JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


Advertising

micropace


GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



Archives

Books

Solar panels: warm your house or burn it down? Bankrupt your company?

A little too much solar success perhaps?

Solar panels in Queensland and NSW in Australia have been providing some householders with energy in a more concentrated form than they bargained for. At least 70 houses with rooftop solar panel arrays have had solar driven burnouts. The fire risk means that nearly 30,000 faulty solar power isolators have been recalled. The company that imported them went bust on Friday. (Ain’t that the way?)

Remember if your house burns down, it is the price we pay to save the planet. It will, unfortunately, blow your personal carbon footprint through the roof. (A point that will, no doubt, grieve you as you sift through the smouldering ruins.)

[The Australian]

A  QUEENSLAND company that sold allegedly faulty circuit breakers that caused at least 70 burnouts in rooftop solar panel arrays has gone bust, leaving tens of thousands of homeowners at risk of electrical fires.

Advancetech, based on the Sunshine Coast, went into receivership on Friday, only four days after Queensland Attorney-­General Jarrod Bleijie ordered the immediate recall of 27,600 Avanco-branded DC solar power isolators imported and sold by the company.

Installation of rooftop isolators are compulsory in some states, and hundreds of thousands of solar rooftop arrays were installed under state and federal schemes. Most of the Avanco isolators, designed to automatically break the circuit and shut down solar panels if they become overloaded, were sold in Queensland, but some were also sold in other states. The NSW government is expected to issue a press release today advising of the Queensland recall and receivership.

A spokeswoman for NSW Fair Trading said “there have been ­approximately 57 incidents of varying degrees of severity in Queensland and up to 13 failures in NSW”, and it is understood some of the fires caused wall and ceiling damage.

“Though the recall is a mandatory recall imposed by Queensland it … is considered to have national effect,” she said. “The Queensland Electrical Safety ­Office … is understood to be ­investigating options for action against company directors.”

Mr Bleijie said the Avanco branded isolator “was found to have an internal fault that can lead to overheating and fire’’.

“We’re asking as many homeowners and installers as possible to check their solar power system and if they have the affected isolator, to disable it so it can be replaced,” he said, while warning homeowners not to take risks and contact an electrician or installer.

All forms of energy generation have risks. Solar Power produces less than 0.1% of our global electricity needs. Solar power can’t meet baseload requirements at 3am, and nor does it reduce peak load at 6 -8pm in the evening either.  It also goes without saying that any rushed government program with massive subsidies will attract shonky operators.

From a previous post on solar energy: Solar Panel subsidies are a billion dollars to provide cheap electricity to wealthy households

In the end the government drew money from the population-at-large to help Chinese solar panel manufacturers, and to provide “cheap” electricity to 107,000 households in mostly medium-high wealth areas. It reduced Australia’s emissions by a piddling 0.015 per cent, at an exorbitant carbon price of $300/ton.

Thank goodness no one has been hurt so far.

One day solar power will probably be useful.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.6/10 (101 votes cast)
Solar panels: warm your house or burn it down? Bankrupt your company?, 8.6 out of 10 based on 101 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/koeb3h9

114 comments to Solar panels: warm your house or burn it down? Bankrupt your company?

  • #
    Kevin Lohse

    Morning pedantry. “Installation of rooftop isolators is compulsory…..(singular subject to agree with singular verb).
    WUWT reports similar incidences and fears of fire-fighters in the US.

    I look forward to Tony-from-Oz’s technical analysis of the problem.

    112

    • #

      In Germany, the standard operating procedure for fighting (suspected) fires in the roof space where PV solar is installed, is to wait until dark or until the fire has destroyed the PV panels. The local (usually volunteer) brigades don’t have the equipment and resources to cover the panels with foam, etc while fighting the fire in the roof space, so they have to assume that the PV is “live”, with open-circuit DC voltages well in excess of 100V.

      Keep in mind that the attic space in houses in Germany, like most of North-Western Europe, is typically occupied. i.e. people live in that space which increases the fire hazard and the risk of loss of life.

      200

    • #
      gbees

      there are usually breakers on the inverters as well … i don’t have rooftop PV. i have an array installed in a paddock on my property. so if its going to burn down it’ll just set the grass on fire :) . however my breakers are Schneider …

      20

  • #
    Leonard Lane

    1)Once again government subsidies fail. The basic principle must be something like this. If any new technology or product is worthwhile and of benefit to a large section or majority of the public, then it will not need subsidies. Examples, microwave ovens, cell phones and then smartphones, etc.

    2)The opposite appears to be true, if something needs government subsidies either the public does not want it enough, or at all, then government subsidies are required if the government wants more of that something. Examples, solar power, wind power, biofuels, etc.

    I believe 1) and 2) are nearly always true. What I do not know, but suspect, is that all government subsidies are almost always crooked. This time I hope I am wrong.

    240

    • #
      Peter Carabot

      I do remember having to get rid of my old concrete rain water tank because it apparently was a “health hazard”, a few years later the government was subsidising (?) the installation of…. rain water tank to save water and the enviroment! At the time looked like every single person in Cairns was selling rain water tanks, the more quotes I got the cheaper the price! The vast majority were shonks, I ended up getting mine from an old established company, some of my friends went for the cheap cheap price and within the first twelve months had leaks! The company that sold the chepy was no longer there. Common? Very common result and problem for any “trendy” and/or subsidised product.
      Next product to stuff up? LED downlight and globes!

      30

      • #

        The QDC MP 4.2 boondoggle [Rainwater Tanks] got turned round to “opt in” at the beginning of last year. I haven’t checked to see if any Councils have actually opted in. I was partly the reason why the Townsville region was allowed to opt out in 2006. My process modelling indicated annual expenditure (residential only) at around $14,000,000, volume saved in a year 68,000kl (2000 x 34kl) value of water saved at the then $1.50 per kl penalty rate $102,000. The model input is daily rainfall figure (nothing else will produce sensible results). Tank size, roof area and usage regime are adjustable, logic covers tank empty and tank full.
        Still available if anyone needs it see tropicdesign.net.au

        10

    • #
      Joe

      Leonard,while there is a lot of truth in what you say, there is still a fair degree of ‘involvement’ of the Government, even in your microwave and cell phone. The cell phone only works by partnership with the government to rent some spectrum space for the frequencies it uses, so the taxpayer funds the spectrum watching and selling department to an extent. Most electrical equipment has to comply with some Government determined standards and in many countries that probably still involves more Government workers for whom we pay. Even this recall in Australia, while not perhaps being driven by the Government, will involve oversight by the Government. It is hard to imagine that if we did give the free market full responsibility for setting the standards and overseeing the standards that we would have more reliable and safer products. Here in Australia we subsidise pharmaceutical products and it is not because the market does not really want them. We also used to subsidise the car manufacturing here but again that was not because we did not want cars. The subsidy argument is probably a very complex one all around the world.

      10

      • #
        Leonard Lane

        Joe you are correct about government investments to assist start ups which then operate without subsidies. Government funded R&D also results in consumer developments and as above they too have a positive rate of return on taxpayers investments.
        So you are correct I took a narrow view on government subsidies.

        Sorry, it was a quick and dirty analysis based on my anger at the fuel poverty caused by the solar, wind, and biofuel subsidies and the crony capitalists in the US who collaborate with the government that result in economic inefficiencies and the transfer of wealth from the poor to the wealthy.

        Don’t get me wrong, I am neither a leftist nor a socialist. Nor would I be, these leftist politicians and their collaborators and voters have caused great harm to America and many other countries. We now have approximately 1 taxpayer for each person supported by the government. Obviously this is an unstable system that has brought us a government that lives on borrowing. So forgive me for oversimplifying a complex problem.

        00

      • #
        observa

        It is hard to imagine that if we did give the free market full responsibility for setting the standards and overseeing the standards that we would have more reliable and safer products.

        Piffle! It’s the very fact that the community come to believe Gummint regs will protect them from all things that go bump in the night that they’re prepared to chase the lowest common denominator price, instead of paying for brand names and dealing with companies they trust. As a consequence the great brand names (take Sony or Panasonic in electronics vs the plethora of names that get plastered on cheap rubbish) struggle to maintain profitability at an appropriate consumer standard.

        There are trusted brands like Siemens or Schneider in electrical safety but a trusting, spoon fed community effectively chose cheaper Avanco and now for the fallout and expense of retrofitting what they should have been using in the first place. All Big Gummint cons affairs does is make consumers lazy in doing their proper homework with purchasing and pffft the company supplying is broke and where’s the Gummint guarantee now? Oh that’s right they’re being paid by your taxes to come and professionally moan, wail and mourn with afflicted. Woop de doo folks!

        00

    • #
      bananabender

      Pretty much all modern technology indirectly results from government funded research. Microwave ovens are just low powered RADAR transmitters.

      00

      • #
        observa

        Pretty much all modern technology indirectly results from government funded research. Microwave ovens are just low powered RADAR transmitters.

        Rubbish! Google are running around with a driverless car testing it thoroughly for foolproof suitability for the market and taking tje risks on it. What’s the public circus doing instead of taxeating and waiting for Google to present bthem with a fait accompli to write it into standards and regs. Just like inertai reel seat belts, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, air bags, etc. Once the private sector comes up with the goodies the PS enacts it, bearing in mind here we’re talking about staright engineering risk rather than epidemiological risk or externalities which is rightly the preserve of Govt legislation.

        On that very point notice the brouha over asbestos and JH with long tailed epidemiological risk. Retrospective smackies for the current employees, shareholders and management of JH, when generations had absconded with the cheap private cost of asbestos products but here was the convenient whipping boys for past ignorance. But here’s the best bit. When JH finally saw the light and ceased asbestos production in the early 80s (largely because they’d developed an alternative in their building product range) guess where the Gummint regulator was at? They still allowed the use and sale of asbestos in brake pads right up until the end of 2002. Yes folks you were all depositing killer dust every time you pulled up to drop the munchkins off at kindy or school, some 20 years after JH saw the light. And you know why? Because industry couldn’t develop an acceptable alternative until then and there’s no way we were all gunna walk. Get the picture true believers in the nanny state? Followers not leaders and they mostly produce the paperwork after the event.

        10

        • #
          bananabender

          Rubbish! Google are running around with a driverless car testing it thoroughly for foolproof suitability for the market and taking tje risks on it.

          You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Google began life as government funded research project conducted at Stanford University. Virtually every technology company in Silicon Valley is closely connected with either Harvard or Stanford. Both these universities get most of their research funding from the US government.

          Just like inertia reel seat belts, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, air bags, etc.

          In Germany, where these innovations were developed, the university and private research sectors are so interconnected as to be virtually indistinguishable. Virtually every CEO or Chairman of a major German manufacturing or technology company has a PhD in engineering or science. They received that PhD at a publicly funded university.

          10

  • #
    Yonniestone

    I find it very hard to believe that companies doing such great work for us, our children, our children’s children etc would endanger innocent peoples lives for the sake of a quick buck. /sarc.

    220

    • #
      Hasbeen

      While you could be right Yonniestone, these things can happen to reputable companies through no fault of their own.

      A company I ran had some products manufactured in Taiwan. The product was excellent, & we had a long term happy relationship with the company.

      They won a contract to manufacture a water/energy saving product for a US company, with the rights to sell the product into other markets.

      They offered it to us. It was an excellent product, good quality, & we bought a small shipment. With it’s success we started regular marketing of the product, with considerable success.

      About 2 years later we started getting failures. We found a large plastic component was stress cracking, but only in the last shipment. I have enough experience to see the problem was with poor injection molding technique, but only under a powerful microscope, knowing what I was looking for. No normal inspection would find it.

      Fortunately the thing merely leaked a little, & was not dangerous. It was however very expensive to us.

      It transpired they had subcontracted the molding, using their tooling to a Chinese company with insufficient experience to do the job satisfactorily.

      This can be a problem with overseas suppliers. You lose control. Companies can be caught when their supplier tries to cut costs in this way.

      140

      • #
        Yonniestone

        Hasbeen I agree and have also experienced the results of poor QC management in a product, my post was directed at the top level hierarchy that pockets the profits and leaves the mess for others to handle, oh and me being a smart@#$e of course :)
        Recently I’ve come across electricians that have replaced switches/relays just 1 year old because of failures including fires, they hold grave concerns for many Australian households and workplaces in the near future.
        On the other hand I’ve had many so called “cheap knock off” tools and machinery last to this day with daily abuse use where well regarded brands have broken or died, remember when the term “jerry built” or “jap crap” was considered conventional wisdom in Australia where now they’re considered benchmarks in engineering.

        70

        • #
          the Griss

          Once the insurance companies realise that they are paying out on solar caused house fires… up go the premiums…. A LOT…… I HOPE :-)

          52

          • #
            ianl8888

            Everyone’s premiums go up (irrespective of solar installations or not) to socialise the losses

            20

        • #
          Peter Carabot

          There is another fire hazard lurking in the walls of houses, the cheap electrical wire that Masters sold is still out there. The insulation of the copper conductors is so poor that you can strip them with your bare hand. The company that suplied Master went broke…..the day after the recall! Same as this one and a million others. Recall a problem? Just go broke and it’s all good. What a lot of people do not realize is that consumer law has changed, if the importer goes to the wall the next tier in the chain is responsible for the warranty/recall, Importer, wholesaler, retailer, installer!
          Unless all four go bust at the same time, one will have to fix the problem! !

          30

      • #
        bananabender

        Brisbane City Council had to replace their residential water meters back in the early 90s. They chose a cheaper moulded plastic meter rather than the traditional cast bronze/brass models. The meters started self destructing in a very short period.

        10

    • #
      Tim

      A friend of mine is a designer and installer of commercial solar units. Some years ago he said he wouldn’t use the Chinese made components and predicted future problems with them.

      50

      • #
        Joe

        A bit hard to avoid anything made in China these days, solar no different – even Chinese produced domestic wiring sold at a major hardware chain recently got recalled.

        20

    • #
      observa

      I find it very hard to believe that companies doing such great work for us, our children, our children’s children etc would endanger innocent peoples lives for the sake of a quick buck. /sarc.

      Read my thoughts on that above Yonniestone and you might recall those old buildings with the firm’s name cast in concrete or stone above them. My parents and grandparents happily dealt with those firms without the Gunmmint regs and the big hanky to wipe consumers’ noses. Consumers nowadays are lazier with their choices, thinking they can have their cake and eat it. Cheap stuff with Gunmmint guarantee and it’s a lot like welfare in promoting moral hazard instead of caveat emptor and choose who to trust and deal with carefully. Do you trust Belkin car charger products with your ipad, iphone, Samsung USB or surface tablet or the cheapy no-name brand from China off fleabay?

      As for flea markets, give me Coles or Woollies any day for backup and it wasn’t Gummint regs that produced our last Mitsubishi new car warranty- 5 years/100,00kms total transferrable or 10 years/160,000km ‘power train’ (ie engine and trans) warranty for the new purchaser. What guarantee do I get out of Gummint? Death and taxes by all accounts and some of that tax to provide a professional mourner to cry with me whenever the fool and his money are parted.

      10

  • #
    Geoff Sherrington

    It still worries me that purchasers do not easily concede that they are bludging on the rest of us who can not or willl not participate to thereby make the problems worse.

    222

    • #
      Peter C

      That is a worry!

      30

    • #
      manalive

      I don’t see any matter of ethics or conscience here.
      Very few people would have installed them without the government rebates and subsidies.
      But given these incentives they were acting perfectly rationally and any anger should be directed at the responsible politicians.

      141

      • #
        Bryl

        Well it was a matter of ethics with me. I took one look at the feed in tarif and realised it was a) unsustainable and b) the poor/renters subsidising those with money to spare (or who could borrow it). I chose not to install solar under those circumstances. I now have solar and my conscience can live with the 8c feed in tarif. However, virtually nothing gets fed back into the grid as I run a business from home and use everything produced during the day.

        60

      • #
        Geoff Sherrington

        manalive
        I’m not angry, more amused at how friends who can have a sharp tongue for anti-social conduct react when they realise that they themselves have been naughty rent seekers. Subsidies with a design like this, where buyers know the guy next door cannot do it because of roof design or whatever, are manifestly unfair and possibly non-constitutional. Besides, given that the economic performance of panels has long been known as a loss maker, what is your justification for wanting them to multiply? Multiple losses paid by taxes?
        Of course, there are niche markets where they are the best solution, but a normal market is fine for them. BTW, in 1956 Dad & I built & installed solar hot water rooftop to a CSIRO design, so I don’t think fear of technology is a factor here .

        60

  • #
    Neville

    We are often told by the MSM that China is leading the way in the use of renewable energy. What a load of BS.

    Here is an pie IEA chart showing China’s energy sources and solar, wind and geo thermal only deliver 0.8%

    http://www.iea.org/stats/WebGraphs/CHINA4.pdf
    But China opens a new Coal fired plant every week of the year.

    60

    • #
      janama

      China is actually leading the way in renewable energy – Hydro power! Hydro is classified as renewabe energy and China has over 198GW of Hyrdo power installed, more than Canada and the US combined.
      When was the last time the Greens allowed us to build a dam?

      40

      • #

        Renewable Power is extremely fortunate to be able to include Hydro Power in it’s overall mix of power generation.

        The total World power generation from all Renewables comes in at 4,700TWH (end 2013) and Hydro power contributes 3,800TWH of that total, which is 81% of that total. China alone generates just slightly under 800TWH from Hydro, around 21% of all the World’s Hydro power.

        So far the total percentage of generated power supplied from ALL renewables on Earth comes in at 20.4% of total generated power, so with Hydro at 81% of the total makeup, that means Hydro alone contributes 16.5%, which further means that EVERY other renewable contributes only 3.9% of the whole World’s power consumption.

        If it wasn’t for China Hydro power, then renewables would be a very sorry percentage indeed.

        as janama mentions with China now having almost 200GW of Hydro Power Nameplate in place, they still have 52GW of Nameplate under construction, and that’s only plants greater than 2000MW Nameplate.

        For some perspective, While China generates 800TWH just from Hydro, Australia consumes around 240TWH of electricity generated from EVERY source.

        Tony.

        40

  • #
    Max Roerts

    You can tell how shady this stuff is by the number of unsolicited phone calls we get from so-called energy saving companies. Easy money attracts criminal and incompetent individuals. At least one call a day here in the UK. I just hang the phone up now without saying anything.

    60

  • #
    Truthseeker

    One day solar power will probably be useful.

    It already is. It is used to power emergency road-side phones in remote locations. Low energy requirement of an intermittent nature. Perfect for solar power.

    Anything that requires constant high levels of reliable power … not so much.

    140

    • #

      Telecom built an optic fibre network across Australia in the mid-1980′s; with relays powered by solar. Worked/works well enough, though the PV panels require regular cleaning and replacement after a decade or so. (Probably the MPPT’s and storage batteries as well.)

      The application has a well-defined load profile; and a low average load. Remoteness makes PV viable as other power supplies for that level of power then become too expensive.

      120

      • #
        Bone Idle

        The solar companies have been at pains to point out the the solar panels will last up to 25 years (in some cases they are guaranteeing this). Real life experience is telling a different story.
        I have been involved in DC power installations for 40 years but haven’t been involved in the solar side of it very much.
        I have had calls from people with roof top solar installations where they have problems and their installation company has gone bankrupt. You would be surprised to know the percentage of those rooftop installations are not working and the owners cant afford to have them repaired.

        20

    • #
      gbees

      it works ok if you put it into your house first and draw from the grid when solar is not there. saves on power usage. i have low light panels. i do generate a little in a full moon but it’s not much good for anything. the problem with solar is it’s not only not base load but it’s not load following. most residential power requirements are in the morning and evening when people get up to go to work or get home from work. solar cannot respond to this load impact. solar is best installed in commercial premises and using a net meter to first take power from the solar panels when available. so businesses can reduce the ongoing costs of power however i don’t see that the capital investment will really be recouped unless power usage is heavy and conditions for generating solar are constantly favourable. currently w/o govt. subsidies solar is not financially viable. best to invest in R&D rather than use ‘prop up’ subsidies and over time develop alternative power sources as required.

      10

  • #
    tom0mason

    “Thank goodness no one has been hurt so far.”

    Amen to that Jo.

    50

  • #

    Here’s what the solar “community” sent as a circular, from 100percent.org.au:

    The budget is all over the news, and the analysis is everywhere – it’s good; it’s bad; it’s broken promises; it’ll clean up a mess. But the question remains – what does the budget mean for renewable energy?

    Before the election, Tony Abbott promised “A Million Solar Roofs” a program to install solar on a million more solar homes. But, in yesterday’s announcement, there was no mention of a million solar roofs – and the program seems to have disappeared.

    Instead, we heard that the Australian Renewable Energy Association (ARENA) – previously established with bipartisan support – has been axed. And, along with it, the 190 renewables projects in development, worth approximately $7.7 billion.

    Will you chip in $25 – or whatever you can afford – so we can continue to grow our numbers to fight back against these continued attacks on renewable energy?

    ARENA provided funding for renewables projects, including big scale solar, and community wind and solar. And a million more solar roofs would mean millions more Australians running on the sun. If the Government wanted to create more jobs and ensure families can take real power over their bills, they would have kept these programs – not killed them.

    It looks like the real winners in this budget are big energy companies who want to kill renewables. Now that we know where the Government really stands, it’s clear there is still a lot of work to be done. And that’s why 100%, through our project Solar Citizens, needs your support.

    The big energy companies might have friends in Canberra – but there are many things on our side too. We have five million people who have solar, there are millions more who want to go solar, and ordinary Australian Citizens are literally taking the grid back into our own hands. So far Solar Citizens is 50,000 strong, but we need to keep growing our numbers and impact – can you chip in to help us to do this now?

    We have big plans to shape renewables and combat the voices of the big energy companies. In the next month, we’ll be bringing Solar Citizens together for large public meetings all over the country, where we’ll talk about threats to solar and prepare to take action to protect it. We are launching a new campaign to influence the federal Senators on key policy issues. And we are continually working to make sure a tax on the sun is never considered.

    But, we are only as strong as our community support, and our funding – just like our influence – is reliant on the support of many individuals like you chipping in to give a hand. Help us continue to fight back against the power companies by donating $25 or whatever you can afford today.

    The new Federal Government may not be delivering on their election promises, but if we can continue to grow in numbers and profile, we can start to show real electoral power to our politicians.

    Thanks,
    Lindsay,
    National Director, 100% Renewable

    I suspect that

    So far Solar Citizens is 50,000 strong,

    is derived in a manner similar to those of GetUp: The number of contacts that they have in their database… which’d include me; a heretic and infidel, not a supporter.

    In Germany, which has, to all intents and purposes, given up on renewables, is still to cop another legislated electricity price increase bringing the cost/kWh for domestic consumers to around €0.25 to €0.45 (37 to 66 cents Australian). Prices depend on where one lives, the nominal supplier and the price plan chosen. The cheapest suppliers seem to be the one with nuclear and coal-fired generating capacity. ;-)

    The propagandized “drop” in electricity costs (even into negative territory) is intermittent (spot price) and available only to the wholesale market and large energy consumers; not domestic consumers.

    So Germany is not so much a poster-child as much as a problem child of the “renewables” industry.

    180

    • #
      gbees

      “which’d include me; a heretic and infidel, not a supporter.”

      you can include me on the heretics list ….

      10

  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    … designed to automatically break the circuit and shut down solar panels if they become overloaded …

    There is a back story here.

    70 Isolators failed. But they are only required if and when the panels become overloaded. So why were at least 70 panels overloaded?

    The implication is, that there will possibly be a larger number of panels that were overloaded, but did not cause an isolator failure, and thus turned off as designed. But why were they overloaded in the first place?

    I sounds to me, that the manufacturers load recommendations were ignored, possibly in order to maximise the feed-in tariff, or possibly because the installers did not know what they were doing. In either case, it would be the installers who would be culpable, not the component manufacturers.

    120

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      Rereke Whakaaro:

      the output voltage of a bank of solar panels varies with the sunlight, as there is more output from the bank and also from all the other banks of panels locally.
      Thus, my panels output at 251V when it is lightly overcast, but this shoots up to 255-256V when the sun shines. Obviously trying to “pump” the energy into the local user area against the output from other houses.
      Could this be the cause of the overload?

      Should I rush out when it is sunny and spray black paint on the neighbour’s panels? (Perhaps not, he’s still mad as hell from not getting connected for over 12 months after installation, thanks to his THEN supplier Lumo. Don’t want him going ballistic.)

      50

      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        Thanks for that view Graeme.

        From my very limited experience in electrical power engineering (many years ago, as a student – and with no aptitude for it), we used to go to great lengths to ensure that the voltage was uniform, and more importantly, was a consistent frequency, without harmonic distortion. With a couple of dozen generation plants, on the grid, it was a major task to keep the current clean and consistent. But it was done, because people’s life support systems sometimes depended on it.

        With solar and wind generators by the hundreds, that balancing can only be done by automation, and since that was the field I move into, I have even less confidence that this stuff can work over the longer term.

        70

      • #
        janama

        sure you don’t mean watts – solar panels are either, 12, 24 or 48Volt systems.

        00

        • #
          Graeme No.3

          Volts, on exit from the inverter.

          I must admit that I thought my solar bank ran at 72V.

          00

  • #

    I’m a little concerned about liability here.

    Now that the Company has gone belly up, and hey, how unlucky was that, eh, then who is liable for the damage to the homes.

    With Installation cost partly subsidised by the Government, does that make the Government now fully liable if the company has fallen over, or only part liable, or not liable. I’m not sure on the law in matters like this.

    Incidentally, that subsidy varies from 22% for the lowest power version (1.5KW) to 33% for the highest power version (10KW) for grid connected systems.

    Also, I’ll bet not many of you were aware of this. The emphasis is most definitely on just the grid connected version, because the rebate from the Government only applies to the panels themselves, and if you elect to go off grid, in other words battery backup for after hours power, then the rebates are the same dollar amount for power sizing purposes, which takes the rebate down to 4.2% for the 1.5KW system, and 7% for the 11.25KW system. Note how now, the total emphasis is not upon separating yourself from the power grid and reducing emissions, but to make sure you go for the system which uses all other consumers to pay for that system via the increase to everybody’s power bills xia the exorbitant FIT. They’ll pay for the panels but the batteries are up to you, far and away the larger outlay, and then requiring more batteries every 5 to 7 years.

    It was never about lowering emissions. It was just about the money.

    Think solar panel installation – think pink batts!

    Tony.

    190

    • #
      Geoff Sherrington

      Tony,
      I just think of the greasy bastards pocketing huge wads, an outcome made possible only with corrupt acts from people in government or the bureaucracy.
      Given that the brown paper bags probaby grew in the Rud-Gillard years, it will be interesting to view the commitment to cleaning up the mess by the present Feds.
      I suspect that the Energy Regulator organisations must know about the corruption but decline to do much. They seem to come across as knowingly complicit, as evidenced by their regulation that seems to ensure that everyone in the happy conspiracy is fireproofed to avoid loss, at taxpayer expense.

      30

  • #
    ROM

    It seems all those cheap tax payer funded solar scheme chickens are coming home to roost right across the world and this could just be the beginning as solar systems get a few years of weather exposure with little or no maintenance on them

    The Australian

    Dutch fire warning for solar panels

    AAP FEBRUARY 19, 2013 9:52PM

    HUNDREDS of thousands of solar panels are at risk of setting roofs on fire because of an electrical fault, Dutch authorities and media warned, with 15 roof fires already reported in Europe.

    Now-bankrupt Scheuten Solar Systems has reportedly sold at least 650,000 of its “Multisol” panels in Europe and 15,000 in the Netherlands.

    “These solar panels have a faulty electrical connection which constitutes a fire hazard,” the Dutch Food and Goods Authority (NVWA) said in Tuesday’s statement.

    “People who have these dangerous solar panels on their roofs are advised to disconnect them in a safe manner,” it added.

    The problem is with the connection between the panel and a junction box at the back which could cause an electrical spark, damaging the box and causing it to smoulder.

    “The sparks could jump onto the roof and cause a fire,” the NVWA said.

    Dutch daily De Volkskrant reported that Scheuten Solar Systems sold some 650,000 of the solar panels across Europe between August 2009 and February 2012.

    Scheuten allegedly knew about the fire risk as far back as 2010, De Volkskrant said, quoting company documents, but only began taking action last year after two fires broke out in France.

    Based in the southeastern city of Venlo, Scheuten Solar Systems went bankrupt last year and since then at least 1,000 damage claims have been lodged with the company’s receiver, the paper said.

    60

  • #
    ROM

    Also from a number of sources similar and severe fire fighting problems are being reported for buildings with roof top solar panels, Even the lights used by firefighters at night is enough to produce very dangerous voltages in roof top solar panels.

    Reuters; Rooftop solar panels become new enemy of U.S. firefighters

    (Reuters) – Putrid air hung over a luncheon meats warehouse long after a blaze consumed the building where frustrated firefighters met their enemy: rooftop solar panels.

    Loved by the green movement, solar panels pose a growing threat to firefighters, who may suffer electrical shocks from panels that typically cannot be turned off, said John Drengenberg, consumer safety director for Underwriters Laboratories.

    Even when systems are equipped with shutoffs, any light can keep panels and their wires energized, Drengenberg said.

    Gaining access to roofs gives firefighters advantages such as venting gases, and the panels get in the way, said Ken Willette, who manages the public fire protection division at the National Fire Protection Association.

    In Delanco, New Jersey, volunteer fire crews rushed to the burning meat warehouse on Sunday and discovered the roof was covered in solar panels, forcing firefighters to change tactics. It took 29 hours to put out the flames at the Dietz & Watson warehouse, which was left gutted and smoldering in ruins.

    “Do I think we’d have had a different outcome if we could get on the roof? Sure,” Delanco Deputy Fire Chief Robert Hubler said.

    Solar energy has grown rapidly over the past decade, primarily in California, Arizona and New Jersey. Risks to fire responders have prompted building codes and firefighter training, but implementation is spotty and often left to individual jurisdictions.

    “We are working very closely with firefighters across the United States on the development of codes and standards. After every incident, we learn from it and improve,” said Ken Johnson, a spokesman for the Solar Energy Industries Association trade group. “Firefighters don’t have a good idea of how solar works. It’s incumbent in us to do a better job in educating them.”

    Experts warn firefighters might use less aggressive tactics in buildings with solar panels, especially in instances where the fire poses little risk to human life.

    “It’s an emerging challenge,” Willette said. “We’re seeing more of these panels installed in places that we have not seen them before.”

    Among the risks are shocks from panel wires that might be sliced when firefighters cut into a roof. Those wires also could come into contact with metal roofing material, causing injuries far from the roof cut, according to studies conducted by Underwriters Laboratories.

    Those experiments, funded by the Department of Homeland Security, have shown that the light emitted by fire equipment can generate enough electricity in the panels that a firefighter who inadvertently touches an energized wire might not be able to let go, a phenomenon known as “lock on.”

    Unable to access roofs, firefighters sometimes switch goals – from actively trying to save a building to preventing flames from spreading to neighboring properties – a practice known as defensive firefighting, said Bert Davis, an engineer who performs forensic examinations at fires and studied solar markets at Carnegie Mellon University.
    __________________________________

    80

    • #
      ROM

      Energy Source Death Rate (deaths per TWh)

      Coal – world average ____161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)

      Coal – China __________ 278

      Coal – USA ____________15

      Oil ___________________36 (36% of world energy)

      Natural Gas ____________4 (21% of world energy)

      Biofuel/Biomass_________12

      Peat __________________12

      Solar (rooftop)__________0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)

      Wind__________________0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)

      Hydro_________________1.4 (2.2% of world energy, but 0.1 if remove one horrific accident)

      Nuclear________________0.04 (5.9% of world energy)

      Many deaths due to air pollution. Does not include effects of global warming.

      Data taken from World Health Organization (WHO) and compiled by blogger at http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html.

      Note many fossil fuel deaths (2/3) are due to indoor use for cooking and heat.

      Hydro’s death toll comes about due to the collapse of the Banqiao Dam in China in 1975.

      [ The Banqiao Reservoir Dam, located on the River Ru in the Zhumadian Prefecture of the Chinese Henan province, failed in 1975, killing an estimated 171,000 people (although some reports estimate that number to be as high as 230,000) and destroying the homes of 11 million people. It is considered to be the biggest dam failure in history, with more casualties than any other dam failure.]

      30

      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        It is interesting that the death rate for nuclear is lower than for wind or solar.

        It is also interesting in that they do not include hydrothermal on the list. There is an awful lot of potential energy in a volcano.

        40

      • #
        ROM

        For those who would like to delve into the safety of solar panels a UK debating/discussion site titled “iMechanica” Safety Engineering and Risk Management Debate 2012;has some interesting comments on the subject matter;

        Discussion Topic 5: In recent years, millions of solar panels have been placed on roofs around the world.
        Discuss how safe are they?
        Discuss the hidden pollution caused by solar panels.

        A few excerpts from the comments [ I assume the following numbers apply to the UK only and are across all work at heights industries ]

        Installation;

        Falls from height remain the most common cause of workplace fatality. In 2008/09 there were 35 fatalities, 4654 major injuries and a further 7065 injuries that caused the injured person to be off work for over 3 days or more, due to a fall from height [Ref 1]

        _____________

        Solar panels also make use of crystalline silicon as a raw material thus in my own view, poorly maintained and old panels may release crystalline silica dust to the environment which is a human carcinogen and may increase risks of developing lung cancer.
        Risks of short circuits if not installed by experienced and qualified personnel are also possible since solar panels also roduce electric and magnetic fields. Further studies in safety and reliabilityof solar panels need to be done..

        _____________
        I agree with the opinion that no energy source is 100% safe.
        This is the case with solar power as well.
        Bad installations of PV panels like a faulty DC switch might cause a fire with unknown results.
        Fire caused by faulty PV panels might also hide electric shocks for the firemen called to control it.
        Conseul safety certification agency found that 51% of PV installations in France did not comply with the rules and legislations.
        How can these PV installations be licensed since they are not qualified according to safety measures?
        Is the race to comply with EU renewable target a reason to just install panels without any inspection?
        PV panels need regular testing. That is because inverters are an important part of the system and as a result many electronic parts are more sensitive to malfunctions.

        As a result the IEC 62446 standard includes the following rules:

        “The PV panels and electrical supply connections have been wired up correctly
        That the electrical insulation is good
        The protective earth connection is as it should be
        There has been no damage to cables during installation”

        I believe that if the proper safety measures are taken into account solar energy is a safe renewable energy source.

        Best Regards,

        Angelos Hadjiantonis
        MSc Renewable Energy
        ____________________
        In terms of power generation solar panels are safe as it produces clean energy.There are no harmful byproducts and doesnt pose any threat to the environment.While manufacturing and installing, as previous posts suggested, there are a number of safety concerns.In order to improve the efficiency of the solar cells ,which is only 20% ,the second generation has been developed, not considering the environment, by using various toxic chemicals. The exposure to this chemicals can bring various health issues. The transportation too is challenging.The installation is risky as it involves ‘working at heights’ . This can be reduced by competent persons using appropriate safety equipments.
        [ my bold] The question is ‘Is it really worth taking the risks?’.
        Solar panels are very expensive and ineffcient as it produces a very dilute form of energy.
        The panels doesnt work at nights.
        I believe in UK one of the main reason for seeing solar panels is the attractive feed-in-tariff scheme.

        http://www.hse.gov.uk/horizons/downloads/sr022.pdf

        Savitha Haneef
        MSC Safety & Reliability Engineering

        40

    • #
      the Griss

      I want to see fire insurance premiums triple or quadruple on all premises with solar panels. :-)

      Once the insurance companies realise there is a buck in it for them , is pretty much going to happen anyway. :-)

      21

      • #
        crakar24

        Griss

        If the premiums outstrip the profit then you simply shut down the panels…………..sorry to spoil your moment :-(

        02

        • #
          the Griss

          I think a person would have to get them un-installed to satisfy an insurance company. :-)

          40

          • #
            crakar24

            A more simpler way would be to cover them for fire except for a fire started by the panels, but why stop there next will be not covering for fire caused by heaters, hair dryers anything that has a history of burning down a house.

            14

            • #
              the Griss

              But gees, I would really like to see them have to pay to un-install them or face massive premiums.

              That, to me, would be justice. :-)

              I don’t want to see people increasing their risk of being burnt out just to satisfy some green ideal.. Rudd did enough of that.

              31

              • #
                crakar24

                Justice? i think your moral compass is broken

                05

              • #
                the Griss

                Hey? If you add performance items to a car that make it more dangerous, you are expected to pay a larger premium.

                Just because you say you won’t use them or have disconnected them doesn’t make any difference.

                And although attribution of fires to a particular source is a pretty solid subject, it is not always possible.

                00

    • #
      ROM

      On wind farm accidents ;
      ;
      Caithness Wind Farm Information Forum.

      Summary of Wind Turbine Accident data to 31 March 2014

      Of the 146 fatalities:

      89 were wind industry and direct support workers (divers, construction, maintenance, engineers, etc), or small turbine owner/operators.
      58 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.

      The above UK based group have tried to document wind farm accidents but they believe they may have only covered possibly as low as 9% of the known but either non reported or lost in the bureaucracy wind farm accidents spread across many countries.
      ____________________________
      On wind turbine insurance figures and what is still possibly to come as Australia’s relatively new wind turbines start to age

      GCube. Top 5 US Wind Energy Insurance Claims Report

      New York, 6th August, 2013 — GCube, the leading provider of renewable energy insurance services has published a report summarizing the most common wind energy insurance claims made in the United States.

      The data based on 2012 US reported claims, shows that blade damage and gearbox failure account for the greatest number of losses – accounting for 41.4% and 35.1% of the total claims reported.

      Meanwhile, damage to generators (10.2%) and transformers (5.1%) ranked third and fourth with damage to foundations coming in fifth.

      Commensurately, the top two most frequently reported causes of loss were cited as poor maintenance (24.5%) and lightning strikes (23.4%). Design defect (11.5%), wear and tear (9.3%) and mechanical defect (6.2%) featured in third, fourth and fifth when it came to assessing and understanding the reason cited for the initial claim.

      Industry standards define a ‘design defect’ as a fault that is inherent in the design of the product itself. A ‘mechanical defect’ is a more generic term for a mechanical flaw and/or malfunction. This includes but is not limited to a material defect that would prevent the equipment from functioning as designed; such as metal fatigue, failure and blade delamination.

      Although the majority of wind turbine blade damage can be attributed to lightning strikes; delamination and improper handling during the construction and installation phase are also frequent and need to be addressed.

      Poor maintenance contributes significantly to the leading cause of gearbox failure with design defect factoring into loss frequency as well.

      According to the independent analysis, gearbox claims typically cost [ USA costs . much higher in Australia.] the industry $380,000, while turbine blade claims cost on average of $240,000, per claim. Claims associated with the wind turbine foundations are typically higher, averaging $1,300,000 and have risen to $2,500,000 in exceptional circumstances throughout the 2012 period.

      10

  • #
    the Griss

    “Note many fossil fuel deaths (2/3) are due to indoor use for cooking and heat. ”

    Do they count heaters and cooking fires from using electricity or gas as fossil fuel relate deaths?

    As gas and electricity comprise a very very large percentage of cooking and heating, should they really be counted?

    But of course they do not take into account many many thousands that die early because of continued exposure to biofuels such as DUNG. !

    52

  • #
    pat

    keep in mind the company (Advancetech) that has gone bust is/was based on the Sunshine Coast:

    4 comments, anti-Govt:

    16 May: Sunshine Coast Daily: Nicole Fuge: Students want Coast to be the solar capital
    Sixty high school students from Mountain Creek State School, Maroochydore State High School, Immanuel Lutheran College, Nambour Christian College, Chancellor State College and Siena Catholic College have signed an open letter to Member for Fairfax Clive Palmer calling for a transition to 100% renewable energy and make the Sunshine Coast the solar capital of Australia.
    “He has a powerful influence on our decisions, we want to show him how passionate we are about fixing climate change,” Nambour Christian College Year 12 student Emily Walkerden-Ridge said.
    “We’re asking him to stand up for us in the government, let our voices be heard through him and who we are, how passionate we are.”…
    Australian Youth Climate Coalition national co-director and 2013 Young Environmentalist of the Year Kirsty Albion addressed the summit and said the younger generation needed to take action now if they wanted to make an impact on climate change…
    http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/students-call-on-palmer-make-us-the-solar-capital/2260387/

    same day, lots of comments, 73% want the Council to explain. lengthy, detailed article:

    16 May: Sunshine Coast Daily: Bill Hoffman: Revealed: How council paid double for solar farm land
    SUNSHINE Coast Council paid $1.65million on May 1 for a flood-prone block of cane land that sold less than two years ago for just $770,000.
    The 49 ha parcel of land off Coolum-Yandina Road was originally owned by the late Col Turner and his wife Lyn.
    TheTurners sold the property on September 9, 2012, to Gruenenergy after which it was immediately on sold for $1.1m to Akerman Enterprises acting as trustee for the Akerman Family Trust…
    Council has refused to justify the sale price or what if any amount it has paid Gruenenergy.
    It has claimed commercial in confidence considerations prevent it from doing so…
    Reader poll
    The Sunshine Coast Council appears to have paid more than $500,000 too much for a block of land earmarked for a solar farm. What should be done about it? VOTE
    http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/revealed-how-council-paid-twice-price-solar-farm-l/2260539/

    60

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      Pat:

      your first link leads to that article about students wanting a 100% “renewables” power supply is a problem. They’ve been brainwashed because such is impossible.
      Reasons?
      1. Cost
      They don’t realise it costs considerably more, possibly because the linked article claiming that removing the RET would force prices up? Simple arithmetic says no.
      2. Reliability
      Does the sun shine 24 hours a day, or the wind blow at the right speed all the time? Enough said.
      3. Phase control.
      When wind turbines start up they DRAW power from the grid (it takes a bit to turn those 60-90 tonne nacelles into the wind and turn those 10 tonne blades. Then the output has to be synchronised with the grid for voltage, frequency AND phase. With the wrong phase you would end up with the turbines as motors not generators, and a whole lot of large electric fans out in the paddocks.

      20

  • #
    Joe

    I am a little puzzled by the description of the problem in the Australian article Jo quoted. Isolators are generally just switches, they are not circuit breakers or other current sensing switch gear, they don’t provide an automatic function as described. I could be wrong, but the isolator up on the roof by the panels is just a switch. If the series connection of panels has sufficiently large number of panels which typically produce about 37v open circuit it can produce a deadly open circuit voltage. The panels for most of these inverters are arranged to give around 300 volts dc. The isolator switch can be configured to break this series connection in the middle giving just half the open circuit voltage when the panels are isolated from the inverter for maintenance etc. There are then fuses and circuit breakers generally mounted down by the inverter itself or the fusebox. These are the devices that break the circuit automatically under fault conditions.
    Solar panels and their inverters are designed to extract the maximum power from the panels, the installer can’t make it do better, the concept of ‘overloading the panels’ is not right. You can short circuit your panels and they will deliver less power into your short circuit than they would be delivering into the inverter during normal operation. That is the nature of solar panels.
    The problem I suspect is a common problem that affects most switch gear and that is simply that there is a poor electrical connection internal to the device or where the external wires interconnect with the device. This gives rise to a higher than normal resistance and consequently heating and chance of a fire. That’s just Ohm’s law at work. There have been plenty of recalls of the common 240ac switchgear in the past with exactly these problems. Most recently there were recalls of a very respected brand of a combined circuit breaker and earth leakage detector. The dc current is always a little more challenging too.
    The only ways I could see of ‘overloading the panels’ would be to focus too much sunlight on them, put too many in series that could see too high an open circuit voltage and insulation breakdown or putting panels with disparate specifications in series.

    60

    • #
      Steve

      Joe could be that the isolators are just underrated or too many panels so too much power for the isolator= fie

      00

      • #
        crakar24

        It is a simple switch, just like a light (light goes on light goes off) the switch stops current flow in both examples.

        If you want to change the inverter etc you need to isolate the power source, its just another media beat up which the usual suspects here have lapped up with glee.

        61

        • #
          vic g gallus

          It is a simple switch, just like a light (light goes on light goes off) the switch stops current flow in both examples.

          And if it arcs it catches fire, just like a light switch.

          10

          • #
            Joe

            I think Steve above is probably close on the money. Crakar25′s comment about the light switch is probably ominously true too. I would not be too surprised if the manufacturer just uses standard domestic light switch mechanisms internally. While they are often optimistically rated at 10A for ac current, the mechanisms and particularly the contact areas are tiny and commonly fail. While the current from the panels is not related to how many panels are wired in series and even for the biggest panels this is generally less than 10A, the isolator switch would have a hard time switching the full DC current as it tends to make quite a big flash when interrupted especially at the higher voltages. Installations usually carry a warning to turn off the inverter first so less current is flowing and not to use the isolator as an interrupter.

            10

            • #
              Roy Hogue

              It looks more like they were not being switched to isolate the panels at the time of the fire. So overheating may be the better guess as to cause.

              In any case…

              Installations usually carry a warning to turn off the inverter first so less current is flowing and not to use the isolator as an interrupter.

              Instructions are sometimes the first thing to be ignored. Being actually capable of handling the load is a real good idea with electrical equipment. You break a 10 amp even mildly inductive circuit and all hell breaks loose at the switch contacts. And if they can’t handle the steady current they get too hot. In either case, it’s a dangerous situation.

              20

    • #
      Fred Allen

      If I were to hazard a guess: the switch is perhaps undersized for the temperatures to be found in many installations. Cabling is sized in homes based on electrical flow at standard, accepted internal temperatures. Higher temperatures (external locations) for the same electrical flow require larger cable.

      20

    • #

      I think you are correct Joe. I’d be surprised if isolators rated for AC are being used for solar DC. AC won’t continue arcing but 300 V DC will be quite spectacular. Take a look at the ratings of switches. Most are rated for far higher volts and amps on AC than on DC.
      For the bed wetters worried about all this, we had a mains isolating switch melt down some years ago on Christmas Day. My wife said “there’s a funny electrical burning smell” . It went away very quickly but we checked the switchboard and there was a nice puddle of melted plastic under where the switch was with the switch welded closed.
      Loose, high resistance termination was the diagnosis. Can happen any time you use electricity.

      10

  • #
    pat

    no articles on Advancetech going bust, etc. at the Sundshine Coast Daily. the following are the only mentions & both read like Press Releases – & barely indicate a Sunshine Coast connection:

    no comments at this one, which should have alarmed their readers:

    14 May: Sunshine Coast Daily: Adam Davies: Avanco solar power isolators in national recall
    A NATION-WIDE recall has been issued in relation to certain Avanco branded DC solar power isolators after it was found that an internal fault could potentially cause a house fire…
    The product was sold through electrical wholesalers or direct to solar contractors and installers in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia…
    Advancetech Pty Ltd, of Kunda Park, says the Avanco brand isolators were among a number of photovoltaic DC isolators that have been recalled or prohibited from sale…
    Advancetech has made a submission to the Queensland government responding to the issues.
    “Advice received by Advancetech from a leading electrical safety and compliance expert contradicts the conclusions of the Electrical Safety Office and strongly suggests that a number of other factors are the most likely cause of the problems being experienced,” it says on its website.
    http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/avanco-solar-power-isolators-in-national-recall/2257951/

    4 comments on this one, which also reads like a Press Release:

    12 May: Sunshine Coast Daily: Solar power isolators recall after fire threat
    http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/solar-power-recall-after-fire-threat/2256208/

    Sunshine Coast Daily is part of APN Group. not dedicated to informing its readers, it would seem.

    50

  • #
    handjive

    One interesting feature of the curve of modern innovation is that while increased efficiency has trended toward smaller and lighter production, it hasn’t always been conceived that way. Sixty years ago, the conventional wisdom was nearly the opposite.

    Beautiful Progress (Book review, ‘Smaller Lighter Denser Cheaper’)

    Robert Bryce’s Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong,
    published this month by Public Affairs

    (via MasterResource)

    30

  • #
    ROM

    Spain has now dropped the boom on renewable energy with the imposition of taxes for the use of the power grid, a limit on the profits that renewable energy companies are allowed to earn and generally some renewable energy companies bankrupting legislation and thats just what Spain’s renewable energy companies and thousands of private citizens who put their savings into the sure fire [ had to be as it was backed by the government ! ] lucrative , government backed and funded renewable energy systems.

    From the World Bank data for 2012, a list of national GDP’s places Australia in 12th place globally
    Spain’s GDP in size is next at 13th place globally.

    For comparison purposes and to give some idea on Spain’s problems with it’s renewable energy program

    From; http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013/04/pain-in-spain-new-retroactive-changes-hinders-renewable-energy

    Australia has a population of about 22 million.
    Spain has a population of about 47 million.

    The Spanish government’s deficit in payments to the solar and wind energy industries at the end of 2012 was 25.5 billion Euro’s, at today’s exchange rate about AUD$ 37.3 billion.

    The government payouts were for the extra expenditure that by legislation the government had to cough up over and above the payments from customers collected by the renewable energy industry to cover the guaranteed by legislation payments to the RE industries.

    The system was unsustainable economically with up to 26% unemployment in Spain so the spanish Government bit the bullet and took a very big, very sharp knife to their renewable energy industry subsidies with some devastating consequences for the carpet bagging fat cat spanish renewables industry.

    A 7 percent retroactive tax was levied at the start of 2013 on all electricity producers, directly impacting both conventional and renewable energy project owners, and just one month later, another far-reaching set of regulatory changes was introduced.

    Without any former notice to the RE sector, on Friday, February 1st 2013, the Spanish Council of Ministers approved Royal Decree-Law 2/2013. This ruling introduced two significant changes to the electricity market. First, it abolished the so-called ‘premium option,’ a measure that enabled certain producers like wind and biomass operators to sell their electricity directly into the market, and then to receive an additional bonus or premium payment on top. Successive analyses have found that average remuneration levels under this option were notably higher than under the fixed FIT option, and the overwhelming majority of wind producers had switched from the fixed to the premium option as a result.
    The estimated savings from this measure range from EUR 220 Million to EUR 500 Million per year across the sectors
    &
    In total, the government estimates that the measures introduced in the new Royal Decree Law will save EUR 600-800 Million per year.

    And thats a nice little ANNUAL saving, saving only, not total renewable subsidy cost, of some AUD$880 million to AUD$1.17 billion per year savings for the Spanish tax payer at current exchange rates.

    This in an economy almost identical in size to Australia.

    Denmark , now Germany , the British are just starting, European countries everywhere are now taking the knife to their renewable energy industry subsidies as the realisation dawns that they cannot afford those subsidies , their social system is under great stress because of the cost of energy and most devastating for the politicians, green to a man and woman, who pushed these lavish susbidy payments through to renewable energy to show the world that they, as leaders were going to show the way ahead so as to “save the planet”, and that what they claimed a few years back, Ethe european countries withthe highest energy costs are now starting to de-industrialize due to the no longer competitive energy costs. With all the consequences for employment, wealth generation, technology development and etc that entails for the future

    It seems that once again we here in australia have dodged the worst of the excesses in renewable energy but only just.
    Another term of Labor and we would have been up to our necks in RE subsidies and costs just at the very time everybody else, except Obama , not Americans if they can help it, were bailing out of the great renewable energy fraud and about to throw some of the renewable energy scammers into the clink for gross fraud, a highly likely further development in some European countries within the next few years..

    90

    • #
      Joe

      I thought that Labor’s promise to install some 20% renewable energy sources was all just the usual political talk /lies and that we never actually got past the original 9% (or whatever it was) target that was set by John Howard’s Government.
      Can someone clarify where we are at with those percentages? I thought that the solar at least was well short of providing 20%. Did Labor actually get around to dishing out more REC’s than Howard promised or was it just talk while Howard was more responsible for the action to date? If we are still chasing Howard’s target, shouldn’t we be blaming Howard for what we have so far?

      00

    • #
      ROM

      I suggest that if you want prices, costs and supply data on PV [ Photo Voltaic, a important sounding title for plain common solar panel power ] in Australia the Electrical Energy Association of Australia has some data sheets including the latest

      Solar PV Report January 2014

      From their graphs and data it is striking the fall off in PV installations between Jan 2013 and Jan 2014 due to

      The peak in solar installations in June 2013 can be traced to Queensland where households rushed to meet an installation deadline to remain eligible for the 44c/kWh feed-in tariff (FIT).
      While Queensland’s premium FIT closed to new applicants in July 2012, households had 12 months to install the system and still receive the tariff.
      Following June, installation rates in Queensland slowed significantly.

      ______________
      Also interesting National Geographic article where Hawaii’s entire power generation system is seriously jeopardized by the excessive fluctuations brought on by excessive subsidy levels which encouraged the installation of solar to levels that become dangerous to the base load power system’s stability.

      Hawaii; A Solar Boom So Successful, It’s Been Halted
      ______________
      The one common denominator in this entire solar [ and wind ] renewable energy scam is the immense subsidies that are paid out of the government taxes towards the buying and installing of solar panel systems.
      And then the usually highly lucrative Feed In Tariffs [ FIT's ] that the solar panel owners collect all totally at the expense of those who do not have solar installations or much worse, can’t afford to install solar systems as their income and financial resources are not at a level where such solar installations can be afforded. To which must be added the renters, all of whom have to pay those extra FIT’s plus their taxes which are being used and abused to subsidise the buyers of solar systems.

      Renewable energy has been described as the fastest way ever of transferring wealth from the poor to the rich.
      Renewable energy as it is currently structured by governments is arguably the most regressive financial system yet imposed on the low income residents of our modern society.
      ________________
      Assessing the amount and distrubution of subsidies to renewable energy in Australia is a complex problem.

      The Energy Users Association of Australia issued a report in Oct 2011 which goes into some depth on the renewable energy subsidy system and where the money comes from and goes to and when and how much.

      A couple of wagon wheel graphs starting on page 10 of this report go a long way towards spelling this out for the average interested payer of renewable energy subsidies which is all of us.

      Renewable electricity in Australia:
      outcomes and prospects

      Page 13 of this report has the subsidy payments distribution to the various renewable energy technologies, payments of which amount to some $12.082 billion for plant installed between 2001 and 2010.

      Of this the governments of the day pay / paid $1.310 billion in subsidies.
      The electricity consumer has paid / will pay another $10.771 billion in FIT’s and etc to the renewable energy suppliers.
      This on renewable energy plant installed between 2001 and 2010.

      Obviously any projections from 2011 will have become null and void as both the political climate has altered, the claimed CO2 climate catastrophe dogma is being challenged in an unprecedented manner and found seriously wanting as well as the realisation now appearing in so many countries that the present renewable energy technologies of wind, solar and bio-mass are no longer affordable or acceptable or indeed at all sustainable even in the short term for society, industry and commerce.

      This along with an increasing realisation that from the economic and societal view point, the destruction being wrought in industry , commerce and society due to excessive costs of energy and it’s gross inefficiencies due to intermittent and unpredictable generation output is becoming less and less attractive as a consequence of the absolute need to heavily subsidise renewable energy at levels where it is financially profitable to the investors but destroys the financial viability of energy users across society, industry and commerce.

      30

  • #
    Sunray

    Thank you Jo, you certainly have a way with words. By the way, the local weatherman on NBN 3 Newcastle tonight, made reference to the mass of warm water welling up from below which is causing our hot spell, may have something to do with global warming. Perhaps we have at long last found that heat, that disappeared into the ocean explanation by an “expert” quite recently, as the reason that there has been no warming, contrary to “scientific consensus”. Whatever it is, I just want my almost winter back please.

    31

    • #
      the Griss

      If warm water is coming up from below, and releasing energy into the atmosphere,

      ….its is COOLING the ocean.

      53

  • #
    Melissa

    This is off topic, but I was wondering if anyone has calculated the cost to the average Australian of subsidising renewable energy schemes? I’ve done some quick research and the costs range between $50 and nearly $300/year on the average electricity bill. The Labor/Green side of politics is being portrayed in the media as the champions of the poor and vulnerable in society, yet it would seem that their policies had a far greater impact on the poor than the current Abbott budget. This isn’t even factoring in flow on effects to industry for the higher cost of electricity or the five fold increase in the cost of water when you compare dams to desalination plants. Can anyone point me in the direction of some relevant research?

    —-

    Really good question Melissa. — Jo

    51

    • #
      Truthseeker

      Melissa,

      In NSW, energy power bills state that Federal Green energy schemes and the Carbon Tax add about $230 per year to the average power bill.

      10

  • #
    pat

    Joe -

    i posted several links on jo’s previous thread, including this one:

    LetItGo: Grid Connect Solar Troubleshooting
    Q: Is the problem with the main power lines?
    A: What I am talking about is main grid voltages. All inverters in Australia are programmed to shutdown if they detect the main grid voltage rise a little over 260V. What happens in some places is the main grid voltage is very high (255+V) to start with, then when your solar system starts to put power back into the system it pushes the voltage even higher, causing it to go higher than the inverters upper threshold, so the invert will disconnect. Once the inverter disconnects it will wait a little while, during this time the voltage drops back again, the inverter connects back onto the mains and starts producing power, it raises the voltage again and disconnects.
    So why havent you noticed this? well chances are it is happening around midday when you are at work, early in the morning and in the evening lots of people are using electricity so the voltages are lower than normal, and during this time the suns power is not as strong as it is at lunch time so you are not putting much power into the grid anyway. Many intelligent inverters will detect the pending voltage problem and start to reduce the amount of power it puts into the Grid, just so that it can stay connected, sometimes the only warning you get is a small message on screen.. very easy to miss…
    How do you test for Grid Problem? I would start by checking the Grid voltage reading on your inverter at lunchtime one day, if it is in the 255V or higher then you need to investigate further. By investigate further I mean pick a bright sunny day during the working week and try and catch it in action.
    If you do catch the mains voltage rising above the 260V and the inverter disconnects then its time to call the energy company… good luck…
    http://www.letitgo.com.au/grid-connect/17–grid-connect-solar-troubleshooting.html

    i am hoping someone will expound on the above, for what it’s worth, as i have friends & family who did get panels & don’t understand a thing about them. the companies who sold them the panels explained almost nothing, which is part of the problem.

    40

  • #
    dave ward

    Regarding rooftop isolators – there is an Australian firm supplying remotely controlled isolators. They are designed to break down a long series string into safe, low voltage sections, in the event of any problems. This is to address the risks to firefighters already mentioned in this thread. They don’t say how these units actually make or break the circuit – relay or semiconductor, and my feelings are that any extra equipment and connections in an exposed location could simply increase the risk of a fire starting in the first place!

    Link:http://remotesolarisolator.com.au/how-it-works/

    Note: I have no connection with this outfit, and include the URL purely for information.

    30

    • #

      Without external assurance that such isolators are installed and functioning, firefighters have to assume the worst case.

      It’s quite sad that such electrical safety systems haven’t been mandatory for the past 20+ years, when PV became “affordable” and therefore widely deployed. The risks have certainly been obvious for a long time.

      00

  • #
    richsrd

    Off topic- I never knew this.

    http://www.tridentenergy.co.uk/press-releases/trident-energy-releases-white-paper-on-auxiliary-power-for-offshore-wind-farms/

    “Trident Energy has spotted an opportunity to reduce the risks and costs of providing offshore power. Offshore wind farms are being built in ever deeper, harsher waters. Diesel generators are used to provide power when these are without grid connection – but access for refuelling in this challenging environment is increasingly uncertain. Turbines without power are not an option. Turbine warranties are invalidated, with major implications for insurance and financing. Diesel refuelling costs are very high because of the costs of getting the fuel to the wind farm. The solution is to use the sea to provide the power. A small wave device attached to the wind turbine provides the primary source of power backed up by a diesel generator. This gives a diverse source of auxiliary power to protect turbine warranties and reduces refuelling costs”

    “The Riffgat wind farm off the German coast is fully installed apart from the grid connection, delayed for at least 2 years due to the discovery of munitions on the sea bed. This had led to unhelpful headlines such as “Windpark to nowhere … 22,000 litres of diesel burned each month to keep windpark from rusting away”.

    And this made me laugh- a lot-

    Reducing diesel usage reduces the high costs of offshore refuelling and reduces HSE risk

    “Diesel generators are reliable, proven technology and a trusted solution to the provision of offshore auxiliary power”

    Unlike the windturbines!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    40

    • #
      ROM

      richsrd A # 24
      May 20, 2014 at 2:00 am

      Wind turbine power consumption when idle or operating below minimal wind speeds is actually quite high.
      Land based turbines draw power from the grid for the following
      _______________________________
      [ quoted from; http://www.aweo.org/windconsumption.html ]

      Among the wind turbine functions that use electricity are the following:†

      yaw mechanism (to keep the blade assembly perpendicular to the wind; also to untwist the electrical cables in the tower when necessary) — the nacelle (turbine housing) and blades together weigh 92 tons on a GE 1.5-MW turbine

      blade-pitch control (to keep the rotors spinning at a regular rate)

      lights, controllers, communication, sensors, metering, data collection, etc.

      heating the blades — this may require 10%-20% of the turbine’s nominal (rated) power

      heating and dehumidifying the nacelle — according to Danish manufacturer Vestas, “power consumption for heating and dehumidification of the nacelle must be expected during periods with increased humidity, low temperatures and low wind speeds”

      oil heater, pump, cooler, and filtering system in gearbox

      hydraulic brake (to lock the blades in very high wind)

      thyristors (to graduate the connection and disconnection between generator and grid) — 1%-2% of the energy passing through is lost

      magnetizing the stator — the induction generators used in most large grid-connected turbines require a “large” amount of continuous electricity from the grid to actively power the magnetic coils around the asynchronous “cage rotor” that encloses the generator shaft; at the rated wind speeds, it helps keep the rotor speed constant, and as the wind starts blowing it helps start the rotor turning (see next item); in the rated wind speeds, the stator may use power equal to 10% of the turbine’s rated capacity, in slower winds possibly much more

      using the generator as a motor (to help the blades start to turn when the wind speed is low or, as many suspect, to maintain the illusion that the facility is producing electricity when it is not,‡ particularly during important site tours or noise testing (keeping the blades feathered, ie, quiet)) — it seems possible that the grid-magnetized stator must work to help keep the 40-ton blade assembly spinning, along with the gears that increase the blade rpm some 50 times for the generator, not just at cut-in (or for show in even less wind) but at least some of the way up towards the full rated wind speed; it may also be spinning the blades and rotor shaft to prevent warping when there is no wind
      ______________

      A read of this below will also provide examples of gross propaganda boosting of turbine capacity factors by the turbine manufacturers which Tony has often commented on
      Plus the large fall off in generating capacity as the turbine ages and the blades in particular being of FRP’s [ Fibre Reinforced Plastics ] of as cheap a quality as they can get away with and of immense size start to deform and change their aerodynamic profile due to aging of the FRP, the weight of the blades and the centripetal and aerodynamic forces acting on the blades over time.

      Gearboxes have proven to be the most vulnerable items to fail in just about every make of turbine .

      So by about no more than 15 years of operation the economics of most turbines are such that they are close to neutral in economic terms and should be scrapped.
      Unless like the utter stupidity of governments everywhere they collect more in subsidy payments when they are not operating compared to what they collect when actually generating power [ UK ]
      _______________________
      Individual wind turbine power consumption of the common Vestas V82 1.65 mw which is pretty small turbine by today’s standards

      Quoted from U Minn and Vestas Reality Check

      Power Consumption

      I have long been trying to nail down how much electricity a wind turbine consumes. The wind industry seems quite reluctant to publish this.
      As an example, in the V82 Life Cycle Assessment they lump all the manufacturing, operation, transportation etc. together into a 20-year lifetime total of 3392 mw-h, not willing to break it out.
      Luckily, the UMinn’s reports include negative production numbers when the wind isn’t blowing enough to produce – about 3.5 m/s.
      Each day they listed the minimum production, along with the minimum wind speed.
      UMinn didn’t reveal the time increments, but fully 85% of the days during the 3 years had a negative-production period. I graphed the results:

      The above chart shows the minimum productions plotted against the minimum wind speeds.
      As you might expect, whenever the wind speed is above the 3.5 m/s cut-in speed the turbine starts producing, but not getting consistently into positive territory until about 4.5 m/s.
      Notice the results when the wind doesn’t get above 3.5 m/s – typically there’s a MINUS 50kw of production.
      This is power that must be supplied from the grid just to keep the turbine in business.
      And 50kw seems to be what the turbine uses to stay alive in good weather.
      In the winter it gets slightly higher – the highest negative numbers were in the 80 kw range.

      So, finally, we have a measurement of just how much electricity they consume! 50 kw is quite a bit higher than my previous findings, which originated in industry statements and cash flow calculations. Recall that the average Danish turbine produces about 376 kw (1650 * .228). So a V82 operating in Denmark consumes roughly 13% of what it produces. No wonder they want to keep this quiet.

      20

  • #
    lemiere jacques

    it happened in france too.

    10

  • #

    You won’t get the same problem happening with solar panels in the UK. Not enough sun. :(

    30

    • #
      the Griss

      All solar panels do in the UK is stop the sun from heating the house. :-)

      50

      • #

        They also provide a nice little earner for the occupants. Typically generate the equivalent of 20% of a household’s electricity, but at the wrong times of day and year. But, due to subsidies, will reduce the electricity bill by up to 50%. Lots of “cool” people with large houses have them. Paid for by the poor that don’t.

        00

  • #
    Joe V.

    What The ?
    .
    Is this Convoy Cate from Charleville ?
    .
    That Leading Light from the Convoy of No Confidence.
    .
    Forced out of business by the Carbon Tax , even now ?
    .
    Abbott needs to get his finger out.
    .
    “Heartache as carbon credits turn to debt
    SUE NEALES
    THE AUSTRALIAN
    MAY 20, 2014 12:00AM
    THE boxes are packed, the last of the cattle have been rounded up and the ute is loaded with chairs, saddles and tools.

    Cate and Mark Stuart will be evicted from their historic Charleville cattle station, Mount Morris, on Thursday after rural lenderRabobank last year called in the receivers Ferrier Hodgson to ­recoup an outstanding debt of $2.6 million.”

    http://m.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/heartache-as-carbon-credits-turn-to-debt/story-fn59niix-1226923346944

    10

    • #
      Joe V.

      I’m afraid it seems to be Cate right enough.
      Just to listen to this stirring interview Cate gave back in 2011 to Radio National, launching The Convoy.
      http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2011/08/cpt_20110808_1641.mp3

      What spirit, good humour and determination.

      It is surely a national tragedy to see another cattle station gone and a battler like that brought so low.

      10

    • #
      Joe V.

      The reality of carbon farming.
      Banks don’t believe carbon credits will ever be worth anything, so they refuse to allow carbon farming under the government’s Carbon Farming Initiative on land they hold mortgages on.

      It’s tough on the land and on farmers trying to survive a collapsing cattle industry.

      http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/heartache-as-carbon-credits-turn-to-debt/story-fnkfnspy-1226923533045

      10

    • #

      Sounds more like the cattle property wasn’t making money as a cattle property (likely with the drought they’ve had out there).
      The owners thought that by accessing the carbon farming scam they could continue to make a living but I bet the mortgage from the bank had a clause where if you intend to change the way you plan to make money you need to notify the bank (the bank loaned the money for a *cattle* property). Seems fair enough in case you want to convert to a toxic waste dump or anything else that may have a effect on future value of the property and the bank decided that tying the trees up for 100 years may do this. Also seems fair enough. The bank aren’t the bad guys here. Rabobank does a lot of rural property finance and this seems to be just business.

      00

      • #
        ROM

        G’day Mike;

        Having had a fair bit to do with banks unfortunately during my five decades of farming, my reaction was about the same as yours.

        10

  • #
    pat

    crakar24 -

    thanx for the response, but i still don’t understand if a problem could arise from the power connecting & disconnecting, perhaps every day! my ignorance is total on this issue, so i need the simplest of explanations:

    20 May: Australian: Solar firm ‘sold’ day after recall
    by SIMON KING and LEO SHANAHAN
    Solar parts wholesaler Advancetech, which supplied 27,600 of the Avanco branded DC isolators responsible for 70 burnouts in rooftops across Queensland and NSW, went into receivership on Friday facing a bill of almost $3 million to replace the affected units.
    But an email seen by The Australian dated May 9 reveals Advancetech director Jon Hungerford had by then already sold the business to his son…
    “Advancetech is a family business and has been a trusted importer and distributor of electrical products for more than a decade,” the email, which was sent to a number of the companies’ consumers, says.
    “It is time, however, for the ­director of the company, Stephen Hungerford, to pass the baton to his son Anthony Hungerford. To achieve that objective a new business has been established: TRO Pacific Holdings Pty Ltd T/A TRO Pacific. TRO Pacific Holdings Pty Ltd has purchased the current business of Advancetech Pty Ltd and will begin trading under the directorship of Anthony Hungerford effective Monday, 12th May, 2014.”
    Master Electricians Australian chief executive Malcolm Richards said many of his members had forwarded the email to him…
    Advancetech did not return calls from The Australian, and by lunchtime yesterday its website, which had boasted its products were “tried, tested and trusted”, had crashed.
    SV Partners director Jason Cronin, whose firm was appointed liquidator on Thursday, said: “The company was the subject of a ­recall order from the Attorney-General that placed certain requirements on the company to do certain things — unfortunately, they weren’t able to comply with all the provision of that ­recall order as it was going to be too costly to do.”
    A source close to the Hungerfords said: “They’re shattered … they simply don’t have the money — it’s as simple as that.”
    Stephen Hungerford is not a shareholder or director in the new TRO Pacific Holdings company, but the business shares the same trading address as Advancetech Pty Ltd at Kunda Park in Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast.
    The NSW Department of Fair Trading also yesterday issued a statement advising “NSW consumers and traders of the recall of Avanco brand DC Solar Isolators” and advising that they should be turned off immediately.
    Sandro Soncin, who installed more than 30 of the switches around Mareeba outside Cairns, said it was a “double whammy” for consumers. “Not only have they go to pay for the switch or switches to be replaced, but they then lose whatever saving they would have had from the solar contribution to their electricity,” Mr Soncin said.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/solar-firm-sold-day-after-recall/story-e6frgczx-1226923247515

    20

    • #
      Joe

      Pat, it really is a bit hard to know what could be going on with your friend’s inverter setup. You can’t really tell a great deal from the display but most inverters will keep an internal log of all the faults that occur. To access that you need to be able to hook up a laptop with suitable software to read and interpret that log. Fluctuating grid voltages are just one reason. The inverters are usually configured after installation to better match them to the local grid voltage and you can adjust the cut-out limit by a small amount. The installer, if they are still around, are the best folk to do that. Often if the problem is persistent, and they have exhausted ideas, they will just swap out the inverter. It would be a good idea to see if anyone else in the street has similar problems and note their brand of inverter etc. The whirlpool forums are often a good source of discussion about particular inverters and their problems and you may find that someone else has nutted out what is going on already. Cheers.

      20

  • #
    pat

    btw, ABC has nothing but this brief article which gets the spelling of Advancetech correct once, but not twice!

    19 May: ABC: Andree Withey: Solar parts distributor goes into receivership
    Advancetech has sold 27,000 suspect devices that have been installed in more than 13,000 Queensland properties…
    A spokesman for Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie says the circumstances of ???Advantech going into receivership late last week are being investigated.
    He says the company’s receivers must continue to replace the devices.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-19/solar-parts-distributor-goes-into-receivership/5462200

    Fairfax appears to be ignoring the situation entirely. can’t even find the earlier recall story being reported by them! perhaps someone else can prove me wrong.

    Climate Spectator has nothing, but Business Spectator has this, which plays down the issue:

    19 May: Business Spector: John Conroy: Faulty solar part distributor goes under
    The company behind the distribution of faulty solar power circuit breakers that led to MINOR electrical fires has collapsed..
    Meanwhile, DKSH, the importers of the PVPower brand DC isolator, have announced a voluntary recall of the isolators after the ESO found them similarly defective.
    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2014/5/19/solar-energy/faulty-solar-part-distributor-goes-under

    20

  • #
    pat

    at least ABC did report the recall; whether it was only online or whether it was on radio/tv, i do not know:

    11 May Updated 12 May: ABC: Faulty solar panels: Queensland recall over part linked to 40 fires
    But Mr (Master Electricians Australia chief executive Malcolm) Richards says solar panel owners should not put themselves at risk.
    “If they can’t access the isolator themselves easily without putting themselves at risk, such as climbing on the roof, we’d encourage them to call their electrician or the installer of the PV panels to get some advice as to what brand is installed,” he said.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-11/solar-panel-part-linked-to-fires-recalled-in-queensland/5445098

    20

  • #
    pat

    Ben Adler/Grist host the White House Google+ Hangout on climate – it’s a tech comedy in the first five minutes i’ve watched so far:

    VIDEO: 46 MINS: Join EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and Grist for a #WHClimateChat on the steps we’re taking to reduce carbon pollution, prepare for the impacts of climate change, and build a clean energy economy
    https://plus.google.com/+whitehouse/posts#+whitehouse/posts

    20

  • #
    handjive

    File Under:
    Is there nothing Global Warming CAN’T do?

    ABC Environment 19 MAY 2014
    MACQUARIE ISLAND, IN THE sub-Antarctic reaches of the southern ocean

    “Even in the remote reaches of the Southern Ocean, climate change is likely having an affect on the most hardy of plants.
    The most likely culprit it would seem is climate change.” (man made global warming)
    . . .
    It may be hard to believe, but Antarctica was once covered in towering forests.
    One hundred million years ago, the Earth was in the grip of an extreme Greenhouse Effect.

    The polar ice caps had all but melted; in the south, rainforests inhabited by dinosaurs existed in their place.
    These Antarctic ecosystems were adapted to the long months of winter darkness that occur at the poles, and were truly bizarre.

    But if global warming continues unabated, could these ancient forests be a taste of things to come?”

    BONUS CAUSE & EFFECT:
    Warmer world to push sea turtle numbers up (but, continue to panic as global warming kills them eventually)

    Climate Change to Hit Sovereign Creditworthiness: S&P

    10

  • #
    pat

    it’s worth posting the Grist page on the Ben er-um Adler Q&A, if only for the comments, by about 20 commenters only:

    19 May: Grist: Watch our live chat with Ernest Moniz and Gina McCarthy
    http://grist.org/climate-energy/join-our-live-chat-with-ernest-moniz-and-gina-mccarthy/

    around 24 mins Adler asks about the cars they drive. amusing exchange follows. Adler asks McCarthy, why not be against cars? because some people need them, she says. goes off into Agenda 21 urbanisation/sustainable communities stuff.

    also fun to check the 50 comments on the white house link i provided previously. not exactly on topic or bright!

    10

  • #
    Roy Hogue

    …Avanco-branded DC solar power isolators imported

    Where do these come from?

    Australia must have mastered competent design of electrical equipment a long time ago. But somewhere else can be a big crap-shoot.

    And of course the government does all it can to encourage these things. :-(

    30

  • #
    pat

    good luck:

    19 May: Bloomberg: Modi to Use Solar to Bring Power to Every Home by 2019
    Rakteem Katakey and Debjit Chakraborty
    India’s new government led by Narendra Modi plans to harness solar power to enable every home to run at least one light bulb by 2019, a party official said…
    About 400 million people in India lack access to electricity, more than the combined population of the U.S. and Canada…
    The outgoing government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh missed a 2012 target to provide electricity to all households…
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-19/modi-to-use-solar-to-bring-power-to-every-home-by-2019.html

    10

  • #
    pat

    hmmm!

    19 May: WaPo: Gail Sullivan: Climate change: Get ready or get sued
    “This is a new kind of storm associated with climate change,” Tom LaPorte, spokesman for the Chicago Department of Water Management, told Medill Reports on day two of the April flood. Extreme flooding is part of a pattern that has emerged in the last two decades, according to Illinois State climatologist Jim Angel.
    Now a major insurance company is suing Chicago-area municipal governments saying they knew of the risks posed by climate change and should have been better prepared. The class-action lawsuits raise the question of who is liable for the costs of global warming.
    Filed by Farmers Insurance Co. on behalf of itself, other insurance companies and customers whose property was damaged by the surge of storm water and sewage overflow, the lawsuits allege the governments of Chicago-area municipalities knew their drainage systems were inadequate and failed to take reasonable action to prevent flooding of insured properties…
    These lawsuits are the first of their kind, Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School in New York, told Reuters. Gerrard said he expects to see more like them.
    “I think what the insurers are saying is: ‘We’re in the business of covering unforeseen risks. Things that are basically accidents,’” Ceres insurance industry analyst Andrew Logan told NPR. “‘But we’re now at a point with the science where climate change is now a foreseeable risk.’”…
    The insurance companies are in for an uphill battle. Daniel Jasica of the State’s Attorney’s Office in Lake County, which is named in the Illinois state court suit, told Reuters that the localities will claim government immunity protects them from prosecution.
    “Even if a city is likely to win a lawsuit, it still is going to have to spend quite a bit in defending itself,” Robert Verchick, who teaches environmental law at Loyola University in New Orleans, told NPR. “And it might just be better for everybody involved for cities to take climate change seriously.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/05/19/climate-change-get-ready-or-get-sued/

    19 May: CBS Moneywatch: Aimee Picchi: Not ready for climate change? Your town may get sued
    Farmers Insurance is suing the city of Chicago and about 200 local municipalities for allegedly failing to adequately prepare for the impact of climate change, in what’s described as the first-of-its-kind legal argument…
    The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago said it had no comment since it hasn’t been served with the lawsuit…
    If the lawsuit is successful, it’s likely that local residents will end up footing the bill, Daniel Jasica of the State’s Attorney’s Office in Lake County, told Reuters. Lake County was named in the lawsuit.
    “If these types of suits are successful — where is the money going to come from to pay the lawsuits? The taxpayers,” Jasica said.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/not-ready-for-climate-change-your-town-may-get-sued/

    10

  • #
    Ross

    Off topic but : the latest plan is to go after the multinational food manufacturers. They have started with the sugar levels and possible taxes. Now they are linking AGW to food producers.

    https://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/23668740/big-food-companies-major-contributors-to-climate-change/

    While I agree with looking at sugar consumption I will bet now that the “solutions” will end up like the AGW solutions. Money grabbing for the activists.

    10

  • #

    Here’s an interesting question …
    Q. .. What percentage of environmentalists believe that solar power is good for the environment?
    A. .. 97% perhaps?

    – ‘Analysis Shows Solar Modules Cause More Greenhouse Gas Emissions Than Modern Coal Power Plants!’ –
    “Ferrucio Ferroni writes … how China is the number 1 manufacturer of solar panels globally and that the production of solar panels there requires immense amounts of electricity, which in China is mainly produced by coal power plants. Moreover the manufacture of solar panels also involves substantial amounts of potent greenhouse gases that leak out into the atmosphere.”
    ~~ More here :-
    http://notrickszone.com/2014/03/25/analysis-shows-solar-modules-cause-more-greenhouse-gas-emissions-than-modern-coal-power-plants/

    20

  • #
    gallopingcamel

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    If it you did not know it was true you would dismiss it as “improbable fiction”.

    00

  • #
    Truthseeker

    Hey, maybe we can put solar panels on the back of insects for mobility …

    http://www.mindjunker.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/120.jpg

    00

  • #
    gallopingcamel

    pat, May 20, 2014 at 11:06 am said:

    “India’s new government led by Narendra Modi plans to harness solar power to enable every home to run at least one light bulb by 2019, a party official said…
    About 400 million people in India lack access to electricity, more than the combined population of the U.S. and Canada…
    The outgoing government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh missed a 2012 target to provide electricity to all households…
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-19/modi-to-use-solar-to-bring-power-to-every-home-by-2019.html

    It has been a while since I commented on an Australian blog. I used to exchange cordial emails with John Cook (Skeptical Science) until he became deranged:
    http://www.gallopingcamel.info/docs/DeletedCamel.doc

    So I found a new home with Barry Brook at “Brave New Climate”. He went so far as to allow me a “Guest Post”:
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/05/15/solar-power-in-florida/

    I respect Barry Brook but got banned from his fine web site. It is not a total ban as he still allows me to comment as long as I don’t challenge the CAGW mythology.

    Here in Florida we tried solar power but found it was wickedly expensive. So how are we addressing the growing demand for electricity? The answer is Nukes. Given the abundance of Uranium in Oz you might want to try it.
    http://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/electric-power-in-florida/

    While I am a little gun shy when it comes to Australian blogs I am hoping that my views will be welcome here. I don’t see CAGW as a major problem as the scam is imploding thanks to Mother Nature’s refusal to conform with CMIPs.

    10

  • #

    gallopingcamel,

    With respest to Nuclear electrical power generation here in Australia, the chances of that happening are nil to the tiniest fraction greater than nil, and that’s more the pity really.

    A Nuclear Physicist Dr. Ziggy Switkowski was commissioned to produce a report for a former Government way back in 2006. That report was the Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review (UMPNER)

    It was presented and then proceeded to sink without trace. (thank you and goodbye, followed by the report hitting the bottom of the waste paper basket as the door closed.)

    That report is at this link and is worth perusing, because reading it in full is a stretch as it is a 294 page pdf document.

    However, what is worth looking at is the section dealing with electrical power generation and that’s just 13 or so pages long starting at page 45.

    Even though it sank without trace, (and hey, wasn’t that predictable) it didn’t stop the Friends of the dirt earth launching an assassination on the report and that is shown at this link, which is also worth reading, for the same old same old from that crowd.

    Ho hum!

    Tony.

    10

  • #

    Install the 100% Australian designed and engineered Remote Solar Isolator™. The most technologically advanced protection system involving solar generation.

    The Remote Solar Isolator(RSI) is designed to integrate seamlessly with the solar array without affecting its performance, deliver instant and controllable protection in the event that a fire or other damage occurs, and provide a safe environment for anyone going on the roof or working on or near the array at any time.

    The RSI has been tested and fully complies with Australian / New Zealand Standards (AS/NZ 3100:2009 ; AS/NZ 61000.6.3:2007 C-Tick mark) and exceeds the latest NEC 690.12 safety specifications by providing instant module level shutdown capability.

    http://www.remotesolarisolator.com.au

    00

  • #
    fromdownunder

    On the bright side we will be saving a few millions in subsides while this is all sorted out. Disconnected solar array don’t produce any electricity for the grid.

    00

  • #
    Apoxonbothyourhouses

    Very disappointed in you Jo (and the likes of Bolt) as you fail to grasp a basic fact. The cost of power in Oz is ~ four times that in Vietnam and ~ three times higher than in resource free S Korea. We all know why; because of the moronic attitudes of governments of all persuasions – wind farms / failure to invest on modern fast start up gas powered stations and so on.

    It is clear that this can only get worse as no one has the political balls to tackle the fundamental problem. Why should the public pay for government incompetence? If they are not “looking after us” by recognising that cheap power is a essential as (say) clean water and health care then we are forced to look after ourselves. Much I believe has Anthony Watts of WUWT fame.

    This is not about rich households this is about average households taking self-protection measures. Even without the 60 cents kW/hr benefit a friend has reduced his power bill from about $800 to $90. He is NOT rich and had to take the money out of his superannuation. His return on investment looks like being less than 4 years.

    Neither you nor Bolt are going to pay his bills. As a self funded retiree he is ineligible for government hand outs. Why should he after many years of paying taxes, be forced to reduce his standard of living say by turning off the air conditioning, because he cannot afford to pay for the electricity? Answer he shouldn’t if there is a legal way to make his old age comfortable.

    Neither he nor I nor others who have done the same made the stupid rules nor were able to stop billions misspent in ineffective wind farms so Jo, climb down off the moral high ground and don’t blame us if we look after ourselves.

    00