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Jacob Arroyos

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Using solar electricity more efficiently and effectively.

Living in Arizona, we have an abundent resource of sun. It shines down on us over 300 days a year, and for some reason companies still don't offer solar power at a price that is fair to their customers. I understand that solar panels are fairly expensive, but there has to be a way companies and the government could find the funds for sustainable electricity.

An idea that I have thought about is having apartments install solar panels on their property. Instead of having the electricity bill vary from month to month, the apartment complex will figure our the monthly price for each size of apartment (1 bed, 2 bed, etc.) and then just include that into their bill for their monthly rent (just like they do fro trash and sewer). I believe this is a great idea for complexes to take advantage of and could potentially provide a profit after a few years.

Topics: technology
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  • Nov 19 2012: I like your idea. I think it can be enhanced with new technology. I had the pleasure of watching a TED talk about clear solar panels. You could put solar panels on the roof and install the windows and get even more energy from the sun. Furthermore, I think that you could easily have them install solar water heaters
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      Nov 19 2012: Michael and Jacob,
      Speaking about apartments, water heaters, etc., reminds me of what I saw EVERYWHERE on the tops of most apartment buildings in Cairo.....

      http://egyptsolar.net/en/solar-hot-water-systems/solar-heaters/140-solar-water-heater-360-literday

      I also like your idea Jacob, of how to incorporate solar into the apartment situation:>) I used to own apartments, and one facility was designed with a solar vestibule, to use the energy of the sun. Lots of apartment dwellers thought it was "too bright" in their apartment when they were watching TV all day, so the shades in the solar vestibule (which were there to close on a cold winter night) were closed when the sun was shining!!!
  • Nov 19 2012: So much depends on the advancement of technology in order to be able to make this clean and sustainable energy source affordable.
    But someday soon it will happen. Like it happened with personal computers.
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    Nov 19 2012: Jacob,
    Check this out...

    http://suncommon.com/going-solar/

    SunCommon is working with power companies to install solar panels, reduce the cost of electricity, in many cases putting power back into the grid, and there is no up-front cost to the consumer. This is happening in Vermont...one of the LEAST sunny states!!!
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    Nov 19 2012: Solar power is a great technology, unfortunately it is still in its infancy; so the price doesn't mete with everyone. Germany has a good record with solar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Germany_Electricity_Generation_5-25-26-2012.png but they have made a concerted effort over many years to produce such high levels of it. The best selling point of solar from an economic standpoint is that its peak production closely mirrors our peak consumption, and you can see from that link that their systems do a very good job of that.

    I think your idea could work very practically in the near future, as we are building very innovative sources of photovoltaics which could replace common building materials like windows, roofing, and siding, but such buildings would not exactly be the norm for some time. If you could get the people living in such a complex to agree on the idea and on how far to take it, it could work on an individual basis but I doubt it would be economical to go completely "off the grid" so to speak. (at least not without a big fat government cheque, though I believe there is still a 30% incentive available through 2016 in the US)
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    Nov 19 2012: " I understand that solar panels are fairly expensive, but there has to be a way companies and the government could find the funds for sustainable electricity."

    how about the following sentence?:

    "I understand that there are laws of physics and the given state of technology, but there has to be a way companies and the government could find the funds to enable us to travel from new york to sidney within half an hour."

    " I understand that microbiology is in its infancy, but there has to be a way companies and the government could find the funds for giving us 150+ years of healthy life."
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    Nov 19 2012: Until new methods become as profitable or more profitable than current energy production and distribution systems they will remain secondary, alternate, comparatively costly methods. I am not saying solar cannot become our primary energy sytem, I am saying it is more costly than present technology. It's a tough sell to get someone to pay more for the same thing. Today's apartment designers and builders can increase their profits by using traditional, non-solar electrical systems. Convincing them to do otherwise is impossible. Follow the money. Thank you!
    • Nov 19 2012: "Until new methods become as profitable or more profitable than current energy production and distribution systems they will remain secondary, alternate, comparatively costly methods."

      Even when using the existing distribution system (hook your installation up to the grid and letthe utility company buy back your excess power) in sunny Arizona and even when you factor in all the tax cuts and subsidies fossil fuels and nuclear power receive? I sincerely doubt that.
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        Nov 19 2012: You think there is some nefarious government plot keeping the world from enjoying cheaper, cleaner, infinitely more sustainable, and profoundly more environmentally friendly energy than what we are doing now? What possible motive could there be for government to hold-off on full-scale development of such a "perfect" scenario? I say there is only one answer to that question and it is Economic Inertia. When we have to go solar we will, but right now everything is running smoothly, lots of money is being made, and lots of taxes are being paid with no need to spend trillions reconfiguring the system. Follow the money!