In regards to the post-
Something Sounds Fishy To Me- “Harpswell commercial wharf becomes first to get all its energy from ‘green’ sources, owner says”
Brandon Bernard, left, and Joe Maisonave carry one of 44 photovoltaic solar collection panels toward its place in a solar array on the roof of Reversing Falls Lobster Wharf in Harpswell recently. Each panel weighs about 44 pounds and can harness 240 watts of energy.
OK, let me first state that if this is true, that they could get all their energy to run their commercial lobster dock from these solar panels that would be fantastic. The clean air, fantastic. Less reliance on big oil, fantastic.
I’m not as sharp as I was when I was in college and practicing my math skills on a daily basis but from what they are saying in the article-
“44 panels which can harness 240 watts of energy each.”
That means you can power a bunch of lighting fixtures, right? Assuming in an industrial space you are using 100 watt bulbs. More than likely in huge industrial spaces I’m thinking your bulbs use more than 100 watt bulbs so maybe you could light the joint with 44 big lights? 44 panels times 240 watt lighting fixtures. But someone once told me you could have every light in your house on but as soon as you turn on the toaster oven it uses way more energy than a bunch of lightbulbs.
Take our dock for example-
I have a seriously hard time believing that the juice that our 5 lobster tank recirculating pumps at 2.5 hp to 5 hp and are sucking water in large pipes 20 feet up from low tide up to the tanks and run 24/7 is equivalent to a bunch of lightbulbs even if you were lighting up a monstrous building.
In my very conservative estimation the recirculating pumps use about 1000 times more energy here at our dock than whatever piddly money our lighting expenses are. Then we have refrigeration and huge refrigeration compressors for our bait cooler where the pallets of bait are stored.
Guaranteed that the energy those compressors pull are far greater than what 44 panels that can harness 240 watts of power when the sun is shining and not when it’s dark outside and our recirculating pumps are still pumping and our bait cooler compressors are still cooling.
Oh but wait, then there’s the winches. If you’ve seen the huge motors that turn the winch heads you know those bad boys are sucking down a huge amount of electricity to be able to lift three crates of lobsters at a time at close to 400lbs or tuna that can get to 1000 lbs, or three totes of bait at close to 450lbs. These motors run those a good part of the afternoon and early morning.
So to me, the numbers in no way add up. No way, no how.
But the media looooves to grab onto these stories because the green folks will always accept whatever the headline is as fact and run with it. Once the things are half paid for with government (read taxpayer) subsidies and installed, they’re not going anywhere.
I have a very hard time accepting that this commercial lobster dock is going to power their entire operation from solar power even though they will market themselves that way and all the green lemmings will trip over themselves to go buy lobsters there for $2-3 more a pound because they are using green technology that they as taxpayers footed half the bill for.
Hey if I’m wrong with the numbers and they can somehow squeeze 100 times more than 240 watts of power out of 40 panels and indeed run their lobster company with some type of new math, then congratulations!
The point for me is not if this was or wasn’t a good financial investment for the guys up in Harpswell. I wish them the best, I really do. What bugs the hell out of me though is the media’s acceptance of all these green technology wild claims because they know people eat that stuff up as it makes for a feel good story regardless if the numbers add up or not.
Smells fishy to me though.
Read the two mad scientists analysis and vote in the poll below as to who has it more right.
It’s Paul Morrison and his Rubber Duck vs Damon Cummings In A Brainiac Deathmatch
Paul Morrison Analysis-
240 watt panels times 44 equal 10,560 watts or 10 kilowatts. For every hour the sun shines 10 kilowatts of power (kwh) is fed back into the power grid. That is a lot of power. If they switched to some LED lighting, efficient refrigeration and made sure their winches had no shorts, that amount of power could cancel out their entire electric bill and more. I would not be surprised that next summer the electric company is sending them cash instead of the other way around.
The fact that the power is produced at the peak time the power company needs it (sunny days when people are running their AC on max) means if more solar panels go up then an extra power plant might not need to be built to cover those peak usage times. One less power plant, a little less coal burned, a little less emphysema, seems a logical course of action to me.
Damon Cummings Analysis-
The 44 pound weight of the panels roughly checks with the 240 watts optimistically.
44 * 240 = 10560 watts = 10.5 Kw
Given reasonable efficiency estimates of electric motors that is around 10 horsepower total.
A residence might have 100 amp service at 220 volts which is 22 Kw.
I think they must have a lot more than 44 panels. I bet the pumps and compressors run in the dark as well.. They must have a huge battery bank.
I suspect they just run their office and perhaps some lighting off the panels.
By the way a kitchen toaster is about 1000 watts, 1 Kw, all by itself (about 10 amps at 110 volts) so they can run about ten toasters .
A 20 amp fuse at 110 volts is 2200 watts or 2.2 Kw so their 10.5 k
Kw would blow five 20 amp fuses. That is a residential, not industrial, load.