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TED Talk - The Value of Energy Efficiency

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by Chris Naps, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. Chris Naps

    Chris Naps Member

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    #1 Chris Naps, Mar 29, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    It isn't the best presentation, but he brings up pretty good points and makes it easy to understand. I liked the part at the end when he talks about solar panels because it is often something no thinks about when installing them, it helps clear peoples misconceptions about "going green."

    Let me know what you think.

    :) !Enjoy! :)

     
  2. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    I just can not get rid of that nagging thermodynamics lesson regarding energy neither being created nor destroyed but only changing form. By moving from burning stuff to PV to generate the energy we use we not only eliminate burning ten times more energy than we consume (generation/distribution inefficiency) but we also take a small amount of energy that was hitting our house (think panels on the house) and turn it into electricity to do our bidding (where, of course, it goes back to heat). That, in my book, is an 11 times improvement in the delivery of heat to the system and this does not take into account the thermal blanket effect of heat retention as a result of green house gases.

    Remove the inefficient, no value add administrative bureaucratic installation related elements of home PV and you are down to $2 Wh/Hr. Factor in the 30% federal tax rebate and you are now at $1.40. It is a financial no brainer to do solar ON EVERY HOUSE IN THE SOUTH. There is also a huge opportunity for utilities to re-invent themselves and thus make a future for themselves. All the elements are in place. What does it take to get this primordial soup to a boil??????
     
  3. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    1. Installers that you can trust. I think this is the big one. Many seem to be on the same level as siding installers.

    2. Not raising the prices by the amount of any subsidy. Whenever I've checked it appears that whenever there is a new subsidy, the price raises by the amount of the subsidy.

    3. Clear information on the installation process. (e.g. is it possible to install solar (Solar City says no, the roof is steeper than state regulations allow--other's say that's not correct. Are they right or do they just take the money and deliver a substandard system.)

    4. Clear information about the cost of maintenance over the lifespan of the panels. I recall the solar panels from the seventies. Almost all were removed within a few years, or just left to rot on the roof once they broke.

    5. Clear information on the types of panels available. There appears to be lots of hype and little actual information.
     
  4. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    Yes, but all the above can be addressed/debunked in short order which will likely remove the mist surrounding installers.

    I'm doing owner/builder and most of the hassle for me has been in understanding roof stand-offs, wind load codes and required support documentation to get a PE to sign off on my hand drawings. There is also the issue of string versus point inverters and pros/cons of yield and longevity. Any state or electric utility could take a firm stand and generate guidelines that owners could follow to remove 99% of these problems. There is no need for a PE to have to sign off on every drawing for each and every owner to pull a permit. Define what licensed roofers need do for code compliant standoffs and they will offer the service. Define by code racking strength and attachment point frequency and racking suppliers will provide very simple straight forward automated print generation depicting the code compliant racking system.

    All of this stuff exists; it just takes coalescing force bring it together. The uncertainty of the process is where the installers shroud themselves and demand unreasonable fees. A forward thinking utility could push this whole process through using rate commissions as an entry point to revising or providing guidance on existing code. Combine this with an eye towards local battery storage in place of sub-stations and they begin the process of moving from point to distributed generation. Take it one step further and have the utility underwrite the PV installations under an energy contract and the utility could actually survive as a thriving energy supplier. At least in the South the financial case can be made once you remove the burden of bureaucracy and bloated installation costs. It does not make sense in Florida when you are talking $4 / KW-Hr from one of these installers but it starts to make sense at $2 owner builder ($1.4 after incentives) and even more if FPL, TEPCO and others put their might behind it and defined a standard system that could be purchased, installed and supported in bulk. Heck, these utilities should be investing in the GigaFactory while their at it.

    I can not speak for the panel/inverter life cycle part. My return is six years given the current tax incentives so it is a no brainer roll of the dice for me. Panel and point inverter replacement is not that bad provided there are not a significant number of failures.
     
  5. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    +1 lolachampcar... I feel your frustration...

    Pretty sure all of the "solar panels" from the "70s" that were "left to rot" when they broke were solar thermal not PV since back then PV panels were >$50/w... in "70s" money so really more like ~$70-$80/w. So a single panel could cost more than a car. Sadly I've meet a lot of people that don't understand the difference...

    I agree that there are many considerations that should come before producing your own energy but Solar PV has become so cheap that it's moved up the list. Depending on location Solar PV can provide a higher ROI than a Drain Heat Recovery system, New Windows or a higher SEER A/C. Replacing Incandescents with LEDs and adding insulation to your attic are still a bit higher... One item I'm surprised/irritated hasn't caught on more is the heat pump hot water heater. Reducing the amount of energy used to heat water by ~70% is HUGE... especially when it only costs ~$1000. $/$ that's almost as good or better than swapping out Incans w/ LEDs.
     
  6. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    I think the thing that bugs me the most is utilities are 800lb gorillas who can use their energy (pun intended) to either hate homeowners or to reinvent themselves. If they go the reinvention path they can use their access to $ and capital expenditure management expertise to put PV on houses while they develop local storage strategies for when PV exceeds grid flow in a specific geographical area. Active net meters will give them all the data they need to determine when and where to start with storage. PV installation has inertia so there is plenty of time for the utility to manage this whole process. It also gives plenty of time for (1) storage to reach acceptable price levels and (2) to develop the technology to properly manage that storage in a smart grid connected environment. Storage is much more efficient if spread across many users.

    I see the country's backslide as being directly related to the lack of vision or "Musk" in top management. This utility issue is but one small example.
     
  7. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Can a mod please change the title to TEDx. TEDx rules are a bit different.
     

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