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    Default Elon Musk... world biggest solar panel company...?

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles...solarcity-deal

    [b]

    http://www.technologyreview.com/news...ar-technology/


    Billionaire, Tesla founder, and private space entrepreneur Elon Musk announced yesterday that Solar City, the solar installation company where he is chairman, plans to acquire a startup called Silevo for $200 million (plus up to $150 million more if the company meets certain goals). And with typical bravado, he also said that the company plans to build a huge factory to produce

    Silevo’s high-efficiency solar panels, a strategy he claims will make solar power “way cheaper” than power from fossil fuels.

    Solar City is one of the country’s largest and fastest-growing solar installers, largely as a result of an innovative business model that allows homeowners and businesses to avoid any up-front cost. If its plans pan out, it will also become a major manufacturer of solar panels, with by far the largest factory in the U.S.
    Last edited by Toma; 06-20-2014 at 02:46 PM.

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    I've been following solar technology for roughly 10 years now. If you look back at trends since the 70's, you'll see that in the next decade, solar power will be cheaper than coal. Unfortunately, that's not the full story. Efficiency is still a long ways off on the curve, which means for an average suburbia home to generate enough electricity to power the home, you'll need way too much surface area. If the efficiency curve stays on course, we're about 20 years away from being able to outfit our roofs with solar panels to power the entire home year round. 30 years for an average condo owner.

    The biggest sticking point however, are batteries. The technology has not improved at a rate where we can have small batteries to offer "buffer charge" during night time, unless you fit a home with a massive battery room just for the purpose. Battery technology needs to improve faster for all of the above to actually work out.
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    Yup, efficiency is pretty "bad", but with costs coming down, doing large areas is becoming really feasible.

    Add to that now the prospect of solar windows, increasing efficiency of appliances and producing enough power is fast becoming a realty.

    About 10 years ago in on of my second year engineering classes, one of my projects was a remote location solar power irrigation system. Even then, simple lead acid with proper computerized charging regulation did the job.

    Today, they are successfully using not only batteries, but vacuum insulated thermal, friction-less gyroscopes, pumped hydro etc....

    I love that innovators like Musk are getting involved.

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    ...
    Last edited by Sugarphreak; 08-02-2019 at 10:12 PM.

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    Keep in mind that if you're doing centralized solar generation (as opposed to decentralized house-roof stuff) you can use other things as batteries - a neat one is to use large water reservoirs at two different heights. Excess daytime power is used to run pumps to fill the upper reservoir, and at night the water flows from the upper reservoir to the lower one through a hydroelectric generation unit to make nighttime power. No funky heavy exotic metals, but there's some energy losses involved.

    I'm really hoping solar becomes increasingly popular, there will still need to be some kind of power generation needed for off-peak loads but I figure hydroelectric power in Canada can pick up that slack.

    Speaking of non-battery-batteries, Ford had a prototype F150 hybrid a number of years back that used a hydraulic ram to store the energy from regenerative braking instead of a conventional battery, but it never made it into production.

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    I support solar industry and it is the future.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...84P0FI20120526

    50% need met through solar during the day, that's impressive.

    The problem is that night electricity rate will go thru the roof as traditional plants now has to charge more to cover the revenue lost. So for a while, the government is subsidizing new tech, and everyone isn't saving much.

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    Awesome news I think. Battery technology is increasing as well, in 10-20 years it should be much greater than it is now and should be able to handle the demand of a solar home.

    Solar cities are great, but the transmission issue still exists (and power loss along the line). Panels on roofs of the home are a much better idea. When I was in Germany last year there were quite a few homes with solar panels on them, generating almost all of their needs during the day!
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    Originally posted by Sugarphreak
    It isn't about efficiency, it is about the materials needed for batteries... heavy metals, which means huge mines and tailings ponds. Those operations are even worse for the environment than oil extraction.
    I should've said electrical storage, instead of batteries. Chemical batteries, IMO, are a dead end for trying to scale up electrical storage in smaller spaces.

    Originally posted by BerserkerCatSplat
    Keep in mind that if you're doing centralized solar generation (as opposed to decentralized house-roof stuff) you can use other things as batteries - a neat one is to use large water reservoirs at two different heights. Excess daytime power is used to run pumps to fill the upper reservoir, and at night the water flows from the upper reservoir to the lower one through a hydroelectric generation unit to make nighttime power. No funky heavy exotic metals, but there's some energy losses involved.
    Yea, just need an acreage for that one. At the end of the day, all these technologies have to be able to fit in a small condo for it to be feasible.

    Sorta off topic, but I find if funny to call Elon Musk an innovator. That's like calling Steve Jobs an innovator haha.
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    US does not want to be caught lagging behind China.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-27676365

    "The US has proposed higher and more extensive tariffs on Chinese solar panels. The Department of Commerce said it plans to impose duties of between 18.56% to 35.21%."

    This is astoundingly close to Donald Trumps "Tax Chinese 25%" and is without doubt, anti-competition protectionist policy, and not free market at all.

    What it means for consumers in North America - higher prices. What it means for North american producers of solar panels, it will give them a subsidized dollar advantage.
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    Wasn't India creating an irrigation canal(s) with solar panels as a "roof" which decreased evaporation and obviously generated electricity for rural communities? Kinda glanced at an article about it.
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    Originally posted by rage2


    Sorta off topic, but I find if funny to call Elon Musk an innovator. That's like calling Steve Jobs an innovator haha.
    lol.... maybe.

    Innovation facilitator?

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    Originally posted by rage2


    Sorta off topic, but I find if funny to call Elon Musk an innovator. That's like calling Steve Jobs an innovator haha.
    I don't know about that one. In both Tesla and space x he has to re-engineer basically everything to get both companies to work. Then there's the hyperloop.

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    Originally posted by supe
    I don't know about that one. In both Tesla and space x he has to re-engineer basically everything to get both companies to work.
    Isn't that exactly what Steve Jobs did with the iPhone? Everyone tried to make smartphones but failed, but Jobs re engineered existing technologies to work together to create the smartphone revolution.
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    Originally posted by supe


    I don't know about that one. In both Tesla and space x he has to re-engineer basically everything to get both companies to work. Then there's the hyperloop.
    Re-engineering something makes you an innovator

    That doesn't sound right, I'd think the innovator lies somewhere in the initial engineering.
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    Cheaper solar is a great news. Energy storage will also be key as several of you pointed out, but it'sa bit ofa chicken-and-egg situation, so cheaper energy generation is a nice first step.

    I make money from the high cost of energy, but for the sake of everyone, I hope energy gets cleaner and cheaper.
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    Originally posted by rx7_turbo2


    Re-engineering something makes you an innovator

    That doesn't sound right, I'd think the innovator lies somewhere in the initial engineering.
    Ok show me another electric car that can swap its batteries out in minutes.

    Show me a rocket that can land itself vertically with precision.

    You guys have some tough standards.

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    Originally posted by supe


    Ok show me another electric car that can swap its batteries out in minutes.

    Show me a rocket that can land itself vertically with precision.

    You guys have some tough standards.
    If you think Elon Musk had anything to do with that... I don't think you guys quite understand how little the CEO has to do with actual product development/engineering. Keep in mind mister rocket scientist Elon Musk is the one who suggested vacuum trains which are pretty much physically infeasible and who recently claimed he was going to fly human to Mars in 2020. Guy is straight up deluded and believes in a bunch of fun conspiracies.

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    Originally posted by supe
    Ok show me another electric car that can swap its batteries out in minutes.

    Predated the Tesla Model S by a year.
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    Originally posted by rage2

    Yea, just need an acreage for that one. At the end of the day, all these technologies have to be able to fit in a small condo for it to be feasible.
    You're thinking too small! I'm talking a Glenmore-sized reservoir. Centralized solar power generation like the Ivanpah project is (or will be) a gigawatt-scale operation and the reservoir system is only really feasible at that scale. Decentralized home solar cells will work great for distributed production during peak hours, but if you want to make solar work full-time you need a full-size plant that has the capability of storing and releasing energy when the sky is dark.

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    Originally posted by mazdavirgin
    If you think Elon Musk had anything to do with that... I don't think you guys quite understand how little the CEO has to do with actual product development/engineering. Keep in mind mister rocket scientist Elon Musk is the one who suggested vacuum trains which are pretty much physically infeasible and who recently claimed he was going to fly human to Mars in 2020. Guy is straight up deluded and believes in a bunch of fun conspiracies.
    First, he said he'd have a human on Mars by the 2020's. He didn't say 2020, he said 2020's. Big difference.

    Second, he revolutionized electric vehicles and is poised to do the same with commercial space travel.

    It's hilarious how much you seem to know about Musk and how his companies work.

    Or, maybe you're just talking out of your ass.

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