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Coal and Solar Power

It still requires OIL to make it go, still belches filth into the sky, but I am sure it is a nice car. From a standpoint of efficiency I am glad that Car Companies are at least thinking about improving efficiencies.

And your Tesla gets it's power from unicorns and Keebler Elves? Most likely you get your power from coal burning plants. Nothing wrong with clean coal but let's not be holier than thou. Diesels rock as do Teslas.
 

astrotoy

Member
Supporting Member
Jan 24, 2013
353
840
SF Bay Area
The solar panels on my home's roof generate about 11,000KwH per year. My Model S uses about 3000 KwH to go the 10,000 miles we drive it in a year. The sun does fuse hydrogen into helium to generate the energy, but it is pretty clean compared with coal. It will only last about 5 billion years, though.
 
And your Tesla gets it's power from unicorns and Keebler Elves? Most likely you get your power from coal burning plants. Nothing wrong with clean coal but let's not be holier than thou. Diesels rock as do Teslas.

Hey wiseguy...First of all, our electricity is generated by natural gas, but I doubt my TESLA usage has changed the local equation a measurable fraction. But statistically, only 39% of the US electricity is generated by COAL and that number is dropping. Whether or not I plug my car in, will not change our local pollution, but first, I will not be supporting BIG OIL or ARAB TERRORIST STATES, and will not be contributing to the pollution of the air. My point is that I am glad that finally the car companies are looking to alternative fuel and if we can change the use of petroleum by even 10=20% in the next few years it can make an impact. You must enjoy watching those Diesel buses and truck belching that smoke into the air, looks pretty cool right, like the guys who tell me they like the roar of their ICE cars.
 
And your Tesla gets it's power from unicorns and Keebler Elves?

This made me laugh. How do the Keebler Elves do it?

Moving from old technology to new is improving air quality and reducing dependency on foreign oil. New diesels are more efficient and less pollutant that the past. No black cloud belching. Step in the right direction.

Not everyone can afford to make the leap to Tesla so I applaud other approaches as well.

Not an expert, but it would seem logical that burning coal for electricity on an industrial scale with proper scrubbers is less pollutive than millions of individual cars burning oil products.

As I said - every step towards improvement is a proper step forward.

My Tesla arrives in September. Can't wait.
 
The solar panels on my home's roof generate about 11,000KwH per year. My Model S uses about 3000 KwH to go the 10,000 miles we drive it in a year. The sun does fuse hydrogen into helium to generate the energy, but it is pretty clean compared with coal. It will only last about 5 billion years, though.

And those solar panels were hand made by the Amish using only recycled drift wood and love? I'm thinking they were made with Chinese slave labor in China who builds a new coal (not clean but the filthy kind) burning plant every 2 weeks. But hey don't let me get in the way of your fantasy that Teslas only run on "clean" energy when the #1 source of energy in the U.S. is clean coal.

when I get my Tesla I'm going to get a custom license plate that reads KOLPOWR. Who's with me?
 
And those solar panels were hand made by the Amish using only recycled drift wood and love? I'm thinking they were made with Chinese slave labor in China who builds a new coal (not clean but the filthy kind) burning plant every 2 weeks. But hey don't let me get in the way of your fantasy that Teslas only run on "clean" energy when the #1 source of energy in the U.S. is clean coal.

when I get my Tesla I'm going to get a custom license plate that reads KOLPOWR. Who's with me?

Where to start?

The #1 source of energy in the US is oil, not coal.

The #1 source of electricity in California where I live is natural gas. Close to 30% of grid power here is from renewable sources which will rise to over 40% by 2020. My electric utility, one of California's largest, has no coal-powered plants. Tesla cars and other EVs are disproportionately located in regions with relatively clean electric grids.

The SunPower solar panels I own were not made in China. On a net basis, my solar PV system supplies about 75% of the electric power my home and Tesla use.

The energy payback time for modern solar PV systems is only 1-2 years.
 
Last edited:
Where to start?

The #1 source of energy in the US is oil, not coal.

The #1 source of electricity in California where I live is natural gas. Close to 30% of grid power here is from renewable sources which will rise to over 40% by 2020. My electric utility, one of California's largest, has no coal-powered plants. Tesla cars and other EVs are disproportionately located in regions with relatively clean electric grids.

The SunPower solar panels I own were not made in China. On a net basis, my solar PV system supplies about 75% of the electric power my home and Tesla use.

The energy payback time for modern solar PV systems is only 1-2 years.

Just to clarify, the #1 source of electricity (not all energy) in the US is coal, and oil is a very small % of electricity production. As you pointed out, natural gas is on the rise. Below is the forecast of long-term electricity production by fuel source from the US Energy Information Administration:

EIA Chart.jpg
 

liuping

Active Member
Jul 23, 2013
2,243
927
San Diego
And those solar panels were hand made by the Amish using only recycled drift wood and love? I'm thinking they were made with Chinese slave labor in China who builds a new coal (not clean but the filthy kind) burning plant every 2 weeks.
Why would you assume the panels are made in China?

Of the 6 people I know with solar: five use Solar World Panels (USA), one uses SunPower (Philippines, Malaysia, or USA) and one uses REC (Singapore). Not one of them uses Chinese manufactured panels.
 
Why would you assume the panels are made in China?

Of the 6 people I know with solar: five use Solar World (USA), one uses SunPower (Philippines, Malaysia, or USA) and one uses REC (Singapore). Not one of them uses Chinese panels.
Yeah, this guy is quite the troll. I have REC Solar, and they also manufacture panels in Norway and the USA. And here in San Diego now that the nuke plant is shut down, all of our power comes from natural gas, wind, and solar.

Founded in 1997, REC Solar is one of three subdivisions of Renewable Energy Corporation whose headquarters are in Norway. REC Silicon has its production facilities for silicon materials here in the US--Moses Lake, Washington and Butte. Their wafer production and cell production sites are in Norway.

- - - Updated - - -

Zooming in on San Diego on this map shows that we get a lot from biomass and hydroelectric as well. In fact, there doesn't appear to be a single coal-fired power plant anywhere south of Bakersfield: http://www.eia.gov/state/maps.cfm
 

brianman

Burrito Founder
Nov 10, 2011
17,617
3,222
Why would you assume the panels are made in China?
For future reference, when speaking of WA owners of solar panels the odds are highly likely that the panels are made in WA (the incentives are better). So even if it was a "guess based on..." it's the wrong guess for WA state.

I'm not familiar with the CA incentives regarding in-state or in-country panel choice.
 

liuping

Active Member
Jul 23, 2013
2,243
927
San Diego
I'm not familiar with the CA incentives regarding in-state or in-country panel choice.
Sadly, the CA incentives for solar ran out a year or so ago.

The price of the panels is only a part of the total cost. After all the install and permit costs, the difference in the total system cost between using USA made panels and Chinese panels is not that big. When people see that they usually choose American made panels.

I'm a big fan of SolarWorld panels, not just because the are manufactured in the USA (Made in America) or their more environmentally friendly production (Environmental stewardship), but also because their new Protect line has a 30 year output warranty with less than 0.36% linear annual production loss over that time. That means in 30 years, they will still product 86.85% of the power they did when new. That's pretty impressive. Not long ago output was down to 80% after 20 years...
 

Dutchie

Active Member
Jun 9, 2013
1,682
4,963
Canada
And those solar panels were hand made by the Amish using only recycled drift wood and love? I'm thinking they were made with Chinese slave labor in China who builds a new coal (not clean but the filthy kind) burning plant every 2 weeks. But hey don't let me get in the way of your fantasy that Teslas only run on "clean" energy when the #1 source of energy in the U.S. is clean coal.

when I get my Tesla I'm going to get a custom license plate that reads KOLPOWR. Who's with me?

A Tesla runs on electricity!!! Your way of thinking is just as daft as me saying that my ICE car runs on solar power, albeit very old solar power..
 
That chart from the EIA is just silly. It is a speculation - I don't know how much the coal lobby paid to have it made, but it has a lot of flaws.

Here is a chart made from EIA sources for the actual data from the last 10 years.
electricprod.png


I separated "renewables" from "hydro" to mean non-hydro renewables.
Production from solar increased by 119% from the previous year.
 
That chart from the EIA is just silly. It is a speculation - I don't know how much the coal lobby paid to have it made, but it has a lot of flaws.

Here is a chart made from EIA sources for the actual data from the last 10 years.
View attachment 52960

I separated "renewables" from "hydro" to mean non-hydro renewables.
Production from solar increased by 119% from the previous year.

The two charts make sense. In the EIA forecast of future periods, coal simply holds steady in the amount of terrawatt hour production while natural gas and other sources pick-up the new growth. Natural gas took a big bite out of coal in recent years due to the significant decrease in the price of natural gas, clean air regulations impacting coal-fired units, and the retirement of older units. However, coal has rebounded well, particularly in the mountain states, midwest and Texas where Powder River Basin coal displaces natural gas when gas get up above about $2.50 per mmbtu. One thing that may be confusing is that coal is on the bottom of my chart and middle of your chart, but otherwise, I don't seem them as particularly inconsistent.

In any event, I only put the chart up to clarify that electric production is not oil-driven as the earlier poster suggested.
 

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