110 MW is a piss ant of a power plant, read below....
lets say you went really big, and you created a solar array somewhere in the U.S. the size of five hundred football fields (roughly a square mile). How much power would you get? The answer is roughly 150 MW, and only during the day when the sun is out. A typical power plant produces about 750 MW. So supplanting one power plant would require five square miles of panels. This is not compelling.
Supplanting our entire electrical supply with solar would require turning the entire state of South Carolina into one large solar panel. Or...maybe we should stick them out in the desert. Seems logical. Senator Feinstein has proposed paneling over 500,000 acres of the Mojave Desert. But again, we run into mundane practical problems, even before considering things like the environmental impact of covering that much land. When solar panels collect dust and grime, they lose much of their effectiveness, so they must be cleaned frequently. Where, exactly, are we going to get the water needed for cleaning in the middle of the desert? And who’s going to be out there wiping down 500,000 acres of panels?
” And whos going to be out there wiping down 500,000 acres of panels? “
Probably one of those ‘jobs Americans won’t do’.....
Solar energy (and all the green energy fraud) is not economically practical. It only exists because it allows politicians a way to take billions of dollars from taxpayers and give it to their friends, relatives and supporters.
I do like your solar panel example. I imagine hundreds of thousands of Democrats out there each day with no water trying to wipe them down. Now that's a green jobs program.
Agreed. Two things still need to happen for solar to take off. Costs still have to come significantly, and some of the technologies for integrating solar into conventional building materials need to pan out.
Costs have come down steadily, just not enough, and I gather that there is a growing legitimate market for off-grid applications. No one would be happier than I if the lab guys produced a silver bullet, but we’re not there yet.
A power plant is an engine that follows the laws of thermodynamics. Think of it like a hydroelectric dam. You dam up a river and backup water to get a "head" (higher elevation) of the water level. You allow the elevated water to pass through a turbine, extracting energy to drive a generator, converting the energy of the river flow to electrical energy. The water is then released to the environment (clearly, if not released the turbine would not spin!).
In a thermal plant you use a source of heat (concentrated sunlight, coal, uranium, it matters not what you pick) to boil water. As you add heat to the water it's temperature rises like the water behind the dam, increasing it's potential energy. Once it has turned to steam you can add still more thermal energy by superheating it, raising it's temperature. You then allow the superheated steam to pass through a turbine which drives a generator producing electricity from the heat flowing through the process (like the water in a hydroelectric station). The steam is then condensed back to liquid water (rejecting heat) and then recycled back through the boiler in a closed loop, to prevent corrosion of the internal parts of the boiler. The water in the closed loop must be as close to pure as possible, that is why it is not simply exhausted to the environment. To condense the steam back to water so that it may be returned to the boiler, it is necessary to reject heat by passing it through a condenser. The condenser must be cooled to remove the heat and your choices are air cooling or water cooling.
The analogy with a hydroelectric dam is now complete, with heat flowing from a high energy state to a lower state with the energy removed from the process converted to electricity. Like a hydro station it is necessary for a thermal station to reject the working fluid (water or heat) back to the environment else the process stops.
The problem now becomes how to dissipate the rejected heat in a desert environment. Water is scarce and air cooling does not lend itself to large installations as the radiating surfaces could become larger then the rest of the plant.