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Old 05-21-2012, 10:43 PM  
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Science is Cool....

This is a repository for all cool scientific discussion and fascination. Scientific facts, theories, and overall cool scientific stuff that you'd like to share with others. Stuff that makes you smile and wonder at the amazing shit going on around us, that most people don't notice.

Post pictures, vidoes, stories, or links. Ask questions. Share science.

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Last edited by Fish; 01-07-2013 at 08:55 AM..
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Old 06-25-2014, 03:37 PM   #1891
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That's really neat regarding PV. I was under the impression that PV is still something like 20% efficient. Has that been improved?
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:01 PM   #1892
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That map showing why we need to invade Algeria is quite interesting.
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:06 PM   #1893
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Originally Posted by Donger View Post
That's really neat regarding PV. I was under the impression that PV is still something like 20% efficient. Has that been improved?
Recently one was tested that set a new record for efficiency at 44.7%. I think typical available models are ~30%. That's not considering dust, shadows, etc.

The red squares on the map are showing total irradiation power, not considering efficiency in conversion.
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:09 PM   #1894
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I pay attention. What are you saying they do to try to discourage the use of one of their products?
They heavily lobby the government in various ways, to make it as difficult as possible. They create rules and charge fees to people with solar who want to sell their excess back to the company.

Here's a few examples:

Quote:
The Koch brothers have a new ploy to protect the traditional energy business that helped make them the planet’s fifth- and sixth-richest humans. They are funding a campaign to shackle solar energy consumers who have escaped the grip of big electric utilities.

Of all the pro-business, anti-government causes they have funded with their billions, this may be the most cynical and self-serving. On Sunday, a Los Angeles Times story by Evan Halper outlined the Koch’s latest scheme. Along with anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, several major power companies and a national association representing conservative state legislators, the brothers are aiming to kill preferences for the burgeoning solar power industry that have been put into law in dozens of states. Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona are their first targets, with more to come.

They already have their first victory. On Monday, Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature that authorizes electric utilities to tack a surcharge on the bills of private citizens who have installed solar panels or wind turbines on their homes. That’s right, Oklahomans who have spent money to generate their own clean and green power now must pay compensation to the power companies.

Kochs and the utilities claim solar’s success is a threat to the future of the power grid. If there are more and more households freeing themselves from total reliance on traditional power sources, there will be less money available to maintain the electricity delivery infrastructure.

They may have a valid point, but the problem could be addressed with modest adjustments to the system. That they have opted for an all-out war against key laws that promote alternative energy suggests the real motivation may be more crass: protecting the profits of the entrenched fossil fuels-based energy industry.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/topof...422-story.html
Quote:
As citizens, businesses and non-profit organisations seek to transition to cleaner power sources like solar and wind, some big energy firms whose business models rely on polluting sources are standing in the way.

In Georgia, the energy company Georgia Power has lobbied for favourable public policies at the Public Service Commission (PSC) and State legislature that are making it difficult for the state's residents to transition to solar power.

IPS learned that the Dekalb County school system wanted to put solar panels on their schools, but could not do it because of state policies like the Territorial Electric Service Act of 1973 which gives Georgia Power a monopoly over the purchase of energy.

http://ipsnorthamerica.net/news.php?idnews=2958
Quote:
A Florida Senate committee on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment for the November ballot that would give tax breaks to businesses that install solar panels, but it is unlikely to come before voters: The chairman of a powerful House committee believes the solar industry isn't ready for it.

The state's three largest electric companies have spent nearly $3 million on campaign contributions this election cycle alone — including $2.5 million from Florida Power & Light, which competes with the solar industry by offering its own solar plants. TECO Energy has spent $754,000 and Duke Energy has given $390,000.

Several businessmen who are working on developing solar technology in Florida told the committee that the state's market has been so suppressed that they have had to go to other states to do business.

Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who sponsored the bill to implement the 2008 constitutional amendment last year, cited an Integrity Florida report released Monday that alleges the state's four largest electric companies use campaign cash and lobbyists to push a legislative agenda favorable to shareholders and not necessarily customers.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/busines...-house/2173065
Quote:
Whether the electric utilities like it or not, more people are using solar energy for electricity than ever before. And they are saving money at the same time. A federal rulemaking about streamlining the process for connecting small solar energy supplies to the grid reveals the real issues: Solar is causing competition and utilities are slowing the policies that can lower consumer costs.

If this sounds like the utilities are being obstructionist, consider how the utility industry got this stage. The democratic process at the federal and state levels has created several pro-solar policies. Federal tax credits for solar are significant. These were included in energy legislation signed by George W. Bush after the elected Congress came together in 2008 on energy and tax policy. The majority of states’ legislatures created Renewable Energy Standards that promote new renewable generation, many with solar-specific targets.

Not all electric utilities have opposed these choices made by our democracy. The utilities numbered 3 and 7 of the top 10 in the recently released ranking of U.S. electric utilities building their own solar are not-for-profit. See the listing utilities ranked by solar Watts-per-Customer. These tend to be small utilities that have to pay the larger utilities for their use of the big company’s transmission. Ohio put three municipally-owned utilities on this list of leaders, with transmission savings as a driver. (There is no need to pay for long-distance delivery when the solar energy is produced and used locally.)

For all the fun here, this is deadly serious. The utilities are actively seeking to reverse the policies adopted by the democratic process by feigning ignorance, and hiding their business interest behind the claims of maintaining reliability. Elsewhere they are saying renewables and conservation efforts are causing a death spiral.

http://blog.ucsusa.org/why-are-elect...-lets-them-144
Quote:
A 54-year-old cancer patient living in Oahu, Hawaii and her family developed plans and secured a loan to power their home’s electricity with solar panels. The solar panels would have saved the family hundreds of dollars every month, considering that the average electrical bill in the area is over $500 per month. Nearly one in 10 households in Oahu is powered by solar energy.

But before Cynthia Cantero’s contractors began work, the Hawaiian Electric Company refused to approve her system. The company stated that homemade solar power had saturated the grid and posed reliability and safety concerns. However, no safety or reliability studies have since been conducted.

“I thought I was doing the right thing for my family and the environment, and so I could know my children would be taken care of after I’m gone,” Cantero told the Sierra Club. “Here I am stuck in a nightmare, where a powerful utility can just change the rules while I lose everything.”

All across the country, utility companies are challenging the laws that have paved the way for the solar power revolution. When eco-friendly solar alternatives compete with utility power, huge centralized power plants lose profits.

http://forcechange.com/127590/stop-u...g-solar-power/
Quote:
Oklahoma residents who produce their own energy through solar panels or small wind turbines on their property will now be charged an additional fee, the result of a new bill passed by the state legislature and expected to be signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin (R).

“We’re not anti-solar or anti-wind or trying to slow this down, we’re just trying to keep it fair,” Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. spokeswoman Kathleen O’Shea told the Oklahoman. “We’ve been studying this trend. We know it’s coming, and we want to get ahead of it.”

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/201...ee-solar-wind/
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:10 PM   #1895
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Originally Posted by MagicHef View Post
Recently one was tested that set a new record for efficiency at 44.7%. I think typical available models are ~30%. That's not considering dust, shadows, etc.

The red squares on the map are showing total irradiation power, not considering efficiency in conversion.
Right, so isn't accurate.
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:11 PM   #1896
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That map showing why we need to invade Algeria is quite interesting.
I found this interesting, taken from the same paper with the red-square map. It's showing available solar power by month in Germany, Spain, and Egypt:



Guess which place is actually working on installing solar power?
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:14 PM   #1897
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Well, I agree with the utilities on net metering. They incur a cost with folks selling them excess electricity. And, they should be concerned about the quality of the power being put into their grid.

And you specifically said "fossil fuel companies." I don't really think of KCPL or Centerpoint Energy or SDG&E as "fossil fuel companies." That's Chevron, Shell, and so on in my opinion.

Anything else?
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:16 PM   #1898
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Originally Posted by MagicHef View Post
Recently one was tested that set a new record for efficiency at 44.7%. I think typical available models are ~30%. That's not considering dust, shadows, etc.

The red squares on the map are showing total irradiation power, not considering efficiency in conversion.
So do the red squares need to be bigger? I'm fine with that. It looks like Algeria has plenty of room.
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:20 PM   #1899
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And, they should be concerned about the quality of the power being put into their grid.
I'm sorry, what? Quality of the power?
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:27 PM   #1900
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I'm sorry, what? Quality of the power?
Are you seriously in the dark, or trolling, because the explanation exists, but is cumbersome to assemble for lay persons.

In the shortest possible snippet, power companies put a great deal of effort into transmitting a clean sine wave at a reliable magnitude and frequency. Solar and Wind collects DC power and ancillary devices rectify that power into an AC sine wave of, ideally, identical magnitude, frequency, and phase angle. To the extent their devices fall short, they are wasting their power and destroying a portion of the power the generation plant created.

Think double dutch coupled with Frogger, with the solar power being the rope jumper/frog.
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:27 PM   #1901
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Originally Posted by Donger View Post
Well, I agree with the utilities on net metering. They incur a cost with folks selling them excess electricity. And, they should be concerned about the quality of the power being put into their grid.

And you specifically said "fossil fuel companies." I don't really think of KCPL or Centerpoint Energy or SDG&E as "fossil fuel companies." That's Chevron, Shell, and so on in my opinion.

Anything else?
Anything that can be linked to the Kochs is evil. Thats sort of a narrative plus it moves debate from reason, your comment as an example, to its the Kochs and they hate little people!!
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:37 PM   #1902
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Are you seriously in the dark, or trolling, because the explanation exists, but is cumbersome to assemble for lay persons.

In the shortest possible snippet, power companies put a great deal of effort into transmitting a clean sine wave at a reliable magnitude and frequency. Solar and Wind collects DC power and ancillary devices rectify that power into an AC sine wave of, ideally, identical magnitude, frequency, and phase angle. To the extent their devices fall short, they are wasting their power and destroying a portion of the power the generation plant created.

Think double dutch coupled with Frogger, with the solar power being the rope jumper/frog.
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:42 PM   #1903
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Are you seriously in the dark, or trolling, because the explanation exists, but is cumbersome to assemble for lay persons.

In the shortest possible snippet, power companies put a great deal of effort into transmitting a clean sine wave at a reliable magnitude and frequency. Solar and Wind collects DC power and ancillary devices rectify that power into an AC sine wave of, ideally, identical magnitude, frequency, and phase angle. To the extent their devices fall short, they are wasting their power and destroying a portion of the power the generation plant created.

Think double dutch coupled with Frogger, with the solar power being the rope jumper/frog.
I wasn't trolling. I could certainly imagine inefficient solar and wind collectors, and inefficient transformers causing a loss of power from the source. But once converted, I really couldn't imagine different qualities of electricity because volts times amps equals watts and it's not like getting a bad tank of gas at the Quick Trip.

Line loss over large distances can be a factor, which is why power companies run their lines at such high voltage, but I still can't see how they could lose power by accepting a customer's excess. But I admit I don't really know ****all about it.
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:50 PM   #1904
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Originally Posted by BigChiefTablet View Post
I wasn't trolling. I could certainly imagine inefficient solar and wind collectors, and inefficient transformers causing a loss of power from the source. But once converted, I really couldn't imagine different qualities of electricity because volts times amps equals watts and it's not like getting a bad tank of gas at the Quick Trip.

Line loss over large distances can be a factor, which is why power companies run their lines at such high voltage, but I still can't see how they could lose power by accepting a customer's excess. But I admit I don't really know ****all about it.
The problem is that we transmit power through Alternating Current instead of DC, the power companies have very specific requirements on the properties of that alternating current, and if this mysterious unexpected current that some random dude dumps into their lines does not precisely match what they are sending, it screws things up.

If you want to use solar panels without a surcharge, then you should really cut yourself off the grid, or at least segregate whatever those panels are powering so that those devices you choose to hook up to solar are only solar powered and not connected at all to the utility.
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:51 PM   #1905
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Originally Posted by BigChiefTablet View Post
I wasn't trolling. I could certainly imagine inefficient solar and wind collectors, and inefficient transformers causing a loss of power from the source. But once converted, I really couldn't imagine different qualities of electricity because volts times amps equals watts and it's not like getting a bad tank of gas at the Quick Trip.

Line loss over large distances can be a factor, which is why power companies run their lines at such high voltage, but I still can't see how they could lose power by accepting a customer's excess. But I admit I don't really know ****all about it.
Are you familiar with phase timing or phase angles? If one's rectifiers manage to get the correct frequency and magnitude to his power output, if the wave timing is off, even while cycling at 60 waves per second, the result is a wave of de-energization and over-excitement on the line that could destroy electrical machines downstream. If it somehow managed to be exactly 180 degree out of phase, there would be no power transmission at all as the two waves would cancel each other out.
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