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Peru To Provide Free Solar Power To Its Poorest Citizens

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @07:44PM (#44313271)

    I know.. SOCIALISM!!!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Xicor (2738029)
      solar energy installation is incredibly cheap.... like pennies. the only reason why every houshold in the US doesnt have solar panels is because the energy companies lobby our government to increase the cost of them thousandfold. .there have been many recent cases in certain states where you have to go through months of bureaucracy and thousands of dollars to install a few feet of solar panels due to all the restrictions and paperwork and permits and whatnot, while in other countries, or even some states, i
      • by quenda (644621) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @08:14PM (#44313477)

        No, the USA lacks solar panels because everybody is already on the grid.
        Peru is using photovoltaics to provide small amounts of electricity without the infrastructure cost, which makes perfect sense.
        PVs are still a very expensive way to generate large amounts of power. Only a wealthy country like Germany can afford to waste obscene amounts of money that way, where the benefits are mostly political.

        That said, there is no sane reason why countries like the US and Australia should not be use far more solar-powered water heaters, and build homes for passive solar heating. Huge amounts of fossil fuels are being wasted that way.

        • by Xicor (2738029)
          i know a lot of ppl who would install solar panels on their houses in a heartbeat to cut down on their electricity bills if not for all the hoops they have to go through to do so.
          • by roc97007 (608802)

            I know not these hoops of which you speak. Citation?

              • by roc97007 (608802)

                Ah. New York City. It figures. I think in that case, the decision was made that control was more important than acting responsibly.

                I'm on the west coast, and I didn't even have to tell my homeowner's association before I put up the panels.

                • by Cito (1725214) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @09:18PM (#44313873) Homepage

                  same goes for Georgia, we tried in southern Georgia to get solar panels but city ordinance, zoning commission inspection fees and licensing, state red tape and you have to notify the grid and since the city controls utilities here, we dont have a normal power company our power bill is issued by the city on the bill has power, water, cable, garbage all on one bill. They wont allow them to be fed back into their grid here. So far they refuse to allow it, but you can set them up and run them side by side so use the solar power for some things but it can't connect back to the grid in any form or fashion, therefore it doesn't really negate anything. Since city can just raise rates if you ever do get the ability to get them installed.

                  they raise rates on houses individually here, based on how many people live in the home and ages, etc.

                  its a racket

                  • by roc97007 (608802)

                    So, is it a flat rate based on occupancy, then? Your electricity isn't metered? That would suck, because you can't lower your bill no matter what you do. You might as well draw as much as you can and,,, I dunno, use it to make artificial diamonds or something.

                    I'm in Oregon, and we *can* feed back into the grid, but the problem is the system is required by law to shut down if the grid fails so that power line techs don't have to work with live lines. (There are ways around this at significant extra cost.

                    • by AK Marc (707885)

                      There are ways around this at significant extra cost.

                      What, a $2000 switch as part of a $15,000 install is a "significant" extra cost? Every licensed installer I've ever seen includes that cost in the "basic" install and won't install without it. Grid-tie is cheaper than batteries and (unless you are planning for the apocalypse), more useful.

                    • by roc97007 (608802)

                      There are ways around this at significant extra cost.

                      What, a $2000 switch as part of a $15,000 install is a "significant" extra cost? Every licensed installer I've ever seen includes that cost in the "basic" install and won't install without it. Grid-tie is cheaper than batteries and (unless you are planning for the apocalypse), more useful.

                      Batteries are mandatory. Grid tie is optional. Again, I'm not trying for "green", I'm trying for self sufficient.

                    • by AK Marc (707885)
                      Planning on the grid failing is always funny. I'm sure you have lots of guns, but what do you do when the grids down for weeks and people see your lights and smoke and come knocking?
                    • by roc97007 (608802)

                      Planning on the grid failing is always funny. I'm sure you have lots of guns, but what do you do when the grids down for weeks and people see your lights and smoke and come knocking?

                      Reminds me of the girl at Occupy Wall Street who was telling the reporter that we should all be forced to go back to subsistence farming. When the reporter responded that there would be mass deaths, the girl said "well, people die". A good followup question, I always thought, might have been "ok, so you're subsistence farming, and a bunch of armed men come and want your stuff. What then?"

                      A friend of mine is a firm survivalist, but he hasn't stockpiled any food, only weapons and ammunition. I asked him h

                    • by citizenr (871508)

                      Planning on the grid failing is always funny. I'm sure you have lots of guns, but what do you do when the grids down for weeks and people see your lights and smoke and come knocking?

                      Is that a tricky question? You stand your ground.

                    • by AK Marc (707885)
                      So you kill them. Why can't you say it? Because you know it's wrong and evil, but you'll pretend to be a big man on the Internet.
                    • by AK Marc (707885)
                      With grid-tie solar, you'd have full power for about 8 hours a day, you'd just lose power at night. I guess where I am I don't have to worry. The coldest night in the past 10 years would mean that without heat, I'd have to put a second blanket on the bed, or the hottest noon would mean I'd have to open the windows or maybe go outside and cool off in the pool. I have 12 months of propane for cooking on hand (probably less if we used it for 3 meals a day and heating hot water, even less if we boil water fr
                    • by citizenr (871508)

                      So you kill them. Why can't you say it? Because you know it's wrong and evil, but you'll pretend to be a big man on the Internet.

                      You kill them if they intend to hurt you, its pretty obvious. But what does it have to do with backup battery and solar power? :)

                    • by roc97007 (608802)

                      > With grid-tie solar, you'd have full power for about 8 hours a day, you'd just lose power at night.

                      Night is when you need it the most.

                      Some would say, you have a pool? That's not very green.

                      There are hand-pump filters that will render the water drinkable without having to boil it.

                    • by roc97007 (608802)

                      A friend of mine is a firm survivalist, but he hasn't stockpiled any food, only weapons and ammunition. I asked him how that's supposed to work, and he said it's ok, whatever food he needs he'll just take from his liberal neighbors. What are they going to do, call the cops? Although I personally don't work that way, I have to admit, he has a point.

                      Your "friend" is a psychopath. My advice would be to stay well away from him (if he exists anywhere outside of your head).

                      If only the greens and survivalists learned to stop ridiculing each other, they might find they had some things in common.

                      The greens I know may be naive, but at least they're not planning to kill their neighbours.

                      Oh, he definitely exists. Think about it for a minute -- how likely is it that people with that mind set *don't* exist? I'll wait.

                      He has other qualities that justify being his friend. We disagree on this point, but I hope to turn him around some day. In the meantime, I'm mindful of
                      this [dilbert.com].

                      I think the point is, it's not enough to merely have supplies or the means to produce them, but inevitably at some point you will also need the means to defend them. This is where the greens fall short, I think, and in a

                    • by roc97007 (608802)

                      I know conservatives tend to be "fuck you, I've got mine (or I'll get yours and make it mine)", but it's still shocking to hear of someone who would willingly kill people they disagree with instead of being proactive to solve their own problems. I'm pretty sure that negates any right to EVER complain about ANYONE on welfare ever again.

                      I can't grasp how someone can rabidly rail against a certain behavior when taken by others, and then be completely unable (or unwilling) to notice when they do THE EXACT SAME THING. It doesn't take a genius to realize conservative thinking is the cause of America's demise.

                      Ok, so, you are free to believe whatever makes you feel better. (It's still a free country in that respect.) But I think you may be missing the point. Practicing self-sustainability is a fine goal when nobody else needs what you have. But if things turn bad due to any number of breakdowns (power, transportation, monumental crop failure) you will inevitably be put in a position where you need to defend what you have against people who have not prepared or have no interest in doing so. And that policeman

                    • by roc97007 (608802)

                      From the comments on the Dilbert strip you linked to:

                      Myself, I like the argument that knowing and working with your neighbors is a good approach to security; thieves last Friday swiped my own hunting rifle. Big arms cache's will always be a strategic target for any organized pilfering, whether IRS or militia or garden-variety thug.

                      I do believe it's important to work with one's neighbors; in this way I disagree with the person I was talking about, and as I said, I still hope to turn him around. There is a school of thought that you are obligated not only to provide for yourself in an emergency but be equipped to provide for others. I think that's a good idea. But there's no shortage of garden-variety thugs, so security is still a requirement.

                      Regarding weapons themselves being a target, it's true. And anyone who thinks they've secu

                    • by AK Marc (707885)
                      It has to do with the way you worded "stand your ground" where you imply you don't help anyone and demand they leave and (possibly) kill them if they disagree. Really, what would you do if someone was non-violently banging on your door and shouting "this guy has food and water and won't give any to anyone" to the crowd that's gathering to see what's going on?
                  • same goes for Georgia, we tried in southern Georgia to get solar panels but city ordinance, zoning commission inspection fees and licensing, state red tape and you have to notify the grid and since the city controls utilities here, we dont have a normal power company our power bill is issued by the city on the bill has power, water, cable, garbage all on one bill. They wont allow them to be fed back into their grid here.

                    You may want to read this ...

                    http://cleantechnica.com/2013/07/15/peru-solar-power-program-to-give-electricity-to-2-million-of-poorest-peruvians/ [cleantechnica.com]

                    Meanwhile, in the United States, Americans for Prosperity - a political lobbying group founded by billionaire fossil fuel industrialists Charles and David Koch - is currently lobbying the Georgia state legislature to reject a plan requiring Georgia Power, one of the largest energy utilities in the American Southeast, to buy more solar energy.

                    • by Cito (1725214)

                      I wish I was on Georgia Power,

                      unfortunately my city feeds power in from Colquitt EMC, that power company gives power to the City, that city then gives it out to people at a raised rate. Georgia power only serves the rural areas around here not in the city

                  • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

                    You should require power companies to fund installation. Next time they say they need to build a new power station due to demand tell them "no, you fund the installation of solar and improvements to efficiency". Essentially they loan people the money to buy and install solar PV or beef up their insulation and then it gets paid back over 10-20 years via that person's energy bill. The reduction in their bill covers the cost of the loan, plus the small increase that the power company would have demanded to fun

        • by Nutria (679911)

          Natural gas is cheap enough that there's no reason to replace it with a solar system.

          Now... if my home were all-electric, then there might very well be economic justification to install solar water heaters.

          • Natural gas is cheap enough that there's no reason to replace it with a solar system.

            CH4 + 2 O2 -> CO2 + 2 H2O

            Not "no reason", just "no economic reason if we don't take externalities into account".

            • by Nutria (679911)

              The externalities that I must take into account are the bills I have to pay every month. There's no room for the cost of installing a meaningful number of PV arrays which are 15% solar efficient at best, and then lose 20% of that to DC-AC inverter inefficiency.

        • by roc97007 (608802)

          > Peru is using photovoltaics to provide small amounts of electricity without the infrastructure cost, which makes perfect sense.

          ....indeed. I read somewhere that eastern block countries have a better cellular infrastructure than the US, because they started later, without all the baggage of powerful existing telecoms. It'd make sense for this to work similarly for other forms of infrastructure.

          • by Nethead (1563)

            because they started later, without all the baggage of powerful existing telecoms.

            No, because the new telecoms didn't have to also support the existing legacy wire outside plant. Remember that most of the mobile companies grew out of wireline companies.

            • by roc97007 (608802)

              Existing legacy wire is the baggage part, and mobile companies growing out of existing wireline companies is the powerful part.

              • by Nethead (1563)

                And to further the line of barons I can name two of those wireline companies that came out of the railroads. Sprint (Southern Pacific Internal Network Telecommunications) and Qwest (BNSF) used the railroad right of way to lay fiber. Back in the wire/fiber days, right of way was king.

                McCaw did a trick with Clearwire. He, where he could, bypassed the wire. He built it up mostly using Dragonwave microwave links using both mobile-wireless and point-to-point wireless spectrum that he is so good at getting. Cl

        • by crazybit (918023) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @08:33PM (#44313609)

          Peru is using photovoltaics to provide small amounts of electricity without the infrastructure cost, which makes perfect sense.

          That is EXACTLY why I consider this is an AWESOME idea. I have visited some of those locations, and the geography around them is extremely harsh. Many of these families live above 2500m altitude (some even above 3500m - 4000m), get their water from rivers, wells or old aqueducts (some of them made during the Inka's empire), and live mainly from farming and livestock. Giving them electricity from PV so they can use basic things, like led lights and small radios, will improve their quality of life A LOT. Bringing them electricity from the regular grid would be cost-prohibitive.

          • by gman003 (1693318)

            You don't even have to look at undeveloped regions to see that "expensive generator" can be cheaper than "grid hookup + cheap generator".

            I live in a fairly big American city. A state capital, even. Pretty far from a third-world country (or whatever Peru is - the term seems to be pretty vague, I'm probably using it wrong).

            Just yesterday, one of the never-ending road crews installed some pedestrian crossing lights across a road I travel every day to get to work. And guess what? There's little solar panels to

          • by jhol13 (1087781)

            If they got a river or like, they will get hugely more electricity from that. Probably cheaper too, especially if there are few houses who share the construction.
            Just 10 meters height with 10 liters per second gives 1kW, and that is extremely small scale.

            • In moutainous areas, you have torrents rather than rivers, i.e. very irregular and seasonal streams. You'll get a lot of power when snow and ice melts but the rest of the year, not so much, possibly zero watt for monthes end.

            • by Alioth (221270)

              The other reply mentioned the intermittent flowing water problem in these areas, the other problem is that the homes in a village aren't all densely packed like a Western city, but may be a couple of hundred meters apart. It's a lot cheaper to put a solar panel on each dwelling and not need much cable than have to run several miles of cable to wire up a dozen homes.

        • It depends on where in the US you are talking about. I heat my home two months a year, three if it is a really bad year. I cool my house usually four months of the year. It is July and I am feeling the bite from the electric company this month. I love winter it's two month of low bills and little usage on the electric bill.

          I have been to the northern states and yes they may benefit from that but the mid-west and farther south probably not.

      • I can go down to costco tomorrow and buy enough solar to power my house and as long as my wiring meets code I'm good. And it's the same damn codes that builders follow wiring any other residential crap.

        I've said this before and I'm sure I'll say it again: stop blaming the phantom 'bureaucracy' for all your woes. There's a bloody good reason we have regulations about how homes are wired. You know fire can spread, right?

        Also, major citation needed on solar panels for pennies. Got the /. article. Seriou
      • by Nutria (679911)

        There are too many trees around my house. One really strong wind (not enough to damage the roof) snaps a branch and there goes thousands of dollars.

        • There are too many trees around my house. One really strong wind (not enough to damage the roof) snaps a branch and there goes thousands of dollars.

          Uh, no? Any solar panel made for roof mounting has a tempered glass top. It's hail proof. Random branches are nothing. A good full-roof solar panel installation stands up to strong winds better than asphalt shingles. Shingles get lifted and ripped off in strong winds. Solar panels, properly installed, do not.

          Try again.

      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        solar energy installation is incredibly cheap.... like pennies.

        Are you kidding me? An installation big enough to run a house would cost thousands of dollars in panels, wiring, mounting hardware, battery storage, etc. Show me where you can find 1000 watts of solar panels for under a dollar.

        Another issue is that some houses are not oriented well to collect sunlight. For example, a house with a single slopes roof that slopes toward the north would be an inefficient place to put solar panels.

        • If you have room, maybe install panels somewhere next to the house.
          Yes, it's crap if you want to run all kinds of high powered equipments including fridge, gaming PC (or old CRT), big TV, clothes drier, kettle etc. and I forgot home A/C, which is common in the US (but not so much in european countries). And wanting to do this at any time.

          The equation changes if you start with a home with no electricity. I assume heating/cooking is done with wood, maybe alcohol and bottles of natural gas, and you may have oc

          • by Alioth (221270)

            Well home A/C is one of those things where solar might make sense: you want the greatest amount of AC when the sun is shining most strongly, so the production of PV panels peaks just when your demand peaks.

          • by jklovanc (1603149)

            The equation changes if you start with a home with no electricity. I assume heating/cooking is done with wood, maybe alcohol and bottles of natural gas,

            All of which produce Greenhouse gasses at high levels. There is already a problem in the North East of the US with so many people using wood fired heating. The soot and other pollutant levels are becoming a concern. Do you know why London was so foggy in the 19th century? Because the water vapor condensed on all the soot in the air. You seem to be proposing that we all go back to no TV, refrigeration, computers, bright lights, washing machines, driers, etc. Few people are willing to go back to the 19th cent

            • Actually a few billion people do not have refrigeration, computers, bright lights or washing machines.

        • by jgrahn (181062)

          Another issue is that some houses are not oriented well to collect sunlight. For example, a house with a single slopes roof that slopes toward the north would be an inefficient place to put solar panels.

          That's why they're doing it in Peru, south of the Equator ...

      • solar energy installation is incredibly cheap.... like pennies. the only reason why every houshold in the US doesnt have solar panels is because the energy companies lobby our government to increase the cost of them thousandfold...

        Methinks there is another angle to this matter - China Phobia.

        China can produce PV panels cheapest than anybody in the world, and if USA is indeed serious into cheap electricity, the most rational action to take is to get as many solar panel as the Chinese can produce and install them in the U.S. of A.

        But is that happening ?

        Why not?

        Instead of making US strong again by taming the power crisis, congress is more concern of "unfair dumping" or whatever fucking excuse they can come up with, and ban the import o

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        solar energy installation is incredibly cheap.... like pennies.

        Installation might be cheap, the cost of buying the power is awfully expensive. Utilities in the US are paying $0.14-0.82/kWh, and in Germany they're paying 0.35-70/kWh on solar generation. Here in Ontario we're paying $0.23-88kW/h for solar generation.FiT(Feed in Tariff) programs [wikipedia.org] are the bane of cheap energy, and nearly everywhere they're in existence the price of electricity goes through the roof. Hell here in Ontario hydro prices have gone up 30% in the last 4 years.

      • I looked into putting solar panels on my roof. In my state the issue wasn't regulation. Neither my state or county really put any barriers up that I could find. The HOA might have been a different story but I never got that far. The state even offered a subsidy. The factor preventing it was cost of the panels, cost of installation and the amount of energy produced. Essentially even with a subsidy the break even point on the installation was about five years longer than the expected life of the panels. So he

    • by pwizard2 (920421) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @10:18PM (#44314211)
      It's sad, but that is the prevailing mentality in the USA right wing these days. Helping other people and generally being a decent human being is decried as "OMG SOCIALISM!!!!!11" and is looked down upon because such actions just help a bunch of "lazy moochers". How are the poor supposed to haul themselves up by their bootstraps when they can't even afford shoes? Of course, those poor people have no one but themselves to blame because they weren't born into rich families, right? The rich people who act like that are fucking hypocrites because they often get corporate subsidies and tax breaks the rest of us peons can't exploit--and then they act like they fucking worked for it!
  • Not a crazy idea... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by niftymitch (1625721) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @07:51PM (#44313325)

    Two million times say $50 per panel is not crazy money.

    a $50 panel can power LED lights for hours.

    a $50 panel can power cell phones or mountain top to mountain top mesh networks.

    Mountain top mesh networks can look like those old triangulation meshes that worked their way up canyons. Line of site Pringle-can style WiFi can support networking fully as rich as the Telebit modem networks that bootstrapped the computer age. Dust off the old store and forward protocols like mail and "bob's your uncle".

    • by SolitaryMan (538416) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @08:14PM (#44313481) Homepage Journal
      Especially since this keeps them dependent on their *own* energy sources, I'd say it is a pretty great idea.
    • by quenda (644621) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @08:23PM (#44313539)

      Two million times say $50 per panel is not crazy money.

      TFA says "about 12,500 solar (photovoltaic) systems to provide for approximately 500,000 households at an overall cost of about $200 million."
      So $16,000 per village system. They are not simply putting one small panel and a motocycle battery on each house.
      The photos in the inhabit.com article are very misleading. Shoddy work, taking somebody else's article, and adding your own vaguely related stock photos.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Well, you still need to store the energy somehow for non-sunny times. Even if it's a pump filling up a big water tank during the day, and then letting the water turn a turbine at night.

      • Well, you still need to store the energy somehow for non-sunny times. Even if it's a pump filling up a big water tank during the day, and then letting the water turn a turbine at night.

        A modest battery for LED lights to read a book (or kindle paper white).

        A modest battery for a modest low power display and low power computer. The new XO tablet should run for hours after dark.

        Lights out and go to bed at a decent hour. That is a darn good thing.

        Sun rises and store and forward technology fires up a mesh WiFi and bob's your uncle. News and mail flow up and down the valleys. Yes West Virgina could too.

        The flaw from the outside looking in is that folk want "Las Vegas" power budgets

      • by cusco (717999)
        It will be a cheap, basic battery. The government is providing these because people don't have the $50 in spare funds to buy them. They certainly don't have several hundred dollars for a pump, plumbing, cistern, turbine and generator
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @08:44PM (#44313693) Journal

    Cheapness isn't really the point here. It's lack of a power grid, and the prohibitive cost, effort, and impact of building one up. (Ok, so cheapness is part of it.) The thing about solar is that it's not dependent on an existing power grid. This means it can be used anywhere there's a reasonable amount of sunlight and the power requirements aren't too massive. Caveat: It's not just the solar panels, there needs to be a way to store energy also, which usually means batteries, which have their own lifecycle issues.

    Seriously, if they could put aside their differences, the greens and the preppers would realize they want the same thing for different reasons -- the greens because it's, well, green, and the preppers because it reduces or even eliminates reliance on the grid. It's all about marketing.

    For instance, I'm not sure I buy into solar being all that green, when you take in the entire end-to-end environmental footprint including manufacturing and disposal at EOL. Nevertheless, I have solar panels and battery banks at my home, because they still work (at least until EOL) when the power shuts down, and that's valuable to me. At some point I would like to have enough panels to be completely off the grid, and the nice thing about solar is that you can do it in small increments, whereas power grids and centralized power generation needs to be done in much larger chunks, with MUCH larger start-up costs.

  • Is this the end shitty cell phone batteries?
  • by bayankaran (446245) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @11:30PM (#44314615) Homepage

    I have seen the benefits of solar power in rural, tribal communities of Kerala, South India. These communities are living in the edge of forests - sometimes deep inside forests - where conventional power distribution via any type of cable/wire is impractical and prohibitively expensive.

    The government has provided a solar panel to power basic needs - lights, fans, radio and a small TV. This is the way solar power has to be harnessed at least till the efficiency of panels goes up and costs go down for this to be widely useful.

  • by b4upoo (166390) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @12:09AM (#44314757)

    I realize that the public in the US is sort of zoned out, brain dead or zombie like. But really we just can not keep pretending that other nations are backwards or poorly governed when they so frequently do things that the US can not. If any claims about American superiority are true we should be more than able to do things like provide solar power for the poor, medical care, and countless other items such as decent educations for poor students.
                            We are appearing clown like to the world.

"Floggings will continue until morale improves." -- anonymous flyer being distributed at Exxon USA

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