Another discouraged dreamer

AlphaRatAlphaRat Registered Users Posts: 14
This is my first post. I read ICODEBOT's "discouraged" post and thought I would just start over instead of trespassing on his post..

I am in a similar way as him. I live in Texas and we eat up electricity pretty good - particularly this time of year. I have a pool that probably uses close to 35 to 40% of my total electrical load - wow - and I won't mention the air conditioner.....

Anyhow so as much sun as we get I thought that solar would be a great idea. I started digging around and ran across the "encouragers" out there who claimed I could build my own panels and eventually have something that could give me about 250 KwH/month. I did some calculations and thought I could get some panels built for about $85/panel so I took it upon myself to purchase about 550 watts worth of solar cells at about $0.77/watt. Not a bad deal, but now the question is.....

WHAT DO I DO WITH THEM?????!!!!!! I had grand plans of lining them up on the roof, but I think that is a really bad idea now.......

I did some preliminary research on inverters, but I guess I didn't focus on the right stuff because now it looks like I'd have to drop about $2000 for a grid-tie. First off - I ain't gonna do that, Second - sounds like insurance, etc. would frown heavily on that w/ homemade panels.....

The comments on the other "discouraged" post brought out a lot of stuff I have been unfortunately finding out - stuff about insurance, fire hazards, etc.... So my question is again, what am I gonna do to incorporate about 550 watts of solar cells into my electrical usage? I don't want an emergency system only - I want something that can be used daily.....

Any help appreciated - or point me towards the proper threads (I have not spent much time digging around on the site yet so my apologies).....
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Comments

  • FL SUNFL SUN Solar Expert Posts: 94 ✭✭✭✭
    My advice is not what you are hoping for...

    Everyone starts out with high hopes of going solar and getting free power from the sun like they all say. But it's not free is it? They took your money and ran on an empty promise. I got taken a few years back on the idea of creating "free" electricity using their steam engine connected to a DC generator. I just had to buy all the literature and BS from them to find out this is a crock of $*@# for a homeowner looking to use less power from the grid! Live and learn.

    Homemade panels using cells is a cheap way to start, but then you have problems with moisture getting inside, and other problems with homemade panels. Then where do you put them, on your roof? Watch out, a bad solder joint or corrosion creating heat on your plywood homemade panel, and you burn your house down. How do you tie in those homemade panels to the grid? Without UL certification on commercially made panels, and the other requirements for grid tie, forget it. Why don't they tell you that?

    Your homemade panels are OK for DC solar fun projects, but that's about it.

    If a $2,000 grid tie inverter is out of the question, then a complete solar grid tie package around $30,000.00 or $40,000.00 is really out of the question.

    Take your discouragement, turn it around to empowerment, conserve on your electrical consumption, and plan and save for your solar supplementation when you can do it for real.

    You'll pay yourself more to conserve than to buy a solar set-up that makes power for one's wasteful consumption.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,698 admin
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    Practically--There is nothing you can do with those 500 watts of cells other than use them as a hobby project--or donate them to a school for kids to use for solar projects.

    Conservation is really your only hope at this time to save money. And in any case--even if you wanted to use Grid Tied solar--conservation is still a better investment of your time and money before installing a GT system.

    You really need to look at your energy usage (electricity and natural gas / propane / other fuels) and find out where they are all going.

    For your home, A/C leads you towards more insulation, heat recovery ventilators, double/triple pane windows, and reducing usage of power in your home (computers, TV's, lighting, fridge, freezer, etc.) whose waste heat you pay to remove with more A/C usage. And, installing a new high SEER A/C if you have not already.

    For the pool, there are two speed pumps, timers to reduce pump usage (night, off-season, etc.), and solar thermal collectors for heating the pool instead of other sources.

    And, if you use a lot of A/C--alternatives such as desuperheaters to use the A/C to make hot water / heat the pool with waste A/C heat (almost "free energy" as well as, many times making the A/C more efficient by using large thermal masses like the pool and ground sourced A/C / desuperheaters / heat pumps).

    For domestic hot water and home heating--home made solar thermal panels and installation projects are a pretty good alternative for people that want to do-it-yourself projects.

    In the end--the reason Icodebot was successful (you did read his second thread Kill-A-Watt, And, for others, the first thread A little discouraged) was because he was willing to discard his preconceptions and take a look at his energy usage with a open mind and accept that there were other possibilities to save money than what he first thought (must use home made PV panels).

    Many people do start small (making a backup solar RE home power system or DC lighting power for landscape/bedroom/etc. type project). Self education is always a great place to spend some time and money--but it will usually lead you to the conclusions you stated in your opening post--Solar Energy collection is not cheap or easy.

    If "Cap and Trade" (aka Cap and Tax) was to pass--you will see coal based electric power go up by 4 or more times--and then what will you do...

    To give you a rough idea of electrical cost for various solutions (these are very rough numbers--but can be used to guide your next steps/further investigations):

    $0.10 per kWhr utility power
    $0.10-$0.30 per kWhr for Grid Tied Solar PV power
    $0.30-$0.75 per kWhr for Grid Tied / Off-Grid (hybrid) solar power + backup
    $1.00-$2.00+ for pure off-grid power
    $0.50-$2.00+ for backup generator power
    $0.10-$0.75 per kWhr for power in Northern California Power today

    Now--for a thought experiment--what would you do if electric power in your area went from $0.10 per kWhr (what you are paying) to $0.60+ per kWhr (what you would be paying today if you had California's tiered rate plans + Time Of Use billing / Cap&Trade government policies. And, if electrical rates dramatically increase (because of heavy coal taxes)--other fuels (natural gas, propane, oil, etc.) will probably spike too.

    Could you even afford your lifestyle if you had to pay 6x for your electricity? Would you have a job/business if your customers around you had to pay 6x for electric power today?

    We are in for turbulence regarding energy in the near future--taking control of your own energy usage/generation is going to really help you and your family in the future (I am trying to avoid too much politics here--this is not a political forum, and I love to talk politics--I am trying to help you to setup your own plan of action based on what you believe the future holds and the best way for you to address your needs).

    Personally, I conserve because I don't like to waste and because I am cheap. Being "Green" (whatever that means) is a side effect of my actions--not driving them.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    sorry you've learned the hard way as we weren't just being negative or anti diy. seeing as how you are stuck with them, try to put them together anyway for a ground mounted off grid purpose with batteries and just be thankful for every day it works. in the meantime you can save for the real thing.
  • AlphaRatAlphaRat Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    Yeah, it is a pi**er. (edit by niel for swearing) The cap and tax is a nightmare in the making - just another way to spiral us into oblivion. People wanted "change" - they're gonna get it - in the form of exhorbitant taxes and regulations out the wazoo...

    Regarding the subject at hand - I have been calculating electrical usage for past few days and am amazed at how much we use. I know I probably can't control too much the A/C usage given it is so freaking hot here, but I am looking at add'l insulation and radiant barrier for the attic. Have checked into modification of my existing single pane windows as well - I have some solar screens up on a few of the windows thus far.... I had never thought about a different design on the pool pump - I need to check that out. Does anyone know of some specific equipment that would work (I have a 2HP 230v motor running the pump right now that runs about 6 hrs a day in the summer time).

    The conservation piece I believe is pretty big for me - I continually come home to find blinds wide open in the heat of the day and just about every light on in the house w/ nobody home - go figure.

    One thing I have already learned - I don't want to burn my house down w/ homemade panels - thanks guys !!! :)
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    Alpharat, I assume you have kids, who leave the lights on and windows open, you could make it an intereting exercise and educate them on energy conservation and promise them 50% of any monies saved . Like wise deduct monies from thier allowance if they take the mickey and your bills go up :D
  • AlphaRatAlphaRat Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    Oh yeah - they are culprits. I finally put a motion detecting switch in the bathroom so it would turn the nights off. I got tired of *itching all the time about it.

    try to tone down on the swearing. niel
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,698 admin
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    I am not the expert on pools and hot weather from where I am at...

    I understand that pumps that are installed below the water level of the pool (not self priming--installed in pits--which is another issue itself) are much more efficient--and if you can use a two speed motor--you can cut back on power usage too.

    Attic insulation--start with R44 (better than 18" deep?)...

    Windows (and possibly doors)--they are a terrible hole for wasting heat. While you are busy with R44 for your attic and R19 (or whatever) for your walls--your single pane (pain?) windows are chugging along at R 0.91 value. Even the best double pane / low E / suspended film windows are still R 3-5 range.

    In our 50+ year old home, we had west facing bedrooms that got extremely hot in the evenings (and we live in a temperate climate just south of San Francisco, CA)--where homes were built with zero insulation... We had blown in attic insulation but that did not help the hot afternoons--I just changed out the windows to double pane / low E / vinyl windows and the rooms instantly became as cool as the rest of the home (stucco walls, no insulation) and, for the most part, made our home livable enough to skip adding A/C (would still be nice for those 1-2 weeks a year when we flirt with 100F weather). Plus--there is no drafts and the noise reduction was a welcome plus (we had a neighbor that practiced drums in his garage).

    Solar Guppy (or some others here), if he has a chance, can probably give you some much better solutions to your hot weather / pool solutions than I.

    Get yourself a Kill-A-Watt meter, a whole house meter (T.E.D. or equivalent) and possibly a clamp style Amp meter for your DVM (warning--and issue with Power Factor and Clamp Amp Meters--they do not measure power in Watts/kWatts, but measure Amps which gives you V*A or VA/KVA -- VA*PF=Watts and PF typically varies between 0.6 for motors to 1.0 for heaters and Power Factor Corrected devices like some motors/electronics.).

    Until you measure (watts and Watt*Hours / kWatt*Hours)--you don't know where to prioritize your spending on conservation.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    It just goes to show that you don't have to go to college to find out education is expensive.

    As for your 500 Watts of home-made solar panels ...
    You could set 'em up in the back yard, attach a cheap charge controller, a couple hundred Amp/hrs of batteries, an inexpensive inverter - and continue your education. :D
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,698 admin
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    I changed my lights to CFL (twisty compact florescent)--they are ugly and wife hates them--but seeing our energy bills go down a bunch by using them, and not having to yell at people for leaving the lights on (26 watts needs less yelling vs 200 watts :roll: )--she stopped complaining and just uses a halogen or LED reading lamp if she wants better color rendering for the task at hand.

    I even put them in closets (which get left on more than I would like--but are never caught because the doors are closed during the day).

    Also keeps our house cooler--When I bought a couple of ceiling fans--I found ones I could jam CFLs inside the fixture... I was in a friends home--and they had the ceiling fan going like crazy with 4x 100 light bulbs in them--the #($*% fan was a 400 watt heater in the middle of a scorching afternoon--I did not need that. :p

    Many small conservation tasks (like above) add up pretty quickly... But, being realistic helps too... Don't cost your marriage over leaving the cell phone charger plugged in--that is a couple of watts--and you are aiming at reducing loads 10-100x that amount. Keeping the house quiet and avoiding silly arguments is nice. ;)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,345 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    AlphaRat,

    Not to repeat all that has been said,, but consider a few conservation ideas that can have huge, fast pay offs.

    Consider looking into using your pool as a heat source to dump you Air conditioning load. The two benefits are free heat for the pool,, and allowing your AC to run more efficiently. Also consider using the same idea for hot water.

    Secondly,,, consider doing solar hot water,,,in your climate solar hot water will pay off very quickly,, reducing you net energy use.

    As is too often suggested,,, for every dollar spent on conservation,, you will save ~$10 in Pv costs. In this day and age,,,with utility rebates,,, and tax credits any pay off canbe pretty quick.

    Good luck,, read all you can,, and welcome to the forum,

    Tony
  • AlphaRatAlphaRat Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    I have looked at the T.E.D. and actually tried to purchase one, but I didn't have the right kind of credit card.....

    I have been using the clamp on amp meter and calculating loads based on that. I may try a TED or one of the other brands, but I have a spreadsheet set up right now that does load calculations and electrical usage.......
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,698 admin
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    The advantage to the cumulative Watt*Hour and KWH meters is that many of your loads are variable over the day...

    For example, leaving a computer running 24x7 at 110 watts is much worse than running a 1,500 microwave for 20 minutes a day:

    110 watts * 24 hours = 2,640 Watt*Hours or 2.64 kWhrs per day
    1,500 watts * 1/3 hour = 500 WattHOurs or 0.5 kWhrs per day

    The little dinky computer load is 5+ times greater than the big old nasty microwave that uses almost 15x the peak load of a desktop computer.

    With other appliances (fridge, freezer, computer, entertainment center, A/C, well pumps, electric water heater, etc.)--they cycle and you need the total power used in 24 hours, not just the peak, or your guesstimate of run times).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • AlphaRatAlphaRat Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer
    BB. wrote: »
    The advantage to the cumulative Watt*Hour and KWH meters is that many of your loads are variable over the day...

    For example, leaving a computer running 24x7 at 110 watts is much worse than running a 1,500 microwave for 20 minutes a day:

    110 watts * 24 hours = 2,640 Watt*Hours or 2.64 kWhrs per day
    1,500 watts * 1/3 hour = 500 WattHOurs or 0.5 kWhrs per day

    The little dinky computer load is 5+ times greater than the big old nasty microwave that uses almost 15x the peak load of a desktop computer.

    With other appliances (fridge, freezer, computer, entertainment center, A/C, well pumps, electric water heater, etc.)--they cycle and you need the total power used in 24 hours, not just the peak, or your guesstimate of run times).

    -Bill

    Agreed - I try to estimate total hours of use in my load spreadsheet, but it does not account for cycling. I agree the TED device is more accurate - but it's $164 and my amp meter was $15......of course, the education gained by the more expensive TED would probably pay for the meter....
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,698 admin
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    The Kill-a-Watt is around $15-$30 (depending on where you get it and shipping+taxes)... It won't work on your 240VAC or > 15 amp devices--but it is the exact right product for logging all of your plug-in 120 VAC 15 amp line cord devices.

    Outside of your A/C, Pool Motor, and Electric stove/drier/water heater--it will do the job nicely.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • AlphaRatAlphaRat Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer
    BB. wrote: »
    The Kill-a-Watt is around $15-$30 (depending on where you get it and shipping+taxes)... It won't work on your 240VAC or > 15 amp devices--but it is the exact right product for logging all of your plug-in 120 VAC 15 amp line cord devices.

    Outside of your A/C, Pool Motor, and Electric stove/drier/water heater--it will do the job nicely.

    -Bill

    10-4, thanks Bill. So the Kill-A-Watt is a cumulative measurement device?? If so, I may pick up the KAW and also possibly a TED-type device.

    Are there any other devices like TED that you recommend ? I saw another similar that has a motion detector that straps onto the electric meter, but I don't really like that design. I like the fact that the TED has some pre-fabbed software you can get to allow some analysis.... Any others like that ???
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,698 admin
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    Yes--the Kill-A-Watt will do everything you need... There are several flavors:

    1. Original: Volts, Amps, VA, PF, Watts, kWatt*Hours, Hours plugged in
    2. Similar to #1, but has battery backup (nice if your power goes away, or you are logging something like a genset. Also includes a simple kWhr to $$ math function.
    3. Similar to #1, but includes a power strip (multiple output)--Nice because meter is at the end of a cord+power strip--does not plug into wall like #1 (I usually have a short extension cord handy to solve that problem).

    #1
    #3
    #2

    And here are a couple earlier threads on the question of monitoring (that I could quickly find):

    Clamp on Amp Meter with Data Output - Solar Electric Discussion ...
    whole house monitoring - Page 2 - Solar Electric Discussion Forum ...

    Windsun said earlier this year there are some new products coming out soon that should be very nice for monitoring... Anything yet?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • sodamosodamo Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    We are completely off grid.
    The primary pump on my pool (39k gallons) is a Lorentz PS600 BADU Top 12 which runs 48vdc from its own controller. I run it directly from the dc side of my system, but it is possible to run with the controller connected directly to solar panels. Basically, on a good sunny day I can run it on the excess power my batteries don't need for 3-4 hours. If running directly from the panels, it would run whenever PV are producing sufficiently. If I had an extra 500 watts of panels, I'd try it.
    I also was a Solar Breeze Skimmer which is solar powered on its own and reduces need to filter.

    David
    10.04 KW panels
    3- FM80 CC
    4- FX3048T Inverters
    FNDC, MATE3
    OpticsRE
    12 - 1350ah Rolls Surette 4v
    24kw generator (Chinese, built in Az)
    10kw MEP803A backup generator
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,698 admin
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    I went and trimmed ~15 posts questioning the negative comments about Do It Yourself solar panels and moved them to their own thread here:

    Do It Yourself--Why so many negative comments? (trimmed from another thread)

    Feel free to continue "AlphaRat's" dicussion here...

    Or follow the above link to the issues that "Raytech" brought up in this thread over there.

    Sincerely,
    -Bill B. (as moderator)
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,466 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer
    BB. wrote: »
    I changed my lights to CFL (twisty compact florescent)--they are ugly and wife hates them--but seeing our energy bills go down a bunch by using them, and not having to yell at people for leaving the lights on (26 watts needs less yelling vs 200 watts :roll: )--she stopped complaining and just uses a halogen or LED reading lamp if she wants better color rendering for the task at hand.

    I even put them in closets (which get left on more than I would like--but are never caught because the doors are closed during the day).

    Also keeps our house cooler--When I bought a couple of ceiling fans--I found ones I could jam CFLs inside the fixture... I was in a friends home--and they had the ceiling fan going like crazy with 4x 100 light bulbs in them--the #($*% fan was a 400 watt heater in the middle of a scorching afternoon--I did not need that. :p

    -Bill

    What sort of lifetimes are you seeing with the CFL's ? Nearly all are designed to be in a "Base-Down" orientation to keep the base housed electronics cool. Are any of the plastic bases getting "scorched" looking?.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,698 admin
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    OK--not great...

    We have ~20 CFL's scattered around our home. About 2 or so a year fail. Converted all of them to CFL's about 4-5 years ago. We don't leave lights on all night long--so they don't get a lot of hours on them.

    The lights with the shortest life are those in a base up bathroom fixture that gets lots of steam (surprised the last as long as they do). The others were base sideways--some with little hours on them (garage), some with more hours (nightstand reading lights). Yep-lots of scorched bases.

    In any case--they seem to last longer (on average) than standard filament bulbs. And we get them for around $1.00 each (warehouse club store, plus PG&E buys down roughly 1/2 the retail price--has been going on for a few years now).

    Looked at a couple 150-200 Lumen $30 LED 7 watt lamps--but no color temperature (that I could find) and I would like to see a sample running to see what the quality of light is. Although, I may just pick one up and try it in a few of our fixtures to see how they look.

    As LED costs come down--they may be a good replacement for CFL's and all of those issues.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • _OS__OS_ Solar Expert Posts: 207 ✭✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    I bought one of these the other day and did some measurements yesterday and was very surprised by the results. Here are some of my phantom loads:

    Digital watch on microwave oven: 3W
    Digital watch on electric stove: 3W
    PC speakers when off: 2W
    Music server when off (a powerful stationary PC): 9W
    LCD computer monitor when off: 1W
    Two laptop PC's when off and battery fully charged: 1W
    Digital watch in bedroom: 3W

    I new that the digital watches draw some but the two that surprised me most was the speakers and the stationary PC because both have a power off switch. The stationary PC has another power off switch on the back close to the AC plug. When this is used to switch the PC off the power is 0W.

    I do not want to hijack this thread so I have started my own thread: My energy conservation project
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer
    mike90045 wrote: »
    What sort of lifetimes are you seeing with the CFL's ? Nearly all are designed to be in a "Base-Down" orientation to keep the base housed electronics cool. Are any of the plastic bases getting "scorched" looking?.

    Heh... I've not only had some scorched bases, but some spectacular failures!

    I bought four "100W equiv" 25W CFLs back when I first converted, along with a whole mess of the standard 15W CFLs. I don't think any of the 25W ones are still working. Two of them really made me question if I wanted to continue using CFLs. At different times, months apart, they started visibly smoking then before I could get to the switch to turn them off got VERY bright and emitted a hissing sound along with LOTS of smoke. (Think a large capacitor going up, that's roughly the effect!) And ooh, the stink! After killing the power and examining them, the bases were very discolored, with a large crack.

    Thing is, these were very nearly in a base-down configuration. They were in some floor "torchiere" lamps, with two sockets in an upward-shining configuration. There is a shade under them, so perhaps a bit of an issue with airflow.

    Those 25W bulbs all died within a year or so of purchase. But the 15W ones have been great. Of 20-30 or so, I have only had two or three fail in several years. Those are in ceiling fan fixtures where they are inverted and inside glass shades. They didn't smoke and spit fire at me, but they were discolored with cracked plastic on the bases where the tube ends enter. I am guessing they went out on startup, as I never noticed one going out, just turn on the light and one didn't come on.

    All bulbs are either Commercial Electric (original Home Depot store brand) or nVision after HD switched to them. I know the CE ones specifically said on the packaging they were usable inside enclosed fixtures, not sure I ever checked the nVision ones... (And the few I have in fully enclosed fixtures are still going - but see relatively little use too.)
  • rmay635703rmay635703 Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    edited by niel. if any want the link you can pm rmay for it, but links we frown on that have side ads that go with the pertinent info.

    CFLs as most of you probably already know don't pass the same economically/environmentally neutral analysis corn ethanol couldn't pass.

    In other words it is very likely that the amount of carbon required to produce the CFL is actually greater than the amount of energy the CFL will save over its lifespan.

    So though they may save you money (if your lucky enough to get one that works long enough) they actually cause more pollution and more dangerous pollution than common power hungry incandescant bulbs.

    This same line of logic holds on most new LCD TVs since they aren't really recyclable and have a greatly reduced life compared to classic CRT screens.
  • AntronXAntronX Solar Expert Posts: 462 ✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer
    rmay635703 wrote: »
    In other words it is very likely that the amount of carbon required to produce the CFL is actually greater than the amount of energy the CFL will save over its lifespan.

    Prove it. Give me some numbers from credible sources. In the mean time, I can safely say that CFL bulb that replaces 60W incandescent over it's life time of 10,000 hours will save 460 KWh of electricity. There is no way in h*ll that much energy goes into manufacturing 1 CFL bulb at today's economies of scale. It does not even make economical sense, because 460 KWh * $0.06 = $27.6 in electricity cost alone! But somehow they retail them at $4 a piece while it takes $27 bucks in electricity to make one. Yea, right... Also, maybe if you guys, who complain about them burning out too soon, stopped buying no name brand cheapest Chinese junk you can find, maybe they would last their proper 10K hour lifetimes.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,345 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer
    rmay635703 wrote: »
    edited by niel. if any want the link you can pm rmay for it, but links we frown on that have side ads that go with the pertinent info.

    CFLs as most of you probably already know don't pass the same economically/environmentally neutral analysis corn ethanol couldn't pass.

    In other words it is very likely that the amount of carbon required to produce the CFL is actually greater than the amount of energy the CFL will save over its lifespan.

    So though they may save you money (if your lucky enough to get one that works long enough) they actually cause more pollution and more dangerous pollution than common power hungry incandescant bulbs.

    This same line of logic holds on most new LCD TVs since they aren't really recyclable and have a greatly reduced life compared to classic CRT screens.

    What is the polite way to say this? OH yea, BULL . In the first case, in over ten years of exclusively using CFLs in all kinds of applications, I have had 1 failure after 100's of bulbs. I have also broken 1 bulb, so the longevity issue is a non issue. Second, the amount of mercury in a CFL is tiny, and has been getting less and less has been going down all the time. I don't know for a fact, but I don't think that much more energy nor resources to make a CFL than a conventional bulb. Additionally CFLs are very easy to recycle. Most Home Depot stores in N.America will take them back free of charge, as will other retailers!

    Now one could make an argument that if all your electricity came from renewable sources, then incandescents MIGHT be better, but then you would have to calculate in the environmental costs of the power source, or in the case of off grid, the environmental cost of the batteries.


    That said, the issue is slowly becoming moot. LED are beginning to come into their own both in terms of total lumens, as well as lumens per watt and lumens per dollar of cost. Reasonable LED bulbs are now at the $10 threshold, and I predict within a year, will drop by another 50%.

    I suggest that if you are not trolling, then you get better informed. Just a start:

    http://www.cflfacts.com/
    http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/corporate/newsroom/storyideas/compactfluorescentlamps/mythsuncovered/
    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/home-improvement/hardware-building-supplies/lightbulbs/cfls/overview/cfl-ov-.htm
  • jeffkrusejeffkruse Solar Expert Posts: 205 ✭✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    I don't think the efficiency of LED's are even close to CFL's yet. I don't think it is any time soon that they will be. I would be happy if you could prove me wrong.

    I also read that a CFL has 1 to 5 mG of Mg. That amount could equal the amount found in 2000#'s of tuna!
  • loreleclorelec Solar Expert Posts: 200 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    Lifted from the footnotes of Wiki:

    http://thewatt.com/node/175

    According to this article, the break-even point for CFLs versus incandescents is 50 hours. I think most CFLs last longer than 50 hours, so it would appear that they have the advantage.

    Now, as for recycling...that is an issue. As easy as it is to recycle just basic paper, you'd think that everyone would be doing it. Yet, as someone who has to bring his trash to the transfer station (no garbage pickup here), I'm always floored by the amount of recyclables (including LOTS of paper) that people still throw out. Lumber, metal, glass...you name it. It's all there waiting to go to the bottomless landfill. And everyone knows that basic stuff like paper is recyclable. Probably not so with CFLs. The little bit of extra effort that it takes to recycle something like that might just mean that it gets thrown out. Also...for many urban people, recycling is just a way of life. It's not always the same story in rural areas. If they're not throwing it out, they might be burning it (or trying to). I had a neighbor once that burned his trash every week or so...plastic, glass, and all. Left the whole neighborhood in a toxic fog.

    Marc
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,345 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer
    jeffkruse wrote: »
    I don't think the efficiency of LED's are even close to CFL's yet. I don't think it is any time soon that they will be. I would be happy if you could prove me wrong.

    I also read that a CFL has 1 to 5 mG of Mg. That amount could equal the amount found in 2000#'s of tuna!


    Define how you are describing efficiency. On a Lumens per watt basis, LEDs win hands down. On a Lumens per dollar basis CFLs are still way cheaper (to purchase)

    CFL is a relatively mature technology, and has indeed become a commodity item, ~$1/bulb. LEDs are an emerging technology, with potential great leaps in efficiency (Lumens) along with a significant reduction in cost. Like I said, wait a year or two and I believe you will see LEDs price per lumen get competitive with CFL, certainly on an operating cost basis, if not on a pure purchase basis.

    Finally, as for the Mg. Yes there is mercury in CFLs, but in ever smaller amounts. Recycling facility are nearly universal, so there is no reason to ever throw on in the land fill (although I do know that people do!). Most importantly, do you go around eating light bulbs as a matter of habit? If so I suggest that perhaps there are things other than mercury that you ought to be worried about!

    Tony
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer

    İ think the amount of mercury in a CFL is more or less the same as in one (1) serving of tuna.

    That is the least of our worries and just an ultra green scare tactic.
  • jeffkrusejeffkruse Solar Expert Posts: 205 ✭✭✭
    Re: Another discouraged dreamer
    icarus wrote: »
    Define how you are describing efficiency. On a Lumens per watt basis, LEDs win hands down. On a Lumens per dollar basis CFLs are still way cheaper (to purchase)
    Tony

    I have found that CFLs (that are equivalent to 20-200Watt incandescent bulbs) are at least 2 - 10x more energy efficient than LED's. LED's are great for under counter lights and night lights but not for general lighting.

    Please correct me if I am misinformed.

    I use LED lights for all my caving head lamps but that’s a special application.


    Jeff
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