Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

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Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:02 pm

Nothing really new here as solar roofs have been talked about since forever, but it appears they are actually here about now. Good old Moore's law bringing the cost of Solar to Electric down. Not mentioned that I've read several times now is that the unsubsidized cost of solar today is CHEAPER than the TRANSMISSION COST of standard coal fired electrical plants. Don't know if the coal plants include or exclude the subsidies.

Why we aren't making a major gubmental supported and pushed move to this tech is beyond me. Same with all the philanthropy moguls---off curing diseases and other good things but until we solve our energy needs, everything else is rather secondary, if not futile.

One new thing in the video is the Large Screen Display Elon talks in front of, in the Daylight. I could see it being digital if it was permanently indoors...so I'm thinking its standard rear projection...but we never know when Moore's Law will strike again.

I would go solar right now even if it weren't cost effective just to spark/feed my go solar interest....but I don't want to chop down my trees that cover my house....and I can't buy land next to me to install a solar farm. So...looks like it will be Youtube cheering for me.
[ytube][/ytube]

Looks like Elon is getting a bit porky. He needs a new girl friend.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Hex » Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:33 pm

Solar City knocked that out of the park IMO. They didn't cover the actual cost (I'd guess it is pretty expensive considering Elon kept belabouring the point that you have to add in electric savings) but like most of these technologies there will be a steep upfront cost that you'll recoup over time.

Though the one question that wasn't answered, that kept running through my mind, is these roofs are all fine and dandy for sunny climates, just how well do they work in other climates. Not just winter but places that have more than their fair share of cloudy conditions.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 29, 2016 3:02 pm

Yeah....its true...solar to electric is not good for some or even many locations...but Germany is "cloudy" and solar is doing quite well. Of note: being illiterate on the subject....I'm waiting for the breakthrough to turn UV light into electricity. Those should work at night. Advances in home size wind generators (that don't kill birds" is coming right along as well.

With a grid...and with improvements in storage capacity...these should all be bumps in the road.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Hex » Sat Oct 29, 2016 3:48 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Yeah....its true...solar to electric is not good for some or even many locations...but Germany is "cloudy" and solar is doing quite well. Of note: being illiterate on the subject....I'm waiting for the breakthrough to turn UV light into electricity. Those should work at night. Advances in home size wind generators (that don't kill birds" is coming right along as well.

With a grid...and with improvements in storage capacity...these should all be bumps in the road.
I don't know where Germany got this reputation for being cloudy and dismal, the truth is Germany has very good weather that plays well with solar energy. I was thinking more of places like England and Denmark when I made that statement.

My area is pretty sunny for spring, summer and fall but winter is a whole other beast. Come winter and the snow falls I see plenty of roofs around here covered in snow blocking all that potential solar energy, energy needed for heating if you are electric, otherwise you are depending on the traditional grid or heat with gas, oil or wood.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:51 pm

Well...solar grid should be "oversized" in the summer to collect as much energy as possible...store it or convert it and use the excess energy for the winter months. We need to get off fossil fuels completely...including as a back up for Green Energy and put the money into Green Back Up as well. My favorite is to have excess solar used to create hydrogen gas which could be saved for later use locally or whereever needed. I also rather favor compressed air systems as battery storage for electrical energy as the battery tech isn't quite up to snuff yet.

Key point: our energy supply needs to be a mix of technologies.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by ElectricMonk » Sat Oct 29, 2016 6:26 pm

To be competitive, Solar panels must be at least as uncomplicated as grid power: if you have to adjust, clean, defrost etc. them, they will not catch on unless they are way cheaper (which they won't be for a while).

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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Paul Anthony » Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:08 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:To be competitive, Solar panels must be at least as uncomplicated as grid power: if you have to adjust, clean, defrost etc. them, they will not catch on unless they are way cheaper (which they won't be for a while).
Those things can be a problem, but not the greatest obstacle. As long as you are buying power from the grid, you don't need to think about replacing worn out or damaged components. Solar cells deteriorate over time. A storm could severely damage them. If you install a battery back-up (so you can have power at night) the batteries have an even shorter life expectancy. The cost of periodically replacing the batteries is the main reason a complete off-grid solar package will never pay for itself.

And yet, I'm still tempted.

Bobbo mentioned having too many trees. I have too little roof area. All homes are not created equal. Another problem I face is the fact that there are less sunny hours in a day in winter than in summer. My electric bill is lower during the winter because the billing rate is higher in summer, but I actually use just as much power to heat my home as I do to cool it (I have an all-electric home).

My utility company has invested heavily in solar as well as hydro-electric, nuclear and wind. The combination keeps the costs fairly steady and the supply constant. On a large scale, all of those things complement each other. But for a homeowner, it's not practical to install a mix of generating methods. Being dependent on just one can be risky.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Hex » Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:36 pm

One has to keep in mind that the current push to better technology in the sustainable energy system is relatively new and to be honest I've been fairly impressed at the speed of research and development.

Solar City seems to have taken a hard look at some of the problems and although not a perfect system yet one could say they have come a long way baby. It isn't just the solar tiles that they took to task, but looked at a full integration system with Tesla Powerwall 2. They have almost made that system plug-n-play that makes it easy to integrate it with solar panels and the traditional energy grid. Plus making connectable, individual solar "shingles" (And tough) if there is any damage you aren't replacing large, expensive solar panels, just small shingles.

Batteries have their own unique challenges, but it is very possible that in the next decade we'll be seeing cheaper, longer lasting batteries that hold more charge and charge faster (Thanks to the wonder material carbon.)

Solar panels themselves are always improving efficiency. It wasn't that long ago that solar panels only drew in a one digit conversion percentage and in just a short time solar panels are reliably pushing close to 30% efficiency. With things like coatings that can capture other light wave lengths things like cloudy conditions hindering efficiency goes away. Printable solar cells are bringing the cost of production way down and with new transparent solar panels we are not that far off from having windows double as solar energy.

Yes we are just in the infancy of what is possible and the answer to cheaper, reliable, efficient solar power is going to come from many directions, but it is a lot better than doing nothing and watch the world burn.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Paul Anthony » Sat Oct 29, 2016 8:43 pm

Hex wrote:One has to keep in mind that the current push to better technology in the sustainable energy system is relatively new and to be honest I've been fairly impressed at the speed of research and development.

Solar City seems to have taken a hard look at some of the problems and although not a perfect system yet one could say they have come a long way baby. It isn't just the solar tiles that they took to task, but looked at a full integration system with Tesla Powerwall 2. They have almost made that system plug-n-play that makes it easy to integrate it with solar panels and the traditional energy grid. Plus making connectable, individual solar "shingles" (And tough) if there is any damage you aren't replacing large, expensive solar panels, just small shingles.

Batteries have their own unique challenges, but it is very possible that in the next decade we'll be seeing cheaper, longer lasting batteries that hold more charge and charge faster (Thanks to the wonder material carbon.)

Solar panels themselves are always improving efficiency. It wasn't that long ago that solar panels only drew in a one digit conversion percentage and in just a short time solar panels are reliably pushing close to 30% efficiency. With things like coatings that can capture other light wave lengths things like cloudy conditions hindering efficiency goes away. Printable solar cells are bringing the cost of production way down and with new transparent solar panels we are not that far off from having windows double as solar energy.

Yes we are just in the infancy of what is possible and the answer to cheaper, reliable, efficient solar power is going to come from many directions, but it is a lot better than doing nothing and watch the world burn.
A minor gripe with Solar City and their ilk...There are pros and cons to being connected to the grid. There is the benefit of making a few bucks by selling your excess to the power company, although my research suggests I would only have excess a few months out of the year - if that. One big negative is that if the grid goes down for any reason, your roof-top generating system shuts down, too. It's a necessary safety "feature". If guys are working on the lines, you don't want to be pumping volts through those wires. But that means when your neighbors are sitting in the dark, so are you.

Then, there are the games people play. Our two major utility companies (SRP & APS) spent years encouraging us to install solar to save money. Now that they've been relatively successful, they realized they weren't getting enough revenue to support the grid maintenance costs. So they have added a surcharge to every home that has solar and decreased the rate at which they would buy our excess power. There went the alleged savings. Let's face it, they were never trying to save us money. That would be a piss-poor business model. They wanted homeowners to spend money to augment the grid without having to spend their own money to build or expand power plants. I don't like being played.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Hex » Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:51 pm

Paul Anthony wrote:
A minor gripe with Solar City and their ilk...There are pros and cons to being connected to the grid. There is the benefit of making a few bucks by selling your excess to the power company, although my research suggests I would only have excess a few months out of the year - if that. One big negative is that if the grid goes down for any reason, your roof-top generating system shuts down, too. It's a necessary safety "feature". If guys are working on the lines, you don't want to be pumping volts through those wires. But that means when your neighbors are sitting in the dark, so are you.

Then, there are the games people play. Our two major utility companies (SRP & APS) spent years encouraging us to install solar to save money. Now that they've been relatively successful, they realized they weren't getting enough revenue to support the grid maintenance costs. So they have added a surcharge to every home that has solar and decreased the rate at which they would buy our excess power. There went the alleged savings. Let's face it, they were never trying to save us money. That would be a piss-poor business model. They wanted homeowners to spend money to augment the grid without having to spend their own money to build or expand power plants. I don't like being played.
I follow Musk fairly closely so I can only speak as to what Musk has said over the years.

His goal and through that his goal with Tesla and Solar City is to help shift our energy production away from dirty energy and towards sustainable, clean energy. Right now there is a need to be kept tied into traditional energy grids for reliability reasons, though from all Musk has said it wouldn't bother him at all if homes where independently powered through solar energy. This is a transitional stage that will last for quite awhile and companies are still finding their way. Musk knows this so his other prong of attack is helping energy companies make the transition to green technology.

Saying you can sell back energy to utilities is more of an advertisement play than an end goal. Musk knows that waving money in front of people gets their attention, just doing something because it is good appeals to a very small portion of society. So, the more positive spin you can put on something you pretty much have to do it because the consumer has made that rule not the companies.

Musk also has to show companies that turning green is profitable. This is the landmine strewn ground Musk is walking every time he pushes forward.

This surcharge is the fault of the utility company and not Solar City, I'd be pissed to but just make sure you are pissed at the right party.

For the record I'm not a Tesla/Solar City fan boy where they can do no wrong. I've been skeptical of some of Musks actions but over all Musk is doing more good than harm. You can't say that about to many billionaires out there.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:32 pm

Paulie: don't get stuck holding on to "old information." It prevents progress.

Twice now I have told you a simple "disconnect switch" is standard when connecting to the grid. The grid goes down, your home remains powered but no longer connected to the grid. Please stop carrying water for the fossil fuel industry.

Likewise, its been posted repeatedly in this forum that Green Energy is cost competitive with Fossil Fuels and even cheaper depending on what you add or exclude from either side.

Solar HOME roof is the Advertising. There are also solar driveways, sheds, siding, windows even solar astro-turf, these all being more expensive right now so not talked about. This is where the FEDS could provide the loans to fund all such installations with payback to be limited to the cost savings of the installers.

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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Paul Anthony » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:46 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Paulie: don't get stuck holding on to "old information." It prevents progress.

Twice now I have told you a simple "disconnect switch" is standard when connecting to the grid. The grid goes down, your home remains powered but no longer connected to the grid. Please stop carrying water for the fossil fuel industry.
You're mostly correct. A switch can be installed...after the installation and by someone else. The guys who sell and install these systems won't do it. They're just playing by the rules, which you have to follow if you want the tax credits and utility company rebates. Nothing says you can't hire an electrician to modify the system after the fact...until you get caught. 8-)
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote: Likewise, its been posted repeatedly in this forum that Green Energy is cost competitive with Fossil Fuels and even cheaper depending on what you add or exclude from either side.
I think you'll find it is cheaper than some fossil fuels, but not all. Natural gas is still the cheapest way.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:53 pm

Paulie: its disturbing that switches aren't mandated by law rather than outlawed? I wonder what lobbyist got than gem implanted?

Natural gas: the environmental cost of fracking is OUTRAGEOUS. Again: it all depends what you include and exclude. CLEAN vs DIRTY.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by ElectricMonk » Sun Oct 30, 2016 4:10 am

Thing is: if a significant number of people switch to home solar, demand for grid power will decrease and with it prices: why should I invest in a solar roof if I can save money when you do it?

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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Paul Anthony » Sun Oct 30, 2016 4:54 am

ElectricMonk wrote:Thing is: if a significant number of people switch to home solar, demand for grid power will decrease and with it prices: why should I invest in a solar roof if I can save money when you do it?
Not sure lower usage would result in lower prices. Just as they found it necessary to tack on a surcharge to solar users that weren't buying power, if too many people stop buying, the cost of maintaining the grid must be divided among fewer customers. That might mean higher prices.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Oct 30, 2016 11:43 am

It all works out: Let the Gubment fiddle while generally let the Market decide. But Paul is correct for the transition period. I could see all home owners paying a prorated share of the fixed costs of the grid and then off the hook for costs associated with actual power generation. The cost/charge curves would vary all over the place as the market adjusted to the new power system. It "has to and will happen", so just grab your socks.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Ken Fabos » Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:03 am

I've been expecting movement on building integrated solar - so far the add on version has dominated. Depending on how low prices get it could very well become a standard inclusion for re-roofing or new buildings. As could battery storage. Solar PV prices are predicted to drop significantly in the near future, independent of anything Tesla is doing.

How electricity pricing and markets are affected is another question. Here in Eastern Australia, there is both lots of sunshine and a National Electricity Market that currently supports variable, supply and demand driven wholesale pricing in 30min intervals, with some indications that it will reduce that to 5min blocks. High solar penetration means that during sunny daytimes what used to be the high priced peak demand period is becoming low priced. Battery storage that carries homes through one night can, if widely used, be enough to cut the peak off the evenings that follow every sunny day and force fossil fuel plant into ever greater, multi-day intermittency in response. Personally I think that is a step in the right direction.

In a somewhat ironic twist, in a fossil fuel dominated electricity grid the centralised fossil fuel plant is likely to bear most of the cost burden of renewable intermittency - becoming, like it or not, backup to ever greater amounts of renewable energy. Those will have to raise prices outside those sunny periods to retain the same incomes, which brings into focus the greater than average retail price true value of storage; the more they raise prices the more attractive both solar installations and storage will be. Raise them enough and people will go off-grid. It can be seen as a market emergent de-facto price on fossil fuels and could be used intelligently by policy makers as incentive both at the home owner as well as the utility level to push ahead with more investment in the transition to low emissions - or it can be treated as disruptive and reason to regulate to limit or prevent "excessive" intrusion of intermittent energy into the grid in order to preserve the fossil fueled status quo. Shifting existing fossil fuel plant into an interim role as backup to ever greater amounts of renewable energy - something that has been quite predictable - can and should be done, preferably in a planned and non-disruptive way, but without the foresight and planning and left wholly to "free" markets it can indeed be disruptive to incumbent businesses that are unwilling to embrace change.

No doubt operators of fossil fuel plant will consider it unfair that they bear this burden - but, hey, I think it's unfair that the burden of climate driven costs and consequences from unmitigated fossil fuel burning is going to be borne by tens of generations to come! I suppose it could be seen as doubly unfair on nuclear operators. Which tells me how important good policy for an orderly transition to low emissions is.

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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Hex » Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:10 am

Ken Fabos wrote:No doubt operators of fossil fuel plant will consider it unfair that they bear this burden - but, hey, I think it's unfair that the burden of climate driven costs and consequences from unmitigated fossil fuel burning is going to be borne by tens of generations to come! I suppose it could be seen as doubly unfair on nuclear operators. Which tells me how important good policy for an orderly transition to low emissions is.
This bothers me the most about dirty energy. If it is spewing pollution into the air, the damage caused by fracking, oil spills amongst many other environmental and health hazards, energy companies are quick to bitch about unfair costs to them but want you to shut the {!#%@} up about the real and permanent damage they are doing to Earth. They are all about profits and capitalization of gains for them, but are more than happy to socialize the damage they have caused, putting all the cost on taxpayers around the world.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Paul Anthony » Mon Oct 31, 2016 4:51 pm

Ken $ Hex,

I understand your positions, but if it seems I just don't get as upset it is because I have the good fortune of living in an area where water and power are supplied by the Salt River Project. SRP is a public/private partnership that started by providing hydroelectric power. It has expanded, as the greater Phoenix area has expanded, to include other sources of electricity. SRP is part owner of the Palo Verde Nuclear plant, has it's own solar farm and continues to generate hydroelectric power. But, because of the level of consumption in the valley, they also operate some fossil fuel plants. Those are only online during peak hours. It is an intelligent blend of resources, conscientiously providing for the needs of the community. I can't ask for much more.

Solar will continue to expand here, but the population and the per-household consumption also continues to expand. Someday, maybe we will only use renewable sources, but we are a long way from that day.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Hex » Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:36 pm

Paul Anthony wrote:Ken $ Hex,

I understand your positions, but if it seems I just don't get as upset it is because I have the good fortune of living in an area where water and power are supplied by the Salt River Project. SRP is a public/private partnership that started by providing hydroelectric power. It has expanded, as the greater Phoenix area has expanded, to include other sources of electricity. SRP is part owner of the Palo Verde Nuclear plant, has it's own solar farm and continues to generate hydroelectric power. But, because of the level of consumption in the valley, they also operate some fossil fuel plants. Those are only online during peak hours. It is an intelligent blend of resources, conscientiously providing for the needs of the community. I can't ask for much more.

Solar will continue to expand here, but the population and the per-household consumption also continues to expand. Someday, maybe we will only use renewable sources, but we are a long way from that day.
My opinion on the matter is from the global perspective, not just about one area. This problem exists everywhere. Canada gets a lot of its energy from hydro damns but they too are not the best option. They carry with it a lot of environmental damage, but there is no denying it is worlds better than coal or oil. Energy has become just as important to humanity as things like air and water, the problem is often the air and water is sacrificed to get that energy.

I don' think it is all hopeless, I think that many people just assume that the smart people are going to figure it out and they either have to do nothing or a bare minimum. Not a lot of big picture thinkers in the general populace, the problems are just starting and most people today- when they think about the problem- think of it as something far in the future where they will be long dead and just shift this problem to their ancestors where they won't have the luxury of putting it off.

I've often thought that there should be some kind of repository that can memorialize the words and negative actions of those driving us off the cliff, so our future generations can give a name to the villian's of the past.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by ahhell » Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:26 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:I'm waiting for the breakthrough to turn UV light into electricity. Those should work at night......
What makes you think that UV solar panels would work at night?

The problem with both solar and wind is still storage.

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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Ken Fabos » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:55 pm

bobbo, I think that should be IR rather than UV - lots of back radiation in IR from sky and cloud as well as radiant heat from ground at night. I would like to see some serious R&D efforts towards making nantenna collectors workable as these could be IR collectors - the stumbling block to working nantenna apparently being fast acting diodes. They may even have potential application for making use of thermal storage and waste heat. BTW, it may be you would personally be advantaged by community solar schemes that can share their resources - if your site is unsuited to lots of PV perhaps it would suit some storage elements. Also, I would like to see grid operators be more accommodating of private supply arrangements between neighbours - those with excess supplying those without.

Paul, I think hydro goes very well with intermittent power like solar and wind - and it doesn't have to be dedicated pumped storage; many hydro operations can easily withhold supply during periods when other power is available (and prices are low) to maximise supply when it isn't. In a variable priced electricity market with lots of solar and wind that will probably happen purely to maximise financial returns.

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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Paul Anthony » Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:34 am

Hex wrote: I've often thought that there should be some kind of repository that can memorialize the words and negative actions of those driving us off the cliff, so our future generations can give a name to the villian's of the past.
Your wish has been granted. It's called the Internet.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Hex » Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:28 am

Paul Anthony wrote:Your wish has been granted. It's called the Internet.
People like to think that the internet is forever, but it isn't. Any dickhead stuff said by leaders of the oil industry will be largely forgotten 100 years from now. Some of what said in general will be remembered but who said what will be lost in the murkiness of time.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:55 am

Hex....thanks for the correction. It was actually a comment I had read on some article and it half stuck in my mind always interested in possible tech breakthroughs.

INDEED: co2 pollution, fossil fuels, green energy: are global in creation and global in impact. Thinking "you are "OK" in any context...is myopic to the point of willful ignorance.

Dams can hold back supply?===not in the Arid West....we can't get enough water. Of note: new tech making fresh water from ocean water. Hard to complete with "free" but that may become a requirement with 12 Billion people to hose down.

Saw a disturbing report on how states like Nevada and Florida, and too many others, have knuckled under to Big Fossil to put hurdles in the way of Green Energy. Yes...these malignant interests should be shamed and put in jail. They don't....because too many people get fooled by appeals to free market...... ha, ha........even when there is no free market. Just dog whistles. Paulie: can you feel me?

But I hope these asshatted executives pass into history soon and are forgotten. the future will have its own problems that need to be worked on.... not misremembering the past.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Ken Fabos » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:51 am

Dams can hold back supply?===not in the Arid West....we can't get enough water.
Bobbo - I presume you mean that hydro operations upstream holding back water would impact water supply down river? I'm not sure that running hydro generators less during sunny days and more at night would alter the total flow much. Extended windy conditions in the presence of major wind farms might prompt more extended variability of flow, however managing water flow for downstream users and environmental flows in coordination with hydro generation would seem to be an ongoing but standard balancing act and usually include obligations to maintain minimum flows. They don't always get it right; Tasmania's Hydro operators attempted to take advantage of higher coal power prices during Australia's brief period of carbon pricing, selling it across Bass Straight via the underwater HVDC link - but they bet wrong when drought meant the dams that were run lower than usual didn't get replenished as expected, and then the link that should have let them import electricity failed; major industrial users had supply limited, wholesale prices went skywards, high emissions diesel generators were rushed in at huge expense and wind farms, that could have supported the hydro began to look a lot more attractive.

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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:35 am

Ken: good catch. I was only thinking about total water supply and that we have a shortage. I think most Western Dams have been running at minimum flows as they are all at record lows...some so low they can't even run generators.....supposed to be a "real" wakeup call should that happen at Hoover Dam and Lost Wages closes down.

I'm no hydrologist, but I think at minimum flows they pretty much have to be constant in order to sustain the ecology...not a series of pulses. But...IDK. You are right that Dam Water has many uses and demands made on them with mostly historic water rights rather than rational needs taken into account. Who wins, and who loses when basic resources run short? Fun topic.
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Ken Fabos » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:11 pm

Bobbo, I'm not sure about environmental flows needing to be constant; a lot of variability, depending on regional climate, can be expected naturally and periodic flooding, for example, can be essential for floodplain ecosystems. Mistakes - if conservation of natural ecosystems are considered important - have been made with the use of dams to make flows more constant. Preventing floods and maintaining consistent water supply for agriculture have had priority over natural ecosystems around here, and still tend to win out in management decisions. Historic water rights, as you say, often play a large part; lots of water licenses that were sometimes way in excess of actual capacity got issued in the past, but often remain legally valid, with consequences that flow through into a future where climate and rainfall are significantly altered. (Thinking "The Water Knife"). Extremes of water flow either way, especially when they persist, have consequences though.

Circling back to the original topic - so far the Tesla roof tiles, which do look good, have not come with expected prices to go with them. Long life expectancy is one of the claims and that alters the cost analysis. Cost is the make or break issue of course. If, as a proportion of construction costs, having PV built in doesn't add too much it could easily be included simply as a deal "sweetener" by roofing manufacturers and construction companies. I think we are still in the midst of significant technological change that perhaps discourages the major investments in production that locks the manufacturers in. It's actually encouraging to know that there is still lots of room for PV and related technologies to be significantly improved. A single superior type of solar cell and low cost manufacturing process that blows the competition away and becomes the gold standard to be emulated remains a possibility.

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Hex
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by Hex » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:30 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Hex....thanks for the correction. It was actually a comment I had read on some article and it half stuck in my mind always interested in possible tech breakthroughs.
No problem.
But I hope these asshatted executives pass into history soon and are forgotten. the future will have its own problems that need to be worked on.... not misremembering the past.
I'm of the exact opposite in my thinking. I want these asshats to be remembered and their family names to go down in in history infamously. A lot of these rich guys don't want that kind of legacy to pass on to their future generations or to be remembered as an idiot.

I want that so much for them.
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IN KUBRICK'S 2001
RESURRECT DEAD
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Re: Elon Musk: Making the Future: All Homes to be Solar

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Nov 02, 2016 1:46 am

Ken: looks like we've seen and agree with the same tv shows and magazine articles. good to see as its been about three to one against the validity of AGW around here. With Hex, we may have reached parity....so of course the deniers have not entered this thread.

Hex: Course: a very good example of an asshat is John D Rockefeller who built Standard Oil in many viscious criminal way including the buying and termination of many public transport systems in order to build the demand for his petroleum products. "But that is History" and I don't see much of the import of what he did as a continuing active issue: beyond Standard/Exxon using FUD to deny AGW which actually is pretty close and very much worse....but still different.

No, I have a "general philosophy" that fits here: look to the future. LEARN from the past, but do not dwell on it. It seems the generic better attitude. I will always accept exceptions.
Real Name: bobbo the contrarian existential pragmatic evangelical anti-theist and Class Warrior.
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