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jacee

Solar-powered flight around the world

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The electrical grid itself is the expensive part.

People want power 24x7. They want a grid connection. Batteries are always a cost in addition to whatever the grid costs. You can't even save much on the capacity of the lines because you have to be able to supply the necessary power win the worst case when renewables fail over a large area (such as cold snap in winter). The only difference is this capacity would have to sit unused.

Now if you want to talk about a culture change where people assume the risk they may have to periodically go a day or two without power then you could save on grid costs. This is something people in places without a grid would be willing to live with since some power is better than no power. However, I don't think you can run a modern industrial economy without the presumption of 24x7 power.

Edited by TimG

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People want power 24x7. They want a grid connection. Batteries are always a cost in addition to whatever the grid costs. You can't even save much on the capacity of the lines because you have to be able to supply the necessary power win the worst case when renewables fail over a large area (such as cold snap in winter). The only difference is this capacity would have to sit unused.

None of that is necessarily correct. First of all you can get 24x7 power without the grid. If you used non-intermittent power you just need the right amount of generation. A small thorium appliance, or whatever. If you are using intermittent power you just need the right combination of generation and storage. As for the odd prolonged period where there's no sun or wind for a long time, any home can be backed up by a few thousand dollars worth of diesel generation for these worst case scenarios.

And like I said with on grid power going up in price, and small electrical generation systems rapidly coming down in price, if those trends continue its just a matter of time until people start fleeing the grid. And when people start... grid energy is going to start increase even faster.

Edited by dre

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A small thorium appliance, or whatever.

I am basing my arguments on what is commercially available today.

Any number of inventions could appear and change the analysis.

If you are using intermittent power you just need the right combination of generation and storage.

Lets do the math:

Telsa is a handy reference:

https://www.tesla.com/en_CA/powerwall

One Powerwall unit is 6.4kWh. 5 days backup (cloudy weather can last weeks) for a home using 20kWh/day is 16 units.

Not cheap. Plus you have the issue of space.

And on top of that you want to throw in a gas generator with a very large reserve fuel tank.

We are looking at close to >100K US for a reliable off grid power.

I don't see that as remotely viable even assuming the price comes down on the batteries.

As a supplement to grid power sure. But not for a completely off grid system.

Of course that cost does not include the cost of the solar panels and all of this infrastructure takes up valuable space in a home (doable with some homes if they have the roof space - but as soon as the density increases there will not be enough space for enough solar to keep the homes powered).

Also grid power is only going up in price because of busybodies that insist on messing up the energy system with uneconomic power sources. If the grid operators were allowed to pursue the lowest cost options (including any realistic pollution levies) we would not see rising grid prices today.

Edited by TimG

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I am basing my arguments on what is commercially available today.

Any number of inventions could appear and change the analysis.

Lets do the math:

Telsa is a handy reference:

https://www.tesla.com/en_CA/powerwall

One Powerwall unit is 6.4kWh. 5 days backup (cloudy weather can last weeks) for a home using 20kWh/day is 16 units.

Not cheap. Plus you have the issue of space.

And on top of that you want to throw in a gas generator with a very large reserve fuel tank.

We are looking at close to >100K US for a reliable off grid power.

I don't see that as remotely viable even assuming the price comes down on the batteries.

As a supplement to grid power sure. But not for a completely off grid system.

Of course that cost does not include the cost of the solar panels and all of this infrastructure takes up valuable space in a home (doable with some homes if they have the roof space - but as soon as the density increases there will not be enough space for enough solar to keep the homes powered).

Also grid power is only going up in price because of busybodies that insist on messing up the energy system with uneconomic power sources. If the grid operators were allowed to pursue the lowest cost options (including any realistic pollution levies) we would not see rising grid prices today.

Why on earth would you do the math that way? That's now how off grid systems being done...

Heres a 700 KWH system that includes the panes.

http://www.wholesalesolar.com/1892845/wholesale-solar/complete-systems/the-lodge-5.04-kw-18-panel-suniva-off-grid-solar-system

16 000 dollars

Store the power in this.. that will hold 2 to 3 days.

http://www.wholesalesolar.com/1898740/crown/battery-banks/crown-860ah-48vdc-41-280-wh-16-battery-bank

5000 dollars

Back it up with this... That's an 11k diesel backup that automatically comes on when your reserves get below a certain point.

a8b72872-0f19-44cd-8635-6f3301cdcfea_400

That's 4000 dollars.

That's reliable off the grid power for 25k. I did two of these installations in homes along a lake near here and they worked great, but it was about 10 years ago and they were extremely expensive. But its getting cheap now and costs are still dropping very quickly. There are hundreds of millions of homes in the world that are in sunny enough locations so that the diesel backup would never have to come on. Most low rise buildings in the world could be run this way.

But if its not sunny where you live for part of the year, you can add a few of these... 3 of them would cost about 25 hundred dollars.

http://www.wholesalesolar.com/4913034/primus-windpower/wind-turbines/primus-windpower-air-40-12v-1-ar40-10-12

And lets have one last look at this... According to that report commissioned by investment bankers. The intersect for Australia is only a few years away. And by 2034 grid power will be 400% higher than off-grid power.

UBS-offgrid-solar.png

Edited by dre

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These plants are being built as 'batteries' to backup renewables which is a technically viable way to deal with the problem.

I would say that pumped hydro storage plants could be compared to batteries, but not thermal gas turbines. This is along the same line that dre is talking about for backup power being fossil fuel based. Providing reliable power is not about storage, at least today, it is about mixing various primary sources to provide the most reliable and cheap solution.

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