash in on this, research companies and start-ups went into debt to get going with the continued growth expected. The problem is the world ran out of "early adopters" and a general economic slowdown also slowed sales. This resulted in a drastic drop in the prices of the equipment as the market gets flooded with unsold solar stuff. The good news is the price of solar energy when installed and interest on loans accounted for has now dropped below the cheapest traditional fuel sources of electricity (coal, natural gas) in some areas. This will result in a second boom in growth but only for companies who can ride out the current slump in sales before industrial-sized installations start to happen for companies and governments seeking the cheapest electricity and finding solar to be a bargain.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:23 am 
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If the cost of producing energy from solar is really less than from coal then the boom times are just about to hit!

Once this point is achieved we stop digging up coal.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 12:59 am
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Location: Central Colorado
I doubt the coal companies will stop digging coal, unless they are forced to by government regulations and lack of demand by coal fired plants being replaced by Gen IV nuclear. There will still be a small amount of digging for use at steel and cement plants.
Solar panels are less than half of what I paid in 1997, and my self installed system paid for itself in 6 years, then by 9 years later(2006) I paid off my small mortgage. Doing all the trades and doing them well, all I had were materials costs on a small mortgage, basically. Unfortunately, only a small percentage can do that.
The profiteering installers keep the costs up.
I would have used nickel-iron batteries that are available now, and they add to the system cost, but last 25 years. Even with lower priced panels, there has been no big boom. People on the grid in the sunny areas are not going solar and disconnecting. Some who made the mistake of a grid tie system are being ripped off by the power companies and regret what they did, and the story is read in the newspaper.
It makes me sick that places like Colorado Springs in a perfect solar area, have a coal fired power plant right downtown. Pastel shoebox housing developments too close (many burned up in the foothills), when there are plenty of tires for Earthships. The same with my old town, Phoenix. Too many houses, and built above the 70*F underground temperatures, and needing AC.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:27 pm 
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I am very interested and impressed by your solar power information.

What do you have and how much does it produce?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:35 pm 
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Location: Central Colorado
Tim the Plumber wrote:
I am very interested and impressed by your solar power information.

What do you have and how much does it produce?


Main system,8-75W Astropower glass panels on a Wattsun full tracking array to a 100 Amp power center w/lightning protector, 8-L16S batteries in 2-24VDC banks to two com linked DR2424 (Trace) inverters in custom attached shed to a standard panel inside. Power max. winter 3 KWH, summer 4.2KWH/day. Actual total power use all systems is 2.5-4KWH day, storage is for 3 days @2.5 KWH/day+, no sun. All L-16S batteries 390-410Ah. 2-4KW Generac backup generators.
Garage (attached) addition system, 366 watts of unbreakable Unisolar fixed panels to a Trace C-35 controller to 4-L16S batteries in 2-12VDC banks to A Xantrex X-Power 300 inverter to a sub panel and selectable ProSine1000 to GFI receptacle and extension cords to a number of guitar amplifiers, and effects pedals. Max power winter 1.4 KWH, summer 2.2 KWH/day.
Earthship system, 158 watts fixed on 1x1 aluminum custom mounts like the garage, to a C12 controller and 2-L16S batteries @12VDC to either a 300 watt puresine or a 75 watt fanless puresine inverter, hooked w/alligator clips to the fuzed pos, and neg lugs from the batteries. 5 outlets and 3 lights, 1 switched 12VDC Shurflo pump from the 425 gal catchments tank. More guitar amps. Max power winter .6 KWH, summer .9 KWH/day.
Plumbing is from a 280 ft. deep well into several fissures for 1.25 gpm w/1hp pump(232VAC), pressure
tank, whole house filter, 2 showers, 1 bath tub, 2 low flush toilets, 2 vanities, kitchen double sink, Staber clothes washing machine in bath #2, demand hot water propane heater, 3 vents, 2 lines to 1600 gal. septic tank and standard leech field.
Earthship has recessed floor drain for solar shower, vanity w/full filter from pump & garden drain, front garden has perf pipe to T from shower drain to T w/house foundation drain to rock pit overflow drain field. Copper to front garden hose bib, also ground for electric. Front Earthship garden 21' x 2.5', three gardens 4'x2.5' in from 3' walkway. 194 sq. ft. solar thermal gain glass at 12/6 angle.
Main custom house 624 sq. ft. frame/log siding asphalt shingle roof,1BR,1Ba, vaulted w/wall custom openings, Cozy heater. Custom addition 333 sq. ft. garage(w/pull down stairs and sq. ft. covered floor storage in attic), 1BR,13/4Ba/Lndry 240 sq. ft. hybrid frame rammed earth tire, BR hip vault, the rest flat clgs., wood stove. Custom Earthship 700 sq. ft. acrylic roof, interior 454 sq. ft. + 92 sq. ft. gardens, storage under custom tank platform/cabinet, shelf/rod system, futon bunk bed, Biolet NE composting toilet, 8 custom niches w/tile trim and other embellishments, wood stove backup. Up 3' and 6' from main house/addition, floor elevation 8,876'MSL, 39* N. lat. 120 sq. ft. framed full hipped custom storage shed.
Also, portable 50 watt mono-crystaline panel and portable 600 watt sine wave inverter for 4WD locations to hybrid vehicle 12VDC battery and extension cord to large guitar amps in natural settings for heavy acid rock/blues/metal music.
Trades done for own home: design, engineering calculations, plans drawing, location layout, backhoe/loader operation, underground plumbing, concrete forms, pour and finish, frame, finish, cabinetry, and remodel carpentry, rough and finish interior and exterior LP gas lines, drywall, tape, texture, paint and staining, roofing, rough and finish plumbing, rough and finish electric incl. solar, solar mounting, insulation, all window and door installations(incl. custom notched timber frame, angled, front Earthship windows), rammed earth tire const. done w/self invented reinforced course pour method, stucco, mechanical/wood stove installation, flooring, tile, stone retaining wall, and landscaping.
No electric bills and no mortgage payment---priceless!!!
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v699/ ... d%20Solar/

_________________
"With every decision, think seven generations ahead of the consequences of your actions" Ute rule of life.
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”
― Chief Seattle


Last edited by Johhny Electriglide on Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:16 pm 
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Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Tim the Plumber wrote:
If the cost of producing energy from solar is really less than from coal then the boom times are just about to hit!

Once this point is achieved we stop digging up coal.
Unfortunately it will be a small boom due to the lack of storage options that are affordable for electricity. Germany has been reaching 50% of their power from solar in mid day but it is still only 12% of total energy. The USA is around 1% solar so the boom will happen but it will be a small part of the energy picture until storage or changes in consumer habits via smart meters changes peak loads to match the solar output wave. Still for house installations, the costs are closer to the cost of electricity providing shorter payback times... if people bother to put them on their roof.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2003 10:45 pm
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Location: Southeastern US
Our power supplier just sent me a survey concerning some options for solar. If this survey tracks like the previous ones we should be seeing some of the options within the next year to eighteen months. One option was "community production" where the businesses without the ability to have solar placed in their location "partnered" with businesses with additional solar placed at their location. Another was the installation of solar arrays on the business property where the power company would maintain them and supplement the needed power from the grid at the same cost per month as currently billed for grid power. Currently there is an additional surcharge to get renewable energy, so this would be a decrease in cost for some of us.

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