Author Topic: Open discussion on future Power.  (Read 8779 times)

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Offline PeterG

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Open discussion on future Power.
« on: March 20, 2011, 09:31:29 am »
OK, this forum is full of EEs, so i would like to hear what people have to say about Solar, Nuclear or other power sources nations can implement.

I know some people will find it hard not to rant about different type of energy, but it will be interesting.

I am all for subsidized grid connect solar systems.

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Offline Zero999

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2011, 09:39:12 am »
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2011, 10:23:33 am »

I am all for subsidized grid connect solar systems.



I'm just setting one up as i type (just need to connect the panels to the GT inverter), it is not subsidized though as my roof is not south facing so I'm putting in my own on my shed roof that is south facing, I have 90W of panels at the moment but hope to increase later. Was nice and sunny yesterday but was without a ladder, today it is a bit cloudy - bugger - still never mind at least I can measure the system performance in cloud and know my min spec

There's already a thread about this.
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=2860.msg38121#msg38121

Except that has now become a big discussion on nuclear safety last time i looked (although it started as a generic thread like this one) perhaps we could use this thread to discuss more widely the various renewable methods.
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Offline PeterG

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2011, 10:29:07 am »
Yes, we are all well aware of the nuclear safety issues, i would like to avoid going over old ground regarding this.

I am aiming for a more technical discussion of all options(without being distracted by rants).

Regards
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Offline Zero999

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2011, 10:31:30 am »
I'm just setting one up as i type (just need to connect the panels to the GT inverter), it is not subsidized though as my roof is not south facing so I'm putting in my own on my shed roof that is south facing, I have 90W of panels at the moment but hope to increase later. Was nice and sunny yesterday but was without a ladder, today it is a bit cloudy - bugger - still never mind at least I can measure the system performance in cloud and know my min spec
Are you selling the power back to the grid? If so, what rate are you getting?

I have some solar panels on my shed charging a couple of SLAs just to power the lighting in there, as it saves having to dig up the garden and lay armoured mains cable.
 

Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2011, 10:37:42 am »
nuclear, fussion. solar with many mirror panel like Dave posted.
i almost cancelled this, but looking back at the thread topic, its generally all about future power, not just renewable. renewable is good, but with limitation.
but i will look into solar and wind. water (dam) energy is already implemented in many countries and thats renewable.
if something can select, how cant it be intelligent? if something is intelligent, how cant it exist?
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2011, 11:35:17 am »

Are you selling the power back to the grid? If so, what rate are you getting?

I have some solar panels on my shed charging a couple of SLAs just to power the lighting in there, as it saves having to dig up the garden and lay armoured mains cable.

No as it is only 90W worth of panels I'll be using it before it "get out" (or at least I hope so). I can't get one of the subsidized setups as my roof is not south facing. To be honest this subsidized business pisses me off. If the panel were just cheaper people could buy their own and do as they please. I'm sure the government are getting well ripped off as they (and possibly the EU are involved) are just forking out money to meet targets. The current offer is a free system if you have a south facing roof and they pay you £800 a year to have the instalation. You can use the power yourself and reduce your bill the rest they sell back. What they of course fail to point out is that you only use the power if your inside on a sunny day as it is not stored so they sell much of it back. What the goverment have not though of though is that I doubt the system will produce £800 worth of electric a year so it is again just money to meet targets with an exspensive shortcut (I use about £200-300 of electric a year)

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Offline Zero999

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2011, 11:55:17 am »
The government should just remove VAT from solar panels - a 20% discount should be enough to encourage many people to do it.

If you're not getting any money from selling power back then I'd be cynical as to how much you're saving. You solar panels will be producing most of the energy whilst you're at work and will be powering your fridge, freezer and any devices on standby, the rest of the power is going to the electricity company for free. There again, it's only 90W which might be around the same amount used by your home when you're not in, so it probably doesn't matter.

 

Offline Simon

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2011, 12:00:31 pm »
Well my plan later is to make an MPPT battery charge controller so that I store it for when I get home (particularly in view of the fact that it is now obvious that there needs to be plenty of sun on 90W of panels for the damn GTI to work in the first place).

I've got a 74Ah battery, should easily take 5A/h from the panels for a day or two
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Offline Simon

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2011, 02:29:09 pm »
what about home hydroelectric, I remember delivering papers locally to a row of houses and seeing a small stream running through all of the gardens and thinking how nice it would be to have small hydrosystems put in.

my solar system is currently pumping up to 45W back into the grid (not bad for 90W of panels just slapped on a shed roof with a 90% efficiency in the inverter). Hopefully I'll expand it later.

Panels on ebay are much cheaper than even from the sellers own website. You can pay under £2/W now and hopefully prices drop further (of course fuel is always going up)
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Offline Zero999

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2011, 04:09:47 pm »
my solar system is currently pumping up to 45W back into the grid (not bad for 90W of panels just slapped on a shed roof with a 90% efficiency in the inverter). Hopefully I'll expand it later.
What do you mean? Your panels are generating 45w?

Have you measured how much power is being used when only the appliances you have on when you're out powered?

I've got a 74Ah battery, should easily take 5A/h from the panels for a day or two

A 7Ah battery isn't much. I have two 12V 14Ah batteries in seires hooked up to a couple of 3W solar panels on my shed, just to power the lights.

You could use DC in your house for the lighting. You could buy 12V/24V/48V CFLs, replace all the  230V mains lamps with them and use the existing wiring. You'll need to check that the wiring can handle the higher current requirement though. When the battery voltage is too low, connect the batteries to a mains powered charger and when it's too high dump the excess voltage into a resistor or connect a grid tie inverter. It probably isn't worth it for such a small set up though.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2011, 04:14:18 pm »
yes the panels are making (were before cloud came) up to 55W but 10% is lost in the grid tie inverter.

I don't have enough capability to make going to 12V lighting worth while. The bulbs costs a fortune and I'd need to do more wiring to connect them to the battery. I have setup the simplest solution as an extension was needed in the shed anyhow.

At max output I may get 5amps, so a 74Ah capacity should handle it if i discharge daily
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Offline Zero999

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2011, 04:29:22 pm »
Oh yes, I thought you said 7Ah, 74Ah is more than enough.

I found some cheap Chinese DC CFLs. Another option is just using standard fluorescents and a DC ballast.

http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/372711405/DC_energy_saving_lamp.html
 

Offline Zad

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2011, 04:42:49 pm »
It depends what each individual's intentions are. If they are to be "green" then forget photovoltaics and go with water heating panels. The net efficiency of even basic panels is better than expensive PVs, and they are much cheaper and use less energy and fewer resources in their manufacture. If the correct building codes were introduced, thermal panels on every new house in the UK would massively reduce carbon emissions.

Offline Simon

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2011, 05:56:41 pm »
If they are to be "green" then forget photovoltaics and go with water heating panels. The net efficiency of even basic panels is better than expensive PVs,

but we still need electricity and electricity is 3 times the price of gas that I heat my water with. And the production of electricity by the grid is very poorly efficient (lots of pollution) and I dare say thee are more transmission losses than piping gas.
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Offline PeterG

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2011, 09:28:14 pm »
Here in Australia the government has set up a Carbon Credit scheme. The basic idea is, these credits can be 'traded'. Using this system i can trade my credits for a discount on a solar PV or a solar hot water system. The end result is a fully installed 1.5kW Grid Connect PV system for around $2000AUD. I am still wondering if signing over my credits is a good thing or not but that is another issue.

The power companies will credit you for the kW/h you have put out to the grid. Here in NSW i think they pay 21cents per kWh.

Regards
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2011, 02:38:52 am »
Here in Australia the government has set up a Carbon Credit scheme. The basic idea is, these credits can be 'traded'. Using this system i can trade my credits for a discount on a solar PV or a solar hot water system. The end result is a fully installed 1.5kW Grid Connect PV system for around $2000AUD. I am still wondering if signing over my credits is a good thing or not but that is another issue.

That's a hard call. We wanted to install a solar system but didn't want to hand back the credits, because it looks like it just contributes to a corruptible system, as any system that involves "trading" ultimately will end up being I suspect. It' really hard to get an overall take on how such a system works.

The proper solution is to simply tax dirty unrenewable energy, and put the money towards encouraging sustainable energy. But everyone wants something for nothing, like all the idiots who bitch about the price of petrol  ::)

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Offline PeterG

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2011, 03:26:14 am »
I really think people are better off hanging on to there credits for now. i feel in the near future, they will be a lot more valuable due to the cost of energy and the new carbon tax. Ultimately i am aiming to produce more energy than i use therefor running the house at zero cost.

As for the price of petrol, well, what can i say, i choose to drive a nissan x-trail so i also choose to pay whatever the pump price is. There is nothing anyone can do about the price of petrol.

Of all the media rants regarding oil prices etc there is only one sure thing, it will run out sometime. When is not clear, but it is a certainty.

We need to develop new and vastly improved sources of energy and as things stand now, little is being done by governments around the world apart from using it as an excuse to tax people further. I believe we will see people developing there own sources of energy, such as solar and wind just to survive, as the cost of energy increases beyond there income.

This is where this thread comes in. What energy options do people have now and what do they think they will have in the future?

Regards
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2011, 03:46:20 am »
This is where this thread comes in. What energy options do people have now and what do they think they will have in the future?

For many years now I've being paying about 50% extra for 100% wind power from the grid.
I'd love to have rooftop solar for the sheer coolness of it, but ultimately I know it's quite inefficient in term of material costs over larger industrial scale installations that power the grid. Everyone having that, whist a nice idea, is likely not the best solution.
So that's why I choose to put my money toward supporting the renewable energy industry as whole.

Dave.
 

Offline PeterG

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2011, 04:05:24 am »
I think hydo-electric systems based on tide changes are looking promising, but it will need a lot more cash investment for research.

Home solar system could work for domestic energy requirement i believe. All it would take is a few changes to the way people use energy at home.
Every day i hear people bitching about how much power has gone up and how expensive peoples bills are. If the same people had domestic solar, the same bill could be reduced, provided they own there own property. Solar is not the most efficient but it is a source that works for now until something better comes along.

I think the most cost effective source of power for domestic use is wind, a 1kW wind turbine can be installed for under $1500AUD if you shop around, which is a lot cheaper per kW than solar. However it does require a fair amount of area and is not feasible for most Sydney homes.

In the end, we only have Water, Wind, Thermal and Sunlight to provide us with energy.

Regards
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Offline Simon

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2011, 07:14:30 am »
What I'm becoming ever more annoyed about is the amount of money the goverment is trashing into these home solar systems just to put statistics right. They will pay for a 3KW system and pay you £800 a year while letting you use as much of the power as you can. Yes this is a win win for the end user but I resent my taxes been used so when this country is supposed to be in so much trouble and I'm being taxed to bits to put it right. Naturally the scheme is not means tested.

Last time I looked setting up my own system and selling back to the grid was a waste of time. They wanted something like £150 to put in the new meter and were only going to pay me 1/4 the purchase price of power.

I also don't "buy" this buying of renewable energy, when companies turn up and tell me that they can supply me 100% renewable i would say ok and what if we all buy 100% renewable. There is not the capacity to do that yet. Oh but let me guess we are buying "carbon credits" from third world countries that don't even have much means to have a carbon foot print. So really it's not green power at all, Iid just be paying someone off to be able to say I'm "green".

My biggest fears for future renewables is the government red tape and general policies bullshit.

In the UK people hate wind turbines and plenty of people are prepared to lie yes just ourightly lie about them making a lot of noise that they don't. How these people are even allowed to spill so much rubbish "on air" really pisses me off. Just the other day someone on the radio described having a wind turbine near his parents house was like having a 747 nose down at the end of the garden and the horendours noise. Another person very politely corrected him, If it had been me I'd have called him a big fat lier, unfortunately the general stupid public still beleive these lies and people are allowe to go around lying just to protect their view probably in the name of freedom of speech.
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Offline Excavatoree

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2011, 07:43:22 pm »
The stupidest use of Photovoltaic Panels was an installation I saw that used two panels, approximately 1.25 meter by 2 meter to power a resistance hot water heater used to heat a quantity of water.  Why would one waste PV panels in this way when a direct heat exchanger is so much more efficient?  Am I missing something?

(It was a government installation, of course.)  They were very proud of it, with a nice sign and description of the system.  Sadly, I was the only person looking at it and doing the facepalm.)
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2011, 07:47:47 pm »
leave anything up to the government and they get it totaly wrong. I just read that in the UK funds have been cut for large installations to be diverted to home grid tie systems that they admit cost more.

My turn for a facepalm, wtf ???
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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2011, 09:29:18 pm »
Here in Australia the government has set up a Carbon Credit scheme.  ......................... The end result is a fully installed 1.5kW Grid Connect PV system for around $2000AUD.  ....................
The power companies will credit you for the kW/h you have put out to the grid. Here in NSW i think they pay 21cents per kWh.

Government is the real enemy here with neither quality engineering or simple common sense getting much of a look in.

The rebate price for grid connected power here in NSW has been 20c/KWh then up to 60c/KWh and then back to 21c/KWh, to satisfy the political expediency of the moment. Just like the prior botched efforts in a pink batts scheme, this has all serves to discourage vendors from investing in better technology. In Australia at least you would have to have rocks in your head to consider any business venture influenced by perpetually inconsistent government policy.

I don't think there are many who would suggest ongoing pollution is desirable or sustainable, bu to be honest I've had a gutful of actors. poets, politicians and out of touch academics putting forward all manner of crackpot suggestions.
Our Prime Minister tried to justify latest round of "cost us all a packet" schemes, with a statement about China shutting down a coal fired power station per day. She was correct the devil in her droning detail was her deliberate omission of mention of the number of newer more efficient coal fired power stations being commissioned in the same region. Even from a cursory glance it's looking like China is doing the smarter thinking.

At current pricing and technology domestic rooftop solar, windmills etc are not going to cut it when it comes to meeting our energy needs. That is not to say they shouldn't be encouraged but some common sense and engineering without emotion is sadly lacking from current policy.

Got the 2.5Kw of rooftop solar onto my parents place at the 60c rate I calculate payback of around 4 years after all the rebates. At 21c there is no way it is could be practical or economical. The evacuated tube solar hot water that went in at the same time with much less fuss or fanfare is actually a much bigger saving in ongoing power costs and pollution reduction.

We have numb-skulls here pushing for a carbon tax which will achieve nothing other than to jack up prices and to relocate the last of our industry offshore.

Good engineering is doing things better and problem solving, current government policy is sending companies keen on developing better technologies broke. Madness pure and simple,but that's what you get when you let an idiot merchant banker decide what light globes we should use and then vote doctors wives and lunatics into balance of power status. Not much hope of common sense or good engineering this side of another federal election.

Nuclear I'm in two minds, there is no reason why it shouldn't be safe, no reason why it cannot be safe. That Japan's nuclear power stations have suffered as little damage as they have in an environment that has been desolated is testament to their design. That is not saying they're not in a scary state just now. Back in Australia, whilst I'm pro nuclear in concept I'm loathe to hand the keys to governments who cannot even run trains on time or make sensible decisions on the sale of light globes.

In summary there is definitely a position vacant for good engineering design of our power generation. Sadly the political environment almost guarantees investing in such ventures will see you do your money. From what I see in Europe, the USA and UK the situations there are not that different.     
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Open discussion on future Power.
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2011, 09:43:15 pm »
The stupidest use of Photovoltaic Panels was an installation I saw that used two panels, approximately 1.25 meter by 2 meter to power a resistance hot water heater used to heat a quantity of water.  Why would one waste PV panels in this way when a direct heat exchanger is so much more efficient?  Am I missing something?
What about using both PV cells and heat exchangers? A solar cell is only something like 20% efficient and works better at lower temperatures anyway so it could be cooled by water which is heated for home use.
 


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