Skip to comments.Solar Industry Learns Lessons in Spanish Sun
Posted on 03/09/2010 3:11:54 AM PST by reaganaut1
PUERTOLLANO, Spain Two years ago, this gritty mining city hosted a brief 21st-century gold rush. Long famous for coal, Puertollano discovered another energy source it had overlooked: the relentless, scorching sun.
Armed with generous incentives from the Spanish government to jump-start a national solar energy industry, the city set out to replace its failing coal economy by attracting solar companies, with a campaign slogan: The Sun Moves Us.
Soon, Puertollano, home to the Museum of the Mining Industry, had two enormous solar power plants, factories making solar panels and silicon wafers, and clean energy research institutes. Half the solar power installed globally in 2008 was installed in Spain.
Farmers sold land for solar plants. Boutiques opened. And people from all over the world, seeing business opportunities, moved to the city, which had suffered from 20 percent unemployment and a population exodus.
But as low-quality, poorly designed solar plants sprang up on Spains plateaus, Spanish officials came to realize that they would have to subsidize many of them indefinitely, and that the industry they had created might never produce efficient green energy on its own.
In September the government abruptly changed course, cutting payments and capping solar construction. Puertollanos brief boom turned bust. Factories and stores shut, thousands of workers lost jobs, foreign companies and banks abandoned contracts that had already been negotiated.
We lost the opportunity to be at the vanguard of renewables we were not only generating electricity, but also a strong economy, said Joaquín Carlos Hermoso Murillo, Puertollanos mayor since 2004. Why are they limiting solar power, when the sun is unlimited?
Puertollanos wrenching fall points to the delicate policy calculations needed to stimulate nascent solar industries and create green jobs, and might serve as a cautionary tale for the United States
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
That’s really it. Solar is pretty good as far as alternatives go but it generally isn’t cost effective and it isn’t efficient everywhere.
Going green means a scam...
At this point in time, only the greedy or the dense are for solar electricity en masse.
Solar is a nice booster (especially in places like Texas during the summer when power demand is high due to air conditioning and it pretty much never gets cloudy) but it’s not something you should rely on as a main power source.
The best (theoretical) setup I’ve seen is actual photovoltaics on a home roof, charging up a battery or ultracapacitor array, which the home’s climate control can draw against in addition to power coming in, with the photovoltaics coming from Nanosolar (who has figured out a way to make really cheap ones).
Got that right.
Adding this to ...
Obama-nomics & Greece [link-list]
I’ve got “michigan solar” which means lots of low E glass on the south side.
Failing per government mandate. First they starve the people out then they subsidize them.
That people cannot see the relationship is a testament to the effectiveness of government schooling.
But those that expect to stick up windmills, lay out some panels without regard, as Spain apparently did, to technology quality and efficiency, and eschew the 'grid', will be, some time to come, disappointed.
Sacramento, CA is actually a good place for solar power for one reason: enough cloudless days in summer to make solar panels reasonably viable (I see a lot of houses in nearby Davis, CA with solar panels on the roof). This isn’t like the Bay Area, where the low clouds and rolling fog in the summer can cut the efficiency of solar panels quite a bit.
You mean....the govt can’t just “create” green jobs by law?
Build nuclear power plants and let the Navy and the Marines run them. Reliability and security guaranteed! End of problem.
when the sun is unlimited?.....
In my corner of the world, the sun sets, for example, disappears for 12 hours a day.....the sun is not unlimited!!!
Then it's bye-bye green rooftop PV system. I had one that badly damaged a supplemental hot water system I had on my home in Granbury in the 80's. The insurance did not cover it.
We don't need Marines for security at them either. Nukes are very hard targets. If you don't believe me, go try breaking into one.
Ahh! Already solved then!
That’s why I said the Nanosolar product. It’s basically a flexible sheet of plastic that is a photovoltaic cell - hail would have little to no effect on it.