Use of solar energy after 20 years

Solar energy is a renewable energy. But in my opinion because of some reasons we can't utilize the solar energy in right way. How can we aware the people about the benefits of solar energy? Can we utilize the solar energy completely after 20 years?


  • PNjunctionPNjunction Solar Expert Posts: 762 ✭✭✭
    Re: Use of solar energy after 20 years

    Unfortunately, to rely solely on solar energy means paying attention to the fact that power must be stored. And that means batteries, which have to typically be replaced every 4 years or so. These have to be manufactured and distributed, which may not actually be a very "green" process on it's way to you. Certainly, as of this point, solar with storage is about 10 times more expensive than grid-power, and even more if one is serious and planning on a 20 year series of multiple battery replacements alone.

    Solar, as much as we love it, is only *part* of a solution, but unless you look at the entire life/manufacturing cycle, one is ripe for over-hype and marketing strategies that are just concerned about getting into a sales demographic, and the green they are looking for is from your wallet.
  • CalimobberCalimobber Registered Users Posts: 2
    Re: Use of solar energy after 20 years

    Like all things in life you have to compromise in order to live off solar %100. If you want a normal city life with tons of power used then no solar is not very cost effective. If you were to adjust your lifestyle to the amount of power your system makes then its fully doable. For a normal city lifestyle grid tied is a better option but still not very cost effective if your aiming for cost saving vs just being green.

    I would disagree with pnjuntion on the lifespam of batteries. Good batteries like trojan or other high quality batteries charged to the manufacture specs 14.8( or higher depending on temperature control) they can last up to 10 years of good service but proper charging and maintenance is the most important factor there.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,226 admin
    Re: Use of solar energy after 20 years

    Just to give warning to others thinking about off grid--Up to 10 years of battery life is (from what I have read) still an exceptionally well performing "mid-cost" battery system (Calimobber is correct, in my humble opinion, in the rest of his post).

    Another issue is even same lot of batteries/cells from the same lot appear to have different effective life times... I believe Tony/Icarus has talked about an ~8-10 year old bank that is still working--But only after a couple of the cells/batteries have been replaced/cut from the original parallel strings years before while the balance of the bank still works fine.

    I would not bet my checking account on much more than 6-8 years "nominal" for a mid-quality battery bank. Or even somebody accidentally killing a bank in as little as a few days (kids/visitors/guests are known battery bank stressors).

    Lead acid batteries are pretty cost effective and rugged (related to current battery chemistries available today)--But they still require maintenance and avoiding things that they do not like (over/under charging, over discharging, discharging to dead, forgetting to water, watering with "hard water", poor electrical layout/connections, etc.).

    I like to be conservative in planning the costs for an off grid system and its design. If you get better than "nominal" life from batteries and components--You have a bit more money left in your savings and a less chance of losing power in bad weather at a remote location with no backup/options (generators/spares/etc.).

    Think twice about going off grid if you do not have the financial resources to support the initial and on-going costs for off grid life. Off grid is expensive and the occasional (random and otherwise) failures do not help. Conserving power use allows you to design/install a smaller off grid system and reduce on-going maintenance costs.

    We have had a few people over the years try to install an off grid system to get away from the costs of utility power--Only to face a tale of woe of sitting in a cold/dark bedroom with no way to cook or heat and an empty bank account.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Use of solar energy after 20 years

    Funny thing about batteries: there is no real correlation between cost and longevity. You can buy cheap ones and get 5+ years from them if they are properly cared for, or you can destroy expensive ones in the first year if they are not.

    On the whole the inexpensive ones offer the best return on investment and the only reason to buy expensive ones is if you need some particular aspect of them such as capacity or AGM type. Do not count on the warranties meaning anything other than "you paid more money".
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