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Old 10-07-2020, 09:57 PM   #1
Doppleganger
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Solar panels are a meme

So is Tesla, incidentally.

Background: Gavinator signed a bill earlier this year mandating that all new housing in California will need to have solar panels.

Ignoring the e-waste concerns of solar panels - the pollution that goes in to building them, and they pollution they leave behind when they die - and also the maintenance issue of needing to habitually clean them, it doesn't seem like that bad an idea.

There's caveats, though. A lot of them.

The first is that common solar panel calculations over a 20 year period assume static rates of electricity usage. This is obviously not the case. Due to the same global warming pressure, there's now a positive feedback loop with regard to air conditioning.

As you know, air conditioning cools a closed system by dumping entropy outside of it. So as global warming increases outside temperature, there's more pressure to use air conditioning to combat thermodynamics.

Spending more electricity to cool your house, then heating the outside air even more with what the coils dump outside of it, thus leading to more electricity to cool the home and keep the refrigerators from breaking down...it's a punishing, logarithmic increase in energy usage.

Solar panels provide a fixed rate assuming clear skies. But what happens if fires dump soot into the air, obfuscating the light of the sun but smoke-grilling the humans beneath the clouds? The solar panels won't save you or even help much at dealing with the electric bill.

Finally, and worse of all - my city has initiated new ordinances limiting the planting of trees so they don't interfere with solar panels. You can't plant shade trees and are encouraged to cut down existing ones that have lived for centuries. You're encouraged to uproot you lawn and plant rocks instead. Water rates are skyrocketing due to the human density, and trees need to give way for that.

Trees obviously purify the air, provide shade that limits the usage of air conditioning. They're well worth their weight in water and don't produce e-waste when they're gone. Yet, they're being prioritized behind solar panels to meet the supposed 'energy crisis'.

...

I don't hold popular opinions with global warming. I 100% believe it, but I think we should embrace the inevitable. No alternative, renewable energy except nuclear is 100% safe without dramatically affecting the topography or climate of the planet. After nuclear I guess wind is pretty safe I guess, but that's still limited.

Anyway, solar panels look to me to provide little positive benefit. Cutting down trees to accommodate them is foolish. Solar doesn't purify the air we breath and doesn't discourage air conditioning use.

It's a technology that works best in a runaway greenhouse, not at preventing such a greenhouse from happening.
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Old 10-09-2020, 10:07 AM   #2
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Your logic doesn't track.

Quote:
The first is that common solar panel calculations over a 20 year period assume static rates of electricity usage.
I would understand if you wanted to do, like, an economic analysis of whether or not it's a good idea for a homeowner to buy solar panels. But you don't build this argument into anything. You just talk about how people are going to use more energy over time because of climate change. That has nothing to do with whether or not solar energy is a good idea.

Quote:
Solar panels provide a fixed rate assuming clear skies. But what happens if fires dump soot into the air, obfuscating the light of the sun but smoke-grilling the humans beneath the clouds? The solar panels won't save you or even help much at dealing with the electric bill.
Again, you have this strange idea that the government is doing this in order to help homeowners save money. The goal is not to save money on your monthly energy bill, it's to stop a global climate catastrophe from killing everyone.

Quote:
Trees obviously purify the air, provide shade that limits the usage of air conditioning. They're well worth their weight in water and don't produce e-waste when they're gone. Yet, they're being prioritized behind solar panels to meet the supposed 'energy crisis'. [...] You can't plant shade trees and are encouraged to cut down existing ones that have lived for centuries. You're encouraged to uproot you lawn and plant rocks instead
I think you have a garbled calculation of the ecological, financial, and overall benefit of planting trees, especially in SoCal in the middle of a drought.

Nuclear is great, but we can do solar panels and nuclear at the same time.
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Old 10-09-2020, 03:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
You're encouraged to uproot you lawn and plant rocks instead.
Completely unrelated to anything in this post (because I'm largely...trying to find the connection here) but, this is actually a good thing. Lawns are water guzzling monocultures that do basically nothing for the environment and are purely there for aesthetic. You can do much more responsible things as a homeowner, like planting native plants that are suited to the area and its periods of drought, instead of planting grass which cannot survive in that climate.

This is something I feel heavily about do not @ me.
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Old 10-09-2020, 04:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuckle View Post
I would understand if you wanted to do, like, an economic analysis of whether or not it's a good idea for a homeowner to buy solar panels. But you don't build this argument into anything. You just talk about how people are going to use more energy over time because of climate change. That has nothing to do with whether or not solar energy is a good idea.
Put another way, solar panel cost savings projections don't take into account global warming. Since they're a marketing tool, they're advertised at the high end of savings and calculated from historical data of electric costs and weather conditions.

If I'm projected to save $70,000 over a 20 year period based on recovery data from 1991-2011, that amount is obviously inflated since kilowatt hours are more expensive, temperatures are two degrees higher year round and 'cloud cover' is amplified due to wildfire pollution.

Most of the solar panels in this state stopped functioning during the two big fire events, because not only did they fail to capture sunlight through the smoke, they were ash-covered during the fires and needed to be cleaned. That's 2 months of the year taken away by fire, or 3% of the 20 year of the solar panel projection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuckle View Post
The goal is not to save money on your monthly energy bill, it's to stop a global climate catastrophe from killing everyone.
It has about as much impact as trying to turn the ocean yellow by urinating in it. It's already too late to do anything from the solar energy side of things.

Green power isn't a bad idea even at this stage but solar is the laziest, least beneficial approach and I'm skeptical it's even green because of the e-waste involved in constructing/trashing solar panels.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuckle View Post
I think you have a garbled calculation of the ecological, financial, and overall benefit of planting trees, especially in SoCal in the middle of a drought.

Nuclear is great, but we can do solar panels and nuclear at the same time.
I'm in NorCal, and in the valley to boot. SoCal is heavily subsidized by the North in both water and air quality, and I've personally noticed that the past 3 years in California resemble the summers I experienced in the Deep South.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emi
Lawns are water guzzling monocultures that do basically nothing for the environment and are purely there for aesthetic. You can do much more responsible things as a homeowner, like planting native plants that are suited to the area and its periods of drought, instead of planting grass which cannot survive in that climate.


I can see your point. Lawns are indeed discouraged here now, but I should clarify though that trees are targeted above lawns in most cases here, due to the risks of infestation of trees by insects when they're not given enough water.

The water issues are much more pressing to me than electricity since electric power is easier to transport than water, and historically California has supplied water using underground water tables. That isn't sustainable and modifies the topography of the land by sinking the surface once the water is depleted, and this was even before global warming accelerated the demand for water.
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:25 AM   #5
marlosmiles
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Reading this I decided to install solar panels in my house. I also found this review https://websolarguide.com/am-solar-powered-radio/

Last edited by marlosmiles; 10-28-2020 at 08:05 AM.
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