DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Green Energy and Sustenance Living > Is solar energy worth it in low sun/cold climates?




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Old 08-19-2010, 04:20 PM  
nma
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At the moment it totally depends on the type of system (water or pv) and the incentives available in your area. All other things being equal though, you should spend money on efficiency and insulation until you have run out of projects to do, then put a solar array on the roof. Having said that, incentives in my area were so good last year that we did it, and the payback time will be in the single digit years.



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Old 08-19-2010, 04:24 PM  
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Originally Posted by Nestor_Kelebay View Post
It'd be great if Obama put some stimulus money into a "solar panel" and "wind energy" program for the US besides his "Cash for Clunkers" program..
I agree, there could be more, but there is quite a lot of this available already, some federal, some state, and some utility funded.

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Originally Posted by Nestor_Kelebay View Post
Here in Manitoba, we keep hearing that switching to Compact Fluorescent lighting and shutting off lights at night or the TV when no one is watching is good for the environment. I still can't figure out why. ALL of our electricity is "hydroelectricity", meaning that it's produced by water flowing through turbines which turn generator shafts. So, it's not like we have to burn coal or diesel fuel to produce that electricity. If I were a sceptic, I'd believe my government was lying to me about CF lights being "greener".
Well, these kinds of public service announcements are targeted at the general public, there will be some fringe cases. If all of your power really is hydro, then you're not contributing to greenhouse gasses, although hydro power does still negatively effect ecosystems. I'm not sure why the government would want to lie to you about cfls.


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Old 10-07-2010, 11:44 AM  
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{4 letter word} the CFLs! They have mercury and are supposed to be disposed of properly when they burn out and require Hazmat to be called if they break (at some companies employees have been fired for NOT calling them).
I suggest that if you haven't done CFLs yet (I already did, and yes they have paid for themselves with the gov't incentives, but that doesn't mean I like having a possible poison bomb ticking in my house) leapfrog over and go to LED replacements. CFL starters use lots of energy just to fire the lights up so turning them on/off uses as much energy as running them a few hours.
LEDs use 1/5th (going from memory) the energy of CFLs and 1/10th that of incandescents (which are being outlawed for sale in the US very soon) and last almost forever, plus they are almost infinitely variable for adjusting light levels (unlike most CFLs) Just watch the color you choose (some are very hard on the eyes due to the wavelength)

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Old 10-07-2010, 03:07 PM  
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{4 letter word} the CFLs! They have mercury and are supposed to be disposed of properly when they burn out and require Hazmat to be called if they break (at some companies employees have been fired for NOT calling them).
They don't require hazmat treatment. That is ridiculous.
"CFL starters use lots of energy just to fire the lights up so turning them on/off uses as much energy as running them a few hours."
That is completely untrue.
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Old 10-08-2010, 10:55 AM  
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CFL Bulbs Have One Hitch: Toxic Mercury : NPR

Hazmat is only required to be called now if more than 5 or 6 are broken. (like if you drop a case, but not just a single bulb although you do need to take precautions not to breathe in the mercury vapor)
The company I used to work for based their policy of "call or be fired" on this incident:
http://www.maine.gov/dep/rwm/homeown...ecthistory.pdf

The current batch of CFLs use less energy on startup than earlier ones (with electromagnetic starters)
The more often they are switched off, the less time they last. Many of mine have been burning for more than 5 years of average use (exterior light has been on 5 years except during power outages)

As for going to LEDs rather than CFLs
http://www.earthled.com/evolux-led-light-bulb.html

(I have no stock or interest in the company selling/making them)
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Old 10-08-2010, 02:28 PM  
nma
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CFL Bulbs Have One Hitch: Toxic Mercury : NPR

Hazmat is only required to be called now if more than 5 or 6 are broken. (like if you drop a case, but not just a single bulb although you do need to take precautions not to breathe in the mercury vapor)
The company I used to work for based their policy of "call or be fired" on this incident:
http://www.maine.gov/dep/rwm/homeown...ecthistory.pdf
This is nonsense. There is some mercury in CFLS, and broken cfls should be cleaned up and the area vented, but the total amount of mercury added through cfls is far less than the total saved by the reduction in coal burning mercury emissions. The whole mercury hazard thing is largely an urban myth.
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CFL Bulbs Have One Hitch: Toxic Mercury : NPR
The current batch of CFLs use less energy on startup than earlier ones (with electromagnetic starters)
The idea that they use more energy on startup is a myth. Please do some basic reading on electricity before you post misleading information.
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Old 10-10-2010, 11:01 AM  
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This is nonsense. There is some mercury in CFLS, and broken cfls should be cleaned up and the area vented, but the total amount of mercury added through cfls is far less than the total saved by the reduction in coal burning mercury emissions. The whole mercury hazard thing is largely an urban myth.

The idea that they use more energy on startup is a myth. Please do some basic reading on electricity before you post misleading information.
I did read up and aside from flickering, the early CFLs magnetic starters used enough energy to operate a CFL for about 10 minutes. (early tube florescents used more than that because the ballasts were always powered up, which is where the idea of less energy by continually running originally came from)

As for the hazard of broken bulbs, I didn't write info on these websites (including the EPA's own admission that 1 broken CFL releases enough mercury vapor to render a room up to 300 times the allowable exposure limit)

CFL Hazards

Shining a light on fluorescent bulbs - U.S. news - Environment - msnbc.com

Compact fluorescent lamp - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I'm not being a doomsayer. I use them still myself, but plan to change them out for LED lighting as it becomes economically feasible.
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Old 10-10-2010, 01:45 PM  
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I did read up and aside from flickering, the early CFLs magnetic starters used enough energy to operate a CFL for about 10 minutes. (early tube florescents used more than that because the ballasts were always powered up, which is where the idea of less energy by continually running originally came from)
This is nonsense. No modern CFL draws more power on startup than at any other point. I have no idea where you got this incorrect idea.
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As for the hazard of broken bulbs, I didn't write info on these websites (including the EPA's own admission that 1 broken CFL releases enough mercury vapor to render a room up to 300 times the allowable exposure limit)
You are misquoting from the EPA site. Please don't propagate incorrect opinions on this.
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:08 AM  
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Talk about coincidence! Today I got a flyer from Lowes today that says NOT to throw CFLs in the garbage because it's illegal to do. They will take them at the store for proper disposal.

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Old 11-01-2010, 11:01 AM  
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I think the answer to that needs to be based on your individual situation. Start by asking yourself a few questions - What is my current energy use? How much space do I have available to place the panels. What is my personal objective with regards to installing panels? What can I afford?
You may find it helpful to visit with a knowledgeable, reputable solar installer in your area - someone concerned with helping you make an informed decision 1st and selling you a system 2nd. You might be surprised to learn what the average hours of available sunlight are in your area and how that figures into deciding if it is right for you. There are also tax credits available - both at the federal level and specific to your area.
As you can tell, I don't believe that question has a simple yes or no answer.
Good Luck!



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