Friday, September 02, 2011

To Heck With My Flying Car

Where's my cheap-as-shingles photovoltaic roof? Add a synchronous inverter and I can roll weather dice with Power & Light over who pays who.

Ah, if only. Right now it costs too much for a seat at that table. But it's my second goal after paying off the mortgage.

Flying car, pfui, I've seen how you people drive and I'm not wanting it in 3-D. I'm holding out for Douglas-Martin sunpower screens! (They're sure not gonna be Solyndra products. Hey, way to build a better mousetrap suck down the Free Money From The Government.)


Drang said...

They keep telling us that the price of an array of PV panels will drop to the point that the average home owner will be able to afford a full-roof array Real Soon Now.
The unanswered question of "How long will it take for selling electricity to the utility company to pay off the PV array" remains unanswered.
The ignored question also remains: How much will it cost to set up a full bank of gel mat batteries to run the house if I need to? (Not to mention storage time, charge time, etc.)
At the last fair we were at, there was a booth selling the full meal deal, and they would cheerfully answer questions about amortization, battery banks, etc.

Roberta X said...

I have an acquaintance in Austin, TX who was after back-up power when they were having rolling blackouts because of demand in excess of system capacity. She was comparing a gas-main-supplied internal combustion engine genset with a PV array/inverter/24-hr battery bank.

Initial cost was pretty close -- maybe 20 percent more for for solar. The kicker was maintenance costs; for normal Texas sunshine averages, the PV array would sell enough power back to buy most a set of batteries every three years. Downside is runtime, but it works for her situation, where P&L unplugging the neighborhood for an afternoon was the usual cause of outages. (Helps figuring these kinds of trade-offs when you happen to be a CS/EE most recently in charge of your employer's energy-conservation efforts!)

Anonymous said...

If you want solar cells, I think I know where you can buy your very own company to make them. Hey, if you play your cards right (and make a campaign contribution or two), Uncle Sugar may buy it for you AND float some "loan guarantees" to operate it for the first couple of years!

rickn8or said...

"In all, Obama visited 22 clean-technology projects in 19 separate visits in a two-year period. That's nearly one a month."

Wonder what the carbon footprint of THAT is.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Too bad the Free Obama Money didn't come from the Gooberment, but from the Tax Payers.

Actually, it's time to change the Talking Points. Every time I hear about the Federal Deficit THIS, or Funding THAT, I'll just remind everyone that it is the Tax Payers Deficit, or the Tax Payers Bail Out, not the Gooberments. Those SmegHeads who have taken our Pay in Taxation have gone way beyond the income that Import Tariffs and Bond Sales could ever Generate for Decades.

North said...

Don't forger shipstones for power storage.

Wayne Conrad said...

In the ca. 15 years I've been in my Phoenix house, I've had two roof-destroying storms. One macroburst, and one hailstorm. I have to factor that into the expected maintenance cost of PV. That stuff had better be pretty cheap if I'm going to be replacing it after a hailstorm.

Drang said...

Rickn8or: The next question is, how many of them are still in business?

Roberta & Wayne also have a good point, to wit, the cost effectiveness will vary geographically; we do get enough sun in Western WA for PV to generate power, but it will still take much longer to pay off here. OTOH, not much threat of hail, although the wind do blow a bit from time to time.

Zendo Deb said...

Solar thermal has a more reasonable payback period. If you want to go crazy you can use it heat a water-source for what is typically a geothermal heatpump. Without drilling all the expensive geothermal wells.

But even heating hot-water can make sense.

PV - like the electric car - is just a bit farther down the pike than those in the administration would like to believe. (See Solyndra)

Zendo Deb said...

Doesn't solve your power-outage problem, but if you have city water, and water pressure remains, at least you will have hot water.

Roberta X said...

This is natural-gas territory; I have hot water when the power is out anyway. (I'd put a thermal jacket on the water heater but in the winter, I want that heat in my basement!)

Solar hot water is interesting withal. Need some tricky valving to take care of the falling tree-brach problem, though, and lock it out and drain it when things get too cold.

Quizikle said...

Here...Check this out.
Thorium-laser powered cars

HTRN said...

Roberta, if you're interested in doing PV, there's a deal on Kyocera PV panels right now - a 210W panel for just under 350 bucks..