[clug] OT: Solar power recommendations and advice

Paul Wayper paulway at mabula.net
Tue Apr 20 04:59:33 MDT 2010

Hash: SHA1

On 20/04/10 05:54, Felix Karpfen wrote:
> I also concluded that if domestically-generated electric power became 
> widespread, it might impact on the profit margins of existing power 
> generators; it would do little to diminish greenhouse gas emissions. At 
> best, it might contribute to putting a few highly toxic power generators 
> out of business.

There are a couple of things wrong with your logic there, and they're good
news especially for Canberrans.  Firstly, pretty much all domestic PV systems
are grid-connect - i.e. you have an inverter which turns DC into 240VAC to
synchronise with the power grid, and a special meter to work out how much
power that's putting into the grid.  You still draw power as normal from the
grid, so it doesn't matter when you turn something on you'll still have power.

But the good news for us Territorians is that we get paid 50c per kilowatt we
generate, no matter when it's generated and no matter how much power the house
is using at the time.  It's like it's a totally different system, feeding
power to the grid, that only coincidentally happens to be attached to your
house.  And this makes calculating how much you're going to earn from that
system dependent only on how large the system is and how much sun you get, and
not on whether you happen to have your hot water system turn on during the
sunny part of the morning or run a bar heater at night.

(Of course, how much you have to pay for power _is_ related to your bar heater
usage, so of course you're going to pay less or get more money back if you
further reduce your power consumption.  But you don't have to invent complete
new speculative mathematical sciences in order to gauge how much power your
solar panels are going to generate.)

As Alex said, that power goes somewhere and you get paid for it, end of story.
 It will have contributed to reducing the load on a coal-fired power station
somewhere, no questions asked.  In fact, it'll be better than if that
equivalent power was sourced at the generator since it won't have gone through
30% line losses getting from Musswelbrook to Canberra.

So it's totally worth it.  Go do it, man :-)

Have fun,

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