Solar Power?

Discussion in Utilities started by joshc428 • Sep 6, 2015.

  1. joshc428

    joshc428Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2015
    Threads:
    31
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    21
    I'm a college student, so perhaps I'm thinking too far ahead. But when I get my own house, I'm really considering getting solar powered electricity. I know the startup costs are insane, but I heard that you save money in the long run. Is this a good idea? Anyone have experiences with this? Hopefully technological advances and environmental awareness allow cheaper solar power in the near future.
     
  2. Denis Hard

    Denis HardWell-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2013
    Threads:
    991
    Messages:
    4,335
    Likes Received:
    790
    Solar power certainly is cheaper in the long run. Researchers are working on creating solar panels which can store up solar energy for release at night. When they get their breakthrough though initially these solar panels might be somewhat expensive after a while they prices will start dropping . . .

    . . . and there's also Tesla's solar battery which will be a game changer.
     
  3. BrandonScooterman

    BrandonScootermanActive Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2015
    Threads:
    17
    Messages:
    317
    Likes Received:
    70
    Right now solar isn't worth it, unless you live in an area with some sort of incentive program.
    Installing and maintaining a solar setup costs significantly more then just buying from the grid.
    But some places offer subsidies to make it worth while.
    Here in Ontario we have microFIT, which pays you a premium amount when you sell power back to the grid.
    Check out what programs they have in your area.
     
  4. gata montes

    gata montesActive Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Threads:
    30
    Messages:
    786
    Likes Received:
    317
    Even though Solar technology has come a long way and is likely to carry on doing so well into the future - its currently not worth the huge expense - as although it does on the surface appear to be a very cost effective means of providing energy to your home - the reality of making savings in the future are not quite as rosy as they seem.

    Particularly as - not only is the installation cost - even with a subsidy - astronomically high but when solar energy hits grid parity - as it has already done in some countries - it then becomes a widespread threat to both utility companies as well as to the governments of those countries and once they start applying solar taxes on every kW of self generated energy - which they do in order to keep traditional grid utilities at a lower price and in demand - every penny invested will be lost - in fact in the countries where solar tax has already been applied - people are finding that paying off the debt of installing solar power combined with the solar tax - is actually costing way, way more than traditional grid electricity.
     
  5. DrRipley

    DrRipleyExpert

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2012
    Threads:
    740
    Messages:
    4,313
    Likes Received:
    315
    I've been very much interested in this too but it looks like the technology for solar panels still isn't at the level it should be for mass consumption yet. I think it's still too expensive to make a real difference at this point although I'm sure there are resources I just haven't heard of that can prove to be more beneficial than just sticking with your current traditional setup. I'm with you in that hopefully in the future it will be much cheaper because I'd really like to get those too.
     
  6. Lushlala

    LushlalaWell-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2014
    Threads:
    4
    Messages:
    2,799
    Likes Received:
    824
    Oh how disappointing to hear about all these drawbacks! I have always been interested in exploring solar power, especially now that we suffer a lot of load shedding in this country. Plus we have a lot of sun all year round. I already knew about the initial astronomical cost, but I'm put off a little bit by what I'm hearing here! Maybe for now I could investigate about some of the smaller solar devices that don't need a huge undertaking to install! There's been a lot of talk about this Tesla solar battery this neck of the woods. But sadly, it sounds like it won't arrive until sometime next year :(
     
  7. Theo

    TheoWell-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2014
    Threads:
    308
    Messages:
    2,880
    Likes Received:
    726
    Solar power is a great idea, however it's not always reliable unless you live somewhere with constant sun. There are sustainable ways of using power, but if you use a laptop all day, then the power that uses would suck it all up. I think having a solar powered home is something that will be offered soon, and I have seen them, but when it's winter alternatives have to be used.
     
  8. Ke Gordon

    Ke GordonWell-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Threads:
    148
    Messages:
    1,892
    Likes Received:
    460
    Yes, if you can afford to convert your house I think solar is the way to go. However, it would take many years for the investment costs to pay off. So, I think for most individuals, traditional electronics are best. These are the products you are looking to use but may cost you more money to install than you think. If you plan to sell your house...think long and hard about an investment in solar technology.
     
  9. Pat

    PatWell-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2012
    Threads:
    66
    Messages:
    2,725
    Likes Received:
    328
    The main reason I would get an alternative method of energy would be to avoid dependance on the local power company if there is a power outage. I would like to get solar as a back up to the local power company. We had a storm which left us with no power for about a week.
     
  10. Corzhens

    CorzhensWell-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2015
    Threads:
    151
    Messages:
    1,855
    Likes Received:
    459
    Pardon me to go against the tide. An electrical engineer friend of ours said that solar power is clean, zero pollution so it is the best energy provider. However, the technology of solar power is not that good yet, meaning it is not cost effective so we are still dependent on the supplier of electricity. If it becomes cheap and reliable then maybe we can disconnect from the electric company and have our own stand-alone power supply that is the solar power.
     
  11. Lushlala

    LushlalaWell-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2014
    Threads:
    4
    Messages:
    2,799
    Likes Received:
    824
    I know what you mean, Theo! Which is why I find it stupid that Botswana, a country that has sunshine more or less 365 days a year, doesn't seem to be interested in exploring and exploiting the idea of solar power. the government claims to be looking into it, but I don't think there's any sense of urgency.

    I just had a closer look at the Tesla Solar Battery again and it looks better and better each time. It's so very easy on the eye too, I just wish I had the money to buy it LOL At $3 000 for 7 kWh, it's quite a lot for me. But given the amount of load shedding I get here, it would be well worth it!
     
  12. gata montes

    gata montesActive Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Threads:
    30
    Messages:
    786
    Likes Received:
    317
    This is one of the most common misconceptions about solar power - as no its not true - you don't need to live somewhere with constant sun in order for it to be reliable.

    In fact as solar power is now designed to work in all weather conditions including cloudy, overcast and rainy days - no one would be without power and although a prolonged spell of overcast days can sometimes reduce the amount of power available - most solar power users find it adequate for general every day use.

    I would also just add - that as Germany has the highest number of solar powered homes in the whole of Europe - it just goes to show that solar power doesn't entirely relay on the sun - particularly as their climate is quite the opposite of sunny.
     
  13. Lushlala

    LushlalaWell-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2014
    Threads:
    4
    Messages:
    2,799
    Likes Received:
    824
    You know, gata montes, I can believe that because in the UK the government has been encouraging people to go solar, and even offering those who do incentives. Going around, you can see the rise in the use of solar panels, and I did used to ask myself how that's supposed to work effectively, given the lack of sun in the UK. British weather is renowned for being grey and miserable most of the year, yet solar seems to be becoming more and more popular.
     
  14. gata montes

    gata montesActive Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Threads:
    30
    Messages:
    786
    Likes Received:
    317
    Yes there is absolutely no reason why solar wouldn't work in the UK - in fact as far as I'm aware there are already quite a number of solar powered homes there - some which have been been running very efficiently on solar power since as far back as the late 1990's.

    Unfortunately however - although there are many, many advantages to solar power there are also a large number of disadvantages - which the governments of countries where solar power is not so popular - who are currently trying to encourage people to switch over by offering subsidies - are not mentioning.

    Namely that - not only is the initial outlay so substantial - even with a subsidy - that the cost of installing it is generally out of reach for the average person - but also the more popular self generated electricity becomes the more chance there is of it reaching grid parity and once that happens - as governments then feel the need to apply solar taxes to keep the price of traditional grid electricity down and those taxes totally wipe out any possibility of ever making any savings - although it shouldn't be so - its actually now more cost effective to stay with traditional grid electricity - as it works out cheaper in the long run
     
  15. Lushlala

    LushlalaWell-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2014
    Threads:
    4
    Messages:
    2,799
    Likes Received:
    824

    Thanks so much for so eloquently explaining that, gata montes! It's certainly given me food for thought and from what I understand, unless money's no object, in the long run you're best off staying with the traditional grid electricity. That has really burst my bubble because where we are, we're short of electricity and are subjected to load shedding at the most inconvenient of times. I'd hoped that solar would be the answer to all my power problems, but apparently not so :(
     
  16. Diane Lane

    Diane LaneWell-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2015
    Threads:
    262
    Messages:
    1,983
    Likes Received:
    724
    If I owned this place and could afford to, I'd have solar panels installed on the roof. I watch a lot of shows about Alaska and 'off the grid' type areas, and solar does interest me. I know it has a long way to go, but I would still like to explore it. I've seen small garden fountains that are powered with solar pumps, and that's probably where I will start, when I can afford to. This is very limited at this time, but Google has a solar sunroof project that will eventually expand, so people can select their area, and determine how much money they could save by going solar.

    Please Log In to view this link!

     
  17. gata montes

    gata montesActive Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Threads:
    30
    Messages:
    786
    Likes Received:
    317
    You're welcome Lushlala - well apart from the bubble bursting of course - but yes with the ongoing battle between utility companies and lawmakers raging at an all time high in places where they now have grid parity - resulting in more and more countries stopping incentives and enforcing solar taxes - at this current moment in time it is unfortunately actually more cost effective to stay on grid.

    But hey don't write it off altogether - as even though the future for solar is a little uncertain at present - as solar power would be an excellent alternative - if they would just stop penalizing those who generate their own power - its always worth keeping an eye on how things are progressing - as you never know what may transpire.

    In the meantime - the only other solution I can think of is either to look at hydrogen power - which is another very feasible way of generating your own electricity or if its not illegal where you are - to maybe consider installing a solar water heater - which although it wouldn't necessarily help with the load shedding - it would at least shave quite a bit off your energy bill each month - if you use electricity to heat your water.
     
  18. Lushlala

    LushlalaWell-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2014
    Threads:
    4
    Messages:
    2,799
    Likes Received:
    824
    Thanks again gata montes! Wow, you seem to know so much about all these diverse power generating methods! I don't know much about hydrogen power, but it's obviously worth looking into, given my situation. The only saving grace about the whole situation in my country is that electricity really isn't that expensive, it's very manageable and affordable.
     
  19. AllAboutTheLincolns

    AllAboutTheLincolnsMember

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2015
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    9
    Is solar power even affordable yet? I haven't seen anyone who isn't super rich have solar panels attached to their house. It is a shame, really. You could probably get decent milage on current technology for this type of energy, but it's always the rich who have it first. Call me whenever we get a commercial solar generator at the nearest Wal-Mart.
     
  20. TheLovingLeah

    TheLovingLeahActive Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Threads:
    3
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    26
    Wow that sounds EPIC! I would totally do that if I loved summer. I would not be able to stay in a place where it is hot most of the time. It seems like less money though; do not have to pay for electricity. I am pretty sure there is no solar bill, well not that I am aware of... It is also convenient when the power goes out. The house would still run since it is running by solar power, how cool would that be! But does that mean at night, nothing in the house will work since the sun is not shining? I always thought doing things with solar power was cool! I remember cooking a hot dog with solar power. I did not think it would be so successful, but it worked out great! That was the first time I used solar power to do something. I would love a solar power house myself. I just prefer winter though so I know I could not get one.
     
Loading...
Similar Threads - Solar PowerForumDate
Beaming Power By SatelliteUtilitiesSep 15, 2017
Wind/solar: Has Anyone Had Any Experience With These?UtilitiesOct 27, 2016
Power OutagesUtilitiesSep 8, 2016