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Do You Have Solar Power?

Community Expert ,
Aug 06, 2022 Aug 06, 2022

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Finally, the US has a Climate Change / Inflation Reduction Bill before the Senate that may get approved early next week.  Hurray!  The good news is that the Bill provides many incentives for people to switch to Solar Power.  It's something I have wanted to do for years. And this may be the best time to do it. 

 

How many people are currently using Solar Power at home, office or school?

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
Aug 06, 2022 Aug 06, 2022

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Solar is at the top of home improvement upgrades for me.  A neighbor of ours has a spot in a solar farm collective and really likes it.  She's been mostly shielded from both increased electricity costs in our area and increases in heating costs as well with the use of heat pumps. 

 

We mostly heat with oil here in the northeast that follows the cost of diesel fuel.  It has basically tripled over the past year.  A cold year will now cost $6000 or more for me unless the price of oil comes down.

 

Perhaps the upcoming incentives will push us over the fence on solar panels.

 

 


George F, Fine Art Landscape Photographer

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Community Expert ,
Aug 06, 2022 Aug 06, 2022

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Our power gets cut off every time the wind blows (fire threat).  We're sick of it. 

 

Solar plus whole-house battery backup would be ideal and add a lot to the property value. 

 

The local school has installed a solar panel array on their parking structure.  It powers electric cars by day and supplies the school with what they need.  What's left gets sold to the local power grid.  I see solar as a win, win for everyone. 🙂

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
Aug 07, 2022 Aug 07, 2022

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I received 3 quotes from local solar companies so far.  Where we live in California, a roof mounted array of 15 panels (400 watts/panel) can be purchased for about $2.64/watt. Includes a 25 year warranty on roof, service, inverters, racks & labor.  The Tesla Power Wall 2 is an extra $10K.

 

In year 1, the panels would generate almost 8,400 kWh and save 6 tons of C02.  It looks feasible but we have a lot more research to do.

 

 

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
Aug 07, 2022 Aug 07, 2022

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I just read the average US home uses around 10,000 kWh yearly, so that would theoretically cover most of not all of your energy costs? 

 

Not sure about you, but the $15,000 for the solar panels equals less then 10 years of electricity costs with current prices. 


George F, Fine Art Landscape Photographer

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Community Expert ,
Aug 08, 2022 Aug 08, 2022

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California's electric power is sourced from a mix of our own natural gas, renewable and non-renewable imports.

https://www.energy.ca.gov/data-reports/energy-almanac/california-electricity-data/2021-total-system-...

 

California's solar madate requires all new home construction to include solar rooftop panels. This goes for apartments & condos as well as detached homes.

 

We have a small house with nearly year round sun exposure. So the cost of solar panels will cost about the same as what we currently pay for electricity, perhaps slightly more if our roof needs repairs.  But solar panels degrade about 1% each year. To offset depletion, some people add more panels over time.

 

Solar panel recycling is already a thing in the US. I understand Canada & Australia are looking at similar reclaiming efforts.

https://www.epa.gov/hw/solar-panel-recycling

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
Aug 08, 2022 Aug 08, 2022

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The effectiveness of solar power I think is debatable. It could take 10 years before you get your money back on the investment. 

Your geographical location also has a role to play. Some places are not so sunny throughout the year. In Central/Eastern/Nothern Europe, the winters can be long and dark - so not much sun then! It also depends whether you have your own house, or live in a block of flats.

And then there is the environmental impact as well. What happens to the solar panel when it has past its use-by date? Currently, it is not recycled. (Probably buried in land-fill!)

 

The Dark Side of Solar Power (hbr.org)

 

Our energy needs will exceed what so-called Green Energy can produce.

What's more, despite the EU trying to be 'green', due to Russia, Germany wants to restart old coal-fired power stations in order to save natural gas.

 

All the European countries returning to ‘dirty’ coal as Russia threatens to turn off the gas tap | E...

Germany Says It Will Restart Coal Power Plants to Save Natural Gas - The New York Times (nytimes.com... 

 

As time goes on, our energy needs will continue to increase.

Where will all this come from to quench our thirst for energy?

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Community Expert ,
Aug 08, 2022 Aug 08, 2022

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You aren't wrong that a lot questions need to be asked about the effectiveness of solar.  The recycling dilemma in particular is concerning to me as well.

 

We live in a northern climate and a friend of mine has solar panels on his house and has never had a power bill.  In combination with heat pumps he also has a very limited heating bill, and has also recently purchased an electric car that he also charges from the solar panels.  With energy costs in this area, I think he'll save $10,000 this year conservatively. 

 

His panels also work on the shortest of winter days here.  Perhaps Northern Alaska would be a different story.

 

I have another friend who has purchased a share in a solar collective.  The loan payments equaled what an electricity bill typically would so there isn't really extra cost for them.  This was before electricity costs spiked in our area, I believe they are actually saving money now.

 

 


George F, Fine Art Landscape Photographer

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Community Expert ,
Aug 12, 2022 Aug 12, 2022

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@Nancy OShea Among many things, this post inspired me to look more seriously at solar over the past week.  I've been in contact with the company in our area that sells shares in solar farm collectives and I'm on track to be a part of their next project in 2023.

 

It will actually save us money from our current power bill, and if we move to heat pumps it will cut our heating+cooling+electricity costs in half.

 

Thanks for the inspiration!

 


George F, Fine Art Landscape Photographer

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Community Expert ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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On a related note, Marjorie Taylor Green recently said, "renewable energy doesn't work at night."  Do we dare tell about the power pack or just keep her in total darkness?  🤣

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/marjorie-taylor-greene-solar-wind-power/

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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🙄🙄🙄 One of the leading ways electric car batteries are being re-used solves that very problem!  I wonder if she's ever used a flashlight? 🤣

 


George F, Fine Art Landscape Photographer

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Community Expert ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
Aug 22, 2022 Aug 22, 2022

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Sun Drenched Spain Turns on Europe's Biggest Solar Power Plant.

Locally-produced, sustainable energy for 334,000 families.

https://twitter.com/Iberdrola_En/status/1561612131740504065

 

Way to go Spain!

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
Aug 23, 2022 Aug 23, 2022

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WOOT WOOT!  Impeccable timing on their part.

 

I guess one thing we need to figure out with the uptick of solar is the recycling aspect, like @ricky336 mentioned.  For what's hitting the market currently, we have 25 years though give or take.


George F, Fine Art Landscape Photographer

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Community Expert ,
Aug 24, 2022 Aug 24, 2022

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It appears our present gasoline-powered car will be the last one we ever own.  As of Jan 2035, sales of gas-powered cars will be banned in California.  Gee, I hope electric car prices come down soon. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/24/climate/california-gas-cars-emissions.html

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
Sep 14, 2022 Sep 14, 2022

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California just endured it's worst record-breaking sustained heat wave on record.  The energy strain on our power grid was enourmous.  How did we avoid rolling blackouts and a grid failure?  Batteries!  That's right.  Massive industrial-sized solar storage batteries that generated 3360 megawatts of clean, safe power for the entire state.  That's more than the Diablo nuclear reactor which generates only 2200 megawatts of power.  

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-09-13/california-electric-grid-batteries-heat-wave-septem...

 

20 years of planning went into this project. Take note Texas. Deadly power grid failures are avoidable.  Please learn a thing a two from California's example.

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 16, 2022 Sep 16, 2022

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quote

Massive industrial-sized solar storage batteries that generated 3360 megawatts of clean, safe power for the entire state.  That's more than the Diablo nuclear reactor which generates only 2200 megawatts of power.  

 

The batteries provided approx 4% of the overall power demand. In 2021, Diablo generated 16,477,366 MWh of power. What was the total battery output for 2021?

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Community Expert ,
Sep 16, 2022 Sep 16, 2022

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The current solar battery system did not exist in 2021.  If you read the article, you'll learn more about it. 😉

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
Sep 16, 2022 Sep 16, 2022

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Incidentally, Diablo Canyon's nuclear reactors are slated to be shut down soon and not running at full capacity anymore.  The station which is in close proximity to 2 earthquake faults posses too many risks for local & commercial residents in San Luis Obispo.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diablo_Canyon_Power_Plant

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
Sep 20, 2022 Sep 20, 2022

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I believe Diablo Canyon output for the year was in GWh not MWh. It is also slated to stay open, as CA needs it desperately, if it wants to attempt to eliminate gas powered engines. They are also planning a big battery storage facility just north of Diablo Canyon, in Morro bay, where the old power plant is currently located.

Using your figure of $15,000 for solar setup, it would take me 13 years to break even.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 22, 2022 Sep 22, 2022

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The way we are handling the cost is getting a purpose-designed 20 year loan through a particular bank.  The bank very much views the monthly payments as replacing a utility bill instead of adding an extra cost.

 

Our monthly payments will be less than our current monthly electric + heating costs.  I'm not saying it's the right move for everyone, but its much more reasonable than coming up with 15k-25k all at once in my opinion.


George F, Fine Art Landscape Photographer

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Community Expert ,
Sep 22, 2022 Sep 22, 2022

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Chuck,

Have you looked at the State & Federal subsidies for solar? We've calculated our loan payments will be the same as what we currently pay to So Cal Edison.  So basically trading one bill for another.

 

Sen. Diane Feinstein proposed a short-term extension to Diablo Canyon's shut down.  Not a forever license.   Nuclear fuel rods have a half-life.  Each fuel assembly has a lifetime in the core of about five years, after which it no longer produces the desired amount of heat & energy.

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
Sep 22, 2022 Sep 22, 2022

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Frankly, we're thinking of moving to North Carolina, soon. We just helped our daughter buy a house there, so we want to be closer to her.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 16, 2022 Sep 16, 2022

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Interesting!  They referenced September 5th in particular, was that a super hot day for you guys?  I know it's been very hot there, I wonder what was significant about that day in particular?  


George F, Fine Art Landscape Photographer

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Community Expert ,
Sep 17, 2022 Sep 17, 2022

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quote

They referenced September 5th in particular, was that a super hot day for you guys? 


By @George_F

===========

Labor Day was bad but  Sept 6 was worse. It reached 114 here, 119 in Sacramento. For more than a week up to and after the holiday, we had triple digit temps just about everywhere.  The drought-induced wild fires across the state made air quality unfit to breath in places.  ACs weren't a luxury, they were a necessity for millions of people. Seniors and young children were urged to stay indoors or seek relief at community cooling centers.

 

A day or two later, a tropical hurricane from Baja descended on San Diego bringing a ton of rain and flash flooding.  Too much of a good thing.

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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