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William K.
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Platinum
Re: SO WHAT if my system is a bit obsolete
William K.   5/28/2013 8:01:00 PM
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Ann, improving solar cell generating efficiency is usually good, but sometimes the tradeoff may be more than we care to accept.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: SO WHAT if my system is a bit obsolete
Ann R. Thryft   5/28/2013 11:52:35 AM
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William, thanks for pointing out the law of diminishing returns applied to new solar panels. I think your points are well taken.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Natural Resources
Ann R. Thryft   5/28/2013 11:49:04 AM
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patb2009, thanks for that analogy with cars, I think it's a good one.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: California green power and sustainability in that environment.
Ann R. Thryft   5/28/2013 11:48:21 AM
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William, the 30- to 100-foot cleared zones requirement comes from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
and is quite effective in slowing down a wildfire in residential areas and preventing damage to homes. This was proved a few years ago in three local fires (and by "local" I mean only a few miles from where I live), the Martin Fire and Summit Fire in 2008, and the Lockheed fire in 2009. The zone is essentially a firebreak, a practice also used in national and state parks. Here's a video explaining defensible space:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPRJeUQByRk&feature=player_embedded



Mydesign
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Natural Resources
Mydesign   5/28/2013 5:00:38 AM
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1 saves
Patb2009, there is no doubt that pricing can influence market and sales. But obliviously a certain percentage of customers are always looking for quality products, irrespective of price.



Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Natural Resources
Elizabeth M   5/27/2013 5:49:29 AM
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Thanks for the links, Ann. Yes, we seem to have this covered! It's like researchers are throwing everything they can at the wall to see what sticks. I think some of the new materials research is the most interesting, personally. It would be good if organic materials could be used more instead of synthetics. But I guess we'll just have to see how it evolves!

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
SO WHAT if my system is a bit obsolete
William K.   5/26/2013 4:09:14 PM
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I see that the concept of early obsolescence as a valid reason for accepting short product life is here also. Don't people understand that just because their PV power system is not quite current, it can still be very valuable? And the concept that in six years failure is OK because it will be obsolete is just plain poor thinking. For starters, we have no serious assurance that the cost of systems that recover more power will be low enough to provide any improvement in the cost/ benefits ratio. Another thing is that if the subsidies go away for any reason then the actual cost will rise a lot, no matter how much better performance might possibly be. And it is entirely possible that the subsidies will go away as part of a national budget crunch. One other thing is that the installation cost for the replacement system will certainly be greater because of all of the additional regulations. The magnitude of those is unknown, but I would guess that installation costs will rise by at least 30% just due to more rules and regulations, except in California, where the increase will be at least 50%.

So why should somebody want to replace a system that is functioning correctly with a new system getting 10% more when the present system is installed and paid for, and probably more reliable, as well. It seems that quality does indeed suffer when "cheapest price" is the sole design targt.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: California green power and sustainability in that environment.
William K.   5/26/2013 3:55:24 PM
Ann, the concept of a hundred foot wide zone being adequate to stop anything more than a slow lawn-fire is the reason so many homes are burned by brushfires in that state. If the grass were a mowed lawn that could work, but for taller grass with any wind it is inadequate.  Wishing something were ture very seldom will make it true. That applies everywhere except in some cartoons.

patb2009
User Rank
Gold
Re: Natural Resources
patb2009   5/24/2013 1:08:10 PM
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the good thing is that low price points build the pyramids base.

Compare cars, there are lots of entry level cars, there are always bottom dollar

tin boxes and there are luxury performance status cars.

It's a lot better for the BMW, Corvettes, Cadillacs, Mercedes, Lexus,,,

if you have Hyundai, Camry, Chevy, Ford out there building parts,

dealers, gas stations, specialty shops, etc...

Rolls Royce needs that mass market building highways, roadside restaurants, motels,,,

 

the PV market needs the cheapo units to drive adoption, to drive regulation, to drive

acceptance, and the top third will always buy quality and benefit from FITs, dealer networks, etc.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Natural Resources
Ann R. Thryft   5/24/2013 12:27:32 PM
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Elizabeth, I know what you mean. I've also covered the subject of cheaper solar cells, usually from the materials or process standpoint:
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=254364
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=248975
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=245980
Between your stories and mine, one would hope that one or more of these technologies will prove a winner.

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