diy solar

diy solar

How green is solar energy?

If you put him away full and leave him be for a few days with no external drain, no problem. If you use him for loads and don't feed him, the problems will start, and he might resent you forever.
Got it, will be very kind with him then
 
Solar energy, as in raw energy emitted by the sun, is probably the least 'green' in terms of the ecology of earth. If the sun were left unchecked, its emissions of highly charged fast moving particles would strip away the atmosphere, and its high energy electromagnetic radiation would break down organic molecules, including the DNA of living things. But fortunately earth has a magnetic field the deflects the charged particles and lets us keep our atmosphere, and our oxygen containing atmosphere creates an ozone layer upon contact with high energy electromagnetic radiation which brings the energy levels down to where most people can enjoy a day at the beach. So even at 93 million miles distant, the giant fusion reactor is still a pretty hazardous way to get energy. And heaven forbid it go out of balance and supernova, which does happen fairly frequently in the universe, cause then it is game over.

On the other hand, energy sources for industrialized societies of humans are also not very green in the sense of preserving earth's ability to support future generations of human life. The carbon we like to take out of the ground and burn for energy was once part of an atmosphere that would not support human life. So by burning it we are saying that we will risk restoring the atmosphere to one that didn't support human life so that we can have labor saving devices and cool technology. That is not very green in the sense of supporting human life, but it might be the most green thing that can be done to restore earth to its natural state. If we eventually remove all humans life, earth will go through the phases of bringing a balanced ecology back into existence. It will be beautiful, but nobody will be there to enjoy it.

So if by 'green' we mean that we want both a balanced ecology and an ecology that supports human life into the future, converting energy from our hazardous sun directly into energy usable in our machines, and skipping the step of burning carbon, is probably the most green solution. As we convert more and more of our energy sources to this direct method, the products we produce will have less negative impacts on our future existence. Whether our future existence is beneficial for earth is a different type of ethical question entirely.
 
Solar energy, as in raw energy emitted by the sun, is probably the least 'green' in terms of the ecology of earth. If the sun were left unchecked, its emissions of highly charged fast moving particles would strip away the atmosphere, and its high energy electromagnetic radiation would break down organic molecules, including the DNA of living things. But fortunately earth has a magnetic field the deflects the charged particles and lets us keep our atmosphere, and our oxygen containing atmosphere creates an ozone layer upon contact with high energy electromagnetic radiation which brings the energy levels down to where most people can enjoy a day at the beach. So even at 93 million miles distant, the giant fusion reactor is still a pretty hazardous way to get energy. And heaven forbid it go out of balance and supernova, which does happen fairly frequently in the universe, cause then it is game over.

On the other hand, energy sources for industrialized societies of humans are also not very green in the sense of preserving earth's ability to support future generations of human life. The carbon we like to take out of the ground and burn for energy was once part of an atmosphere that would not support human life. So by burning it we are saying that we will risk restoring the atmosphere to one that didn't support human life so that we can have labor saving devices and cool technology. That is not very green in the sense of supporting human life, but it might be the most green thing that can be done to restore earth to its natural state. If we eventually remove all humans life, earth will go through the phases of bringing a balanced ecology back into existence. It will be beautiful, but nobody will be there to enjoy it.

So if by 'green' we mean that we want both a balanced ecology and an ecology that supports human life into the future, converting energy from our hazardous sun directly into energy usable in our machines, and skipping the step of burning carbon, is probably the most green solution. As we convert more and more of our energy sources to this direct method, the products we produce will have less negative impacts on our future existence. Whether our future existence is beneficial for earth is a different type of ethical question entirely.
Your answer is very well written, I like your way of seeing things even though it's kind of sad truth. So for you there is no better energy yet than solar?
 
I think as far as energy sources that are readily available to individuals, solar is good and getting better by comparison to other sources. And it has the advantage of being able to integrate into our current method of building structures. On a community level, there is a good argument to add wind generation.

On a societal level, given that nuclear isotopes are going to break down in the earth's crust whether or not we put them in a nuclear reactor, well designed nuclear can also be a green source of power. Previous generations of nuclear reactor have proven to have poorly designed fail safes such that if all power is removed they don't fall into a safe state. Then too the society managing the fuel and waste from the reactors has to be trustworthy and responsible.

It is overall a very complex question.
 
I think as far as energy sources that are readily available to individuals, solar is good and getting better by comparison to other sources. And it has the advantage of being able to integrate into our current method of building structures. On a community level, there is a good argument to add wind generation.

On a societal level, given that nuclear isotopes are going to break down in the earth's crust whether or not we put them in a nuclear reactor, well designed nuclear can also be a green source of power. Previous generations of nuclear reactor have proven to have poorly designed fail safes such that if all power is removed they don't fall into a safe state. Then too the society managing the fuel and waste from the reactors has to be trustworthy and responsible.

It is overall a very complex question.
Right again. So you think wind could work too? What about the places where there is not often wind? You mean only in the countries with a lot of wind right? And yeah nuclear have been poorly designed but there are new ideas of designs, bill gate for example helped in this direction. I don't know if you saw the show on Netflix "inside bill's brain" but it talks about new nuclear reactors much safer and also new ways to deal with nuclear waste.
 
Wind is nice, it just doesn't scale well to small sizes. It also needs to be stored for later, just like solar. Batteries or some form of gravity / thermal / compressed hydrogen storage are required to really make green energy shine. Take what you need, save the rest for later.
 
One bothersome problem with panels....there are mountains of them headed for landfills, they are not designed for recycling.
 
One bothersome problem with panels....there are mountains of them headed for landfills, they are not designed for recycling.
Yes, this needs to be fixed.
Alternatively, we could make the rules for using old ones less terrible. Some people have lots of empty space in places where a fire from busted panels might not matter as much. Would have to be a bit more careful when taking them down and storing them though.

How does it go? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
 
One bothersome problem with panels....there are mountains of them headed for landfills
I don't know where you getting that data Something quantitative would e more convincing. Just using the term "mountains" sounds like an exageration. I bought a stack of ten used panels and I see posts all the time about people buying used panels. I know the aluminum frames are recyclable.
 
I don't know where you getting that data Something quantitative would e more convincing. Just using the term "mountains" sounds like an exageration. I bought a stack of ten used panels and I see posts all the time about people buying used panels. I know the aluminum frames are recyclable.
news media was hyping it up a while back. I'll take those panels only putting out 80%. Heck, I'll take panels only putting out 20%. I've got plenty of space.
 
Used residential panels seem like they could be easily reused at low voltages (albeit with significant wiring loss) by paralleling them and keeping them under 80v, that would keep the whole lot safer as far as their old connectors go. Unfortunately, those large commercial panels that are above 80v each will always need to be treated a bit more carefully as they age.

Older panels would be great for large parking lots as solar shading. Seems it would be easy enough to prevent fires on them. Regulations just need to change to make them allowed.

Heck, even once they've failed.. they still provide shade.
 
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Every Single Panel has an end of life. That qualifies as "mountains".
It currently costs $25ish to recycle and $1ish to put in a landfill.
Look around you. Where are they all going to go?
Counting something as "green" before it's life cycle is determined is folly.
 
Every Single Panel has an end of life. That qualifies as "mountains".
It currently costs $25ish to recycle and $1ish to put in a landfill.
Look around you. Where are they all going to go?
Counting something as "green" before it's life cycle is determined is folly.
Define "end of life". I saw one of those news articles and there was zero reference to any studies or data. It was just the usual hype.
 
Define "end of life". I saw one of those news articles and there was zero reference to any studies or data. It was just the usual hype.
likely by that point silver will be so expensive they will be worth more as scrap then the initial purchase price. The world will not end due to solar panels. Doom off.
 
The important question is when are they going to go to a landfill?
The term "green" doesn't have much meaning to me, except the green dollars that a solar panel will save me. The economics are compelling. One of my 345 Watt panels will put out 10,000 kWhs of energy in 20 years. That is the equivalent of 30,000 miles in one of my EVs. That is 1000 gallons of gasoline or $4,000 or more. One panel in a landfill twenty years from now is nothing compared to the exhaust from burning 1000 gallons of gasoline. The dollar savings alone makes that solar panel worth it to me. I would gladly pay $25 to recycle it. If it is a problem put a recycling fee on it like paint, tires and other items.
 
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The important question is when are they going to go to a landfill?
The term "green" doesn't have much meaning to me. The economics are compelling. One of my 345 Watt panels will put out 10,000 kWhs of energy in 20 years. That is the equivalent of 30,000 miles in one of my EVs. That is 1000 gallons of gasoline. One panel in a landfill twenty years from now is nothing compared to the exhaust from burning 1000 gallons of gasoline. The dollar savings alone makes that solar panel worth it to me. I would gladly pay $25 to recycle it.

Were these how the panels looked like back in the day?

 
Going back to that 1000 gallons of gasoline in my earlier example raised the question of where are all those gas pumps and refineries going to go? Hopefully they can be recycled into EVs.
:LOL:
 
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Going back to that 1000 gallons of gasoline in my earlier example raised the question of where are all those gas pumps and refineries going to go. Hopefully they can be recycled into EVs.
:LOL:
They will figure out a way to build earth ships with them. Crafty builders those green folks.
 
There are far more questionable mass-effect practices than DIY solar. Don't overthink it.
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The RTX 4090 is imminent (TDP 450w, PSU minimum 850w, recommended 1kw) -- the miners again have a new toy.

 
I can't believe this question garnered 4 pages of discussion... Looks like a lot of you have very strong opinions on this matter...

Most people will not do what's best for the environment but what's best for them economically. The problem is that everything we do have externalized costs that the purchaser/user of the good does not bear either because of spatial (the bad stuff is happening somewhere else, NIMBY) or temporal (it is happening in the future that I don't care about) differences.

If there would be no externalities and the purchaser of solar would bear all the economic cost solar panels would be much more expensive than they are today. But so would gas, coal, and everything else.

The point here is that trying to argue the nuances of all of this and trying to make a decision based on long term effects is a fool's errand. We all are here on this forum which means we all think that at some level PV makes sense for us, be it actual economic benefit (I bet this drives 99% of the people here) or we genuinely care about our children's and grandchildren's future.

Posturing here with pretending to know all the nuances of what the future brings and drilling down into every environmental aspect of PV use is hypocritical in the least and smart-assery at its worst. You all are very smart, I get it.... Good job!
 
Most people will not do what's best for the environment but what's best for them economically
I emphasized the economic impact because it is less debatable than global warming or green discussions. I also believe the free market will continue to be the driver of change and that is why I emphasize economics. I also think technology will come up with solutions. For example, while I would never want to use the batteries in my EVs to support the grid, there is emerging technology where EVs could play a key role in supporting the grid during peak hours.
 
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Most people will not do what's best for the environment but what's best for them economically.
Most people don't want to stuff someone else's pockets(carbon credits) to be "green" Also, some people are smart enough to look at the actual science instead of following political trends and being brainwashed by our sad school systems and media.
 
Going back to that 1000 gallons of gasoline in my earlier example raised the question of where are all those gas pumps and refineries going to go? Hopefully they can be recycled into EVs.
:LOL:


I read there is a group about to ask for a large government subsidy to fund grinding all of that stuff, binding it together with horse poop to use as a replacement for road asphalt. The grinding machines are in the final stages of design at both East and West Coasts universities.
 
Green costs money and usually there is no payback, not in a timely manner unless you got everything for dirt cheap or free. It's a hobby and you get to use all the power you can produce and not worry about the electric bill. It's too late to help the environment. Putin will nuke us all anyways.
 
I can't believe this question garnered 4 pages of discussion... Looks like a lot of you have very strong opinion
Hi @GregTR. I guess you are kind of new here.. welcome to the forums. This IS what we do.:sneaky:

Have you seen the posts that are 45 pages long, and only about 15 pages are on topic?

pretending to know all the nuances of what the future brings and drilling down into every environmental aspect of PV use is hypocritical in the least and smart-assery at its worst.
Obviously, looking at my previous three sentences, I can't argue your point about the smart-assery. I can only confirm it.

However, I think I can argue that you are missing a nuance about predicting the future. People will look at the guy with an electric car and solar panels who advocates that it is a good investment and say he is some goober who thinks he knows what the future will bring. But they are ignoring the fact that by choosing to stay reliant on the petroleum industry for transportation and reliant on the power grid for electricity, they are also predicting the future. Its just that their prediction is that these industries will continue to provide affordable energy and they are also predicting that if it becomes unaffordable, they will be able to purchase solar panels and an electric car then (when everyone is trying to do the same thing).
 
Hi @GregTR. I guess you are kind of new here.. welcome to the forums. This IS what we do.:sneaky:

Have you seen the posts that are 45 pages long, and only about 15 pages are on topic?


Obviously, looking at my previous three sentences, I can't argue your point about the smart-assery. I can only confirm it.

However, I think I can argue that you are missing a nuance about predicting the future. People will look at the guy with an electric car and solar panels who advocates that it is a good investment and say he is some goober who thinks he knows what the future will bring. But they are ignoring the fact that by choosing to stay reliant on the petroleum industry for transportation and reliant on the power grid for electricity, they are also predicting the future. Its just that their prediction is that these industries will continue to provide affordable energy and they are also predicting that if it becomes unaffordable, they will be able to purchase solar panels and an electric car then (when everyone is trying to do the same thing).


EDIT: replied to the wrong post
 
Green is a challenge we all should address, but the ONLY way to do it is through corporate change...

If EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN HOME was 100% green zero carbon footprint, it wouldn't dent the global carbon levels.
Likely wouldn't dent the airline carbon footprint.
Maybe if all power production was hydro, nuclear and solar/wind with zero fossil fuel production in USA it might dent the levels, but the commercial vehicular traffic and airline output is insane in comparison.

I want my home on solar. Not just for green status, but for dollar savings.
I want my vehicles to be electric... nowhere close on that yet. I did buy a smith electric truck as a project to build an ev work van... long haul on that goal...

I started to get the wife a leaf until the used ev prices went ballistic after the gas price hike...
Maybe someday... for now, I'll stick with my diesel vehicles and keep planning for solar in my home.
 
Green costs money and usually there is no payback, not in a timely manner unless you got everything for dirt cheap or free. It's a hobby and you get to use all the power you can produce and not worry about the electric bill. It's too late to help the environment.
Payback can be defined many different ways.
When I started deciding to buy stuff to try to make a solar system that could provide all of my electricity at least 8 months out of the year, with battery storage because net metering just isn't worth the added cost here, I calculated that I would be paying nearly double per kwh for my power over the life of the system. I didn't let that bother me, because it is something i wanted to do for fun, and for the satisfaction of the achievement. Paying extra for my electricity was a reasonable cost for the hobby.

However, I was watching some videos from guys in Europe who put in PV systems a few years ago and figured they would have 15 to 20 year payback, and now they are suddenly looking at 2 to 3 year payback times. The economics can really change in a hurry. And then you get the extra payback of getting to be smug about being prepared.
Putin will nuke us all anyways.
Hmmm. Does photovoltaic output increase in the glow of radiation?
 
Payback can be defined many different ways.
When I started deciding to buy stuff to try to make a solar system that could provide all of my electricity at least 8 months out of the year, with battery storage because net metering just isn't worth the added cost here, I calculated that I would be paying nearly double per kwh for my power over the life of the system. I didn't let that bother me, because it is something i wanted to do for fun, and for the satisfaction of the achievement. Paying extra for my electricity was a reasonable cost for the hobby.

However, I was watching some videos from guys in Europe who put in PV systems a few years ago and figured they would have 15 to 20 year payback, and now they are suddenly looking at 2 to 3 year payback times. The economics can really change in a hurry. And then you get the extra payback of getting to be smug about being prepared.

Hmmm. Does photovoltaic output increase in the glow of radiation?

Yes, but we are overdue for a massive global cataclysm event from the Sun, that will destroy your solar panels…
 
Yes, but we are overdue for a massive global cataclysm event from the Sun, that will destroy your solar panels…
GMD? Can’t say I’d be too worried about a solar flair damaging PV panels.

Grid stability, sure. 100 mile long transmission lines are much different than a few PV panels of an off grid system.
 
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Hi @GregTR. I guess you are kind of new here.. welcome to the forums. This IS what we do.:sneaky:

Have you seen the posts that are 45 pages long, and only about 15 pages are on topic?


Obviously, looking at my previous three sentences, I can't argue your point about the smart-assery. I can only confirm it.

However, I think I can argue that you are missing a nuance about predicting the future. People will look at the guy with an electric car and solar panels who advocates that it is a good investment and say he is some goober who thinks he knows what the future will bring. But they are ignoring the fact that by choosing to stay reliant on the petroleum industry for transportation and reliant on the power grid for electricity, they are also predicting the future. Its just that their prediction is that these industries will continue to provide affordable energy and they are also predicting that if it becomes unaffordable, they will be able to purchase solar panels and an electric car then (when everyone is trying to do the same

There are huge hurdles facing electric cars. Charging stations, charging times, transmission lines, additional power generation requirements and has anyone considered the availability of lithium, cobalt & manganese needed for large scale manufacturing of batteries?
 
There are huge hurdles facing electric cars. Charging stations, charging times, transmission lines, additional power generation requirements and has anyone considered the availability of lithium, cobalt & manganese needed for large scale manufacturing of batteries?
Nope, nobody has ever considered those things.
 
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