Your Questions About Solar Power

John asks…

Could someone help me with this Solar power Advocacy speech?

So i need to write an advocacy speech about solar power. Does anyone have any useful resources or tips on this topic? Since its an advocacy speech i need to try and persuade my audience into believing in my topic, or something like that. It only needs to be 7-9 minutes long so its not too in depth, any help full solar power resources or tips on how to write an advocacy speech would be awesome.

ssadmin answers:

Hey Jake, here's a few facts for your speech: If you invest properly in solar power today and take advantage of any grants and tax incentives, even if your electric rates do not go up as they are forecast too, you will get your money back over time, well within the lifetime of the equipment, and sooner if there is a rate increase in the future. There are also enviromental benefits. At one time there was an argument that a solar panel will never produce as much power as was used to manufacture it. First of all, this is not correct. The, “Embodied Energy,” in a solar panel is earned back in 2 – 6 years, depending on the type panel, where the raw materials were shipped from, and how it was installed and used in the end. Most panels are warrantied to last at least 25 years, and most last much longer than that. But the argument is not important anyway. We have been living with electricity for over a century now, so it isn't going away anytime soon. The question is, “What is the best way to produce it?” If you build a panel, and put it along side a similar sized natural gas fired turbine generator for example, which earns back its embodied energy sooner? The answer is the gas turbine never does, because once you build it, ship it and install it, you now have to feed it natural gas for the rest of its life, so it keeps on digging itself a deeper and deeper embodied energy hole that it can never crawl out of. At least the panel has a chance to get even environmentally. So manufacturing and using solar panels in the end releases less pollution into our environment.

There are also mechanical and political benefits. We all know after the oil embargo of 1973, and the gulf war what it means for our country to rely on foreign oil. Wouldn't it be nice if we only shipped in 20% of our energy instead of 60% the next time something like that happens? Our home has been powered by the wind and sun for years now, but we still remain connected to the electric grid. Last year alone there were two power failures in our county that lasted about a half day each. In both cases, we were not aware of them because our solar array kept on feeding the house. It's difficult to put a price tag on something like that. Did you know that there are over 100,000 homes and businesses in the United States alone that use some level of solar power to operate their electrical devices, that's good news.

Beyond the mechanical, political and environmental benefits however, lies a less obvious benefit, the social benefit. Right now we pump oil out of the ground, and mine for coal. The process of getting those materials to market involves shipping, military escorts and other activities that use up a good portion of that energy as well as putting lives at risk. Jobs in alternative power are higher tech than jobs in coal mining, oil drilling and shipping, and there are more of them. Using more alternative power would require us to put more people to work, and increase our education base because the work involved requires certain skills. I would personally like to take all those people out of the coal mines, send them to school and put them to work building solar panels. Nobody would have to die again in one of those dark holes in the ground trying to find food for our hungry power plants. They could work on a factory floor where they would not be exposed to coal dust, radon and other toxins and dangers. Most of our solar and wind resources are spread pretty evenly over the middle half of our globe, so everyone has access. This puts people in Bogota on a more equal footing with people in Boca Raton by giving them access to electricity, heat and clean water, and the education to use the solar, wind and biomass resources that provide those things. Oil, coal and natural gas is generally piled up in a few places, such as Russia and the Middle East. This gives those countries and the richer governments that rule them more horse power in bargaining for the other resources of our planet. These are the things that wars are made of.

There are other reasons, but I think you get the picture. For us, solar energy has become something of a hobby It will probably never save us any real money, utility power in most places is really very inexpensive, but it's a little like growing your own tomatoes. It's usually cheaper to buy them at the grocery, but lots of people go to the work and expense to maintain a garden instead. We just grow electrons in ours. If you really want to learn more about the subject, there are some great sources to look into, I will list some below. Good luck, and take care, Rudydoo

Chris asks…

What components are required in a solar power car/boat battery charging system?

I have a small yacht and I am looking to install a solar powered charger to charge the boat battery. The battery is to be used to run a CD player, a 2 way radio, a number of lights and possibly a small TV at a later date. I am unsure of what components are actually needed in this power system and any sought of advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank You.

ssadmin answers:

If you get a smaller panel, it won't be capable of overcharging the battery so you don't need a controller.
It probably has built-in polarity protection (won't run the battery down in the dark).

It depends how much of the time you are running the loads how big a panel you need. I mean, if the boat is sitting in the sun all week and you run LED lights for a few hours at the weekend, that's a different proposition from using the radio 12 hours every day.

You could start small and buy a system you could grow by adding more panels and a controller and see how it goes, or try and work out your energy budget by calculating average daily insolation, electrical load of each item etc.

Rigid panels are currently much more efficient than flex ones, though of course more fragile. Amazingly, I haven't broken my 1.5 sq ft panel yet that just sits on the coachroof.

Mary asks…

What are the highest costs involved in solar power?

I hear that solar power technology is becoming cheaper, yet still a ways away from becoming economical on a large scale. What are the biggest costs associated with solar power technology?

ssadmin answers:

I think the solar panel that turned the heat into an energy is the expensive one

Laura asks…

what are the most profitable field when it comes to renewable energy is solar power?

the most profitable field when it comes to renewable energy is solar power. It seems as if the biggest “controversy” regarding solar power is the amount of space required for the solar panels to capture the solar energy which is converted to electricity.

ssadmin answers:

While size matters PV systems rule the market

Thomas asks…

What is the name of the windows (for a house) that change color or tint level with electricity or solar power?

I think they are originally from Germany but I saw them in Mexico. They used to be done with electricity but now there are some that use solar power. Usually done with a push of a button mounted on a wall.

ssadmin answers:

Switchable glazings (sometimes called “smart windows”) can change properties such as shading coefficients (the amount of solar heat gain allowed) or visible transmittance (amount of visible light that passes through a window) in response to an electric current or to the changing environmental conditions themselves.
There are only a few manufacturers that offer these technologies now (Sage Electrochromics at www.sage-ec.com and SPD Technologies at www.infinitint.com)

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