Solar Power isn't Feasible!

Solar Power isn't Feasible!
This cartoon was on the cover of the book "SolarGas" by David Hoye. It echoes the Sharp Solar slogan "Last time I checked nobody owned the sun!"

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Khumbu Trail Dhukla to Everest Base camp

Photographs copyright 2011 by Caroline Howe

# 61 Location of the first "cotton ball plant" we find on the trail; I label it as "Star Lichen" because it has yellow flower like objects that look like stars which then become "cotton balls".  It could be the "cushion plant."

#62 Dhukla.  1 PV 100 W facing SE, on far left roof, 2 100 W PV facing SE on inner roof, 1 100 W PV facing NE on gren roof, 2 solar cookers of different designs. 1 100 W PV facing SW on back of restaurant  and 1 100 W PV on ground in store, unistalled, plus 20 Watt panel for kitchen light and 20 W panel on top for air pressure monitoring station.  Location is 4,620 meters or 15,102 feet in altitude.

 #63 Porter Rest House; 1 50 W MC pics 8245 and 8246


 # 64 Kalapathar Lodge has Internet powered by a hodgepodge of different size and make of panels: 1 PC 180 W panel, 3 5 W panels, 2 10W panels (thin film), 3 20 W panels, 2 100 W panels, 3 50 W panel. It also has a solar Cooker and signs for the religion of "Lovism". Pictures 8248, 8249, 8258 through 8261.

#65 Alpine Inn.  100 W MC and 10 W MC, 1 80 W and one 20 W panel as well as a solar cooker. Pictures 8253 to 8257. 

# 66 New Lodge Hotel Peak XV has 4 MC 50 W panels

#67 Above the clouds Lodge: Lobuche, 4930 meters. As snow falls we discover 1 Solar Cooker, 1 200 W panel MC, 1 PC 70 W panel, 1 75 W MC, 1 PC 30 W, 1 MC 30 W and 1 15 W. A Japanese tourist inside is using a Solar Power Film USB AA charger which has  a flexible solar 5 W panel.

 #68 Welcome to Sherpa Lodge and Restaurant. Pics 8263 to 8275. 3 PC 60 W panels, 1 30 W MC, 2 10W MC and 6 80 Watt panels, Pole Mounted.

 # 69  HImalayan Eco Resort.  Takes Visa and Mastercard.  4950 meters.  Has 1 Air 403 wind generator on schedule 40 pole mounted just above roof. No guy wires. 2 180 W PC panels on top roof, 3 MC 100 Watt and 1 50 W panel behind. Two solar cookers by the tent and 4 MC 100 W panels behind.

 # 70 Is the Italian Solar Pyramid; photos and description in a separate post.
#71 is the 15 KW hillside array running scientific equipment for the Solar Pyramid, covered in a separate post.
#72 is the ridge top between the solar pyramid and the trail to Everest Base camp.
  #73 GPS point shows where we encountered our first tangible snow along the trail on May 15 2011, by the river.

 These photographs show the glacial lakes near Everest Base camp that we found to have bubbles of what we believe are methane in them under the ice.  To confirm, Culhane took a bottle of sediment from one of these lakes back to Germany and fed with sugar.  Bubbling began immediately and a flame test created a pop. This is suggestive that there are active psychrophilic bacteria living in the glacial lake sediments, much as Dr. Katey Walter Anthony has discovered active methanogenic psychrophile in the artic circle. Both are becoming active as the permafrost melts due to global warming.
Dr. Dhananjay Regmi, whose doctoral work was on Khumbu alpine permafrost, suggested in personal conversation that the psychrophiles could be metabolizing shilajeet. This ancient form of stored carbon could be turning ever more rapidly into methane which could further aggravate global warming as it is released into the high altitude atmosphere. We hope to lead further expeditions to explore this issue more thoroughly in the near future.

 # 74 Himalyan Lodge and First Telecom tower. As the pheasants call  from the hillside we can see 20 x 180 W array, a 12 x 180 W array and a 2 x 4 x 180 W array powering the big telecom tower.  On the hotel are  6 60 W panels and a solar cooker.

 # 75 Gorakshep.  4 80 Watt solar panels and 2 solar cookers on top of the Buddha Lodge. 2 80 Watt and 1 15 W panel on Kalapathar Guest House.  3 120 W on far left of Sherpa Internet Cafe.  13 80 W panels on top of blue roof. 1 100 W panel on top of other high roof. 1 120 W, 1 75 W and one 60 W panel on green roof of Buddha Lodge. 2 80 W panels on lower green roof and a Solar Cooker.

 # 76 Yeti Resort. Has 2 75 Watt panels facing in different directions in Gorakshep at 5140 meters.

 #77  5.12 KW  PV Array for telecommunications: 2 x 32 x 80 W array for the telecom towers just at the edge of the Yeti resort

 #78 To of Kalapathar mountain has a 40 Watt solar panel powering a weather station.

# 79 From the Peak of Kalapathar at 5545 meters we can see a second PV panel across the saddleback ridge but it is too dangerous to reach.  (Notes: We climbed from the base of Kalapathar at 3:30 pm and took until 5:00 to summit, reaching the ridge at 4:30 and we returned to the lodge by 6:00 pm).

# 80 Everest Base Camp: A virtual Solar City.  IMG, International Mountain Guides is one of  the three large camps at Everest  that has been using photovoltaics for the last 20 years. At IMG they have 3 Polycrystalline 80 W panels, an array of 9 thin film 50W panels and another 80 W Polycrystalline. They have solar lanterns scattered about and 1 120 W PC panel down the hill along with lots of smaller panels.  The owner says, "Almost everybody has solar energy up here for their tents and the sherpas all know how to set them up and run them.  It is standard now. Every villager has them and will use them until the hydro power comes in."