Iamaleafinthewind148 karma2020-01-31 22:45:50 UTC
There's always small-scale wind turbines. The 30-yr timeframe on solar doesn't mean they stop working, it's just considered the end-of-life for commercial purposes. Panels lose about 1% a year in terms of efficiency, typically. So, at 30 yrs, they would still produce about 70% of the initial capacity.
So, basically every 10-15 years, you might want to buy some new panels to regain lost capacity and take advantage of tech improvements in the newer models.
I'd build the initial solar farm at maybe 130-140% of expected demand. Sell the extra into the grid, that way loss over time isn't seriously cutting into your energy budget.
As far as toxicity, carbon polluting energy sources are far worse for the environment. Recycling for used solar isn't a mature industry yet, but that's more because there aren't enough panels being disposed of to make it economically viable yet. Because they don't stop working at 25 or 30 years, like I mentioned. There's a lot of misinformation and fear-mongering around solar online; the fossil industry has been at that for a long time now. The problems with solar aren't as significant as they try to make them seem.
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Iamaleafinthewind118 karma2020-01-31 23:24:53 UTC
Well, first thing you'd want to do is figure out your energy budget - how much is needed at peak, how much storage capacity is needed, etc.
To fund the project, look at some grant programs and the various tax credits or investment credits that your community might qualify for.
The https://www.dsireusa.org/ website lets you search for programs by zip code, and from there you can examine each to see what matches your situation.
Off the top of my head, you should check out the USDA's Rural Electricity for Ag Producers (REAP) program. They have grants and loans, I think, for entities that get most of their funds from agriculture.
I'd recommend finding a solar installer in your area, they'd know all the locally applicable programs, and would manage all the fiddly details for whatever budget.
Avg wind speed in your region is pretty low, so solar's the best bet. Get some Tesla Powerwalls for storage and you could attain off-grid sustainability, energy security, etc. in addition to saving a ton of money over time.
Iamaleafinthewind58 karma2020-01-31 22:20:08 UTC
No renewables? I'd have thought intentional communities would be early adopters on that stuff.
Iamaleafinthewind20 karma2020-01-31 23:33:09 UTC
Looked East Wind up on the maps and compared to DOE wind energy maps. They look like they are in a low lying area between hills, and MO in general has low average wind speeds. They could use wind, but it's probably not the best solution.
It looks like East Wind has some river frontage, an elevation change of maybe 10-12 feet if I'm reading the map right, so a low-head micro hydro system might work. Not my thing, so no idea how much power could be generated, or how much maintenance labor would be needed to remove debris from time to time, etc.
Iamaleafinthewind14 karma2020-01-31 22:27:16 UTC
Are there exceptions to minimum wage laws for communities like yours? How do you deal with taxes, etc for the business? How is the business organized (LLC, S-Corp, Corp, B-Corp, etc.) ?
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