Silliness of Solar farms

On my commute to work there is a solar farm they put up last year. Row after row of aluminium racks with solar panels covering what was once a nice field of grass for cows.
The problem with solar in my opinion is it’s nearly impossible to get back the energy it takes to manufacture and install them.

Today as I was driving in I noticed a helicopter spraying stuff like a a crop duster. And then I realized they weren’t spraying pesticides they were spraying water. Why? To clean the build up of dust off the solar panels. Not only do the panels face cloudy days, rainy days and just cold weather which lowers their efficiency when it does get hot and dry we get tons of dust blocking the sun from hitting the solar cell…LOL!

Yes, using a helicopter to clean the panels. Why? My guess they did not anticipate the dust when they were calculating the efficiency of the panels, and did not put in a automated wash system and they I doubt could not have gotten a govt grant had they had to plumb the entire field with a wash system during a drought.

So, not only do you have the toxic manufacturing process, the strip mining, the massive energy foot print in building them, you have to use large amounts of water to keep the clean. Could you think of a less efficient way clean the panels than a helicopter.

Just think of all the homes that bought solar panels. Do you think the home owner is cleaning the dust off them every few days in the summer?

So basically all the tax subsidy are not only a waste of money, they actually contribute to pollution for little to no reason. If solar was really viable it would not need large govt subsidy…

There is one proposed were I live. County wouldn’t give them as much money as they wanted (I was one who spoke before the commission arguing against the amount of money the company wanted). They ended up leasing an additional 50 acres to put addition panels on so they could make the project finances work.

The poposed one here has a formula of how much is expected to be produced on Sunny days for each season. They will employ 2 people who’s only job will be to clean the pannels. That’s their entire job.

If you read on solar web pages, they state the panels will need to be cleaned occasionaly.

My main problem with solar – the homeowner, or the power company running the farm is going to have times when the solar doesn’t produce. Even the super one in arizona (mirrors that heat an oil substance) has a few hours a day (on the longest days of sunshine) where no energy is produced.

Renewed energy capacity has now surpassed coal and will only continue

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Good thing that battery technology is continually getting better

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Massive strip mining and pollution for rare earth and other resources to make those panels is mind boggling.

The answer is nuclear fusion IMO. But now I’m getting ahead of my pay grade.

Other forms of enegery never require maintenance and cleaning

2 people is a big deal for a 600-1000 acre solar farm? Do coal plants not have a dedicated maintenance staff?

I was saying this as opposed to the cost of renting a helicopter who knows how many times a year to do the cleaning.

I’m betting the cost of operating & maintaining a solar farm is lower than the maintenance costs associated with a coal burning power plant.

Large-scale solar photovoltaic ($25 per kW)

Subcritical coal power ($43 per kW)

Wasn’t arguing that.

Was just saying that renting a chooper for something like that once or twice a year it more expensive than what they propose here.

I will give the OPer credit for one thing…at present I would guess the net energy for solar is negative.

Solar concentrating would be better. And if titanium dioxide can eventually replace silicon the balance might be more favorable for solar generation that way as that’s just beach sand instead of harder to acquire silicon.


Still a ways from fusion but yes that would be a dream solution.

I googled and am unsure that a helicopter was used in the first place. I found several mentions of using them to clean wind turbines and power lines but not a single thing about cleaning solar panels. I also live next to a solar farm in Palm Springs that is susceptible to weekly dust storms and have never seen a helicopter near them much less cleaning them. A lot of them here are self cleaning.

That robot is taking mah jerb!!!

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“Capacity” means nothing, except there was lots of subsidy… How much was used by consumers?

So you have to add to their energy foot print the manufacture and installation of cleaning machines… Just more proof they probably never make back the energy they produce.

I’m betting none of it.

All those electrons just sat in unused wires until they passed the expiration date and had to be dumped into the landfill.

Terrible on the environment and we’re paying for it!

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Your post illustrates what happens when govt subsidies a not ready for prime time solution. Or what we used to call boondoggles.

30% of the energy generated in California last year was from renewable sources and that is not including private rooftop solar.

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Coal burning power plants don’t have associated machinery for maintenance? I’m betting they do and that they are a bit more sophisticated than an automatic squeegee