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Solar power costs dropping, nearing competition
Reuters ^ | 6/22/2007 | Rebekah Kebede

Posted on 06/22/2007 6:06:55 AM PDT by Uncledave

Solar power costs dropping, nearing competition Thu Jun 21, 2007 3:35PM EDT

By Rebekah Kebede

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Solar energy is fast closing the price gap with conventional U.S. power sources and is likely to drop to near even in cost in many regions in the next few years, industry sources said this week.

Price declines for the clean energy have been driven by the ramp up in production of solar cells and panels and advances in technology that have increased the cells' efficiency.

Under current laws that expire in 2008, installation of solar power systems are subsidized by a 30 percent investment tax credit that helps narrow the gap between the cost of 20 to 40 cents per kwh and typical U.S. retail electricity costs of about 10.5 cents per kwh.

Congress is debating a possible extension and expansion of current solar subsidies as part of a broader energy legislation package.

But much of solar's viability hinges on whether the systems can feed power directly into the grid systems used by utilities, Michael Ahern, CEO of solar module manufacturer First Solar Inc., told Reuters Wednesday at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum.

Currently, utilities can buy power from low-cost coal-fired plants for around 4 cents per kilowatt, and sell the power to households and business at about 12 cents per kwh, although prices can be much higher during peak usage hours, said Ahearn.

However, in a supply-constrained market such as California, Ahearn said, power prices ranged from 12 to 23 cents per kwh, making solar nearly competitive.

First Solar hopes to offer retail energy buyers competitive power prices of 8 to 11 cents per kwh as early as 2010, Ahearn said.

"If we can hit 8 to 10 cents, I think we're going to open some markets," he said.

With power prices climbing and the cost of solar power falling, the outlook for solar energy is bright, said Alf Bjorseth, CEO of Swedish company Scatec.

In some markets, solar energy is already a cost effective source of power, Bjorseth said, and that trend is set to expand, especially in larger markets.

New technologies such as thin film solar modules and the use of nanotechnology will further boost solar energy affordability, according to company executives at the conference.

Tempering that optimism, however, were several challenges to the industry, including a shortage of the silicon that is used to make solar modules, which has hampered industry growth, said Bjorseth.

The regulatory environment may also prove to be an obstacle to solar power, according to Ahearn.

Investing in new solar installations also remained risky because no clear regulatory framework existed to compare how renewables would fare economically over the long-term against more conventional sources, even with federal subsidies, Ahearn said.

(Additional reporting by Matt Daily)


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: energy; renewableenergy; renewenergy; solar
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To: Uncledave
Yes, I'm a Republican (and we DO recycle) , and I have NEVER been able to understand:

~ Why aren't using nearly 100% solar power in places like Florida, California, and Hawaii?

~ Why aren't we putting EZ Turf (or another such real-looking grass product) in all public areas? (i.e. islands in intersections, neighborhood parks, parkways along roadsides, etc.) --no water, no maintenance!

We could ALWAYS be/act "smarter" toward conservation.

51 posted on 06/22/2007 9:18:25 AM PDT by NordP (The greatest gift God can give us is LIFE. The greatest gift man can give to another is FREEDOM.)
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To: Uncledave

Bump


52 posted on 06/22/2007 9:40:52 AM PDT by AmericaUnite
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To: NordP
Conservation is fine as far as it goes. Nobody is advocating deliberately wasteful energy use. But it is important to remember that conservation in and of itself does not produce a single watt of new capacity. You are always going to need an energy source to conserve. From the numbers I’ve seen, growth in demand alone, not even including retirement of older generating assets because of age, reliability, or GHG emissions, will dwarf whatever savings we might gain from conservation, and also dwarf whatever we might reasonably expect from development of so-called “renewable” energy sources. So where do we go to meet the additional demand? It means either sticking with carbon-based combustion, like coal or expensive, depletable natural gas, or, ta da, nuclear.
53 posted on 06/22/2007 10:07:15 AM PDT by chimera
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To: chimera

I wouldn’t characterize incorporating renewables into the energy mix as making people go back to the choices your grandpa made — water or no water.

These technologies promise to be a good piece of the puzzle and I’m glad we’re pursuing them.


54 posted on 06/22/2007 10:16:57 AM PDT by Uncledave
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To: Aquinasfan
Basically, the glass roof functions like a greenhouse.

The three largest windows on my house function like a greenhouse. Unfortunately, it's summer and all that does is increase my cooling bill.

Needless to say, I'm currently looking at alternatives to reduce the amount of radiant heat I'm getting in the summer.

55 posted on 06/22/2007 10:18:24 AM PDT by meyer (RNC, DNC, two sides of the same coin.)
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To: NordP
~ Why aren't we putting EZ Turf (or another such real-looking grass product) in all public areas? (i.e. islands in intersections, neighborhood parks, parkways along roadsides, etc.) --no water, no maintenance!

I live in CT and drive 20 miles down I-84 to work. I drive passed what's eaily a couple of thousand of acres of frequently mowed grassy median -- the media is 30-40 yards wide for stretches of miles. Why not let trees grow there? For the liberal global warming crew, of which CT is infested, wouldn't this mean less gas used in lawnmowers, millions of dollars of maintenance costs saved, and more trees to absorb CO2, not to mention a prettier drive?

56 posted on 06/22/2007 10:20:47 AM PDT by Uncledave
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To: Uncledave
I wouldn’t characterize incorporating renewables into the energy mix as making people go back to the choices your grandpa made — water or no water.

Well, that's the concern. If we rely heavily (and some advocate this, not necessarily you) on energy sources that are inherently chaotic and unreliable, we may be faced with that very choice, although it may not be so much of a choice as a requirement.

The folks in CA got a taste of this a few years ago when they had their electricity shortages. Their choices came down to, blackout now, or blackout later. Thing is, there were people just a few years before agitating for the trashing of the Rancho Seco nuclear plant that used this very argument, that we didn't need nukes to provide the capacity we needed, wind would do as well. Turned out, reality bit them in their a$$e$. During their heat wave, wind-generated electricity in CA averaged about a 5% capacity factor. IOW, when they needed it most, it wasn't there. Contrast that with the nuclear industry, where 90-100% capacity factors are becoming routine.

57 posted on 06/22/2007 10:28:02 AM PDT by chimera
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To: NordP
NordP said: "Yes, I'm a Republican (and we DO recycle) , and I have NEVER been able to understand: ~ Why aren't using nearly 100% solar power in places like Florida, California, and Hawaii? "

Do you buy a new car every month? Why not?

For most of us, the reason would be that the expense would not be justified.

The answer to YOUR question is the same. The expense is not justified. Such "solutions" may have become MORE attractive over time, but there are no true savings to be had.

You mustn't base your decisions on highly biased reports of how damaging CO2 is going to be or how limited the world supply of crude oil is.

I worked in a business environment in which a one year payback on investment was considered quite attractive. Two years was also pretty much a no-brainer. But when you calculate a ten year payback, then you are dealing with a situation where circumstances might quickly change and cause the investment to have no payback or possibly even a long term cost that was not anticipated.

When solar energy installations have payback periods close to two years, without the uncertainty of continued government subsidy, then you will see significant activity.

58 posted on 06/22/2007 10:39:28 AM PDT by William Tell (RKBA for California (rkba.members.sonic.net) - Volunteer by contacting Dave at rkba@sonic.net)
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To: William Tell
When solar energy installations have payback periods close to two years,

Your points about investments are sound, but to be fair there's no energy generation projects with two year paybacks.

59 posted on 06/22/2007 10:51:57 AM PDT by Uncledave
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To: chimera
If we rely heavily (and some advocate this, not necessarily you) on energy sources that are inherently chaotic and unreliable,

Not gonna happen - we're not going back to your grandpa's off-grid days. California had those brownouts, and continues to have problems meeting demand, due to short-sighted infrastructure investment and power contracting, not because of depending on a chaotic energy resource. Certainly nukes are essential and would have helped them, but it was never the intent that a few hundred megawatts of installed wind energy would displace that base load requirement.

Nevertheless, renewables, given modern technology, can be an attractive piece of the puzzle.

60 posted on 06/22/2007 10:58:34 AM PDT by Uncledave
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To: Uncledave

When there’s a problem, we humans, especially Americans, solve it! All the moaning and wailing about the high cost of gas will stop! All the socialist nonsense that’s pushing the “global warming” myth will end.
If solar power becomes cost-effective, the dependency on middle east oil will end, and the billions of dollars that are wasted on the middle east will stay in the USA, and the USA won’t have to waste the billions of dollars that it pours into the middle east to keep the oil flowing, and the jihadis won’t be receiving trillions of dollars of our money that they use to kill Christians and Jews.


61 posted on 06/22/2007 11:04:31 AM PDT by Leftism is Mentally Deranged
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To: Uncledave
Nevertheless, renewables, given modern technology, can be an attractive piece of the puzzle.

Well, in an effort to find common ground, let me say this. If the energy storage problem can be solved, I've always thought the following would provide a very clean environment with reasonable-cost electricity:

1. Use nuclear units for meeting baseload demand, since they are a reliable, intense energy source that produces humongous amounts of energy at low cost, and

2. Use renewables for production of stored energy that can be tapped to fill in the gaps in the demand curve. This avoids the problem of renewables as an unreliable source of capacity. IOW, think of the renewables as a source of energy, not capacity.

62 posted on 06/22/2007 11:11:32 AM PDT by chimera
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To: Uncledave
Uncledave said: "Your points about investments are sound, but to be fair there's no energy generation projects with two year paybacks."

If one is in the business of generating energy, then long term plans with more modest expectations can be successfully pursued. But even here, one can see the significant effect of the political situation.

My comments would be more applicable to incremental improvements to businesses or private installations whose purpose is not related to energy generation.

63 posted on 06/22/2007 11:19:46 AM PDT by William Tell (RKBA for California (rkba.members.sonic.net) - Volunteer by contacting Dave at rkba@sonic.net)
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To: William Tell
Do you buy a new car every month? Why not? For most of us, the reason would be that the expense would not be justified.

Thus the reason for my post...see the headline???

You mustn't base your decisions on highly biased reports of how damaging CO2 is going to be or how limited the world supply of crude oil is.

Never even thought of this...just thought, why aren't we using the sun, and glad prices are coming down so that more of us can heat our water and make electricity ourselves.

When solar energy installations have payback periods close to two years, without the uncertainty of continued government subsidy, then you will see significant activity.

Again, the reason for my post...glad to see, according to this headline, things are changing, BECAUSE, I just can't imagine...even being a mean 'ol Republican (as "they" think we are)... not making good use of the wonderful sunshine we have here in CA and in FL and HI. It's just a sin that it's wasting away every day.

And, the REAL answer to my fake turf question, you neglected to comment on... THAT answer is that we have too many union members and illegals that need work maintaining our landscapes!

64 posted on 06/22/2007 11:19:53 AM PDT by NordP (The greatest gift God can give us is LIFE. The greatest gift man can give to another is FREEDOM.)
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To: chimera

What you outline is sensible and what I think we’re moving towards.


65 posted on 06/22/2007 11:20:12 AM PDT by Uncledave
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To: chimera

I said NEARLY 100% ;-) where there’s a lot of sun. The sun is getting a bad rap with the skin cancer thang these days. I’m on the PR committee for LOVE THE SUN ;-) (I grew up in Minnesota...can yah tell? ;-)


66 posted on 06/22/2007 11:21:36 AM PDT by NordP (The greatest gift God can give us is LIFE. The greatest gift man can give to another is FREEDOM.)
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To: William Tell
When solar energy installations have payback periods close to two years, without the uncertainty of continued government subsidy, then you will see significant activity.

That says a lot when you think about it. How long will you stay in your present home? If the payback period is too far down the road, you may not be there to enjoy it. I don't expect to stay in this same house more than 5 years, 6 tops. Possibly less if I decide to pursue a new career, or get transferred. Anything that doesn't present a positive cash flow for me within 2-3 years is a waste.

67 posted on 06/22/2007 11:25:59 AM PDT by meyer (RNC, DNC, two sides of the same coin.)
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To: Uncledave

le kewl!


68 posted on 06/22/2007 11:30:52 AM PDT by ken21 (tv: 1. sells products. 2. indoctrinates viewers into socialism.)
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To: meyer
Needless to say, I'm currently looking at alternatives to reduce the amount of radiant heat I'm getting in the summer.

There's some kind of film that you can get that you apply to the windows. It's used in places like Arizona. I Googled and found ScotchTint.

69 posted on 06/22/2007 11:35:53 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: OCCASparky

On the lowend you are talking under 3KW, on the higher end probably up to 20KW.


70 posted on 06/22/2007 11:37:12 AM PDT by ikka
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To: Uncledave

I’m thinking about going solar a little bit at a time, along with a wind generator or two. I’m tired of high electric bills and power outages, but most of all, I hate relying on someone else.


71 posted on 06/22/2007 11:38:00 AM PDT by pallis
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To: meyer
meyer said: "Anything that doesn't present a positive cash flow for me within 2-3 years is a waste."

Not only do you need to "buy" into whatever improvements you make, when it becomes time to sell, you will have to get the new buyers to "buy" into those same improvements.

If your solar energy system is dependent upon a bank of batteries, how would you convince the new buyer that the batteries are not on the brink of failure? The risk of such things will cause buyers to expect a discounted price.

I haven't read what the latest expectation is for hybrid car battery systems, but the usable lifetime of such systems plays a major role in the economics of owning such a car. Imagine how the resale of such a car might depend upon an assessment of remaining battery life.

One should be especially skeptical of developments which are so highly emotionally supported by the liberal establishment. These people want so much to believe in global warming as justification for central government control, and in alternative energy as justification for subsidizing its use, that one can barely discern the truth about these matters.

72 posted on 06/22/2007 11:42:50 AM PDT by William Tell (RKBA for California (rkba.members.sonic.net) - Volunteer by contacting Dave at rkba@sonic.net)
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To: VictoryGal

Doubling the price and then taxing the users on top of the price per KWH sounds like a good idea to you?


73 posted on 06/22/2007 11:43:13 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: meyer
Have you ever heard of a concept called residual value?

The solar power system should be valued at about the present value of future generation. You add that to the price of the house when you move. If the system was economical that value would exceed the initial investment. Of course that value is based on assumptions regarding the life of the system and future electric rates, so there is always lots of weasel room.

74 posted on 06/22/2007 11:48:15 AM PDT by Dinsdale
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To: Dinsdale

Sorry.

The solar power system should be valued at about the present value of future generation minus maintenance costs.


75 posted on 06/22/2007 11:50:15 AM PDT by Dinsdale
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To: William Tell

“I worked in a business environment in which a one year payback on investment was considered quite attractive. Two years was also pretty much a no-brainer. But when you calculate a ten year payback, then you are dealing with a situation where circumstances might quickly change and cause the investment to have no payback or possibly even a long term cost that was not anticipated. “

Please find me a scenario where our need for energy levels off or the world suddenly starts working without energy sources.

It’s not at all a risky long-term investment to develop new sources of competitive energy. The risk, so to speak, is that anything that doesn’t pay off in a year or two won’t result in a promotion or job-hopping opportunity. As a result people chase what can pay now and miss what we desperately need to have ready for later.

How do you think we got into a situation where the crucial resources we need to drive our whole economy are in the hands of 8th-century fanatics who want us dead? Short-term tactical thinking. Pah.


76 posted on 06/22/2007 12:35:02 PM PDT by No.6 (www.fourthfightergroup.com)
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To: William Tell
If your solar energy system is dependent upon a bank of batteries, how would you convince the new buyer that the batteries are not on the brink of failure?

If you have a sizable battery storage system at home, then you're probably talking about an off-grid location where there's no grid-tied option for the buyer. The solar power system would have definite value in the sale.

If you're grid-tied and you want the peace of mind of a back up system, then you're right that the battery system is not going to hold their full value. But a lot of things people put in their homes don't hold their value.

Your main point holds that for a grid-tied location, solar is not a good investment, especially if you carve out the govt handouts. But in certain sunny spots and in certain applications, the equation is getting more attractive. Especially for solar thermal, which is an efficient and trouble-free way to make hot water. Most of the energy in solar radiation is in the form of heat, not light, so this is an effective approach. They already payback in the 3-5 year range in most areas in this country, and with power prices increasing this payback period will shrink further. You're going to see a lot of these coming online. They have already in many parts of the world.

77 posted on 06/22/2007 12:39:00 PM PDT by Uncledave
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To: Uncledave

Have you heard of the idea of putting turbines along the highway that are turned by speeding cars. No EZ turf.


78 posted on 06/22/2007 12:49:01 PM PDT by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: Dinsdale
Have you ever heard of a concept called residual value?

I'm not convinced that it is fully applicable to the sale of residential property. Consider that one generally does not recoup near the cost of a finished basement or add-on porch, even though those have value and generally hold that value for decades. I don't think that the cost of a solar power system would fare any better.

Now, if the system were small enough that it could be packed up and moved with me, that would be very positive. Of course, it would still have to pay for itself in just a few years IMHO.

79 posted on 06/22/2007 12:52:13 PM PDT by meyer (RNC, DNC, two sides of the same coin.)
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To: meyer
Finished basements generate income? As rental units perhaps.

Besides solar power is very green. It will not only increase the value of your house, it makes hippie chicks puddle. And who can put a dollar value on that.

80 posted on 06/22/2007 12:55:25 PM PDT by Dinsdale
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To: Uncledave

In Israel, solar hot water is just a 55 gal drum on a roof. I’ll bet it is a lot more elaborate here.


81 posted on 06/22/2007 12:55:30 PM PDT by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: ClaireSolt
In Israel, solar hot water is just a 55 gal drum on a roof. I’ll bet it is a lot more elaborate here.

Same principle, but the systems use tubes of water vs. tanks. The tubes are heated and cycled to the hot water storage tank. There's some nifty ways the modern systems trap and concentrate the heat (glycol solutions, evacuated tubes, reflective parabolas, etc), but at their core they're simple systems. Not much to break, and quite efficient.

Although most applications are for domestic hot water use, you can supply a heating system as well which some folks do, such as with radiant floor heating. It might not be enough during the winter to heat the water fully to heat the whole house, but it can boost the water temp from 50 degrees to something higher than that, which saves energy.

82 posted on 06/22/2007 1:05:45 PM PDT by Uncledave
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To: Uncledave
The tubes are heated and cycled to the hot water storage tank

Typing too fast. I meant the WATER in the tubes is heated...

83 posted on 06/22/2007 1:06:40 PM PDT by Uncledave
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To: L98Fiero

How much power would that store?

Days...hours....?


84 posted on 06/22/2007 1:36:24 PM PDT by Rick_Michael (Fred Thompson....IMWITHFRED.COM)
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To: RightWhale

“# More concentrated ‘solar power plants’ will be built in the Southwest, providing clean electricity for millions of homes and businesses around the region. According to Sandia National Labs, costs are predicted to fall to about 5 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020, a price competitive with new coal- or gas-fired power plants.”

http://www.nrdc.org/air/energy/renewables/solar.asp


85 posted on 06/22/2007 1:41:16 PM PDT by Rick_Michael (Fred Thompson....IMWITHFRED.COM)
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To: chuckles

Cover the whole state of Nevada to power Las Vegas ? Not quite.

You get basically 10 watts per square foot from a PV, and you can count on 5 hours per day as an average in Nevada. So 5wh per square foot, or 140Mwh per square mile per day. That’s enough for 5,000 homes. If you covered a square 100 miles on a side, you’d have power for 50 million homes. 200 miles on a side and you’d have enough power for all the homes in America. 300 miles on a side and you’d have enough electric power for all homes and businesses in America. And have plenty of Nevada dessert left over.

Cost is the issue — finding space for enough solar panels is not.


86 posted on 06/22/2007 1:50:08 PM PDT by Kellis91789 (Liberals aren't atheists. They worship government -- including human sacrifices.)
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To: Uncledave
Uncledave said: "Especially for solar thermal, which is an efficient and trouble-free way to make hot water. "

Such systems seemed very popular in Hawaii. Plenty of sunny days, relatively warm air temperature all the time, and sky-high electricity costs. I saw many homes with tanks on the roof.

87 posted on 06/22/2007 2:49:26 PM PDT by William Tell (RKBA for California (rkba.members.sonic.net) - Volunteer by contacting Dave at rkba@sonic.net)
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To: Kellis91789
There are other issues, non-economic ones (imagine that). Try siting an engineered structure 200 miles on a side, in the middle of the desert, in farmland, anywhere. You're going to have environmentalist wackos crawling out of the woodwork from here to China just foaming at the mouth to oppose such a thing. It's an environmental nightmare.

You've calculated instantaneous power output under optimum conditions. That will drop when the conditions are non-optimum, such as at night. Unless you have some kind of humongous, super-efficient storage system, which will add significantly to costs.

Also, I doubt if such a system will have much in the way of dispatchability. Something spread out over that much territory, even in the desert, is bound to have some measure of variability. And variability is something you don't want if you are sitting in the hot seat of the regional power dispatching center.

88 posted on 06/22/2007 3:24:59 PM PDT by chimera
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To: chimera

The variability of power on a solar cell is why you take the “peak watt” value but only consider 5 hours per day of sunlight. Obviously there are many more hours than that of sunlight, but the 5 hour figure is a way to average the efficiency over the whole day of weak-strong-weak insolation.

Yes, you would have environmentalist opposition. But that wasn’t the original statement. The original statement was that if the entire state of Nevada was covered with PV, it would barely power Las Vegas. That was an exageration. There are over 109,000 square miles of land in Nevada, and using only 10% of it would more than power Las Vegas — it would power all of Nevada and several other states.

Its variability means solar PV can never be alone, but storage doesn’t have to be in electrical form. Imagine you had unlimited cheap solar PV electricity. You could combine that with hydropower by using the solar PV to pump water from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir while solar was available and let the water run through the hydro system at night. Or you could set huge flywheels spinning and let them drive generators when solar was unavailable. It doesn’t matter how inefficient any of those cycles would be, only that the total average cost works out.

This is actually a pet peeve of mine. People write articles about how this or that needs to be more efficient, when efficiency is irrelevent. What matters is the cost. Having solar PV cells that are 30% efficient but cost twice as much as others that are 15% efficient is not really progress, because the 15% cells are already more “efficient” than necessary in terms of area available vs. area needed. We’d be better off with 15% cells that cost half as much, or even 10% efficient cells if they cost only a third as much.


89 posted on 06/22/2007 3:52:34 PM PDT by Kellis91789 (Liberals aren't atheists. They worship government -- including human sacrifices.)
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To: Uncledave

Thanks for the ping.


90 posted on 06/22/2007 9:28:35 PM PDT by GOPJ (If Banks "couldn't make a profit" without counterfeiting --Congress would pass a bill to help.)
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To: ikka

3KW. Wow. Just wow. I have a 6KW generator (8KW surge) for when the power goes out—a common occurance in NH during wintertime. Cost me about $700, with another $300 for the male-male cord and disconnect switch at the breaker panel.

Pray tell, how well would that solar system work here in January during a snowstorm?


91 posted on 06/23/2007 6:37:05 AM PDT by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: Kellis91789
Cost is the issue — finding space for enough solar panels is not.

And manufacturing capability. Remember, over 1/3 of the PV solar cells go towards solar-powered calculators.
92 posted on 06/23/2007 6:38:51 AM PDT by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: AlexW
While new solar panels may be far advanced over the last few years, they still do not overcome the maintenance factor.

I've had a bunch of Solarex MSX60 PV panels up on my roof for 13 years now. All I've ever done is hose the dust off two or three times when it went too long between rains to clean them naturally. Other than that, not a single maintenance issue in 13 years. And that's here in Texas where we regularly get lightning, high winds, and hail.

93 posted on 06/23/2007 7:10:13 AM PDT by weaponeer
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To: DBrow
The subsidy is slated to end and the prices predicted to fall.

I wish. I've been hearing the same promises for 30 years, since I first started following solar issues. I have my own home PV system, and I'm always looking to expand it, so I follow the industry pretty closely. Always promises of a breakthrough just around the corner.

Those who talk about solar being "almost" competitive with other forms of electric generation are always talking about high subsidies. Well, if the gov't totally subsidized solar, it would be, like, free. Wouldn't that be great? [/s]

94 posted on 06/23/2007 7:15:44 AM PDT by weaponeer
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To: GoMeanGreen
This is good. I would love to be able to put solar panels on my roof and reduce my summer electric bills to under $100.

You can do it right now today if you really want to. The technology is here. It just costs a LOT of money.

95 posted on 06/23/2007 7:18:15 AM PDT by weaponeer
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To: Red6
Do you know what a hail storm will do to your $15,000 worth of solar panels on a roof? Minor detail I guess.

It is a minor detail. Living down here in Central Texas we have our share of hailstorms and I know exactly what they do to my PV panels. Nothing. They are designed to withstand large hail.

We've had hail that broke both mirrors on my Dodge truck and cracked the windshield, but did not damage the PV panels about 20 feet away from the driveway. They've been on the roof for 13 years with no damage.

96 posted on 06/23/2007 7:25:12 AM PDT by weaponeer
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To: Dinsdale
The solar power system should be valued at about the present value of future generation. You add that to the price of the house when you move. If the system was economical that value would exceed the initial investment. Of course that value is based on assumptions regarding the life of the system and future electric rates, so there is always lots of weasel room.

Not if my wife says, "Ewwwwwww, what are those ugly things on the roof? And get those dirty, stinky, dangerous battery thingies out of here!" :-)

97 posted on 06/23/2007 7:38:54 AM PDT by weaponeer
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To: OCCASparky
The costs associated with generation of solar go way beyond just the PV cells. Want to hook into your home? Better have an inverter, an isolation switch so you don’t backfeed onto the grid in case of outage, etc, etc...and you’re looking at about 25-40K for that kind of system.

What you really do is capture solar generated electricity in 12 volt deep cycle marine batteries. Currently $66 at Wal Mart. Get 10 of them. Run your TV and radio on 12 volts is easy. Lighting is easy because 12 volt is standard for RVs and boats. You go a marine supply store. Power tools will need an inverter unless you hook up a gasoline engine to an air compressor and use air tools  I won't deny that other items also will need inverters and that you have to scale back your electricity consumption to go 12volt DC. I have visited homes where this is put into practice

Refrigerator - you run on propane same as your stove

12 volt DC power supply for computers  or better yet get a laptop that runs on 12 volts DC

98 posted on 06/23/2007 7:50:02 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: OCCASparky
Pray tell, how well would that solar system work here in January during a snowstorm?

Chances are that it wouldn't work very well for anything that does not receive a lot of sunshine. Solar probably would do great in Colorado which gets 300+ days of sunshine per year.

99 posted on 06/23/2007 11:02:23 AM PDT by ikka
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To: dennisw

How would it do running my central A/C?


100 posted on 06/23/2007 11:11:59 AM PDT by chimera
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