# Solar panels would suck up all the energy from the Sun

Discussion in 'World Events' started by Plazma Inferno!, Dec 14, 2015.

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3. ### JeevesValued Senior Member

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You... WHAT? Well, the weeds all around my solar array are doing just fine. It's on a pole that's standing in a huge cement block dug into gravel. Two years ago the whole area was up-heaved; now it's teeming with volunteer plant life.

On the other hand, it is a bad idea to connect solar panels to "the grid". The grid was a bad idea to begin with, and here we now have the opportunity to rectify that mistake. Energy needs to be decentralized; produced locally by whatever is the best method according geographic and weather conditions.

5. ### DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

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This is a terribly-written article. Are the Manns ever quoted as saying those very things? No, zero quotes from them. Yet they didn't hesitate to quote the Strata reps.

I think the journalist spun the story to sound ridiculous. It gets readers.

There is no reason not to believe she was trying to say how acres and acres of solar panels (whether now, or in a future phase, once their foot is in the door) will create acres and acres of shade, which, yes, will kill sun-loving plants underneath them. Is she quoted as saying "all around them"? We can't know, because we don't what what she said.

As for cancer, I can imagine she's more concerned about the electrical power lines criss-crossing the countryside. OK, sure that's been pretty well discredited too, but it has not been fully accepted by all. It's enough to warrant caution on her part. Is she quoted as saying "solar panels can cause cancer"? We can't know, because we don't what what she said.

But that wouldn't make for much of an article, would it?

I'm not arguing that she's right; I simply see the journalist manipulating the story, removing any possible judgement on the facts. Me, I'll reserve hating on whether someone is ignorant until I see an accurately-written story. Till then, she deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Frankly, it is the commenters in the article that have removed any doubt about their ig'nance. I know what their words are.

Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
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7. ### DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

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If you follow the link in the article to the Roanoke article, she is quoted as saying

Sounds a little less loony than The Independent would have you believe. In fact, sounds like the kind of thing a responsible, concerned citizen might say.

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8. ### JeevesValued Senior Member

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You can't believe what you read in the papers... That's truer than ever.
A multi-acre solar farm probably wouldn't do the community any good; nor would it benefit the environment - though I'm pretty sure it would do no harm, either. Corporate entities with no interest in the region shouldn't be barging into communities, doing whatever they like - though maybe people should have considered that before fracking went viral.
The community should figure out its own energy strategy. As a start, they could maybe send away for $25 Kill-a-watt device and pass it from house to house. 9. ### Dr_ToadIt's green!Valued Senior Member Messages: 2,527 But that would mean the people in the community have the critical reasoning skills that allow them to call bullshit, wouldn't it? None of the "people" are given consideration due to the fundamentalist and reactionary crap pushed down their gullets, nor should they be; after all, this is the deep south in question. Thank our wonderful education system that bases progress on stultifying test scores, for round after round, until the "student" is no more capable of reason than the average Internet poster. Fait accompli. 10. ### DaveC426913Valued Senior Member Messages: 9,428 Hrmmm ... Logical Fallacy : begging the question. You state the ignorance as a foregone conclusion, then use that to justify the argument that they must be ignorant. https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/begging-the-question Saying "it's the south, they must all be ignorant" is the equivalent of saying "We should hang the accused for murder. Just look at his character - he's a murderer!" (Didn't you read/watch "To Kill a Mockingbird"? Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! ) So far, the only ignorant person we know of is the journalist. His words (his actual words, not paraphrased, and stuffed in his mouth) reflect an ignorance (possibly, willful) of professional journalism. Last edited: Dec 15, 2015 Yazata likes this. 11. ### JeevesValued Senior Member Messages: 1,979 That's a whole big ugly ball of wax - what's happened to journalism in the last 35 years. Might be a good idea for the US to get rid of the GOP. 12. ### billvonValued Senior Member Messages: 14,300 Well, free money for the fire department is some good, as is reducing pollution; this benefits everyone in the area. 38% of the electricity in North Carolina comes from coal, most of which comes from uncaring corporate entities in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. The community should figure out its own energy strategy. As a start, they could maybe send away for$25 Kill-a-watt device and pass it from house to house.[/QUOTE]
Take a device produced by corporate entities with no interest in the community, and pass it around from person to person? What good would that do for the community?

13. ### DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

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This assumes NC will be a recipient of the energy surplus, and can/will shut down its polluting plants in-kind.

Not sure that's a good assumption.

We in Canada ship our electricity to the States, who will pay more for it than we will.
We also export our fresh water.
New Zealand exports its sheep.
The Cobbler works for those who pay, while his children go shoeless.

This may very well be one of the questions* Mr. And Mrs. Mann "demand answers" to.

* power distribution, not sheep. Or shoes.

14. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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That is correct. Since NC does not have two separate energy distribution networks, the energy will be used locally. And since coal power plants are controllable, and can be throttled back as alternative production increases, there will indeed be less pollution on days when there is solar power available, everything else being equal.
Are you claiming that you do not generate the energy you use? That's unlikely. I think it more likely that you merely sell your surplus. (In which case, people in NC benefit a second way if the same thing happens to them - by seeing money coming into their state for power sales.)

15. ### GottfriedRegistered Member

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I personally believe that alternates such as Hydroelectric energy should only be used in areas of the the world where it is efficient or convenient, such as Iceland or Lesotho, as well as wind. Solar may be better for the long term, however at the moment their is little momentum of large scale change; at least in the United States. How can such a group of people such are spoiled brats adjust to higher prices in electricity, leading to less. The answer is simple; we can't, not at the moment. We are such with coal and nuclear at the moment, and the United States currently holds much of the worlds uranium as well as Australia. Since are supply of Uranium is so high, why would we borrow any energy from Canada, I have no idea. Just my take on it anyway.

16. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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U.S. Solar PV Market Size Is Expected To Exceed 60.0 GW By 2022 c
New market research report on "U.S. Solar PV Market Size, Share And Trends Report Up To 2022 : Radiant Insights"

San Francisco, Dec. 14, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

U.S. solar PV market is expected to exceed 60.0 GW by 2022. Favorable regulatory framework coupled with federal subsidies and state incentives are expected to be key drivers for solar PV market. In addition, declining equipment cost on account of rapidly increasing installations and improved manufacturing processes is likely to augment market growth.
=======================
Renewable energy passes the 50% mark for new U.S. electricity capacity

Solar continues to lead all other renewable forms of energy in new installations
Utility was the largest application segment, accounting for over 50% of U.S. Solar PV Market installations in 2014. In addition, non-residential segment is also expected to witness the strong growth at an estimated CAGR of over 15% from 2015 to 2022. High growth can be attributed to federal subsidies and state incentives. Furthermore, growing awareness among consumers regarding environmental protection is expected to boost solar PV market over the next few years.
===================

Well, except we are.
Not for long.
=================
In Appalachia, the coal industry is in collapse, but the mountains aren’t coming back
By Laura Gottesdiener on 30 Aug 2015 26 comments

In Appalachia, explosions have leveled the mountaintops into perfect race tracks for Ryan Hensley’s all-terrain vehicle (ATV). At least, that’s how the 14-year-old sees the barren expanses of dirt that stretch for miles atop the hills surrounding his home in the former coal town of Whitesville, W.Va.

“They’re going to blast that one next,” he says, pointing to a peak in the distance. He’s referring to a process known as “mountaintop removal,” in which coal companies use explosives to blast away hundreds of feet of rock in order to unearth underground seams of coal.
. . .
In the first half of this year, at least six domestic coal companies filed for bankruptcy. In February, West Virginia’s Covington Coal fell, followed by Xinergy and Grass Creek Coal in April, Patriot and Birmingham Coal & Coke in May, and A&M Coal in June. In August came the biggest announcement of all: the $10-billion coal giant Alpha Natural Resources had entered the bankruptcy sweepstakes, too. Only four years earlier, Alpha had secured its position as one of the world’s largest coal outfits by purchasing the Appalachian company Massey Energy for$7 billion and expanding its operations to 60 mines, many in Appalachia. But its reign would prove short-lived. The price of coal has been plummeting as utility companies shift to significantly cheaper shale gas, extracted through the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to produce power. This April, for the first time since the U.S. Energy Information Administration began collecting data in 1973, gas surpassed coal as the nation’s No. 1 producer of energy.

By late July, the New York Stock Exchange announced that it had suspended trading of Alpha Natural Resources’ stock because it was worth next to nothing.

In August, the inevitable occurred. Alpha submitted a bankruptcy filing which read in part: “The unprecedented changes facing the coal industry run deep and are occurring at a frenetic and unpredictable pace … The U.S. coal industry as currently structured is unsustainable.”

By now, the funeral was underway and the first obituaries were appearing. Headlines in various papers not only announced Alpha’s demise, but offered autopsies for the entire industry. As the New York Times put it in its headline three days after the filing: “King Coal, Long Besieged, Is Deposed by the Market.”

Causes of death: the explosion of cheap natural gas, the rising costs of new environmental and worker safety regulations, and a simple geological reality — the industry has already mined out the majority of all economically recoverable coal.
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17. ### JeevesValued Senior Member

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All devices are manufactured by a corporate entity - that doesn't effect their function or usefulness.
What good it does the community is give them an idea of how much power they're wasting. It's astounding how much electricity we pay for that isn't doing any work.
Then they can estimate how much they actually need and how they can reduce the requirements. Then they can begin making a plan. You can't plan strategy without information.
I understand that about 40% of the electricity requirement is residential. If each home were self-sufficient, that would not only relieve demand on the grid, but save a huge amount on delivery (all those costly, cumbersome, ugly poles and wires!) but also on repairs and maintenance. Good hedge against the barrage of storms coming their way in the next few years, as well.

18. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Agreed. Saying something is from a "corporate entity with no interest in the region" doesn't affect it's usefulness (which was my point, probably poorly stated)
Well, right - but the problems you would get with having all homes be self-sufficient would be massive. (Millions of tons of lead-acid or lithium-iron batteries to transport and recycle every year, for example.) But partial solutions like solar grid tie make a lot of sense. Additionally, community power systems are becoming more popular; such systems insulate people from the reliability and unpredictable cost of larger utilities.

19. ### JeevesValued Senior Member

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I wasn't really arguing with that. My original post was intended to convey that having an outside agency make the decisions isn't necessarily either good or bad for the community - because it's not about the community; it's about some commercial or regional agenda. In any case, every community, large and small, should be making its own decisions, according to its own needs and circumstances.

That's not the only solution. There are dozens of alternatives and hundreds of factors. Solar is fine. So is wind. I would prefer both on a small scale, rather than those massive installations. There is also micro-dam hydro: all the little rivers and streams are potential generators; geothermal, hot spring, tidal - all depends where you are and what's readily, cheaply available. There is also a great deal of energy to be saved in sound construction, retrofitting, insulation, colour choices, vegetation, etc.

They make commercial sense, at the moment, but I'm very much against them. You know the problems of a giant grid: loss of power over distance; the manufacture, transport and stringing of all that unnecessary and vulnerable wire; the trees that are killed for hydro poles, the cost of installation and maintenance, the switching stations, etc, etc. Feeding new technology into an old - and, let's face it, tired - infrastructure is going to retard, if not obstruct, the development a better configuration.
That is the right way to go! There is no reason why every town, factory, airport and farm can't produce all the power it needs.

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21. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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They may not be trivial, but they certainly are odd. From the article:
Now try to imagine living in a place where large amounts of real estate are dedicated to just soaking in sunlight and turning it into corn — that does not sound very lively or exciting, and it does have a cost to the community. The corn requires pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that waft through the air, leak into the groundwater and make people sick. They attract damaging pests. They require significant amounts of fossil fuels in the form of tractor, combine and sprayer fuel. This fuel is burned and causes air pollution. The land is unavailable to other species. Etc etc.

Yet quiet farming towns are both essential to the US and seen as nice places to live.
It sounds like this person has never been in a forest. If she had, she would have realized that the plants under the forest canopy are not all brown and dead. So unless people consider forests to be as much of a problem as solar, this objection makes little sense.
And it sounds like this person has never seen a solar installation. They regularly have to trim weeds so they don't shade the panels. If you want a comparison, it's like an abandoned lot that the owner has to mow once a year for legal reasons.

So do houses - arguably in much larger quantities than solar panels.
You can make the same arguments for anything.

Trees pose a health hazard to people. They can fall down and kill people; they can burn and kill people. They are a potential source of toxic, cancer-causing hydrocarbons. They attract deadly pests. They shade the ground and therefore (per the logic above) must kill everything beneath them. They take scarce water and waste it by evaporating it into the air.

But those are all poor arguments to keep trees out of a community.

22. ### spidergoatVenued Serial MembershipValued Senior Member

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Silly man, young people don't want to stay in farming towns, they leave as soon as they are able. And are you really comparing a weed filled abandoned lot to a forest understory?

23. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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The objections to panels are met, in some cases, by concentrating thermal setups.

Otherwise, of course solar collection sacrifices many other employments of significant areas of landscape. So do the roofs on buildings. A more or less comparable area, btw - just a thought. Mountaintop coal mining also has its landscape costs. Compare and contrast.