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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is not a free site. I think they allow one free visit. I joined them awhile ago as they seem to have similar interests to people who enjoy the energy savings and environmental benefits of the Prius. The gist of the article is that solar power simply cannot compete with coal to make electricity. Coal beats solar by a wide cost margin. But when you compare solar to gasoline, solar wins.

And an interesting point they make is that solar collectors make more sense to be built where we work, and not where we live. That's because that's when the sun is out. Also, if you use the solar collector also as the roof for the parking lot, our cars will also last longer as they get burned by the sun less, as they sit out in the lot all day.


Solar PV [Photovoltaic] Is Cheaper Than Gasoline

By Stephen Killough

Charging an electric vehicle with sunlight costs less than running a vehicle on gasoline

May 31, 2005

Are solar cells a waste of money? Not if you compare them to gasoline.
....

http://www.evworld.com/index.cfm
 

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Interesting, except it also follows that charging with electricity generated coal would be even cheaper. Unfortunately, this isn't a very good argument for solar, but may be a good argument for electricity.

On the other hand, this might be a good argument for wind as there is a certain amount of discretion as to when the batteries need to be charged up.

Further, however, this might be a better use of solar than charging batteries that are later used for electiricity at night or when it's cloudy. This would reduce the cost of the electricity as the car batteries could simply be charged up when it's sunny, avoiding the cost of storage and replacement cost of storage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think it is all within the context of finding a new fuel source to replace gas. Fossil fuels are on their way out.

And right now, solar cannot compete with coal, but apparently can compete with gasoline. But coal also cannot run our cars. Yes, coal could run our cars by making better use of batteries. But since the 1970s, the air in the USA is much cleaner since we have both decreased our use of coal, and increased our use of scrubbed coal. I'm not sure if going back to coal on the gigantic level that it would require to move all our trucks and cars would be manageable.

Plus, coal is also not going to last forever.

What this article does is suggest that comparing solar to coal the way we do currently is not appropriate. Since it's gasoline that is running out, it is more appropriate to be comparing solar to gasoline. And when done that way, solar is competitive.
 

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You also don't seem to realize that manufacturing all the "stuff" to make solar work would require ENORMOUS QUANTITIES OF OIL.

We need oil to make everything that is plastic. And metal. And even wood.

But at least y'er thinkin'... we need to encourage more of this activity!
 

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Electricity made from solar photovoltaic cells is a good bit more expensive than coal because making the silicon cells for this purpose is itself very expensive.

But solar thermal collectors running a Stirling engine have just been shown to be able to produce electricity cheaper than coal in terms of pence per kilowatt-hour - which is something of a breakthrough.

There is still one place where PV solar cells will work well - on the bodywork of plug-in hybrids! (as was discussed in this thread) :)
 

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I was idly wondering if Prius could use solar energy as an additonal charging source analogous to regen in how it interacts with the gas system. Feasible or no? Lends a whole new meaning to the concept of sunroof! :lol:
 

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Astrowoman said:
I was idly wondering if Prius could use solar energy as an additonal charging source analogous to regen in how it interacts with the gas system. Feasible or no? Lends a whole new meaning to the concept of sunroof! :lol:
I've seen Prius owners do this to top off their 12v accessory battery, if they're going to leave their car undriven for a while...
 
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