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California to build 800MW solar power plant

Post in 'The Green Room' started by got wood?, Aug 18, 2008.

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  1. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Yep, read that about Spain, but it won't fly here because it'll raise the cost of housing. This is why I was looking at starting with big business. Since Wal-Mart has put a slowdown on building new stores due to market saturation, they could apply that capital towards going all solar with their stores. They would see a regular, increasing savings in their power bill, provided they could work a deal with the power company over the billing, AND they could reap tons of publicity over it. They could use the power savings to either undercut their competitors, or not change prices and improve profits. Big business is also the only ones that can afford to go to the suppliers and buy bulk panels under multiyear contracts, while guaranteeing enough business over the years (no way a company the size of Wal-Mart could convert all their stores to solar in less than 10 years) to prompt the solar gear suppliers to expand their manufacturing base. All this would make going solar cheaper for the residential side. Get a dozen companies like that to start going solar and I bet in 5 years you'd be able to get 300 watt panels for 100 bucks each.

    So far as Cape Cod goes, as soon as Teddy succumbs to liquor poisoning the most vocal and visible opponent to wind power will go. NOTE: This particular comment only reflects Teddy Kennedy's very vocal opposition to wind power, and nothing else.

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  2. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    One of my freinds put a photovoltaic system on his house several years ago. He gets a check from the electric company every month, which, combined with the savings of not having a bill, would have paid off in eight years, but the rates have gone up so much since then that his payback period will be much shorter. Rates are only going to continue to rise. The economic conitions already exist to make green energy feasible. Another freind heats his house with a small diesel genset burning free cooking oil and get free electric as well. A very large motel in Teddy's home town uses a generator burning natural gas to produce all it's electricity and hot water, cleanly saving a fortune. Another fellow burns the same amount of heating oil that he has always used, but in a generator instead of an oil burner and gets free electricity all year even though he only runs the generator during the heating season. A local chain of stores is installing small turbine will mills on the roof of all their stores, which will provide almost half of their electricity. My town hall now runs mostly on solar generated electricity. I could go on and on. The time is now, not hopefuly ten years from now. Lets start talking about what we can and are doing, instead of thinking up reasons why this or that scheme is no good.
  3. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Foolish thinking. If you don't evaluate potential problems, you wind up with either a failed system, or you wind up rebuilding the system several times, all of which adds to the cost dramatically. I'd much rather fix a problem with a little forethought about what might go wrong than with expensive bits and pieces. Your way of not thinking up reasons why something won't work is good only for draining the pocketbook for no good reason.

    The ten year mark is what I figured it would take for a large retailer like Wal-Mart to convert all of its stores to solar. Even if they began the process yesterday, the sheer volume of equipment needed and time to install would take them 10 years, if not longer. It takes time to build this stuff. Nice thing is, if they DID enter into a contract to convert all their stores, this would spur larger production lines and innovations to produce more power from less panels. If the contract specified that each store's equipment load must be able to generate 5 megawatts of power per day (just pulling a number out of my @$$ here, so don't read too much into it) then the panel maker would have a financial incentive to build panels that can make the required power with fewer panels, and would have incentive to cut the cost to make each panel. Same with the rest of the gear. When the contract is fulfilled, they would still have the manufacturing facilities, which means more panels on the market, which would drive down costs for residential users, which means more people being able to afford the gear. On top of that, imagine the interest that would be generated by people seeing a large retailer using all solar, especially when you consider that the retailer will go WAY out of his way to make sure his customers know that "We're greener than the competition, we use solar power to run our store and feed the excess back to the power company to power YOUR house!" This would be a marketing boom, and the knowledge that you're already using solar power in your house thanks to the retailer, well, maybe solar power isn't so exotic anymore.

    See? Getting big business to jump onboard would be something that could be done RIGHT NOW. It would also be the most effective way to cut fossil fuel usage for power, since these big businesses are also the largest consumers of power. My local Wal-Mart shopping complex probably uses more power in a day than my house uses in a year.
  4. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    I agree with you completely. I think efforts must me made on every front. What I am trying to say is that there are viable alternatives available now, and homeowners should not have to wait until big business or the government or anyone else propels them. Lets utilize whats available now. Most research universities and most big corperations are already way into research/investment in green energy. The train is already rolling down the tracks. We just need more people to get onboard and use what is available. We can switch to more effective means as they become available.
  5. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Conservation is key. It helps out every day all day. Sunny, windy, or not.
    With all the talk of how warm it is in the stove room (me included) it probably wouldn't be bad to conserve wood either.
  6. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Yes, I agree with you Dunebilly, up to a point. The masses are living paycheck to paycheck. While changing equipment to go renewable/solar/wind/what have you will in the long run cost less than living as they do, that initial outlay for gear is something the average joe can't swing. Then there's other considerations such as home owner's associations. They regulate everything about your place right down to the color you are allowed to paint your house. I've already had to tangle with mine over the outside TV antenna I have. I only won that due to federal law. And, all that's assuming that your place is correctly located and has the correct access to good sun/wind to make it usable to begin with.

    Big business, on the other hand, tends to have large pieces of land available, or at least large patches of roof available for renewables. They aren't usually located in areas where it would be unsightly to have renewable power installed, in fact since most big business has flat roof buildings RE gear might not even be seen at all. They also tend to have the capital available to buy the gear available. Only by engaging big business to invest in solar big time will we get enough of a market for solar gear to get an industrial base large enough to bring the costs down to where Joe Sixpack can afford to convert over. I could see a lot of people being able to put back 5 grand to go solar, but not 30 grand.

    The most Joe is going to be able to do is switch to CFLs, keep his filters clean, be disciplined about keeping unused gear shut off, and add insulation. Beyond that...
  7. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Some peoples pay back periods may be longer than others, and for some with very low electric bills, it may not be worth considering even if solar panels fell in cost by half. My electric bill however, is $250 a month and scheduled to increase by 27%. And when fossil fuel costs rise again, it will go up again. Solar electric is just one small part of the picture, though, and far from the only option for Joe. A perfect example is using a woodstove to offset heating costs. Depending upon how much one paid for a stove ( I have gotten many free wood stoves), and whether one were able to install said stove themselves, the payback could be almost imediate, depending upon access to firewood. How do you think you are going to compel the Waltons to spend their money the way you want them to? You basicaly say in your last sentence, that the average person can't do anything,(or at most very little) about the problem and I strongly disagree, in fact my whole point is that most of us can and should choose to do any and all that can be done, by any means possible. Does anyone remenber passive solar?
  8. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Yes, and I stand by it. Many people live in apartments, or rent. That eliminates them from the mix of being able to do anything, right there. Of those that have their own house, many are part of condos, duplexes, ect (yes, for some reason people think it's a good idea to buy half a house with someone else) and they have to get agreement for major changes that might affect the other owners. Then there are those like myself, who are in HOA neighborhoods. My HOA bans fireplaces, so even if I wanted to use wood heat, I can't. This has already eliminated a very large part of the population from being able to make changes even if they wanted to. For those that do have houses they can make mods to, many are not going to have the skills to do self-installs, and will have to hire the work out. It's a stroke of luck having a friend that is willing to come make major modifications to your house for a case of beer. If you live in the city, add on permits to make changes, those cost money. Families like the Waltons are going to be few and far between when taking the nation as a whole, and to be perfectly honest how many country folk do you know that aren't already on wood heat? Like it or not, these are the real problems that face a person who wants to do more than change their light bulbs to save energy, and these problems will need to be addressed by society as a whole before major changes can be made. Big Business, on the other hand, CAN go ahead with these changes. They have the money to do it and the lawyers to change the rules that need changing to accomplish what they need to do. What does Joe have? Just depending on the very small percentage of the population who are in a position to make major changes to fix everything isn't going to happen.
  9. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Sorry, the Waltons own Walmart, are among the richest people in the world, and couldn't care less what you or anyone else thinks.
  10. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Oh, THOSE Walton's. I was thinking Johnboy and that bunch since we were discussing Joe Sixpack, not Joe Champers.

    The advantage to Wal-Mart would be obvious.

    1. Lower monthly power bills, which no longer go up with fuel cost hikes.
    2. Some residual income from selling power to the utilities, per store (how much power could you generate with a professionally designed and built 10-20 acre solar farm?)
    3. The GINORMOUS advertising advantage of being green.
    4. Tax credits that they would be able to wrangle
    5. The possibility, once they get contracts in place, of marketing complete solar systems to their customers.

    I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones that jumped out the fastest.
  11. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    All those advantages except # 5 belong to anyone who installs any green system. Yes, SOME people can't afford it and some can't for location or other reasons but MANY could . The most important advantages are those you don't even list, reducing cash exportation from U.S., reducing green house gas emissions, preserving oil and coal for higher uses than burning, ending some of our slaverey to Corporations, becoming more self sufficient, lowering cost of living to income ratio,(raises lifestyle). This country was built by a can-do attidude, just because you don't have such an attidude does not mean everyone else feels or thinks that way. And again, I ask you, how do you propose to force the Waltons to do what you wish, just because it is a good idea? This is a green forum. We need to talk about what people can do, not give falacious arguments as to why nothing can be done except by big business.
  12. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Actually, it seems your intent is to find argument and be right regardless. You asked what might convince a rich family like the Waltons to put solar installations on their stores, I provided several examples. You claim that everyone can go solar except me as I have no can-do attitude, yet I don't see all my neighbors sprouting solar installations while my roof is bare (and shaded by the neighbor's roof in the winter). You also seem to not be able to see the economic realities of life for the people of this nation, while I can. Few people can crap out 30 grand for life-saving surgery without going into debt for years, much less for a bunch of solar panels. Perhaps you are able to, but Joe Sixpack cannot. If you can, bully for you. Perhaps you can share your secrets to wealth with everyone else so we can all afford to go 100 percent solar. And if your secret is to live as though you were a caveman, don't expect too many followers.

    By the way, reexamine reason 3 on why the Waltons might be convinced to put solar installations on their stores, and tell me how anybody can benefit from it. Really. I'd like to know how it would pay me to advertise that I had a personal solar installation.
  13. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Actualy I expressed my intent in my second post to the green room, presently on the next page, about stirling engines. And while I will never agree that Newt Gingrich is a good guy, or that we should have reinvaded Irag, I do agree that Walmart, and every other building, large and small should have either a soalr roof or windmills on it, IF and IF, such placement is apropriate and possible. Solar is already at the point where it is economicaly feasible in many areas. I have listed many examples of things that can be done, and I and many other individuals are working on many other solutions. Did you see my post on TEGs about three pages in? did you see my post about sterling engines? About Algae oil? About a central heating system based on a woodstove converted to a boiler? Did you see some of the other guys posts on windmills, and photovoltaic solar panel installations? Ever heard of passive solar? How about Nofossils solar hot water heater made from coils of black plastic pipe? In my state(home of many horrible, country crippling liberals) a law was passed on july 8,2008, by one of those retched liberals (Patrick) that enables tax credits and direct refunds of up to 50% on any green energy investment. This is in addition to federal energy credits witch will expire this december. Going green, does not" raise the cost of housing" as you so blithely pointed out. It lowers the cost of living, and hopefully will preserve the earth for those who live here in the future. I could care less about winning a political argument with some one who thinks the neocons are doing a good job for America.
  14. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Wow, I have worked you into a frenzy, haven't I? Nevertheless, time for a real world fact: any addition to a house is going to raise the price of the house. Do you think that 30 thousand dollar solar panel installation is going to be free? No, it's going to turn that 120,000 dollar house into a 150,000 dollar house. Who am I kidding, more like 170,000 dollars. Yes, the power bill will be less. Yes, the cost per month won't actually be higher, it might even be lower. But is it going to matter? How many people really care what the monthly bills will be when they are buying the house? They are ONLY focused on the house price and house payment, and that house with the solar panels will still be a 120,000 dollar house with a 170,000 dollar price tag. Is this smart? No it isn't, but then people aren't smart. If they were there would be no such thing as the variable interest rate mortgage. What kind of an idiot signs a loan with a 1/4 percent savings over a fixed rate when that interest can go up 6 percent, doubling the monthly payment, with no recourse?

    So far as your projects, and the projects of others on this board, great job. But we're still only talking about what, 100 people out of about 301 million? And that's IF this board were only limited to the US. Since it's a worldwide board, it's more like 6.6 billion. That's such a small percentage that it may as well be nonexistent. I'm simply posting what the REAL WORLD sees, and what the REAL WORLD will do when faced with issues. If the real world were people who are really interested in conserving power and going all renewable, then do you think we'd be having this discussion? Would power sucking 60 inch flat screen plasma TVs be popular? The real world is only worried about what it will cost me, today, in dollars. If burning spotted owls were a nickel a month cheaper than burning coal, there's be a public outcry for more spotted owl fueled power plants. It took 4 dollar a gallon gas to get PART of America out of SUVs, so even that pain isn't complete, and now oil is falling. Until you can address the "what will it cost me NOW, THIS MINUTE", you aren't going to capture the hearts and souls of the general population. The only people you are going to reach is like-minded people, and we don't need convincing. You can keep wearing your rose colored glasses and not see the real problems with changing a nation, but until you take them off and look at the world through the cold, literal eyes of a conservative you aren't going to change much of anything. "This is how it should be" is no match for "this is how it is." The 60's are over, my friend, and good riddance to those stinkin' hippies. The only thing they had that was worthwhile was some of the music.

    Don't think I'm trying to say it's all useless, so don't bother, though. Far from it. I've even got my own ideas that I discuss on other boards more appropriate to the subject. For example, my next automotive project will be to put a more fuel efficient ICE in my current vehicle as I can get that done now and take a week doing it. Ironically, it means putting a larger, more powerful engine in. After that, I will be picking up a project to build an electric driven pickup that will have unlimited range and be able to maintain 80+MPH with a load. That project will take me some time because it's all new territory to me, and I need a place where I can spend a year putting it together properly. Once I get it working, I'll have a very detailed parts list and pics of the process available for anyone to duplicate for free.

    BTW, this guy's my hero and I plan to duplicate his setup for storing heat in hot water. Only, I intend to try and supply 100 percent of my household heat and DHW, year round, from the sun with a few modifications of his design. Naturally I'll have a wood fired backup system, but the goal will be 100 percent of my heat generated by the Sun. How about them apples, and here I am a good political conservative?
  15. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Nice link. I have seen it before, but I still apreciate your showing it again. It seems as if you know the thoughts and feelings of most of the 300 million people in the country and possibly 6.6 billion more. Fortunately you are incorrect in your assumptions. I too am on other boards, and I am trying to bring info here, where it may be found by someone who needs it, since this is so likely a place to check. One of my favorite sites is DIY electric vehicles, which is a perfect example of something that can be done by someone who has real estate restrictions. Just so you know, I am a conservative. I believe in conserving oil, money, lives, personal freedom, and anything else worth having. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Gonzales, Rove, and the puppetmasters behind them are not conservatives. They are Neocons, and have run this country the exact opposite way that true conservatives would. There is a reason republicans have been losing elections steadily for the last few years. The people of this country are sick of being lied to, sick of secrative Gov., sick of seeing their children come home in body bags or maimed, mentaly and bodily, sick of high food prices, higher and higher insurance costs,and pharmaceutical cost, sick of the clean air act being degraded, and the EPA, anf the DoJ politisied, sick of tax cuts for the rich and big business and oil, and personaly I am more than sick of being told at every airport or ferry that I go through, that the terroist threat is at level orange, and there there is a high risk of a terroist act in some droning, monotone of a fear filled old mans voice.
  16. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Hey, why is this in not in the Ash Can?


    This'll get it there toot sweet:

    GO NUCLEAR! Vote McCain!
  17. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Still got that tunnel vision wearing rose colored glasses, I see. There you go assuming that everyone in the world wants to go green but Big Business and Big Government are preventing it. It's just a huge conspiracy.

    When it's cheaper to be green than be brown, people will do it. Until then, only environmentalists will exert more money, time and effort to be green. Everyone else will be happy going the cheapest, easiest route until it can't be used anymore, regardless of what they may say. Talk is easy and cheap, and saying "I WANNA BE GREEN!" takes almost zero effort.
  18. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    At least you are willing to admit there is a conspiracy.
  19. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    There is, and it's one we're all part of. It's the "What's the cheapest I can get away with here?" conspiracy. There's another one that only business is in, which is the "How can I make more money off my customers?" conspiracy. The government one is "How can I get more tax money and maintain more power over the common man?" conspiracy. Three conspiracies with differing goals.
  20. got wood?

    got wood? New Member

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    Hey, did you guys hear about this??

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/15/business/15solar.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    “The plants will cover 12.5 square miles of central California with solar panels, and in the middle of a sunny day will generate about 800 megawatts of power, roughly equal to the size of a large coal-burning power plant or a small nuclear plant. A megawatt is enough power to run a large Wal-Mart store.”

    ;-)
  21. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Heh heh... that means that they are expecting to generate 64 megawatts per square mile. This means they can expect to generate 1 megawatt on a 10 acre lot. Most Wal-Marts take about 15-20 acres of land. A Wal-Mart store could then be expected to be able to generate about 2MW per day if they built a solar installation that covered both the store and parking lot. At an average price of 70 bucks per megawatt (derived from a quick internet check) a store could expect to save about 2100 a month in electricity, and generate another 2100 a month in revenues, for a net gain of 4200 a month. True, this is probably half of that day's profits, but imagine the ad campaign they could mount by advertising their stores are all green powered, so we pass the savings on to you! Sure, it would be a lie, just like their little smiley face price tags that say this can of soda was 1.25, now 1.00, when you bought it yesterday for 75 cents. But it would still be a valuable ad. And none of this even takes into account the tax credits they would get off it.
  22. sgcsalsero

    sgcsalsero Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks, I passed that along to our R&D;area, they want to put in a system since our main building at work faces due South and gets full sun all day.
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