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US Schools teach kids high tech ways to waste money

Steve Goreham highlights a school program which spends 30,000 dollars to save 300. The program is called “Wise” and hopes to change global weather.

Presumably with such profligate wastage, delusional ambition, and little practical purpose, it will breed future political leaders.   — Jo

—————————————————————————-

US citizens pay for “solar school” foolishness


By Steve Goreham

Originally published in The Washington Times

Solar systems are being installed at hundreds of schools across the United States. Educators use solar panels to teach students about the “miracle” of energy sourced from the sun. But a closer look at these projects shows poor economics and a big bill for citizens.

Earlier this month, the National Resources Defense Fund (NRDC) launched its “Solar Schools” campaign, an effort to raise $54,000 to help “three to five to-be-determined schools move forward with solar rooftop projects.” The NRDC wants to “help every school in the country go solar.” The campaign uses a cute video featuring kids talking about how we’re “polluting the Earth with gas and coal” and how we can save the planet with solar.

Wisconsin is a leader in the solar school effort. More than 50 Wisconsin high schools have installed solar panels since 1996 as part of the SolarWise® program sponsored by Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), a state utility. The program solicits donations and provides funds to schools to install photovoltaic solar systems. The WPS website praises the program, stating, “The best way to leave a healthy planet for future generations is by teaching young people to become good stewards of the environment.”

But one has to question the utility of solar panels in Wisconsin, a state beset by low sunlight levels and ample winter snowfall. Last summer, solar panels were installed at Mishicot High School, the 50th school in the SolarWise® program, at a cost of $30,000. The panels save the school about $300 per year in electric bills. With a 100-year payback, this system would never be installed by anyone seeking an economic return on investment. Are they teaching economics at Mishicot High?

In Illinois, Lake Zurich Middle School South installed a five-panel one-kilowatt photovoltaic system in August. The Lake Zurich Courier provided the headline, “Lake Zurich, Vernon Hills schools save with solar power.” The panels will save the school a little over $100 per year in electricity charges at a system cost of almost $9,000, a project payback of more than 70 years.

While the school may be saving, Illinois citizens are paying. Ninety percent of project funding came from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, which was established by a $225 million grant from Commonwealth Edison in 1999, provided from the electricity bills of Illinois citizens.

In Southwest Florida, 90 schools are installing 5- to 10-kilowatt solar arrays to “reduce energy costs and provide a learning opportunity” as part of Florida Power and Light’s “Solar for Schools” initiative. Panels cost from $50,000 to $80,000 and save electricity worth about $600 to $1,000 per year, depending upon the size of the system. With a 70- to 80-year payback, these projects will never pay off, because solar cells need to be replaced after 25 years of operation. Will they teach that to the kids? The program is funded from an energy conservation fee on customer electricity bills.

Solar energy is dilute. When the sun is directly overhead on a clear day, about 1,000 watts of sunshine reaches each square meter of Earth’s surface at the equator after absorption and scattering by the atmosphere. For the southern US, this is reduced to about 800 watts per square meter, since the angle of the sunlight is not quite perpendicular. Solar cells convert about 15 percent of the energy to electricity, meaning that only a single 100-watt bulb can be powered from every card-table-sized surface area of a solar panel, and only at noon on a clear day.

Los Angeles Community College (LACC) adopted solar energy in a big way. One of seven LACC solar systems is the Northwest Parking Lot Solar Farm, installed in 2008. The farm was purchased at a price of $10 million to produce about one megawatt of rated power, a price more than five times the cost of a commercial wind turbine farm on a per-megawatt basis. LACC spent a whopping $33 million to reduce electricity bills by only $600,000 per year. The total cost, including government subsidies, was $44 million to California taxpayers.

Solar energy has excellent uses, such as powering call boxes along highways, or swimming pool heating. But it’s trivial in our overall energy picture. Despite 20 years, billions in state and federal subsidies, and warm, happy solar school programs, solar provided only 1.1 percent of US electricity and only 0.2 percent of US energy in 2012.

Suppose our schools get back to the study of physics and economics and drop the “solar will save the planet” ideology?

Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of the book The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania.

 

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Rating: 8.9/10 (66 votes cast)
US Schools teach kids high tech ways to waste money, 8.9 out of 10 based on 66 ratings

98 comments to US Schools teach kids high tech ways to waste money

  • #
    Yonniestone

    If anything Tonyfromoz has taught me it’s the unreliability for solar/wind energy to produce a constant base load.
    Last night on new Top Gear they compared 2 Mercedes SLS sports cars, one powered by traditional petrol engine the other electric driven, whilst the electric version drove as well as it’s petrol cousin when it came to real world practicality the electric car lost out as it takes 20+ hours to recharge and has less range.
    So once again as above the usual meme of so called renewable energy reliability is pointed out yet again but how long does it take for the lesson to sink in?, my dog when a puppy tried to catch a ball from high up a was hit on the face, 5 years later she still doesn’t try to catch a ball falling from high up she lets it bounce lower, can I say my dog learns quicker than people who persist with outlived technology? no but it’s funny to think about.

    301

  • #
    KinkyKeith

    Politics.

    The art of entraining young minds, so that they will eventually Vote for the “right” Candidate.

    At a gathering of old acquaintances about twenty five years ago, I was little disturbed to hear one bloke say: “what we need is another War.”

    The topic was- what the hell has happened to our world!

    In recent years, and with the benefit of long experience, it seems that sadly his comment may have had more truth in it than I saw at the time.

    After WW11 there was an immediacy to life that was easy to see.

    Food, shelter, clothing and “the basics.

    After two generations of governments becoming less constrained by reality we have extraordinary confusion in thinking and perception of what is real which has created, in turn, a population that is aimless and looking for a cause: enter “Man Made Global Warming”.

    Many live in a dream world controlled by radio, TV, the internet and guided, ever so lovingly? by our friendly politicians and their “little helpers”.

    KK

    281

  • #

    Perhaps the teacher could show students the “miracle” of how solar panels are manufactured. No doubt millions of panels are powering the production of billions more, after solar powered heavy equipment has gouged and processed the raw materials. No doubt the panels are transported by solar ships and trucks. And when those fossil fuel power stations can’t handle the peak times (like when millions are charging their Volts after work), no doubt solar kicks in and does the job nicely.

    No doubt!

    350

    • #
      Olaf Koenders

      Even at night, according to solar farms in Spain (ツ)

      “At any rate, a couple of people in Spain have earned tens or hundreds of millions of euros more than they deserved, receiving the market price of electricity inflated by a factor of 5 or so. What remains overlooked is the fact that the same thing holds for all the producers of solar energy. They’re also robbing the whole system, our whole nations, giving us the same energy as others but receiving much more money for that. Most of them will never be arrested.”

      70

  • #
    Steamboat Jon

    Some years down the road (sooner than you might think) the true “cost” of these systems will be driven home when the maintenance bills start to grow. PV systems degrade over time which is related to several variables including but not limited to manufacture process and environmental factors to quality of materials used, corrosion, moisture ingress and temperature stress (I think the 25 years is optimistic). Cleaning and regular upkeep costs to include man hours, inverter failure (if DC to AC use), charging system (if used with battery storage), non-thermal weather stress (wind/hail), deep cycle battery replacement (if using storage system) and damage from animal/weather (remote systems I serviced in the US had been damaged by seemingly frustrated hunters that wanted to shoot something before going home). As you mentioned, PV power is wonderful for remote locations where grid power is not available and I would add PV is only something we have the option to use because we are able to manufacture the PV systems by way of conventionally powered industry. . (It would be interesting to know if a PV system is capable of generating enough power over its usable life to produce another like system.)

    190

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      Some cheap PV cells installed in Australia failed within months.

      Even good brands loose effectiveness as they age. The figures I’ve seen, but cannot vouch for, are a 1% drop in the first year and about 5% in 7 to 10 years. This would bring the system down below 10%.

      There are claims that the latest crystalline PV cells may last 33-35 years (but at reduced efficiency).

      The inverter used for grid connected systems has a maximum life of 10 years. About 30-45% of the installation cost extra over the best life expected.

      And the cells should be cleaned regularly to maintain top efficiency.

      60

      • #
        MemoryVault

        .
        A relative of mine spend nearly twenty years as part of a two-man team that travelled around outback WA in a 6X6 Unimog and caravan, servicing remote, solar powered equipment for Telstra and others. The panels were replaced every five to seven years, when they reached 50% or less capacity.

        These were not the new, el-cheapo, lightweight Chinese panels currently adorning the roofs of a couple of million Australian households. These were the German Panzer Tank, almost bullet-proof variety. Still with a commercial working life of only five to seven years.

        .
        My next door neighbour (ex SEQEB for 40 years) had a bank of panels installed four years ago to take advantage of the feed-in tariffs. He had them cleaned two years ago, when their efficiency dropped to pretty-well nothing (we live by the sea). Two story house – cost him nearly $3,000.00. Efficiency is back to pretty-well nothing again, but he’s not bothering this time. Not cost-effective.

        Funny how they don’t mention these things in the colour brochures promoting solar power.
        I can’t seem to find anything about it in the Coalition’s “million solar homes”, or “100 solar cities” policies, either.

        Obviously an oversight.
        The Coalition would never promote a policy they hadn’t thoroughly researched, just because they thought it was a vote-catcher.

        100

        • #
          pattoh

          Do you reckon Carbon Cate would like to have her solar pv efficiency tested against installed “output values” & have a public critical audit on cost/benefit?

          I imagine that big house in Sydney would be air conditioned ( runny mascara & all).

          I’ll bet it is a grid connect system & has a bloody great diesel genset lurking somewhere to keep the mirrors back-lit in an outage.

          10

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      S’ok, they are jus’ like big i-fones, and when they get probs, ya jus’ buy a new one, don’t ya?

      40

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        Only if you’re as rich as Al Gore, or get the ‘extra-curricular’ income enjoyed by Tim Flannery (was $180,000 p.a. part time) or James Hansen (average over $US500,000 from green organisations).

        30

  • #
    John F. Hultquist

    Apparently the school administrators, school board, teachers, and students are an all together uneducated bunch. Why not turn off all electricity from the grid to the school and allow it to function on its own solar power? Not enough power? Each student could have one of these

    http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/102564528/bioelectrical_power_pedal_power_generator_human/showimage.html

    rather than a desk. Rated power = 100-150 w. There’s a tower computer shown – hmm?

    Other people’s money!

    100

    • #
      Col Andrews

      John the specs are hilarious,

      • Specifications of Portable Bicycel Trestle Generator
      Code Specification ATPG-885A Portable Bicycel Trestle Generator ATPG-885B Portable Bicycel Trestle Generator ATPG-885C Portable Bicycel Trestle Generator

      1 Measurement 54cm×48cm×36cm 56cm×55cm×36cm 56cm×55cm×36cm
      2 Weight ≤20Kg ≤20Kg ≤20Kg
      3 Rated Output power 150W 100W 150W
      4 Max Output power 200W 120W 240W
      5 Rated Voltage 14.5V±1V 14.5V±1V 14.5V±1V
      6 Range of Rotating Speed 6575 r/min 5065 r/min 5065 r/min
      7 Rated AC Output 110v/220v±10% 110v/220v±10% 110v/220v±10%

      6575 rev/min – training for the SUPPER Olympics?? :-)

      50

      • #
        ROM

        Apparently the green environmental whackos had a rack of bicycle type generators at Copenhagen in December 2009 which all the greenie types were supposed to use to demonstrate how electricity could be generated for the common man’s own use.
        The bike generators powered festoon lighting on a tree which was supposed to typify the environment and demonstrate that with a small amount of physical effort on the bike generators and at no cost to the holy environment you could generate electricity for your own use..

        By about the fourth day they could no longer find anybody to ride those bike generators to light that tree for as one green, short period and no doubt latte sipping temporarily out of their fully provisioned inner city sanctum, bike rider exclaimed to a bystander, it’s a lot bloody harder than I expected.

        Bike generators were used across the Australian outback by the very isolated stations women and men of those 1930 times to power the pedal radio which for many of the most isolated stations was their only means of communication to the outside world other than the Afghan camel trains on their reasonably regular supply trips weather permitting, to those isolated stations.

        The operator sat on a bike generator to generate the power which drove the radio part of the set up .
        Occasionally heard while a conversation on the radio was ongoing was “Pedal faster you lazy black B_____!

        41

        • #
          MemoryVault

          .
          Back in the early 70′s I saw one made out of an old Singer treadle-powered sewing machine, on a sheep station out in the middle of Woop-Woop in WA.

          The sewing machine was gone, replaced by the radio base station.
          The advantage was you could sit normally and operate the radio while you treadled away.

          20

  • #
    Peter C

    At least the solar panels at the Los Angeles Community School Solar Farm have a use as a covered car park!

    Strangely the pitch of the roof seems to be tilted the wrong way, away from the Sun.

    61

    • #

      Peter, there’s an even larger area with that tilt problem. It’s called Germany. (Someone told ‘em the tropics were heading north, or something like that. In the end they realised that Russian energy dominance and Gazprom were moving west.)

      50

  • #

    The teachers at these schools will be able to give their students a valuable lesson in economics by showing them, in addition to the long payback period, the growing maintenance bills, PV systems performance degradation, corrosion failure costs, moisture ingress costs and temperature-cycle stress costs, cleaning and upkeep costs, inverter failure replacement costs, wind and hail damage repair costs. They could also show the students over the coal fired power station built to run the down-time backup service and add up the costs associated with running it and constructing it.
    There could then be some good coming out of this Climate Alarmism Boondoggle.

    51

  • #
    hunter

    The School district I live in, famous for squandering millions on phony education reform and fat ‘consulting fees’was able to raise over a billion in a recent bond issue. they are committed to wasting many millions of that money on potemkin village ‘renewable energy’ scams and the like.
    The AGW social movement is dominated by a pernicious rent seeking group of money grubbing parasites.

    70

  • #
    crosspatch

    Both of the high schools near my (they are less than a mile apart) have similar solar installations over the parking lots. Actually, it is my position that such shade structures over parking lots (even without solar cells on them) could be a significant savings. They would reduce the urban heat island impact of large parking lots and also reduce the intense heating inside these vehicles. UCLA did a study several years ago that estimated cool roof and cool pavement technologies could reduce urban heat island temperatures in places like LA and Phoenix by at least 1 degree F. That 1F reduction in outside air temperature results in a significant reduction of energy costs in areas where the predominant climate control function is the cooling of a space. But it is likely more of a function of the California mandates on renewable energy sources than anything else. They are going to need those solar panels because the cost of electricity in California is about to skyrocket.

    Still, installing such shade and even painting them white to reflect solar radiation out of the urban area would be an effective energy saver if done on a large scale, even without the solar cells.

    50

  • #
    Dave

    I am rather disappointed to read almost hysterical comments denigrating renewable energy and PV panels in particular. I am considering expanding my modest PV installation although recent downward movements in the Feed-in-Tariff and proposed future changes are causing me to look more closely at the economics, even though electricity retailers on sell solar and wind as a premium product. I might consider going off the grid completely to avoid the government and retailer meddlings.

    Businesses (schools, shops and shopping centres etc.)which predominantly operate during daylight hours can invest in PV to offset some of their electricity costs. This will produce a good return on their investment provided they do their sums carefully.

    For a starting point I would use 1580kWh/yr/kW of solar panels, an offset at $0.33/kWh for power saved and a FiT of $0.07/kWh. Good money for the electricity companies even though they, like the banks would cry poor. You should be able to calculate a return between 20% and 40%. You can include depreciation and might also be able to claim back GST depending on your situation.

    It is true that PV does not work well at night and some days in winter can make you check that the panels are still on the roof or carport, but over the year I think the figures are quite reasonable although I think the FiT should be higher.

    110

    • #
      Manfred

      Dave, what was your total set-up cost for installation, PV panels and batteries(?) ?

      30

    • #
      Olaf Koenders

      There should be a decent feed in tariff, but subsidies for purchase of PV systems should be abolished. 2 bites of the cherry isn’t helpful.

      50

    • #
      Geoff Sherrington

      Dave,
      That’s fine if you accept that you are bludging on the rest of us who provide your subsidy, even though we have no option to opt out.
      How does your conscience feel about that?

      71

      • #
        Olaf Koenders

        Heh. My neighbour recently got some panels up. I asked him if I could run an extension lead across the road and plug in my fridge because I’m paying his subsidies. His facial expression went from “confused” to “not amused” when he heard the word subsidy ;)

        Some people truly are clueless and think “grabbermint money” is a whole ‘nother animal.

        61

        • #
          scaper...

          Working on a policy to make Australian electricity cheaper. Near submission and if taken up no good news for the freeloaders who had their solar arrays subsidised by the government.

          Sure, a lot won’t like it but they’re welcome to disconnect from the grid.

          30

    • #
      Andrew McRae

      Dave, I will try to explain this.

      IF you believe that:
      A.) the biosphere of 1900 AD was uniquely optimal and is extremely fragile to 30%/century increases in CO2, AND
      B.) that the biosphere is under an unprecedented stress from man-made CO2 or nuclear waste (but not the chemical pollution from the Chinese solar panel semiconductor industry), AND
      C.) that any reduction in the generation of either CO2 or nuclear waste is worthwhile, no matter how little of the biosphere is relieved and no matter the extra expense (i.e. “savings at all costs”), AND
      D.) that all individuals must pay for environmental protection regardless of how much they value the part of the environment being protected, AND
      E.) that if there’s any doubt about A,B,C,or D, we should apply the environmental Precautionary Principle,
      THEN everything that is being done to roll out solar and wind power is entirely logical.
      Commensurate with that belief, any objection to these rollouts might appear “hysterical”.

      If E is false, AND further that any of the propositions A, B, C, or D can be defined more objectively and found false, or if any of those 4 propositions are rejected in any other way, that is a sufficient condition for the “clean green power” fad to cease being logical and start appearing hysterical.

      Certainly all rational beings cannot accept proposition E because the Precautionary Principal can be used to advocate mutually contradictory responses, and its application in government regulation of innovation is contradictory to a long-established principal of civil law, and so it is bunkum from both logical and legal perspectives.

      The first half of Proposition B is the only clause that is even barely plausible and only because, due to the question mark over ice core CO2 diffusion and preservation, we don’t really know what rates of CO2 change were on a per-decade resolution in any part of history before 1800, which makes the label “unprecedented” an unprovable one and similarly it is possible past CO2 has been a bit higher than the ice cores can show it to be.

      I think most here would
      object to C with the fact that exploiting the environment is absolutely required of every organism for its own survival, and
      object to D on anti-communist grounds and on economic analysis, and
      object to A because there is as yet no empirical evidence to require a belief in such fragility.

      40

    • #
      Backslider

      It is true that PV does not work well at night

      Really? Who would have thought?

      10

    • #
      crosspatch

      The problem is that PV installations don’t pay unless you are off the grid and have no access to grid power or grid power prices are artificially inflated in order to make solar profitable when it otherwise wouldn’t be. If you were to remove the regulations on power and fuel production, there is no way that PV can compete. First they create an artificial shortage, then they tack on more regulations that inflate the cost even more, then they set their cronies up in the solar business and they are ready to sell you the “solution”.

      Nuclear power with recycled fuel would provide energy so cheap the power company would give out free light bulbs just to get you to use more of it and there would be no waste disposal problem. But no, that’s right out.

      30

  • #
    Olaf Koenders

    They’ve managed to bottle stupidity and hand it out during school playtime. No more milk, kiddies.

    91

  • #

    Okay then, let’s just look at it from an economics point of view.

    The ONLY serious rooftop solar powered household is one that is totally rooftop solar only, in other words, NOT connected to the grid.

    Anything else is pretending.

    Pretending that the house is self sufficient. Pretending that it is having an effect. pretending it actually means cutbacks in power generation from other sources. Pretending that it pays for itself. Pretending that you actually generate what you consume. Pretending to be green.

    The grid is what gives people false belief for all the above.

    So then what about the economics of those rooftop systems.

    The average Australian home consumes 20KWH per day.

    Look at this costing chart.

    Grid Connected Rooftop Solar

    The cost for the system that supplies 20KWH comes in at $20,742. (AFTER the rebate paid for by every other consumer of electricity)

    Look at this costing chart.

    Stand Alone Rooftop Solar

    The cost for the system that is less than one kilometre from the grid, in other words, those who want to install rooftop solar in an ordinary residential situation comes in at $67,686. (AFTER the rebate paid for by every other consumer of electricity)

    So then, what’s the difference?

    Grid connected has the grid as the fallback whenever there is not enough Sunlight to power the Inverter, night time, long days of overcast, short days of overcast. Any overcast.

    Stand alone, well, the batteries supply the power to drive the inverter at all times when the Sun don’t shine. Now, those batteries have to be large enough to actually be able to supply that power for the home, that 20KWH (Power Out equals Power In), and the batteries have to have enough power to supply for ANY extended periods, and in fact the recommended requirement is five days.

    See now what sort of Battery Bank we’re talking about, not your typical car battery here.

    THAT is the price difference between grid connected and stand alone, and that comes in at $47,000.

    Hefty eh?

    But wait! There’s more.

    Batteries have a life span, and the (best case) scenario here is five to ten years, or seven years on average.

    The Green fall back is that, hey, cheap batteries with huge storage, that last forever are just around the corner, another bright green dream.

    So, after 7 years you need a new Battery bank, then at 14 years, and then at 21 years for the (extremely best case hoped for) 25 year life span of the actual panels.

    So there’s 3 new Battery Banks at $47,000 each, or $141,000.

    Plus the original outlay of $67,000, and the end cost comes in at $208,000. The recommendation is also for a new Inverter with each new Battery bank, provided it lasts the 7 years, so there’s another $5,000 to $6,000 multiplied by three, so now the price creeps further up, now around $230,000.

    That’s the best case scenario, provided the panels are kept totally pristine, in other words, up on the roof to polish those 24 panels once a week, not just hose them from ground level. Hope there’s no storms with any hail, locked into the one home for 25 years, and on and on.

    Okay then, let’s actually pretend that you just stay connected to the grid. Give rooftop solar a miss.

    The cost (In today’s dollars as I used today’s dollars for the battery banks as well) of 20KWH of power per day for 25 years comes in at $41,000. (that’s minus the CO2 Tax impost)

    So, the stand alone rooftop solar installation actually costs 6 times what grid power costs.

    THAT is the REAL economics of it.

    Grid connected is just pretending, and on top of that, relying on every other consumer to pay for your indulgence to pretend all of those things I mentioned earlier.

    The same applies for schools. The same applies for Commercial entities wanting to do something like this.

    If they connect to the grid, they’re only playing at pretending to be doing something, because without that grid, they have nothing.

    Tony.

    262

    • #
      steve

      TOny,

      Have you looked at electric forklift batteries instead of “solar” batteries?

      Solar is like baby stuff – put the word “solar” in front of normal stuf and hey presto – charge 3x what its really worth.

      42

      • #
        Olaf Koenders

        Steve, as a prior service technician for Crown, I’ve seen fork batteries last up to 23 years – but by that stage they’re pretty sick and their amp hour capacity is almost gone.

        I’ve also seen them fail at 5 years or much less because of “convenience” charging (they’re nearly flat, but charged just enough to use for a few minutes) abuse. Saw lots of this in Woolies supermarkets and many go-go-go factories. Lead-acid batteries HATE being discharged more than 50% or for long periods. “Deep-discharge” is a selling point only. All lead-acid batteries are the same. The only difference is size, which is linked to capacity.

        However, if you buy the cells independently without the big steel box that fork batteries come in, it should be pretty cheap if you can find a bulk supplier. Each cell is only 2 volts so you’ll need plenty.

        However, Tony’s right. Without huge subsidies PV power is barely affordable on-grid and almost impossible off-grid, unless you’re the Goreacle.

        30

    • #
      Mattb

      Tony, it is a shame you frame your otherwise excellent analysis with “The ONLY serious rooftop solar powered household is one that is totally rooftop solar only, in other words, NOT connected to the grid.” It’s no more sensible than saying you’re only a coal powered home if you are off-grid with your own little generator. We all know that is not true as grids are efficient (otherwise we’d not have them).

      I agree that the grid makes people feel they are far less reliant on coal than they really are, and that some sort of base load power is fundamental to a practical grid, and that it may even be a folly to have solar on the grid, but the sentence I quoted I think detracts from your arguments. It’s like saying the only serious house is one you build yourself.

      121

      • #

        People, don’t fall for MattB’s diversionary tactic here, quibbling about the way the language was used.

        Matt, there is positively nothing wrong with the exact way I worded that sentence, contrary to the way you worded this virtually unintelligible sentence.

        It’s no more sensible than saying you’re only a coal powered home if you are off-grid with your own little generator.

        As I mentioned immediately below that sentence, anything else is pretending.

        If it offends your religious belief, then so be it!

        What offends me is that green supporters game the system to paint themselves greener, and more superior than the rest of us, and then expect, no, demand, that WE pay for THEIR indulgence.

        There is absolutely nothing wrong with the way that sentence was written, and hey, surely you’re not using the diversionary tactic, that typical Britney Spears effect, to deflect away from an inconvenient truth.

        Tony.

        162

        • #
          Mattb

          I’m not quibbling about language whatever gives you that idea. I’m quibbling with the actual validity of the statement. I’m arguing grid connection is perfectly legitimate.

          215

          • #
            Mark D.

            You do know the meaning of “serious” yes?

            50

          • #

            I’m arguing grid connection is perfectly legitimate.

            Sure it is.

            Just as long as you do not expect the up front rebate for it in the first place, which is around 25% of the total cost, paid for by the rest of us.

            And also just as long as you do not expect to receive anything higher than the AVERAGE wholesale cost for electricity as the FIT for any minute amounts of power that may be fed back to the grid, again something that is paid for by the rest of us.

            Then, an extra added amount should be levied for the upgrading of the grid to cope for all those rooftop solar installations that the grid was not designed to cope with, again, something that is paid for by the rest of us.

            Make those who wish to have rooftop solar pay for everything associated with that rooftop solar.

            Otherwise, as I said, those who do have those installations are only pretending.

            You want to be green, then YOU pay for it. Don’t expect the rest of us to pay for your indulgence on every level.

            And also, please be truthful about it.

            Say out loud that you’re only doing it for the money, because you are most definitely not doing it for any green purpose. And be honest when you talk about that money aspect. Call it what it really is.

            Other people’s money.

            You want to be green, then do it right.

            Tony.

            171

            • #
              Mattb

              Tony I pay a premium for every jerk out there who needs 5 airconditioners keeping his home at 19C all summer. That’s the cost of the network. Or is it ok when the excess power consumers expect to be subsidised by those who use more reasonable levels of power.

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              • #
                Truthseeker

                Tony I pay a premium for every jerk out there who needs 5 airconditioners keeping his home at 19C all summer.

                Mattb, that is only true if he has solar power installed which you helped to pay for (government subsidies are your taxes being wasted in case you did not make the connection). If someone runs air conditioning all summer, then that costs them for the power used. It does not cost anyone else. The network is part of the underlying cost structure and just because someone uses more power does not mean that more network is required to deliver that power.

                Again you are trying misdirection in assuming that using more power is “bad” and less power is “good”. Using more power costs that person more. It does not cost other people more.

                It is a choice and one that you do not have the right to make for someone else.

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              • #
                Mattb

                No no no TS. The network is built (and hence costs) to supply the peak, and peak demand is driven by the extreme users. So when everyone pays the same per kWh it means that the small users are subsidising the larger users as they all pay for the costs of constructing the network.

                “If someone runs air conditioning all summer, then that costs them for the power used.” wouldonly be true on a smartmeter system with serious peak loadings.

                014

              • #

                MattB,

                Fancy you falling for that old wives tale:

                The network is built (and hence costs) to supply the peak, and peak demand is driven by the extreme users.

                Which followed this wonderful little gem:

                Tony I pay a premium for every jerk out there who needs 5 airconditioners keeping his home at 19C all summer.

                It just goes to show how you, and your fellow watermelons (as the puppets) will believe exactly what your handlers, the string pullers, tell you to believe.

                And here’s me actually thinking that you’d be someone who would actually check things prior to running off at the mouth.

                I’d point you at a load curve, but, honestly, you’d have no idea what that indicates, so let me tell you.

                I’ve been looking at Load Curves for power consumption here in Australia for a little under 6 years now, you know, all that time that takes in what your green string pulling handlers refer to as the Harvey Norman Effect, people installing (how many did you say there MattB, 5 of them per home!!) airconditioners in their homes, and consequently considerably ramping up Peak Power consumption, driving Australia into power deficit, you know, those greedy stinking rotten power consumers that cause poor innocent Green trending Governments to upgrade the grids, at treeeeemendous expense, those filthy rotten fossil fuel consuming dinosaurs.

                Well MattB, as I mentioned, I’ve now been watching those Load Curves, for actual power consumption, and MattB, have a guess how much those Peaks have risen?

                ZERO. That’s none MattB. No rise in Summer Peak. No rise in Winter peak.

                Surely that must seem odd to you MattB, because your religious belief structure forces you to believe what your handlers tell you.

                Now, MattB, just why is that I wonder?

                Residential power consumption currently stands at around 20% of all power consumption. Residential airconditioning makes up 7.5% of the average yearly residential power bill. So here we have 7.5% of 20% or 1.5% of power consumption.

                That’s 1.5% MattB. So, even a seemingly large increase, you know, with those 5 aircon units per house, then the overall peak Increase would be minimal at best, and barely noticeable, which is in fact the case.

                NO INCREASE in Summer peak, and no increase in Winter Peak.

                MattB, you’ve been had.

                Fancy you believing what a journalist would say.

                Tony.

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              • #
                Backslider

                Tony I pay a premium for every jerk out there who needs 5 airconditioners keeping his home at 19C all summer.

                You should take that up with John Brookes rather than whining here about it.

                50

              • #
                Rereke Whakaaro

                Matt, @ 12.2.1.1.2

                The network is built (and hence costs) to supply the peak, and peak demand is driven by the extreme users

                Two points:

                1. The grid is built to supply between 1.75 and 2.25 times Peak Average Load. The range is there, not because of consumerism, but because transformers and cables and switchgear only come in set sizes, so the design engineer will choose the appropriate size from the catalogue. If they know a new industrial park is on the drawing board, they will err on the size of caution and build larger rather than cheaper, because it is far more expensive to replace part of the grid than over-design it from day one.

                2. The biggest consumers of electricity, outside of designated industrial areas, are food outlets, supermarkets, laundromats, and service stations. Your example of somebody with five air conditioners will not register in the overall effect on peak load, alongside these. The best time to measure actual peak load is on a Friday afternoon and Saturday morning at the start of a long weekend or holiday period, and if people are going away, they have probably turned off their air conditioners.

                20

            • #
              Mattb

              “Sure it is.”

              Oh great we agree.. good on you for being man enough to admit you were wrong.

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          • #
            Backslider

            I’m arguing grid connection is perfectly legitimate.

            Well that depends a lot upon what else you argue.

            Would you argue that we need to reduce CO2 emissions?

            Would you argue that these solar systems help in any way?

            Would you argue that these solar systems connected to the grid do anything useful in that regard?

            Yes, its perfectly legitimate for me to be connected to the grid, without solar. Thank you.

            20

            • #
              Dave

              I’m with you BS, connected to the grid and NO solar.

              Since most homes are connected to the electricity grid, and draw most of their power from it, what is the point of building heaps & heaps of more expensive, useless, subsidised generation systems in each house? The cost of the million solar roof tops (included subsidies over it’s life of 12 years) etc is close to $20 billion dollars. Why spend all that money on 600MW of power (Tony had better check these figures).

              Compared to a $1-$2 billion cost of a nuclear reactor (check?), Australia could build at least 10 nuclear reactors, for the same money, generating 11 gigawatts of power.

              Why the stuff are we wasting money on this solar junk, feeding piddly little bits of power back into an existing grid and all at the wrong times, to satisfy all the spoilt little Greedy Greens “I want to do the right thing and feel purged” attitude.

              If Steamboat Jon above is correct, the million roof top solar number will be decimated to nil within 10 to 15 years.

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            • #
              Mattb

              No BS those random statements you make are completely unrelated to my statement.

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              • #
                Backslider

                No BS those random statements you make are completely unrelated to my statement.

                Yes, I do know you lack comprehension…. work on it.

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              • #
                AndyG55

                Interesting to see how a “Greens” local government member spends his day. !!

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    • #
      Bulldust

      Tony this article in The West made me think of you (not as creepy as it potentially sounds):

      http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/19635839/solar-has-power-to-cut-grid-reliance/

      Yes, it is suggested that the solar panel households be incentivised to face the panels to the west to help with peak load demand. Oh and one must switch to smartmeters of course…

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      • #
        Olaf Koenders

        Smart meters don’t bother me much. I put a hole in my wall to access the meter wires from behind and put in a switch. So long as I switch over randomly, they can’t tell what’s happening. Besides, I’m only “bridging” the wiring to and from the meter, meaning the meter reads half the power used and never detects and reports an “off” state, like a power failure. If I switched the meter off entirely, it would report many power outages at my place many times a week. Not a good idea.

        21

        • #
          Mattb

          lol good work Olaf I’m sure everyone else enjoys subsidising your free ride on the system!

          29

        • #
          Roy Hogue

          I put a hole in my wall to access the meter wires from behind and put in a switch. So long as I switch over randomly, they can’t tell what’s happening.

          Have you considered the problem you’ll have if what you’re doing is discovered?

          10

          • #
            Olaf Koenders

            Thumbs up there Roy. Actually, I have. I’m aware the fine is in the range of 10K and the meter readers have the incentive to report. There’s no way they’ll discover the bridge, even if they pull the meter out. The bridge is 2 full metres from the meter connection and, they’ll need evidence and a court order to inspect my home. The evidence, as I described previously, is not possible to ascertain without home invasion.

            Besides, I put the bridge in before the house was reconnected to the grid, so statistically I’ve always used little power. A look around will show barely anything plugged in AND I have a gas stove and hot water.

            My last home I drilled a 0.5mm hole in the top of the meter and poking a high tensile wire onto the spinning disc – weekends only. Without fingerprint evidence it could have been done by the previous owner. You only need reasonable doubt to bin their case.

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      • #
        Mattb

        Bulldust smartmeters would punish solar users too as they’d have to pay peak loading for peak power which generally does not match peak solar production.

        This is one of Western Power’s big gripes… similar to my comment above to Truthseeker, WP’s argument is that in WA solar panel owners get paid a premium for the power they supply during not-peak times, but the grid still has to be large enough supply peak. The $$$ to supply the peak are spread across everyone so solar get a bit of a free ride.

        This is why tilting the panels west is not as crazy as it sounds, because it would actually make solar panels contribute a lot more to the 4:40pm – 6pm peak, when north facing panels’ contribution drops off due to basic solar orientation.

        Personally I am very much in favour of smart meters, genuine peak pricing, and making solar stand on its own two feet a bit more.

        19

        • #
          ianl8888


          … genuine peak pricing

          By “peak”, you mean when most people are back at home after work, cooking, using the TV/radio, writing silly comments on websites, heating homes in winter etc etc. Define “peak”, and as TonyOz said, be honest

          And do not come the “excessive air conditioning by the rich” raw prawn jerkoff. Winter heating is expensive but needed as survival – you don’t deign to note this. Deep cycle batteries do not have this capability. Nor can coal-fired stations be turned on and off like a light switch; they have to be run even at low loading so you and all of us do not freeze at winter “peak” times. Solar is an absolute nothing here, not even a good guilt reliever

          If you were honest, you’d simply point out that in your opinion people have to accept a greatly reduced standard of living in order to save the planet. But you’re not, and you won’t

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        • #

          So then tell me MattB, when is the Peak, Summer, Winter, every day of every year.

          It’s 4.30PM until 10PM, you know, when people come home from school, come home from work, do the washing, turn on their lights, cook their meals, watch TV etc. you know, the same time every day.

          And you say that power at that time should cost more because people are consuming it at Peak times. See how you green watermelons have absolutely no consideration for your fellow man whatsoever, just advocating a blatant money grab from people who are absolutely captive to consumption at those times.

          What do you suggest MattB. Legislation to force people to change those things, and penalties for non adherence.

          Oh Matt, it seems that when you open your mouth on subjects like this, it’s just to change feet.

          Tony.

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          • #
            Olaf Koenders

            What many people don’t know Tony and, correct me if I’m wrong, is that heat in a circuit creates resistance. Solar panels can have their output reduced to some 65% of capacity in the summer sun. It’s probably best to have them facing East when the Sun isn’t that hot during the morning peak power use. Best compromise might be face them Northeast, but not many people have such a luxury.

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        • #
          Roy Hogue

          …and making solar stand on its own two feet a bit more.

          Matt,

          If solar had to stand on it’s own two feet I doubt that it could stand.

          Give up the save the planet mentality, build the necessary generating capacity to keep up with the demand, price electricity the same no matter the time of day and get every problem solved that can be solved, all in one fell swoop.

          But real solutions aren’t wanted, are they?

          20

          • #
            philjourdan

            It might stand in another 100 years. But it better hope that fossil fuel is still around since 40% of the components are made with oil.

            00

  • #
    pat

    31 Oct: Fox News: Bankrupt solar panel firm took stimulus money, left a toxic mess, says report
    A Colorado-based solar company that got hundreds of millions of dollars in federal loan guarantees before going belly-up didn’t just empty taxpayers’ wallets – it left behind a toxic mess of carcinogens, broken glass and contaminated water, according to a new report…
    The Abound Solar plant, which got $400 million in federal loan guarantees in 2010, when the Obama administration sought to use stimulus funds to promote green energy, filed for bankruptcy two years later. Now its Longmont, Colo., facility sits unoccupied, its 37,000 square feet littered with hazardous waste, broken glass and contaminated water. The Northern Colorado Business Report estimates it will cost up to $3.7 million to clean and repair the building so it can again be leased…
    One of the hazards is the presence of cadmium, a cancer-causing agent that is used to produce the film on the solar panels, the report said.
    While the loan guarantees exposed taxpayers to hundreds of millions of dollars, the federal government lost a total of $70 million backing the failed company. Unsold inventory which should have been used to offset those losses, including 2,000 solar panels, mysteriously disappeared, according to the National Legal and Policy Center…
    “If a coal, oil or gas company pulled something like that the EPA would send out SWAT teams and the U.S. Marshals to track down the offenders, bankrupt or not,” the center said in a report of its own…
    While solar energy is touted as clean, The Associated Press reported that many panel makers are grappling with a hazardous waste problem…
    To dispose of the material, the companies must transport it by truck or rail far from their own plants to waste facilities hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of miles away.
    The fossil fuels used to transport that waste, experts say, is not typically considered in calculating solar’s carbon footprint, giving scientists and consumers who use the measurement to gauge a product’s impact on global warming the impression that solar is cleaner than it is…
    The waste from manufacturing has raised concerns within the industry, which fears that the problem, if left unchecked, could undermine solar’s green image at a time when companies are facing stiff competition from each other and from low-cost panel manufacturers from China and elsewhere.
    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/10/31/bankrupt-solar-panel-firm-took-stimulus-money-left-toxic-mess-says-report/

    on the other hand!

    31 Oct: Bloomberg: Ehren Goossens: Solar Rebound Beating Dot-Com Recovery as Demand Surges
    Solar industry manufacturers are rebounding from a two-year slump faster than technology companies recovered from the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s.
    The benchmark BI Global Large Solar Energy Index of 15 manufacturers, which slumped 87 percent from a February 2011 peak through November 2012, has regained 55 percent of its value in the past year…
    “The worst is probably behind us,” Jenny Chase, lead solar analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in an interview…
    Investors poured $205 billion into clean-energy projects in the past year, soaking up some of the global oversupply of panels…
    The solar slump had casualties, driving more than two dozen manufacturers into bankruptcy, and some companies are still struggling, said Chase.
    “I don’t think we’re out of the woods. There may still be some bankruptcies,” she said…
    Most of the companies in the Large Solar Index are still unprofitable. Only Jinko, SunPower and First Solar Inc. (FSLR) reported net income in the second quarter…
    “Cost of solar is more competitive with conventional energy,” Werner said in an interview…
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-31/solar-rebound-beating-dot-com-recovery-as-demand-surges.html

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  • #
    DavidH

    Jo,

    Mr Pedant here … You say “Solar energy is dilute” (made thinner or weaker by having had water or another solvent added to it). Perhaps “diffuse” (spread out over a large area; not concentrated) is a better word?

    00

  • #
    pat

    28 Oct: SemiConductorToday: University of Queensland and First Solar to build 3.275MW PV research facility
    The University of Queensland (UQ) has signed a contract with First Solar (Australia) Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic module maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, for the construction of a solar photovoltaic research facility. The 3.275MW pilot plant – including more than 34,000 panels in a ground‐mounted array – will be Queensland’s largest solar power installation. First Solar will install its modules on a 12.6ha former airstrip site at UQ’s Gatton campus, 90km west of Brisbane…
    The installation is being funded by a $40.7m Federal Government grant, via the Education Investment Fund (EIF), which will also fund a battery‐storage research station alongside the Gatton pilot plant. UQ and the University of New South Wales are partners on the overall EIF grant which will also fund new laboratories for Power Systems and Energy Economics Research at UQ’s St Lucia campus and at UNSW’s Kensington campus in Sydney. The Gatton PV project is also part of the Solar Flagships Program, administered by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
    The Gatton plant is the pilot for two much‐larger solar farms that AGL Energy Ltd and First Solar are building in western New South Wales: at Nyngan (102MW) and Broken Hill (53MW). The overall 155MW, $450m scheme will create Australia’s largest solar power plants. About $167m for the larger project is coming from ARENA; the NSW Government is contributing $64.9m…
    “First Solar is committed to ensuring that learnings are fully leveraged to increase Australian innovation in solar power generation, to continue to facilitate a more viable and advanced utility‐scale solar PV industry in Australia,” says Jack Curtis, First Solar’s VP of business development for Asia Pacific…
    http://www.semiconductor-today.com/news_items/2013/OCT/FIRSTSOLAR2_281013.shtml

    28 Oct: Phoenix Business Journal: Mike Sunnacks: Could Apple be mystery buyer of First Solar plant?
    Tempe-based First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) announced earlier this month it was selling the plant at the former GM Proving Grounds for $100 million. The solar company never manufactured panels at the plant nor did it produce the 600 promised manufacturing jobs…
    “First Solar declines to comment,” said company spokesman Steve Krum…
    http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/blog/business/2013/10/could-apple-be-mystery-buyer-of-first.html

    11 Oct: PV Mag: First Solar loses $60m on sale of Mesa facility
    The Mesa plant, intended to produce PV modules, never went into production and is being sold off at a loss. The facility includes what First Solar claimed would be Arizona’s largest solar rooftop…
    http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/first-solar-loses-60m-on-sale-of-mesa-facility_100013013/#axzz2jMNcFSPN

    9 Sept: PV Mag: Former First Solar VP charged by SEC
    Former head of investor relations told selected investors and analysts about loss of loan guarantee in 2011. The formal announcement of the news the next morning caused a 6% share price fall…
    Lawrence D Polizzotto, a former First Solar vice president agreed to settle the charges for US$50,000 without admitting or denying the charges and no enforcement action has been taken by the SEC because of the Tempe, Arizona-based solar company’s previous good record on fair disclosure.
    The SEC order says Polizzotto revealed to at least 20 institutional investors and analysts over the phone that the company would not be receiving one of three loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy…
    The SEC investigation, conducted by Marc Blau and Sara Kalin in the Los Angeles regional office, found Polizzotto attended an investor conference on September 13, 2011 where the then-CEO expressed confidence the company would receive three loan guarantees worth $4.5 billion for which the company had received conditional commitments from the Energy Department.
    Two days later Polizzotto and other executives learned at least one of the guarantees would not be arriving and the VP discussed the matter with a First Solar lawyer who emphasized the fair disclosure requirements relating to the issue…
    http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/former-first-solar-vp-charged-by-sec_100012658/#axzz2jMNcFSPN

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  • #
    Sunray

    That is totalitarian indoctrination of the young and naïve. The next step will be Red Guard clones punishing the climate sinners.

    40

    • #
      ROM

      Well actually that might not be necessary at all.
      The very good P Gosselin’s translated from german NoTricksZone blog has a couple of very interesting side lights today.

      Enviro-Psychologists Confirm Climate Alarmists Are Making Themselves Mentally Sick…”Doomer Depression”

      The first as in the headline to today’s blog is a rather sad and very incriminating indictment against the whole alarmist meme and a particularly serious and near criminal indictment of the climate modellers and their constant loud claims that their climate models are the future and what the data is saying is not correct and that modelled future is one that is leading to, in the fears of those susceptible ones, an immense earth destroying climate catastrophe which mankind is powerless to stop..

      The green water melon alarmists who through constantly highlighting and using fear to try and implement their policies, aims and green watermelon ideology are creating a whole new possibly massive mental health problem for those who are, as so many always have been, susceptible to irrational thinking and a level of fear for things they don’t really understand.
      And who are not mentally equipped with a significant enough level of both skepticism and some cynicism to ever question the ulterior and extremely selfish motives behind the pronunciations and predictions on a catastrophic future for the climate by the so called great and good who, if the fearful ones only realised, are only intent on looking after their own gross avariciousness and to hell with the mental and physical health and well being of the lowly proles.

      The second part of the NoTricksZone blog entry today provides a surprising look at the effects of the constant bombardment of school kids with climate catastrophism

      School indoctrination has failed

      To quote
      One strategy used by social engineering experts is the indoctrination of children at schools…the farms for growing future environmentalists. Germany for example has attempted in schools for 25 years to indoctrinate its children to become more environmentally aware and responsible. For the results of that experiment, the TAZ quotes Ulrich Gebhardt, child development researcher at the University of Hamburg (emphasis added):

      After 25 years of environmental education at schools, the conclusion is sobering: ‘Education for sustainable development‘ has had no effect.’”

      And all this time we thought schools were for teaching things like reading, writing, and mathematics. For once in my life I’m glad that schools have, in a way, failed. If anything, this shows that parents are by far the most important force in bringing up children. Good news.

      [ end of quote ]

      This does tie in with my own anecdotal and observed situation here in an admittedly very conservative rural based society. The kids as I have personally experienced, simply are not swallowing the climate catastrophe line and which the kids back lash attitude is exacerbated when teachers try to force in down their necks.
      And in fact most of them like their parents are utterly fed up to the eyeballs with the global warming ideology.

      I see the surveys which say that perhaps 40% or more of the population still believes in the catastrophic global warming ideology as it is preached.
      Thats a damn sight higher percentage of people than in my neck of the woods who now believe in the CAGW ideology if I go by the eye rolling responses that I get when global warming is mentioned.
      I suspect that most of those still professing a belief in CAGW are only doing so so as to not be seen as being politically incorrect and / or are in a career /professional / personal situation where to admit otherwise could be destructive to a career ladder climbing exercise.

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  • #
    Olaf Koenders

    Maybe we should build some of these instead (although I’d find a way to use bicycle chain and sprockets for less friction):

    http://youtu.be/tj4pt7AE8aQ

    Music sucks in this one:

    http://youtu.be/98aiISB2DNw

    10

  • #
    Dave

    .

    I love Friday night at “Tackling tribal groupthink”.

    Rockhampton 40 vs Vincent -24 (all own goals)

    20

  • #

    Not many people know, the British built highly efficient experimental solar systems in the 1870s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP4XNkxjb2o

    The work was abandoned, because as Ericsson himself realised, even highly efficient solar power could not compete with fossil fuels.

    10

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      There was also the little problem of getting the device to do some useful work. That spinning wheel you see is a flywheel (that must be started by hand) to spread the internal resistance across the full cycle of the piston. The problem is that it stops if you apply a load. Nice toy though.

      10

      • #

        Don’t be fooled by the toys, Stirling engines are serious technology :-) . You can make a compact, very powerful Stirling Engine by juicing up the pressure to 200+ PSI or so, or using Helium as the working fluid, but they don’t normally do that in toys, for obvious reasons. And a multi cylinder engine helps even out the cycle, just as it does with a petrol engine.

        Victorian England had a pretty good handle on thermodynamics and heat engines by the late 1800s, so they would have known all this stuff – the science of thermodynamics was invented to squeeze maximum efficiency out of Steam Engines, which are similar enough to Stirling Engines so many of the same principles apply.

        10

        • #
          Rereke Whakaaro

          I will take your word for it Eric. You obviously know more than I do.

          The Brits have (or had) a Stirling machine in the Science Museum in London, that looked very similar to the one in the film clip you referenced. My entire knowledge is based on the printed blurb in the display case.

          20

    • #
      Steve C

      We (or at least one of our companies) still build rather nice Stirling engines, albeit at strictly minimal power levels. If you have a few pennies (OK, quite a lot of pennies) to spare on a gorgeous toy, take a look at http://www.stirlingengine.co.uk/ … even though one of their engines would struggle to light a single LED, they don’t half look good.

      I have no connection with the company beyond wanting one of their toys. :-)

      20

  • #
    sophocles

    ROTFL

    Sun shine is most intense and at a higher angle to the vertical over the summer months. Power
    generation by these panels and their overall efficiency would be at the highest over these months.

    What a pity nobody would be there to notice! The US schools take three months holiday
    over that time. There won’t be anybody there. The power savings from all the lights, air
    conditioning and other uses of electricity being shut down for the absence of the students
    probably saves far, far more than any solar panels could.

    Somebody really failed to think that one out.

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  • #
    AndyG55

    Question re solar panels..

    Do they have hail storms in Illinois?

    30

    • #

      The solar panels installed by our landlord quit after a few months – I think a possum chewed through a wire somewhere. Or maybe hail damage, you get some pretty serious storms in Brisbane.

      10

    • #
      Dave

      Before the hail storm arrives, the roof load from solar will be the problem.

      Many systems are being installed by promising that extra panels can be added as the inverter is of a higher rating. Solar panels typically can vary between 10 and 15 kg/sq meter onto the roof systems of existing houses. There are many questions that need to be asked:

      1. Is the original roof load designed to take the extra weight though the roof battens.
      2. Is the truss or rafter system etc designed to take the extra weight.
      3. Is engineering required by local government for roof load increases (insurance requirement).
      4. Are the fixing methods inspected for wind rating on existing roof.

      These are just a few of the structural problems not counting the electrical, fire risks for the Fire Brigade and the warranties for the roof systems (colorbond needs rain to wash the surface) etc. Do home owners get a structural certificate for alteration to roof load and wind forces during storm & tempest? Not in Queensland or WA. I don’t know about the rest.

      Here’s a Queensland example in Kallangur, a house owned by a sparkie who’s put 42 panels on his roof. He purchased the flood damaged panels from the University of Queensland that were damaged by the flood in January 2011. His solar power system generates between nine and 12.5 kilowatts of power daily and earns him up to $1500 a quarter in excess energy. And here’s Tarong Power Station only getting around 3 cents per kilowatt? This bloke is getting more than 10 times that rate.

      And here’s MattyB bloody telling us it’s his neighbour down the road sending the electricity bills through the roof for using an air conditioner. This bloke at Kallangur is pulling in a lazy $6 grand a year and the likes of MattyB are saying this is terrific.

      In the neighbouring suburb of North Lakes (a huge area of residential & retail in the north of Brisbane) renters are unable to gain Government rebates for solar (not home owners) and they are paying on average of $800 per quarter, up from one and half years ago of $400 for same electricity. Queensland has a high proportion of homelessness, the same as Vincent in WA, as a result of the Greedy Green garbage being forced to operate against the poor and needy. Electricity rising costs are now causing destitution and businesses to close around the SE of Queensland. The RET has to go, the CO2 Tax has to go, and the Green Renewable Energy garbage has to go. And the GREENS can’t understand why their vote dropped in the last election.

      What’s your policy MattyB on humans living in Vincent?

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      • #
        AndyG55

        Yep, Matty is coming across more and more as a typical far-left politician.

        Totally agenda driven, without giving a single care about anything except that agenda.

        A real [Snip] !!

        [A bit over the top] ED

        20

      • #
        ROM

        Dave @ 7.55 pm
        You have touched on an interesting subject .
        Solar power is about 3 times as deadly as wind which in turn is about 1.7 tinmes more deadly than nuclear including deaths from Chernobyl and Fukashima.
        Forbes has a table, repeated on other blogs, which provides the deaths per Terra Watt Hour [ TWh ] of energy produced.

        Quoted from “Forbes” 6 / 10 / 2012

        How Deadly Is Your Kilowatt? We Rank The Killer Energy Sources

        “energy’s deathprint, as it is called, is rarely discussed. The deathprint is the number of people killed by one kind of energy or another per kWhr produced and, like the carbon footprint, coal is the worst and wind and nuclear are the best. According to the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Academy of Science and many health studies over the last decade (NAS 2010), the adverse impacts on health become a significant effect for fossil fuel and biofuel/biomass sources (see especially Brian Wang for an excellent synopsis).
        In fact, the WHO has called biomass burning in developing countries a major global health issue (WHO int). The table below lists the mortality rate of each energy source as deaths per trillion kWhrs produced. The numbers are a combination of actual direct deaths and epidemiological estimates, and are rounded to two significant figures.
        _____

        Energy Source Mortality Rate (deaths/trillionkWhr)

        Coal – global average 170,000 (50% global electricity)

        Coal – China 280,000 (75% China’s electricity)

        Coal – U.S. 15,000 (44% U.S. electricity)

        Oil 36,000 (36% of energy, 8% of electricity)

        Natural Gas 4,000 (20% global electricity)

        Biofuel/Biomass 24,000 (21% global energy)

        Solar (rooftop) 440 (< 1% global electricity)

        Wind 150 (~ 1% global electricity)

        Hydro – global average 1,400 (15% global electricity)

        Nuclear – global average 90 (17% global electricity w/Chern&Fukush)
        ————
        It is notable that the U.S. death rates for coal are so much lower than for China, strictly a result of regulation and the Clean Air Act (Scott et al., 2005).
        It is also notable that the Clean Air Act is one of the most life-saving pieces of legislation ever adopted by any country in history. Still, about 10,000 die from coal use in the U.S. each year, and another thousand from natural gas.
        Hydro is dominated by a few rare large dam failures like Banqiao in China in 1976 which killed about 171,000 people.
        Workers still regularly fall off wind turbines during maintenance but since relatively little electricity production comes from wind, the totals deaths are small.
        Nuclear has the lowest deathprint, even with the worst-case Chernobyl numbers and Fukushima projections, uranium mining deaths, and using the Linear No-Treshold Dose hypothesis (see Helman/2012/03/10).
        The dozen or so U.S. deaths in nuclear have all been in the weapons complex or are modeled from general LNT effects. The reason the nuclear number is small is that it produces so much electricity per unit.
        There just are not many nuclear plants. And the two failures have been in GenII plants with old designs. All new builds must be GenIII and higher, with passive redundant safety systems, and all must be able to withstand the worst case disaster, no matter how unlikely. We also must deal with our spent fuel better, something we know how to do

        [ End Forbes quote]
        ——————–
        [ my comment ] What is notable in this list is that solar is about 3 times more dangerous than wind.
        But the very adverse effects of the resins and chemicals used in wind turbine’s blade construction are not included and Io know from glider maintenance and repairs that there are real long term health risks involved with working with those quite powerful chemicals in the composite fibre constructions. such as turbine blades.
        Nor are the long term health effects and the deaths arising from the use of some pretty nasty chemicals in the production of the solar industries solar panels taken into account in these death statistics.

        Only accidental deaths appear to have been used for wind and solar but coal and bio-mass deaths include the deaths from coal dust and pollution as well as accidents in the transporting and processing of coal are included as coal related deaths.

        Bio-mass deaths are those caused by the very serious health problems brought on by smoky, low energy use of wood and dung and etc for cooking and heating in the huts and housing of some of the poorest people in the world.
        Most of these deaths could be avoided simply by providing cheap forms of electrical power or fuel or gas all of which are readily available if governments put their minds to it and all the green alarmist western do gooders who are intent on forcing everybody to go back to using those same miserable and health debilitating energy sources to supposedly “save the planet” were totally neutered and eliminated from any policy decision making process.
        ————
        On wind turbine death rates, the Caithness Wind Farms organisation has a article out which enumerates the deaths and causes of death and the accidents that it has been able to chase down in the less than open, and thats being very polite, wind turbine industry.

        Summary of Wind Turbine Accident data to 30 September 2013

        Quoted from the report;

        The detailed table includes all documented cases of wind turbine related accidents and incidents
        which could be found and confirmed through press reports or official information releases up to 30
        September 2013. CWIF believe that this compendium of accident information may be the most
        comprehensive available anywhere.

        Data in the detailed table is by no means fully comprehensive – CWIF believe that it is only the “tip of
        the iceberg” in terms of numbers of accidents and their frequency. Indeed on 11 December 2011 the
        Daily Telegraph reported that RenewableUK confirmed that there had been 1500 wind turbine
        accidents and incidents in the UK alone in the past 5 years. Data here reports only 142 UK accidents
        from 2006-2010 and so the figures here may only represent 9% of actual accidents.

        The data does however give an excellent cross-section of the types of accidents which can and do
        occur, and their consequences. With few exceptions, before about 1997 only data on fatal accidents
        has been found.

        The trend is as expected – as more turbines are built, more accidents occur. Numbers of recorded
        accidents reflect this, with an average of 8 accidents per year from 1993-97 inclusive; 33 accidents
        per year from 1998-2002 inclusive; 80 accidents per year from 2003-07 inclusive, and 141 accidents
        per year from 2008-12 inclusive.

        Fatal accidents

        Number of fatal accidents: 104

        Data table on yearly accidents which does not reproduce in this format here

        Please note: There are more fatalities than accidents as some accidents have caused multiple
        fatalities.

        Of the 144 fatalities:

        • 87 were wind industry and direct support workers (divers, construction, maintenance,
        engineers, etc), or small turbine owner /operators.
        • 57 were public fatalities, including workers not directly dependent on the wind industry (e.g.
        transport workers). 17 bus passengers were killed in one single incident in Brazil in March
        2012.

        Blade failure

        By far the biggest number of incidents found was due to blade failure. “Blade failure” can arise from a
        number of possible sources, and results in either whole blades or pieces of blade being thrown from
        the turbine. A total of 272 separate incidences were found:

        Fire

        Fire is the second most common accident cause in incidents found. Fire can arise from a number of
        sources – and some turbine types seem more prone to fire than others. A total of 211 fire incidents
        were found:

        comment;Nice thought with Australia’s bush fire tendencies and some of those wind turbines are built right up against Parks and reserves that are loaded with debris ready for a fire to sweep through.

        Structural failure

        From the data obtained, this is the third most common accident cause, with 140 instances found.
        “Structural failure” is assumed to be major component failure under conditions which components
        should be designed to withstand. This mainly concerns storm damage to turbines and tower collapse.
        However, poor quality control, lack of maintenance and component failure can also be responsible.

        Ice throw

        [ comment; Not a problem for us unless we get some decent global cooling in the next decade ]

        34 incidences of ice throw were found. Some are multiple incidents. These are listed here unless
        they have caused human injury, in which case they are included under “human injury” above.
        Ice throw has been reported to 140m.
        Some Canadian turbine sites have warning signs posted asking people to stay at least 305m from turbines during icy conditions.

        [ end of quotes ]

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        • #
          Roy Hogue

          ROM,

          I understand the intent of the “deathprint”. But I wish everyone would spare me the “estimates” of how many are killed, adversely affected, or whatever else. All those numbers are guesswork and the incentive to make them look as bad as possible is huge, therefore the numbers are, a priori, legitimately suspect. Even a direct count of deaths is not always reliable because it’s not always honestly possible to ascribe death to a specific exposure.

          We make far too much policy on the basis of guesswork.

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          • #
            ROM

            I often wonder who does these estimates and how they arrive at the numbers they do as I myself have a heck of a lot of trouble even finding much information that relates to most of these “estimates”.
            And thats using the internet which is an incredible tool in finding information. The internet of course has only existed in it’s current form for a couple of decades.

            Some of the more official statistics are taken from the various statistics collected by governments but those statistics are still only approximation in the best run bureaucracies let alone those from the less developed world which are probably little more than wild arsed guesses.

            But with all the money ie; tax payer’s funds flying around in the science world trying to find a fancy sounding research project to lavishly fund, no doubt some derivatives of climate models have been adapted to provide some of these estimates. [ sarc/ ]
            And it shows!

            As the Great Global Warming Swindle slows down and the funds dry up, there are going to be a heck of a lot of so called climate scientists and psuedo researchers frantically looking for the Next Big Thing in another academic sciency sounding scam to keep them in the lavish life style to which they have become very accustomed.

            It’s quite sad in a way when this old life time supporter and promoter of science gets quite cynical about the manner in which Science is practiced today and the lack of standards of it’s practitioners.

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  • #
    Steve C

    I often pass an equally unthought-out bit of subsidy-sucking on my way into town. Some genius has had his 8 subsidised PV panels from a recent scheme installed on his roof, facing northwest.

    Please note: I’m British – this is at 53°N

    And still the gov’t swear that educational standards haven’t fallen.

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    • #
      ROM

      Probably a Kiwi who has moved to the UK.
      They do have some issues you know! :-)

      “Piggy” Muldoon of Kiwi priministerial fame on being told that Kiwis were emigrating to Australia en masse was quoted as saying
      “It will undoubtedly increase the IQ of both countries”.

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    • #
      Roy Hogue

      One local city has had solar panels installed laying flat, not tilted toward the sun at all. At about 30 degrees off the average angle to the sun the efficiency is down to 87% of what it could be at the peak of summer. It goes down from there as the sun moves southward. In the winter it could be down to as little as 50% of what the panels are rated for. I just pulled those numbers from memory so don’t take them too seriously. But they point out the problem quite nicely. And in any case, unless the panels follow the sun both east to west and north to south you can get peak efficiency only at noon on each of only two days a year, even with the best static positioning.

      Ignorance reigns supreme in the race to outdo the other guy with political correctness.

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    • #
      KinkyKeith

      Maybe they were using the Australian installation manual?

      Regards: 33 Deg South.

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      • #
        Roy Hogue

        KK,

        I rather suspect that aesthetics, the panels being out of sight in this case, was the overriding factor. The building is on a hillside with clear visibility from below and a nearby hillside of any panel standing up at the right angle. But this way the wall around the roof area hides them unless you’re in the parking lot behind the building which is at roof level.

        When you hold an elected office you soon learn that doing things right takes a back seat to getting reelected — the more’s the pity. :-(

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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    At least those LACCD solar panels installed at Pierce College where I once taught part time are in the parking lot. So with any luck you can find a parking spot that will be covered at least partially from the sun. The much lower temperature when you get back to your car in the late afternoon may well be the best benefit from all those solar panels.

    Even the winter sun can heat up the inside of a closed up care pretty fast.

    I wonder if they bother to clean off those solar panels frequently. Dirt piles up fast in a city environment.

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    • #
      Roy Hogue

      In the meantime, one generation of screwed up lefty educators is doing all it can to screw up at least several more generations of students.

      And if I’d learn to spell “car” it would help. “Care” indeed!? :-(

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      • #
        KinkyKeith

        I don’t care whether you can spell car or not; the fault is with Spell Checker.

        It has not been upgraded to place words, and hence spelling, in context.

        Maybe the IPCC can fix it?

        KK :)

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        • #
          Roy Hogue

          KK,

          Now there’s the $64,000 question — how to understand the intent rather than what was actually typed. I have the same problem with compilers. They always accept what I type as long as it’s syntactically correct. It may or may not make sense in the context of what the program is supposed to do.

          So far even the best English grammar checkers are congenital idiots. So if you can invent that context interpreter-checker you’ll get rich! :-)

          For the computer programmer I’m thinking the problem is intractable.

          Can the IPCC fix it? Only if you spell “fix it”, “F-U it up”!

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          • #
            PhilJourdan

            The only use I have found grammar checkers for is determining when words should be hyphenated, combined, or stand alone.

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    • #
      Brian G Valentine

      These things are known to degrade irreversibly to about half original performance in a city environment in about ten years, the output is nothing in 15 or 20.

      25 year lifetime my foot. And when they fail, let them try to make good on any guarantee. The manufacturer and vendor are long out of business.

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  • #
    dp

    It is interesting that the “savings” is not enough to cover the cost of replacing the batteries when they fail. Wisconsin is definitely not a math powerhouse. The root problem, I suspect, is that the number of voters who pay taxes is less than the number of voters who accept public welfare. Once that tipping point is reached the only recourse for the tax payers is to pack up and leave.

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  • #
    Brian G Valentine

    These public schools ought to raise a red flag with the gold hammer and sickle on the school grounds to advertise their commitment to “saving the planet by saving a cent for every ten dollars spent.”

    10