Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

General Discussion about electric vehicles.
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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by sendler2112 » Dec 29, 2017 5:39 pm

billvon wrote:
Dec 29, 2017 4:22 pm
Right - but we are talking about electricity here.

Peak summer electric load in New York State: 33 gigawatts
Peak winter electric load in New York State: 24 gigawatts

Sounds like the increased availability of solar in the summer matches that pretty well.
Yes. We are discussing electricity only for now. 50 years until liquid fuel is priced out of reach. Maybe 80 years left for gas heat and electric if we frac every drop. Then 5X the need of current electricity demand. But solar generation does not meet demand in the winter. It is not a good match as MacKay and many others with open minds that have run the numbers have stated. Solar farm output will be 1/9th it's summer value all winter long all across NE USA and Northern Europe with many days on end near Zero.

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by sendler2112 » Dec 29, 2017 5:47 pm

billvon wrote:
Dec 29, 2017 4:26 pm
sendler2112 wrote:
Dec 29, 2017 11:45 am
What big changes in panel technology have occurred since Topaz that make it obsolete?
Mainly CdTe panels. CdTe panels are much less efficient than crystalline panels - but when the panels were ordered (2010) they were the cheapest option, because they were going for about $2 a watt and crystalline panels were going for $2.50-$3.00. In addition, CdTe panels have a wearout mechanism that means they are only good for a decade or so; their efficiency drops quite steeply as compared to crystalline panels (which see almost no degradation over time.)

Today crystalline panels are going for under $1.00 a watt, and so would have been the clear choice. It would also have decreased racking and wiring costs due to the higher areal efficiency.
So if Topaz is such a bad example can someone post a link to something they like better? To a completed large scale solar farm with published production data for a year or more and published cap costs and land use. We have posted Topaz, Solar Star, Ivanpah, and Andasol. And you guys choose to dismiss every one of those for one reason or the other. Post links to something better. Something real. Not bids.

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by billvon » Dec 29, 2017 7:03 pm

sendler2112 wrote:
Dec 29, 2017 5:39 pm
Yes. We are discussing electricity only for now. 50 years until liquid fuel is priced out of reach. Maybe 80 years left for gas heat and electric if we frac every drop. Then 5X the need of current electricity demand. But solar generation does not meet demand in the winter. It is not a good match as MacKay and many others with open minds that have run the numbers have stated. Solar farm output will be 1/9th it's summer value all winter long all across NE USA and Northern Europe with many days on end near Zero.
Right. So a facile approach would be to build 9 times more solar to meet the winter demand. With prices for solar steadily dropping, there will come a point where that's economical.

However, a wiser solution would be to rely on a range of renewable technologies. Say, wind, which is typically stronger in winter. In New England, for example, winds peak around Jan-Feb and decline to a minimum around July - an excellent match for the availability of solar. For heat, wood pellets are renewable, as is biogas. And a power facility that burns wood pellets and uses the waste heat for steam heating of nearby towns and cities solves two of those problems.

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=20112
--bill von

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by sendler2112 » Dec 29, 2017 8:07 pm

billvon wrote:
Dec 29, 2017 7:03 pm
a wiser solution would be to rely on a range of renewable technologies. .

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=20112
So for NY state 33 GW average electrical consumption summer and 24 GW winter we need 100GW of wind operating at 25% to get us through the winter weeks of Zero sun and another 60GW of solar PV when it will work at 25% in the summer for the increased consumption and decreased wind.
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We have adequate wind. On shore at the East end of Lake Erie and the Tug Hill Platue East of Lake Ontario and near shore off of Long Island.
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We can then use Lake Erie as hydro storage to fill in demand via Niagara Falls when we need it.
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How much land does this take? Modern Turbines at 30% are about 1 Watt/ meter^2.
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http://www.energyadvocate.com/fw84.htm
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100,000 km^2. Which is a square that is 182 km on a side for each of the three wind areas
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How much money?
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The biggest (cheapest) turbines are somewhere around $1.50/ Watt.
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$150 Billion
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Solar farms are still way over $2/ Watt installed in my area. And another 400km^2 land for the panels.
So another $120 Billion for the solar pv.
How do we do this. Private development of wind and solar has very few takers in NY even with 55% combined rebates and a $0.03 feed in tariff.
Last edited by sendler2112 on Dec 31, 2017 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by Hillhater » Dec 29, 2017 8:14 pm

I doubt you can get a hydro station to generate 20+ GWh,....so maybe add in a few hundred GW of batteries also,....for those overcast days or evenings when the wind doesnt actually blow.
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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by sendler2112 » Dec 29, 2017 10:01 pm

Niagara Falls hydro has 5 GW installed capacity. Shared 50%/ 50% with Canada. I couldn't find anything on actual production average. Massive as this hydro source is, it wouldn't come close to propping up a 100% RE blend of 24GW on long winter nights if the wind dies.
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These numbers are daunting. 100 GW of wind turbines. And this is for just 1 state out of 50 in the USA. And then 6X for the world.

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by Hillhater » Dec 29, 2017 11:41 pm

Even the 3Gorges hydro in china, with 22 GW of installed turbines, but is only rated at 45% CF and its best average output is just 11GW.
The numbers are too big to seriously contemplate, even for a small country like Australia.
What is worse is how the seemingly inevitable increasing cost of RE power is driving industry out of states and countries with high RE installations.
Currently, a delegation from Pennselvania state is visiting Australia encouraging businesses to relocate to the US and benefit from the lower power costs and corporate tax's.
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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by billvon » Dec 30, 2017 12:17 am

Hillhater wrote:
Dec 29, 2017 11:41 pm
What is worse is how the seemingly inevitable increasing cost of RE power is driving industry out of states and countries with high RE installations.
Yep. And countries with poor to no human rights have much lower labor costs; that's driving industry to them as well.

Seems like a poor argument to justify human rights abuses - even if you can get a beach chair at Wal-Mart for 30% less. (And a poor argument to justify dirty power.)
--bill von

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by Hillhater » Dec 30, 2017 1:34 am

Interesting ?, you are now associating increasing human rights abuse's with the uptake of RE power ! :o
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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by Chalo » Dec 30, 2017 4:08 am

Hillhater wrote:
Dec 30, 2017 1:34 am
Interesting ?, you are now associating increasing human rights abuse's with the uptake of RE power ! :o
I think he was correlating human rights abuses with the exploitation of labor arbitrage and with the unpenalized externalities of fossil energy.
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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by billvon » Dec 30, 2017 10:31 am

Hillhater wrote:
Dec 30, 2017 1:34 am
Interesting ?, you are now associating increasing human rights abuse's with the uptake of RE power ! :o
Not at all. I am saying that some things "driving industry out of states" are good - like human rights and worker protections. And if RE means that fewer people die overall, that's also good.
--bill von

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by Punx0r » Dec 30, 2017 12:05 pm

Hillhater wrote:
Dec 29, 2017 4:02 pm
Punx0r wrote:
Dec 29, 2017 8:48 am
I believe coal plants suffer a similar problem if they are located somewhere with no coal.....
Well actually NO.
....one of the often overlooked advantages of coal is that it can easily be transported and stored relatively cheaply...no special containers required. And most coal generators stockpile several weeks of fuel to guard against supply chain issues...even if they are not built on a coal source.
Coal requires a train or cargo ship to transport, electricity can be potentially be sent thousands of miles in a matter of seconds from wherever has available wind/solar/wave/hydro/geothermal. Before you say "that kind of grid would be difficult/expensive to build" take a good look at the complexity of the petroleum infrastructure. Take the Deepwater Horizon well: someone developed the technology and fronted the money to drill in over 4000ft of water to a total depth of over 35,000ft! That is hard! Even then the oil was 250 miles from anywhere useful and still had to be refined into a useable fuel.


Hillhater wrote:
Dec 29, 2017 4:02 pm

There are many problems with fossil fuels, not least being their ultimate exhaustion, but i believe that currently it is not possible to maintain a practical society without them.
Let us see how the pioneers of RE (Germany, Denmark, SAu, etc) make out in the future as they shut down those coal plants (but keep the Gas plants no doubt). How would the UK do if it didnt have the Nuclear, gas, and wood chip fired generators ? ...not to mention those interconnectors to France's nuclear power ?
Humanity is in no danger of running out of coal. There's more than enough to totally screw up our environment before we run short. The UK has largely switched from coal to natural gas, which is far from perfect, but it's all-round a better and cleaner fuel. It only take a series of manageable steps to get to a sustainable state of affairs. There is no need to view RE as "all or nothing", like we keep hearing, 100% solar won't work for the whole world today. That's hardly surprising nor is it a valid reason to dismiss it.

Yes, a world powered largely by RE may well require large amounts of battery storage. Yes that would be an expensive and technologically demanding task, but nothing like putting two or three personal cars on every driveway, which has already been done.

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by sendler2112 » Dec 30, 2017 12:35 pm

Punx0r wrote:
Dec 30, 2017 12:05 pm
There is no need to view RE as "all or nothing", like we keep hearing, 100% solar won't work for the whole world today. That's hardly surprising nor is it a valid reason to dismiss it.

Yes, a world powered largely by RE may well require large amounts of battery storage. Yes that would be an expensive and technologically demanding task, but nothing like putting two or three personal cars on every driveway, which has already been done.
Yes. We have done amazing things since the industrial revolution while expending huge amounts of fossil energy to do it. How much longer do you really think we will have cost effective crude oil and natural gas at current growth rates? Then what? We will at that point be left with coal and what ever rebuildables we have in place before liquid fuels and gas run low since we will be too busy trying to grow food and keep warm with the rest to build any big things after that. Rebuildables plus storage will be far less total energy and far less useful energy than we have now.
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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by Punx0r » Dec 30, 2017 7:01 pm

I don't understand how you can envision a future where the lights go out, people freeze in their homes and starve because there's no fuel for tractors. That would require a deliberate (and somehow irreversible) complete abandonment of fossil fuels with no viable alternative in place. Why would the various world leaders simultaneously chose to do that?

RE will (obviously) progressively increase it's share of the energy mix as it becomes technically and financially feasible to use more of it. Yes, in the near future when most personal vehicles, buses, delivery trucks etc are EV there will probably be a bunch of tractors and combines chugging away in fields on diesel (maybe bio-diesel) and it won't matter and no one will care.

As for where all the energy will come from to manufacture RE equipment, a commonly-cited criticism of RE is that excess capacity must be installed to ensure sufficient supply during periods of low sun/wind etc. So there's often a whole bunch of extra generating capacity available on an intermittent (but largely predictable) basis. If society really is scratching around for energy to make essential items then I'm sure we'll find a way to work according to when the sun shines.

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by sendler2112 » Dec 30, 2017 9:25 pm

Punx0r wrote:
Dec 30, 2017 7:01 pm
I don't understand how you can envision a future where the lights go out, people freeze in their homes and starve because there's no fuel for tractors. That would require a deliberate (and somehow irreversible) complete abandonment of fossil fuels with no viable alternative in place. Why would the various world leaders simultaneously chose to do that?
It's not deliberate. It's not up to us. Or the politicians. Or anyone. Whether fossil fuel becomes remote.
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Resources are finite. Depletion happens.
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We have been completely blinded by a cornucopian mindset of endlessly increasing access to fossil energy for the last 150 years. And it has been true up until very soon. All of our modern economic theories have been developed during the up swing of this one time carbon pulse. Embedded energy is made into everything around us. All of our stuff and infrastructure. This is why China uses most of the world's energy. Their people don't use much directly. They are making it into all of the stuff we consume. And buy with money. Money is a proxy for energy. And debt is a proxy for future energy. The debt bubble will burst at the first sign of diminshed growth of access to energy. And all of the best economists will wonder why when the answer is quite simple.
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Our resources are finite. And sooner than you think. People have very serious time bias. We are not evolved psychologically to worry much about the future beyond the maturity of our children. At the longest scale. And only very vaguely then. Most decisions look at years or the next election cycle.
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Liquid fuel is indispensible for agriculture, mining, and building big projects like hydro and wind turbines. Crude oil will be the first to spike. Cooking tar sands to get oil has an ER/EI of 8:1. Our economy was designed back in the days of100:1. When we really get desperate enough to rely in large part on fracking and tar sands, pricing will skyrocket to $200/ barrel.
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35 years. Or sooner. Tom Murphy made this graphic 10 years ago. We are now much closer to the top as far as crude oil goes and have long ago accessed all of the easy stuff.
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Natural gas will be right behind it in another 40 years with all of the increased consumption for electric generation we are adding. Then what?
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We better make damn sure we have everything built that we want before then because after that we will have no surplus energy to invest for the future. We will be scraping by, using everything we can frack to keep all of the economic plates spinning. If we want to stick any kind of graceful landing we need to stop everything superfluous and focus like a war time effort. The war on energy depletion.
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The numbers of what is needed are gigantic. Many different authors have written about it. Interestingly physics PHD's turned forward thinkers seem to be most commonly objective enough to realize the scale of our extreme predicament. Whenever I write about scale you guys fluff it off like we have it so under control. Solar and wind have been working dilligently for 7 years now with huge rebates and feed in tarrifs and have yet to scratch out 2% of total energy. You all say " if solar isn't enough to replace fossil fuel, we'll just build more." "we'll build more than more." We are running out of time and energy to build things and raw materials will come into play. renewables in this chart from 2015 includes 2% from biomass.
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There is no comparison to the density of liquid fuel. 1 tanker truck driving down the road next to you is carrying 9,000 gallons of diesel. 340 MWh of energy. Once this is out of reach, civilization will be much smaller, simpler. But we can focus what we have left to do the best we can to have electricity in the day and hopefully maintain chip manufacturing (and bicycles) for an internet of knowledge.
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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by billvon » Dec 31, 2017 1:02 am

sendler2112 wrote:
Dec 30, 2017 9:25 pm
The numbers of what is needed are gigantic. Many different authors have written about it. Interestingly physics PHD's turned forward thinkers seem to be most commonly objective enough to realize the scale of our extreme predicament. Whenever I write about scale you guys fluff it off like we have it so under control. Solar and wind have been working dilligently for 7 years now with huge rebates and feed in tarrifs and have yet to scratch out 2% of total energy.
The first coal power plant opened in 1882. That was 135 years to ramp up to the point where it supplies a big chunk of our power.

The first natural gas power plant opened in 1940. That's 77 years to ramp up.

We've done it before; we can do it again. It might take another 77 years. It might take a lot less if we put the effort into it,
You all say " if solar isn't enough to replace fossil fuel, we'll just build more." "we'll build more than more." We are running out of time and energy to build things and raw materials will come into play.
Hence the need for speed, and incentives to accelerate the buildout.
--bill von

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by Punx0r » Dec 31, 2017 9:06 am

OMG it's Thomas Malthus reborn...

"Peak oil" has been "now" according to some for decades. There's plenty. There's more in known reserves than can be burnt without smashing through globally agreed targets for climate change. And that's just crude oil.

Tar sands became viable when the price of oil rose. Oil was ~$150/bbl a couple of years ago. The world didn't stop. The global economy did not collapse.
The debt bubble will burst at the first sign of diminshed growth of access to energy. And all of the best economists will wonder why when the answer is quite simple.
Interesting. You can see it clearly now, but the "best economists" will still not understand even after it's happened. Either you must be much, much smarter than everyone else, or it's you who have misunderstood, not them.

There have always been mankind's doom-mongers and they have always been wrong. This continued demonstration of overcoming adversity doesn't seem to deter them.

"The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones" - former Saudi oil minister, Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by sendler2112 » Dec 31, 2017 10:48 am

This pervasive false sense of security and baseless and wide spread denial of resource depletion will be our undoing.
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I don't know more things. I am a rookie to this. But I know some new things thanks to Hagens, Murphy, Heinberg, Whybrow, Daly, Meadows, Farley, ect that not enough people in leadership (or the general pulic) have thought about yet. I am woke to the unique, one time situation of the fossil fuel abundance we now enjoy. And to the fact that it is finite. I wish more people would join us. Instead of clinging to their more comfortable time blind concensus trance. The fossil fuel pulse has ballooned our population and a consumptive, debt based/ growth based economic model to several times the natural carrying capacity of the planet. Population, GDP, and energy consumption are tied together at nearly 1:1. You can look at any chart from 1800 forward and it will show this. When energy availability starts going down, GDP will go down. And we have no safety net for this. I live in USA. My steel, lead, neo, comes from China, my clothes from Bangledesh, my apples from New Zealand. USA is one of the grain factorys of the world. All grown with giant tractors running on liquid fuel spreading essential man made phosphate fertilizer dug up from open pit mines with giant diesel shovels and earth movers.
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I am not Malthusian at all. I still root for us to maintain max techno that is available to us. But I am pragmatic. And can do math. And understand the concept of embedded energy. Everything around us is made from some raw materials that are harvested, refined, and assembled, with huge amounts of (currently) cheap energy. Total energy consumption is predicted by the BP report to rise another 28% by 2040.
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https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/en/co ... report.pdf
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2015-2017 was a big build out of renewables (rebuildables). It didn't quite make 1/3 of the GROWTH for the same period. Even if you triple this to account for the efficiency advantages of motors, the rate of solar and wind build out is not replacing any total energy yet due to growth. We need to try much harder. It will truly be a miracle if Ian Scott can get his Moltex Stable Salt Reactors building out soon so that we can have something dense and non-intermittent for a few more hundred years while we get the population back down to a level that is sustainable on natural solar flows. The end of the affordable crude oil age is coming. Maybe 30 years. Maybe 70 years. Take this to heart and focus.
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Everyone who is reading this, do us all a favor and watch Nate Hagens' Blind Spot lecture. It is an easy 1:20 watch. I keep asking but it seems most people refuse for some reason. Then you will understand a synthesis of embedded energy, human behavior, environment.
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https://youtu.be/YUSpsT6Oqrg
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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by sendler2112 » Dec 31, 2017 6:23 pm

NY, USA solar farms in December. 42*N. Record cold this year. They have probably looked about like this 25 of the last 30 days. It really hasn't snowed that much here. Maybe 12 inches for the month. But it has been cold. 20F average? 15F? -1F right now. Most types of heat require electricity for water or fan circulation. This will eventually have to change back to radiant, gravity, or steam. And biofuel.
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This is what the sun looks like at 2:30 in December.
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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by speedmd » Dec 31, 2017 7:05 pm

The systems pictured are setup to optimum summer angles. Worst case scenario for snow IMO. Clearly need to have a steeper angle or actively store themselves vertically when snowing or have defrost systems thought out if any winter generation is expected in snowy cold northern climates. The active arrays installed throughout New England don't have the issue. You get what you pay for.

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by sendler2112 » Dec 31, 2017 8:12 pm

speedmd wrote:
Dec 31, 2017 7:05 pm
The active arrays installed throughout New England don't have the issue. You get what you pay for.
1.Are you talking about commercial farms or personal solar installations? Are any of these big farms close enough for you to snap a photo and post it?
And
2. Even if they had a crew to wipe them down every day, it doesn't change the fact that it has been overcast and misting snow nonstop for 8 out of the last 10 days here which would give very low output even if they had wipers.
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Just trying to be pragmatic here. Solar cannot power a civilization of 80 Million in the North East USA in the winter due to the inevitable long gaps of days or weeks with near zero production.

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by speedmd » Jan 01, 2018 9:57 am

Most of the local stuff are small commercial or private installs. They do cost a bunch more, but do work in our cold winter conditions with no snow maintenance but we get on average roughly half the snow fall of your snow belt. In your area, one would need to have more ground clearance to clear the snow piles that would develop from the shedding.

I agree, in your area, between Syracuse and Watertown, has to be one of the worst payback areas in the lower 48 for solar. Only a fool would rely on solar only to survive.

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by Punx0r » Jan 01, 2018 10:22 am

Agreed. 0°F is -40°C. That isn't cold, that's freaking ridiculous!

If it's that cold, little sun and snow on the ground for weeks or months at a time then I wouldn't be surprised if whoever installed those panels optimised them for spring-through-autumn and decided they were a write-off in winter...

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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by billvon » Jan 01, 2018 11:21 am

Punx0r wrote:
Jan 01, 2018 10:22 am
Agreed. 0°F is -40°C. That isn't cold, that's freaking ridiculous!
0F is about-17C.

Coldest I've experienced is -38F with a windspeed of 120mph. Now _that_ was cold. (And that was also about -38C; the scales meet at -40C.)

BTW side note - solar panels get more efficient as they get colder. In colder climates, many off-gridders orient their panels vertically in winter. The vertical orientation avoids most snow accumulation, the snow on the ground reflects more light on the panels, the panel angle better matches the sun, and the lower temperatures increase efficiency. A lot of people report peak productions well above summer maximums (although for much shorter times due to the shorter days.)
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Re: Wind and Solar vs Coal, Gasoline, Nuclear

Post by sendler2112 » Jan 01, 2018 11:56 am

My home lacks any viable equator facing surfaces or yard space but my work would have a spot at the edge of the property with a clear view. I searched but was surprised that I didn't find anything available. Are there any amature solar measurement kits available that could log a few days of energy data?
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