Why not solar power in the desert? He...

Why not solar power in the desert? Here's why a " Conrad Kramer,

There are 14 comments on the San Diego Union-Tribune story from Jan 6, 2011, titled Why not solar power in the desert? Here's why a " Conrad Kramer,. In it, San Diego Union-Tribune reports that:

Wea ve all grown up in love with the idea of renewable energy helping to reduce our negative impact on the planet.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at San Diego Union-Tribune.

Solarman

Palm Desert, CA

#1 Jan 8, 2011
Put the solar PV on your roof where it is an excellent peak generation source. The power is consumed where it is generated, no line losses and any excess will be used locally, your next door neighbor. Less of a need for power corridors. That being said, if this country is truly going to shift to more electric powered vehicles, then more baseline power sources need to be put online and the power corridors will then need to be built. Unless you can convince investment firms that producing a (storage) system for the home (battery pack)? is the way to go, the power corridor is the next option for power distrubution. I was hoping that news like EEStor was going to be an available item for the homeowner to store energy instead of vaporware. There is still a lot of research going on in the nano storage arena. Researchers like Ana Belcher may actually get large scale nano technology online that can grow batterys at the nano scale. Self assembling nano technology may be the way to go for a cheap mass produced product.
LMAO

Irvington, KY

#2 Jan 8, 2011
Solarman wrote:
Put the solar PV on your roof where it is an excellent peak generation source. The power is consumed where it is generated, no line losses and any excess will be used locally, your next door neighbor.
How do you get from DC Current to AC Current without a Inverter that is between 80-90% efficent ??
Solarman

Palm Desert, CA

#3 Jan 8, 2011
LMAO wrote:
<quoted text> How do you get from DC Current to AC Current without a Inverter that is between 80-90% efficent ??
What inverter would you be talking about? High voltage inverters used in series string grid tie applications are from 92 to 97% efficient, the California CEC has a whole list of inverters and their efficiencies listed, I believe KACO has a product that gets 97% for a grid tied system. Even the Xantrex XW6048 inverter is around the 90 to 95% efficiency and it can be used as a grid tied inverter, grid tied with battery backup or as an off grid system with the same inverter. You've got your systems screwed up. Battery backed will always be less efficient than grid tied. If you use lead acid batteries you can get 85% overall efficiency in the system. If you go with nickel iron the system efficiency drops to 65 to 70% because of the battery charateristics. Right now, grid tied, panel micro-inverter is the most efficient solar PV system one can buy. The storage systems I'm talking about would be high voltage storage, no transformer losses to switch low voltage DC up to AC. It depends on what you do. I have a co-worker that's into solar as a hobby. He buys old panels and system components at swap meets, then barters for components he might need. He installed a D.C. circuit in his house to run a few LED lights and a few D.C. driven room fans. On a cloudless full moon night the fans actully turn, although real slow directly from the panels. His system is not high tech, it can't run his home, but it cost a LOT less than 50K and does reduce his monthly electric bill. This guy has done for hundreds of dollars what many have spent thousands of dollars to acheive. YOU pencil too much and think too little.
LMAO

Irvington, KY

#4 Jan 8, 2011
Xantrex XW6048 Thats a nice inverter, Kind of pricey $3-5,000. I think it's been discontinued though.48 v dc takes a lot of batteries. I don't know about Xantrex anymore, ever since Schneider Electric bought them warranty service has gone down hill. They don't want to use field service any longer, got to send it in.
Solarman

Palm Desert, CA

#5 Jan 8, 2011
LMAO wrote:
Xantrex XW6048 Thats a nice inverter, Kind of pricey $3-5,000. I think it's been discontinued though.48 v dc takes a lot of batteries. I don't know about Xantrex anymore, ever since Schneider Electric bought them warranty service has gone down hill. They don't want to use field service any longer, got to send it in.
True, the Xantrex system is at the high end of the solar price range. You can find almost the same prices from Sunnyboy and other inverter manufacturers. I have recently met with two of the service representatives at field sites. James Goodnight is very knowledgeable on solar PV in general. The engineering group out of Canada is also knowledgeable on the product line. I had the opportunity to work with one of their engineers on a communications protocol record program. I believe her name is Ying Gran, she has a good understanding of the Modbus protocol used in the Xantrex system gateway interface. Most of the inverter manufacturers do want to do an exchange instead of field service call. It is easier to swap a few wires and get the system back up and running instead of swapping modules.
LMAO

Irvington, KY

#6 Jan 8, 2011
Solarman wrote:
<quoted text> Most of the inverter manufacturers do want to do an exchange instead of field service call. It is easier to swap a few wires and get the system back up and running instead of swapping modules.
You think it's easier that way ?? Someone has to pull a 80 Lb Inverter and box it and ship off somewhere and try to communicate the issue with a bench tech that has limited knowledge. What does a service call and the shipping back and forth worth ?? I guess I don't see the logic.
Solarman

Yucca Valley, CA

#7 Jan 9, 2011
LMAO wrote:
<quoted text> You think it's easier that way ?? Someone has to pull a 80 Lb Inverter and box it and ship off somewhere and try to communicate the issue with a bench tech that has limited knowledge. What does a service call and the shipping back and forth worth ?? I guess I don't see the logic.
You would have to open up one of these inverters to truly appreciate how tightly packed with electrical and electronics they are. Like Variable frequency drives, you will have an input section D.C. CPU card with a combination or separate pre-driver board. Then at least a monitoring board and final drive board all crammed into a small space. You mentioned the Xantrex XW6048, inside this unit there is also a backup battery charger on top of the inverter circuitry. Swap out makes more sense and faster customer service.Let the electrician switch out the inverter, let the engineers figure out why the old unit failed.
LMAO

Irvington, KY

#8 Jan 9, 2011
Solarman wrote:
<quoted text>You would have to open up one of these inverters to truly appreciate how tightly packed with electrical and electronics they are. Like Variable frequency drives, you will have an input section D.C. CPU card with a combination or separate pre-driver board. Then at least a monitoring board and final drive board all crammed into a small space. You mentioned the Xantrex XW6048, inside this unit there is also a backup battery charger on top of the inverter circuitry. Swap out makes more sense and faster customer service.Let the electrician switch out the inverter, let the engineers figure out why the old unit failed.
I see it done quite often in the Xantrex Marine Inverters, 3 boards, quick and easy. The only reason to take one to the shop is for a bad transformer and that does not happen often.
Sustainable Future

Istanbul, Turkey

#9 Feb 13, 2011
This article shows nothing else than another roadblock to non-fossil fuel alternatives. If the US continues like this, it will be dependent not only on fossil fuels, but also on alternative technology from China and India. If there was such a resistance against air pollution during industrial revolution like there is currently against alternative energy, there would be no internet, no cars, no planes, probably we would be discussing the effects of the transcontinental railroad on turtle life and if this railroad should be built or not.
LMAO

Irvington, KY

#10 Feb 13, 2011
Sustainable Future wrote:
This article shows nothing else than another roadblock to non-fossil fuel alternatives. If the US continues like this, it will be dependent not only on fossil fuels, but also on alternative technology from China and India. If there was such a resistance against air pollution during industrial revolution like there is currently against alternative energy, there would be no internet, no cars, no planes, probably we would be discussing the effects of the transcontinental railroad on turtle life and if this railroad should be built or not.
It's what happens in a country when everyone wants to become a Intellectual leader, hell my company has a Mechanical Engineer running the mail room. We have lot's of Chiefs and no Indians, no one wants to get their hands dirty anymore.
Jim Fox

United States

#11 Mar 1, 2011
The solar projects that are being made in the desert do not use solar cells, they use solar collectors that heat fluids to run turbines and generators. ALl done with mirrors.
Solar cells are very expensive, take lots of energy to make, toxic by-products in manufacture, have a limited lifetime and are not very effecient and do not work well at all in the desert.
Solar cell theft is also a great problem and going to get worse. You will have to guard your house so people don;t steal the cells. This is not a problem with proposed generation facilities.

NASA has design drawings of solar collectors scald down to take up a typical residential lot and power several house. They look like giant microwave towers. Until then...

Also smaller (1 yard across) parabolic tracking reflectors that use fiber optics as light pipe to light up insides of buildings (when it is sunny) can help and can be made cost effective
Jim Fox

United States

#12 Mar 1, 2011
I meant the NASA generators look like giant satellite dishes, not "Microwave Towers"

“Be green. Help the planet.”

Since: Mar 11

Location hidden

#13 Mar 9, 2011
@Sustainable future- I don't think the article shows a road block in the wide-spread use of solar power. In fact, in the end it suggests using building and residential roofs for solar power, instead of the pristine deserts. And this really is a great idea because rooftops are an unused landscape, and should it be disturbed (like placing solar panels or collectors), it won't affect anything (or anyone like animals).
masterblaster

United States

#14 Mar 10, 2011
Deserts are like the surface of the moon......you want that to remain" pristine" too. The desert would not change because of a solar installation . The sidewinders and cactus will not notice.

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