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View Diary: Solar Energy Cheaper than Coal? (351 comments)

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  •  Sell the electric car in its own solar box! (3+ / 0-)

    Sort of like a little railroad car coated with solar panels, just plop it down anywhere with side "A" facing due south!  

    Wouldn't that be cute?  AND practical!  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:19:36 PM PST

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    •  Kinda...except (2+ / 0-)

      if it's at ground level it could end up in the shade some/most of the time.  Just because something is covered with solar panels doesn't mean that it is efficiently converting the incoming light to electricity.  What you want is a large flat area pointed about 20-30 degrees south of zenith (straight-up), that has an unobstructed view of the Southern sky (from what I recall).  When the Sun hits a solar panel at a slant instead of dead-on it reduces the amount of power generated.  It'd be much better to strategically cover rooftops/parking structures with the panels to maximize efficiency, and then have parked cars automatically charge.  Solar panels are not something to be strewn about even if they come down to one dollar per watt.

      "You don't need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows" - BD

      by demotarian on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:28:28 PM PST

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      •  The best use of solar panels on a car (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        labradog, lgmcp, Carbide Bit, offgrid

        Solar panels to run a fan (or fans) to keep the car's interior from overheating while parked would be worthwhile, hybrid or not.  

        Reducing the starting air conditioning load on a car would stretch battery life and may permit reducing the size of the A/C system.  

        The Republican Party is a criminal enterprise.

        by Bronx59 on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:51:14 PM PST

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        •  Don't most AC systems use the alternator? (0+ / 0-)

          I don't think that many auto AC systems run off of the battery, pretty sure almost all of them run off of the alternator (or are mechanically connected to the engine), in which case cranking the AC when you startup a car shouldn't really have much effect on the battery.  Other options include window tinting or leaving your windows cracked.  These are all practically insignificant when compared to the energy expended to get a couple of people from point A to point B without too much hassle.  Putting solar panels on cars doesn't add much, but does make the car more complex, expensive, heavier, and probably less aerodynamic.  A hobby sized solar panel with personal fan hanging out of your window is fine as a gimic, but mixing cars and solar panels is very impractical.  Just because two different technologies offer good solutions to common problems doesn't mean they should be combined.  I don't see many Lady-Remmington-Combo-DVD-Players out there (although my eyes are open).

          "You don't need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows" - BD

          by demotarian on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:43:07 PM PST

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