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Old 07-20-2008, 09:41 AM   #22
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Vienna
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Solar power has a major disadvantage compared to other energies... even wind: they require a significant amount of land. However, this may be an advantage if solar thermal plants were placed on desert terrain. Deserts offer the ideal conditions for solar thermal power to operate and the land is almost worthless. Why not take advantage of desert land?

A powerplant must pay for itself through the sale of electricity... it is purchased with borrowed funds. Because of this, most of the cost of solar electricity goes to paying interest on the investment. Coal power is cheaper than solar because the power plants are so cheap and produce huge sums of electricity, but the 15,000 tons of coal per day for a 1GW coal plant makes it expensive to operate.

There are also a number of solar systems that could be used:

Photovoltaic cells are among the most popular means of collecting solar energy because there is almost no restriction to where they can be used. The biggest disadvantage is that they only capture a fraction of the potential energy of electricity.

Solar Thermal plants are the best means of collecting solar energy on a huge scale. Despite its reputation as an expensive energy, it only requires a huge capital investment. The biggest issue with solar thermal is that they don't produce electricity at night. The issue of storing energy is where renewable energies lose their luster. Because wind turbines can't store excess energy when it's abundant, they won't be able to harness all the wind energy they capture. Same thing goes for solar.

Solar thermal chimneys are rarely known, but they may be the best means of builind solar thermal plants on a huge scale. They even could generate power at night because the ground would retain a significant amount of heat. Solar thermal chimneys are quite simple: a 2000 foot chimney in the center of an area covered by a canopy would produce a wind current through the chimney.
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