Saturday, May 02, 2015

A new road for solar power?

Bert found this, and I agree with him, it could be very, very important indeed.
Elon Musk intoduces new batteries which will pave the way globally for free solar power (after the initial investment, of course).
If we don't go this road, we will choke our planet and continue to have wars over oil, and we will be laughing stock for all the animals and all the other sentient races in the Galaxy.

Amazingly, the pre-order system is not USA-only, but for many countries. Unfortunately I live in an apartment where we are not allowed to put anything on the outside of the building, so I can't get solar panels. They say the battery can save you money anyway because energy providers charge different fees at different times of night and day, but I don't think that alone will be enough for me to do it. Otherwise I'd do this immediately. It would be so damn cool to live in a house independently powered by free solar energy.


Bruce W. said...

Elon Musk is amazing. He has stated his goal of colonizing Mars. Thus, he is making rapid progress with SpaceX, and especially reusable rockets with ground landing capability.

But also look at the other technologies he is involved in:

1. Battery powered cars (Tesla)
2. Battery manufacturing and use for energy storage.(latest tech)
3. Solar panels, installation and use (Solar City; he is on the board)
4. Hyperloop long range high speed ground transportation. (early tech development).

IMO, all these technologies would be of great value, if not downright necessary, for a viable, long term,Bruce Mars colony. Elon is way ahead of the rest of us.

David Evans said...

My only problem with this is that we might get locked in to lithium-ion technology, when there are several alternatives on the horizon that could be better and cheaper.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I'm pretty sure the whole system will work with a new battery type, when a better one is available. A battery is just a box which takes power in and out, it's not like there's a lot of complicated interactions with other elements.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I hear you!

And the scope of his vision is shown in facts like he is making this technology Open Source, so no efforts are needlessly duplicated and it can go faster. Also showing he is not going for a global monopoly like most would have.

Ken said...

Fine, if you don't have electric heating, water heating, stove, or air-conditioning which are the things that use up a lot of energy in houses. Note that the peak power output for a single device is 3kW which would be peak power or less than for a stove or air-conditioner. Many of these can be performed with gas but that isn't reducing greenhouse emissions.

What I want to see with all of these systems is an actual cost per kW generated at a specific availability and that is something that is hard or impossible to find. Figures from a few years ago for small-scale solar had it at 5-10 times the cost of any other technology. In a lot of countries subsidies made it appear cheap, and a tariff system for grid power that charged based on average use rather than peak.

Centralised power systems will generally have an advantage, as they smooth out the demand. Otherwise each house must have sufficient power to supply peak demand, which then can be offset by removing the distribution system. There are technologies, like thermal storage, that have the prospect of being cheaper and delivering power at an actual cost similar to that of coal.

Anonymous said...

Elon Musk is not amazing. His electric cars are worse for the planet than the existing ones. He just likes money. He's got good PR people I guess.

David Evans said...

"His electric cars are worse for the planet than the existing ones."
True, a Tesla uses more materials than a Nissan Leaf. But the Tesla's range is about 250 miles, the Leaf's range is 84 miles. The Leaf would simply not be practical for many of the journeys I do. The Tesla isn't going to replace a Leaf, but it might (for some people) replace a BMW. Which would be good for the planet.

Hercules Rockefeller said...

They should be going with hydrogen fuel cell cars, which already exist. They have them in California at least, along with "gas" stations. Better than electric, and with this global warming thing, the rising sea level (since they get the hydrogen from water) will be the definition of win-win.