Interesting Solar Tech

I have no idea how much this stuff costs, so I am not advocating it as currently making financial sense.  But I have long argued that we will know solar is the energy source of the future when they start rolling out solar cells in large sheets like carpet out of Dalton, Georgia.


  1. Kurt:

    I'm considered a strong critic of solar EV and that's probably because I'm the first to point out it's drawbacks and backward economies. That being said...
    The EV sheets being shown seem to about the same weight as a equal square of carpet. That addresses one of the problems with the EV panels that are being put on roofs all over my NE neighborhood. If you can't put a third asphalt roof on due to the weight, why would you add hundred pound EV panels, brackets and connectors? In many areas of the country the wind shear factors and alternately the additional snow load can mean the loss of the structure.
    Nationwide most home and business owners aren't aware that the National Fire Chiefs have recommended that their firefighters NOT deploy to the roof of any building with a solar installation.

    The second positive thing is that if these are being manufactured in Georgia, USA then the whole Chinese crappy manufacturing megillah is avoided; the unreliable testing, the shoddy materials, the slave labor and the profits used to build Carrier Killer missiles and Cyberwarfare aimed at the USA.

    You still run into the instability being generated in the power industry when they are (politically) mandated to pay excessive prices for privately generated electric power, power that is unreliable and is increasingly financially devastating.
    If all laws and regulations that mandate these 'reverse' metering payments were removed, then if a business wanted to reduce it's energy costs for it's own site, fine. But the regional power companies would be able to start planning for and selling a predictable amount of power and be better able to afford to maintain the peak energy requirements for those especially hot or especially stormy and cold days when the alternate energy market falls down.

    But, Cool Video.

  2. CapitalistRoader:

    There are many, many excellent manufacturing facilities in the PRC. I know, I've audited a few of them, and I own quite a few products that were made in them.

    I'm old enough to remember when Japanese-manufactured products had a reputation in the US for being shoddy.

  3. Kurt:

    Speaking from the experience of having to completely rebuild and furnish a house following a complete loss from fire; everything that we bought that was made in China failed within a year (if that) or started looking like sh*t.

    I just tried to locate an article I read on the three stages of Chinese manufacturing for the overseas markets (I've got to organize my bookmarks better), they are:
    Prototype, their best work (that and the initial production run) is when the American buyer is trying out Chinese production.
    Full Production, committed to overseas and the original US factory is shut down. This is when the Chinese begin to shave costs with unapproved material substitutions and simpler but less sturdy designs.
    See-Saw, as the American side begins to see a flood of customer compliants and product returns; the Chinese respond with increasing quality for a time but always looking for new ways to cut corners.

    I have three driveway monitors, all the same model. The first lasted five New England winters, the second less than a year and the third failed out of the box. As a retired Telecom Engineer I still have a workbench downstairs and the autopsy of the dead show increasingly thinner gauge wires used, fewer and cheaper fastenings, cheaper components such as capacitors and chipsets. I'll only pay junk prices for Chinese goods because that's all they are.

  4. Q46:

    Controllable, predictable, 'on demand' electricity supply is required to keep tension on the grid and provide base load all the time = fossil fuels or nuclear.

    The aim is for 'renewables' increasingly to replace traditional electricity generation, leaving fossil fuels (nuclear has already been torpedoed by the ecofreaks) as back-up for when the wind is not blowing at the right speed or at all, the sun not shining or not shining enough.

    Fossil fuel generators have to burn fuel even when not connected to the grid to keep the generators spinning so they can be geared up and connected to supply current quickly - thereby the aim to reduce CO2 emissions falls at the first fence.

    This means fossil fuel plants will not be profitable so will not attract investment, therefore will require massive subsidy or (even better) be installed and operated by the State. It also will require significant investment in infrastructure (by whom) to extend and balance a national grid so electricity can be moved from places where the Sun shines/wind blows to where it does not shine/wind does not blow.

    No matter the construction of solar or how cheap panels become, like its partner wind, it is not a viable alternative to fossil fuel or nuclear.

  5. CapitalistRoader:

    The $17 Harbor Freight driveway alert? I agree, it's junk. If I turn it off during the day, it won't work if I turn it back on at night unless I physically bring it close to the transmitter and then turn it on. $13.60 after the 20% off coupon, I regret the purchase.

    But my Motorola Moto G cell phone was assembled in the PRC and it's a fine piece of $100 engineering. Motorola tried manufacturing cell phones in the US but it cost too damn much and they shut down the factory after only a year.

    I could name tens of other products that I own and find perfectly serviceable and were built in the PRC. The thing is, the PRC has a lot of outstanding manufacturing facilities and a lot of crappy manufacturing facilities. I've been in both in my job as compliance auditor for a medical device manufacturing firm.

    There's an awful lot of Chinese junk on the shelves of Harbor Freight and Walmart. You get what you pay for.

  6. CC:

    I bought 2 different brands of those little solar lights you stick in the ground around your driveway or garden. Both had an 80% failure rate after 1 year. I am sure these are less well made than rooftop solar, but still....
    Many people in my town have had hail damage (at different times)--how will that affect your insurance rates if you have expensive solar on the roof? Many roofs only last 15-20 years and then what do you do with the solar panels?

  7. Kurt:

    Since the 'junk' is on the shelves of Best Buy as well as Walmart and you can't know until you bring it home at what stage of Made in China it's from, why risk it?

    BTW the lithium battery will (at best) have half the life of a non-Chinese battery and might catch fire at the end. Good Luck.

  8. tommy ex thom w ex tomw:

    They have had 6 years since the article was published, so I suspect by now we could know how successful the product was/is.