Welcome!

Welcome to Ken Clifton’s blog.

If you are a student you will be most interested in the “teaching” category content. Please feel free to explore the “About” and “Resume/CV” links at top of this page.  If you are interested in RECs please see the renewable energy credits link.  The Salisbury Post did a front page story on our solar PV facilities that ran on February 8, 2011.

We are excited about renewable energy! This site is run on solar generated electricity.  We have solar PV and solar thermal renewable energy facilities approved by the State of North Carolina at our home.    See the renewable energy link for more information. If you are interested in biomass or CO2 neutral home heating, please read the Salisbury Post newspaper article published on February 11, 2007 for more information.  My presentation made to several groups on biomass is also available.

If you are a student, I look forward to working with you during the Summer 2017 semester at RCCC!  I am teaching one class on line during the summer. In the fall I expect to be teaching three Python programming classes, two at the RCCC CBTC Campus and one on line.

Please consider becoming an organ donor.  I have vision to maintain this site and work thanks to two corneal transplants.  Without those transplants I would be blind.

2 Comments to “Welcome!”

  1. By Bill Weise, July 6, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

    How much energy was used to manufacture the panels and wires? I bet if you calculate the amount of energy used in the making of the metal polls used to support the panels, the energy used to extrude the wire and to make the glass for the panels. In the end more energy was used to make the items to save energy. Just playing the devils advocate.

  2. By Ken Clifton, July 8, 2011 @ 10:04 am

    Hi Bill,

    I am going to point you to a bunch of research published by the U. S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, but in short:

    Based on models and real data, the idea that PV cannot pay back its energy investment is simply a myth. Indeed, researchers Dones and Frischknecht (1997) found that PV-systems fabrication and fossil-fuel energy production have similar energy payback periods (including costs for mining, transportation, refining, and construction).

    Unfortunately for fossil-fuels, the energy required to mine and transport remains constant for every pound/gallon of fuel consumed, so there is never a way to achive the POSITIVE energy payback that we see with PV.

    Here is some of what they had to say:

    According to the U. S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2004):

    Energy payback estimates for both rooftop and ground-mounted PV systems are roughly the same, depending on the technology and type of framing used. Paybacks for multicrystalline modules are 4 years for systems using recent technology and 2 years for anticipated technology. For thin-film modules, paybacks are 3 years using recent technology, and just 1 year for anticipated thin-film technology. With assumed life expectancies of 30 years, and taking into account the fossil-fuel-based energy used in manufacture, 87% to 97% of the energy that PV systems generate will not be plagued by pollution, greenhouse gases, and depletion of resources.

    Energy Payback of Solar

    Reference
    What is the energy payback for PV? U.S. Dept of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory ( 2004, December) Retrieved from: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy05osti/37322.pdf

    Now, a question for you: how much energy does it take to make some new replacement windows for your home? Are you not going to replace the windows because it takes energy to make them?

    My solar panels are made by Sharp USA in the USA in Memphis, TN. Sharp’s manufacuring facility in TN is rated as ultra-green, which means it is one of the most efficient and clean facilities in the country. The silicon wafers are made using the same processes that make computer chips like the ones that allowed you to make your post here, except that the solar cells are made at once so much more efficient.

    So comparing solar cells to windows again, do you want to just save electricity with some windows or actually make some?
    You can see my generation stats using the links on this site.

    By the way, here is a link to information on Sharp USA’s solar facility: http://files.sharpusa.com/Downloads/Solar/WhySharp/sol_dow_WhySharp_flyer.pdf

    Best,
    Ken Clifton

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