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Thank you for mariginalizing all of us who live outside the banana sunbelt. While we do not constitute the majority of the population, there are enough of uss living north of the 45 parallel that you cannot simply blow us off as being insignificant. Unfortunately you are right about only doing a littel bit of research on solar power. The reality about solar power is somewhat different than the glossy ads and infomercials would have you believe. Before you jump to the conclusion that this is an anti solar rant let me say I first became actively involved with alternative power back in 1978. Scientists calculate one kilowatt of solar energy per square meter ( just a tad more than a square yard) reaches Earths surface on a clear sunny day. this is a calculated theoretical number and is affected by a number of factors. Among these is the distance through the atmosphere the sunlight has to travel before reaching the surface. Even a simple diagram will illustrate the fact ther is more atmosphere to travel through for regions closer to the poles than regions close to the equator. In other words the same solar panel installed in high latitudes will collect less energy than when it is installed at the equator. For todays’s market the best solar panels are rated as 180 or at most 200 watts output. these panels come close to having almost one square meter of surface area. In other words the efficiency of solar panels is around 20% not 100%. Panels installed at 45 degree latitude will have half as much output compared to at the equator so that reduces the effective efficiencies to 10%. Wher I live we have 16 hours of darkness during the winter months. this also happens to coincide with when we need the most lights during a 24 hour period. If you live far enough north ther is 24 hours of darness for several months of the year. So what good is solar power then?
I recently read of a European proposal to locate All the power generating capacity for all of Europe on the african continent. Talk about a collosa example of NIMBYISM. they want clean energy but installed on somebody elses land so they are in perpetual shade from these giant solar panels.
First of all ask yourself why solar panel still cost approximately USD $ 3.60 per produced watt compared to $0.50 per watt for petroleum powered generators.
Do you suppose eit purely a coincidence that over the past decade almost all of the solar panel manufacturing capacity has been bought up by the oil companies like BP and Shell.
When someone buys a generator they are fairly certain to become a captive customer of the oil companies but when that same customer buys a solar panel array they stop buying oil based fuel. The oil companies are determioned to get their pound of flesh one way or the other.
The reality is there are several other sources of energy. Some of them are quite affordable and renewable and relies on time proven technology. Why do we not see and hear more about these sources of energy especially in oil dependent North America. One reason may have to do with out news media. Solar has a aura of being high tech and sorta sexy so naturally everyone wants to write about it. It doesn’t hurt that so many people are paid by the solar panel manufacturers and installers to write up enticing articles about solar.
The other source of fuel for internal combustion engines used to generate power for indvidual homes is methane. Methane is actually designated as one of the green house gases. Methane is the natural result decay of organic matter .sometimes its called swamp gas and other tyimes it is referred to by less complimantary names. Every time a living creature farts the gas contains a large proportion of methane. Most land fill site havea major problem with what to do with the naturally developing methiane so they expend a lot of money building and installinmg methane capture wells and then they burn off the waste. A few progressive thinking land fill operators actually captur and use this methane gas to power their generators so they are self sufficient for energu=y and in some places thet actyally generate a surplus they can sell back to the power utility grid. Methane is a naturally ioccurring gas and is in fact a renewable fuel resource. This is not a hair brainend half baked theory. If you go online and google ‘methane digesters’ you will get a lot of hits. Other parts of the world has been exploiting this natural resource but by no means the majority of it.
there is a lot of hullabaloo regarding carbon dioxide release by petroleum fffuelled engines. Natural gas has been substituted as a home furnace fuel because it burns cleaner. Natural Gas and Methane is essentially the same except for source. Te drilling companies are getting rich drilling into gas pockets deep in the earth but nobody is getting rich producing methane. Why? Because farts are free. So its not glamorous and consequently doesn’t get the media attention that solar gets. Go back and do some more homework and compare the cost of producing a 1000 watt solar panel as compared to generating methane that can be used to fuel a regular generator to produce the same 1000 watts of electrical energy. I say the future of renewable energy is a load of shit not solar.