[SATLUG] Re: Any Technical/Automation - now PV

Borries Demeler demeler at biochem.uthscsa.edu
Mon May 24 11:54:55 CDT 2010

> Borries Demeler wrote:
> > Actually, I didn't have CPS install the grid, they don't do that. You get an installer
> > that is approved by CPS. There is a wide range of contractors to choose from. My installer
> > offered to install a battery backup unit, so I know it it definitely an option. In fact,
> > I know several people did that in case of power outages so they can continue to run. And
> > yes, you can use it to store excess power, but it is more costly to do that than
> > to simply feed it back into the grid, since then you don't have to pay for the storage
> > of it, but the meter essentially turns backwards, and every kwh you feed back into the 
> > system you can get back for free later (say at night when there is no solar power, or 
> > in the winter, when there is less light). So I think you misread the rules, or they
> > are not stated clearly. It is definitely allowed to connect a battery backup.
> I'd have a couple of concerns.  I wonder what the failure rate for the 
> panels would be.  

Mine came with 25 year warranty parts and labor, way beyond the
amortization period.

> Is there maintenance required?

Yes, when you have a bunch of oak pollen in the air you need to spray them off
periodically if you want to have peak performance.

> Are there homeowners 
> association rules that would limit installation?

Yes, there are actually HOAs that would deny homeowners to install PV
systems (hard to believe, but true). Check with your HOA, and push them
to adopt an environmentally progressive attitude. I sent mine a letter
with the plans asking for permission to install them and it was granted
without objections. In my neigborhood I would have to do the same if
I wanted to install a backyard deck. The way I proposed to build them
(on the roof) there was no limitation in my HOA.

>  What are the effects 
> on the appearance of the house?

>From the street it is hard to see, if you install flat on the roof it looks like
a skywindow, except bluish-black.

>  How do trees that shade the house 
> affect the economics of the effort?

CPS won't approve a rebate for a system that is north-facing or shaded
by trees by a certain percentage. There has to be a minimum exposure
(I think 6 hours unobstructed on Dec. 21st). It is easy to get that by
installing panels tilted to the south or horizontally.

> That said, I do wonder about the issue of global warming in general.  I 
> don't doubt that it is happening, but historical investigation has shown 
> that the world has been warmer than it is now and 10000 years ago it was 
> certainly a lot colder.  Someone from 10K years ago would think that 
> we've already had a lot of global warming since then.
> http://longrangeweather.com/images/GTEMPS.gif
> I don't know about the accuracy of the above graph, but I suspect that 
> volcanic eruptions and solar output have a lot more influence on global 
> temperature than carbon emissions.

Global warming is a misnomer. Climate crisis is much more accurate. Some
changes in climate actually cause large scale global shifts that produce
climate in certain regions and locally to actually become colder. Some
effects are drastic, for example, forest kills in the northwest by pine
bark beetles that survive because it doesn't get cold enough anymore
and have already killed huge swaths of forests in the northwest, which
are now dangerously prone to wildfire with all the dead trees. As you
can imagine, these effects amplify the subtle climate effects from CO2
emission to a crisis level in these areas. Also, slight rises in ocean
levels from ice melts (overwhelming evidence that this is man-made)
can wipe out entire low lying shoreline and islands.

Extended drought conditions, increasing intensity of hurricanes, warming
and acidification of oceans due to CO2 and the ecotope and microclimate
changes caused by this, etc., there is an abundance of evidence. I could
go on forever...

It's definitely man made, and it is definitely serious. To keep denying
it is to ignore scientific evidence.


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