Skip to comments.Ex-Im Bank awards over $455 million in loan to First Solar for PV plants (Canada Solar Strategy)
Posted on 09/04/2011 9:55:43 PM PDT by red flanker
First Solar panels will go to Canada
The US Export-Import Bank will provide First Solar with $455.7 million of loan guarantees to construct a pair of solar PV power projects in Ontario, Canada.
The bank will guarantee a $236.7 million loan for a 50MW plant to be built near Amherstburg, Belmont, and Walpole townships, and another $219 million loan for a 40MW farm slated for construction in St. Clair. The debt will be repaid over 18 years.
NextEra Energy Resources will own the plants and then sell the power generated from the PV systems to the Ontario Power Authority under the terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement.
The hundreds of thousands of cadmium-telluride thin-film PV modules to be deployed for the 90MW projects, which will be among the largest in North America when completed, will be manufactured at First Solars Perrysburg, OH, factory. Details of the other balance of system components have not been disclosed.
Ex-Im Bank said that its support was needed because viable long-term financing for these projects was not otherwise available in the commercial marketplace.
(Excerpt) Read more at pv-tech.org ...
Google also reveals that idiotic Al Gore type politicians are not exclusive to the USA and Canadians are going to pay much higher cost for electricity because of such politicians. Ontario Struggles with Solar Boom
In other words, the commercial marketplace determined that there was zero possibility of profitability of this venture, and concluded that there was also no possibility that their loans would be repaid.
Beyond what you mention, won’t this endanger an owl, or lizard or deer or something? hehe
... in CANADA !
There are ZERO good solar PV locations in Canada.
Cloud cover plus angle to the sun just makes it terrible. If interested - Google something like “solar energy potential by geographic location - or something - I used to have a link to the online computers for this. Any high school kid can figure it out.
If this made any sense at all - put the capital in Arizona desert, and trade the electricity back for some hydropower from Niagara Falls.
No one would fund this with their own money - so the government does it - and some politically connected thieves cash in for $500MILLION.
There is a point at which this becomes organized crime - and our government is over that line.
Such glorious BS!
Nearly 500 million bucks around the bowl and down the hole.
I doubt a fly-by-night boondoggle can do better than old Mother Nature.
So true Eldon. There are few good large scale solar locations anywhere. This is payback to the useful idiots in the environmental movement, part of the constituency of the left who got Obama elected.
Physics and engineering are the problem. With well under 10% efficiency for photovoltaic delivered to customers, the Latitude of Canada, the reality that under the best of circumstances and no water vapor in the atmosphere (water vapor and not CO2 is the dominant greenhouse gas), the average solar energy flux is about 600 watts/square meter. Take a quarter of that at lower latitudes, since quality energy last for six of twenty four hours and you are talking in the vicinity of 10 watts per square meter of collector - for tracking collectors, and not in Canada, where 3 hours of oblique sunlight is a good day during the winter.
Solar is about the redistribution of taxpayer money to socialists, who want to destroy our economy, and pay off another solar technology company, none of which can make money with vast subsidies. State and federal regulators have been redistributing our income by granting "kickbacks" - tax incentives - to companies who will deploy solar collectors. But so many companies are failing, even the regulatory czars can't steal productivity when there is no business. So enviro-nazis are subsidizing their friends. They probably figure that a few hundred million here or there will hardly be missed, what with trillions being spent every few months to boy our own bonds so that the union pension funds don't appear to be under water, and the useful idiots in the SEIU won't notice, until after the next election, that their bosses have destroyed the hosts they all feed on.
For heating water in the the sunbelt or desert, or for powering emergency phones on remote highways, there are some applications which do make economic sense. But large scale solar productions simply doesn't, which doesn't really bother our Science Adviser since his goal is to destroy capitalism so the smart people can run everything.
I was and am a great solar energy advocate. Enlightenment came when a wonderful professor approved a graduate project to write a proposal, including siteing, for modest solar electric plants at four location which I could select. My professor, who spent decades studying thin film technology, was not at all politically biased. He said "Give it your best shot!"
Of course I had to produce somewhat realistic engineering numbers, and had to justify the projects economically. The ideal locations were a long way from Canada, in every way, and were locations where water vapor wouldn't absorb the typical fifty percent of the incident energy that it does in most micro-climates. I explored the the high planes of Peru and Mexico and Brazil. Finally, I learned that the projects were not ones I could have honestly sold to venture capitalists. But anti-capitists find such projects easy to sell to a naive public, to be funded through grants from their government. It's a handy scam because who, besides a very few of us, has ever had a reason to look at the practicality of solar power? It sounds like a nice technology doesn't it? After all, there is the sun, and when it shines, people are happy.
It makes little difference whether photovoltaic or solar thermal electric. Solar energy is about politics, not renewable resources (solar uses enormous quantities), or safety, (solar is enormously more dangerous than nuclear power, no one having ever been hurt from commercial nuclear, and tens of thousands having fallen off of roofs installing and servicing those systems you find all over the US and the middle east on peoples roofs). Not intuitive huh?
The issue with solar energy is intractable. There will never be a higher energy flux from the sun, and it will never be efficient because of that. There will be a few great low-power applications, and applications for which low quality heat is all that is needed, like heating swimming pools or preheating washing water, but most installations today only make sense because other citizens will be paying for the Utopian dreams of the left, whether they want to or not.
Clean and green, the energy system we aspire to, is subsidized like no other energy source in history. By whom? Us, and our progeny. All energy has historically received some type of public support to even out the volatility of high and low price cycles. The Energy Information Agency of the U.S. government’s Department of Energy reports that, for 2008, natural gas was subsidized 25 cents per megawatt hour of electricity produced, coal received 44 cents per megawatt hour, nuclear $1.59. Oil was not reported in these numbers since oil is hardly a factor in electricity production. However, oil benefits from a variety of tax subsidies for dry well expenses and royalty holidays dating from the $10-a-barrel oil days of the late 1990s, which the administration promises to rescind. At the same time in the same year, wind energy received public subsidy of $23.37 per megawatt hour; solar energy received $24.34. These numbers do not include the additional subsidies we taxpayers have been compelled to pay for wind, solar and biofuels through the stimulus plan, the 2010 budget and the 2011 framework budget. These subsidies help support 2 percent of today’s energy system. Their proponents promise to double and double again the amounts of subsidized supply from clean and green with no commitment to ending subsidies. That’s not a new energy system.
:There is a point at which this becomes organized crime - and our government is over that line.”
It’s another money-laundering operation. People at Ex-Im Bank need to be hanged for treason.
I was more poiting ot the insanity - anyone who knows anything about Solar would immediately say “Canada?”
I tried a startup with Solar - but my day job, and another startup - took the wind out of my sails. BUT - the city took my idea - and implemented with another company (politcally connected.) The location/site I selected, analyzed, laid out the plan, ownership/capital arrangement(due to taxes) etc. They just - gave it to someone else - without even a phone call.
Financially - solar is hard to analyze - although I agree with most of what you are saying - ignoring some tax ccredits etc - the main problem for solar is time value of $ - it is verysimialr to nuke in that 95% of cost is up front - panels will produce energy for decades - typcial drop is 25% over 25 years - but still productive inyear 25 If energy is stil lvaluable - huge residual value - especially since most of us - even long term calculations - are 7 year window etc.
But something like this article describes? As soon as you get to the word CANADA - we know it is just pure politics - not even TRYING to make sense. Not even misguided optimism. Any - and every - responsible person on the project knows this is a sham.
Besides some great surprised about how much desert land was really available for solar plant development (It less than a percent for all sorts of reasons), my three Latin American proposals died after discussions with “experts” in our anthropology and policital science departments. Shining Path was very anti-technology. They would and did sabotage efforts to introduce medium tech to Indians, particularly if they don't control it. And their sabotage often included killing the operators. Heliostats (I chose parabolic collectors because the were relatively close to the ground, and were relatively proven technology), but can be disable with a rock or two.
The issue of subsidies is clouded by government involvement. Nuclear plants are a good example. When licensing begins, borrowed money begins to accrue. Then the for-profit branches of environmental organizations gets busy, often subsidized with grants from our own government, inventing and raising issue after issue, even for plants which technology is identical to that of operating plants, making excellent livings for the litigators - the environmental law firms. Natural Resources Defense Council is only one of dozens of such operations. I recall that learning, and personally knew one of the many such families, where husband and wife are environmental lawyers, one working for the EPA and one for the NRDC, or Sierra Club or one of the others. Environmental law is big business for lawyers.
When a plant's capital cost is in the billions of dollars, the investors must be prepared to pay lenders interest on the loan for a decade or two before the plant begins to generate revenue. The capital costs, once a plant is in operation, are covered rapidly, as a function of the current regulated cost for electricity, but what investor can afford to put solvency at the whim of judges, the politics of the state legislators. California, with John Holdren’s very active participation, shut down a fully built nuclear plant, already in low-power operation, due to foolish nuclear activists, whose ignorance caused thirty years of pollution from the replacement for Rancho Seco, which came mostly from coal generated electricity. Without the lucrative antinuclear industry, highly paid jobs for obstructing something which scares the ignorant, subsidies would not ever have been necessary. That is why China, building four big plants using former Westinghouse technology, which was sold to Toshiba, and then to China, has brought four plants to low power testing in four years. In the US, while there have been few data points in three decades, the time from proposal to power, is probably closer to two decades.
I know that solar technology works. It just doesn't make sense for applications which require large amounts of high quality energy which must be reliable 24/7. Its about waste products (nuclear generates very little waste, and that is largely recyclable), no atmospheric pollution, cost, safety. Nuclear power is anathema to free enterprise. Once running, there is nothing much for governments to regulate. As Rahm Emanuel pointed out, crisis are good for government, and economic crisis have engendered a previously unappreciated partnership between big banks and big government. Solar power offers all kinds of opportunities for regulation, subsidies which require loans, and control of which guarantees the control of industrial development, because almost all industry depends upon the availability of affordable energy. That is why the Marxists now in Washington, California, New York, ..., are inhibiting all large scale energy ventures, replacing them with mythical green solutions.
It is government introduction of uncertainty that causes many of our problems.
My latest pet interest is CNG for cars - look into that if you really want to pull your hair out.
Domestic production, 1/3 the cost of gas, no engine changes, and in the ground distribution already in place. Burns cleaner than gas, and engines last longer. ONLY downside - is 1/2 energy density by weight. Not a bad tradeoff.
Chiu is an idiot. A little petty politico. None of these issues are beyond our simple reach - only the government/political situation, and gutless little weasels like Chiu - allow it to continue. So - instead of CNG and Nuke - we have wind turbines and solar panels in Canada. Oh - and the Chevy Volt.
And the irresponsible public doesn’t take enough personal responsibility to understand what is going on. “Someone else will figure it out”.
A friend was just telling me tonight that he met with a professional solar installer who say the Chinese photovoltaics are crap and keep on having to be replaced. Have you heard anything about this?
I would like to install a very modest 300-500 watts solar just in case the electric goes out for a few days. Just enough for TV, radio, laptop, modem, router, charge up a power tool
I'm sorry that I don't have any knowledge about the quality of any products. I do have some experience with liquid crystal displays which suggests that the Chinese are more than capable of manufacturing to tight specs. Most of the liquid crystal displays used for television and computer displays are now manufactured in China. Not long ago it was Korea, and Japan before that. Now Japanese and Korean manufacturers are outsourcing many, if not most of their LCDs. So if one vendor has a problem, and there is a market, they can and probably will fix it, or there will be other suppliers.
If there is a real market, real engineers, not bureaucrats, will solve the technical problems. Surviving Constant exposure to UV and the extreme temperature fluctuations are not trivial problems, but that is why humans are “The Ultimate Resource,” that Holdren, Ehrlich, and Harte were willing to bet against. If you recall the days of television antennae, ten years on a roof and the electrical contacts, the copper and aluminum, had often become crystal structures. Antennae are high impedence devices and usually carry tiny currents, unlike photovoltaic arrays which are low voltage devices, very susceptable to IR losses. Most of us have experienced the car which wouldn't turn over in cold whether, but where the problem was a little corrosion on a battery terminal. Solar electric systems are likely to need regular servicing. My auto mechanic charges $90/hour, and earns his salary. Solar electric servicing on roofs will be similar, requiring specialists with expensive insurance to cover their rooftop forays, not to mention bonds for the roofs they damage, or are claimed to have damaged by frustrated customers who were sold a bill of goods they couldn't afford.
Remember, a “modest” installation of 300-500 watts probably consists of 50 or so square meters, 21 or 22 feet, or a 10’ x 40’ rectangle. This is presuming that you live in the warm climate below 38 degrees latitude with little fog, and that your humidity is relatively low. My rough guess is a peak number, and doesn't include DC to AC and voltage conversion, if you actually intend to provide power to 110 volt AC appliances. I would be looking at special DC appliances, which shouldn't be impossible to find, but some will be expensive. (just look at all the devices like razors, the ASUS display I'm looking at, which require 'dongles' - the little transformers which plug into your AC wall sockets; all those devices run on DC). These cautions are not to discourage you, since I think of doing something similar, though I'm reluctant put the integrity of my new roof at risk, and reluctant to cut the trees which provide such nice shade during the summer.
I would explore easily replaceable PV units. Figure they will fail and make it easy to slip in a replacement. I've seen what happens to almost anything exposed to sea air day-after-day. That need for maintenance is one of the reasons solar is so comparatively dangerous. But to us do-it-yourself fools, it is a challenge we can take for the satisfaction of being free from our public utilities, who charge us for hearing aids for seeing eye dogs.
Some solar applications I use and appreciate are my solar-charged emergency radio and my solar-charged flashlights. They seldom get used, but the PV cell's are inexpensive, and they don't get used very often. All one needs to do is to be sure the batteries are not leaking, and that they have not reached their recharge limit.
Thanks much. I am a an observer of corrosion. I know what you are talking about. So solar panels need maintenance. I did not know that but it’s all logical. Corrosion occurs where there is a contact. Where wire meets wire or wire meets metal contact
A few years ago they said photo-voltaics lasted ten years. Hopefully this is higher now. On ebay you see people offering 25 year warranties. Good luck collecting on that warranty
The other was in Cairo, where it never rains. Lots of big metal barrels on the house rooves, all painted black. Yes, solar hot water, so even really poor people can have hot showers and hot water for washing up.
Two thoughts. First, the big problem with solar is energy flux density. You don't need that much for cooking, but try running a steel mill or aluminum smelter on solar. Not a prayer.
Second, solar to electric is an almost certain lose. The losses in conversion are high, the useful life is quite short, and with current technology, the embedded energy in the panels is probably more than they will collect over their lifetime.
There is only one collector of solar energy big enough, and cheap enough, to have any chance of replacing oil and coal: the ocean. My best bet for renewables, therefore, would be ocean thermal. We know the energy is there; it will be a tough job figuring out how to extract it and concentrate it, but everything else seems pretty hopeless.
You guys get it.
I’ve watched energy shenanigans since Carter, when energy became “the moral equivalent of war” due to the Arab oil embargo and formation of OPEC. Learned early on that so-called “alternative energy” (as it was called in the day) was largely a complete bust in any sort of rational economic analysis. Which I was involved in doing.
Now that we have so called “Green energy” 30 years+ later, little has changed. The Lefties still don’t have a clue, and are still spending gobs of the public’s money to little effect.
Without a rational energy policy, there will not be a significant economic recovery. We will not get one with this Administration.