Why isn't electricity cheaper?



I’ve been looking at solar panels for the roof but can’t find any a reliable estimate on how many years to break even?


Whats a current limiting charger? I understand the words, but what would the feature / function do that an appropriately sized charger wouldn’t do? Throttling output based on grid capacity? Doing this at a granular level like laptop chargers?


Smart chargers…

“Sorry Dave, I can’t let you drive to work. You wouldn’t believe the loads last night, it was crazy man. Anyway, work from home, yeah? Oh, you’re a paramedic? Can’t you just offer support over the phone? Hey, I have some information on CPR. Would you like me to read it to you?”


Same problem
it depends on the mix for home heating.
try the SEAI website calculator

seai.ie/resources/tools/SEA … -July.xlsx


What data is that using? I was paying less than 13c per unit last year.


cent per unit + pso levy + standing charge + vat
Prices include the basic price of the electricity, transmission and distribution charges, meter rental, and other services. Electricity prices for household consumers are presented including taxes, levies, non-tax levies, fees and value added tax (VAT) as this generally reflects the end price paid by household consumers
ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistic … _consumers


Are you looking at PV, TheJackal?
What size?
My PV is at the max allowable (6kw) on a south facing roofat a decent enough angle and will generate 5.2kw in good+ conditions (sun in the day). So that’s as much as I can get. I have a heat pump and work from home, so the heating is always on (September to March). Most days March to September, we end up with hot water from the PV. I reckon it’s saving somewhere around 1100 a year (this year may be better), so that gives me about 12 years payback (based on an install price less home improvement) of 13k.

Batteries would improve that (no bill in the summer, I reckon), but not enough to justify the price of them at the moment. I may do it out of greenness anyway…


Why has the price of PV not fallen?
Rip off republic as usual?


It has, it’s less than half the price it was 10 years ago.
If that’s not fallen, I don’t know what is.

See the US for a 6Kw system:
news.energysage.com/how-much-do … n-the-u-s/

That compares favourably with what I paid - you’ll often see prices quoted net of grants/tax rebates (of 30% in the US!), so the gross price is fairer.

I was kinda wrong about the price drop, at least for Sidewinder:
mysolarquotes.co.nz/about-s … stem-cost/

The prices in NZ are pretty good, though, lower than here and the US.


The price of the raw panel is a fraction of the total install cost? Fixtures, electricals, labour, VAT…?


Ok they have dropped slightly but according to

solarpowerworldonline.com/2 … half-2020/

Clearly the price drops have not been passed onto the ordinary Josephine soap
I assume part of this is costs of labour for small installations


Well, as I say, the price I paid is half what I was quoted ten years prior. I’m not sure which of that is not passing on the savings.

I agree with you though, that the labour cost is a significant chunk of a small scale setup. It was a team of 5 including an electrician for a day to do mine. It wouldn’t have taken them much less time to do 3kw, though maybe two less chaps.


A new Fusion Industry Association launched last week. Its initial 16 members and 5 affiliates include most of today’s leading private fusion research companies.


The Chinese have exceeded a plasma temperature of 100 million degrees by combining four different heating modes. Even more importantly:

… plus, the ongoing Chinese fusion efforts are open source, which could end up being very good news for the world.


Russia is developing an interesting fusion-fission reactor:

neimagazine.com/news/newsru … or-6168535

People may have heard of the thorium fuel cycle. Thorium is much more abundant than uranium but is referred to as a “fertile” rather than “fissile” material, as it cannot be directly fissioned. By capturing a neutron and undergoing beta decay, however, 232-Th can be transmuted to fissile 233-U. So thorium can be combined into a mixed oxide (MOX) fuel with other fissile elements. One great upside is that it can burn up existing stockpiles of plutonium and other bomb-grade materials, and the waste is radioactive for only 70 years (instead of millions).

The Russian concept is to forget about other fissile materials altogether and use a tokamak fusion reactor as the neutron source. If it sounds like sci-fi, bear in mind that neutron-producing tokamak fusion is routine nowadays, it is only net energy fusion that is still a challenge. So you pay for the energy to produce your neutrons, and get it back with interest from your thorium reaction.


70 years is the half life, it takes a lot longer to be safe. Several thousand years, I imagine.


Not necessarily. If that’s the half life of the first fission products, then after 500 years, they’re only emitting less than 1% of their original radioactivity and after 1000 years, about 0.06%. Unless one of the subsequent decay products has a half life of a few centuries to a few millennia, or one with a half life of decades decays to one with a half life of days or months, constantly replenishing it, the waste will probably become safe to handle relatively quickly. Half lives of minutes or aeons are either very short lived problems, because they burn themselves out quickly, or never become problems at all, because something with a half life of a billion years is practically indistinguishable from stable (U-238 is so weakly radioactive that you can use it as ballast).


Right, OK. I guess it depends what you mean by “safe”. I wouldn’t eat it at 0.06% radioactivity.

Anyway, my main point was that half-life time doesn’t equal time to safe handling.


It’s all relative. The activity after a few hundred years is less than that of uranium ore. Sure, you wouldn’t want to spend too much time with it. Apart from anything else it’s probably chemically toxic. But people live near uranium mines without noticeable ill effect. Living near any rocks carries some risk. It’s why you’ve got a radon barrier in your house.

For brevity, I skipped the fact that the thorium cycle can burn up actinide wastes as well as fissile uranium and plutonium. And it doesn’t produce any trans-uranics itself.So it has the potential to reduce radioactivity from existing waste by orders of magnitude. The remaining low level waste is easily manageable by burial. The main thing is that it dramatically reduces an already existing problem.