[clug] OT: Solar power recommendations and advice

Alex Satrapa grail at goldweb.com.au
Mon Apr 19 22:42:32 MDT 2010

On 20/04/2010, at 14:17 , Kevin Pulo wrote:

> Except that by doing so, you'll drive the price differential down to
> zero.

Only assuming the continual use of fuel-burning power plants. In a future where people use sensible amounts of electricity (eg: when I'm allowed to turn off the 12 fluorescent tubes lighting my desk and floor, since there is more than enough spillover light from the other 100-odd on the floor) the price of electricity will rise at night rather than in the middle of the day.

Fuel-burning power is cheaper per Wh simply because the energy has been embedded in certain fuels which are destroyed in the process or producing electricity. Coal and oil have certain waste products (eg: a few tonnes of thorium and other heavy metals each year), nuclear power plants have their own waste products (eg: radioactive pollutants which have half lives longer than human presence on the planet).

As a short-term project, getting smart grid and distributed storage into the community is a way of smoothing out the demand so fuel-burners can run more efficiently. In the long term, getting smart grid and distributed storage into the community is a way of smoothing out supply so wind and solar can provide the required energy.

In the long run of course, we simply have to stop using so much energy. Each of you can participate in this experiment at home: turn off all power except the hot water and fridge (and life support equipment, if necessary). See how long you can live without TV, and only charging your batteries between waking up and heading off to work/school :)  Can you cut your consumption to less than 1kWh/day/person? How low can you go while still having a healthy home?


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