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View Diary: NREL Study: Solar Power could provide 100 Times the Amount of Current U.S. Electricity Needs! (251 comments)

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  •  Yes, I realize that panel prices (0+ / 0-)

    have been plummeting due to the Chinese goverment subsidizing them massively.

    which is freakin' great.

    But I'm old and cant' go up on my roof and install them myself.

    Instead I have to hire a contractor, which is quite expensive.

    Then as time goes on, periodic maintanence is required - for example for some reason my house is a popular gathering point for birds, which come and shit all over my roof.

    Usually I don't care that much, but I suspect that that might diminish the efficacy of solar panels.

    So I'd have to hire somebody to come and clean them periodically (I don't know, maybe every 2 months?).  Because you know, I'm old and not really in any shape to be trapsizign alll over my roof . . ..  and from experience I know that simply spraying water up there with the hose doesn't much work on getting the bird shit off.

    •  Bird poop doesn't stick well to panels (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, Lawrence

      And if you really need to, you can just spray them with a hose. But birds, in general will sit on the panels oriented with their butts toward the ground, not the panel faces, because of the angle at which the panels sit.

      Roof mount is not the only option. Ours are pole mounted. It took a day to mount the array and get everything hooked up, once the pole was installed. I only have one working arm, and am able to lift the panels by letting the bad arm hang down, hooking my fingers around the bottom edge of the panel, then doing the rest of the lifting/moving with the other arm. My husband and son did most of the work, while I passed panels, nuts, bolts, zip ties, wrenches, etc. to them.

      We did need a hand pouring the concrete for the pole, but a friend offered to help in exchange for lunch. It took a couple of hours to pour and we let it cure for 2 weeks. A friend with a backhoe dug the hole for the pole for us.

      •  Pole Mount (0+ / 0-)

        Do you think I could mount solar panels on 40 foot tall poles to get above the trees on my property?

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 06:03:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Probably, but it would be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence

          ... ridiculously expensive.

          For comparison, our pole ($350) is 10" in diameter, 18' long, 8' of which is under ground, and 10' above. The pole is filled with cement, and is centered in an 8' length of sonotube, also full of cement. Our cement mass is bigger than needed, because it's the minimum we could get delivered. This ensures it's not going anywhere under serious wind load (which we get at our elevation). The rack on which the panels are mounted is designed to for winds exceeding 80 mph.

          Extrapolating from that, you'd need something ungodly huge with a block of cement the size of a small building to anchor it, and probably guy wires. If you're looking to get power at that height, it becomes more sensible to start looking at the feasibility of small wind.

          Solar isn't going to be the right solution for every single location, and not every individual would need to install solar for us to drastically reduce our electricity-related carbon use.

    •  You Realize (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity, Sandino

      The Chinese subsidies to Chinese solar panels haven't made German or American panels cheaper except by competition. The supply side subsidy point is meaningless.

      The cost of installing solar panels, even for people to go on the roof, is low enough that the total installed cost of residential solar is usually under $5:W, which is cheap. The periodic maintenance is hardly greater than cleaning your gutters, and is paid for in probably under a week of savings per year.

      Even before retail subsidies solar is cheaper than nukes. Retail subsidies cost the public less than the public subsidies to nukes. So really the comparison shows that solar is a lot cheaper than nukes.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 06:02:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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