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Thread: Solar happenings

  1. #851
    Model S VIN P01536 Robert.Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggies07 View Post
    Solar power's rapid growth and the myth of storage breakthrough's necessity
    Note that this video's simulation does indeed rely (heavily) on storage: ice storage in HVAC and variable EV charging. I agree that these are very cost-effective storage solutions, but I found the claim that we can integrate large fractions of renewables without "bulk storage" something of an understatement.

    The video's use of the Texas grid is a very good one, because Texas works almost as an electrical island. It's a shame they weaken their claims by pointing to places like North Dakota and Iowa as having successfully achieved over 25% wind, however; neither of these states operates as isolated power systems. Indeed, both import or export substantial amounts of power depending on wind conditions. The same holds true, albeit to a slightly smaller extent, with the European examples cited.

    I also take issue with the "no end in sight" claim for continued cost reductions. Every energy technology has worked its way along a downward-sloping cost curve, but in every case the curve's decline slows. In particular, even if solar cells were free, there is a non-reducible cost of assembly and installation. I don't see how we move substantially below $1500/kW installed in solar.

    One final note: the video correctly notes that a key to the success of high penetrations of renewables is diversity of resources and locations. Even if solar panels are very cheap, we can't run the system with solar alone. Some combination of solar, wind, marine, hydro, hydrothermal, demand response, energy efficiency and storage can work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert.Boston View Post
    I also take issue with the "no end in sight" claim for continued cost reductions. Every energy technology has worked its way along a downward-sloping cost curve, but in every case the curve's decline slows. In particular, even if solar cells were free, there is a non-reducible cost of assembly and installation. I don't see how we move substantially below $1500/kW installed in solar.
    It appears that the average installation in Germany, even back in 2011, was below $1.50/W ex-panels. I'd be curious to know what it is now and what their growth has been like with the stepping down of the feed-in tariffs there.

    Why German Solar Is So Much Cheaper Than U.S. Solar — Updated Study

  3. #853
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert.Boston View Post
    Note that this video's simulation does indeed rely (heavily) on storage: ice storage in HVAC and variable EV charging. I agree that these are very cost-effective storage solutions, but I found the claim that we can integrate large fractions of renewables without "bulk storage" something of an understatement.

    The video's use of the Texas grid is a very good one, because Texas works almost as an electrical island. It's a shame they weaken their claims by pointing to places like North Dakota and Iowa as having successfully achieved over 25% wind, however; neither of these states operates as isolated power systems. Indeed, both import or export substantial amounts of power depending on wind conditions. The same holds true, albeit to a slightly smaller extent, with the European examples cited.

    I also take issue with the "no end in sight" claim for continued cost reductions. Every energy technology has worked its way along a downward-sloping cost curve, but in every case the curve's decline slows. In particular, even if solar cells were free, there is a non-reducible cost of assembly and installation. I don't see how we move substantially below $1500/kW installed in solar.

    One final note: the video correctly notes that a key to the success of high penetrations of renewables is diversity of resources and locations. Even if solar panels are very cheap, we can't run the system with solar alone. Some combination of solar, wind, marine, hydro, hydrothermal, demand response, energy efficiency and storage can work.
    When I think of 'Storage' I think of batteries that have no purpose other than supporting the grid; ICE HVAC storage and EV charging fall under 'Demand Response'

    While the rate of decline in the cost of solar obviously can't continue indefinitely keep in mind that installation costs are based on # of modules and the power output per module appears to be increasing at a somewhat linear rate. Most modules are ~16% efficient and the theoretical max is ~40% so there's A LOT of room there. It's certainly possible we'll continue to see fairly significant cost reduction for the foreseeable future.

    AND... there's always this....
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    Friggin robots installing Solar Panels!!

  4. #854
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    Interesting article about technology that will hopefully help with the future distributed network:

    Cisco and Bit Stew Are Turning Grid Routers Into Virtual Servers : Greentech Media

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    Not sure where to put this one, but what do you think about the ideas in this article?

    Forget the Death Spiral: Electric Vehicles Offer a Major Growth Opportunity for Utilities : Greentech Media

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    Quote Originally Posted by ggies07 View Post
    Not sure where to put this one, but what do you think about the ideas in this article?

    Forget the Death Spiral: Electric Vehicles Offer a Major Growth Opportunity for Utilities : Greentech Media
    If there were more visionaries working in the utility sector that may happen... there's a few; IMO NRG is one of 'the good ones'. I've worked with utility types... they are the most REGRESSIVE, STUBBORN and 'STUCK-IN-THEIR-WAYS' people I have ever had the displeasure of meeting... TMC member Nuclearpowered can attest to this... Most people in the utility sector see EVs as a joke... not an opportunity. I've tried for 3 years to get an EV charging station installed where I work... no dice AND MY EMPLOYER MAKES ELECTRICITY!!!!! Pathetic is the nicest description I can think think of.....

    I'm looking forward to the death spiral... I call it Karma. Got my resume ready

  7. #857
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwdiver View Post
    If there were more visionaries working in the utility sector that may happen... there's a few; IMO NRG is one of 'the good ones'. I've worked with utility types... they are the most REGRESSIVE, STUBBORN and 'STUCK-IN-THEIR-WAYS' people I have ever had the displeasure of meeting... TMC member Nuclearpowered can attest to this... Most people in the utility sector see EVs as a joke... not an opportunity. I've tried for 3 years to get an EV charging station installed where I work... no dice AND MY EMPLOYER MAKES ELECTRICITY!!!!! Pathetic is the nicest description I can think think of.....

    I'm looking forward to the death spiral... I call it Karma. Got my resume ready
    hahahaha. I see.

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