Why don’t you see massive solar arrays on top of universities?

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Because it’s not cost effective.

Some do.

And then the fight started…

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Talking to ex next-door neighbor yesterday evening.
He put solar on his roof ten years ago. His electric
bill is running $300. For the year.

No. I mean solar is a greenie thing. (One of the greenie things that I endorse and enjoy engineering myself in my spare time.)
You’d think they’d at least have a few panels hanging at the school entrance to show they’re down with the struggle. If cost efficiency is the issue then why do they have social science departments?
As universities are inherently more liberal, and fighting fossil fuel production falls into that camp, you’d think they put the damn things out even if they didn’t hook them up.
And, note, solar is only cost inefficient if you’re working on a short horizon. Most universities operate as if they’ll be there forever.

Just a simple question from a simple man.

Fair question. Let’s talk about UH. We have to beg
for funding for buildings. The new medical college
exterior shows funding is a big thing. Putting solar
adds probably 10-15% to costs, so we don’t do it.
I doubt if any anslysis is done on pay out.

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I know Cal State Bakersfield and Fresno State have solar panels.

That said, it makes economic sense in the Central Valley in CA. It’s not quite there yet for most of the US.

That will definitely change if natural gas prices stay high though.

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A lot of schools and businesses in CA (at least in Central Valley) put solar panels in their parking lots.

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I spent roughly $1300 to power two light panels and a 5,000 btu window unit on our cabin near Lufkin. I can run the window unit between 12-14 hrs a day. I can power the lights almost indefinitely. Doing both at the same time changes those. Of course there are myriad intangibles, but if your focus (goal) is narrow you can make it work out.
My thing is I don’t like to sweat indoors. So powering a window unit is always the first thing I consider when I’m considering building anything on unimproved land. Of course sewage, water, et. al. go without saying. I always feel like if I have a cool place to sleep I’ll eventually figure the rest out. Solar did that for me. And I’m not wealthy. Since we use the cabin three-four months a year, off and on, I figure it will have paid for itself in 2.5-3 years max.

On this narrowly defined project that’s not a bad return for me. (Plus, it would cost me $7,500 to get electric out there)

For water, do you have a water well to power too, or
we doing old school hand pump ?

What do you do at night? Do you have battery backup it do you use a generator?

Well, we dug a shallow well by hand. It actually took us three days because we didn’t know what we were doing. Conventional wisdom is it isn’t safe to drink, especially as we put in a leeching pond but we use a ceramic water purifier (about 14 inches tall). We’ve tested it maybe three or four times and its fine…although high in manganese and some other stuff.
We don’t drink it, though. Just concerned about the eyes.

We want to put a well on but its expensive.

Oh, the pump and panel came as a kit. I bought it from an outfit in california. I can’t remember what I paid. Maybe $350. Its very small as it only supplies a sink, shower head, and toilet. We have to re-prime every trip. Not too much of a hassle.

What do we do at night? Well, the way its set up is all our power goes through our battery array. Nothing directly from the panels. I don’t know if you can go source to outlet. I’ve been told that’s not what you should try. (But I’m not a pro and I’m learning.)
So, to answer your question: when its hot we just work outside in the day and turn the AC on bout an hr before Bed.

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I enjoyed reading that. Thanks for sharing :slight_smile:

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Cool good to know

I wouldn’t give unsolicited advice but if you want a hobby that is addictive solar is it. The first time you set a panel in your yard and turn a 60w light bulb on you’re hooked. Its like when you get your first ipad and you hear that swish sending an email. You’re like Holy Hell! I run the universe!

What kind of batteries do you use.

Finally a thread in which nobody has been insulted yet. Ooohhh, the temptation is great.


I use Sigmas 12V. They are the cheapest and they last maybe 10-12 years. You can spend a lot on batteries and your efficiency basically goes up incrementally as the price does. My batteries are 60% of my total expenses. I’ve seen people spend as low as $40 a piece for 12v batteries and they do just fine. I got my four for about $580 but I had an online coupon that took off about $80.

Also, my statement that I spent $1300 doesn’t include wiring and connectors or “mistake damage.” So my start up costs were marginally higher but not too much. Had I just paid more attention I wouldn’t have bought this or that…and I bought a charge controller that was more sophisticated than my array required. But I only use two of the batteries at a time for the cabin. I use one for my pump panel kit, and I have one I keep as standby power.

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You and I disagree on a sh!tload, but it takes a lot of commitment to drag your butt out in the woods and install all that stuff without direct experience. My hat is off. Convincing your family it’s better than a weekend at a resort, well, you have a special skill set.