Dear Mr. Julian Cox:
I do not disagree with the comparisons you have made between solar cells and fuel cells.
"1.EV only transport system. Renewable energy hits break even per mile vs Natural Gas electricity generation at 3.30/1.25 = 264% of the cost of natural gas. For example if natural gas costs $5 per 293 KWh (true on average) Solar can compete in terms of cost per mile at $13.20 per 293KWh or 4.50 US Cents / KWh. . . ." Julian Cox
There are better sources of data to draw from, though. For example, the City of Palm Springs ran extensive real on the ground tests with real functioning buses and real solar arrays, for years, and they were happy to share that data with me. My comparisons between solar cells and fuel cells were based upon that data and from other similar sources. The results I obtained are somewhat different than yours but, not so different to be of any real interest.
In addition to comparing solar cells with fuel cells, I am in the process of compared solar cells with permanent magnet generators, in theory. See, Charles Flynn's US Patent #6246561, June 12, 2001. To date, there are no real world applications of permanent magnet generators to draw data from; outside of top secret sources, that is. This secrecy makes the comparison that much more difficult to complete.
Nevertheless, I believe that people of similar interests to yours would benefit by such a comparison. When I have completed my comparison between solar cells and permanent magnet generators, I will forward it to whomever wishes to see it.
Conceptually, there is little doubt that a robust, resilient national power grid is a vital public interest to all persons and businesses. Perhaps then we should start to treat it as such and make it a truly public resource managed in the public interest?
Completely separate out the business of generating electricity (multiple players, regulated market) and delivering electricity (publicly owned, managed, and paid for). If I have a solar array that produces more electricity than I use I should be able to market the surplus while paying to maintain the grid. It's in my interest that my community has excellent public schools and roads, even if I use none (the schools) or a very small fraction (the roads). The electrical grid is no different.
Originally Posted by hypersparc
You analogy of the toll bridge is flat wrong.
This has been addressed... for obvious reasons we can't ALL use a resource (the grid) that isn't free... for free... at low levels of Solar PV penetration this is irrelevant but the objective is 100% renewables.
Roberts bridge analogy is only applicable to Distributed Generation customers that ARE NOT net 'Positive'. If you Produce 1000kWh, Export 1000kWh and Import 1000kWh your bill should not be $0 + connection fee. I do agree that exported power is worth more than $0.003/kWh but it's not sustainable to credit distributed generation customers the same rate they are charged.
If you want to have not have an electric bill you should be producing more power than you consume... ~25% more.
You analogy of the toll bridge is flat wrong. Let's say there is a utility company which has to buy power and transmit if on the grid to your house and your three neighbor houses without solar. At peak times during the day and summer the power company has to pay a premium for that power. It is way more expensive than the offered rate at night. During the day your solar panel produce excess power and it flows back on the grid. Guess where that power goes?
It goes right to you neighbor's houses with very little transmission cost. Transformers are like 99 percent efficient and the loss would be under 3 percent. Me for instance, I share a drop line with my neighbor so the power doesn't even flow thru a transformer. If your utility company is charging your neighbor 3x the price for electricity during the day and all the excess power your source goes to you neighbor why shouldn't you be given credit for that power. The power company has to transmit it's power over large distances and the losses are significant. In the toll bridge scenario you are assuming that you are transmitting your electricity back to the utility company power source and that is flat wrong. By sourcing power to the grid during peak demand and using the power at night you are flatting the demand curve which in the long run will force prices lower for everyone during peak demand. Utility companies build new power plants based on peak demand. Solar power solves this issue. It makes power plants more efficient because you would need fewer with Solar generated power and the ones that operate with less peaks and valleys and thus generate electricity cheaper. By having more efficient power plants the utility companies can generate power cheaper over a days cycle thus providing lower pricing for everyone.
The toll bridge analogy assumes that excess power is transmitted back to the power source which is wrong.
Also, just tapping into the power lines without using power doesn't entail any cost for the utility.
Maintaining the grid does ensue some cost but generating power during the peak demand to your neighbors homes directly is of great benefit because the power company doesn't size up it's substations because you as a solar provider sources your power directly to your neighbor homes.
Another analogy is let you own a home with 3 floors. You solar array is sized to cover the yearly usage for the 3rd floor but the other two floor are on their own. There is one common meter to the house. During the day, floor 3 provides enough power for the 3rd, 2nd and almost entire 1st floor. The house meter never spins backwards but shows a market reduction in power during day. Your house as a whole consumes lower amount of power and very low power during the day. You neighbors house shows a peak demand during the day and consumes the same power you do at night.
By you just installing solar power for 3rd floor, you help help the utility company by dropping the power during the day for your entire house which the utility sources to your neighbor at peak and charges him according. Of course you are also charges a lot less during the day and your power and bill to you house by more that the power that the solar system generates because you less during peak demand. The issue is you don't source any power to the grid but by reducing demand during peak demand you are compensated. Imagine if the power company send a letter to your house because they sensed that you were not drawing enough power during the daytime. Let's say the utility company wants to meter every floor. The amount of power and time of power usage is still the same. The total bills should be the same adding up all the floors. The issue now is the meter for 3rd floor runs backwards during the day. You'll need charge floors 2 and 1 more so the bill is the same. What the utility company does is start adding fees to 3rd floor as a connection fee just to allow floor 3 to source to the other two floors.
Originally Posted by Robert.Boston
For those who think net metering is good, consider this: you drive east across a toll bridge, paying the toll. When you drive back west, do you expect to have the toll rebated? Of course not; you used the bridge, and therefore you should help pay for its cost.