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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
Solar Energy in CA 
6th-Jan-2010 11:19 am
Summer
Mom and Dad's PV system from Solar City (www.solarcity.com) is a leased system that is grid-tied and will roll their meter backwards when it generates more than they use.


Mom & Dad's 2009 PV generation Mom & Dad's 2009 PV generation
Mom and Dad installed a photovoltaic system in April 2009. This is the graph of generation through the end of the year. Total generation was 2,830 kWh. According to the website, that is $526 in electricity, or 1.8 mature trees of carbon offset.

Comments 
6th-Jan-2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
Do they have an idea that they are willing to share of their monthly usage?
6th-Jan-2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
I could probably get them to share. Of course, then I'd get to hear about the family's impact on Mom & Dad's budget. I asked about water usage last summer... ::laugh::
6th-Jan-2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
Well, there's only so much suffering I'd want you to go through on my behalf. :)
6th-Jan-2010 06:00 pm (UTC)
I mean this in all seriousness...not any kind of 'dig' but what is the carbon footprint of the PV system's' manufacture, delivery and install?

I've never seen anyone do some calculations about when a PV install goes carbon neutral, and then starts to pay back benefits.

I've wanted to do some PV at my house, but between trees, and house facing, its just not a great solar location.
6th-Jan-2010 06:08 pm (UTC) - PV footprints
It's not a dig in my mind either, but a legitimate concern. And really, I would phrase the question more broadly to ask about "environmental impact" which would then encompass the concerns of installing the bigger equivalents such as a nuclear plant or hydroelectric dam.

Not that wikipedia gets anywhere near explaining the numbers, but they do point out that the bigger environmental impact concern is the chemistry involved rather than the basic physics. The various solar cells require toxic chemical combinations (which can't be recycled), there are the emissions from powering the factories, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaics#Environmental_impacts (They do point out that BP Solar in MD is eating its own dog food, so to speak, by powering the factory with solar. But that does not cover the carbon footprint of the raw materials.)
6th-Jan-2010 07:09 pm (UTC) - Re: PV footprints
Oh, is that what the large installation of solar panels on a BP building near Frederick is? I appreciated the wall of panels, but never bothered to see what BP was doing with the output.
It's been interesting watching some swaths come down and get put back up over the year or two I've been driving by there regularly.
6th-Jan-2010 07:19 pm (UTC) - Re: PV footprints
Yes. I got to tour the plant a long time ago. Back when I went through the plant, the tour guide told us that the portions that are pulled down and replaced are to test the newest panels.
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