[ExI] solar is looking better all the time: was RE: Efficiency of wind power

Emlyn emlynoregan at gmail.com
Tue Apr 19 02:03:28 UTC 2011

On 19 April 2011 00:50, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 12:03:13AM +0930, Emlyn wrote:
>> The grid is a centralising, industrial age technology, solar isn't.
> Which is why the grid has so much pain dealing with it.
> Can't be helped.

Well, yeah. Inverters, mentioned earlier, are only necessary if you're
going to use AC. Inside a dwelling or business, if you convert to DC
throughout (9V?), solar becomes a lot simpler. Appliances/electronics
get much easier (just chuck the power pack and plug it straight in,
they'll disappear eventually). Washing machines and such are tougher,
but solvable.

So then it (solar) looks like a technology which will make the most
sense on buildings to power themselves, to begin with, with industrial
scale stuff on the old system for a while. The grid then needs to turn
inside out; rather than a system for broadcasting mass power from
central places, and have conversion losses at the point of
consumption, you need a system for sharing locally produced power,
with conversion losses in the grid here and there where you want to
bump the power up to a distance transmittable form; eg: a DC local
network, with suburban subs providing inverters to jump it up to high
voltage AC for shipping elsewhere, where appropriate.

I guess what'll happen is we'll have both grids for a while - the high
voltage "broadcast" one and an emerging inside-out local power DC
network, which can be a lot more ad hoc because it's just about
shipping around surplus where it exists.


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