Solar Induatry Waste

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by tshrimp, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502

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    VulchR

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    I am sure they will work it out. Perhaps if we stopped subsidizing fossil fuels we could spend more money reducing the green footprint of renewables even further. Quite apart from anything, fossil fuels will run out even if they do not cause catastrophic greenhouse warming (which they probably will), and the impact of nuclear accidents is very high. Thus to me, developing solar and and wind energy is a no-brainer.
     
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    citizenzen

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    OMG! I thought it was just sunshine and rainbows!

    :eek: :eek: :eek:
     
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  5. macrumors 68020

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    That's where used Fotons go.
     
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    Zombie Acorn

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    #6
    Seems like a smear campaign, at the very least they are sending the toxic materials to be processed at a facility opposed to sending pollution into the air.
     
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    What's funny is that the picture you are painting about subsidies is the opposite of what's actually happening. Fossil fuels are able to survive without subsidies. Oil companies, i.e. companies engaged in exploration/production of oil and gas get subsidies. I don't know of fossil fuel power plants getting subsidies.

    And solar and wind are at present unable to survive without a government subsidy.
     
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    citizenzen

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    Excerpts from the New York Times Business section ...

     
  9. macrumors 68020

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    At least Wind and Solar is not a source of wars and murder.
     
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    Sydde

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    It is really not possible to make outright categorical assertions like that. There do appear to be some subsidies related to deployment and operation of fossil fuel power generation, though they are quite a bit smaller than the direct subsidies for "green" power. The quantitative difference falls in a range somewhere between a factor of two and a half and 154x favoring fossil fuels.

    The other side of the coin is externalities, which falls between favoring fossil fuels by a factor of around four and a half to favoring "green" by 119x. One cannot discount the overall effects that exploration and use of fossil fuels have on the environment, something that is largely missing from "green" resources. Not to mention, of course, that war thing.

    source (pdf)

    Wind and solar energy do require significant energy input at the manufacturing end, which ends up, once again, being the province of other energy sources – you cannot build a modern wind generation tower without a lot of metalworking, the energy for which just may not be practically available except through the use of fossil fuels. The same is basically true for solar power generation, either photovoltaic or steam-turbine.

    So, in the end, the picture is anything but clear. The only truly reliable source of power is simply to eliminate the enormous amount of it that we waste in the first place. Conservation is really not that hard, folks.
     
  11. macrumors 68000

    VulchR

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    UK oil production is set to increase because the UK government reduced taxes on oil, and that's just one counterexample of many I can think of. Also, oil and gas companies do not pay for the environmental damage they do, and that is a huge subsidy. For instance, it seems that global warming is causing more extreme weather (Superstorm Sandy comes to mind), and the failure of the oil companies to pay for the damages means that you and I subsidize them by paying increased insurance fees.

    Depends on what you mean by compete. Economically, they cannot compete because of the various subsidies given to oil companies. However, in terms of energy security, they win. In terms of reducing greenhouse gases they win. In terms of being able to democratize energy away from monopolistic, corrupt multi-nationals they win.
     
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    Spectrum Abuser

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    Solar energy is a waste. The panels themselves are far too inefficient and even with subsidization too expensive.
     
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    mcrain

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    #13
    That's exactly what the first nonphotosynthetic plant said to the first green leafy plant.
     
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    spyguy10709

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    Oh, okay. $10 A gallon gas because our government is too weak to stand up to the Oil lobbies and build more refineries AND no subsidies? Great.

    We don't need more spending. Look at tesla. If it's profitable or can be someday, it will get made. If it's not profitable and won't be (most solar companies not in China) it won't get made.
     
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    Spectrum Abuser

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    Cute. I'm not going to pay $399 for a 250W solar panel plus the cost for a DC to AC converter plus the cost for a couple of batteries plus shipping and handling and an installation charge for the panel, though. That same 250W of energy could be bought for a whopping two cents from the electric company.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    250 W is a measure of power, FWIW, not energy. 250 Wh is energy. Let's say that the 250 W panel outputs 25 W of power on average (there's nightime, clouds, and deterioration of the panel...) 20 W for 20 years is 3,504,000 Wh. That's 3,504 kWh, which at a rate of $0.11 per kWh is $385.44. So yeah, the ROI is not worth the investment, but not to the degree you imply.

    And if that 250 W panel can be expected to give an average power outpower of 50 W? Then you're talking about generating $770.88 of electricity over 20 years. It's a long horizon, but possibly worth it if you expect to utilize it for 20 years. (From what I recall, solar panels these days are expected to yield 80% of their original power output for the same input after 20 years, so obviously their lifetime can be even greate than 20 years.)
     
  17. macrumors 68000

    VulchR

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    #17
    ROI for solar is not just about the price of installation versus the amount one can recoup from selling electricity back into the grid. As I noted above, there are potentially indirect costs of not using solar - namely the costs of environmental damage. Also, in projecting the lifetime income from a solar panel, the assumption that fossil fuel prices will stay stable is highly suspect. A somebody once said 'it is bad to know the cost of everything but the value of nothing'.

    Also, in regard to efficiency of solar panels, who cares? I don't care if I have to use 4 panels or 8 to cover my electricity needs. The issue from my perspective is avoiding global warming and other forms of environmental damage from fossil fuels as well as providing a source of energy that does not rely on other countries.

    Fossil fuels are a finite resource. And, at least for oil, they are too valuable to simply be burned. One cannot make plastic cheaply without oil, and therefore any oil price hike or shortage is not only going to hit our lifestyle in terms of energy costs, but also in terms of manufacturing, food storage, etc.
     
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    Liquorpuki

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    #18
    Tesla was subsidized in the form of govt loans and should you buy a Model S, the government will help you out.

    And environmentalism is almost never profitable, which is why it needs funding to happen. Regardless, in the long run it's almost always worthwhile because of the unforeseen costs of doing nothing. This is why capitalism shouldn't dictate policy
     
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    Sydde

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    Of course, the other mathematical problem is the amount of energy that goes into solar panel manufacture. It is rather small-ish, but it will always be there, it is unlikely that alternative energy sources will be sufficient to cover the energy it takes to make solar, wind, geothermal, etc, generators in the first place. I mean, look at wind turbine towers, the amount of metal in those things is very non-trivial.

    I like my bicycles and would use them for most of my transportation needs if the roads were not choked with ___-____s in cars, but, as incredibly efficient as a bicycle is, it still takes a fair amount of energy to make and to supply with tires, brake pads, etc.

    There is no green lunch. Which is not to say that we should just throw up our hands and drive around in 9 GPM road toads or otherwise not make efforts toward improving the overall situation, but come on, folks, be realistic.
     
  20. macrumors 68000

    VulchR

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    I agree to some extent, but not about what is 'realistic'. The only thing preventing us from going completely to sustainable energy sources is the will to do so. IMO lack of wisdom and foresight also plays a role. Fossil fuels cause damage and they are certain to run out. Can't see them having much of a future in my kid's lifetime. No doubt it will take another jolt to energy imports (like 1974, but perhaps this time involving Iran) before people in the West wake up and smell the roses....
     

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