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View Diary: Smart Talk about the Smart Grid (36 comments)

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  •  Housing development? (2+ / 0-)
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    Joieau, jamess

    or solar thermal, doesnt housing use more? Thats what Mohave Sun Power says.

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 12:53:46 PM PST

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    •  Not sure what you're asking. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      isabelle hayes, jamess

      CSP is concentrated solar - where reflectors focus the sun to boil water to turn a turbine - the basic olden-days technology used by any steam powered generator - petroleum, gas, coal, biomass (wood/chips), nuclear, just a different fuel source for heat. Those familiar solar panels directly translate solar into electrons to batteries or grid, but they're not very efficient. They're working on better, not available yet. If it takes more panels to generate the electricity your home uses than you've got roof/sunny land to put them on, you'll still be a grid consumer. But every little bit helps lessen the need for big centralized power plants, and there's lots and lots of roof space out there.

      Interesting that you'd say "housing development," though. I can envision suburban developments getting together to generate enough for a 'village'. Maybe with a vertical wind farm adjacent and from which electricity (wind & solar) feeds to the grid when everybody's at work, as a trade-off for consumption when people are home.

      Waste heat - as hot water/condensed steam - shouldn't travel too far from where it's produced, but cities could certainly use it to help heat apartments and offices during the winter. The algae 'farm' plans I've seen are basically vertical attachments to factories where the heat is generated, like a very tall, thin greenhouse. Or shallow ponds on the grounds. Wiki Link.

      •  check this out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau


        Isn't it time to fix the Filibuster?
        -- Here's how.

        by jamess on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:42:47 PM PST

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        •  Nifty! I've a solar cooker (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jamess

          that is similar looking (made from a one-time DishNetwork antenna we had to buy). Are these going straight to electrons without boiling water? Just took a quick look, but if it's direct then that's sure as shootin' something I could easily put to use on the 'stead!

          •  Aha! It's a Stirling! (1+ / 0-)
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            jamess

            Which is a nice little powerhouse. Rather larger an application than I need here on the 'stead, but surely scalar to a certain extent. Have been investigating a stirling set-up for pumping water from the spring up to the house (250 feet vertical, ~700 feet on the grade). As alternative to a ram, for which I'd need to tap a different spring more than 50 feet uphill. There probably is one we could dig out that might be able to supply 300 gallons a day if need be, but I sure don't know where... and I've lived here for 20 years.

            Never thought of a solar application, but it makes perfect sense. Hmmm...

      •  Start with low-hanging fruit. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, jamess

        There are LOTS of residential & commercial buildings in the American southwest. How about we start with putting solar panels on top of every friggin' building in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California?

        1. They'll generate a lot of power, because they're in the American southwest.

        2. Transmission losses & grid-upgrade needs will be minimal, because the power will be generated where it's used.

        3. Energy demand will drop, because solar panels overhead would put all those houses and commercial buildings in the shade.

        That would not be a complete solution to our energy problems. But it would provide enough of a market to generate greater competition and economies of scale, meaning development of higher-efficiency solar cells and lower cost per watt.

        Then the resulting availability of better, cheaper solar panels would allow expansion into less sunny parts of the country. A virtuous cycle.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:44:21 PM PST

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