Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 04-12-2006, 05:59   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: cairns australia
Boat: now floating easy37
Posts: 636
Images: 41
ecological footprint of solar panels

i was having a discussion with a guy the other day about solar panels he was having a go at me for buying them saying that the price to produce the panel far outwayed the power the panel would put out,

my comeback to this was that is purchasing these and hopefully making the lifewstyle choice to go cruising and be independent of the land my ecologicla foot print would be significantly less as i would be using efficient devices powered entirely by the sun no longer be sitting in a house full of inefficient devices powered by enormous amounts of energy rpoduced in environmentally unfriendly ways,

now this is just my way of thinking anybody agree
sean
__________________

__________________
northerncat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2006, 06:37   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
Talbot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Brighton, UK
Boat: Privilege 37
Posts: 3,579
Images: 32
bu**er the ecological footprint, these make cruising life much easier ,


and of course they will dramatically reduce the number of engine hours.
__________________

__________________
"Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
Robert A Heinlein
Talbot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2006, 07:01   #3
cruiser

Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 4,525
Yeah, your friend there is way off. That case may be true if you are buying them for your home, where you:

1) Buy endless amounts of junk to fill the place
2) Throw that junk out
3) Keep lights on all day long
4) Water your lawn, hose driveway, etc..
5) Drive a car to work every day
6) Fertilize your lawn
7) Cut down trees to add an addition to you house
8) Disrupt wetlands to build a new house
9) Build a new house
10) Mow your lawn
11) Get Christmas trees, etc...
12) Take long showers with hot water
(the list could go on and on)

No matter what pollution you create on a boat, it's going to be far less than a 10th of the environmental impact of living on land. No question.

If the solar panels are for living on a boat, you are doing a tremendous favor to the environment.

Even my diesel genset is a huge environmental benefit compared to owning/renting a house and all the waste that goes along with that lifestyle.

My biggest pet peeve are people who think boaters cause harm to the environment. They drive up in their SUVs after fertilizing their lawns next to the bay claiming that the boats must go since they are destroying the water with the human waste. It's mind boggling.
__________________
ssullivan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2006, 09:10   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 7,930
Sean said:
Quote:
No matter what pollution you create on a boat, it's going to be far less than a 10th of the environmental impact of living on land. No question.
I question your statement.

Do you have the facts to back it up or is that just your bias?

Deep
__________________
DeepFrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2006, 15:18   #5
cruiser

Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 4,525
That is indeed a bias and of course a figure that is not literal. Please question away though... I'm sure I can prove that land life is a huge detriment to the environment as compared to living at sea in a sailboat.

Just driving to work every day (buying tires, brakes, gasoline, oil, and a new car every couple years) is more environmental impact than boat life.

Then take water use - a huge factor in our environment and the survivability of our species. Here is a snippet from a professor posting on a raintwater harvesting group I joined:

A century ago, the average American used only about 10 gallons of
water a day to drink, cook, clean, and bathe. Today, Americans use
100 gallons a day per person on average, causing stresses on our
sources of drinking water.

I use 140 gals of water for 2 people in a month. These are the kinds of things you do by necessity as a boater that are more environmentally sound.

Take trash too - as a boater, you aren't contributing much of anything to the landfill. You strive all day to find new ways to reuse your stuff since trash is a PITA on a boat. I produce one small, white kitchen size garbage back of trash (would be less if we composted) per week - again, for 2 people.

Our car is used once or twice a week to get groceries right now, and in the summer is parked the whole time.

Next, we can look at appliances and electrical loads. Everything on a boat is set up to reduce energy use. Lighting my entire "house" can be done for weeks on end with a few batteries. The computer I write to you on is the most energy efficient one I could find (laptop - desktops consume more power). All electrical loads are shut off when not used - no TV or electronics slowly using up power while not in use. They are fully disconnected.

What about refrigerators? How much power does your land one use? I turn on mine for 45 mins per day right now, and 1 hr per day in the hot summer. How long does your compressor run?

I produce all my electricity 2 people need for the week by using 5 gals of so of diesel. How much diesel is burned (radioactive waste is created, etc...) to produce the electricty you use in your monthy electric bill?

Beat that living on land.
__________________
ssullivan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2006, 15:38   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
44'cruisingcat's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 7,452
Images: 69
A friend of mine used to work for a solar panel manufacturer about 10 years ago. (Solarex) At that time he told me that solar panels had only in recent years started to "break even" - that is, they would actually produce as much or more power in their useful lifespan as it took to manufacture them.

So prior to that, that guy was pretty much right - solar panels weren't really all that "green" at all. Now of course the technology has improved, solar panels take much less energy to make, and are more efficient and last longer, so in nett terms they do come out well in front.

On a Watt/hour per dollar basis I'd guess they are still a very expensive way to buy electricity, but for a cruising boat they are about the best option around.
__________________
44'cruisingcat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2006, 15:49   #7
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,022
Ecological footprint?
Isn't that the kind of logic that leads to "Kill everyone, so the roaches can be safe."

Everything is a compromise. If you kill everyone, the household pets starve. If you don't kill anyone, the worms starve. Decisions, decisions.

Best comment I've seen was a cartoon from the early 70's that showed two cavemen running from a hungry sabertooth tiger with a caption like "Conservation my ass!"
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2006, 19:11   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 7,930
Ecological Footprint

Well, you may be right. I'm a land-lubber,not by choice, but I live in an apartment. Don't own a car and pack my groceries home in a backpack (mostly). I mean always in the backpack but sometimes I use the bus. I try to use the Club Packs as much as possible but even so have more than "one small bag" of garbage in a week. I guess I'll have to have a talk with my cat, she seems to be using way to much kitty litter. And that stuff is heavy.

Remember that the statistics on water useage include manufacturing and agricultural proccessing use as well as personal use, so your share is still higher than you think. However, I have to admit that I do waste water. Smell good though.

So it really is pretty difficult to know who comes out ahead on this one.

Yeah, I guess the homeless win this dog fight.
__________________
DeepFrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2006, 21:25   #9
Registered User
 
coot's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 367
Images: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by northerncat
i was having a discussion with a guy the other day about solar panels he was having a go at me for buying them saying that the price to produce the panel far outwayed the power the panel would put out,
You don't put solar panels on your boat for energy or cost efficiency. You put solar panels on your boat because your shore power cable is only 10 meters long, so you have to unplug it if you are going to get anywhere.

Seriously - the only reasonable comparison is with an alternative that you could actually use. On a boat, the practical choices for energy are solar, windmill, and fossil fuel.

Once you have the solar panel, you might as well use it, even at the dock. Whatever energy it consumed to manufacture, the panel is there now and it can reduce your need to use even more energy from the shore power.

Quote:
my comeback to this was that is purchasing these and hopefully making the lifewstyle choice to go cruising and be independent of the land my ecologicla foot print would be significantly less as i would be using efficient devices powered entirely by the sun no longer be sitting in a house full of inefficient devices powered by enormous amounts of energy rpoduced in environmentally unfriendly ways,
You don't go cruising because you want to reduce your ecological footprint, either. You go cruising because you want to.

Determining your own ecological footprint is an extraordinarily complex exercise because such trivial things can have such a large effect. For example, if I eat a kiwi fruit, my ecological footprint gets a LOT larger. Why? I live in the eastern US, and that kiwi fruit came here all the way from Chile. That's a lot of bunker oil burned by the ship that brought it here. I'm thinking I don't have to eat a lot of kiwi fruits for the ecological effect to be substantially greater than manufacturing a solar panel.
__________________
Mark S.
coot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2006, 21:57   #10
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,022
Coot, "that kiwi fruit came here all the way from Chile. " you mean I'm not the only guy who figures if we can afford to ship FRUIT halfway around the world (OK, 1/4 of the way<G>) and still sell if for 25c...that fuel oil costs must be TOO CHEAP?

(There, I said it. )

Life sometimes feels like an Escher drawing, an exercise in perspective and the lack thereof.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2006, 23:48   #11
Kai Nui
Guest

Posts: n/a
The environmental impact is really a moot point. Life is about compromises and convenience. Having solar on a boat, to allow me to have the comfort level I want is worth the impact. The issue of impact to manufacture vs benefit to run could be debated for ever. Consider the fuel burnt, and the pollution generated to mine the raw materials etc... The fact is, if we wanted to live in caves, and eat what we grow, the impact would be less than the most frugal greenie bicycling to work, and living in a high rise apartement. If it is necessary to take a chunk out of the ozone, and shorten the earth's life by a minute to enjoy my life, I have as much right to do that as the person who feels it is OK to have 8 kids, and live 2 hours from work, commuting in a Lincoln Navigater. It is not about worse or better for the environment. It is about practical.
Northerncat, this guy, I do not suppose he lives in a tee-pee and grows his own food does he? I bet he even owns a cell phone, RF POLLUTION!!! OMG, I better not go there Just how would he propose you charge your batteries? Or would he believe that since you choose to live on a boat instead in the concrete jungle like him, you should be condemned to candle light?
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2006, 00:55   #12
Registered User
 
mudnut's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 666
Hey KAI,that Lincoln Navigater sounds like a nasty piece of footprint.But being real,I think if we all try to lessen the footprint,anything we do to create a better world is good enough.I could see myself living in a cave but not with 8 kids.Ya right on the money with"It's a moot point"Mudnut.
__________________
mudnut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2006, 05:57   #13
cruiser

Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 4,525
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz
Well, you may be right. I'm a land-lubber,not by choice, but I live in an apartment. Don't own a car and pack my groceries home in a backpack (mostly). I mean always in the backpack but sometimes I use the bus. I try to use the Club Packs as much as possible but even so have more than "one small bag" of garbage in a week. I guess I'll have to have a talk with my cat, she seems to be using way to much kitty litter. And that stuff is heavy.

Remember that the statistics on water useage include manufacturing and agricultural proccessing use as well as personal use, so your share is still higher than you think. However, I have to admit that I do waste water. Smell good though.

So it really is pretty difficult to know who comes out ahead on this one.

Yeah, I guess the homeless win this dog fight.
Ha ha ha... you're right. The homeless do indeed win this environmental debate. I agree about the agricultural water usage as well. That's one variable we can't help much unless we grow our own food and have plenty of rainwater. That is certainly one thing you can't do on a boat, unless you are anchored close to a piece of land you own.
__________________
ssullivan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2006, 06:00   #14
cruiser

Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 4,525
And... just to say... I don't do any of the above for ecological reasons either. It's a lifestyle choice, a choice for a semi-survivalist nut like myself and a choice to make life more simple when living aboard:

*Getting water is a PITA
*Disposing of trash is a PITA

etc... etc...
__________________
ssullivan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2006, 20:29   #15
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,022
Sean?
*Getting water is a PITA
Solar still on the foredeck? They do work, and "any" free water might help.

*Disposing of trash is a PITA
Take the extra packaging back to the supermarket (or wherever) and tell them you want less garbage with your goods. Or, sell it on eBay as "landfill credits".<G>
__________________

__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Only Solar Skylark Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 116 29-07-2008 12:52
Wiring of Wind Generator and Solar Panels Da BigBamboo Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 38 15-10-2007 13:21
The real cost of solar power? hellosailor Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 99 22-09-2007 03:19
Solar panels interfering with VHF Panama Dave Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 17 24-10-2006 07:02
Solar expense AdamY Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 29 25-06-2006 14:42



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:20.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.