Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 24

Thread: Appropriate Use of Solar

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    13,136

    Appropriate Use of Solar

    I'm posting this video by my permaculture teacher. When it comes to solar, I agree with many radical environmentalists/conservationists in that making solar/wind The Answer is simplistic. There are a lot of reasons NOT to go whole hog on solar/wind and other renewable energies. But there is "appropriate use." I like this video because it clearly outlines what that is. I think the bottom line is, choosing renewable resources is not a one-size-fits-all Wonder Technology. In reality, the "wonder technology" could be a "system" of energy that is right for specific uses, and each person has to determine the right mix of solar and other energy sources for their situation.

    I am against the idea of cutting down acres of trees for solar farms without considering all the ramifications of use vs environmental impact. I certainly am considering solar for my home, but I'm going into it gingerly. This video helps give me some direction for my thoughts.

    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  2. #2
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    8,026
    Thank you for sharing this! Back in the 80's when I was a teen I was fascinated by solar and read every book the denver library system had on the subject. This six minute video is basically a very brief synopsis of what all those books said. At the time photovoltaic panels were quite pricey so the books all focused on solar heat and hot water, as well as the importance of making one's home as efficient as possible to minimize energy needs, and only discussed solar electric in the context of off grid homes where connecting to the grid would be extremely expensive because the home was seriously remote. Today photovoltaic is much cheaper but still not cheap enough to justify use for heating water and space heating. Those can still more cost effectively be done by thermal solar, at least if one has space to store the heat in some way.

    SO and I have been discussing solar and one of these days I will get someone to come out and look at our house to see how practical it is. We get a limited amount of sun in the winter but we have hours and hours of abundant sun in the summer time so it will hopefully make sense financially.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    5,248
    Nice and very easy to understand for the layperson - me! Thanks for posting this.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. HH Dalai Lama
    In a world where you can be anything - be kind. Unknown

  4. #4
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    13,136
    Andrew just posted a podcast episode how his town is making misguided decisions on the use of solar. They are calling land with good soil that can be used for food farms "idle" and assigning it to solar industries to use for solar farms..

    I'm not posting the link because it's really an issue specific to his area, but if you're interested I can link it.

    As I've said before, it is absolutely crazy to cut down trees so solar farms can be installed. Some of this craziness may be attributed to ignorance or lack of real thinking about the right solutions for the right problems. Or it can be attributed to green industry who, biased by the profit motive, pitch their solution to towns and cities. If you're a hammer, everything is a nail.

    Take a look at the planned destruction of nature and biodiversity in the name of "environmentalism":

    Soon to be bulldozed for industrial solar:
    Aratina Solar, CA 2,400 acres - 4,200 Joshua trees
    Oberon Solar, CA, 2,700 acres - ancient desert ironwoods destroyed
    Gemini Solar, NV, 7,100 acres - over 1,000 desert tortoises
    Yellow Pine Solar, Nevada, 3,000 acres - over 90,000 Mojave yuccas

    Just venting. This makes me upset.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    9,367
    But it isn't really clear what the answer is is it really? I mean it's really NOT clear to me.

    So we take this:
    Soon to be bulldozed for industrial solar:
    Aratina Solar, CA 2,400 acres - 4,200 Joshua trees

    But Joshua trees are dying due to climate change as well. And no bulldozing them for solar won't stop climate change (ahem baked in). But they might die from climate change, even minus being bulldozed, as well as will many other species. The main problem with solar IMO is it being added on top of fossil fuel use but fossil fuel use is NOT being stopped. It's not even declining. Some don't like that climate change has swallowed the environmental discourse, but it is that huge a factor not just in discourse but eh reality. And spring and summer will come and the west will burn again like every year for the rest of our lives until there is nothing left to burn.

    And I could rant about biodiversity being destroyed in the name of environmentalism, but I don't know is that a productive use of my time, when it's just as readily destroyed for new housing developments? (and that I have objected to, but it really doesn't matter)
    Trees don't grow on money

  6. #6
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    13,136
    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    But it isn't really clear what the answer is is it really? I mean it's really NOT clear to me.

    So we take this:
    Soon to be bulldozed for industrial solar:
    Aratina Solar, CA 2,400 acres - 4,200 Joshua trees

    But Joshua trees are dying due to climate change as well. And no bulldozing them for solar won't stop climate change (ahem baked in). But they might die from climate change even minus being bulldozed as well as will many other species as well. The main problem with solar IMO is it being added on top of fossil fuel use but fossil fuel use is NOT being stopped. Some don't like that climate change has swallowed the environmental discourse, but it is that huge a factor not just in discourse but eh reality. And spring and summer will come and the west will burn again like every year for the rest of our lives until there is nothing left to burn.
    I agree. But actively destroying the landscape isn't going to help.

    The main problem with solar IMO is it being added on top of fossil fuel use but fossil fuel use is NOT being stopped.
    Bright Green Lies talks about Jevon's Paradox, which is the heart of the problem of the "race to the top" of green industry:

    In economics, the Jevons paradox (/ˈdʒɛvənz/; sometimes Jevons' effect) occurs when technological progress or government policy increases the efficiency with which a resource is used (reducing the amount necessary for any one use), but the rate of consumption of that resource rises due to increasing demand.[1] The Jevons paradox is perhaps the most widely known paradox in environmental economics.[2] However, governments and environmentalists generally assume that efficiency gains will lower resource consumption, ignoring the possibility of the paradox arising.[3]
    .

    This is a quote from Wikipedia, not Bright Green Lies.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    9,367
    It seems clear to me that fossil fuel use needs to be curtailed at the supply side, not the demand side, and not by expecting clean sources to automatically replace fossil fuels (although sure develop clean alternatives, that's fine but not sufficient). The demand side is L.E.D. lightbulbs, electric cars etc. - all somewhat ok but ... it's not reducing fossil fuel use either. And all this focus on it is obfuscation. I mean all that technology might allow poeople to live better without fossil fuels, so it could be part of the solution, but if fossil fuels are not curtailed then it's no solution at all.

    Basically stop (or wind down) offshore and onshore drilling, fracking, coal etc. - stop the supply. But the solar panels in the dessert, I don't know, they have costs and benefits, it's not so clear.
    Trees don't grow on money

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    4,221
    My utilities service provider offers an option for my electricity to come from wind power. I pay a slight premium and it's no doubt some sort of book juggling vs. actually having wind power direct to my home. That said, I'm not certain that the wind turbines that dot the landscapes on ridgelines all over the west are an less egregious to the aesthetics of landscapes than solar farms. There doesn't seem to be an perfect renewable energy. I would just suspect that the solar farms proposed or built over valuable forest land would probably require some form of remediation by revegetating other areas or purchasing other types of carbon off-sets. Which may be like sinning an going to confession, but it's not nothing.

    My home town has also been known as the Pittsburgh of the west due to it's steel production. The mill has sized down is recent years, but still produces rail, wire, beams, etc. Just recently they've announced that most of their energy use is now transitioned from coal to solar. To me, that is rather incredible considering the high energy use of production. They have their own solar farm on a bit of prairie that has fairly low alternate uses and is pretty much barren.

    The common sources I've seen that identify the top culprits for greenhouse emissions are agriculture, building heating, and transportation. My humble opinion is that we can't expect green energy solutions to get us to carbon emission goals with out changes and sacrifices in life styles. Each of those three has significant energy savings opportunities at the personal level, but as they say, recycling Styrofoam cups, Prius, and shorter showers isn't going to get us there. My optimism for people making any significant lifestyle changes is not very high.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    9,367
    I buy the green power option from the electrical utility too, that is my green power decision. I like to think it encourages green energy.
    Trees don't grow on money

  10. #10
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Suburban Midwest
    Posts
    5,946
    Rogar, you talk about lifestyle choices needing to change. Do you want to force people to leave the suburbs and into cities? Public transit doesn’t work well for people who have to commute suburb to suburb as many of us do.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •