Originally Posted by John D
....All very interesting but where will it end up ???
I'm as much in the dark (excuse the pun!) as you are on that one John.
The article does provide food for thought. My own opinion on "home based" microgeneration at this point in time is wholly in the camp of this contributor: -
"The primary psychological effect is one of delusion. People are lulled into a
sense of self-satisfaction: that they are self sufficient when in fact they are
entirely reliant on subsidy; and that they are helping to save carbon when in
fact they are diverting funds away from better options that would save far
The last sentence of that quote being particularly noteworthy.
I've looked in depth at several options currently available, and considering purchase/installation costs, likely lifespan of equipment, outlay/predicted payback period, none of them really stack up to a genuine cost saving, (or even a true environmental benefit - when such things as the overall carbon footprint of manufacturing the equipment etc. etc. are dropped into the mix as well).
One issue with these small "home based" systems, is that there doesn't seem to be any likelyhood of significant improvements to their efficiency ratios. - You can only get so much electrical output from a small photovoltaic panel or wind generator, and whatever that might be for given size of such a setup, it won't greatly improve in the near future without some major leaps in technology. In real terms it's probably much more effective in the long run to look at better loft insulation and that sort of thing.
To me, the subsidy situation hits the nail on the head, and is effectively falsifying the true staus quo. Subsidies can indeed make what would otherwise be a non-cost effective installation, appear to be substantially cost effective. Potentially great for the individual looking for personal energy use cost savings, but not so great if/when the subsidies are removed, or from the environmental point of view.
Elsewhere in the article, the response from Jeremy Leggett, (via link in second paragraph), is somewhat typical of the disingenuous phrasiology being bandied about
"First, Monbiot gets the workability of solar wrong. He says: "The amount
of power PV panels produce at this latitude is risible, [and] they also produce
it at the wrong time." Those who buy panels, therefore, will own a mere
"fashion accessory". The companies who manufacture solar PV in the UK
have shown that putting solar panels on all available building surfaces would
generate more electricity in a year, under typical cloudy British skies, than
the entire electricity consumption of our energy-profligate nation. Some
Looks like a great argument, but look what he is really saying: - "The companies who manufacture solar PV in the UK have shown that putting solar panels on all available building surfaces
Yes indeed, I'm quite sure that they would provide enough electricity, if we covered every available building surface
in Britain with solar panels
His later statement is a far better appriasal of what is required: -
"Of course, just a fraction of that area of buildings would suffice
because we would want to mix and match renewable technologies
– large and small, onshore and offshore"
This a typical example of my comment elsewhere, where I said "...the reader needs to filter out the wheat from the chaff...".
Back on the subject of Home based / Microgenerating schemes, perhaps that warrants it's own thread? - Maybe there are WAB contributors out there who have such schemes already? - I would be very interested to hear what they have to say.