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IBM to combine Solar Thermal with Photovoltaic. Result. Power for Under 10 cents per KwH
thestreet ^ | 03/06/14 - 10:25 AM EST | Dana Blankenhorn

Posted on 03/06/2014 10:46:00 AM PST by ckilmer

IBM and Your Changing Energy World BY Dana Blankenhorn |

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If I had a technology that could cut the cost of solar energy production to as little as 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (KwH), I'd be dropping everything to get it to market.

But I'm not IBM (IBM_).

IBM announced last week it will spend a $2.4 million grant from Switzerland studying a solar energy technology called High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT).

HCPVT combines the concentrated solar energy system used in the newly opened Ivanpah plant in California, where mirrors direct sunlight to a central point and produce heat, with conventional photovoltaics, the technology that turns sunlight directly into electricity on a rooftop near you.

HCPVT uses a parabolic dish of mirror facets and a sun tracking system to concentrate power on a collection of liquid-cooled photovoltaic chips. The system collects electricity through the chips and heat through the chip-cooling system. IBM's press release says it can produce energy for less than 10 cents per KwH.

That's the same price as coal. The efficiency is nearly twice that of a recently-announced solar cell produced by the Fraunhofer Institute.

How excited is IBM by this? Not much. A spokesman wrote that IBM hopes to partner with other companies to make the chips, partner with construction firms to develop the systems, but that "compared with the key IBM growth areas of Cloud, Big Data, Analytics, Security and Mobile, this technology is not at the same scale."


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: energy; ivanpah; photovoltaic; solar; solarthermal

1 posted on 03/06/2014 10:46:00 AM PST by ckilmer
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To: ckilmer

IBM corporate culture hasn’t changed much................


2 posted on 03/06/2014 10:48:27 AM PST by Red Badger (LIberal is an oxymoron......................)
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To: ckilmer

If it works, watch for it to become a target of the greenies.


3 posted on 03/06/2014 10:49:38 AM PST by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: ckilmer

Maybe 10 cents per watt, but certainly not per kWh


4 posted on 03/06/2014 10:51:13 AM PST by George from New England (escaped CT in 2006, now living north of Tampa)
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To: Red Badger

Heck if they can deliver solar at par or under the price of coal generated electricity...it doesn’t matter. They can be as IBM as they wanna be.

But likely if IBM can deliver these kinds of results, there’s other players in the solar community who are on track to deliver better results.


5 posted on 03/06/2014 10:51:26 AM PST by ckilmer
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To: ckilmer

That’s the ticket. IBM knows that even if this works, within a year there will be Chinese copies on the market.................


6 posted on 03/06/2014 10:54:16 AM PST by Red Badger (LIberal is an oxymoron......................)
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To: George from New England

Maybe 10 cents per watt, but certainly not per kWh

.............
You got me on the metrics. However, it makes intuitive sense that if you can harness both the thermal and the photovoltaic spectrum of light, you should be able to double the output of power from a given unit of light. And therefor cut in half the cost per unit of light.

We’ll see as to whether IBM can actually do what they say they can do and whether the they’ll be able to do so a price point on par with coal.


7 posted on 03/06/2014 10:56:02 AM PST by ckilmer
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To: George from New England

I’m not getting it. I’m paying .11 cents per KwH for the first X KwH, then I am charged .13 cents per KwH. That’s residential service. Business service is always cheaper and typically 1/2 to 3/4 of residential service.

What don’t you believe about KwH?


8 posted on 03/06/2014 10:56:48 AM PST by Usagi_yo (Standardization is an Evolutionary dead end.)
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To: ckilmer
Thanks ckilmer....There is promise in this but, Spain I believe, had a large installation like this with thousands of mirrors to redirect the sunshine. The problem developed that the mirrors got dirty and dropped efficiency so the cost savings due to maintenance was hurt.

On the other hand 'Mother Earth Magazine' had a home-built design of this which generated around 1000*F....

9 posted on 03/06/2014 10:57:27 AM PST by virgil283 (When the sun spins, the cross appears, and the skies burn red)
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To: Red Badger

I’m not sure that I buy that. However, if IBM is successful, then certainly the Chinese will try to copy them. But first things first.


10 posted on 03/06/2014 10:57:51 AM PST by ckilmer
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To: ckilmer

So how much did IBM contribute to the Obama Campaign to shut down coal?


11 posted on 03/06/2014 10:58:31 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: George from New England
Maybe 10 cents per watt, but certainly not per kWh

It's 0.10/kWh, which, in Germany, is price-competitive.

12 posted on 03/06/2014 11:01:10 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: ckilmer
Rancho Seco (nuclear power plant) was shuttered in the late 1980s for raising prices from the 3-cent range to the 5-cent range. Now we cheer for 10-cents from solar?
13 posted on 03/06/2014 11:02:21 AM PST by sefarkas (Why vote Democrat Lite?)
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To: ckilmer
kilowatt-hour (KwH)

The moron author got each and every letter wrong there: it's kWh.

14 posted on 03/06/2014 11:09:30 AM PST by Moltke (Sapere aude!)
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To: PapaBear3625

I know what you say...

But I have solar panels and they are priced per watt.

Currently I see pricing in the 0.75 to $1.00 range per watt for pv panels. So something at 0.10 per watt would revolutionize this market.

What you are saying for utility price is virtually impossible.


15 posted on 03/06/2014 11:12:30 AM PST by George from New England (escaped CT in 2006, now living north of Tampa)
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To: ckilmer
HCPVT uses a parabolic dish of mirror facets and a sun tracking system to concentrate power on a collection of liquid-cooled photovoltaic chips. The system collects electricity through the chips and heat through the chip-cooling system. IBM's press release says it can produce energy for less than 10 cents per KwH.

That's the same price as coal.

They spent $2.4 million on the project (grant money). This is not a good sales pitch for the technology. There is NO ROI, hence, it is not anywhere close to market value for demand.

16 posted on 03/06/2014 11:17:44 AM PST by Tenacious 1 (My whimsical litany of satyric prose and avarice pontification of wisdom demonstrates my concinnity.)
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To: George from New England
Currently I see pricing in the 0.75 to $1.00 range per watt for pv panels.

Where? Is that a bulk price? What kind of PV cells, mono-crystalline, poly, or amorphous? I'm interested in expanding past 150 watt mono test panel. $1.45 about best I've seen in the past month.

17 posted on 03/06/2014 11:23:57 AM PST by Covenantor ("Men are ruled...by liars who refuse them news, and by fools who cannot govern." Chesterton)
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To: George from New England

read the link


18 posted on 03/06/2014 11:23:58 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: ckilmer
HCPVT uses a parabolic dish of mirror facets and a sun tracking system to concentrate power on a collection of liquid-cooled photovoltaic chips.

The Solex Agitator for The Man with the Golden Gun?

If so, be sure to keep your nifty float plane well clear of Scaramanga's toys...


19 posted on 03/06/2014 11:24:50 AM PST by Jeff F
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To: ckilmer
IBM's CEO Ginni Rometty is thrashing about
trying to find a way to make money to keep
IBM from bankruptcy.

20 posted on 03/06/2014 11:31:18 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your teaching is my delight.)
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To: George from New England
Maybe 10 cents per watt, but certainly not per kWh

An IBM news release (http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/40912.wss) said that it is "levelized cost of energy, which includes the cost spread out over the total lifespan, so you have cost / (power * lifespan) which would give $/kWh rather than the usual cost/power.

21 posted on 03/06/2014 11:35:44 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Republican amnesty supporters don't care whether their own homes are called mansions or haciendas.)
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To: George from New England

Currently I see pricing in the 0.75 to $1.00 range per watt for pv panels.
************************************
8 hours/day * 365 days * 15 years useful life = 43,800 watt hours or 44kwh ,, about $0.0228 per kwh ,,, that’s assuming Georges $1/watt price is “all in” with inverters , batteries , installation and maintenance costs.


22 posted on 03/06/2014 12:16:24 PM PST by Neidermeyer (I used to be disgusted , now I try to be amused.)
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To: Jeff F

The flying boat in “golden gun” is almost certainly a model.. it looks very much like a “Lake” but without the cruciform tail. The flying car was likewise a model.


23 posted on 03/06/2014 12:24:08 PM PST by Neidermeyer (I used to be disgusted , now I try to be amused.)
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To: ckilmer

I think the same procedure (mirrors to focus sunlight to central point for thermal production) was used in that big operation in Spain.

However, I think it was shut down recently as they couldn’t operate it at a rate that was comparable with other types of electric production without heavy government subsidies.

I had really thought this was the future, but maybe not quite yet.


24 posted on 03/06/2014 12:41:23 PM PST by wildbill
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To: George from New England; PapaBear3625
Currently I see pricing in the 0.75 to $1.00 range per watt for pv panels. So something at 0.10 per watt would revolutionize this market.

You are mixing up two entirely different measurements here. A watt (or kilowatt) is a measurement of power (rate of energy use). A kWh is a measurement of energy.

The two prices are completely unrelated, at least how y'all are looking at them. I'll relate it to gasoline:

A kWh is like a gallon of gasoline. It's a set amount of energy you purchase.
A Watt is how fast you can fill your tank. Low wattage means you're using one gallon jugs to slowly fill it, while a high wattage would be going to the station and filling up in 2 minutes. You're paying for the amount of energy your panels can output at a given time.

By lowing the cost of solar to $.10/kWh, they are essentially making it price-competitive with coal/gas/normal electricity. The remaining issue would just be if they can produce enough of it at a time to actually be worth investing in.
25 posted on 03/06/2014 12:42:30 PM PST by Svartalfiar
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To: Neidermeyer

It was a real plane.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_RC-3_Seabee

Cubby Broccoli used real aircraft wherever possible. You can see the crew putting out the burning plane after the scene was filmed at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-2085178/James-Bond-sets-Goldfingers-laser-scene-Moon-buggy-Diamonds-Are-Forever.html

My dad still owns and flies a Hershey Bar winged Piper Cherokee just like the ones Pussy Galore’s crew flew in Goldfinger.

http://impdb.org/images/thumb/c/cf/GFPiper_Cherokee.jpg/500px-GFPiper_Cherokee.jpg


26 posted on 03/06/2014 12:57:04 PM PST by Go_Raiders (Freedom doesn't give you the right to take from others, no matter how innocent your program sounds.)
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To: ckilmer
a $2.4 million grant

I assume at IBM this covers the overhead, janitors and cost to heat a building. Now when do they get money for the actual work?

27 posted on 03/06/2014 1:06:16 PM PST by nascarnation (I'm hiring Jack Palladino to investigate Baraq's golf scores.)
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To: ckilmer

And when it is night just shine great big spotlights powered by coal powerplants.


28 posted on 03/06/2014 1:07:10 PM PST by Organic Panic
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To: wildbill

yeah the solar thermal plant in spain was shut down, I think.

Hard to say what the future will bring.


29 posted on 03/06/2014 1:57:54 PM PST by ckilmer
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To: ckilmer
HCPVT uses a parabolic dish of mirror facets and a sun tracking system to concentrate power on a collection of liquid-cooled photovoltaic chips
. . . and also to instantly fricassee any bird who flies near it . . .

30 posted on 03/06/2014 2:27:06 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion ("Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: ckilmer

Tesla is also making a lithium battery that is supposed to give significant longevity on solar systems.


31 posted on 03/06/2014 2:28:14 PM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: George from New England
Maybe 10 cents per watt, but certainly not per kWh

Explain your objection.

"Electricity" delivered to the customer is metered and sold in units of energy (kWh), not power (W). "Electricity" cost in West Virginia (for example) is around $0.09/kWh, and is generated primarily by burning coal.

32 posted on 03/06/2014 2:36:11 PM PST by NorthMountain
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To: Neidermeyer
The flying boat in “golden gun” is almost certainly a model..

I think it is a very real Republic RC-3 Seabee. The flying AMC Matador, however, now that was a model. Britt Ekland (Mi6 agent Goodnight) - not a model but is Swedish, while Maud Adams was a model and Swedish!

33 posted on 03/06/2014 2:40:41 PM PST by Jeff F
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To: ckilmer
One big problem with solar/thermal is that it's a big bird killer. If a bird flies in the path of the focused sunlight, it gets fried.
34 posted on 03/06/2014 3:24:07 PM PST by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: Go_Raiders; Jeff F

I remember the Piper (Cherokee 6 ?) formations from Goldfinger very clearly ,,, one of the most blatant “product placement” spots I’ve ever seen ,, the word “PIPER” had to be in 6” letters on each of them.

As long as we’ve moved on to Bond ,,, I desperately want to build my own “Little Nelly” autogyro,,, with VW or motorcycle power.


35 posted on 03/06/2014 3:50:37 PM PST by Neidermeyer (I used to be disgusted , now I try to be amused.)
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To: ckilmer

If it actually can produce electricity at less than 10 cents/KwH, then:

something seems out of sync because this statement:

“How excited is IBM by this? Not much. A spokesman wrote that IBM hopes to partner with other companies to make the chips, partner with construction firms to develop the systems, but that “compared with the key IBM growth areas of Cloud, Big Data, Analytics, Security and Mobile, this technology is not at the same scale.”

which sounds like costs will be too, because if costs were not too high, you’d think there was a ton of profit in as well as a huge market for it, and if cost of production is really too high to be very profitable, then can it really give less than 10 cents/KwH performance

something seems out of sync


36 posted on 03/06/2014 4:59:21 PM PST by Wuli
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To: Neidermeyer

I’ll take the BD-5J from the opening sequence of Octopussy. The Siai-Marchetti SF-260TP turboprop fighter from Quantum of Solace is a close second.


37 posted on 03/06/2014 7:13:29 PM PST by Jeff F
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To: Wuli

yeah agree. something else is going on. If IBM could do what the article says it can do —then the profit from it would be huge. and not a trifling as IBM seems to suggest.

It may just be that whatever they have is still very much a sketch and nothing more. which is what a lot of scientific announcements are. they don’t have much but they’re looking for more funding.


38 posted on 03/06/2014 10:21:27 PM PST by ckilmer
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