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Do you work with solar/wind energy?

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posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 09:50 AM
Just wondering if anyone here at ATS has a career working with renewable energy. Been looking at many different fields to get into and I'd really like some experienced people to shed some light on the subject.

Seems like an industry that really has nowhere to go but up. I think more people, companies, and governments will become increasingly interested in forms of alternative energy, therefore to me it seems like a secure career path.

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 09:54 AM
reply to post by SGTSECRET

I think fission or Hydrogen generation is likely to fizzle out the renewable energy scene. Renewable energy requires far too much investment for a relativly little output. Wind power is effectively dead in the water already. The UK has found out fast that it doesn't work.

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 10:13 AM
Solar and wind are kaput in my region of the United States. I pay 10.3 cents/Kw, and the ROI is 20+ years. I hear the aforementioned time-frame is less in California. I've been keeping my eye on a cold fusion reactor called E-Cat. Here's a link to cold fusion news:

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 10:18 AM
reply to post by Q33323

Pretty sure solar is not 'kaput' for you, it doesn't require direct sunlight. 2 negative responses here but I've been googling all night finding alot of positive things about it.

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 10:22 AM
I have worked with making Solar troughs, and Solar dishes, not the solar cells, just Reflectors, I bend the glass, and focus the light to a single point, where the concertrated light creates extreme heat, then used to create steam, and turn turbines to create energy. Im am very interested in this feild also, Ive been making my own windmills, and creating my own solar dishes. Its not very hard to make a very useful windmill, that can create energy, to either be stored in a Battery bank, or fed back into the grid, I personnally like the battery banks, because at least I know that when the power goes off, I have a back up for at least 8-10 hours, depending on how many watts im using per hour, until my windmills and solar cells can charge my batteries again. I believe that Solar, Wind, Hydrogen, and other alternative energies are the Future, I dont see these job sectors shrinking at all, just becoming bigger, and a need for more people to fill the jobs, required to keep these technologies going, all the way from the manufacturing, to the building and setting up, to the maintaining of them as a reliable energy source. These Alternative energies arent going away, they have just begun.

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 10:31 AM
reply to post by Glassbender777

Thank you. That is basically what I have been reading about and watching all night, how the industry is growing, and will continue to do so. I've seen the guys making their own energy sources in DIY videos and such, so I know what you mean by making your own panels and such. Although you obviously have experience in this sort of thing, my original intent was to pick the brain of someone actively working for one of these 'green' companies.

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 10:42 AM
reply to post by SGTSECRET

I used to own a company renewable energy company. PV is a commodity, and there are too many providers. Hence, margins are low. Sub-4Kw wind turbines are still too expensive, for a good one at least. Simply stated, no one has the money to buy anything these days, and the government subsidies are few and far between. There are some companies who lease systems. I've heard that's not too bad. Solar tubes are still viable for entities which require inordinate amounts of hot water: hotels, prisons, fast food, and Turkish baths (you might see Charlie Sheen at one of these..Lol).

Micro turbines are worth a look. Better efficiencies, and co-generation prospects.

I had the dream too, and don't want to come across as totally negative. But, is the reality, at least where I live.

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 10:56 AM
Well eventually we will have to go to these energy sources whether we like it or not....efficient or not. At some point, they will stop the use of coal here in America, sad but true. The waste from nuclear power plants are going to become a real issue as well....there is only so many places you can "hide" this stuff.

Until we start mining the moon for Helium 3, we are stuck. Who knows, we might have to digress as a society....having electricity during the day (solar) and wind when available....but at night we return to the "dark ages".

I have done some work on solar panel support structures....(I work in construction engineering) but they are not as prevalent as one might think.....they are still too expensive to be a rational answer....perhaps in the future, they will be more affordable...along with wind turbines....but for now....they are not.

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 11:05 AM
There is a balance between ROI and investment capitol, and time on ROI. The governements around the world try and look at long term ROI and have invested accordingly with rebates and subsidies.
(ROI means Return On Investement)

Some work and some don't.
Some of the subsidies are a joke with initial good intentions.

There is no question alternative energy will get some legs in all areas of consumption. Betting on which one will be profitable sooner then later for ROI is anyones guess.

As another writer wrote, 25 years with govenment subsidies for ROI doesn't sound like a good investment,but that's what the Chinese are banking on.LONG term payoff's. Solar and Wind alternative energies do NOT work yet for the cost of manufacturing verses energy output. Yet.
Hydro? Nuclear? They work. Long term projects with a payoff on ROI and some dangers with it.

We here in America want immediate gratification. The alternative energy industry is the wild wild west.
We just don't know where the gold is yet.

We'll get there, but we don't know where and how.

I work in new product design on all kinds of projects. Some are too costly like solar panels unless subsidised.
But at what cost? And who profits?

We HAVE to invest in options, but free enterprise works itself out in more cases then not.

I like the American(or anyone else) entrepreneur that creates his own funding and put's up dough to sell products that meet market demand all by itself. That's where the trend goes. What will we buy and why?

And don't tell me Electric Cars are a good thing.
The batteries to power up are scarey when you discard them. IS the trade off worth it? I happen to think that batteries are a danger long term.IMO we don't have enough info to draw a conclusion, but we're doing it anyway.
Thank you subsidised financing. It's a half cocked design concept without thinking through finished goods and disposal.

What else is new?

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 11:25 AM
reply to post by niceguybob

When my prospects found out how long it would take to recoup their investment, in my HOT state, they would cringe. Unless you're making a "feel good" purchase, solar was not a wise financial investment. Now, in Colorado, where my brother lives, he doesn't even have an A/C unit, and uses much less electricity. In addition, he pays nearly twice as much as I do per Kw. Thus, it's a better proposition in his region.

Regarding the instant gratification quote... Pooh.

I am ready for future tech that will usher in better, cleaner, cheaper, and more environmental sensitive way to generate energy. I have been keeping up with this for over a decade. There have been advances such as carbon nano tube arrays which collect UV radiation... 24 hrs a day, rain or shine...for energy generation. But this produces electricity in the billion-hertz range, while my home uses 60 hertz. That's too much to kick down. Perhaps we need to revise our standards.

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:18 PM
reply to post by Q33323

I was working on a Nano project that would recycle plastic AT the recycle center and convert plastic leftovers into nano's. On paper the project reads well. When you actually converted the costs to ROI it got a little dicey.

Here in California, the law for the definition of what is defined as biodegradable changes 2013. This law was/is completly fabricated by the cornstarch industry to promote cornstarch products. (Lobbiests from Iowa and Nebraska)

Basically, you will not be able to use the word biodegradable on packaging in the State of California after 2013 unless the product degregades within 21 days in a landfill. The only product that meets this requirement is a cornstarch based material. The forks and spoons that MELT in your cup of soup are a prime example.
Yes it works. So do new materials and additives that denigrate and excellerate in a landfill.
I happen to know for a fact that do to these new laws, Trader Joe's and Cosco will not be able to promote "biodegradable" on their new bags, due to this new law in the state of California.
AND? It cuts degregation time down to 5 years with clinical studies, but thats not good enough for the attorney general because he got bought off by cornstarch lobbiests.

Errr this is a conspiracy sight so I'm not making any claims.

Here's a website that offers alternative additives and admits the law in Cali has changed the dynamics of the word "Biodegradable".

So as much as alternative energy sources are redefined, so is the rulebook for the wrong reasons to DISPOSE of waste by products..(Like E car batteries)

I too understand market trends and products and materials and alternative sources of energy.

I'm just saying the dynamics for a whole idea need to be considerd. Not just one sum.

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 02:24 PM
Honestly, the only real market for alternative energies is in new construction in areas of the country with sparse population.

There, the cost of running and maintaining power lines to the population is quite high (even if the power required is quite low). People building new, energy-efficient homes will be looking for a system that is, more than anything, not as subject to outages during storms or other weather adversity.

Of course - this is highly region specific. In midwestern Missouri - a huge amount of power comes from the Truman Dam, and the cost of electricity is about a third of what it costs in towns that contract with KCP&L or some other entity that draws its power from fossil sources.

In that respect - you're looking at small power plants that could meet the demands of towns or subdivisions; which is where wind, small solar farms, or even small hydro-electric stations have something of a market - but the installation fees for those is going to be quite cost-prohibitive for smaller communities when you consider they will still have to meet their existing power demands at cost.

As I've stated before - the huge problem with alternative energy sources is their low yield by comparison to the high energy demands of traditional home construction. We dump huge amounts of power into climate control. Simply put - it will be nearly impossible to address the power needs of our communities with alternative energy sources so long as we devote such a huge amount of our power to shifting heat in and out of 3,000 cubic feet of air per-capita.

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 05:15 PM
My take on this is that any energy that you can generate and don't have to pay a hydro or utility or gas company for is a good thing.

Even if the ROI (Return on Investment) is 20+ years, it is based on current energy costs, and IMO these costs are going to increase significantly which, in turn, reduces your ROI, and just think, if you are OFF THE GRID, after those 20+ (most likely less) will be essentially free (minus up keep costs).

I have been seriously looking to build my own OFF the GRID residence. I have 44 acres of land, with no one around, lots of wind, and lots of sun, only issue on my end is that the solar systems don't like extreme cold weather (- 40 or more in Jan and FEB) so I'll need a couple of systems, but I believe they are well worth it.

Just my thoughts...........

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 06:21 PM
reply to post by PerceptiveOne

I continue to be amazed about threads that contribute to share knowledge, and watch sheeple migrate to less informative subjects, but peak interest by the masses.

I put this one in saved category.

Nice contributions by everyone.

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 07:32 PM
reply to post by PerceptiveOne

The problem is that you still have to do maintenance on your own system. The biggest drawback to virtually all alternative energy sources is the fact that power storage is required for them to become practical as a replacement for grid supply sources. The reality of it is that these are often in the form of very expensive battery setups that lose their capacity over the course of a few years - depending upon the type of battery used.

There does not exist a rechargeable battery system that will last 10 years without needing to be replaced - let alone 20. Most will be replaced at the 5-6 year mark, as a few stormy days will have you rationing your power by that time.

Depending upon the type of system you have - the batteries may be the single most expensive part.

Individual solar/wind systems are not an install-and-forget sort of thing. Solar cells can fail for various reasons (even if they just sit there, undamaged - the photovoltaic junction can break down), batteries will need to be replaced, and the regulating components will eventually need replacing, as well (though, depending upon design, perhaps not for several decades).

In areas of the country where 2-story, 3,000 square-foot houses can operate with a family of 5 on electric costs under $200 per month... it's going to be difficult to justify the cost of placing a solar power system in with $15,000 battery replacements every 4-6 years.

You will find some more technologically literate individuals have better setups that are rated for a longer period of time - but they also require monthly checks of acid levels, specific gravity ratings, etc. What most people are going to face, however, is solar power as a service. Much like you have someone come out to fill your propane tanks, inspect the lines, and work on your central air system (in some cases - even if you are capable of doing the same job, you don't want to set aside the time and scheduling to do it).

That is, of course, assuming you want to go completely off-grid.

Further, your power requirements are going to be very squirrely, depending upon what all you have in your house running off of electricity. Stoves/ovens, Air Conditioning, Furnaces, high-power sound systems, etc will all have a substantial impact on how much power you need to have in store (especially if you tend to use most of your power at night).

In the end - you are going to find that an off-grid home is best done from "square one" with as many power reducing features as possible. You will want solar water heating as opposed to an electric water heater. You will need to compensate for your lifestyle (such as people who are more active in the darker hours) - which may mean needing to install gas appliances (and associated lines)... or you may need to restructure your own lifestyle around the off-grid home's capabilities.

And that is the reality of it all. It's not a fire-and-forget solution to power needs.

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 09:47 PM
Hey, you guys are great. If you ever want to win a bet, ask who recodred this.

Frank Zappa Grand Wazoo Album.
The song is called "Blessed Relief"

I've put this song on many a jukebox with internet conect in different parts of the country and always get a drink and a up.

Too off topic? Just hanging with like minded guys.

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 10:05 PM
I have a background and working knowledge in alternative power sources. i hold a master electrician state license, and have been working in the field for 15 years what exactly would you like to know?

posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 02:40 PM
reply to post by Aim64C

There does not exist a rechargeable battery system that will last 10 years without needing to be replaced - let alone 20.

Ahh correct. That's where grid tie systems start to look good.
If the power company is required to pay you the "generation" cost for what you supply to the grid, you can skip the batteries.

While you are at work and the house is empty your net bill is being reduced by the same rate you pay them when you are at home. But yes panels and inverters can and do fail. You pay that cost.

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