The discussion speaks of how different folks view alternative energy. There is also a good post on solar electric terminology.
Your use of the unit of measure kW (kilowatts) is frequently incorrect in your piece. kW is a measure of power. Many of your measurements are measurements of energy and are properly kWh (kilowatthours). (kWh/year is a measure of power.)
V. True’s slamming of wind power is interesting. As I recall, my father came to the same conclusion decades ago, but for both wind and photovoltaics. I wonder whether wind is a good source at night, but utilities are starting to use LiIon batteries now, so maybe we’ll soon be able to store solar. (MIT has found that using carbon nanotubes as mechanical springs beats all present-day energy storage, presumably without deterioration, but it’ll take some development.)
Another question is whether it makes more sense to use solar panels in cloudy areas, or to use them in sunny areas and build transmission lines. Here in Boston we had many consecutive gray days of rainy weather over the holiday, not unusual, so we would have needed nonsolar capacity if we were normally using local solar, and when the sun was shining we’d be paying interest on the bonds, wages and taxes for that nonsolar capacity and not getting anything.
Siting solar in a desert where it’s never cloudy has reliability appeal. I think one transmission line can serve on the order of a million people. That amounts to maybe 5 lines for this state, and 300 lines nationwide (plus subtransmission within an area, which is already there). Significant, but I’m more interested in power reliability than screeching about icky transmission lines.
November 30th, 2009
I live in Austin, Texas and I generate about 4.6MW (or 4, 600 kW) with only a 3 kW solar array…. the city paid 2/3 of the cost before I had to pitch in the remaining amount. Total project cost was only $21,000, but I paid $7,000.
Austin is the number once city in subsidizing solar panels. Except for the summer time, I’m selling back electricity every month. Man it feels good to reduce my utility bill.
I wish everyone would understand the power of solar here int Texas. My AC/DC converter box and solar panels were made in Germany by Solarworld.
City of Austin Solar Panel Rebate:
http://www.austinenergy.com/Energy%20Eff iciency/Programs/Rebates/Solar%20Rebates /index.htm
(unfortunately the rebate offer was shut-down for about 6 months due to the economy)
This program may cost the government a lot of money but it has a significant impact in the way people are thinking about energy. This program would be perfect for states like Maine who need the economic boost and truly want to reduce their carbon footprint. Thanks for an inspiring story.- Posted by Ian