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General Chat Thread, Solar Panels in General; I would imagine the power required for an immersion heater would not be sufficiently supplied by solar panels, as heating ...
  1. #16

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    I would imagine the power required for an immersion heater would not be sufficiently supplied by solar panels, as heating elements use alot of power (though the panels may be nice expensive ones and i am wrong!). More ideal scenarios for solar setups are for house lighting, it is easily expandable, low power consumption, simple wiring, and when it goes bang not much breaks! It is a good 'first step' into solar power, make sure the batteries are hooked into the system though, solar doesnt like the dark for some reason

    I would start with the panels charging batteries, (including a charge controller in there) working out what 12v appliances i want to use so that i can choose the right size batteries, taking into account the charging power of the panels (though in a small lighting system, with some liberated UPS 12v batteries it wont matter too much, just use a charge controller to prevent overcharging etc.).

    I have ripped out the innards of a UPS system, wiring up the power inputs and outputs to the battery through a charge controller, so that you can just plug in the solar panels to the power input, then plug in any outputs you want. Go go recycle bot!

    hope this helps
    Last edited by Roopert; 24th April 2008 at 10:39 AM.

  2. #17

    Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I'd hate to think we were shying away from developing large-scale wind/wave power stations just because of the engineering challenge. It does seem rather obvious - ruddy great chunk of sea, perfect for plonking a bunch of off-shore wind turbines in where they won't bother anyone. Nuclear power stations will still leave us dependant on foreign imports of raw fuel.
    Indeed, we have some of the windiest, roughest seas and highest tidal ranges in the world, perfect for power generation.

    You'll be interested to know that Australia has most of the worlds Uranium, so getting nuclear fuel is not nearly as troublesome as you might expect.

    Also, we did have several fast breeder reactors in Scotland which can make fuel. We could either reactivate these plants (I'm not sure as to what state they are in) or simply build more reactors, utilising the same sites.

    As for spent fuel, we already have the technology to turn most of it back into fuel rods and the rest into various interesting radioactive isotopes. Which makes for excellent fuel for space ships, satellites and medical purposes, amongst other things. BNFL is making quite a lot of money out of this, currently dealing with French and American spent fuel and reprocessing it into new fuel rods.

  3. #18

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    Wind and tidal power has raised concerns about their effect on the environment (including the positive and negative changes to costal erosion, destruction of habitats, etc) ... this is only starting to be seriously explored in US, NL and Oz.

    Nuclear fuel is very profitable and the scare-mongering from many years ago is still having a detrimental effect. The industry has moved on in leaps and bounds (as pointed out by Geoff) so it is viable as a solution.

    The danger of energy consumption is that we have not changed our energy uptake in light of what is going on ... get that sorted and it will give us a little more time to be forward thinking.

    People will laugh that I have swapped to a SMART car ... and I would eventually like to go even more efficient too ...

    The solar panels ... use them to run in house entertainment ... computers, tvs, VCRs, etc ... and try to sell energy back to the grid. Well worth it.

  4. #19
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    My point indeed...

    I have an MP3 player hitched to some 9v creative speakers and a 12v Sub..that's my entertainment centre. I have everything as low powered as possible, everything on timers, and the only thing that is always on is the fridge.

    Which is why I only use £4 electricity per week, including cooking. Heh.

  5. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Wind and tidal power has raised concerns about their effect on the environment (including the positive and negative changes to costal erosion, destruction of habitats, etc)...
    It bothers me that we seem to be making only half-hearted efforts into solving the problems associated with various forms of power generation. Sod it, if we want proper renewable power generation then there's a huge great fission reactor hanging a measly 1AU away in space that'll be spewing power for the next couple of billion years at least.[1]

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    [1] Probably. Your mileage may vary. I take no responsibility if it only turns out to last 1 billion years.

  6. #21

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Wind and tidal power has raised concerns about their effect on the environment (including the positive and negative changes to costal erosion, destruction of habitats, etc) ... this is only starting to be seriously explored in US, NL and Oz.

    Nuclear fuel is very profitable and the scare-mongering from many years ago is still having a detrimental effect. The industry has moved on in leaps and bounds (as pointed out by Geoff) so it is viable as a solution.

    The danger of energy consumption is that we have not changed our energy uptake in light of what is going on ... get that sorted and it will give us a little more time to be forward thinking.

    People will laugh that I have swapped to a SMART car ... and I would eventually like to go even more efficient too ...

    The solar panels ... use them to run in house entertainment ... computers, tvs, VCRs, etc ... and try to sell energy back to the grid. Well worth it.
    However, the damage caused by wind and tidal power generation is lower than the damage caused by pumping billions of tonnes of co2 into the air, or digging up giant swathes of land for coal mining, or to mine uranium, or the massive damage caused by the exploration of and extraction of oil.

    No method of producing enegy is going to be perfect.

  7. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    It bothers me that we seem to be making only half-hearted efforts into solving the problems associated with various forms of power generation. Sod it, if we want proper renewable power generation then there's a huge great fission reactor hanging a measly 1AU away in space that'll be spewing power for the next couple of billion years at least.[1]

    --
    David Hicks

    [1] Probably. Your mileage may vary. I take no responsibility if it only turns out to last 1 billion years.
    It reminds me of an episode of The West Wing where Josh got lumbered with working with the alternative energy groups, all of which slagged each other off.

    IIRC the problem with solar power in the states was that to get an amount to make a serious dent in the problem they had to cover Vegas and chunks of the Grand Canyon in solar panels.

    Alternative energy sources actually does not stop the problem, only shifts the problem to some extent. Reducing the power usage is the goal.

  8. #23

    witch's Avatar
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    This is blowing up (hee hee) into a different discussion!
    Thanks for your ideas guys, especially Roopert and SirBendy
    I'll let you know what he did do in the end (and what it cost us!)

  9. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Wind and tidal power has raised concerns about their effect on the environment (including the positive and negative changes to costal erosion, destruction of habitats, etc) ... this is only starting to be seriously explored in US, NL and Oz.
    I know that its off topic but NZ has just approved a trial tidal power plant trial to test its viability.

    There are also wind farms being built but the tidal power would be far more efficient and generate more power. This is especially important as we are looking at yet another power crisis due to low rainfall (thanks global climate change), not a certainty yet thankfully but deffinatly an annoyance.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 25th April 2008 at 06:17 AM.

  10. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew_C View Post
    I saw a headline last week stating that some Scottish island had a wind farm turned down to protect some birds. Don't these idiots realise that unless we do turn to renewables many more nesting sites are going to get trashed?

    this could be the one.
    As for solar power, I thought that daylight was enough to power the panels, rather than sunshine. There's an old article from the BBC here which suggests that it was going to be tried out on the Isle of Foula. This may have been superseded by more current events.

  11. #26

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    On topic, at least for a bit.

    A small quantity of photovoltaics won't give you much water heating. Much better off using water or vacuum tubes.

    As they are producing electricity directly, try to use this at low voltage (whatever they kick out) rather than converting to mains, as this is very lossy. Run some battery backed lights off them perhaps? How many depends on the output.

  12. #27
    kearton's Avatar
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    When visiting my brother on his farm back in NZ a few months ago, he had a novel way of heating his swimming pool... about 200m of black alkathene piping running back and forth across his roof, with a small pump from an old washing machine, and both ends of the pipe going into the pool. The water was coming out of the pipe 3 degrees warmer than it went in. Free solar heating (apart from the small electrical cost of running the pump, and the piping which he had spare anyway)

    We've also just had 86 solar panels installed at School:
    Fronius SolarWeb
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Solar Panels-panels.jpg  

  13. #28

    witch's Avatar
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    We have solar panels at school as well.

    It is over a year since my original post and he STILL hasn't done anything with the panels...

    I want solar powered lights for the garden - what sort of battery would I need please?

  14. #29
    PEO
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    during my visit to Austria last summer I noticed the locals used solar pannels alot to generate power.. It would be worth checking the net to see what they use them for.

  15. #30
    PEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    We have solar panels at school as well.

    It is over a year since my original post and he STILL hasn't done anything with the panels...

    I want solar powered lights for the garden - what sort of battery would I need please?
    Solar powered lights imo are a waste of money and they hardly work. We got some last year.

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