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Old 05-05-2011, 03:08 PM   #61
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Interesting, we did geothermal at our house. Zero maintenance so far.
However, ours is a closed system. I know a lot of the early ones did not use closed loop systems. Perhaps that is the difference?
I do agree that being first on the block does require a lot of careful planning.
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:13 PM   #62
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There is an office building in Portland (constructed in the 60s) that heats using a closed loop system. I don't know its condition today but it got rave reviews for many years.
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:24 PM   #63
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The last maintenance visit the rep suggested I go closed loop. Another 5k down the wishing well (drilling a new well)... we'll see. He did say closed loop in the area have better maintenance records.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:09 PM   #64
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What you are installing is basically a water-to-water heat pump. In our climate the ground temperature is always moderate and water essentially free of salts & minerals so they are efficient year round.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:43 PM   #65
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The U.S. finished building out a hard-wired telecom infrastructure before cell phones took off. Third-world countries had the luxury of skipping right over the hard-wiring phase and going straight to cell phones. That seems to be working well.

However the same hasn't happened for third-world electrical infrastructure, unless you count the number of "rich" homeowners with backyard fossil-fuel generators. It'll be interesting to see if photovoltaic tech does for electrical power what cell phones have done for telecom, but it may take another 20 years.
Last week after reading this I ran into an old friend, one of whose kids was about to go on a work/study/mission trip to somewhere in Africa to install photovoltaic systems on a rural hospital or clinic. They will provide power for incubators as well as lights and power for surgery (which apparently still is done under candlelight at times there). I thought it an interesting coincidence in light of this discussion. This case was largely charitable - participants raised money for the system prior and are providing the labor to install. But it's easy to imagine lots of similar opportunities where the lack of pre-existing competitive infrastructure makes the economics markedly different than in more developed markets. It *will* be interesting to see how that plays out - for renewables in general - in places without the benefit of (or perhaps unconstrained by) existing infrastructure investments.
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The production of solar pannels has just been taken to a new level:
Old 06-29-2011, 11:22 PM   #66
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The production of solar pannels has just been taken to a new level:

According to an article in ScienceDaily (June 28, 2011):

Engineers at Oregon State University have discovered a way for the first time to create successful "CIGS" solar devices with inkjet printing, in work that reduces raw material waste by 90 percent and will significantly lower the cost of producing solar energy cells with some very promising compounds.

The above is an excerpt from: Inkjet printing could change the face of solar energy industry Engineers salivate!!!

Now if we could develop cost effective batteries that store the energy produced through the night..

I remember when my Father said that nuclear generators would be so cost effective that it wouldn't pay to meter electricity. I hope that the expectations for solar don't go to that extreme.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:45 PM   #67
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According to an article in ScienceDaily (June 28, 2011):
If I had a nickel for every 'breakthrough' I've read about for solar power, I would have retired 10 years earlier...

I recently came across a 'breakthrough' in solar PV - 'beads' of silicon produced from waste from IC manufacturing, and cheaply connected to a thin, flexible plastic plated substrate- it lowered the cost tremendously and the beads captured sunlight at multiple angles. Sounded great! Googling further, I realized that the article was about 10 years old, and no follow up since.

I'll read this one later, but it's probably another 'just around the corner' disappointments.

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Old 06-30-2011, 02:07 PM   #68
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Quote:
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According to an article in ScienceDaily (June 28, 2011):

Engineers at Oregon State University have discovered a way for the first time to create successful "CIGS" solar devices with inkjet printing, in work that reduces raw material waste by 90 percent and will significantly lower the cost of producing solar energy cells with some very promising compounds.

The above is an excerpt from: Inkjet printing could change the face of solar energy industry Engineers salivate!!!
OK, so I got around to reading it. Strikes me as odd that they go on about how cost effective this will be ("reduces raw material waste by 90 percent and will significantly lower the cost of producing solar energy cells"), and then say...

Quote:
The OSU researchers say that with continued research they should be able to achieve an efficiency of about 12 percent, which would make a commercially viable solar cell.
They are currently getting 5%. With such low costs, why do they need 12% to be 'commercially viable' (14% is about typical for solar panels today)?



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Now if we could develop cost effective batteries that store the energy produced through the night..
And when you add that to the cost of renewables....


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