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 Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups

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PostSubject: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Wed May 28, 2008 7:15 pm

I know we have a few posts on solar, but as wood energy has its own thread I thought I would start this.

The flexible, cheap roll out Nanosolar printed non-silicon "fabric" looks like it might revolutionise the collection and use of solar energy.



It seems to have the potential to make solar cheaper than coal, particularly taking transportation costs into account.

http://www.goodnewsindia.com/index.php/Supplement/article/590/

They are in their first year of production and rumour has it that Germany has bought out the entire first year's product.
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Wed May 28, 2008 7:28 pm

The Green Party are bringing in a Smart meter here on a trial basis and I wonder how smart it will be? On days like this I'd envisage rolling out a solar blanket on your lawn then you'd plug it in to your smart meter and pump electricity not only into your house but into the grid too, possibly.

Is this impossible does anyone know?
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Fri May 30, 2008 5:59 pm

I might put in a DHW solar panel at some stage. I have a small bit of south facing roof space which is suitable.

But I have to renovate my floor first - the plan is to upgrade it to underfloor heating. Currently it's a suspended timber joist floor with zero insulation.
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Sat May 31, 2008 4:52 pm

Must try to get a few projects going myself over the next year or so but meanwhile on the grand scale:

How to harvest solar power? Beam it down from space!
Looks like the Indians are at it again -

Quote :
LONDON, England (CNN) -- Jyoti is the Hindi word for light. It's something Pranav Mehta has never had to live without. And he is lucky. Near where he lives in Gujarat, one of the most prosperous states in India, thousands of rural villages lack electricity or struggle with an intermittent supply at best.

"We need to empower these villages, and for empowerment, energy is a must," Mehta said. "Rural India is suffering a lot because of a lack of energy."

By 2030, India's Planning Commission estimates that the country will have to generate at least 700,000 megawatts of additional power to meet the demands of its expanding economy and growing population.

Much of that electricity will come from coal-fired power plants, like the $4 billion so-called ultra mega complex scheduled to be built south of Tunda Wand, a tiny village near the Gulf of Kutch, an inlet of the Arabian Sea on India's west coast. Dozens of other such projects are already or soon will be under way. More...

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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Sat May 31, 2008 6:53 pm

I suppose that will help with the global dimming. Perhaps we should only use dirty fuels for the next 20 years.
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:25 pm

Why aren't we our properties a lot more 'plug and play' in terms of water and electricity? Shouldn't it be another feature/measure of the value of our houses along with energy efficiency, location etc. that our houses be equipped so that you can very simply plug the likes of the yoke below into your plumbing system, taking advantage of the energy on days like today to have a shower. It could be left out all summer.


http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/sciencetech/introducing-inflatable-solar-panels/1093

Something similar for photovoltaic solar power would also be no harm - a blanket or roll of solar material that you spread out on your lawn and then plug into the smart meter that the Green Party sent you in the post the year before and away it goes, pumping electrons up the grid wires. It would be a lot more accessible if the smart meter had such a plug or plugs.

Plug and play houses - your thought for the day.
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:58 pm

That is a neat product - only 150 Euro. The big solid ones are 2,000 €.
I wonder could I build one..
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:18 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
That is a neat product - only 150 Euro. The big solid ones are 2,000 €.
I wonder could I build one..
How handy are you with the plumbing?

If your plumbing was plug and play then you could just mount a garden hose on a sheet of board and point it towards the sun, couldn't you and paint the hose black. Or just use hydrodare in a spiral and cover it with an old sheet of glass...
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:03 pm

If you're getting solar water heating, I recommend the type with a little photovoltaic panel to run the pump. Then you're independent of the grid.

In Ireland because you can't count on sun every day it makes sense to get a very big factory-insulated hot water tank to go with solar a couple of hours of sun to heat it up and you have 2 days of hot water. I

i've got a little tiny photovoltaic panel the size of a sunglasses case that charges up my mobile phone: it was a present and is only a toy really but would be good if you wanted to go long-distance walking or camping.
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:09 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
That is a neat product - only 150 Euro. The big solid ones are 2,000 €.
I wonder could I build one..
How handy are you with the plumbing?

If your plumbing was plug and play then you could just mount a garden hose on a sheet of board and point it towards the sun, couldn't you and paint the hose black. Or just use hydrodare in a spiral and cover it with an old sheet of glass...

I'd be fairly handy I suppose,

The challenge here is getting the efficiency reasonably good. After absorbing the heat you need to keep it absorbed, by not letting it re-radiate, or lose the heat by conduction + convection. A heat barrier of some sort is usually required such as a vacuum-ised ? glass panel. I need to read up it a bit..
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:23 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:59 am

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:

I'd be fairly handy I suppose,

The challenge here is getting the efficiency reasonably good. After absorbing the heat you need to keep it absorbed, by not letting it re-radiate, or lose the heat by conduction + convection. A heat barrier of some sort is usually required such as a vacuum-ised ? glass panel. I need to read up it a bit..
Good for you if you're handy - I think plumbing will be the new php/C# or whatever, seriously. I'd say a quickly knocked together jobbie with black hose would pleasantly surprise you the heat you'd feel from the water. Have you a shed? You could make a solar rain shower. I've thought of doing it if I had no neighbours. Collecting rain water in a tank on the shed roof, hooking it up to a makeshift solar panel and getting a shower out of it now and again. You'd have to co-ordinate yourself with the brilliant sunshine though. You could get more elaborate and get yourself one of those cylinders which are so well sealed and insulated that they lose 1º every 24 hours and with a thermostat linked in and a solar pump you could fill that tank with the hottest water your thermostat could be set to.

You saw a lot of that science shack stuff on your link I suppose?
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:00 pm

World's biggest solar farm at centre of Portugal's ambitious energy plan - Guardian



Quote :
Portugal, without its own oil, coal or gas and with no expertise in nuclear power, is pitching to lead Europe's clean-tech revolution with some of the most ambitious targets and timetables for renewables. Its intention, the economics minister, Manuel Pinho, said, is to wean itself off oil and within a decade set up a low carbon economy in response to high oil prices and climate change.

"We have to reduce our dependence on oil and gas," said Pinho. "What seemed extravagant in 2004 when we decided to go for renewables now seems to have been a very good decision."
They are going for 30% renewables by 2020 - we look bad in the table at the bottom of the page, I'm afraid.

Quote :
EU renewable league

Top

Sweden 2005 39.8%, target by 2020 49%

Latvia 34.9%, target 42%

Finland 28.5%, target 38%

Austria 23.3%, target 34%

Portugal 20.5%, target 31%

Bottom

Cyprus 2.9%, target by 2020 13%

Netherlands 2.4%, target 14%

Ireland 3.1%, target 16%

Netherlands 2.4%, target 14%

Belgium 2.2%, target 13%

UK 1.3%, target 15%


The technical bit
Quote :
From a distance the bizarre structures sprouting from the high Alentejo plain in eastern Portugal resemble a field of mechanical sunflowers. Each of the 2,520 giant solar panels is the size of a house and they are as technically sophisticated as a car. Their reflective heads tilt to the sky at a permanent 45 degrees as they track the sun through 240 degrees every day.

The world's largest solar photovoltaic farm, generating electricity straight from sunlight, is taking shape near Moura, a small town in a thinly populated and impoverished region which boasts the most sunshine per square metre a year in Europe.

When fully commissioned later this year, the £250m farm set on abandoned state-owned land will be twice the size of any other similar project in the world, covering an area nearly twice the size of London's Hyde park. It is expected to supply 45MW of electricity each year, enough to power 30,000 homes.
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:13 pm

Not only is our target very low, but also it is dependent on bio-fuels - some of which are being imported, subsidised by public money, by Mr. Goodman's company.

I seem to remember reading that these fuels are not traceable but I would still like to know if they have been grown on felled rainforest land or not.

Surely we should revist our energy plan and plan for a zero oil requirement without biofuels ?

Big targets are often more achieveable that little incremental ones as they demand serious attention and action.

Do you have figures for sunlight per annum over the last say 50 years in Ireland Auditor #9 ?
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:37 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Surely we should revist our energy plan and plan for a zero oil requirement without biofuels ?

Big targets are often more achieveable that little incremental ones as they demand serious attention and action.
cactus for Taoiseach !

Quote :
Do you have figures for sunlight per annum over the last say 50 years in Ireland Auditor #9 ?
Met Eireann
http://www.met.ie/climate/sunshine.asp

DROOL
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:44 pm




The world's largest solar power plant, the size of 200 football pitches, was started up June 22 in Germany, producing 40 Megawatts. It will have paid for itself in the first year and then will be in profit.

http://forums.ec.europa.eu/debateeurope/viewtopic.php?t=2741
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:02 am

The solar power station will have produced the energy needed to build it within a year but surely not the cost?
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:23 am

Das ist ja echt gros Shocked



Quote :
Building approval has been given for the Waldpolenz Solar Park, which will be the world’s biggest photovoltaic (PV) power system, at a former military air base to the east of Leipzig in Germany. The power plant will be a 40-megawatt solar power system using state-of-the-art thin film technology, and should be finished by the end of 2009. 550,000 First Solar thin-film modules will be used, which will supply 40,000 MWh of electricity per year.

The installation will be in the Muldentalkreis district in the state of Saxony in eastern Germany, to be built on half of the location’s 220 hectares in the townships of Brandis and Bennewitz. The investment cost for the Waldpolenz solar park amounts to some Euro 130 million.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldpolenz_Solar_Park



back of the envelope:
130 million yo-yos but it outputs 40 MWh per annum ... @ 15 cents per KWh per customer that's ...

€52416000 per year ?

It pays for itself in just over two years.

It's feckin big though.
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:07 am

If you just visualise one on every south facing roof in Dublin, that would be much bigger. sunny
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:54 am

Auditor #9 wrote:


back of the envelope:
130 million yo-yos but it outputs 40 MWh per annum ... @ 15 cents per KWh per customer that's ...

€52416000 per year ?

It pays for itself in just over two years.

It's feckin big though.

No, don't think so.

The article says 40,000 MWh in one year. Thats the energy delivered in one year, allowing for night time and bad weather etc. It's about 10% of what could be produced if the sun was blaring on it 24/7.

40,000 MWh = 40,000,000 KWh (units)

40,000,000 KWh (units) X 0.15 = 6 million euro

130 Million/ 6 Million = 21.6 years.


The Full Press Release is here
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:23 pm

Yes - I was only out by 20 years.

Do the figures allow for escalating energy costs? When we got our little panels we thought they would only just pay for themselves over their lifetime, now it looks as though they will be "paid for" in savings of oil in 2-3 years. That makes 21 years look rather a long time, and you would have expected there to be economies of scale. I suppose when you put them on a roof or in your garden there are no site costs and they are more efficient in that the source of the heat is much closer to the end use point.

There are a couple more of these mega solar parks but twice the size due to be commissioned in California next year, and I think Barcelona is doing something similar. They should have enough sun to make the payback much quicker.
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:01 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Yes - I was only out by 20 years.

Do the figures allow for escalating energy costs? When we got our little panels we thought they would only just pay for themselves over their lifetime, now it looks as though they will be "paid for" in savings of oil in 2-3 years. That makes 21 years look rather a long time, and you would have expected there to be economies of scale. I suppose when you put them on a roof or in your garden there are no site costs and they are more efficient in that the source of the heat is much closer to the end use point.

There are a couple more of these mega solar parks but twice the size due to be commissioned in California next year, and I think Barcelona is doing something similar. They should have enough sun to make the payback much quicker.
Yeah I was only out by about 19 years myself. Those figures are very rough too - it's based on the cost of a household kilowatt-hour here in Ireland and doesn't take into account the rise of that cost (15 cents a kilowatt-hour) over 20 years .. Would the cost rise by half again ? Then the array would take 15 years to pay for itself.

The price quoted per kW is
Specific price:
c. 3,250 /kW

Also not factored in is the Kyoto penalties and carbon credits which would be savings to the overall budget. Nor have we accounted for the balance of payments offset where 40,000 MWh per year which would have had to have been imported (try explaining that to a roomful of Polish who claim they have only 3 tenses in their language..) is now instead generated at home. Although the Germans use coal so that cost doesn't arise for them if they are producing electricity at home.

Plus the cost of heart attacks from future energy shocks is reduced plus ...
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:14 pm

I may be wrong, but I would expect the price of fossil fuel-generated electricity to be off the board in twenty years time. We shouldn't be using it for space heating at all when it is possible to build zero fossil fuel passive buildings.

I sunny I love you solar
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:17 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
...

Also not factored in is the Kyoto penalties and carbon credits which would be savings to the overall budget. Nor have we accounted for the balance of payments offset where 40,000 MWh per year which would have had to have been imported (try explaining that to a roomful of Polish who claim they have only 3 tenses in their language..) is now instead generated at home. Although the Germans use coal so that cost doesn't arise for them if they are producing electricity at home.

Plus the cost of heart attacks from future energy shocks is reduced plus ...


Very Happy Very Happy

Good one Auditor.
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Energy -- DIY solar set ups   Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:29 am

Solar power from Saharan sun could provide Europe's electricity, says EU



Quote :
A new supergrid, transmitting electricity along high voltage direct current cables would allow countries such as the UK and Denmark ultimately to export wind energy at times of surplus supply, as well as import from other green sources such as geothermal power in Iceland.

Energy losses on DC lines are far lower than on the traditional AC ones, which make transmission of energy over long distances uneconomic.

The grid proposal, which has won political support from both Nicholas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown, answers the perennial criticism that renewable power will never be economic because the weather is not sufficiently predictable. Its supporters argue that even if the wind is not blowing hard enough in the North Sea, it will be blowing somewhere else in Europe, or the sun will be shining on a solar farm somewhere.
Projects like that would help unite Europe and Mediterranean Africa (for a start) and the one above foresees in vastness of the Sahara a tiny rectangle the size of Wales populated by solar mirrors and delivering 100GW to Europe. But this egghead dream by lads at a scientific conference in Barcelona don't see this til 2050 but the Algerians are hoping to have their unit finished and exporting by 2020. Go on Algeria.
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