Solar Electricity
From: bridgeskt (
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 94 6:42:47 CST
Mike Romano writes:

>> Andre Guirard points out that utility rates [are]
>> lower than these newer cheaper solar panels can pro-rate to.
>> .... in many rural areas it can cost thousands of
>> dollars to bring a homesite onto the untility grid, with the
>> cost of setting up the power lines, poles, and so forth.

>Of course. But if you're going to argue up front cost, then
>solar technology is still more intimidating because _all_ of
>the cost is up front (until collectors start wearing out and
>have to be replaced).  What would the actual cost be to have
>sufficient collectors to power a house day _and_ night and
>through all kinds of weather (a week of total overcast, for
>instance)?  And how long do they last?  I submit that if you're
>going to build out in the country and use this solar power
>technology, you'd still need the lines, poles, and so forth,
>to supply your needs when there's not enough sunlight.  I'm
>not saying it's not possible to do without the power company,
>nor am I saying that it won't one day be practical.  I'm just
>saying that even with this development, it doesn't sound like
>it's practical _yet_.

    Funny how this discussion is turning up everywhere these days :)
Solar electricity especially in rural areas is here and now. Our home as
well as several of my neighbors homes are entirely powered through solar
photovoltaic panels. The new "breakthrough" in manufacturing of solar
panels could be a interesting development. Personally I'd like to see
more about it. These will be different panels than those commonly used
at this point, a type that previously had problems with degrading
seriously over a time span of 5 years or so. The type commonly used now
have life spans that have not been defined yet, but are definitely in the
30 year plus category.
   Granted powering ones home with photovoltaics is not like being
hooked up to the grid, it is much more expensive if compared kw to kw.
On the other hand for people who live in places without Electric lines
the high cost of bringing them in offsets this. Where we live it would
cost well over $50,000 dollars to run in electric lines, our solar setup
with batteries has cost under $2,000.00 dollars. The big factor is one
learns to live with far less electricity than a conventional american
home would use and one soon comes to realize that the conventional
american home is tremendously wasteful with electricity.
   Solar electricity is stored in batteries so that it is available
during the evening and on cloudy days. If this manufacturing process
pans out it could be a significant step forward as halving the cost is a
huge step forward and seems geared towards producing power in the
volumes more commonly used. Probably the biggest hurdle is the way we
use electricity.
                      Ken Bridges

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