31 May '12, 10am

Do-It-Yourself Power

I would be careful about drawing conclusions from various sources of data that is in different formats. Local generation does help offset distribution/line losses (which hover around 10%, I seem to remember), but I'm pretty sure that EIA link is talking about a broader concept than that. Out of any energy-producing resource, only a % of available energy will be converted to useful electricity. For fossil fuels (especially in the non-electrical case of transportation), there are huge losses created by the simple fact that we can't extract all of the energy of anything in a useful form (this is evident on the graph posted on Treehugger). This is why we have smokestacks, pollution, etc. This is the "waste heat" that the EIA link mentions. By comparison, solar panels do a better job, but they still only covert slightly more than 70% of what they produce to useful AC power. Her...

Full article: http://greenbuildingelements.com/2007/01/29/do-it-yoursel...

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