Going solar

Solar photo voltaic electricity is dirtier than most people think
from manufacture,
PV cells are purified sand, melted and chemically cleaned up with huge amounts of coal generated electricity,
doped with trace amounts of rare earth metals, dug from diffuse ores at ounce per tonne rates also purified with lots of electricity, shipped around the world in diesel ships and trucks, assembled and manufactured in a cleanroom, encapsulated in plastic from oil copper wiring. metallic cases
the payoff of the energy required to make is currently about 11 years in Aus, longer in climates with less sun
if they dont crack they keep working for 100s years (projected) and after the payoff time its totally clean energy
solar hot water heaters pay off the manufacture cost in about 2 years they're simpler
wind generators from 3 months to 10 years depending on manufacture methods, hi-tech carbon fibre blades and alloy towers, longer than the lowtech ones, traditional handyman built from old alternators and left over barrels (cut to a savonius rotor) or reused water pumps, have no manufature cost

prosaic answer: It should work, Origin, power compnies in general, have a vested interest in distributed generation, and they will make it work. If they(the typical they) can get enough cells on enough houses, they dont need to build a generator, and the closer the generation is to the point of use, the less losses there will be. PV cells work best on hot sunny days, which are also peak demand days. Origin get a government fund, You get a govt fund, you get credited for power at higher than the price you pay, which I think reflects the benefit to the electric company of local generation and the gov for not having to build a generator near any Nimbys
 
11 years is from last decade.
Currently less than 1.5 years for thin-film, less than 2 for crystalline.

Agreed. And going down further with CIGS and other new technologies.

By the way, all large wind turbines use fibreglass as the blade material (some use composite spars) and steel (or concrete in Europe) as the tower material. There are no alloy towers I know of in the industry. Savonius rotors are horrendously inefficient compared to conventional wind turbines. New, modern wind turbines have an energy payback in the order of 4-5 months in an average Australian wind regime. Payback periods for smaller turbines balloon out from there. Large machines access very significant economies of scale as well as faster wind speeds at height.

Residential solar is out of the money on first principles. Too small and fiddly and peak power prices aren't high enough to make it work. The benefits of distributed generation aren't great enough to compensate for this. If they were network companies would stop building new power lines and they definitely aren't doing that!

Residential solar is in favour with government because it wins votes. "We must do something, this is something, therefore we must do this". There are a thousand cheaper ways to produce renewable energy or save carbon emissions but none of them carry the same perception with the voting public. This is the one and only reason governments subsidise it so heavily - without that subsidy it falls flat on its face...

So go right ahead - make money while the sun shines and before the govt goes broke from the subsidy!
 
Large machines access very significant economies of scale as well as faster wind speeds at height.
I live near what will be one of the biggest windfarms in Australia (when they finish it and if you take Stages 1-4 as one big windfarm not 4 small ones next to each other) and they are MASSIVE.

The hills around here are all around 900m high and the turbines are on top. They stick THROUGH the clouds. It makes your brain hurt to look at them, as clouds are supposed to be behind large objects, not in front of them ... the scale of the things is just beyond what your brain is meant to comprehend.

The blades are also transported on really, really big trucks that corner really, really slowly so if you get caught behind one of those suckers at an intersection, it pays to turn the car off and just sit back, relax and listen to the radio for a bit while they take the corner.
 
The blades are also transported on really, really big trucks that corner really, really slowly so if you get caught behind one of those suckers at an intersection, it pays to turn the car off and just sit back, relax and listen to the radio for a bit while they take the corner.

Hi RE

There is only one wind farm in Australia that fits that description. With blades 44m long you would hope they slow down for corners!

But those are tiddlers - machines have been successfully installed with blades up to 60m in length each, atop a tower of around 110m height from memory... when they get to that size they all start to look the same from a distance!

To give all that some context a Boeing 747-400 has an individual wing length of around 33m.
 
Does this (1.5 or 2 years) payback include subsidy in calculation?

Also could somebody say which is the best thread on Somersoft Forum on Solar PV batteries and installation?

Also is it too late for subsidised solar panel electricity generators?

Just bit overwhelmed where to start.
(Apologies if it was discussed few times over already)
 
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