I was thinking of saying “10:10 till we do it again”, but the older ones amongst you might think that CB radio has made a sudden comeback! No, I’m referring to that nasty little “Eco” campaign, which made quite a stir during the tail end of 2010. You know – the infamous 10:10 ‘exploding kids’ video. Our former bile spewer in chief Gotty, had lots to say about them, and I remember doing a bit behind the scenes.
Unfortunately they haven’t died a death, unlike the “deniers” they disagreed with, and I spotted a mention that they are having another publicity stunt tomorrow. It’s called #itshappening and I couldn’t help thinking something else as soon as I saw the relevant page. Naturally I asked Max to wave his magic wand, and here is the result:
click images to enlarge
There, that’s much better don’t you think?
Another project is called “Solar Schools” and I decided to look more closely. The basic idea is, perhaps, rather better than most Carbon Reduction schemes as it involves schools raising the money to install solar panels themselves, and not go down the usual route of getting a grant. At least that means the rest of us don’t have to pay for the bloody things – but we still get shafted for the feed-in tariffs afterwards. EP Collier Primary School in Reading has recently extracted over £10 grand from parents and gullible local companies, and are now the proud owners (sic) of a 4KW array. This is shown for a few seconds in a promotional video and I immediately noticed that it appeared to be in the shade – not a very sensible place for something relying on the Sun’s rays! Thanks to the wonders of VLC media player here is a screenshot:
Google Earth gave me the view from above, and the panels appear to be where I’ve highlighted in red:
Just to be sure I checked from the ground with Street View, and if you look at the distinctive roof and reverse it, I think you’ll agree I’m right:
This smacks of a very poor installation – the ideal orientation is facing directly South (to the bottom of the middle picture), and clear of obstructions – so it fails on both counts. The panels won’t see the sun until it has risen clear of the opposite roof, and by the time it as reached it highest point in the sky the light will already be striking the panels at an angle, further reducing their output. By about 2PM they will be in the shade once more. I reckon 4-5 hours clear would be the best that can be expected, and worse in winter when daylight hours are shorter.
Clearly this spot was chosen for ease of mounting – no special access equipment required – but at the expense of efficiency. The film clip also shows the kids pointing at a real time monitor which was indicating 630 watts, or about 16% of theoretical maximum. If I was trying to push the benefits of such a system I would choose a better time to do it… This leads me to the small matter of “Load Factor”, which is the proportion of actual versus maximum output over a period of time. Anyone familiar with the British weather knows how few really bright sunny days make up a typical year, and when that’s further diminished by poorly sited panels it should be no surprise that some installations are in the single figure range!
I looked at the Renewable Energy Foundation website and searched for Solar installations in the UK. This link may not work, so I took a partial screen shot in case. It shows a few schools with truly appalling figures – the 4th column is installed power (KW) and the last 2 are rolling & annual load factors.
Just consider that 3 of those schools have spent probably 15+ grand for a year round output equivalent to a soon-to-be banned 60 watt bulb!!! What a great way to teach our future leaders about sustainability…
Unfortunately EP Collier isn’t listed here, being quite a recent installation, and very few non-commercial solar panels are metered by the grid anyway, but I’ll keep an eye on it. No doubt the poor brainwashed children will believe that they are “saving the planet”, a polar bear or something, yet I’ll bet the real economics are never explained. Nor will the environmental desecration involved (most of it in China) in making these panels be given a mention. They will also be in for a shock in the next few years when the lights start going out. Now that the industry regulator has gone public on the implications of EU directives mandating closing down of large combustion plants, this can no longer be dismissed as “denier scaremongering”.
What will 10:10 have to say then?