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emgee
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Generating your own electricity

With all the hot air Fat Gordon generates on green issues why hasn't he made generating your own electricity feasible? From what I read the investment in generating electricity from either solar panels or micro-turbines will never be recovered. This is crazy, as even in the UK we could generate useful amounts of electricity (we have a long, south-facing roof that would be ideal). Flying out of O'Hare this summer I saw signs to the effect that any available space in Chicago will be used for power generation, and you see lines of solar panels along the sides of main roads in Holland.

It's all talk and no action here. The technology is improving all the time - today's paper has a story on a company in the US that can print the business end of a solar panel on foil sheets making them effective, light and cheap. Their order book is full until mid-2009, so somebody's taking advantage.

Come on, Gordon:

1. Give us tax breaks on buying and istalling the kit (not only for new houses as it is at present), and

2. Force the utility companies to buy spare electricity at a reasonable commercial rate.

Make it worth our while, and we'll do it.
 
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Re: Generating your own electricity

Agreed
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Re: Generating your own electricity

The conservatives are talking about doing exactly as you suggest.
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Re: Generating your own electricity

You can get grants for installing alternative energy sources, but the household size windmills are notoriously unreliable and take c. 10years to pay back the installation costs, solar panels have quite a large carbon footprint in the manufacturing and ground-source heat-pumps are difficult to install properly. Good insulation is the best bet at the moment.
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Re: Generating your own electricity

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Originally Posted by symonh2000 View Post
The conservatives are talking about doing exactly as you suggest.
Won't be long before labour have the same "idea" then.....
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Re: Generating your own electricity

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Won't be long before labour have the same "idea" then.....
If its a good idea whats wrong with stealing it?
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Re: Generating your own electricity

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Originally Posted by symonh2000 View Post
The conservatives are talking about doing exactly as you suggest.
When in opposition you can say whatever you like, doesn't actually mean anything, of course......
 
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Re: Generating your own electricity

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If its a good idea whats wrong with stealing it?
Nothing.

Was making a pun based on the "will we/won't we jave a general election..... no we won't, we'll just take the tory ideas and claim them as our own instead" debacle from earlier in the year.
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Re: Generating your own electricity

Fraser has it spot on.

The cheapest most cost effective and by far the least sexy way to save energy is to get your house insulated properly with cavity wall insulation and 230 mm of loft insulation. Then go draught hunting and make sure your loft hatch is insulated and draught proofed, and your door and windows are not letting in cold air.

Then get proper heating controls...i.e. cylinder stat set at 55C for your hot water (55 is the highest temp that water will not scald..so no need to have it hotter as you just pay to cool it down again with the cold tap)..and a room stat,,mine is a programmeable stat that automatically alter the temp for different phases of the day..target temp about 20-21 degrees C.

I'm taking my City and Guilds certificate in Energy Efficiency for Domestic Properties on 11th Jan. I need it professionally. Wish me luck.

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Last edited by AlfaLincs; 29-12-07 at 21:38.
 
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Re: Generating your own electricity

yesterday's independent had a feature about a guy in london who'd achieved his dream of making his home "carbon negative". fair play to him, i thought, but he'd spent 3000 on a rooftop wind turbine which generated... wait for it... 2 worth of electricity a year and he also waxed lyrical about how his wood burning stove was completely carbon neutral as he used nothing but reclaimed scrap wood which didn't use any fossil fuels in it's manufacture or delivery. what a silly fecker, what the hell does it give off when he burns it, rose petals?

some people really get so wrapped up ion their own little obsessions that the truth becomes nothing more than a minor diversion

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Re: Generating your own electricity

True - but done all the insulation stuff already.


Good luck btw.

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Originally Posted by AlfaLincs View Post
Fraser has it spot on.

The cheapest most cost effective and by far the least sexy way to save energy is to get your house insulated properly with cavity wall insulation and 230 mm of loft insulation. Then go draught hunting and make sure your loft hatch is insulated and draught proofed, and your door and windows are not letting in cold air.

Then get proper heating controls...i.e. cylinder stat set at 55C for your hot water (55 is the highest temp that water will not scald..so no need to have it hotter as you just pay to cool it down again with the cold tap)..and a room stat,,mine is a programmeable stat that automatically alter the temp for different phases of the day..target temp about 20-21 degrees C.

I'm taking my City and Guilds certificate in Energy Efficiency for Domestic Properties on 11th Jan. I need it professionally. Wish me luck.

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Re: Generating your own electricity

If the current government had any real intention to avert global warming
or suggestion of, why are the above suggestions not mandatory for new building projects. Such as fitted solar panels and turbines "where appropriate" in addition to cavity insulation. How about watermills on streams and rivers and generators on tidal rivers. The applied policy appears more tax "controlling" oriented.
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Originally Posted by alfaclover View Post
If the current government had any real intention to avert global warming
or suggestion of, why are the above suggestions not mandatory for new building projects. Such as fitted solar panels and turbines "where appropriate" in addition to cavity insulation. How about watermills on streams and rivers and generators on tidal rivers. The applied policy appears more tax "controlling" oriented.
Which is why the common man is turned off by talk of climate change, because instead of seeing the real danger that the world is facing, he is seeing tax after tax after tax.

The government here are doing a fantastic job for the anti-climate change committee, by making everyone resent the challenges we're facing, and making them think 'i'm sick of this constant taxation, and I don't believe a word of the climate change argument'
 
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Re: Generating your own electricity

Good idea NOT to insulate under the big black 50 gallon plastic tank in the loft, and ensure all the pipes are well lagged before turning the attic into a fridge. Otherwise instant deluge shower, often in the middle of the night
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Wrong..insulate under the tank...I'm a plumber..I need the work

Perfectly correct, or make sure it has a really good all enclosing jacket on the hot water and feed and expansion tanks in the false roof..and that any exposed pipes are properly lagged.

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Re: Generating your own electricity

Renewable energy, a minefield indeed! I'm a building services engineer, and have spent about the last five years working in this field. PV modules have about a eighty plus year payback, financially. Embodied energy, it's hard to find empirical evidence, but studies in the states suggest ten years and upwards. Wind turbines are only really worthwhile if you're on top of a hill. Payback then can be fifteen years plus. Solar hot water is the cheapest capitol expense, with the shortest payback, how long depends on which variety, and how much hot water you use. All of these technologies are altruistic investments, government grants have assisted in reducing some of the payback times, though they keep messing about with these. There are other financial models in operation around the world which act as more conducive drivers for domestic investors, maybe they will be introduced here in time. Good luck to Alfa Lincs!
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Re: Generating your own electricity

But part of the trouble with alternative energy sources is that people seek to justify them in terms of "payback".

If everyone fitted enough solar panels on their houses that they generated all their own electricity, the "payback" would probably be 50 years, in financial terms.. but that Global Warming doesn't care about how much money you save... your roof will blow off in a storm and your house will be flooded all the same, while somewhere else some fella's pasture has become a desert and all the polar bears drowned because the ice melted.


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Re: Generating your own electricity

The cost of solar power can be deceptive-Case in point
My Father in Laws Tipi camping business, he needed some poer for lights in the toilet / shower block and to run the UV filter for the drinking water.
Two courses of action available to him.
1, Hardwire into the national grid £10K plus bills for evermore
2, Get a solar installer to install a system for us £6K and no bills, however as we weren't connected to the grid we didn't qualify for a grant (upto 50&#37

So I went on line, found a good helpful company, bought 2 solar panels, wiring and the invertors and charges controllers for £1700 it took half a day to fit and works fine, we have no bills from it and it fits in well with the ethos of the place - job done
IMHO if you are building a new house and you can wire every light up as 12v DC and only use low voltage 240v appliances it can be feasable, but you will have to compromise your lifestyle for it.
Last report I heard said it take 100 years to break even on a solar setup, but as my example shows we are being ripped off in a big way, again....
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Re: Generating your own electricity

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Originally Posted by Ralf S. View Post
But part of the trouble with alternative energy sources is that people seek to justify them in terms of "payback".

If everyone fitted enough solar panels on their houses that they generated all their own electricity, the "payback" would probably be 50 years, in financial terms.. but that Global Warming doesn't care about how much money you save... your roof will blow off in a storm and your house will be flooded all the same, while somewhere else some fella's pasture has become a desert and all the polar bears drowned because the ice melted.


Ralf S.
I entirely agree with you Ralf, unfortunately most people wont invest unless there is a financial benefit or legislation. Not everyone's convinced mankind is responsible for global warming, or indeed if there is any, their prerogative, time will tell.
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Re: Generating your own electricity

The global warming debate runs at 2 levels - (1) international and (2) individual.

1. There is no serious dispute any more among the international scientific and government communities that man-made CO2 is driving global warming.

2. It is too much to expect individuals to make altruistic decisions that will incur expense for them and achive no measureable impact on the problem on their own.

The question I posed originally boils down to asking what the government really wants. If they want us to do these things they have got to make them feasible within the economic framework we have today. It is really up to goverments to make the far-sighted changes, and then we will follow.

We work from home, and have a fairly low but constant power drain from 2 PCs throughout the daylight hours. A solar generator set-up would be ideal for us, but I'll be dead in 50 years. I find the gap between rhetoric and action here frustrating.
 
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Re: Generating your own electricity

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Originally Posted by emgee View Post
The global warming debate runs at 2 levels - (1) international and (2) individual.

1. There is no serious dispute any more among the international scientific and government communities that man-made CO2 is driving global warming.

2. It is too much to expect individuals to make altruistic decisions that will incur expense for them and achive no measureable impact on the problem on their own.

I find the gap between rhetoric and action here frustrating.

Hi,Emgee
Like this post "very well thought out"
I have a neighbour who has not worked for 18yrs that I know of,He has in the past 6mths had his loft insulated, his gas boiler replaced,at no expence to himself,
I on the other hand have had too do the same at great cost,from my savings,being retired "what goes out does not come in"
I truely get confused with the Gov`nt,outgoings,and their expectations of the population,ref;global warming,
John the luddite.
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It is really up to goverments to make the far-sighted changes, and then we will follow.

Why would a government make far sighted plans, which cost a lot of money in the short term, when they only have at most 5 years in any one term?

It is frustrating as hell, and rather than waiting for individual governments to decide when the time is right to make changes, I think there needs to be a bigger worldwide authority pressing the issue to ALL governments, especially those of the richest countries, and those who are causing the most damage.
 
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Re: Generating your own electricity

being a roofer i know its not as simple as bolting a solar panel on the roof and pluging it in. theres a whole lot of work involved
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Indeed, G5een. I don't expect it for nowt and I expect to have to get experts to install it. I just dont see why I should make a loss on it.

I think the most important part is making electricity companies buy the power at a commercial rate. That would alter the payback times substantially.
 
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Originally Posted by emgee View Post
Indeed, G5een. I don't expect it for nowt and I expect to have to get experts to install it. I just dont see why I should make a loss on it.

I think the most important part is making electricity companies buy the power at a commercial rate. That would alter the payback times substantially.
This is what happens in Germany. They have a premium paid to individuals who install systems. It's on a sliding scale year on year i.e. year one X, year two X - Y percent, the amount per unit decreasing year on year, but the initial figure per unit is much higher than that which you would pay per unit to the utility. This is one scheme which encourages a growth in this market, there are others elsewhere. Historically the cost of energy is whatever the government decides it should be, even in our deregulated energy markets large scale renewable energy (electricity) is fixed at a minimum of 4.5 p/kWh wholesale as opposed to about 2.5 p/kWh for more conventional forms of generation. On a domestic scale different utilities will offer different rates. Some will offer 4.5 p/kWh for every unit generated, whether you use it or not, some will pay you roughly what you pay them per unit, but only for what you "export" back to the grid. Either way a big obstacle for many is the capital cost of installation. This is coming down from approx 6000 pounds per kWp a couple of years ago to towards 4500 per kWp. Sorry to be so long winded!
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