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Letter: We should research and design solar power systems

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Posted: Saturday, September 28, 2013 12:00 am

Research: Where would we be without it? Take solar energy, something I know about.

Everything and every material needs to be tested. When you build a new kind of solar collector, it needs to be researched for energy output and how long it will last on a rooftop. You just don’t say, “This collector looks good,” and manufacture hundreds of them without the research. If you do build them without the research, you are just a fool and out the cost if they don’t work or just fall apart.

It’s like saying to someone that has never designed anything, “Design me a solar system.” Design is part of the research; knowing how a solar system works.

Research is what’s needed today. And we don’t have it on the scale needed. I would think with what we know today that clean and free energy would be the first thing on our minds; the power to think and reason.

And yes, there is free and clean energy. It’s called the sun.

Gary Kreis


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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Ed Walters posted at 1:16 pm on Tue, Oct 1, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 638

    I suppose solar is the way to go if you plan on living in your house forever, and never move. Just like a pool that might attract a buyer, might love the house but don`t want a pool, same holds true concerning solar. I know I wouldn`t want solar, simply because my house is faced the wrong way, with all the perks it will still cost a sizable amount of money, and fire would be the biggest fear, an older house might not be constructed to hold the additional weight, a very important issue to look into before construction.

  • robert maurer posted at 10:05 am on Tue, Oct 1, 2013.

    mason day Posts: 488

    Educating the firemen is the correct answer and one of their current methods of disabling electricity flowing from the charged panels,besides finding and disabling connections from the junction box and/or batteries is to go on the roof and cover the solar panels with black tarp to block out the sun from charging the panels. Their fear there is falling through a roof of a burning building from the weight of the panels while they are covering the units and attempting to vent. Some departments will not risk that and let the building burn and use their equipment to save surrounding buildings.With all the different manufacturers and installers of non-standardized solar panel systems out there, that will be a challenge for firefighters for awhile, just like electric cars were until they became somewhat standardized. However, the real challenge is getting past the idea that it takes about 7-10 years for a solar panel system to pay for itself (will the buyer still be there?)before the homeowner sees a benefit, and depending on location,it could continually cost the homeowner, depending on the average amount of available sunlight each day. A prospective buyer has to consult(and trust) professional installers to get all the mathematics correct and there are good companies and not so good companies to choose from, just like anything else.There are federal and local "government"(there's that awful word again) programs that that pay 30% of the cost, no property taxes, etc. that promote solar energy, but it is up to the individual to find out what their eligibility is depending on where they live.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 2:31 pm on Mon, Sep 30, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2111

    Reading on the solar powered home fires and it looks like the main concern is electrocution of firefighters by the panels and not being able to vent the roof as needed.

    As for the electrocution factor, even solar cells have a kill all switch to there is no more power running through them.

    As for venting the roof, most homes have less than half their roof covered by the panels.

    What is missing is EDUCATION of the solar cells and the system. Remember there is a lot of resistance to solar becoming mainstream by the traditional power companies. They see their profits in danger and have a powerful misinformation network set up. I remember when electric cars were coming out there was a campaign to convince people that they would be trapped in their electric cars cause first responders couldn't risk getting electrocuted.

  • robert maurer posted at 11:20 am on Mon, Sep 30, 2013.

    mason day Posts: 488

    ...and what about fires? Google solar powered home fires and see for yourself. Just another variable to consider...

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 11:06 am on Mon, Sep 30, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2111

    Mr. Walters. The 12-24 batteries was based on the estimate I got for putting solar on my house 4 years ago. With a pool and three kids, 12 would be enough "most of the time", 24 would store plenty in case of a longer cloud cover. If it wasn't for the on going possibility of moving we would have done it.

    In this area I would also put roof top wind turbines on my house. The constant breeze combined with our great sunshine would provide all the power we need.

  • Ed Walters posted at 2:40 pm on Sun, Sep 29, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 638

    Mr. Paglia: Now a days batteries come sealed from the factor, there for no water to check. Will 12-24, 12 volt car batteries maintain enough power to allow a family of 5 or more the power to operate a electric stove, dryer, and pool pump all that require a 240 volt system on a day that full power was not reached, along with lights, TV`s computers and other applyances that require power?

    Concerning Hydro, it is the cheapest way to produce power, about 2 cents a Kw hour, and paid for years ago. The fish have been getting by for years with the introduction of fish ladders, concerning sediment, if you recall Hover dam opened all its valves to allow a sediment build up to flow down the Colorado river. It is also outstanding for recreation, and of course drinking water the year around. There are 7 hydro dams on the Pitt river, PG&E owns all of them, along with many scattered through Ca. including Lake Almanor. Your most likely drinking water from Hogan, Folsom, which BTW are very low and without a good rainy season, bottled water to wash your car and water your lawn?

  • Ed Walters posted at 12:21 pm on Sun, Sep 29, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 638

    Mr. Paglia: A garage full of batteries was a slight exaggeration, how ever I have questioned the amount of power they will provide, with a house full of kids that never turn off the unwanted lights, any appliance that requires 240 volts, such as the electric stove, dryer, pool pump, along with a couple of TV`s, computers and what not. Does 12-24, 12 volt car batteries do the job for the days the sun doesn`t shine and provide a full charge, I don`t have solar and do not attend to purchase one. If the power goes out, I`ll complain to Lodi Electric, besides the bill is not all that bad.

    Also Kevin: As far as constant maintenance is concerned, I was refering to wind mills. There are not enough wind mills along with solar that could produce enough power to keep the lights on in San Francisco, and that has a population of about 700,000 democrats, somewhat of a small city. Now LA, never.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 10:44 am on Sun, Sep 29, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2111

    Mr. Walters: Not sure if you are trying to be funny, exaggerating for a point or being deliberately misleading BUT you do NOT need a "Garage full of batteries" for you solar collectors. Most homes can have a cabinet no larger than the water heater space to power their homes year round. In this area it is roughly 12-24 car battery size batteries to store sufficient back up power for a house.

    Not sure how you explain solar needing "Constant" maintenance. The most I have heard of from home owners with the system is checking the water levels of the batteries. Hydro is NOT free either. It destroys fish habitats and sediment build up is a CONSTANT fight for the hydro power facilities.

    I think home solar systems in this area are a great idea. For larger communities I believe wave generators are a great advancement and should be seriously looked at for the future of California

  • Ed Walters posted at 5:35 pm on Sat, Sep 28, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 638

    According to Gary Kreis more research is needed and you are a fool if you have one installed on your roof. Well Mr. Kreis there are many fools living in my area as more and more solar systems are installed. Whats to know, sun comes up, generates power through the pannels and allows the coffee maker and toaster to operate. Unless your garage is full of batteries, that way you will have power 24/7. Concerning free, let me remind you that azz, grass or gas nobody rides for free. Just like wind mills, yes they work but require a tremendous amount of maintance, and not really cost affective. Hydro is the best example of something for free, water that is. People are turning away from nuclear, in the years to come and more power will be needed, what we have at the present time won`t make the cut, and power companies will not build more power plants due to cost and without government help.


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