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Free Solar Power Is Hoax
The Albuquerque Journal ^ | January 15, 2009 | James P. O'Loughlin, Placitas Engineer

Posted on 01/17/2009 5:05:53 PM PST by CedarDave

The article “N.M. Solar Energy Plan Expanded,” about the state Public Regulation Commission's promotion of grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) power generation states that ... invest[ment] in PV installations will have “free” electricity.

I evaluated such an installation for our house using Public Service Company of New Mexico PV information on its Web site. I checked the results against more sophisticated resources and found the PNM results to be in good agreement.

For my house, a PV system's cost is about $10,000 per kw, or for our case about $40,000.

... Based on a 20-year life and 6 percent cost of money, this comes to a monthly cost of $286.57. The monthly cost for the same amount of energy from PNM service is $42.75 — where is the “free” electricity?

There is an insurmountable fact of nature that forces photovoltaic to be several times more expensive than conventional power generation: The sun doesn't shine for 24 hours a day. This requires that a PV generation installation must have a power rating that is about six times higher than a continuously running conventional installation for the same energy output.

~~snip~~

The cliché about investing in research and development to decrease the cost of panels and make PV power generation competitive is an unachievable myth that is fanatically pursued by the government and other groups having various and peculiar reasons.

When reality is not acceptable, the government can fix it with political alchemy. Through the influence of pressure groups and lobbyists, state and federal governments decree that photovoltaic power generation must be implemented. To fix the inherently expensive PV power generation problem, governments provide tax credits, incentives and other forms of subsidy to cover up the excessive cost.

This does not reduce the actual cost; it just transfers it to the general taxpayer or ratepayer.

(Excerpt) Read more at abqjournal.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; US: New Mexico
KEYWORDS: energy; greenenergy; renewableenergy; solar; solarenergy; solarpower
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I won't try to defend or challenge his numbers; others can do so if so inclined. The point of the article is that solar energy is not "free" nor competitive with conventional power. The downside of both solar and wind is that the sun doesn't shine all the time nor the wind blow. Infrastructure to get electricity from solar/wind farms has to be built and the local nimby's come out to oppose either the generation or transmission facilities. Now solar may make sense for very rural areas "off the grid" but not for large urban areas.

Solar power, like wind energy and ethanol production, is a hoax that will not resolve our long term energy needs. It could be hoped that reality would take hold but, like the global warming hoax, the masses are being educated to believe that use of fossil fuels will be our demise when in fact it will be reliance on the sun and windmills tilting in the breeze that will do us in.

1 posted on 01/17/2009 5:05:54 PM PST by CedarDave
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To: LegendHasIt; Rogle; leapfrog0202; Santa Fe_Conservative; DesertDreamer; OneWingedShark; ...

PING to the NM list!

(FReepmail greyfoxx39 to be added or removed from the list)


2 posted on 01/17/2009 5:07:36 PM PST by CedarDave (Under Obama, yesterday's pork-laden earmarks have become tomorrow's economic stimulus projects)
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To: CedarDave

Hi, Dave. Please add me to your Ping List. Thanks.

As an aside...I’ve been using FREE solar and wind power for decades now to dry my clothes. Where’s my Goverment Subsidies? ;)


3 posted on 01/17/2009 5:13:52 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
I’ve been using FREE solar and wind power for decades now to dry my clothes.

But that simple technology doesn't give politicians a pretense to funnel billions of dollars to their financial contributors.

.

4 posted on 01/17/2009 5:19:15 PM PST by Iron Munro (Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin; greyfoxx39

Greyfoxx39 is the keeper of the NM Ping list. FReepmail her, please.

With the temperature the way it is in Wisconsin, I suspect its a chore just to fold clothes frozen on the line!


5 posted on 01/17/2009 5:20:33 PM PST by CedarDave (Under Obama, yesterday's pork-laden earmarks have become tomorrow's economic stimulus projects)
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To: CedarDave

then again we know its more expensive and less reliable, thats why its ‘alternative’


6 posted on 01/17/2009 5:22:23 PM PST by GeronL (A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood)
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To: CedarDave

Well, I did slack off some this winter. I just hung them on the basement line. I can’t even GET to my clothes line. I’m 5’1” and there’s a 10’ wall-o-snow between me and it. :)


7 posted on 01/17/2009 5:28:46 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Iron Munro

You’re right. Don’t tell soon-to-be VP Biden on me. He’ll call me “Un-American” or something... ;)


8 posted on 01/17/2009 5:30:21 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
I have added you to the NM ping list Diana...welcome.

GF

9 posted on 01/17/2009 5:30:48 PM PST by greyfoxx39 (The "new" Camelot?? Jackie "O" is spinning in her grave....)
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To: CedarDave
This does not reduce the actual cost; it just transfers it to the general taxpayer or ratepayer.

That is why they call it a public utility, as is all electric power. Some people just cannot understand that all electrical power has been subsidized.

10 posted on 01/17/2009 5:31:42 PM PST by org.whodat (Conservatives don't vote for Bailouts for Super-Rich Bankers! Republicans do!)
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To: greyfoxx39

Thanks! :)


11 posted on 01/17/2009 5:32:08 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: CedarDave

I think that those of us that are investing in wind and solar are preparing for a breakdown of the grid. We’re either right or wrong...we’ll see.


12 posted on 01/17/2009 5:34:44 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: gorush

I’m all for alternatives as long as its your choice, more power to you.


13 posted on 01/17/2009 5:42:16 PM PST by cripplecreek (The poor bastards have us surrounded.)
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To: org.whodat

Which assures higher prices. We need to stop subsidizing it and allow real competition. But then again we’d have to let them burn coal or nuclear and leftists won’t like that.


14 posted on 01/17/2009 5:50:20 PM PST by GeronL (A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood)
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To: gorush

one reason I am glad to be in East Texas - our grid is rather well provided for and we have local sources for coal to power the plants.

Now if it gets really bad that might not help much.


15 posted on 01/17/2009 5:50:41 PM PST by DevNet (What's past is prologue)
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To: CedarDave
CD, I spent 2 years going to school in Santa Fe and would love to be added to your New Mexico ping list.

Regards,

Recon Dad

16 posted on 01/17/2009 5:57:51 PM PST by Recon Dad (Marsoc Dad)
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To: GeronL
But then again we’d have to let them burn coal or nuclear and leftists won’t like that.

Did you fall out of a tree?? Do you have any ideal what it would cost the private sector to build nuclear power plants. You could not sell the power for enough money to cover 10% of the cost of the liability insurance.

17 posted on 01/17/2009 5:57:58 PM PST by org.whodat (Conservatives don't vote for Bailouts for Super-Rich Bankers! Republicans do!)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Just wait until the gubmint sends out their operative to count the # of items on your line and tax you accordingly.


18 posted on 01/17/2009 5:58:57 PM PST by kickonly88
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To: cripplecreek
Photobucket

Earth sheltered, geo-thermaly heated/cooled ICF constructed Home and Shop.

Photobucket

19 posted on 01/17/2009 6:08:18 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: gorush

My neighbor uses geothermal.


20 posted on 01/17/2009 6:09:55 PM PST by cripplecreek (The poor bastards have us surrounded.)
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To: cripplecreek

Heat loss calcs required us to heat our garage as well as the house and shop in order to make the smallest heat pump efficient. We have a 3.5 ton heat pump and a 5 ton closed loop geo-field. We light the fireplace when we get below -10F.


21 posted on 01/17/2009 6:14:04 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: Recon Dad; greyfoxx39

Greyfoxx39 is keeper of the NM list; please FReepmail her to be added.


22 posted on 01/17/2009 6:16:51 PM PST by CedarDave (Under Obama, yesterday's pork-laden earmarks have become tomorrow's economic stimulus projects)
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To: gorush
Those things work really well.
23 posted on 01/17/2009 6:25:40 PM PST by org.whodat (Conservatives don't vote for Bailouts for Super-Rich Bankers! Republicans do!)
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To: CedarDave
Life isn't free. What we must look at is whether a course of action is positive, first morally. If an action clears that first big hurdle, then I will examine its financial impact. I am a child of God first, then I will tackle von Mises, Acton et al.

I bought my current house ~20 years ago. It came with solar collectors to heat the home and provide low cost hot water.
The solar heating assist lowers my heating bill by ~ 1/3. (I know this because the blower motor for the heating side went out ~ 7 years ago, and our bills spiked drastically, before I replaced the motor.)
Solar power is our friend. Do not let your contempt of the left blind you to the benefits of solar heating and power gathering.
God bless.
Sursum Corda

24 posted on 01/17/2009 6:29:40 PM PST by Sursum Corda
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To: gorush

Is that a Weber Performer?


25 posted on 01/17/2009 6:35:26 PM PST by dfwddr (Do what you've always done and you'll get what you've always gotten.)
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To: dfwddr

I don’t understand the question, and therefore, apparently not.


26 posted on 01/17/2009 6:36:58 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: dfwddr

Ah, the Weber...no idea what model, sorry.


27 posted on 01/17/2009 6:40:06 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
As an aside...I’ve been using FREE solar and wind power for decades now to dry my clothes. Where’s my Goverment Subsidies? ;)

Ping me when you can cook dinner and watch a movie after dinner with the solar and wind energy. Caveat: it has to be cheaper than current generation costs. Taxing the hell out of current methods is not a legitimate means of achieving a competitive cost.

28 posted on 01/17/2009 6:40:54 PM PST by Myrddin
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To: gorush
Fine. Replicate that in New York City.
29 posted on 01/17/2009 6:42:19 PM PST by Myrddin
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To: Sursum Corda; cripplecreek

I’m in agreement with cripplecreek who earlier in the thread said: “I’m all for alternatives as long as its your choice, more power to you.”

Indeed, when I built my house in NM, I took advantage of the warm winter sun to light and warm a sunroom which is bright and cozy. Solar panels for water heating could have been added too, though subdivision rules prohibit rooftop structures (such as evaporative coolers) without shielding. This was 15 years ago when energy was cheap. I suspect panels are available that do not look like the ugly black glass ones back then.


30 posted on 01/17/2009 6:43:32 PM PST by CedarDave (Under Obama, yesterday's pork-laden earmarks have become tomorrow's economic stimulus projects)
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To: gorush
My air conditioner condenser started life as part of a heat pump. Apparently it was inadequate as a source of heat for my 3500 sq ft house. By the time I purchased it, the house was heated with forced air/natural gas. The heat exchanger remains in place and functions as a moderately satisfactory air conditioner. Once the summer temps rise to the level of +86F at night/+100F daytime, we have to turn the air conditioner on. In winter, the wood burning stove in the family room can keep the gas heater in the off condition with a single log. That's good when the temps go subzero.
31 posted on 01/17/2009 6:46:09 PM PST by Myrddin
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To: org.whodat

“Did you fall out of a tree?? Do you have any ideal what it would cost the private sector to build nuclear power plants. You could not sell the power for enough money to cover 10% of the cost of the liability insurance.”


Not because of inherent risks or potential damages. Only because we have been propagandized as to how we must *not* use nuclear power!


32 posted on 01/17/2009 6:51:47 PM PST by marktwain
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To: CedarDave

Here in Michigan the only effective use of solar I get is with the big low e glass picture window. On a nice sunny day it really makes a big difference.


33 posted on 01/17/2009 6:52:00 PM PST by cripplecreek (The poor bastards have us surrounded.)
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To: Sursum Corda
I had a thermo-syphonic solar hot water heater on the house in San Diego. It had lovely anodized copper collectors under special quartz glass panels. Upon initial installation, the system provided all the hot water we could use from March to November. From November to March, it was only useful to preheat the water. About 3 years into its 20 year warranted life, the storage tanks failed. The high calcium in the San Diego water destroyed the tanks and valves. The insulation became wet. No more hot water. Worse, the company who "warranted" the product was out of business. The $13,000 package was worthless in 3 years with no recourse. It was removed when I replaced the roof. The tanks went to the dump. The panels were donated to a local contractor who serviced some of the remaining victims in the area. Never again.

In hindsight, I should have realized that I would NEVER amortize the cost of that system vs simply using the natural gas heater in the house. Now I do the economic analysis FIRST. If that fails, nothing else matters.

BTW, I did do the economic analysis on my 2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid. It was a wash with the promised $3,000 tax rebate. When I did my taxes, the $3000 rebate became $1202. Further, the promised mileage only works in mild climates with level roads. It's optimized for stop and go commuting. In the real world of Idaho, it gets 21 MPG during the winter and 25 MPG in the summer. Fall and Spring bump it to 27 MPG. EPA now claims 28 MPG combined/29 city/27 highway. The EPA estimate is less than honest. This is my last hybrid.

34 posted on 01/17/2009 7:00:45 PM PST by Myrddin
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To: Myrddin
I am so sorry that you got hosed. That is what the BBB is for. If they have gone under, are any of the owners operating under other names?
My system has lasted these 20+ years. Yes, every 3-4 years I need to have the system bled. I have replaced 4 of the impeller pumps in that period (the system has 5 pumps, total.) I am quite happy with my experience.
When it comes time to “pop the roof’ over the garage to add a library, I will seriously consider adding a photovoltaic collector system, along with the needed storage system.

God bless.
Sursum Corda

35 posted on 01/17/2009 7:48:00 PM PST by Sursum Corda
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To: org.whodat

I think you overestimate the liability insurance requirements ($300 million per facility primary insurance, and then secondary insurance) and how much it costs.

The Price-Anderson Act set up a pooling of liability across all operating reactors in the US. Right now, their pooled liability account is worth over $10 billion. Since the insurance requirements are based on a per-facility basis, and not on a size of the facility, the costs of the insurance are easily reduced by increasing the size of the reactor’s generation capacity.

The economics of nukes play out like this: the up-front capital costs are very high, but the ongoing operational costs on a per-MWH basis are lower than fueled power plants, and the economics become only better if we see $14/MMbtu natural gas, or high coal prices.

Here’s an example of the bizarre economics of power generation with our cheapest and most plentiful fuel: Due to the sulphur reduction requirements, coal in many areas of the US becomes uneconomical when one counts up the scrubbers and retrofits necessary to meet modern EPA requirements. Powder River Basin coal is cheap (because it has less BTU content than eastern coal), but it is low in sulphur. The problem is the transport cost - PRB coal could come out of Wyoming at, oh, $14/short ton, but by the time it reached the east cost, rail costs might have turned that into $60/ton. That’s still better than the $100/ton for local Appalachian coal, even with the higher BTU content, because the costs for emissions retrofit drives the capital and operational costs up with the higher S content.

Ah, but what happens if these plants convert to PRB coal... but then the price of diesel goes up to $5/gal in the future? Well, they’re screwed, and so are their ratepayers. There’s nothing the power company can do but pass the costs of coal+transport (which would likely be, oh, $70+/ton) through.

With a nuke? Pfah. It just keeps churning along, impervious to most all changes in oil/coal/natural gas prices. Can they recoup their costs in the future high fuel cost environment? Yes, they can, provided they could get sufficiently attractive financing for their capital costs.

All of the foregoing does not take into account the costs of carbon cap-n-trade scams, which would simply raise the price of coal/NG/oil plants even further. And nukes would be sitting there, smiling all the way to the bank, because they would have to pay no emissions trading fees.

The liability insurance costs for nukes will disappear into the noise in the future promised to us by The One and his acolytes.


36 posted on 01/17/2009 8:26:38 PM PST by NVDave
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To: Sursum Corda

Myrrdin’s experience is not atypical for alternative energy system customers. Too many of the AE system companies have “true believers” as their founders and promoters, and nowhere near enough actual engineers.

This is why so many of us engineers hold these alternative energy schemes in contempt. I’ve seen so many schemes and had so many pitched at me by “true believers” (most all of whom had liberal arts degrees and a big passion for alternative energy) that I now have a stock response/speech I give to these people, and a well-rehearsed checklist of things they must prove before I will waste five minutes evaluating their wonderful new system(s). The first item I require some of these people answer is “Does your system depend on a deliberate or unspoken violation of the second law of thermodynamics?”

If they come back with “What’s that?!” the conversation is over.

I’ve worked on PV systems for people, and while the PV systems I worked on were the only power option (short of a diesel genset) for remote ranches in Nevada, the people selling these systems always seemed to over-promise and under-deliver, and their installation of the systems always seemed to come up short on reliability and shorter yet on economics.

#1 issue I have with most PV shops: they get the system cost down by using “deep cycle truck batteries.” What a false economy. The only viable storage cells I still see out there are the old, beastly L-16 batteries, and only the most competent PV shops seem to convince people of the long-term economy of these units.


37 posted on 01/17/2009 8:36:14 PM PST by NVDave
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To: gorush

Right there, in your pics, is the type of “alternative energy” that I keep pointing out to people is THE best starting point: using the earth to reduce heating/cooling requirements in a completely passive fashion. Using ICF’s gets you an added bonus.

Next, I’d recommend that people look at some of the most recent studies on heat loss in domestic structures coming out of various labs. One of the biggest causes of heat loss (once we get by the obvious: doors/windows/insufficient insulation) is the technique of using wall studs that connect to both the inside wall and outside wall. I’ve seen some papers recently on a house constructed with 8” walls, but using 2x6” studs. They alternate the studs - every other stud is nailed to the inside wall, but not the outside wall, and vice-versa. Turns out that when we get into thicker walls with modern insulation, the studs connecting the inside wall to the outside wall conduct more heat out of the house in winters than one might imagine - until we look at it with an IR camera. Then the relative insufficiency of the wood as an insulation compared to the wall fill stands out like a sore thumb...


38 posted on 01/17/2009 8:51:46 PM PST by NVDave
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To: org.whodat

With an end to governments stupid regulations we would indeed be able to provide it cheaper. Government subsidies don’t make it cheaper, its guaranteed to do the opposite because no-one is aware of how much is flying out of their pocket in other places to pay for it. They ARE paying full price through taxes and higher prices, better for it to be upfront and honest. Then consumers can make informed decisions about how much electricity to use.


39 posted on 01/17/2009 10:10:04 PM PST by GeronL (A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood)
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To: Sursum Corda

solar cannot be a primary power source, we do not have the level of technology to make that even near feasible.


40 posted on 01/17/2009 10:19:45 PM PST by GeronL (A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood)
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To: CedarDave

The solar powered toilets in Oregon are ruined because the heavy snowfall covered the solar cells so long the batteries discharges and were destroyed.


41 posted on 01/17/2009 10:31:03 PM PST by Mike Darancette (0 parties while the economy burns.)
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To: NVDave; Sursum Corda

Good points, both of you.

NVDave, like you said, it’s a problem with “true believers.” I have a liberal relative that is really into alternative energy, and when I started sharing my experiments/research with her she was excited and asked if she could designate me as her researcher for solar projects. And I’m not even an engineer! LOL. Nothing against her—not everyone can be a science/engineering nerd but it points up the essential problem: too many people seeing it as a political issue and not an engineering/technology issue.

Photovoltaics are a neat and useful technology, but there are definite problems with them, and I would have to disagree with anyone who thinks they are “clean and green”, between the manufacturing of the things and the chemical soup of batteries. When someone figures out how to grow them from a plant and store the energy in a lemon then maybe. :)


42 posted on 01/18/2009 4:59:04 AM PST by Claud
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To: kickonly88

I don’t doubt it’s coming. But, I have all sorts of plans in place to thwart whatever they can come up with. They’re really not all that smart, LOL! :)


43 posted on 01/18/2009 6:18:58 AM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: GeronL
LOL, trying buying enough property to put in a hydro electric. Government power subsidies worked for a long time. Just like building the interstate highway system. But then came lobbyists and rigged contracts and just general mismanagement of the utilities. TVA is a good example, the people running it thought it was their private cash cow and now they are in billions of dollars of debt.
44 posted on 01/18/2009 6:38:32 AM PST by org.whodat (Conservatives don't vote for Bailouts for Super-Rich Bankers! Republicans do!)
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To: NVDave
The Price-Anderson Act set up a pooling of liability across all operating reactors in the US. Right now, their pooled liability account is worth over $10 billion. Since the insurance requirements are based on a per-facility basis, and not on a size of the facility, the costs of the insurance are easily reduced by increasing the size of the reactor’s generation capacity.

You could buy it cheaper from AIG, but then they would never intend to pay off. So you are back to the funny money insurance and your tax dollars.

45 posted on 01/18/2009 6:42:43 AM PST by org.whodat (Conservatives don't vote for Bailouts for Super-Rich Bankers! Republicans do!)
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To: org.whodat

There’s a designated insurer just for nuke operators, and here’s their website:

http://www.nuclearinsurance.com/

I read somewhere else that a typical annual premium for coverage is $400K/site. That’s just the primary insurance, then they’d need a secondary policy. Dunno how much that would be.


46 posted on 01/18/2009 7:34:27 AM PST by NVDave
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To: NVDave
We are entering our 4th year here since building the place. The results have been very gratifying. Heating, A/C and hot water costs under $700.00/yr. A blizzard can be blowing outside and if you weren't looking out the windows you wouldn't sense it.

Feb 2008

47 posted on 01/18/2009 7:35:59 AM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: Mike Darancette

I almost dare not ask, what with Oregon’s reputation for environmental silliness... but I’m preternaturally curious:

Just why does a toilet need solar power? Or should I say, why did these toilets need solar power? To power a stereo that would play wind chime and pan flute music while a person used them? Or to power the lava lamp for ambiance?


48 posted on 01/18/2009 7:39:21 AM PST by NVDave
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To: gorush

For where you are, that $700 is chump change. Well done!

From the pic, it looks as tho you use propane for heating fuel?


49 posted on 01/18/2009 7:42:10 AM PST by NVDave
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To: NVDave

The propane is for the clothes dryer and stove/oven only.


50 posted on 01/18/2009 7:43:02 AM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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