Green Energy Investing

Interesting piece on solar power generation from Yves: … -2010.html

Interesting from two points of view - the point of stocks and the point of expected costs to install as a consumer…

This is something I have been keeping an eye on over the last few years. The price of cells is falling all the time, and the panels we bought 3 years ago at 4 euro/watt are looking very dear now. We got them as trickle chargers for the batteries on a boat, shunting excess to heating to keep out the damp, so it wasn’t a large investment, but if you were considering buying for a domestic house supply the prices are starting to look very attractive.

Anyone good with a soldering iron? Individual cells are the way to go. On Ebay at present 1$/watt cells available, but you would need to factor in a realistic figure for the KwHours/year that they would produce before deciding if they were a winner. How do you use the power produced? Simple. Get a device to invert and synchronise the power to AC and that prioritises the solar panel supply over the ESB supply just before it is fed into the consumer unit. No need for ‘net metering’, energy supply contracts, blah blah blah. And then add a small wind turbine to meet additional needs.

Coles2, I remember bungaloid (I think) wondering if there was an arbitrage in selling power back to the ESB. It appears the boys at Cool Power have spotted this: … riffs.html

Very good website about such things…

Well it raises the question of just how thorough the examination of your renewable device will be. A ‘black box’ that takes in power from the Grid (priced at 12/13 c per kWh) and pushes out power that is sold at 19c per kWh obviously can generate profit all the time as soon it is switched on.

Who ever though a small piece of copper wire could prove so profitable!

Printed solar cells at a fraction of the cost? The future is Nanosolar. Expect the cost of silicon PV cells to slide…

Nanosolar. Nice if it delivers.
Process rather than production line means much lower cost of construction.
You could almost afford to cover your entire roof in the stuff if it got cheap enough and go off grid.

Batteries would be your biggest obstacle to going off grid. At the moment it is still an expensive proposition. Course if someone wants a business idea, looking at home installations using laptop-style batteries (like they are using for electric cars)… The point being, it is not just the cost of the equipment that is a disincentive, but the cost of the setup and maintenance.

Now if you’re talking about no power costs (through exporting power), that’s a different matter. You wouldn’t need battery storage then…

Without sounding like an green optimist, if electric vehicles continue to improve the batteries won’t be a problem as you’ll be able to harvest them from scrapped Electric vehicles or purchase them new inexpensively.

Lithium Batteries are a medium term solution, particularly some of the more exotic types. In the longer term I’d imagine that there’ll be some sort of small capacitor that can store vast amounts of energy in a stable manner and release it slowly.

Yeah, I agree, those are the batteries to go for (might aswell recycle them!), it’s the racking and wiring that is a little trickier. But anything has got to be better than large acid batteries?

There’s no particular benefit to being ‘off-grid’. Better to import/export to the grid and use it as your ‘battery bank’.

Good luck with that :open_mouth:

Capacitor & stable are not two words that sit comfortably in the same sentence.

I’ll be intrigued to see how people’s insurance companies react to the first customer who tells them they want to keep a couple of hundred kilos of Lithium in their house. There’s a very good reason why most of the large scale battery installations you see ( backup lighting, etc ) are simple Lead-Acid. They suck but they don’t blow !

I wonder would recycling be practical for most modern batteries ?

From the bits of chemistry I remember your battery becomes useless thru an almost 2nd law of thermodynamics poisoning of the chemicals. To Recycle them you’d have to expend a tremendous amount of energy to extract the key chemicals & then remanufacture the battery.

Its almost guaranteed to be cheaper to just but a new battery. But there’ll be a huge amount of money for whoever comes up with a battery design that does have a plausible recycling plan.

Interesting. I was thinking of the marginal usage remaining in recycling a battery, i.e. the car is junked, because the batteries are down to 50% efficiency, but that’s enough for an oversize domestic installation that doesn’t care that it needs twice as many batteries.

But for that to be the case, you’d want to make it piss easy to test and change batteries so your average fuckwit (like me) could do it. You’d want to have a natty piece of graphics to show which batteries needed to be changed and a little red light beside them…

Why would we need any of this if, as Bungaloid says, there are ample oil and Gas reserves?

Indeed, not just ample, but growing.

Because at the point of access, those sources of power are subject to monopoly supply (usually, but not exclusively government monopolies) and they are subject to taxation. The attractiveness of going ‘off-grid’ is that it frees you from not only the cost of electricity, but also the future cost of random government taxation.

Honestly, needle, I would have pegged you to have thought of that… :wink:

Interesting company using kites to generate electricity… underwater! Looks brilliant, and as a keen stunt kite flyer I can imagine this working.

Also interesting (to me at least), Minesto have the backing of Saab, who before making cars for GPs used to make aircraft.


I don’t deny the hippie-dippy attractions of going off grid.

Not sure that tax is one of them though.

Not long ago John Gormley expressed an interest in taxing

  • off-grid sewerage (septic tanks)
  • private biomass (co2 tax on firewood)
  • off grid water (pay for the groundwater pumped)

Electricity generated off-grid could easily be taxed, if a government was minded to do so.

The greens coudln’t be more anti “green” :unamused:

Off grid is not really off grid is it its more freedom from the closed grid of man, the main grid universe is the mother grid so to speak and impossible to beat.