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By najr
#5247
The government should pass a law that all new houses must be fitted with solar panels. Costs (typically $3000 or £2000) would be split by the buyer and the house builder. Benefits to the environment would be massive. Imagine whole new housing estates with solar panels on the roofs, net contributors to the country's energy supply.

Reward: Free solar panels
By deeparch
#5581
What a wonderful idea. Additionally, instead of coal fired power plant crapping up the atmosphere any excess energy produced could go to supplant industry's power requirements. Unfortunately, the power company would fight this idea to an extreme level and, in the US at least, the lobbyists always win over good ideas.
By Baker29
#5585
An interesting idea with promise. I don't want to rain on your parade, but there are some problems that could make this impractical.

First, the builder never pays for anything, the costs (plus some reasonable profit) the builder incurs are always paid by the buyer. Otherwise, the builder will soon go bankrupt.

Second, solar cells and the associated electronics necessary to tie them into the house power are not forever. Would the power generated offset their purchase and installation? How about their maintenance costs after 5 or 10 years? What about damage due to a passing hailstorm or your kids baseball? And if it does pay for itself in Phenix how about Seattle? And when the system dies beyond the cost of economical repair, what do you do then, reinstall? If they do not offset their cost would you be willing to pay for them? I'm not! I would rather spend the money on better house insulation or more efficient appliances which I guarantee could have a bigger impact.

Third, keep in mind that the very manufacturing of the solar cells invokes an environmental cost. To manufacture these requires the use of toxic chemicals. Fortunately, most manufactures are responsible and properly handle these, but I beleive that their processes are not 100% benign to the environment.

Still, this could be promising and should be considered especially in locations that receive considerable sunlight.
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By najr
#5623
Good points. In answer:

1) When I wrote "house builder", I meant the company paying for the houses to be built not the people they pay to actually put them together.
2) There are a few possible solutions. One is for the residents to pay a small sum of money every month into a central fund for maintaining and eventually replacing the panels and connected wizardry. This cash should be matched by the government also as part of their responsibility.
3) The cells must be manufactured with utmost regard to the environment concerning the chemicals and energy used.

That all said, solar cells at the moment are expensive and not very efficient - typically 10% though more advanced (and even more expensive) technology has improved this significantly. More funding is needed towards research.
By Daryl666
#9399
actually it might interest you to know that there are companies that produce roofing materials that actually are solar pannels themselves. the shingles are actually solar cells and have a longer lifespan than some of the roofing materials used today. as a bonous the shingles do not cost much more than the conventional shingles they would be replacing in the construction and they produce power. albeit they are not as efficient as some other solar pannels avaliable. just 1 source of these pannels is http://www.oksolar.com/roof/ PS the pannels at this supplier have an expected 25 year lifespan.
By bondheli
#12801
I actually talked to a guy at oksolar for about an hour a couple years ago, and he was under the impression that these shingles were crap. Each cell required separate wiring and separate holes drilled through the roof. Each hole through the roof also required its own junction box in the attic. Also the panels are more expensive then regular solar panels. So despite the good looks, the panels and installation together might cost twice as much as a regular solar system. It's really too bad, they sure do look nice.


[quote="Daryl666"]actually it might interest you to know that there are companies that produce roofing materials that actually are solar pannels themselves. the shingles are actually solar cells and have a longer lifespan than some of the roofing materials used today. as a bonous the shingles do not cost much more than the conventional shingles they would be replacing in the construction and they produce power. albeit they are not as efficient as some other solar pannels avaliable. just 1 source of these pannels is http://www.oksolar.com/roof/ PS the pannels at this supplier have an expected 25 year lifespan.[/quote]
#12825
I would think that some system of solar collectors/lenses with a water line of copper tubing, arranged to generate electricity through a steam turbine, would be a cheaper, more reliable, more convenient, more efficient method of converting solar energy into electricity for the home.

In the meantime, I don't understand why people don't just paint their rooftops bright, shiny white.
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