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Solar Panels suck

I, like many recently, have been looking at alternative fuel sources. Looking for ways to cutback my dependance on expensive electricity and gas. I’ve come up with some ideas but one that doesn’t seem to be worth a damn is Solar Panels. I found this solar panel kit that only costs $600 and yields about 1 kWh a week.

Wow a whole kilowatt every week!

electrifying!
That sounds like a pretty good dead right! I mean, 600 bucks gets you 52 kWhs a year assuming you have perfect weather and the sun is always directly on your solar panel…oh and it also has to be summer all year long.

There’s only one problem, after a year you will have paid ($600/52)=$11 a kilowatt. That doesn’t sound like a bad deal. A kilowatt is like…1000 watts right? That must be a large sum of watts! Like…a whole barrel of watts!

Back in the real world

Unfortunately last month my house used 981 kilowatts for a bill of $78.56. Which means I paid $0.0698 per watt. That makes solar power a whopping $10.30 more expensive per watt. In order to power my entire house I would need roughly 981 solar panels of this size 4.5 ft x 1.5 ft which means I would need an area roughly 4414.5 ft x 1471.5 ft. I’m pretty sure thats more area than the plot that my house sits on. Oh yeah, plus it would cost $588,600 dollars to make…

Sorry solar power, until you cost less than 11 times as much as normal electricity it looks like it’s a no go.

Update: Solar Panels Still Suck (7/17/2010)

Read the follow up to see if solar panels still suck in 2010.

Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2008
13
22 comments
Roger
Roger

You found a solar panel kit - great. But that does not mean you have any idea of what you are talking about or have any useful insight to share.

Please properly research a topic before spewing half baked opinions.

"don't believe everything you think"

Dan
Dan

As I said to someone already in this thread:

"I don't know why you're confused about where I got my numbers. It's all in the post. This post went up in June 2008 and the sourced solar panels were from 2005 so we're talking about technology that's [6] years old now.

Tell you what, instead of showing up and randomly insulting me why don't you send me a link to some affordable solar panels. If they average ~1000 kWh/month and cost around $1000 then it will definitely be worth it for me to get solar panels. I'm not against solar power, it has huge potential, at the time of this blog post it just wasn't economical."

Roger
Roger

Just go to ebay (I am by no way saying ebay is a good place to buy solar panels, just much better than what you propose) and you can find MANY lower cost and higher performing solutions than your half a million dollar mental confusion.

Also, I can not find where you calculate any break-even point. You mistakenly compare non-reoccurring costs to reoccurring costs and lack insight into long term investments. Wow is your threshold of $1000 for 1000kwh in any way meaningful. You need to SHOW ALL YOUR CALCULATIONS.

All you have done is to find ONE product and provide ONE example of its mis-application. Buying many little solar kits to make one large system is much like buying a bunch of small cars to move the contents of your entire house. PICK THE RIGHT SCALE OF SOLUTION.

And, more seriously, you are entirely amiss of the factors determining the suitability of solar panels. All you are is: its sucks it sucks it sucks. I turn it back on you...

JUST HOW DO YOU THING YOUR POSTING IS IN ANY WAY INFORMATIVE OR CONSTRUCTIVE?

Roger
Roger

You found a solar panel kit - great. But that does not mean you have any idea of what you are talking about or have any useful insight to share.Please properly research a topic before spewing half baked opinions."don't believe everything you think"

Dan
Dan

As I said to someone already in this thread:"I don't know why you're confused about where I got my numbers. It's all in the post. This post went up in June 2008 and the sourced solar panels were from 2005 so we're talking about technology that's [6] years old now.Tell you what, instead of showing up and randomly insulting me why don't you send me a link to some affordable solar panels. If they average ~1000 kWh/month and cost around $1000 then it will definitely be worth it for me to get solar panels. I'm not against solar power, it has huge potential, at the time of this blog post it just wasn't economical."

Roger
Roger

Just go to ebay (I am by no way saying ebay is a good place to buy solar panels, just much better than what you propose) and you can find MANY lower cost and higher performing solutions than your half a million dollar mental confusion.Also, I can not find where you calculate any break-even point. You mistakenly compare non-reoccurring costs to reoccurring costs and lack insight into long term investments. Wow is your threshold of $1000 for 1000kwh in any way meaningful. You need to SHOW ALL YOUR CALCULATIONS. All you have done is to find ONE product and provide ONE example of its mis-application. Buying many little solar kits to make one large system is much like buying a bunch of small cars to move the contents of your entire house. PICK THE RIGHT SCALE OF SOLUTION.And, more seriously, you are entirely amiss of the factors determining the suitability of solar panels. All you are is: its sucks it sucks it sucks. I turn it back on you...JUST HOW DO YOU THING YOUR POSTING IS IN ANY WAY INFORMATIVE OR CONSTRUCTIVE?

dui attorney irvine
dui attorney irvine

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dui attorney irvine
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Matt
Matt

Mate, I work in the industry and without a doubt, as in not even joking, your the only person who has doubted solar power and you've made yourself look like an idiot to the world. A bill of $78 in australia would mean if you bought the most powerful panels commercially available, SunPower, a fully installed system would cost you around $6500, and thats for the best in the world.
Where you got $500 grand from confuses me.
Also, good luck surviving in the real world when Solar is the cheapest renewable energy source there is, cheaper than wind or hydro. If you cannot stand solar than good luck when the whole earth runs out of coal and your left with nothing. I sell plenty of solar panels because people see the sense in it. Just please do not think in your own world, I get too many customers who say that.

Dan
Dan

I don't know why you're confused about where I got my numbers. It's all in the post. This post went up in June 2008 and the sourced solar panels were from 2005 so we're talking about technology that's 5 years old now.

Tell you what, instead of showing up and randomly insulting me why don't you send me a link to some affordable solar panels. If they average ~1000 kWh/month and cost around $1000 then it will definitely be worth it for me to get solar panels. I'm not against solar power, it has huge potential, at the time of this blog post it just wasn't economical.

Matt
Matt

Mate, I work in the industry and without a doubt, as in not even joking, your the only person who has doubted solar power and you've made yourself look like an idiot to the world. A bill of $78 in australia would mean if you bought the most powerful panels commercially available, SunPower, a fully installed system would cost you around $6500, and thats for the best in the world.Where you got $500 grand from confuses me.Also, good luck surviving in the real world when Solar is the cheapest renewable energy source there is, cheaper than wind or hydro. If you cannot stand solar than good luck when the whole earth runs out of coal and your left with nothing. I sell plenty of solar panels because people see the sense in it. Just please do not think in your own world, I get too many customers who say that.

Dan
Dan

I don't know why you're confused about where I got my numbers. It's all in the post. This post went up in June 2008 and the sourced solar panels were from 2005 so we're talking about technology that's 5 years old now.Tell you what, instead of showing up and randomly insulting me why don't you send me a link to some affordable solar panels. If they average ~1000 kWh/month and cost around $1000 then it will definitely be worth it for me to get solar panels. I'm not against solar power, it has huge potential, at the time of this blog post it just wasn't economical.

Stu the (not so) Wise
Stu the (not so) Wise

A heavy usage month will see about 600 kilowatt hours in my home, while a light month is as low as 300. I'd say that I'm pretty conservative when it comes to power usage, but still not nearly enough for solar cells to do me any good. Some states offer big time incentives for using solar panels -- the only thing that makes them worth getting -- generally leaving only the rich being able to use them and take advantage of said incentives. Ain't politics grand?

You'd be much better off building a homemade generator that is powered by your exercycle.

Stu the (not so) Wise
Stu the (not so) Wise

A heavy usage month will see about 600 kilowatt hours in my home, while a light month is as low as 300. I'd say that I'm pretty conservative when it comes to power usage, but still not nearly enough for solar cells to do me any good. Some states offer big time incentives for using solar panels -- the only thing that makes them worth getting -- generally leaving only the rich being able to use them and take advantage of said incentives. Ain't politics grand? You'd be much better off building a homemade generator that is powered by your exercycle.

sam
sam

You're going about this all wrong. What you need to do is go buy a good light, then point the light at the solar cell and feed its power back into the light.

Pretty soon you'll be producing exponentially higher amounts of energy as the light gets brighter and brighter. Then you simply run your house off of that.

sam
sam

You're going about this all wrong. What you need to do is go buy a good light, then point the light at the solar cell and feed its power back into the light. Pretty soon you'll be producing exponentially higher amounts of energy as the light gets brighter and brighter. Then you simply run your house off of that.