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There is no good way to store solar energy

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Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 8:49 am, Thu Jan 10, 2013.

Gray Kries states he has been researching the sun for 40 years ("Solar energy would fulfill the world's energy needs," published on Dec. 22, 2012) and makes me wonder what he has discovered other than it's hot. He continues his slog by saying don't blame Obama or the government for the Solyndra mess — who else is there?

Sounds like Kries could do some research himself by explaining how to store energy to be used at 2:30 a.m. Perhaps by parking your old cars in the street there would be enough room in your garage to store 10,000 AAA rechargeable batteries? I know all there is to know about solar — sun shines, you get power. At zero-dark thirty, you don't.

Ed Walters


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  • Andy Crowder posted at 8:32 am on Sat, Jan 12, 2013.

    Andy Crowder Posts: 245

    Mr. Birch, if I understand your response correctly, comments are not being limited on broad topics, only on specific events? Then I expect that we won't have anymore comments on the fall election or the Sandy Hook shootings. If you are only limiting comments on this one LGBT "event", then I think readers have just cause to assume bias on your part. Adding to Mr. Barrow's excellent comment below, if you print letters from bigots and do not allow public comment, you are offering de facto endorsement of those opinions. Maybe the LNS needs to have some internal discussion on this matter.

  • Ed Walters posted at 3:38 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 637

    Kevin: evidently you can`t see some humor to the 10,000 AAA batteries as it was ment to be a joke. According to you 10-20 car bartteries will power a house, does that include 2 TV`s, a dryer and electric stove both needing 240 volts, numerous lights on along with a computer and something I most likely left out. If so, perhaps I should look into solar, ahhhh most likely not.

  • Eric Barrow posted at 3:26 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1604

    Simon: For those of us on the outside looking in, Rich and yourself are both the LNS, I'm sure you can appreciate that. The fact that there is dysfunction within the internal structure of the LNS staff is something for the LNS to deal with.
    When a letter is allowed to be posted and no response is allowed the letter writer is given a power not awarded to other letter writers. A letter should be vetted by the community it is speaking to otherwise only a portion of this community is allowed to be represented. I felt a response to the hateful letter sent in by Celeste Sikich was called for and was disappointed that I was nor allowed to voice that opinion.
    That being said I do not envy your position. You have the job of dealing with the most extreme in this town and I feel that overall you and Rich do a pretty good job at being fair.

  • Simon Birch posted at 2:08 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    Simon Birch - Online Manager Posts: 170 Staff

    Joanne: The letters to the editor are posted online by our copy editors at around midnight. I have no "internal communication" with anyone here about what letters will be published and I don't see them on the website until I arrive at the office at 6 a.m. It's astonishing to me how you can make assumptions about the internal work flow of the News-Sentinel newsroom and assert that I was "certainly aware that they are being published." That is simply not true.
    As I said , Rich Hanner, the editor, is the person to talk to about letters to the editor policies.
    That's a good suggestion about the "Report" link. I'll see what I can do.

  • Ed Walters posted at 1:44 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 637

    To Dan who thinks I like to gripe, you consider my observation as griping, far from it, if I were to install solar on my roof, which is very costly, the power plants that keep the lights on in the big citys are still using natural gas to generate power. If your happy with all those pannels, connections and stuff on your roof, I am happy for you. Paying the company to install the solar pannels is one less bill I have a month. Concerning rebaits, ask yourself where the money came from, the Feds, it worked for Solyndra. Turns out that my electric bill is not that high and I am satisfied by the way power is distrubuted to my house, all underground. The Tesla powered cars, you know the ones that cost $100,000 have taken batteries about as far as they can go, or at least to the next plug in station for a charge which will cost money. You state I am cynical because I ask questions, lighten up boys as you never learn anything by not asking questions and getting answers, or getting ambushed for my observations.[beam]

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 1:15 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Thanks for your comments, Mr. Birch. I'm sorry you thought my comment was "ridiculous," but it was no more ridiculous than comments made by Mr. Chaney about city officials and how quickly they "disappear" when an official is or might be offended. That's a Lodi standard.

    Since comments were closed from the git-go on both those letters, you were certainly aware that they are being published, so there is internal communication happening at the LNS.

    Perhaps a change in policy is needed to bring the Letters to the Editor guidelines more in line with the "comments" guidelines. I rarely see such hostility displayed in letters in the Record. In fact, whenever I see a letter from Van Amber Fields published in the Record, he takes an entirely different tack - more civilized and totally off the "holy-roller" topics. I guess that is called "playing to your audience."

    Also, we should have a return to the ability to state WHY a comment is being reported. Perhaps your software no longer has that capability, but it was certainly helpful in pointing out the reason when abuse is reported. Often snide comments are hidden within a larger comment and I can understand the tediousness of having to examine every line of a comment that has been reported.

    Finally, thanks for your vigilance in this forum. I am sure it is largely an annoying and thankless job.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 12:14 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106


    Very cool Doug. Thanks for sharing. Someday when I have enough space to put in an seperate steel building the roof will be stuffed with solar (both steel building and house). I have also seen some really interesting roof top turbine ideas that would work well in this area.

    Financially it may take some time to get payback on the investment, the security of not needing power from an outside provider (other than mother nature of course) wil be felt from day one.

  • Simon Birch posted at 9:27 am on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    Simon Birch - Online Manager Posts: 170 Staff

    Andy: You make a valid point about the other topics, and how we treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in our society is certainly worthy of ongoing discussion. However, the issue under discussion here was a float by the Lodi Rainbow Project in the annual Parade of Lights — a specific group in a specific event. Not surprisingly when LGBT issues are involved, the discussion soon ranged far beyond the specific event in question. I feel we let everyone have their say on the issue of the float in the parade, and any comments on the two most recent letters would have just been repetitive.
    Joanne, Eric: The letters to the editor policies and the comments policies are separate and have nothing to do with each other. I don't have anything to do with the decisions regarding which letters to publish and when. Please contact Editor Rich Hanner at richardh@lodinews.com to discuss letters to the editor policies.
    Joanne: I have outlined my reasons for closing the comments on the letters by Jessica McGowan and Celeste Sikich in my reply to Andy. To assert that we made the decision to close comments on Jessica McGowan's letter for the reason you stated is simply ridiculous and, frankly, annoying.
    I made the decision to close comments on both letters. I did not discuss Jessica McGowan's letter with any of the other News-Sentinel managers or employees before closing the comments. I do not know who Jessica McGowan is, and I certainly have no idea who "her husband's boss" is.

  • Simon Birch posted at 7:32 am on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    Simon Birch - Online Manager Posts: 170 Staff

    Thank you Kevin.

  • Andy Crowder posted at 7:00 am on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    Andy Crowder Posts: 245

    LNS, what's the new limit for discussion on a topic? 4? 5? 6 letters? Let's take a count of how many other topics have timed out with "enough discussion": abortion, Obama the Dictator, liberalism is a curse, gun control. And that's just recently. Maybe it's only the LGBT topic they want to limit. In that case, someone is showing their prejudice.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 6:50 am on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 502

    Four months ago I purchased a solar generator from a company named GoalZero, an exclusive maker of practical everyday solar products and solar panels. It is called a Yeti 1250 and with 1250 watts of solar power and is the only generator approved for indoor construction work. Although at around 90 pounds it is rather heavy, it comes with a built in, removable dolly type system on wheels that makes it easy to transport. The weiight is attributed to a lead-acid type storage battery and the company is currently, and always exploring modern battery technology, and will soon be coming out with new technology batteries made of a lighter composition and holding a charge longer. I have three solar panels, 75 watts total input, and keep my Yeti connected to my panels at all times. The metering system shows both input and output and even on a cloudy day it collects solar rays at a lower rate than a clear day. It typically will hold a full, or very near full charge, for about three months. To expedite charging time it also comes with a dc converter to charge from any standard 120v AC outlet. I use mine for all my garage and workshop electric tools, including the lights in my workshop, all my yard and garden equipment, which is all corded 120v, all my vacuuming and household appliances and it is used to charge any and all electronic equipment I have that is rechargable, including batteries. This versatile generator comes with outlets for 120ac, usb for electronics and a 12v dc outlet for a car lighter adaptor. And these units can be chained together with one another or an approved vehicle type battery. If you want to see some great everyday solar innovations, go to Goalzero.com and check out their products and technology.

  • Dan Haynes posted at 6:55 pm on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    Dan Haynes Posts: 9

    Kevin, it isn't likely Ed Walters is interested in a discussion of practical application of solar energy, he just wanted to gripe. We see these guys all the time; for some reason they don't want solar power to be used and resort to reductio ad absurdum arguments. I don't know if he fears it, if he hates progress or if he hates the idea of people getting free clean power from the sun. In practice most of our power usage is during daylight hours, exactly when solar is delivering peak power. At night, the time when Ed is cynically mocking solar, people are sleeping and far more appliances are switched off. No one is suggesting solar will replace all other methods of power generation, but why would we not pursue it, given recent breakthroughs in photovoltaic cell efficiency? Until affordable, efficient batteries are mass produced and marketed, we will likely remain hooked to the "grid", consuming power produced by a mix of sources and fuels. Advances in solar technology will continue to make it the most attractive option in years and centuries to come.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 3:34 pm on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Eric: I had a hard time figuring out the intent of that letter even after reading it several times. Better was the letter from Jessica McGowan in which she referenced how to explain (if necessary) "the gay" to a 6 year old.

    I personally think that this letter specifically had comments closed because "her husband's boss" is a prominent restauranteur in Lodi.

    And I'm sure WE are certain to get deleted for being off-topic.

  • Eric Barrow posted at 1:12 pm on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1604

    I agree Joanne and why was Mrs. Sikich hateful letter posted when the LNS felt that the topic has been discussed to the point that no further comment was necassary.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 12:40 pm on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Excellent comments, Mr.'s Paglia and Lauchland.

    I am seriously curious why there is a difference between LNS policies - one disallows making personal attacks and trashing an individual in the comment section, and the other allows personal attacks and trashing an individual in a letter to the editor.

    What's up LNS?

  • Ted Lauchland posted at 10:36 am on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    Ted Lauchland Posts: 261

    Solar Energy - energy coming from the sun.
    I store it everyday. The plants I farm store it for later use. If I burn them I am releasing the energy.
    The earth stores it every day for every night. I use it to heat the vineyard a few degrees in the spring to ward off frost damage.
    Solar homes in Davis use the same ideas of earth heating and greenhouse affects.
    Clouds insulate ground heat from deep space cold. Storms actually heat the earth. Three days after it turns very cold.

    No good way to store solar energy? - We wouldn't be alive if there wasn't.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 10:16 am on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    As for the "what about when there are clouds?" argument (before someone else brings it up), I first started paying attention to Solar when I visited friends of my In-laws in the Puget Sound. Not exactly a "sunny" place. I asked about that same issue. They said since they installed the solar years earlier they had never needed their reserve gas generator. That was 15 years ago, they had installed 5 years earlier.

    If you really want to see how little light solar really needs pick up a small solar pack. I just got a Voltaic Fuse pack. Even in the drenching rain storms we had recently, the little light on top, telling me it was producing a charge, was still lit up. In fact as early as 8 in the morning on the shade side of the house, that little solar pack is already working. It charges a battery pack the size of my cellphone and adds 2 days of music to my MP3 player or 20 hours of additional talk time on my phone.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 10:01 am on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    [censored] (Sorry LNS, let me try this without getting so worked up)

    Mr Walters is severely wrong. Most homes need a battery canbinet no larger than a single SHORT bookcase. Instead of the 10,000 AAA batteries Walters throws out, a typical home only needs 10 (20 if you want to be prepared for ANYTHING) car battery size batteries. That is about the same area that your water heater or fridge takes up.

    A google search of "how many solar batteries do i need" give you all the REAL info that you need. (and you will see that my estimate of 10 is a very generous power reserve for most homes.)


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