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Solar Powered Cars - in our Future?

SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
edited March 2014 in Toyota
To pick up many of the comments and questions as to whether or not Solar is an optional technology for powering cars.

Comments

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Extracting useful quantities of hydrogen from water requires a massive amount of energy — energy that typically comes from burning oil or coal.

     

    You can also get hydrogen from methane but once again, it takes a "dirty" fuel to create a "clean" one.

     

    Another possible problem: Scientists call hydrogen a "leaky gas" that easily escapes from any container you put it in, potentially harming the environment.

     

    "It is not a neutral gas," Prather said. "It actually does interact in the atmosphere. And in some sense it needs a better evaluation."

     

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,145166,00.html
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Apparently you missed extraction process using solar energy in one of my earlier posts. It is already in place at a Honda facility in SoCal.

     

    These articles provide nothing but lopsided point of views.

     

    If indeed one takes the hard way out to producing hydrogen, or to make a point against it especially in terms of cleanliness, it would make sense to compare lifetime contribution towards environment from production facility to delivery centers to emissions from the vehicles. Here is what I mean:

     

    If a vehicle that uses hydrogen as a fuel travels 100 miles and uses X amount of the fuel to do so. In the process of extracting and delivering the fuel, combined with the vehicle’s emissions over the distance, let us assume the total emission “cost” is Z1.

     

    Likewise, another vehicle with gasoline or hydrogen travels the same distance and consumes Y amount of the fuel. The overall emissions cost is Z2.

     

    What criteria do these guys have to suggest that Z2 is lower than Z1?
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Apparently you missed extraction process using solar energy in one of my earlier posts. It is already in place at a Honda facility in SoCal.

     

    What does it cost? Solar technology is not now or has it made much progress in the last 30 years. It is very expensive to squeeze kilowatts from the sun. If it was viable, myself and millions of people in So CA would have collectors on our houses. You cannot recoup your investment before it deteriorates from the sun that gives it energy.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    What criteria do these guys have to suggest that Z2 is lower than Z1?

     

    You would have to get the studies from MIT & GM to find that answer. If Nuclear energy had a chance to proliferate in the USA, hydrogen might be a viable way to go. I don't see it doing anything but wasting billions of my tax dollars in corporate welfare.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I notice a shift in your argument from the "clean" side to "cost" side. Are we done with "clean" now? If we're, then let us talk about cost, and viability.

     

    Well, viability isn’t an issue because it is a practical technology and as commonly seen as in the landscape lighting of my home’s front and back yards. As for as cost to set up fuel delivery system, I don’t have a clue about cost of setting up a conventional gas station either. With solar energy, however, you can take transportation out of the picture (either by way of pipeline or trucks or trains). It is all “natural”.

     

    If you know more about the associated costs on both sides, please do let me know.

     

    Picture of hydrogen refueling systems developed by Honda (this installation is in Torrance, CA):

     

    image

     

    Home Energy System (HES) is to the left which runs on CNG, and Solar Powered Fuel Station to the right.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    I notice a shift in your argument from the "clean" side to "cost" side. Are we done with "clean" now?

     

    No shift. Both are important to the viability for hydrogen to ever escape the laboratory.

     

    I admit the HES II is an exciting piece of equipment. If it is ever affordable I would be interested in it along with a hydrogen car. Though the leaky factor of hydrogen does have me a bit concerned. I had not heard that before. If you leave your Honda FCX sitting with a full tank and come back 2 weeks later will it still be full?
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    No shift. Both are important to the viability for hydrogen to ever escape the laboratory.

     

    You think diesel/gasoline do nothing to the environment if they escape? Hydrogen is out there in the atmosphere already, BTW.

     

    I talked about shift because you didn't continue the discussion that you started and moved on to the next issue (which has since been debunked).
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    I talked about shift because you didn't continue the discussion that you started and moved on to the next issue (which has since been debunked).

     

    If you are referring to the HES II, I think it is great. Can the average citizen afford it for his home? If not it is a lab toy that has not solved any problems.

     

    Nothing has been debunked by your posts. You have not proven that the study by MIT is faulty. You have not presented a study that refutes what they are saying. You seem to be caught up with Honda fever thinking they are going to save the world with their fuel cell vehicles. What does happen when hydrogen leaks? I know what happens when a hydrogen bomb goes off. It is one of the most powerful weapons ever built by man. For you to say hydrogen is totally safe may not be true. Where is your study showing the leakage of hydrogen is not a problem?

     

    So does that address both issues?
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Conventional thinking isn’t going to lead to innovation. That’s the problem with statements like these…

     

    “Extracting useful quantities of hydrogen (search) from water requires a massive amount of energy — energy that typically comes from burning oil or coal.”

     

    Notice an emphasis on oil and coal. WHY? What is wrong with solar energy? Perhaps wind too! At least one company is taking steps in the right direction. Whether they succeed or not remains to be seen, but you would never know unless you tried it. And that effort gets my vote. The naysayer could do better than standing on the side line.

     

    Speaking of safety, hydrogen or gasoline, I wouldn’t want to “live” close to either storage facility.

     

    As far as affordability is concerned, not everybody can afford everything. And then consider the impact of economy of scale. Prototypes cost a lot, especially in the development phase. This is true for new technological developments as it is for conventional technology. There is no free lunch. You have to earn it.

     

    Honda isn’t placing its bets on fuel cell technology yet, although they are opening up the sales to individual buyers. But to be prepared for the future, a progressive company couldn’t sit and watch and assume its all magic!
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    I do applaud Honda for their efforts on fuel cell technology. When you show sites that have these vehicles and infrastructure in use, my interest is in HOW much will it cost for me to get one. As an example Chrysler spent years and millions of dollars on the diesel/hybrid. Not many people knew about it and it was scrapped due to high cost to the customer.

     

    What do you know about the Civic GX? I was really interested in converting a vehicle to CNG in 1997. I found several deal breakers. Lack of stations was not the biggest problem. The cylinders that store the CNG are extremely delicate. They have to be inspected on a regular basis. They have to be replaced after a few years. The local gas company where I work converted all their trucks to LNG/CNG. After 5 years they abandoned them and went back to diesel trucks.

     

    I would say solar conversion of water to hydrogen is a real "pie in the sky". Wind generation of hydrogen is a bigger boondoggle.
  • "What is wrong with solar energy?"

     

    .

     

    Nothing, but why add the extra, energy-wasteful step of hydrogen??? Just dump it directly into a battery.

     

    troy
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Nothing, but why add the extra, energy-wasteful step of hydrogen??? Just dump it directly into a battery.

     

    If that were practical, I’m sure that would be the route taken. But, it is fantasy at the moment given the technology on hand. You can only live in the present and dream of the future.

     

    There is a limit to trapping solar energy at the moment. Honda is using it, not only to produce hydrogen, but also to power some of its manufacturing facilities and cut down costs as well as emissions. However, it still requires help from the traditional methods to get the job done. The key here is “assist” and not “take over”. The latter could happen some day, but that isn’t now.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I doubt you realize what economy of scale means, and that prototypes cost a lot for similar reasons. Do you think Honda SSM roadster concept from 1995 cost Honda as much as its production form, the S2000 does? At this time, it is about possibilities, and innovations start from there. Whatever it is, Honda’s move to announce sale of FCX to individual buyers was unexpected as far as I’m concerned. Apparently, IT IS practical technology, and Honda is going to provide whatever it takes. With fleet sales for about two years now, they have been.

     

    Civic GX is another story. It wasn’t available to individual buyers like you and I. Beginning this spring, it will be, with Phill. You don’t store CNG, you pump it from the pipes from your home, via Phill into your car. And if gas stations are progressive enough, they may offer Phill at their installations too!

     

    I would say solar conversion of water to hydrogen is a real "pie in the sky". Wind generation of hydrogen is a bigger boondoggle.

     

    Haven’t seen wind energy being used as of now (unless part of electricity used to generate hydrogen in more conventional way is coming from it), but to figure out pie in the sky as opposed to on your table, you will have to see it to believe. Drive down to Torrance, CA and you just might. It is not just a concept/an idea, it is a working model.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    it is fantasy at the moment given the technology on hand

     

    Don't forget that fuel cell cars are fantasy until someone offers them at a comparable price to a current vehicle. The problems with solar has not changed. The electricity you get does not pay for the cells before the Sun destroys them. Plus they only work in places that have enough sunny weather. I did the solar water heater thing at my home in Lake Havasu, AZ. It was starting to leak at 4 years and unusable. The company that warrantied it for 10 years was out of business. The initial cost was way more than the electric saved.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Honda’s move to announce sale of FCX to individual buyers was unexpected as far as I’m concerned.

     

    Have you seen any pricing?
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    What is "comparable price"? There are cars selling for over million dollars.

     

    The electricity you get does not pay for the cells before the Sun destroys them.

     

    Really? How do you know? Tell me what was Honda thinking by installing its solar panels to power some of its manufacturing units to cut down costs (and emissions). Ideas?

     

    Plus they only work in places that have enough sunny weather.

     

    True. I was thinking about the same when troy suggested directly storing solar energy into batteries (actually, my landscape lighting at home works that way). To generate hydrogen, however, you could still use solar panels and thats the bottom line. Feasibility at all places may not exist, at least with current technology. But, this is an issue with conventional fuel as well, isn't it?

     

    Have you seen any pricing?

     

    If I did, you would have been told. I talk about things I see and know as facts, or my observations. Assumptions are identified as such.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Really? How do you know?

     

    My solar yard lights lasted a couple years. I have cheapo plugin light strings that are 5 years old and still work fine. The sun is hard on anything that is exposed to it for a long time. Why would Honda use Solar? Good PR maybe? It does make you look green even if you are not. Remember who did the most research on Solar cells, ARCO now owned by British Petroleum.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    If they lasted couple of years, they saved you a few bucks during the time. And out in the sun, they dealt with the same elements that those getting energy supply from electrical outlet.

     

    Good PR is part of doing business. Name a company that doesn’t rely on it. However, that’s not the end game. Cutting down costs plays a major role in the bottom line of companies. A company like Honda couldn’t ignore one for the other given that it likes to diversify the knowledge base and yet end up being one of the most profitable automaker.

     

    And it isn’t just solar energy that is part of the equation. There is more! If it were all about PR, I can bet you would have heard about them.
  • "If that were practical, I’m sure that would be the route taken. But, it is fantasy at the moment given the technology on hand."

     

    .

     

    Not really. I know several dozen people who operate their cars on pure solar. I know zero who operate H2 fuel cells.

     

    The solar is practical and doable NOW.

     

    The H2 won't be ready until 2030...and that's being optimistic.

     

    troy
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    If you don’t know a few people who are driving around in their fuel cell vehicles today, it doesn’t mean that technology doesn’t exist and is practically used every day.

     

    And nobody is suggesting solar power isn’t practical. I’ve quoted myself using it in some forms. However, in cars, we have a long way to go otherwise that’s where the automakers would have jumped in otherwise they would be blatantly ignoring the obvious. What do you think?
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431
    Wind energy prices have declined from 18 cents / KWH to 4 cents / KWH making it more affordable, however Solar power is still unaffordable, but it will be cheaper in the future.

     

    However for extracting Hydrogen or supplying electricity for vehicles, it will be NUCLEAR power which will do the job efficiently as the current nuclear power plants operate for 90 % of the time in a year, whereas SOLAR, WIND, HYDEL

    operate for only around 30 - 50 % of the time in a year.
  • I suspect by the year 2050, most people will be driving short-range EVs (~50 miles) with on-board engines for long-distance. Also known as "serial hybrids".

     

    Some will have solar roofs.

     

    troy
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Here's a good, clear link showing how much solar energy the earth receives.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_constant

    Technology can only work to collect the energy at the density it hits. It can and never will multiply the energy. Now since that energy is spread out and many times clouds interfere, so they'd need to be spreadout, all you'd neded to do is cover 10% of the Earth's surface with solar panels. Maybe in northern areas where the sun isn't so direct, 50% solar panel coverage would be needed.
    That'll be pretty tough to do when the world's population starts moving to 20B people and the extra farm land that will be needed to feed 3X the number of people now. Say 5X the energy we use now.

    Look, you seem like a nice person with good intent. But the numbers do not add up. If we don't find a powerful new energy source and it has to be nuclear for that, whether it is 100 or 200 or 300 years, population growth and energy needs will overwhelm any combination of wind, solar, and any leftover fossil fuels. It doesn't matter who's forecasts you use whether growth is a little slower or higher; the high growth is in undeveloped countries,which have proven to overwhelm any attempts to stabilize their growth and provide a decent lifestyle. The end will be the same regardless of when you get there. The future has to be new nuclear technology power.
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431
    Currently this is the energy mix for the World.
    Oil - 37 %
    Coal - 27 %
    Nat-Gas - 24 %
    Nuclear - 6 %
    Hydro - 6 %
    Wind, Solar, Geo-thermal may provide around 1/2 %.

    In the future (2030), Wind & Solar may get around 5 %. That is still important. Every %age point make a difference. Since Oil & Gas prices are increasing, there is a talk about
    other fuels. Its natural.

    Unless something like Fusion comes, we are doomed.
  • "Maybe in northern areas where the sun isn't so direct, 50% solar panel coverage would be needed. "

    .
    That is a bit extreme! We've had Food famines in the past, but it looks like we're going to have an Energy famine in the future.

    Note this wouldn't be a problem is the earth's population was only 1 million humans, instead of 6000 million.

    troy
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431
    Yes. Today's food consumption (rice, wheat, poulty, meat put together) is somewhere around 4 billion tons, but the fuels (coal, oil & gas) is around 10 billion tons. Definitely the alternative fuels will be needed.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    you: Unless something like Fusion comes, we are doomed.

    me: "Doomed" is rather a strong-word. It has only been the last 100 years or so where large quantities of fossil fuels were needed. Otherwise the human race has grown and developed over the centuries.

    Our "need" for fossil fuels is based on our lifestyle choice. If oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy go away tomorrow, people would adapt, unless we're so psychologically weak as a society that we commit mass murder or suicide. Would we lose all scientific research and development. No! We could still have scientists working on fusion and other advanced technologies. Wood is used now as the primary fuel at some electrical power plants. And we would have wind and solar electricity for other crucial needs. And if you're really worried, start brushing up on your farming skills, how to plow with oxen and how to care for horses. (Hmmm. sounds like an Amish lifestyle.)

    So the only real danger is if there is no "Great" energy source after fossil fuels and our current nuclear fission. I tend to be an optimist, as I see every year, all kinds of new knowledge being discovered.

    I think people ought to be more afraid of scientists finding a new energy source, rather than running out of energy. Say someone creates a nuclear fusion battery, and it's about the size of a watch battery. The fuel is water. Great, right? Well if we worry now about someone using a suitcase nuclear bomb, we'd have much larger concerns if we find an energy source 100 - 1000X more powerful. :-(
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    And you should think about how much fuel is used to produce that 4 billion tons of food. Fertilizers, tractors and other farm equipment, trains to haul large quantities, delivery trucks, processing plants, packaging, refrigeration and freezing, pasteurization.

    So when you consider how much energy you get out of any bio-fuel, you must subtract off what you put in.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Technology can only work to collect the energy at the density it hits. It can and never will multiply the energy.

    True. After all, you can only transform energy, not create it. So, that limits us to whatever is available. But, how much of available energy can you convert today versus tomorrow holds the key, and measured as efficiency. That efficiency is expected to increase with improvements in technology.

    A laid back approach isn’t going to help in technological improvements that would be necessary for the future. And solar energy is going to be a part of it, not the end of it. Alternative energy transformation methods involving nuclear (limited), wind (limited), hydro (limited) power will also have a role to play.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    And solar energy is going to be a part of it,

    Can you show me evidence where solar collectors are any more efficient today than they were 20 years ago? Are they any cheaper than they were in the 1980s? It still costs in todays dollars about $10k to put a system on your roof to supplement the power grid. With only a 5 year warranty. I already went this route in Havasu back in 1984. Even with the big tax credit it was a loss. The sun eats those collectors up in a few years and you are faced with a big bill to replace the panels. Solar is a "pie in the sky" to help with our energy problems.
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431
    kernick wrote

    "So when you consider how much energy you get out of any bio-fuel, you must subtract off what you put in. "

    The cost of Bio-fuels include all those energy put in.
    America's Corn based Ethanol yields roughly 1.3 units for every unit in.
    Brazil's Cane based Ethanol yields even more and that is why that country have an extensive usage of that fuel.
    This year the Flex Fuel Vehicles are expected to capture 50 % of their market.

    At $ 1.8 / gallon of gasoline, E85 = gas.
    I dont know exactly about B20.

    Also please note that Oil does not come in if you put a straw. In USA, we have to go more than a kilometer depth to get it, infact if they drill 1000 wells, they get Oil in only 500 wells.
    The amount of energy that is needed to drill will be enormous.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Solar is progressing, and will make great strides in the next few years:

    http://tinyurl.com/4zoj2
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Development around solar energy hasn’t stayed put since the 1980s. A lot of new technologies have been developed, are being used, and are being developed. And believe it or not, some companies are using solar cell panels on the roof of their manufacturing plants to cut down production costs by lowering electricity costs purchased from traditional grids.

    The efficiency has gone up but it is nowhere close to where it could be in the future. And cost has gone down. Honda announced its iteration of solar cell technology in 2002 with a 40% reduction in manufacturing costs (and is using its CIGS solar cell panel to partly supply power its manufacturing facilities, as well as in hydrogen extraction from water (HES/HES-II). Here is an excerpt:

    Honda has marked its presence on the PV scene by announcing their development of a solar cell enabling a 40% production cost reduction. The new cell, to be set up at Honda's production bases at home and abroad, will go on sale in cooperation with housing makers as early as fiscal 2003, Honda officials have said. One cell measures 1 square meter and is made of a thin film of copper indium gallium diselenide. Honda officials said they will soon start using new cells at a factory in Shizuoka Prefecture and that they expect the cells to produce a total of 100,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year in January next year, when it will be using a total of 1,000 such cell units there.

    Here is another illustration of what you ask for:

    Solar Power Companies Reach New Heights in Efficiency
    The solar power industry produces a wide variety of products, but every manufacturer tends to focus on two important metrics: the cost of the devices and their efficiency at converting sunlight into electricity. Several companies have recently claimed to break barriers in the latter measurement, commonly referred to as conversion efficiency. Most recently, SunPower Corporation announced that its A-300 crystalline silicon solar cell has achieved an efficiency of 21.5 percent—that is, it converts 21.5 percent of the sunlight hitting it into electricity. According to SunPower, that's a world record for five-inch silicon solar cells, which typically achieve efficiencies of 12 to 15 percent. DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory confirmed the cell's efficiency. Back in May 2003, the A-300 made news with a conversion efficiency of 20.4 percent. See the SunPower press release.


    Technology continues to evolve.
  • Solar powered cars are great food for thought for those whose thought processes are unencumbered by the realities of physics and the earth's astronomical relation to the sun. It's nice to dream of technological breakthroughs that will overcome present limitations, but there are natural limiting conditions that no technology can alter.

    The Sun's power reaches the Earth's surface at a density of approximately 1.4kW/sq Meter. This is the maximum available on a surface normal to the Sun and may be diminished by atmospheric conditions. Present silicon PV cells operate at around 10-12% efficiency, but suppose a wondrous technology were developed to convert all of the available solar energy to electrical energy and suppose further that the vehicles' electrical-mechanical conversion efficiency was 100%, is there enough power from the Sun to drive such a vehicle?

    Consider first, how much power does a vehicle require? This is not a simple question since the answer varies with the size, shape and mass of the vehicle and how it is to be operated. For an alternative to succeed in the market, however, it must be competitive with the vehicles that it seeks to replace so let's assume a vehicle similar to present 4 door sedans as a "mainstream" model. That suggests a vehicle of around 3200lbm, 0.32cd, 24sq-ft frontal area and a plan area of about 100sq-ft. We must assume that some form of energy storage is available to handle peak requirements (acceleration, hill climbing) since the 150hp+ of present vehicles obviously is not available from the sun (100 sq-ft=9.29sq-m corresponding to 13kW(17.4hp) maximum sun power). Also, the solar vehicle will not be operated exclusively at high noon on a clear day in the tropics which suggests additional energy storage needs. Now, all this energy storage suggests lots of batteries and/or capacitors or ?, which threatens our size/mass assumptions, but we're assuming magic technology so let's dismiss that concern.

    So we'll consider only steady state, level ground, windless conditions; what will that 17hp from the Sun do for us? Given the vehicle assumptions above, it will sustain a maximum cruising speed of about 57mph. If we were to attempt to keep up with 70mph traffic, we would need about 50% MORE power! In reality, we must operate at lesser average speeds in order to return to storage the energy required to accelerate to our steady state speed, otherwise we must have another source of power to suplement solar energy, in which case, we don't have a solar car, we have a solar/? hybrid.

    Consider further that to capture the entire 17hp available at high noon at the equator on the equinox, the entire 100sq-ft plan area must be perpindicular to the Sun, which suggests a flat topped vehicle! Imagine what that will do to aerodynamics and to the 0.32cd assumption, not to mention vehicle stability and the effect of crosswinds (its a good thing that we can't go very fast). And what does one do when the sun is not directly overhead, reducing the projected plan area, increasing the atmospheric path, increasing the angle of incidence (and hence reflection), or when the Sun is obscured?

    The bottom line is that a solar powered vehicle that even remotely approximates our present day vehicles IS NOT POSSIBLE, no matter what technological advances occur. 1.4kW/sq-M is all the Sun has to offer on a good day! For solar cars to be viable, we would need a bigger (or closer) sun, in which case gasoline would be an inconsequential concern.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    The bottom line is that a solar powered vehicle that even remotely approximates our present day vehicles IS NOT POSSIBLE

    That was good information. Hopefully you would make it home before sundown in your solar car. Solar panels are useful just not for large amounts of energy in small areas. Plus their life expectancy is not long enough to pay for the energy they generate.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Well, to get a solar car that would replace a normal car, sure, that seems rather unlikely.

    But a solar car which could commute two people 40 miles a day? That's not impossible at all.

    Search the web for "solar car" and look at all the people making, building, and researching solar cars.

    It's not quite the "Waste of Time" a previous poster might make it out to be. :)
  • trobbtrobb Posts: 1
    OK, I am by no means an expert, but I do understand that there are more sources of natural energy than just the sun. After all, just the movement of the car is a type of energy. After considering it all, you could create a vehicle that taps into Solar Power, Wind Power, and Kinetic Energy to regain some of the power that is often lost in conversion. Consider having some port-holes near the bottom of the vehicle that allow wind caused by vehicle motion to strike a turbine to produce additional energy. It may not refuel the car, but it can certainly increase power. How about two extra wheels that lightly touch the ground below the vehicle that also have light turbines in them to recover kinetic energy from the vehicle's motion.

    These are all ideas, and by no means do I have a scientific mind to accompany them, but perhaps some of the energy converted into motion can be recovered to one degree or another.
  • Everyone has good points. Practical solutions will require out of the box thinking:

    Solar augmented Hybrid SUVs They already have large semi-flat roofs, motors, gas backup. Solar would simply augment the charging, requiring less gas over time. Vehicles don't usually travel more than 1 or 2 hours a day. They will keep charging the rest of the time, so long as they are parked in sunlight.

    Houses with solar panels could charge battery packs that are automatically swapped out when the vehicle is parked in the owners garage. Solar "roofed" parking lots could also swap out standard packs in some automated way. Maybe they'll be interchangeable with more expensive hydrogen fuel cell power packs, for those longer trips.

    Perhaps that mass of asphalt called a street could somehow end up charging interchangeable battery packs for the populous. All that surface area... hmm, maybe there's a way to turn it all into a big collector with new materials and technology.

    Solar won't do it all, but it can be a contributor. An electric motor vehicle manufacturing infrastructure is already well on its way. Hybrids and hydrogen will see to that. We might as well work all angles as a society to optimize it.

    Not magic, imagination...
  • offgridoffgrid Posts: 1
    hello,

    off-grid means places or buildings or gizmos that work without mains water or power. off-grid is for those who want to unplug, relax and feel at home anywhere on the planet
  • eaaeaa Posts: 32
    Solar needs full sun at the correct angle so it's best used in a fixed location like a house.
    Solar vehicles are electric vehicles, that are charged and running from the solar panels.
    The best is a very efficient EV like the T-Zero from AC Propulsions and good solar panels at home from Sunpower at 20% efficiency. Together , but not at the same location you have a winning combination.
    Or you can suck gas thats 60% imported and making Exxon rich so they make more oil spills and kill our trade deficit and fund terrorist. It's your choice.
    I installed grid ties solar, live efficiently and ride a bicycle to work for health and the environment. I make my choices EVeryday.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    My concerns about solar panels are these:

    1. What do they cost to install?
    2. How often do they break down?
    3. When they do break, what do they cost to fix?

    My hunch is that whatever cost savings you might see on your energy bill would be eaten up by the maintenance cost (car or house). Plus, they're kind of ugly.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Here is a company that lists their installed products. Note that in CA you get a big rebate on the installation. The average installed price is about $20k. Pay off in 12 years. The panels are warranted by the manufacturer for 25 years. That is a big improvement from the system I put on my home in AZ. It lasted a little over 4 years and the company was out of business. The interest on $20,000 would pay my electric bill.

    http://www.carlsonsolar.com/detailed_system.htm
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...this catching on. Not at $20K with a 12 year payoff. Too high a cost of entry, and the payoff is too far away (a lot of people don't stay in the same house for 12 years).
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    I would only consider solar if I was in Hawaii. Some areas do not have commercial power. And those that do are very expensive. My bill on a house I own in Hilo averages $480 per month with No air conditioning or heat. Just cooking, lights and hot water. There I could probably recoup the cost.
  • eaaeaa Posts: 32
    gagrice in AZ,

    I put grid tied solar on my home in AZ in 2001 with no incentives or net-metering. In 2004 I petitioned SRP and we all now have net-metering.
    My system has worked perfect. I installed it myself and save 100 a month and only paid 12K. I have solar screens to block heat in summer , 2 solar tube lights, energy star Lennox heat pump at 16.5 SEER, efficient fridge from Sears, Compact florescent lights and even use a solar over a lot.
    What happened to your system ?, maybe I can fix it for you for free.
    There are super companies now in AZ to install and do all paperwork for State,FED and Util incentives. Call American Solar in Scottsdale, they are the best. JIM
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    The home is in Havasu. I sold it in 1987. Back then the warranty was 5 years. The manufacturer did not stay in business that long. I guess I was ahead of the curve. I was trying to cut my $280 per month electric bill.
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