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Earth Power Science

Carbon Emissions Reached Record High In 2010 520

iONiUM writes "Last year, greenhouse gas emissions rose to a record amount of 30.6 gigatons, according to estimates from the International Energy Agency. From an article at the Guardian: 'Professor Lord Stern of the London School of Economics, the author of the influential Stern Report into the economics of climate change for the Treasury in 2006, warned that if the pattern continued, the results would be dire. "These figures indicate that [emissions] are now close to being back on a 'business as usual' path. According to the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's] projections, such a path... would mean around a 50% chance of a rise in global average temperature of more than 4C by 2100," he said.'" jamie points out a recent report that the cost of solar cells has dropped about 21 percent this year, leading to predictions that solar power may become cheaper than nuclear and fossil power within five years.
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Carbon Emissions Reached Record High In 2010

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  • Re:50% Chance (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mellon ( 7048 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @10:33AM (#36296682) Homepage

    Tends to exacerbate drying and wetting conditions. So you get persistent droughts in places that were arid, and persistent flooding in places that were wet to begin with. Sea levels rise, meaning that you now have levee walls to protect cities that used to be dry. Storms have more energy (more heat == more energy) and therefore do more damage.

    The worst thing though: no skiing.

    (Okay, that's not really the worst thing)

  • Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EdwinFreed ( 1084059 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @01:01PM (#36298804)

    I have two sets of solar panels - one 10 year old set that's wired up conventionally to a single inverter, and another 8-month-old set that uses per-panel microinverters.

    According to the very nice graphical display of power generation the microinverters provide via a built in web monitoring thingie, I average about four hours each day operating between 90% and peak generation.

    Installation of the original set of panels was a major PITA because UL delisted the inverter after it was installed. Getting a massive piece of equipment down off the wall is easy, getting the replacement back up, not so much. But once that one startup issue was dealt with, the system has been 100% reliable and has required no repairs. As for the microinverters, it's early days yet, but they've been completely reliable so far.

    As for washing the panels, yes, doing that more often increases output, but in my experience, not by that much. Around here the windows need to be washed twice a year so the panels get done as part of that. No big deal.

    And as for all this "resetting after a power failure" - it appears your experience with grid-tie systems is seriously out of date. My 10 year old inverter handles power failures automatically. Aside from monitoring, I haven't had to touch the thing once the replacement inverter was installed. Ditto for the microinverters.

    Finally, you appear to be conflating grid-tie and off-grid setups. I agree that a fully off-grid setup isn't easy. I have battery backup as part of my original system, but since the batteries are only used when there's a grid failure they haven't needed to be replaced. (And most grid-tie systems don't need them at all.) An off-grid setup that charges and discharges the batteries every day is going to require a lot more maintenance. And when solar is the only energy source the system has to be overbuilt in the fashion you describe (just not as much as you claim). And you probably care more about keeping the panels clean when they are your only power source.

    But the vast majority of solar systems are grid-tied, not off-grid. So most of your issues simply don't apply.

    Now, perhaps you'll say my experience is unusual. Yes, it's only anecdotal, but I know three people with similar solar setups in the area, and their systems have all worked flawlessly since they were installed.

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith