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Solar Energy

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posted on Aug, 15 2011 @ 09:25 AM
I used to live in Germany. If you you don't know Germany (or any other EU country north of the Alps) can be summed up: The weather is horrible.

We have almost 8 months of winter, then a few months of more or less rainy weather and some sun.

The amazing thing is that many, many houses in Germany have solar energy with those panels on the roof. After i lived for about a decade in the states i was amazed to see that back in Germany they got obsessed with solar energy in the meantime. Again: The weather/summer in Germany is a total joke. But that's not the point.

We now moved to Spain, and the weather/sun here is not even REMOTELY one word, the sun here is brutal. I can compare to Florida..and my wife (she's from TN and also spent a long time in FL) she also confirms that the heat/sun here is..well simply "brutal", even compared to FL.

Needless to say, i haven't seen one single house/apartment using Solar Energy.

Take any random 30 days (anywhere from April to October) and it's almost guaranteed 27 of them with no single cloud and Sun, Sun, Sun.

The point of this post is that the amount of "wasted" energy by not using the sun's energy must be utterly ridiculous. We still pay out of the **** for utilities all throughout Europe (on avg 3x more than in the States).and there is TONS of free Energy right there almost every day...and its not used! Isn't this absurd?

Instead of using that energy from the sun..we run the AC otherwise we simply cant stand it in the house and pay approx €150 EACH MONTH for utilities. (+ various computers, plasma tv etc.)....i think something is wrong here

(I posted this in "Fragile Earth" since its more a rant about not using and wasting energy effectively...instead of in the tech forum)

I wonder how much Energy could be saved if there would be a law that any new apartment in southern countries like Italy/Spain etc. by law has to take advantage of solar energy. But then those countries are basically BROKE...i think they have other priorities. Just saying. Still absurd.
edit on 15-8-2011 by flexy123 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2011 @ 09:29 AM
reply to post by flexy123

I agree its stupid we dont use solar energy or some of the other alternatives. I opened a tread containing some of those earlyer today. Askeing almost same question. Guess the answer is money like always
edit on 15-8-2011 by Mimir because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2011 @ 10:04 AM
reply to post by flexy123

I don't know where in Spain you have been, since i have seen PLENTY of buildings using solar panels. They arent always mounted on the roof though.

And sadly solar panels are only really usable in southern Europe, and even there you wont get much energy out of it during winter season due to the low angle of sun.
Another problem is the price and durability which afaik is not very good.
edit on 15-8-2011 by juleol because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2011 @ 10:29 AM

Originally posted by Mimir
Guess the answer is money like always

Yup. I'm an architect and have to take continuing education courses each year to maintain my license, I've taken many courses on sustainable energy and solar is by far the most impressive. If you live in a hot climate you actually get two benefits from placing solar panels on your dwelling roof- in addition to the energy generated you're also blocking heat gain from the roof and therefore reducing your cooling load. Sounds like a win-win situation, right? But the up-front costs are substantial, tens of thousands of dollars with a 15+ year payback. When I say "payback", for the typical residence it will take 15 years of energy savings to recoup the initial investment, in other words, to break even. This wouldn't be so bad if the government would offer incentives, such as long-term low interest loans. For example, if I told you that your solar system would cost 15k and would save you 100.00 a month, but then I offered to give you a 15 year loan with a payment of 75.00 a month, who wouldn't take advantage of that? You'd be seeing a net savings of 25.00 a month, but even better, after the loan is paid off you'd be seeing a net savings of 100.00 a month for the remainder of the system life. I bet most people would be all over it. If we had solar panels on every roof in America we could completely eliminate all coal burning and nuclear energy sources. But guess what, there are no government subsidies of any kind for solar. No loans, no credits, nothing. The government has offered zero support to the industry.

And there are other issues as well, there are still an alarming number of homeowner associations around the country that prohibit solar panels!!! Some states have passed laws that make it illegal for HOA's to block solar installation, but most HOAs are unaware of the law and it's up to the individual homeowner to sue the HOA just so they can install panels, and most people don't want to go through the expense (not to mention creating the bad blood with their neighbors).

And lastly, in order to take advantage of solar you need to be able to "sell it back to the grid". Most people aren't home during the day and therefore their electricity usage is at its lowest at the very time of day the most energy is being generated by the panels. The solution is to "sell it back to the grid". Your electrical feed can flow both ways, so when you're generating more power than you use it goes back to the power lines to be used elsewhere. The only way this benefits you is if you have a meter that can spin backwards. So when you're feeding power to the grid the meter credits you, and then when you need power (IE, when you get home from work in the evening) you buy it back again. So are you ready for this bit of news?? MOST utility companies DO NOT offer meters that spin both ways! So you're generating power that goes back to the grid and they sell it to someone else and you get NO credit for it!! The only option for people who cannot get the proper meter is to set up a bank of batteries to store the unused energy until it can be used, but that's expensive, takes a lot of room and requires ongoing maintenance.

So, solar is a fantastic technology that could solve much of our dependence on coal, foreign oil and nuclear energy. And it's being completely ignored by the US government.

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