9 votes

Why is solar energy so expensive?

It is not, necessarily The initial capital cost of a plant is not the same thing as its lifecycle costs. The best way to analyze the cost impact of an energy source is to look at the total expected ...
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  • 1,027
8 votes
Accepted

How do white roofs cause global warming?

This counter-intuitive advice is actually the result of research. Unfortunately journalists are rarely qualified to cover any sort of science news, and this was no exception. I'll try to explain the ...
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  • 515
5 votes

Is it cost effective to use a solar panel in an apartment if I have a low electricity bill?

The amount of power you consume/power costs are surprisingly unrelated to the cost effective-ness of solar power. To be more accurate, they are "slightly" related. When you install a solar ...
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  • 191
4 votes

Failed "solar thermal" water heating system

Well, first of all, it is not typical for panels to completely fail like that. I am guessing that they used an "open loop" system. The typical (and generally better) system is called a "closed loop" ...
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4 votes

How do I keep my solar panels clean?

I work and attend classes at a University in Florida. Our 100kW system has been installed for more than five years without a single cleaning. I have walked the solar field several times and can ...
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  • 51
4 votes

Reference request - Overview over established solar thermal desalination technologies

Here are a couple of papers published between 2011 and 2016: Ranjan, K. R., and S. C. Kaushik. 2013. ‘Energy, Exergy and Thermo-Economic Analysis of Solar Distillation Systems: A Review’. Renewable ...
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  • 3,212
3 votes
Accepted

Are there any good diy examples of home level STES or BTES

STES (Seasonal Thermal Energy Storage) is, in most cases, too expensive to really be practical because of the huge quantity of the storage medium needed to supply the seasonal demand. Typically, you ...
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  • 161
3 votes
Accepted

Are there solar concentrator builds that work without tracking?

The more concentrated a solar collection system is, the narrower the angle over which it will accept useful energy. While the system that you describe sounds feasible, nobody who has designed systems ...
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2 votes

Pool, sauna and shower with electric heating and solar thermal vs gas heating?

For heating water, you're far better off looking at solar water heaters, which take thermal energy from the sun to heat water. The power conversion formulae for converting sunshine into electricity ...
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  • 426
2 votes

Pool, sauna and shower with electric heating and solar thermal vs gas heating?

Depends on where you live but heating with electrical heating is likely the worst thing to do. Odds are some portion of grid's power comes from thermal sources and typical efficiency from heat to ...
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  • 304
2 votes
Accepted

Can hot air move horizontally without a fan (vertical is easy)

Buoyancy acts vertically, so in most circumstances the answer is "no" (or at least "not with any level of efficiency that would make it worth doing"). If you don't care about efficiency (or ...
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  • 2,734
2 votes

Why is solar energy so expensive?

Really good breakdown in U.S. Photovoltaic Prices and Cost Breakdowns: Q1 2015 Benchmarks for Residential, Commercial, and Utility-Scale Systems from National Renewable Energy Laboratory. If you look ...
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  • 1,192
2 votes

Does a solar thermal hot water system make sense for my home?

With today's prices, it's cheaper to install PV panels and generate electricity, then just use a standard electric water heater. This has the advantage that it actually works better in the winter ...
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  • 31
2 votes

What advantages (any?) has water heating via photovoltaic system over solar thermal system?

Regarding directly feeding a tank with a series string of panels. Don't have the figures at hand but basically figured the math on this once (maybe it was 3400 btu's per kwhr?) and remember that 1500 ...
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2 votes

Solar air heater inside the window?

Clearly I will lose the heat that would otherwise enter the room through the window if I hadn't blocked it with the Solar Venti as opposed to my mounting it on an outside wall. The heat you're ...
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1 vote
Accepted

Under what circumstances are concentrated solar power plants more feasible than conventional solar panels?

Concentrating solar-thermal power is an entirely different way of producting solar power. There are two types of concentrating solar-thermal plants. One type has parabolic mirrors in a line. Then a ...
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  • 2,874
1 vote

When/where is it feasible to use a solar cooker to boil water?

Just a matter of money; you can boil all the water you want with enough focusing solar collectors . There is an installation ( maybe more) in AZ (?) that melts metal with this method. Reliable,good ,...
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1 vote

Are there any good diy examples of home level STES or BTES

I have done this sort of, in reverse. I'm a tree farmer. I get seedlings and to extend the time I can plant them I have made a cold room. This is a 12x12 foot room with 4" fiberglass + 12" ...
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1 vote

Need critique of my idea for a passive heating and cooling system for a tent/waterbed

Never leave home without an air mattress. I've been observing the fools that sleep on the ground for years. The older you get the more likely you will do serious damage. Yes, the "macho" who sleeps on ...
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1 vote

What advantages (any?) has water heating via photovoltaic system over solar thermal system?

I had to quit my PV water heating experiment since the wife had to take one too many cold showers and I was in fear of waking up dead one morning with a back-brush through my skull... and the ...
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1 vote

Solar Window Heater at Night

The trick is to capture the heat in a fluid that circulates through the system only when the sun is heating the fluid. That way, you get the heating with very little cooling. It makes for a more ...
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  • 14.6k

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