PowerSwitch Main Page
PowerSwitch
The UK's Peak Oil Discussion Forum & Community
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Is current PV solar viable?
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    PowerSwitch Forum Index -> General Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Vortex



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 6097

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:12 pm    Post subject: Is current PV solar viable? Reply with quote

(This should be in the 'solar' topic but I feel that it's important to raise the profile of my comments)

My cheap panels from Maplin have arrived.

I had expected a small box ... but the 60 watt panel came in a large package weighing 35kg!

I have opened one of the 4.8 watt 'small' panels ... even this is LARGE and HEAVY!

I haven't done the calculations but I can't see any way that all the energy embedded in making and transporting these monstrous things can be recovered any time soon.

If these are typical PV technology, I suspect a 2000 watt set up would collapse my roof!

There is NO WAY I am buying any more solar in this format unless I simply can't find an alternative.

No wonder wind power appeals to many.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rs



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Vortex,

I think the panels you have bought are very similar to the individual 12W ones I got from Maplin.

As they are amorphous panels they are generally a lot bigger than their monocrystalline counterparts.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mitch



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 458
Location: Grand Union Canal, London

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My panels haven't arrived yet, (tomorrow, hopefully), but the spec says:

70 watts - (3.5 anp in reality, so about 40 watts)

3.5mm thick x 700mm wide x 800mm long

3.5 Kg.

Cost me ?425.00 each - but bulk order - expect a little more if one's and two's.

Will post to confirm as soon as I have them.
_________________
Mitch - nb Soma


Last edited by Mitch on Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Yahoo Messenger
Vortex



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 6097

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They have used a ton of oil & energy to get made ... and then they are shipped across from China ... and packed for retail ... and shipped across the UK ... and then use batteries and wiring etc than I add on ....

all for 4.8 watts (or 60 watts) ...

Madness.

I suspect they would have to last many decades to pay for themselves.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Vortex



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 6097

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mitch wrote:
My panels haven't arrived yet, (tomorrow, hopefully), but the spec says:

70 watts - (3.5 anp in reality, so about 40 watts)

3.5mm thick x 700mm wide x 800mm long

3.5 Kg.

Cost me ?425.00 each - but bulk order - expect a little more if one's and two's.

Will post to confirm as soon as I have them.


Can your boat support this lot?

Solar cells don't work well under water.

If you had bought your system as 60 watt units from Maplin the shipping weight would be around 875 kg .... nearly one tonne!

You could also build a fair sized hut from the stacked boxes!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
contadino



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1268
Location: Puglia, Italia

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't it the case that the high level of redundancy in PV modules in the UK climate makes them less viable? The iridescence (is that the right word?) is lower in the UK than warmer climates..?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
biffvernon



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 18551
Location: Lincolnshire

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

contadino wrote:
iridescence (is that the right word?)
That's what make butterflies and starlings pretty.
irradiance?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
skeptik



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2969
Location: Costa Geriatrica, Spain

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

contadino wrote:
Isn't it the case that the high level of redundancy in PV modules in the UK climate makes them less viable? The iridescence (is that the right word?) is lower in the UK than warmer climates..?

Insolation is (I think) the word you're looking for. Iridescence is an optical effect of certain repeating nano structures, seen in oil on water, sea shells, insect wings, CDs
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MacG



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2863
Location: Scandinavia

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Is current PV solar viable? Reply with quote

Vortex wrote:
I haven't done the calculations but I can't see any way that all the energy embedded in making and transporting these monstrous things can be recovered any time soon.


I did some math on solar PV some 7-8 years ago, and arrived at the conclusion that they did NOT represent any kind of "alternative" energy.

Solar PV are completely fossil energy and don't recover the embedded energy during their lifetimes.

Solar PV can be a handy way to get electricity in off-grid locations where it's cheaper than pulling a copper wire tens of kilometers. They could indeed be really smart investments because they will become more expensive when oil gets more expensive. If you buy solar PV panels today, you could enjoy electric light 20 years from now at today's cost.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Andy Hunt



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 6760
Location: Bury, Lancashire, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Is current PV solar viable? Reply with quote

MacG wrote:
Vortex wrote:
I haven't done the calculations but I can't see any way that all the energy embedded in making and transporting these monstrous things can be recovered any time soon.


I did some math on solar PV some 7-8 years ago, and arrived at the conclusion that they did NOT represent any kind of "alternative" energy.

Solar PV are completely fossil energy and don't recover the embedded energy during their lifetimes.

Solar PV can be a handy way to get electricity in off-grid locations where it's cheaper than pulling a copper wire tens of kilometers. They could indeed be really smart investments because they will become more expensive when oil gets more expensive. If you buy solar PV panels today, you could enjoy electric light 20 years from now at today's cost.


EXACTLY - which means they have ADDED VALUE . . . the convenience of having electricity as opposed to not having it, and security from energy price rises.

They will eventually recover their embedded energy in any case, if undamaged - the guarantee is normally 25 years but I would have thought they would last decades if looked after, albeit not at their initial power rating.
_________________
Andy Hunt
http://greencottage.burysolarclub.net
Eternal Sunshine wrote:

I wouldn't want to worry you with the truth. Rolling Eyes
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Moadib



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vortex wrote:
They have used a ton of oil & energy to get made ... and then they are shipped across from China ... and packed for retail ... and shipped across the UK ... and then use batteries and wiring etc than I add on ....

all for 4.8 watts (or 60 watts) ...

Madness.

I suspect they would have to last many decades to pay for themselves.


Shipped across China? LOL! Smile

Energy is put in to make silicon metal, which is shipped to polysilicon manufacturers to make polySi. That ships to Si wafer makers (mainly Japan), who process single crystal silicon. The scrap ships to China, usually airfreight due to high demand, and used in the manufacture of cells. The cells are then shipped again to the markets worldwide, where someone buys them, thinking they're being "green".

There's potential to be more energy positive, but the current model is far from a good EROEI.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
skeptik



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2969
Location: Costa Geriatrica, Spain

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Is current PV solar viable? Reply with quote

Vortex wrote:

If these are typical PV technology, I suspect a 2000 watt set up would collapse my roof!

There is NO WAY I am buying any more solar in this format unless I simply can't find an alternative.


Flexible thin film PV which comes in a roll is in the pipeline. Just give it a few years to ramp up. Conversion efficieny is also slowly ramping up. When I first has a PV panel in my mitt, (a long time ago!) it was about 3% Now the commercially available state of the art is about 20% . expect better in years to come.

Sustainable? Copper is probable the limiting resource.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rs



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:08 am    Post subject: Re: Is current PV solar viable? Reply with quote

Andy Hunt wrote:
...EXACTLY - which means they have ADDED VALUE . . . the convenience of having electricity as opposed to not having it, and security from energy price rises.

They will eventually recover their embedded energy in any case, if undamaged - the guarantee is normally 25 years but I would have thought they would last decades if looked after, albeit not at their initial power rating.


That's exactly my reason for buying into them. It's difficult to justify on a 'being green' level but by buying some now cheaply hopefully they will prove their worth in the years to come.

One thing that does worry me is having a huge setup on the roof of my house would act as a beacon to all the thieving gits out there so my system will be as portable as possible i.e. I can put it out in the garden during the day and indoors at night.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
IanG



Joined: 23 Jan 2008
Posts: 263

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mitch wrote:
70 watts - (3.5 anp in reality, so about 40 watts)

Cost me ?425.00 each - but bulk order - expect a little more if one's and two's.



Thats still not that good a deal.

I've got loads of 180w Sharp panels (made in Wales) at ?500 plus vat if you want to pm me.

My company is due to go into its commercial launch later this month.

Customers will be able to switch from their current supplier to Stortford Green. We will then survey their home to see if its suitable for microgenation technologies.

If it is, we will fund the installation and it will all be paid for via the energy bill.

We believe we are the first full renewable energy services company (ESCo) in the UK.

We only install financially viable technologies. That's because unless it pays for its self we go bust Wink

Oh and one more thing, the energy you use over the amount you generate also comes from renewable sources.

Regards


Ian G
www.StortfordGreen.com
_________________
Director
Renewable Energy Services
www.My-Power.co.uk
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
IanG



Joined: 23 Jan 2008
Posts: 263

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

contadino wrote:
Isn't it the case that the high level of redundancy in PV modules in the UK climate makes them less viable? The iridescence (is that the right word?) is lower in the UK than warmer climates..?


Southern UK has the same levels as Germany where they have 300,000 installations compared to our 1,500.

Has more to do with government policy, than light levels.
_________________
Director
Renewable Energy Services
www.My-Power.co.uk
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    PowerSwitch Forum Index -> General Discussion All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group