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Re: Solar Energy and "From small things big things grow."


Many struggles against entrenched and ossified

conservative attitudes (towards needed change)

produce some very uplifting ballads.


If you want to have a go at solar energy

(at a micro level) while this ballad was

composed in honour of the struggle for

Aboriginal land rights, it's applicable to

any initiative that has entrenched

and powerful opponents:






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This post is about some 'Little Things Big Things" energy calculations:


The picture below shows that from its installation on 9 November

2007 until today (21 June 2008) my solar panel energy system had

pumped 1789 kilowatt hours of electricity into the national grid.


Put that another way, my solar panels put 1.79 megawatts into the

national grid for one hour. The picture I posted at 2.00 pm

today was of Hazelwood Power Station in Victoria.


To produce a megawatt hour of electricity Hazelwood pumps

1.55 tonnes of climate-changing Carbon Dioxide into the

Earth's atmosphere. My 1.79 megawatts has reduced

the CO2 output (by coal-fired plants like Hazelwood)

by an impressive 2.8 gobal-warming tonnes.


Hazelwood (at full load) is rated at 3150 megawatts.


3150 X 1.55 equals 4883 tonnes of CO2 per hour.


This is only in theory, but remember "Greater than the tread

of a thousand armies is an idea whose hour has come"

and "From little things big things grow":


Hazelwood's 3150 megawatts divided by my 1.79 megwatts

means that 1760 Grahams could have shut Hazelwood down

for an hour today and 42,240 Grahams could shut it

down PERMANENTLY - thus liberating the global

atmosphere of 4883 tonnes of CO2 an hour for

for every hour Hazelwood operated at full load!


If Hazelwood had operated at full load for 24 hours

today, 42,240 Grahams could have prevented it

from pumping a staggering 177,192 tonnes

of CO2 into the atmosphere TODAY!


Please don't get bogged down in analysis paralysis.


It's a very simple concept to grasp:


One micro-system multiplied by 40,000 equals

more than enough power to move mountains!









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If you haven't done so already (which is highly likely)

please ignore the calculations in my last post.


I think I may have mixed up kilowatts and

megawatts and will have to go back to my

'Change The World' drawing-board.


But I'm still quite happy with my average solar

output of 7.95 kilowatt hours per day for the

past 225 days that pumped a total of 1789

kilowatt hours of CO2-free electricity

into the national grid.


And that's forgetting the contribution made

(towards reducing CO2 emissions) by my

three-panel solar hot-water system.


Finally, if oil prices and global warming

are driving you up the wall, try this:





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I love solar power too. Checkout www.nanosolar.com - these guys are champions!


I just received their latest newsletter:


Dear Nanosolar friend:


We wanted to let you know of a major milestone in solar energy technology we have now achieved: The solar industry's first 1GW production tool.


Yes, that's 1GW of capacity from a single production tool!


You can see it yourself in action in a video we have decided to release and share with you (www.nanosolar.com/blog3).


Most production tools in the solar industry tend to have 10-30MW in annual production capacity. So how is it possible to have a single tool with Gigawatt throughput?


This feat is fundamentally enabled through the proprietary nanoparticle ink we have invested so many years developing. It allows us to deliver efficient solar cells (presently up to more than 14%) that are simply printed (www.nanosolar.com/nanoink.htm)


Printing is a simple, fast, and robust coating process that in particular eliminates the need for expensive high-vacuum chambers as traditionally used to deposit thin films.


Our 1GW CIGS coater cost $1.65 million. At the 100 feet-per-minute speed shown in the video, that's an astonishing two orders of magnitude more capital efficient than a high-vacuum process: a twenty times slower high-vacuum tool would have cost about ten times as much per tool.


There's still a lot of hard work to be done for us to bring solar power everywhere. But at this time we wanted to share with you our excitement about transformational progress happening.


Thank you for your continued support of Nanosolar. While deployment of our product will focus over the next 12 months on installations with our wholesale customers (which includes the world's largest utility - www.nanosolar.com/blog3/?p=26), we are looking forward to making our products more broadly available to everyone in 2009.


Martin Roscheisen

CEO, Nanosolar Inc.







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In reply to: Ice9 on Sunday 22/06/08 07:03pm

Thanks for the update, Ice9.


As a matter of national necessity, there are giant strides being taken

in harnessing free solar energy in many advanced nations while

the baby steps being taken in Australia have fossil-fuel vested

interests running disinformation campaigns and trying to kid

politicians and the media that pure coal is 'clean' coal.


Below is a picture of a 200 Megawatt solar plant - one of

many big and small solar power stations that will be

installed in sunny California in the next few years.


California's upcoming 'Large Solar Energy Projects' are listed

(with pictures and plans and finance details) on the website

of the California Energy Commission at:




The picture of California's 'Ivanpah Project' came from:








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This post is about what I did NOT know about my 12-panel solar

energy collector and converter until after it had been installed:


It has no battery and relies solely on light (not the sun's heat)

to wake up its converter/transformer and begin production.


It wakes up its DC-AC converter/transformer and starts work

(pumping out 240 volt power) while street lights are still on.

It stops work (and switches itself off) well after sunset.


It doesn't need direct sunlight to work. If will work but at a

reduced rate in cloudy, wet and freezing cold weather.


Provided the angle of the sun is similar, it will produce

slightly more electricity in winter than in summer. Why?


The resistance (in ohms) to an electrical current moving

though thin metal wires is less in cold temperatures.


Resistance increases (slightly) as the temperature climbs.


Since the winter solstice occurred a few days ago, the sun

is at its lowest angle to my roof it will be all year. It's a

cold and cloudy morning in Canberra - but my solar

system is pumping 592 watts into the national grid.


Hold on! The sun is peeking though the clouds.


Production has jumped to 896 watts. It will do

better after lunch as our roof faces north-west.



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Just a few questions, if I may . Thinking of installing one myself.


Qld Gov has a deal which organises the Fed Gov rebate of $7000 and your up front cost is reduced to $1600 approx.


What area of your roof is covered by the 12 panels? I saw in Germany people had their whole roof covered in panels. I believe in Germany the Gov pays 3x for each unit you supply back to the grid. (A great incentive.) Does Canberra do that also?


Do the 12 panels provide sufficient energy for all your power needs?

Can you store energy for night time purposes? (presume you need to add batteries for storage.)


Are you happy with it?


Is it cost effective?








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In reply to: Vilmac on Monday 23/06/08 11:36am

Dear Vilmac:


Consumer Warning: In response to your questions about solar electricity

the first thing you need to know is in its first Budget the Rudd government

put a means test (based on annual income) on the $8000 federal subsidy.


I don't have the fine details to hand (about the new means test) but most

installers would have details plus details of a smaller BP rebate scheme.


Re: A system for $1600 (plus subsidies):


The smallest (900 watt nominal peak output) system that my

installer had on offer would have cost $5800 (plus subsidies)


The one I chose was a 2000 watt nominal (1700 watt actual peak

output) cost me $15,000 plus $9150 in subsides. Total cost $24,150.


My net return on capital (while feed-in and feed-out prices remain

the same) is 2% - which let's the cat out of the bag that I'm not up

to my ears in solar power for mega-buck commercial gain! (vbg!)


Re: German-style Feed-In Tariff schemes.


I don't know the position in Queensland. But if (and it's a very big if)

the ACT Goverment's proposed 'Four Times' Feed-In Scheme is

approved - 8% is not a bad little earner - and it's the main driver

of the rapid expansion of roof-top generation in Germany.


Re: Do 12 panels (top output 1700 watts) provide all our needs:


Far from it! We still consume far more power (in a household of

seven adults) especially during Canberra's ice-cold winters -

despite our insulated ceilings and walls and double-glazing.


Re: Power storage:


Isolated rural and outback homesteads use batteries (at night)

for both their diesel and/or their solar power systems.


We use ActewAGL as our 'battery'.


The Snowy Scheme could be adapted for much wider use

as a 'battery'. Existing water pumps could lift water from a

lower to a higher Snowy dam. Then (at peak demand times)

water could flow back to the lower dam to spin hydro

turbines to augment coal-fired peak power supplies.


The cost inefficiencies in that 'adaption' are far less than

power distributors are forced to pay for privatised power

(at peak load times) when power prices can skyrocket!


Then there are cute tricks (that push peak prices even

higher) like scheduling generator maintenance

'Down Times' to co-incide with peak load times.


So rampant was naked greed at Enron (in California)

that when huge bushfires were incinerating towns,

houses, people and forests and triggering

distribution network trip-outs at peak

load times (and pushing up prices)

a huge cheer arose from Enron's

Sales Executives as profits rose:


"Burn Baby Burn!"


But as non-greedy Americans say:


'What goes around comes around."


Now long afterwards, Enron went up in smoke.


And there endeth today's Epistle to the Australians.

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Hi there , hope you dont mind me butting in but I recently got a quote as I was thinking of installing a grid connected solar installation. You can get a 1 kw installation for around the $4000 of your own money.


I found braemacenergy one of the cheapest and good reports from people I know about quality. They dont tell me how long it takes to recoup your outlay money as they dont want to talk about that, as they see the environmental side more important


The Government rebate is currently $8 per watt, so you need a 1kw to get the full $8000.


There are some means tests, must be your principal residence and your electoral roll address and a few others I think.


My problem is that I will most likely only be remaining in my current residence for another 3 or 4 years so I wont get the return, but I guess it may be a good selling point.



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In reply to: gmacafee on Monday 23/06/08 01:56pm


My understanding of the current state of play in sunny Queensland is that you get paid for output to the grid AFTER you've covered what you have used from the grid, so basically you can only gain by reducing your usage somewhat, the difference betwen buy and sell prices will always favour the established suppliers. I guess there could be a trickle to the money box while one has that grey nomad trip round Australia if you leave it all switched on. Let's face it, what government wants a whole lot of people getting less dependent on power supply, how can one plan and manage in that situation?

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