Skip to comments.Uzbekistan’s Untapped Solar Energy Riches
Posted on 07/22/2011 8:15:53 AM PDT by bananaman22
The 17th century English philosopher, Francis Bacon, once observed that, knowledge is power.
So, heres some power knowledge that the West has overlooked, but may well contain critical information for jumpstarting Western interest in solar power.
Its based upon more than five decades worth of solar research by the sole 20th century competitor to the U.S. for global influence, the USSR.
In 1965 the Uzbek Academy of Sciences began publishing the Geliotekhnika ("Applied Solar Energy") quarterly journal the former Soviet Union's sole scientific publication devoted to solar power. Topics covered ranged from solar radiation, photovoltaics and solar materials to direct conversion of solar energy into electrical power.
Accordingly, 46 years of a highly advanced nations research on solar energy is available to some company smart enough to cut a deal with Tashkent.
A few caveats here, as well as dreary history.
The USSR in pursuing its intended goal of progressing from a socialist state to a period of developed Communion placed a high emphasis on scientific education and research.
Scientific progress would prove the superiority of the socialist system in the ongoing struggle with Western capitalism for Third World hearts and minds. Secondly, advances in science progress would advance the development of the socialist state itself, which, when reaching a level of superiority over the capitalist system, would not only better the lives of its citizens but win that old hearts and minds struggle with the West. Full article at: Uzbekistans Untapped Solar Energy Riches
If we covered the entire SW U.S. with solar cells, and possibly could get the power distributed throughout the power grid, it would supply single digit percentages of our power needs. Of course only during the daytime, which means less than at 50% of its peak ability. Maybe if we covered the entire Earth, the side with sunshine, could provide power to the dark side. Or then again, we could continue using coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear as we attempt to move to a new technology. Our current group of leadership at all levels, is committing us to a "pie in the sky" dream of clean, green, "virtually limitless" power. Our own attempt to do this will both bankrupt us, and cause our industry to grind to a halt.
You need to learn more about how much energy in Solar power actually strikes the earth. You would be surprised at how little area it would take, IF economical energy storage was available.
A great big if, but that is the real problem, not a lack of available solar energy.
Note that map is average over the year with all the normal weather, clouds, rain, etc.
Doing a little math, 10% of Arizona utilizing only 6% efficiency could supply all of the electricity used in the United States.
The storage of the electrical energy is the key. Current PV technology already is good enough.
What about the problem of cost per kilowatt? Solar is remarkably inefficient compared to most other energy sources.
A gargantuan if. The man or company that solves that problem will either rule the future or be dead before anyone finds out.
My son worked with this company that is developing a way to store uneeded energy for use later or when peak rates apply:
As demonstrated by the map, inefficient is not a limiting problem given the amount of incoming solar power.
Cost is getting competitive and would expect to have some economies of scale in utility sized power plants.
I was mainly trying to address the claim of there is not enough solar power. That is false. But I should have included current economics of PV since I mentioned economic power storage.
PV Solar installed cost is nearly 10 times greater than a Natural Gas Turbine.
The O&M cost to maintain and keep up the facilities regardless of how much they run are similar.
It is the variable cost, mostly fuel, that the Solar is far less. If it operates enough, it becomes more economical. The question is the break even point. Right now it takes quite a few years and Natural Gas looks to remain cheap for a while.
In areas where AC load goes up significantly with Solar Output, it is nearing the point of economic return as a peaker plant since storage would not be an issue.
Their web site doesn’t list the total system efficiency, just the isothermal portion.
Do you know what type of total system efficiency (electricity in vs. electricity out) did the achieve?
I am all for anything that will bring down the cost of Energy. I just paid $350 to power my house for the month of June. Anything is better then continuing down this path of spiraling out of control energy costs.
This high cost of energy is the primary drag on our economy. It drives up the prices on everything while dragging down both Consumer Confidence and Fiscreenary Income.
As I see it, there is plenty of power available from Solar.
The efficiencies should be related to cost. But Cost is what we care about. If Solar could produce sufficient power at 5¢ per kWH, would we really care if it was 5% efficient or 20%? If it is too inefficient, it will take too much real estate, but I see that as a portion of the cost. The Greenies may see it differently.
I view it like vehicle mpg. I really don’t get hung up on efficiency of the vehicle I drive. I am most interested in $/mile that meets my requirements. Initial cost, life and mpg are all part of that equation.
When I saw the title “Untapped Solar Resources of Uzbekistan” I thought it was a joke.
I was deployed to Uzbekistan 2003-04. They call their nation the “Sunny Republic”. I didn’t see a cloud in the sky for the first five months I was there (eastern Uzbekistan, high plains not desert). Their weather has been extremes of hot and cold since the Aral Sea was dried up.
I’m confused. Does untapped solar resources mean a place with few cloudy days where solar panels would be most efficient? Much better the Uzbeks should develop their considerable natural gas & oil reserves with Western technology replacing obsolete inefficient Soviet equipment.
In any case, Uzbekistan is double landlocked. What kind of power grid would it require to export solar generated power? JMHO their biggest problem is their Soviet-era dictator Islam Karimov. Their second biggest problem is the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan which will Shariah-ize the country if anything happens to Karimov.
I see I am comparing apples to oranges, cost per kilowatt and efficiency are not the same thing.
Like you, what I am really interested in is cost.
Lucky you /sarc
I spent time at K2 during that time period.
No, I don’t know that. I could ask him. He doesn’t work there anymore, moved back to Texas, but he maintains a relationship with them & is still very interested in their success. It is a small group of about 12 people. He was the only one without a degree, but he has taught (hydraulics) to many with engineering degrees. At the website I pasted at the bottom it says:
“A conventional plant enhanced with SustainX storage can thus serve as a low-cost virtual peaker, supplying extra electricity at high efficiency during periods of high demanda service usually provided by costly, dedicated peaker plants burning natural gas. Higher power-plant efficiency means less pollution and lower cost for each unit of electricity produced.”
Hey, no sarc needed. We were an Army DS maintenance detachment at Camp Stronghold Freedom where it was mostly Air Force and contractors. The tents and/or Sea Huts had efficient A/C, the DFAC chow was out of this world, we were always connected to the internet, and the Uzbek girls were mostly hotties who didn’t give a rip about Islam and dressed accordingly and spoke excellent English. We worked normal duty hours and had Sundays off.
So we often gave thanks we weren’t in Iraq or Afghanistan (except our generator mechanics spent the deployment in Mazer-i-Sharif). I visited Samarqand twice and there were local shopping trips to Shahqrishab and Bukhara but those were cut off.
Not bad as deployments go. Too bad the morons in our State Department got us kicked out of K2. I learned later the place was razed to the ground which was mostly soaked anyway with old Soviet jet fuel. Oh well.