Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

 

Home Forums The Automatic Earth Forum Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

This topic contains 111 replies, has 30 voices, and was last updated by  alan2102 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 112 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #8423

    Nicole Foss
    Moderator

    In recent years, there has been more and more talk of a transition to renewable energy on the grounds of climate change, and an increasing range of pu
    [See the full post at: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality]

    #6167

    jal
    Participant

    I appreciate the huge amount of energy that you put into this article.

    Problem was well highlighted.
    Possible solutions were well enunciated.
    (No s-f scenarios.)

    Thanks. Again.

    #6168

    GasMan
    Participant

    Wonderful article – I will be drawing as much attention as possible to it, as its essentil reading for all partcipants in a democracy, which, worldwide, is facing its biggest challenges ahead with a looming 2nd great depression complicated by peak oil (and all resources other than ‘spin’), peak world population and climate change, all destined to synergise malevalently in the not too distant future.
    Green politics all too often has equal measures of scientific and technological illiteracy and moral superiority of ‘natural solutions’ which laughably include the idea that mans inate goodness and brilliance will always find a way — god give me strength ! Only yesterday, I read that enough solar energy falls on Australia to satisfy our electricity requirments 10 times over – no mention of cost, land requirements, grid issues etc that your article outlines so well — ignorance is bliss, but disturbingly green politics is the tail that wags many a dogged political system, resulting in more ‘dream solutions’ instead of confronting the hard reality — less will be more, more common.
    Cheers, GasMan.

    #6169

    davefairtex
    Participant

    I enjoyed the article. I especially liked the terminology of energy inheritance and energy income.

    Unsubsidized rooftop solar right now seems like it has a reasonable payback period at about 12 years, with expected equipment lifespan of 20-25 years. However the concept of living a powered life only while the sun is shining is going to be quite the adjustment to make if we don’t find some good storage technology pretty soon.

    And its important to ask just how much oil goes into making each solar panel. Until the solar factory (and all the suppliers) are run by solar power…all we have is an oil-to-solar-electricity converter at a certain conversion rate.

    The holy grail has always been some local low-cost storage technology (my favorite are PEM stack hydrogen) that allows us all to timeshift the power use (with some hopefully low loss rate), unfortunately its all just too expensive right now.

    All those issues with grid management really says to me how critical it is to keep power solutions as local as possible.

    #6170

    sunweb
    Participant

    I have been writing about this for years and I lived off grid for 30 years.
    Solar and wind energy capturing devices as well as nuclear are not alternative energy sources. They are extensions of the fossil fuel supply system. There is an illusion of looking at the trees and not the forest in the “Renewable” energy world. Not seeing the systems, machineries, fossil fuel uses and environmental degradation that create the devices to capture the sun, wind and biofuels allows myopia and false claims of renewable, clean, green and sustainable.

    There is a massive infrastructure of mining, processing, manufacturing, fabricating, installation, transportation and the associated environmental assaults. Each of these processes and machines may only add a miniscule amount of energy to the final component of solar or wind devices yet the devices cannot arise without them. There would be no devices with out this infrastructure.
    A story in pictures and diagrams:
    From Machines making machines making machines
    https://sunweber.blogspot.com/2011/12/machines-making-machines-making.html
    and
    An oak tree is renewable. A horse is renewable. They reproduce themselves. The human-made equipment used to capture solar energy or wind energy is not renewable. There is considerable fossil fuel energy embedded in this equipment. The many components used in devices to capture solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy and biomass energy – aluminum, glass, copper, rare metals, petroleum in many forms to name a few – are fossil fuel dependent.

    Wind used by sailing ships and old style “dutch” wind machines is renewable and sustainable.
    From: Energy in the Real World with pictures of proof.
    https://sunweber.blogspot.com/2011/01/energy-in-real-world.html

    #6171

    Roger Yates
    Member

    This article is basically arguing that the present economic and political power structure is inviolable. Of course this is not true. It may be that people are not willing to challenge it. That is likely. But I think it is nonsense to suggest that, given our technical abilities and organisational scope, we cannot build a system of renewables, and quickly. Political and economic systems CAN be changed. All the material resources are in place. It is simply a question of will and organisation. To suggest that the present power structures cannot be changed, as if they were some natural force like gravity or entropy is risible. This whole issue can, and should be reduced to this kind of fundamental debate. All you are saying is that we are behaving like idiots. We already know that.
    .

    #6172

    DIYer
    Participant

    Of course, an argument could be made that the non-renewable energy industries have been the beneficiaries of even more generous subsidies. Much, much more generous subsidies. A topic for another day, perhaps.

    Good distillation of these issues, Nicole. Thanks for putting this article together and publishing.

    The electric grid seems to be a good analogue for the issues of centralized/authoritarian vs. distributed/local organizational scales. Or perhaps Tainter’s view that big complicated things become unmanageable at some point.

    And of course there’s the little matter that, once exponential growth is no longer possible, the only thing left to do is collapse…

    #6173

    Phil
    Participant

    Spot on, Nicole.

    I raised the issue of the sustainability of ‘renewables’ in a blog post entitled Bootstrapping Sustainability over a year ago.

    It’s not a patch on sunweber’s excellent blog posts mentioned in these comments, but I have a few interesting links for additional reading.

    Transnational electricity Supergrids etc will have an effect on simple things like trade deficits/surpluses. This’ll need to be factored in to any cost/benefit analysis (but probably won’t be).

    #6174

    Nicole Foss
    Moderator

    Roger Yates wrote: “This article is basically arguing that the present economic and political power structure is inviolable. Of course this is not true. It may be that people are not willing to challenge it. That is likely. But I think it is nonsense to suggest that, given our technical abilities and organisational scope, we cannot build a system of renewables, and quickly. Political and economic systems CAN be changed. All the material resources are in place. It is simply a question of will and organisation. To suggest that the present power structures cannot be changed, as if they were some natural force like gravity or entropy is risible. This whole issue can, and should be reduced to this kind of fundamental debate. All you are saying is that we are behaving like idiots. We already know that.”

    I am left wondering if you read the article, since you raise a straw man argument. I have, in fact, argued that no amount of political will can achieve the physically impossible, no matter what kind of political system is in place. This would be true even if we were not facing financial upheaval and an economic depression. Since this is exactly what we are facing, the task is even more insurmountable.

    #6175

    St. Roy
    Member

    Hi Nicole:

    Great sequel to “Searching For A Miracle” by R. Heinberg.

    #6176

    “E-Cat” invented by Andrea Rossi
    Check it out Ms Foss
    You’ve apparently not heard of it, its been one year now, and the technology checks out just fine.
    It works, doesn’t pollute, runs for 6 months till it needs refueling.
    Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR)
    It uses powdered nickel as a fuel.
    The reaction involved changes nickel into copper.
    Check it out, it doesn’t make wind and solar obsolete, but it will fill in the gap.
    THe inventor says he’ll soon have personal units available.
    Each personal (home) unit will have a 5 kw output.
    Larger units are in the megawatt range.
    You’ll be pleased once you learn about the E-Cat (energy catalyzer)~!

    #6177

    Anonymous

    Thanks for a brilliant yet chilling analysis. Clearly a human society of 7 billion and rising cannot continue in its current form. The future appears bleak indeed for most.

    #6178

    jal
    Participant

    Shedding some light humor on a dark subject.

    Philosophy is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat.
    Metaphysics is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn’t there.
    Theology is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn’t there and shouting “I found it”.
    Science is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat using a flashlight.

    -unknown

    #6179

    I understand that social change can seem impossible for some, particularly energy change. However, there has been some interesting new developments in the field of “cold fusion,” now called LENR, Low Energy Nuclear Reactions.

    I realize many will dismiss this out of hand as nonsense, on the basis of scientific reaction to Fleishmann and Pons 1989, but NASA and many others have been investigating these new claims, particularly the claims being made by Italian inventor Andrea Rossi about his E-Cat invention, as well as those made by Defkalion Green Technologies of Greece/BC Canada.

    I think, given the threat that climate change presents to humanity, one would be a fool to dismiss these claims outright without doing your due diligence. Perhaps The Automatic Earth can write an article about these developments? That would be appreciated.

    There are many online sites that talk about LENR, but e-catworld, Cold Fusion Now!, and the Vortex discussion group at https://www.mail-archive.com/vortex-l@eskimo.com/msg72408.html are good places to visit to get informed.

    Rossi also has his own blog, where you can ask him questions. Search for “Rossi Journal of Nuclear Physics.”

    There is a great deal of controversy about this subject, as the Forbes article by Mark Gibbs, referenced by Rothwell at the Vortex link above, shows.

    Whatever might come of these new claims, it is certainly a lot of fun to follow this story.

    Social change does happen, believe it or not, and when it does, it happens a whole lot quicker than most people would ever imagine possible.

    Something tells me that the Rossi Energy Catalyzer, or E-Cat, is, in fact, that “Google of energy,” that Daniel Yergin talks about in “The Quest.”

    #6180

    DIYer
    Participant

    Sojourner Soo post=5882 wrote: I understand that social change can seem impossible for some, particularly energy change. However, there has been some interesting new developments in the field of “cold fusion,” now called LENR, Low Energy Nuclear Reactions.


    Rossi also has his own blog, where you can ask him questions. Search for “Rossi Journal of Nuclear Physics.”

    LENR is a big “maybe” at this point. Two or three nuclei fusing over the course of a day does not make it anything more than a laboratory curiosity.

    As for Rossi’s invention, don’t you think it is telling that he keeps, as a closely-held secret, the contents of his magic box? In public demonstrations, it has been hooked up to a standard, industrial-sized cylinder of hydrogen — and the simple reaction 2H2 + O2 -> 2H2O could easily account for the demonstrated energy output of the box.

    Whether Rossi is deliberately defrauding investors, or whether he has deceived himself as well, history and peer review will eventually tell; history can be the harshest judge of such diversions.

    #6181

    Anonymous

    Thanks for the article Nicole.
    AND Remember that 40% the worlds people are subsistance horticulturists.
    https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/genetic-engineering/our-vision/small-scale-farming/
    They could use things like solar hot water heaters and cookers.

    The root of most problems is bigness.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_Kohr

    and
    that the felicity of purported “heights of social complexity” is a chimera. Better to just drop into your heart
    https://tinyurl.com/8q3q97u

    #6182

    Anonymous

    Oops here’s Kohr’s Wiki
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_Kohr
    and one of his books”Breakdown of nations”
    https://tinyurl.com/97mko8j

    #6183

    DIYer: I’m not at all surprised that Rossi refuses to divulge the contents of his “magic box.” He hasn’t yet received his US or International patents, after all. As for the chemical reactions, that has already been ruled out as the explanation. I think, in this case, a lowly engineer has the traditional physicists over a barrel. He’s already received a safety certificate for his latest “Hot Cat” from SGS in Europe. Apparently, he is about to announce the validation certificate has been received, according to rumour. By the way, DGT’s energy catalyzer, the Hyperion, has been validated by a NASA scientist. In any event, as I said, it’s a story well worth watching. We’ll know for sure in the very near future.

    #6184

    DIYer
    Participant

    As Carl Sagan used to say, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”
    Where’s the copper? In one demonstration they claim to have used one gram of hydrogen — stoichiometry dictates that they would have made fifty-something grams of copper in the claimed reaction. That would be a couple ounces of copper, enough to see the silver color of nickel give way to the red color of copper. Or if they are present as oxides, you could dissolve a sample in a strong acid and see the green color of nickel salts change to the blue color of copper salts.

    Until the boxes can be taken apart and analyzed, it is just another perpetual-motion machine.

    [edit] It’s worth noting that, if Rossi wishes to prove his claims in a neutral setting, he can have the lab/scientists sign a non-disclosure agreement. Pretty much a standard legal form in the technology bizzniss. Rossi can strictly control what information is revealed.
    And the patent offices of the world, even though the occasional frivolous invention slips through, have a policy of not granting patents to perpetual-motion machines any more.

    [edit 2] Going to Wikipedia, and looking over the isotope tables for nickel and copper, and considering Rossi’s proposed LENR, I have concluded that his invention is 100% fraud. No other conclusion is plausible.

    #6185

    Roger Yates
    Member

    “No amount of political will can achieve the physically impossible”.
    This is a political statement. By physically impossible you mean that it is not possible to maintain our present profligate lifestyles with other than cheap fossil fuels. We will therefore need to change our expectations.That is a political task. Humanity has been through worse. It is doable. We really are able to get off the tiger’s back of consumerist growth and reorganising society in a sustainable way. You appear to take the present modal of profligacy as a given. I am disputing that.

    #6186

    ozziemaland
    Member

    Some wishes your posting left me with: that you had addressed the possibility of hydrogen as a renewable energy source; that you had addressed the recent (30 Sept 2012) press release of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory about its being very close to a breakthrough process that extracts carbon dioxide (CO2) and produces hydrogen gas (H2) from seawater; that fuel cell technology lacks only two major items to be a totally sufficient source of energy for planet earth: cheap hydrogen and investment in fuel cell production. Major innovations are, to be sure, opposed and suppressed by vested interests in existing set-ups, but it is demonstrably true that huge innovations are sometimes obtained through the (“bad”) military-industrial complex — eg, the Interstate Highway system which Ike wanted for military reasons.

    #6187

    “We are likely to realize at that point just how unusual the era of high energy profit ratio fossil fuels really was, and what incredible benefits we had in our hands.”

    All that riches never made us happy, as it never can. The Netherlands is one of the richest countries in the world. Out of 16,7 mil inhabitants, 1 mil are on anti depressants, .3 mil are alcoholic.

    The simple truth is that happiness comes from inside.

    jal post=5881 wrote: Shedding some light humor on a dark subject.
    Philosophy is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat.
    Metaphysics is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn’t there.
    Theology is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn’t there and shouting “I found it”.
    Science is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat using a flashlight.

    -unknown

    Wisdom is like being in a dark room and not looking for a black cat.
    😉

    #6188

    Nassim
    Participant

    Dave,

    It is revealing that you chose not to give us a link – ensuring that we got hundreds of results on Google so that you could let us know that the one we read is not THE one.

    Anyway, here is one of them

    “Australian sceptic Dick Smith has offered $AU200,000 for proof that the device works.”

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/16/e_cat_opens_australian_web_shopfront

    Non-Australians should know that this Dick Smith has managed/owned a huge number of electronic shops around Australia. He is not a sceptic, more likely a realist.

    #6189

    Nassim, this is Rossi’s website

    https://ecat.com/

    video search

    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=andrea+rossi&oq=andrea+ros&gs_l=youtube.3.1.0l10.758821.767263.0.770382.10.10.0.0.0.0.128.727.9j1.10.0…0.0…1ac.1.r9tbOuscIU0

    Its a provably safe non-polluting heat generating device.
    The prize will never get paid out, because quite a few corporations and govt institutions proved it this year during the trial run.
    He offered a trial for any corp that want to try it.
    Quite a few took him up on the offer. A US firm in NJ and others from many other countries. They paid in, and got a single 20ft unit (I think 10kilowatt but not sure).
    The reaction produces immense heat, stable for the 6 month life span of the feul.
    Boil water, drive turbine, etc.
    Some buying into the trial thought they were getting an electric generator at first. When the water in the machine didn’t boil, they thought it was a failure. The machine creates massive heat output, safely.

    Boil the water with the heat, duh.

    Search “hot-cat” on his site.
    The latest videos show the details.

    Worth a watch.

    #6190

    hombre
    Member

    StoneLady of Enlightenment!
    I thought I would likely never post a comment online again, but I cannot refrain from thanking you very much for all the time and effort you have made–not only regarding this article–but in all that you do, researching, writing, and speaking around the world.
    I look for this piece to appear on other relevant sites on the web, even those sites whose main subject matter is not energy, but including finance, politics, peak everything, survivalists, and other related and entertwined entities.
    As for the E-cats! LOL Those who believe that should form a new religion.

    #6191

    sorry, meant to say

    prize won’t get paid out to any one because so many participated in he trial and simultaneously proved his claims about the reaction and the heat.

    Not sure what the Aussie scientist thinks about it now.
    It just makes heat, lots of it, for 6 months, before it needs shutting down and a new unit installed.
    He says eventually it should be a matter of simply refeuling one reactor, but at the moment its in its infancy and each box needs to get hauled away with a new one re-installed.

    They’re very modular. So its very easy.

    #6192

    Otto Matic
    Member

    Check this article out. I think TAE has been a victim of these techniques in the past and present.

    COINTELPRO Techniques for Dilution, Misdirection and Control of an Internet Forum

    https://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/10/cointelpro-techniques-for-dilution-misdirection-and-control-of-an-internet-forum.html

    “…An anonymous writer posted an important new report on disruption at Pastebin. It is in the style of a leaked law enforcement memo, although we cannot vouch for its authenticity as a document produced by a whistleblower. However, we have seen these techniques repeatedly used to disrupt Internet debate, and so – even if only copying the style of a real memo – it contains valuable information which all web user should know…”

    #6193

    Nassim
    Participant

    Thank you Otto. I will try not to fall for that so I am not taking any further the bait presented using perpetual motion suggestions 🙂

    #6194

    These are two of the clips worth a view. 90min each.
    Anybody with questions about the actual performance of Rossi’s device should take the time to see the results.
    They were repeated independently across the planet.
    It concerns me how – at the moment a new tech is developed – “authorities” in the field step in to immediately claim it *cannot* be true. Skepticism is one thing but some of these reactions seem obsessive.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjOoGtTFpNk
    and
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7lFKrK6N70

    Doesn’t seem to be an issue generating over 2500f heat.

    #6195

    Nassim
    not a perpetual motion machine, it runs out of fuel
    not sure why you think its an overunity claim?

    Otto,
    the prejudice isn’t neccesary
    And it’s very telling how easily some choose to shout ‘troll’ as soon as there understanding is challenged.

    Live & learn
    Learn & grow

    #6196

    “Something tells me that the Rossi Energy Catalyzer, or E-Cat, is, in fact, that “Google of energy,” that Daniel Yergin talks about in “The Quest.””

    I agree Sojourner Soo, strange how some poo poo anything they know nothing about.

    #6198

    Anonymous

    Maybe David Matherly could explain in his own terms what is happening in this amazing new energy generator. I fell for it three years ago. You’ll get over it Dave.

    #6199

    majormocambo – fell for it? Before it was tested?
    Tested this year, and the results were verified.
    All this admitted according to Rossi and his people.
    But have you brushed up on the newest results?
    Those were discussed last month, so I’m not sure how you could’ve “fallen for it” 3 yrs ago??

    #6200

    And no, I cannot explain – I’m not involved.
    They can, and you can listen to what the results were.
    Or you can ask Rossi yourself about the test.
    Keep in mind, about 1 yr ago investors actually paid for units and fuel, and followed his instructions, and reported they worked exactly as he claimed.
    The Sept 2012 press conference in Europe is in the videos.

    The hotcat didn’t exist 3yrs ago, so you couldn’t have fallen for that either.
    It sustains the temps found in a kiln. 2500 range.

    Working from memory here; but as far as the nickel to copper issue, I’m pretty sure they say there is less nickel in the spent fuel but they found copper where there had been none.
    So they surmise some of the nickel became copper.

    #6201

    DIYer
    Participant

    Dave Matherly post=5893 wrote: Nassim, this is Rossi’s website

    https://ecat.com/

    Boil the water with the heat, duh.

    Search “hot-cat” on his site.
    The latest videos show the details.

    Worth a watch.

    Dave,
    I hate to be all Debbie Downer about this, but after watching the videos and looking at the science on the ecat site, it doesn’t look like a useful source of energy. I didn’t have a lot to do this afternoon.

    There’s a .pdf file from a physicist, with lots of greek letters in it and good sounding theory. Except that, from what little I know about nuclear science, he has beta decay running in the wrong direction. So I’ll neglect that for this post.

    Even if we assume that the claims made by Dr. Rossi are correct, he is only claiming a modest EROI for the operating units. And his claim does not account for the consumables used by them, nor for the cost of constructing the units. He was only comparing heat output to the electricity consumed. Hydrogen and nickel are also consumed (if the theory is correct) — apparently the nickel does not have to be isotopically pure, but still, you’d need an awful lot of those “fusors” to generate enough power to make the hydrogen and refine the nickel. In the video, it looked like they could just barely boil water.

    At that EROI, Rossi’s device makes my rooftop solar array look like the first gushing oil well drilled at Spindletop.

    #6202

    Anonymous

    Sorry Dave, I can’t exactly say how long ago, my bad. Please check out other resources before getting too excited. One might be here (below), there are many more. I realize its hard to convince people one way or the other, but do try to look at both sides.
    https://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2011/12/05/the-nuclear-physics-of-why-we/

    When your done researching the e-cat, move on to the thorium reactor. Have fun!!

    Nothings going to replace the transportability and energy density oil has. Our civilization is based on it. It would be a better use of our time to figure out how we are going to unwind this huge energy bubble we are in and get people to realize we are on the downslope of our industrial civilization. No more growth economies, mass consumption, etc….

    #6204

    Unsubsidized rooftop solar right now seems like it has a reasonable payback period at about 12 years, with expected equipment lifespan of 20-25 years.

    Then why are all those companies, GE, Siemens etc., closing their solar divisions?

    #6205

    So we have almost an entire thread devoted not to what Nicole writes, but to the pros and cons of snake oil, a discussion that seemingly originates in a persistent inability to understand the laws of thermodynamics. One would think Homer Simpson made that already very simple topic accessible to just about anyone, but the probably archetypical dream of free, clean and virtually unlimited energy proves too much for many people’s critical thinking.

    Who would do much better paying attention to what the original article has to say.

    PS: When in a thread there’s one mention of the next one in an endless line in brilliant inventions that upset the status quo and can save the planet, that’s one thing. When there’s more than one and they pretend to be independent from each other, I get suspicious.

    #6207

    Otto Matic
    Member

    I was helping to install PV panels in the early 70’s on roof tops when they were frightfully expensive and much less efficient than present ones. That was more than 40 years ago.

    Do you see them covering the roof tops of Clusterphuck American Suburbia by any chance?

    Of course not.

    I was lobbying to get the U.S. military in the 70’s to cover the rooftops of their bases world wide with PVs, you know, for security reasons, keep everything running when the natives inevitably tried to cut off their fuel supply chains and such (for Imperialistic behavior)

    A series of huge PV panel orders from the military back then would have enormously helped to drop the UNIT COST of each PV panel AND stimulated techno development of the PV panel (after all we had $600 toilet seats in military transports), paving the way to offer MUCH lower and higher quality PV panels to the unwashed masses. They when ahead and bought those huge 12′ satellite TV dishes instead to better bring the Vast Wasteland of Network TV Propaganda into their ticky-tic Mac-burbia Malinvestment ‘homes’.

    And instead of cheap affordable solar electric power from the MIC, we got killer drone technology and still no vast installation of PV panels on military bases or Clusterphuck Suburbia, 40 years later.

    Wow, humans ARE clever, and insightful and ‘forward thinking’ and ‘adaptable’

    Forty years pissed down a hole on just one aspect of the alt energy dilemma.

    ALT energy will never get off the ground because the funding mechanism has now been completely destroy by the global financial PONZI, for DECADES, an impressive HUMAN accomplishment all by itself.

    What ever techno wizardry humans pull out of their ASSES, it’s way too little and too late.

    Credit as a viable funding mechanism is dead for decades and will be for at LEAST a full 60-80 year generational memory span.

    Bankers and credit will be reviled and associated with EVIL for decades, read up on the psychological aftermath of the South Seas Bubble and it’s effect on funding countries and their operations.

    The BUBBLE we are in now is the Mother of All Bubbles, dwarfing the South Seas one by several orders of magnitude, dude.

    #6208

    davefairtex
    Participant

    illargi –

    Then why are all those companies, GE, Siemens etc., closing their solar divisions?

    I’m sorry, did I miss your factual response to what I said, which was that rooftop solar seems to have a payback period now of about 10-12 years?

    Likely the payback period (without incentives) is not attractive if you aren’t paying normal residential rates, but at that rate, assuming an annual built-in rate increase, and given Mom is in San Diego, it really does work. It pencils out even more attractively if you try to look for other investments that can get you a guaranteed 5% ROI on invested capital while capping your power bill inflation risk, and you end up not finding any.

    Aha. I found a paper backing me up, from bloomberg new energy finance:

    http://www.bnef.com/WhitePapers/download/82

    As of April 2012, the factory-gate selling price (ex-VAT) of modules from ‘bankable’ or “tier 1” manufacturers was $0.85/W for Chinese multicrystalline silicon modules, $1.01/W for non-Chinese monocrystalline silicon modules, with thin film modules and those from …

    And on an installed, fully loaded basis assuming 6% financing:

    The LCOE for PV c-Si has declined by nearly 50% from an average of $0.32/kWh early 2009 to $0.17/kWh early 2012, while that for PV thin film experienced a drop from $0.23/kWh to $0.16/kWh in the same period. According to BNEF, the current (Q1, 2012) levelized cost ranges from $0.11/kWh to $0.25/kWh

    And even at those prices, First Solar is still making money. Just not as much as they did before.

    Naturally, location matters a great deal. San Diego is a much better candidate than Frankfurt.

    But I stand by what I said before. Rooftop solar, even unsubsidized, is starting to look attractive – depending on location, especially in the low interest rate environment.

    And in three years? I think it will be an even clearer win by then.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 112 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.