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View Diary: Solarchy: Our Sun-Worshipping PV Future (33 comments)

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  •  Does wind power really require large sizes... (3+ / 0-)

    ... and large arrays to achieve economies of scale?  What is preventing small, residential sized wind turbines from being as efficient?

    I see all kinds of products on Google Shopping.  The Vertical Axis wind turbines look very interesting.  I'm looking at the UGE 1 kW model for $7k and the UGE 4 kW model for $18k.

    I'm wondering how the turbine (which would have a certain sized footprint) compares to a PV panel of the same size.

    •  I'm speaking very broadly (0+ / 0-)

      about how far the technologies can inherently go, rather than to individual systems.  Wind has inherent limits in the fact that it involves moving parts, and requires a minimum level of continuous wind at a given speed to maintain the momentum of those parts - it can't harvest the small, broken gusts that make up the bulk of air motion in a built environment.  I suppose theoretically it could, if it had a Baroque system of gyros to capture and keep small increments of momentum, but now we're talking about what is possible rather than economical.

      That said, it may very well be that a rooftop windmill would work best for your particular environment.  This is mostly the case in relatively flat areas (or if you're on top of a hill) where the wind isn't disrupted by structure or a lot of tall trees.  But over the long-term, PV is going to be insanely cheap - I mean, like you buy a bucket of photovoltaic paint, slather it on your walls and roof over a thin sheet of printed electronics, and there you go.  

      The conundrum of stable democracy: Reform requires the consent of the corrupt.

      by Troubadour on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 04:34:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wind IMO doesn't work at small scale... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, petral

        certainly not for individual residences.  To be honest, I think that the wind systems that will be the eventual winners are the ones that can get up to several thousand feet - most of them are built around tethered kites of one sort or another.

        •  The heat-island effect of cities (0+ / 0-)

          is going to create regular and predictable air current boundaries on the edges of their influence, and it is there that high-altitude wind infrastructure may be used to recapture the heat emitted by cities that originally came from solar infrastructure.  That's part of the multi-tiered harvesting I'd predict - I call it "solarchy" because solar is at the top, but others would be part of secondary harvesting of the output heat.

          The conundrum of stable democracy: Reform requires the consent of the corrupt.

          by Troubadour on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 06:24:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  In a word, yes (0+ / 0-)

      power output varies with swept area of the rotor disk. Thus, doubling the radius quadruples the power output.

      Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

      by jam on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 10:50:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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