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Thread: Solar power is surging ahead

              
   
   
  1. #1
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    Solar power is surging ahead

    According to an article in the business section of my newspaper today, written by Dana Hull, of mercurynews.com , California's largest electrical company, PG&E, is planning for solar power on a scale that will permit it to generate 33% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2020. The breakdown would be 8% small hydro, 14% geothermal, 15% bioenergy, 23% wind, and 40% solar. They say that solar power costs are coming down significantly.

    In a related article on the same page, written by Tracie Cone of the AP, the U.S. Department of the Interior has put 17 large tracts of land in the Southwest on the fast track for approval of solar energy projects. The tracts of land would be located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. Over half of the acreage set aside by the U.S. would be at two sites in California totaling 153,627 acres. A thirty day protest period has now started before the plan is adopted.

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    An article in my newspaper today reports that two schools in the Campbell Union High School District have installed new solar panel covered parking structures as part of an initiative that district officials say will net a savings of about $765,000 a year in electricity costs. The district built large carport roofs over their existing parking lots. Not only does this give them a location to install their panels, but it also provides sunlight and rain protection for cars parked in the previously exposed parking lots. Sounds like a win-win for everyone to me.

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    The company I work for has seen a marked increase in solar design testing in the last two years. There are a lot of solar design outfits vying for a piece of the clean(er) energy pie. Ground mounts seems to be the big winner but roof mounts do get some attention. The interesting thing about roof mounts is the way wind behaves around roof corners is not an immediately intuitive when it comes to solar arrays. Especially for those that don't tie into the roof but just use ballast, depending on the wind patterns the solar panels can rip off or just collect in one area. It's great to see the amount of interest in PV and collector systems.

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    It's awesome when you're in in a tall building in China looking out the window across the city and see Solar water heaters and PV pannels covering the top of most every available roof surface, even sitting on top of HVAC equipment sometimes. Some places in China are the wind-gen version of that, turbines in all sizes from monsters to tiny DIY ones made from an electric bicycle hubmotor with paddles riveted where a tire would mount stuck on poles and corners of buildings and roofs everywhere you look.

    It's very cool to see natural clean renewable energy setups so widely adopted, and not because it's a mandate/requirement, but because it makes sense.

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    And, especially in China, it just might help you breathe better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard230 View Post
    And, especially in China, it just might help you breathe better.
    Yeah, even though they pollute an average of only 5.3 metric tons of CO2 per person per year to our 17.2 metric tons of CO2 per person per year, they do have a lot of people and that makes for a lot of waste.

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    A short article in my newspaper this morning by Dana Hull reports that California's solar power program has nearly reached it goal of installing 1,750 new MW of solar power by 2016 and the program is "now effectively winding down". 391 MW of solar power were installed in CA during 2012. As of the end of March, an estimated 1,692 MW of solar rooftop power is now being generated in the state. There are 168,000 solar rooftop sites in California.

    Since 2007, the average total installed cost, including labor, materials and permitting, for residential solar systems has decreased 32% from $8.77 per watt to $5.98 per watt. (No doubt helped along by the Chinese cutting solar panel costs during that 6 year period.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield 500, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

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