Consumer Energy Report is now Energy Trends Insider -- Read More »

By Robert Rapier on Jul 14, 2011 with 113 responses

Renewables 2011 Global Status Report Released

The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century has just released their annual Renewables 2011 Global Status Report. I was one of the reviewers of the draft report, and therefore got to read and comment on it prior to publication. The report provides a comprehensive overview of global renewable energy sectors, breaking different categories down by total installed capacity and capacity added in 2010. It also ranks the global leaders for many categories.

Renewable energy grew strongly in 2010, as the total global investment in renewable energy reached $211 billion, up 32% from the $160 billion invested in 2009. Globally, the capacity of various renewable energy categories at the end of 2010 was:

  • Solar PV – 40 GW
  • Wind – 198 GW
  • Geothermal – 11 GW
  • Hydropower – 1010 GW
  • Biomass power and heat – 62 GW
  • Solar hot water/heating – 185 GWth

The U.S. leads global capacity for geothermal and biomass heat and power, China leads on hydropower, wind power, and solar hot water, and Germany leads in solar PV capacity. Globally, solar PV capacity has increased by a factor of seven in five years.

Some of the other highlights of the report, from the press release accompanying the report’s release:

  • Renewable capacity now comprises about a quarter of total global power-generating capacity  and supplies close to 20% of global electricity, with most of this provided by hydropower.
  • Developing countries (collectively) have more than half of global renewable energy power.
  • Solar PV capacity was added in more than 100 countries.
  • The top five countries for non-hydro renewable power capacity were the United States, China, Germany, Spain, and India.
  • In the United States, renewables accounted for about 10.9% of U.S. domestic primary energy production (compared with nuclear’s 11.3%), an increase of 5.6% over 2009.
  • In the United States, 30 states (plus Washington, D.C.) have Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).
  • China led the world in the installation of wind turbines and solar thermal systems and was the top hydropower producer in 2010. The country added an estimated 29 GW of grid-connected renewable capacity, for a total of 252 GW, an increase of 13% compared with 2009.
  • Renewables accounted for about 26% of China’s total installed electric capacity in 2010, 18% of generation, and more than 9% of final energy supply.
  • Brazil produces virtually all of the world’s sugar-derived ethanol, and has been adding new hydropower, biomass and wind power plants, as well as solar heating systems.
  • In the European Union, renewables represented an estimated 41% of newly installed electric capacity. While this share was significantly lower than the more than 60% of new capacity in 2009, more renewable power capacity was added in Europe than ever before.
  • The EU exceeded all its 2010 targets for wind, solar PV, concentrating solar thermal power, and heating/heat pumps.  Countries including Finland, Germany, Spain, and Taiwan raised their targets, and South Africa, Guatemala, and India, among others, introduced new ones.
  • Developing countries, which now represent more than half of all countries with policy targets and half of all countries with renewable support policies, are playing an increasingly important role in advancing renewable energy.
  1. By DownToTheLastCookie on July 14, 2011 at 2:54 am

    Drill, Baby, Drill

    God Bless America

    [link]      
  2. By NOBAMA is GOODBAMA on July 14, 2011 at 4:38 am

    Re: Down to the Last Cookie;

    I surprised Mr. Rapier has not removed your comment as he does all pro-America ones.

    [link]      
  3. By rrapier on July 14, 2011 at 5:09 am

    NOBAMA is GOODBAMA said:

    Re: Down to the Last Cookie;

    I surprised Mr. Rapier has not removed your comment as he does all pro-America ones.


     

    I hardly ever remove a comment. If you had a comment removed then you are doing something wrong. I know you have because you have once posted a really bizarre, off-topic comment about “the threat of izlam” — but I was not the one who removed that comment. Someone else got to it before I did.

    I also prefer comments to contribute to the discussion, but I don’t remove them unless they are profane, contain overt personal attacks (which your current comment does), lies (again), or are simply spam. Neither your comment nor the previous one have contributed anything, so please try to pick up the quality of your comments if you wish to post here.

    RR

    [link]      
  4. By DownToTheLastCookie on July 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    It seems that Robert has been pretty hard on his Democratic Party for energy policy lately. After reading how other country are leading the way on renewables. I wanted to make the point that American leadership could be worse.

    [link]      
  5. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    2011 is going to be a Monster year, also.

    The Big story, from my standpoint, is the rapidly reducing “cost” of Solar, and, to a lesser extent, I think, Wind.

    There are serious people predicting solar farms with an “installed” cost of $2.00/Watt by the end of next year. When you start looking at numbers like $2.00 “Installed” in places like S. Cal, Phoenix, and El Paso, San Antonio, Houston it can get pretty exciting, pretty quick.

    Add in the, already, low cost of Wind in Iowa, N. Dakota, and other Northern climes, and it can almost put a smile on your face. :)

    [link]      
  6. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Yesterday, California (the 11th largest economy in the world?) produced 14% of its electricity from Home-Grown Renewables. And, that doesn’t include large hydro.

    Add in the imported wind, and they’re probably 16, or 17% non-hydro renewable. Of course, the real way to look at California, I think, is the fairly small amount, now, that comes from “Thermal,” either domestic, or imported.

    http://www.caiso.com/green/ren…..sWatch.pdf

    [link]      
  7. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    One other Very important thing, also, is of that 5,377 Megawatt/hrs of Solar in California, yesterday, most of that is from very old plants that are completely paid for.

    It’s hard to find electricity that’s cheaper than that electricity that comes from a “Paid For” Solar Panel.

    [link]      
  8. By Wendell Mercantile on July 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    When you start looking at numbers like $2.00 “Installed” in places like S. Cal, Phoenix, and El Paso, San Antonio, Houston it can get pretty exciting, pretty quick.

    Rufus~

    I don’t see Tunica on your list. Seems to me those casinos should be investing in some solar panels. You have just as much Sun as Houston.

    [link]      
  9. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I, also, didn’t put Dallas, OK City, Amarillo, Tulsa, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Jackson, Ms, Baton rouge, Mobile Al, Orlando, Miami, or Tampa-St. Pete on the list.

    But, yes, Tunica would do very well with some $2.00 “installed cost” solar.

    [link]      
  10. By Kit P on July 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    If the goal is to use energy to improve the quality of life while reducing the environment impact of achieving that; the best example is the second from the last paragraph of the ES,

    “Over 44 million households use biogas made in household-scale digesters for lighting and/or cooking, and more than 166 million households now rely on a new generation of more-efficient biomass cookstoves.”

    The reason for the improvement is that these people do not have access to coal generated electricity or treated drinking water. Putting waste in household-scale digesters reduces contamination of drinking too.

    Venting my septic tank to my all electric house to provide heat and lights would be a drastic reduction of quality of life at my house.  Biogas stinks.  Ask any old fart.

    The basic problem with the report that it is useless. The assumption is that all renewable energy is good or that focusing on renewable energy will reduce fossil use. It lists collecting cow pies as good.  Some examples:

    Then there is the difference between capacity and production, from pg 20:

    “Despite having less capacity in operation than Germany did, Spain produced more electricity with wind (43 TWh) in 2010, due largely to high winds in Spain and to more-advanced turbines.”

    Other good news,

    “The state of Iowa led in the United States, meeting more than 15% of electricity needs with wind power during 2010; in the territory of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which covers 85% of the state’s electric load, wind generated 7.8% of electricity in 2010.”

    I think we should keep putting up wind farms as fast as we can until we run out of good places to put them. Since we are a long way away of doing that, we should continue.

    There was a reference to solar hot water that is not very credible:

    “China added an estimated 17.5 GWth (25 million m2 of collectors) for a

    total of just under 118 GWth (168 million m2).”

    That is enough how water for a billion Americans. I checked the footnote. It could be that almost all of how water demand in China is met by solar hot water. The added capacity is for a 10% replace rate. I would expect solar hot water panels to last only 10 years.

    I think solar hot water is great in theory. It is not going to be adopted many places in the US because of cost and climate. How long something last is an important LCA consideration. If solar hot water panels to last only 10 years, then we need a recycling and refurbishment industry to reduce the environment impact for what we thought was great.

    [link]      
  11. By Kit P on July 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    “The Big story, from my standpoint, is the rapidly reducing “cost” of Solar, and, to a lesser extent, I think, Wind. ”

    Still reading fiction I see Rufus. In another thread I provided a link and Paul hammered you pretty hard on the installed cost. I piled on of course. The cost of wind came down last year because we built half as many. Supply and demand for equipment.

    “most of that is from very old plants that are completely paid for.”

    Not paid for because they were rebuilt. Also Rufus you would be surprised how much NG ‘solar’ thermal plants burn. Maybe molten salt storage will change that. Let me know when they get one running. The absence if bragging is not a good sign.

    [link]      
  12. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Here’s a nice little article on falling installed solar prices.

    http://cleantechnica.com/2011/…..you-smile/

    Actually, you kinda hit on it, Kit. This is how it works/how it’s always worked.

    1) Gov. decides it wants something, and institutes large subsidies

    2) Sharp guys/hustlers jump in and get rich

    3) Industry expands – more production lines are set up – more installers are trained – Everybody’s primed for the boom that’ll never end.

    4) Gov says, “hmm, looking good; don’t think we need subsidies any longer”

    5) Everyone has to hustle like hell, and compete, compete, compete.

    6) Prices plunge.

    We’re now at 5, transitioning to 6

    And, yes, Prices are plunging.- But, most everyone is STILL making money. Just not quite as much as before.

    [link]      
  13. By rrapier on July 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Kit P said:

    Then there is the difference between capacity and production, from pg 20:

    “Despite having less capacity in operation than Germany did, Spain produced more electricity with wind (43 TWh) in 2010, due largely to high winds in Spain and to more-advanced turbines.”


     

    Actually, that was one of the comments I made during the review. I felt the line between capacity and what was produced was seriously blurred. I told the editors that having a tremendous amount of installed capacity at a very low capacity factor really wasn’t too informative if the capacity factor is left out of the discussion.

    RR

    [link]      
  14. By rrapier on July 14, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Rufus said:

    4) Gov says, “hmm, looking good; don’t think we need subsidies any longer”

    5) Everyone has to hustle like hell, and compete, compete, compete.


     

    You forgot the step between 4 and 5: Lobbyists predict end of the world if the subsidies are eliminated; fight like hell and tell tall tales in order to scare the government into continuing the handouts.

    RR

    [link]      
  15. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Yeah, and sometimes the lobbyists actually win.

    And, sometimes they don’t – see VEETC. :)

    [link]      
  16. By paul-n on July 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Rufus, did you actually read that report linked by CleanTechnica?

    It is the 2010 Market Review, by the Solar Energy Industries Association.  As you would expect, it is very rah-rah about the solar industry but it does contain some hard data amongst the optimism, including this, (p3)

    In 2010, the U.S. solar market grew to reach $6.0 billion,

    And the capacity installed was 878MW – which works out to $6.83/W

    Now, if you don’t trust that number, there is this (p10)

    2.2 Installed Price

     

    National weighted-average system prices fell by 20.5% over the course of 2010, from

    $6.45/W to $5.13/W. Much of this decline was due to a shift toward larger systems,

    particularly utility systems, in the fourth quarter.

    The U.S. PV market remains highly disaggregated, resulting in a wide range of installed

    prices even within a given state, market segment, and quarter. Figure 2-7 displays the

    range of installed system prices in the fourth quarter of 2010. Residential systems

    were installed in certain locations (particularly Colorado and Arizona) at prices below

    $5.00/W, but other locations saw residential system prices over $8.00/W. Non-residential

    installations ranged from $4.11/W to $7.31/W. Utility installations show the most

    variability, largely due to the choice between low- and high-efficiency modules and between

    fixed and tracking mounting structures.

    So there we have it – the cheapest recorded systems were $4/W – this with panel “prices” at $1-1.50.  so even of the panels are free, you won’t get below $2.50/W.

     

    The Cleantechnica article also has some other deceptive pieces of writing, like this;

     

    Note that this chart is for tracking PV systems – but how many of those have you seen installed?  If they had charted the production of fixed PV – which 95% of systems are, the morning and late afternoon production drops off dramatically, and there is about  30% decrease in annual; production compared to tracking systems – with the biggest decrease in the long days of summer!

    This is poor reporting at its worst – report what the best system can do, and extrapolate this to all systems, even though hardly any systems are like that.  It is the equivalent of saying that a Prius gets great mileage so therefore the entire vehicle fleet gets great mileage.

     

    Don’t get me wrong, I am and advocate of renewable energy – and am developing projects myself – but the RE industry, and (especially) those who make a living writing about it,  have to take a reality pill.

     

    “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled”  

    [Nobel prize wining physicist Richard Feynman, 1986]

    [link]      
  17. By rrapier on July 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Rufus said:

    Yeah, and sometimes the lobbyists actually win.

    And, sometimes they don’t – see VEETC. :)


     

    They held onto the VEETC for years longer than it served its purpose. I would characterize that as a win.

    RR

    [link]      
  18. By moiety on July 14, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Rufus said:

    2011 is going to be a Monster year, also.

    The Big story, from my standpoint, is the rapidly reducing “cost” of Solar, and, to a lesser extent, I think, Wind.

    There are serious people predicting solar farms with an “installed” cost of $2.00/Watt by the end of next year. When you start looking at numbers like $2.00 “Installed” in places like S. Cal, Phoenix, and El Paso, San Antonio, Houston it can get pretty exciting, pretty quick.

    Add in the, already, low cost of Wind in Iowa, N. Dakota, and other Northern climes, and it can almost put a smile on your face. :)


     

    And yet again for the second time I ask you on this fourm why are Spain and Greece paying a tarrif to solar power producers of around 400EUR/MW compare to fossil fuel subsidies around the 1-10 Euro mark? The reality of solar power is that costs are not rapidly decreasing. Ccompanies are more focused on developing higher efficiency cells. While development is fast, a 1% increase in efficiency (at a 20% level) is nothing to write home about. Further without solving the problem of kerf losses, solar production costs are not going to change dramatically.

    [link]      
  19. By moiety on July 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

    Kit P said:

    Then there is the difference between capacity and production, from pg 20:

    “Despite having less capacity in operation than Germany did, Spain produced more electricity with wind (43 TWh) in 2010, due largely to high winds in Spain and to more-advanced turbines.”


     

    Actually, that was one of the comments I made during the review. I felt the line between capacity and what was produced was seriously blurred. I told the editors that having a tremendous amount of installed capacity at a very low capacity factor really wasn’t too informative if the capacity factor is left out of the discussion.

    RR


     

    A very good point raised by Kit P. Also it could be expanded to availability or usability.

    [link]      
  20. By mac on July 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Rufus,

    You not only forgot to include Robert’s step but you also forgot step 7

    7) “Keeping up with the Joneses” or “Everyone on our block has solar panels. Why can’t we ?”

    (Just kidding Rufus)

    [link]      
  21. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Guys, just because a bunch of slicksters that have the energy, and know-how to jump in and use Government Subsidies to get rich doesn’t mean those prices will hold. They’ve dropped, already, and they’re starting to drop like a rock.

    First comes the panel prices. Due to the 30% tax credit going away in the U.S., and other countries lowering their tariffs, and Supply growing like crazy, panels are expected to Retail for $1.00/Watt in the Spring. Inverter prices are falling, and companies are learning how to install these things very cheaply (I mean, come on, this is pretty easy.)

    Guys, I bought a laptop the other day that is twice as fast, and has a gazillion gig more storage, AND costs LESS tha 1/3 as much as the one I bought 7 years ago. Solar Panels are following the same trajectory.

    [link]      
  22. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    mac, I was sleepy while ago, or I’m sure I would have thought of No. 7

    :)

    And, btw, that IS a Driving Force in human nature. Except, right now, it’s operating at the Governmental, and Corporate Level, as regards Solar, and “clean” energy. It hasn’t worked its way down to the family level, Yet.

    [link]      
  23. By mac on July 14, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Rufus,

    Yes, lots of room for solar panels to come down in price, I recently watched a short film where the manager of Westinghouse solar has come up with a new idea that greatly simplifies installation (which is just about half the cost of rooftop solar.)

    The Westinghouse idea makes solar installations so simple that ordinary electricians, general contractors or even “weekend warriors” can install the stuff.

    I think they sell solar panels at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Harbor Freight, E-Bay, etc,

    Here we go !!!

    [link]      
  24. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Here’s a link for my $1.00/Watt claims:

    http://www.solardaily.com/repo…..y_999.html

    [link]      
  25. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    I’ve said before, mac, I have no doubt I could turn a profit at $0.20/watt (about $50.00 per panel.)

    [link]      
  26. By mac on July 14, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Rufus,

    The Germans, Spanish, Italy, Czech Republic, Australia, etc, have all cut back on their FITS subsidies, but just like you said Solar will continue to grow.

    [link]      
  27. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Europe started out, and still are to a large extent, paying Ridiculous Feed-in Tariffs. It was/is bizarre.

    [link]      
  28. By Kit P on July 17, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    “people are losing trust in the ability of “People” to do Nuclear. “

     

    The the people who make electricity and the people who make decisions about making electricity.

     

    “The lattitude of ”

     

    So why solar does not work there? Come Rufus show the systems where solar is bragging about how well they work. Rufus people have been talking a the way you have since you were in boot camp. However, it sounds like you sent your time in a hippie commune contemplating naval fuze.

     

    What I noticed you did not is respond with facts. Show me the LCA detailing the environment befits and environmental costs.

     

    For example, for a particulate location solar PV might have a 100 gCO2/kwh assuming a CF=20% with a thirty year life. However, the actual installation has a CF=5% and the system burned up in 3 years.

     

    The resulting environmental cost is is 4000 gCO2/kwh which is 4 times worse than coal plant in the US. While the numbers I used were for the purposes of an example for the math challenged, they ar not absurd.

     

    So what is the best way to reduce the environmental impact of making electricity with coal. It is by reducing the environmental impact of making electricity with coal. Forty years ago, I had not given much thought to making electricity. Thirty years ago with 10 years of nuke experience working in coal country, I was very anti-coal. Everybody’s father and uncle were unemployed coal miners with black lung. The environmental legacy was terrible.

     

    Fifteen years ago, I stopped being anti-coal because of the improvements in the coal industry.

     

    So what have we learned about solar in 40 years? It is still not ready for prime time. Rufus is indeed a slick salesmen. It is true that we do not know what fossil fuel costs will be in 20 years. Rufus when you come to my door as a traveling salesmen I will tell you what I tell them all. Come back in 20 years.

     

    [link]      
  29. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Let’s just do some of it All for awhile, Kit. A few years down the road we’ll see how it’s shaking out.

    [link]      
  30. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    But, again, they accomplished what they wanted to accomplish; they got the ball rolling. unleashed the animal spirits, as it were.

    [link]      
  31. By mac on July 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Well Rufus.

    It’s sort of like what Robert once said, that solar is the only conceivable energy source that even has a chance of competing with stored fossil fuels,

    The problem with Europe is that they are not exactly flush in fossil fuels, So the Germans made gasoline with Fischer-Tropsch process and limited oil from Bulgaria. Also, alcohol made with potatoes.

    Perhaps this is why the Europeans are so “hyper” about renewable energy

    [link]      
  32. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    They, definitely, see the “writing on the wall,” mac.

    I disagree that Solar is the “only” viable fossil fuel replacement, though. Wind works very well, and, obviously, so does ethanol, and biodiesel.

    Cellulosic Ethanol is going to be a big surprise, but it’s going to take awhile.

    [link]      
  33. By Benny BND Cole on July 14, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    My understanding is that some researchers are working on a solar panel that will work using the full range of light, including infrared. With infrared, you get a lot more power.

    Solar may never be cheaper than natural gas, for electricity generation. On the hand, you can install small amounts of it every year, and it seems to last forever. You can install it on rooftops in cities.

    Might be fun to keep installing solar consistently for another 25 years, and see where we stand. Economists don’t like such a solution–present value and all that.

    But given the Niagara of money we waste on our military, it might be fun to slice off $50 billion and install that much solar every year.

    Way down the road, electricity almost becomes free. Then the PHEVs, with their improving batteries, start to make really good sense.

    Oh, I am sorry. I was was just dreaming how taking 7.5 percent of our military budget would result in a wonderful future. Shoot me.

    [link]      
  34. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    They’ll have to shoot us both, Benny, cause I’m on board.

    [link]      
  35. By Kit P on July 14, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    “We’re now at 5, transitioning to 6”

     

    Actually we have been stuck at 1 for 30 years. I do not have a problem with solar, I have a problem with solar panels that do not make electricity. Capacity does not replace capacity. Generation replaces generation. Yesterday, solar in California produced 5 hours of one nuke plant generation.

     

    “That 17 GW installed in 2010 is the equivalent of 17 nuclear power plants – manufactured, shipped and installed in one year. It can take decades just to install a nuclear plant. Think about that. I heard Bill Gates recently call solar “cute.” Well, that’s 17 GW of “cute” adding up at an astonishing pace.”

     

    So Rufus, you can show me 17 GWh for a peak summer day? That is a lot of electricity, we would notice. Does my solar path lights I installed count?

     

    Just so you know Rufus, in China we are building 1600 MWe nukes in five years.

     

    “Here’s another important statistic: When SunPower built the 14-MW Nellis Air Force Base system in 2007, it cost $7 per watt. Today, commercial and utility systems are getting installed at around $3 per watt.”

     

    Yes, paid for by the US government and I have not been able to find one statistic about actual generation for our tax dollar. Honest economic evaluation is in pay back period or return on investment based on actual cost and generation.

     

    “The last nuclear power plant to come online in the U.S., Watts Bar 1, has a capacity of 1.1 GW – but that took 23 years to complete, not two years.”

     

    The last time I drove by Watts Bar it snowed. I can tell you Rufus there a huge difference between the Mojave desert in the summer and back east in the winter. Construction time for a large nuke is 48 to 60 months. Construction was stopped on many power plants because demand growth slowed. When TVA needed Watts Bar I, they complete it. Watts Bar II should be finished in 2013. Down the Tennessee River, TVA is now working finishing Belfont I in 8-10 years in time for retirement of coal units. Elapsed time and total cost is going to set an ugly record. However, TVA has considered the cost of two new AP1000 and think that finishing is cheaper and faster.

     

    You know what they say, a 1200 MWe reactor vessel in hand is worth two in the bush. Really!

     

    “Don’t get me wrong, I am and advocate of renewable energy – and am developing projects myself ”

     

    Me, too and I hope you do better than I did.

     

    “Also it could be expanded to availability or usability. ”

     

    The availability of nuke plants in summer and winter is 99%. I suspect you can say the same about fossil and geothermal.

     

    However, there is also the bad aspect of renewable energy. I stopped heating full time with wood when I learned how it affected indoor air quality at a time we had a baby in the house. Watch these videos in the context of defending an attack on a nuke plant.

     

    Vermont, Canada and the World: Dr. Andy Cook on Energy Choices

    http://yesvy.blogspot.com/2011…..ok_10.html

     

     

    [link]      
  36. By rrapier on July 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Rufus said:

    I disagree that Solar is the “only” viable fossil fuel replacement, though. Wind works very well, and, obviously, so does ethanol, and biodiesel.

    Cellulosic Ethanol is going to be a big surprise, but it’s going to take awhile.


     

    Just to put that comment in context, what I said was that solar is the only source capable — in theory — of completely replacing fossil fuels. That doesn’t mean that biomass can’t make a contribution, but it is inconceivable that they would amount to a large fraction of our current fossil fuel usage.

    Of course I also provided the caveats that storage technologies would need to be developed, and we would have to have a largely electric car infrastructure. It was a thought experiment, designed to flesh out what might be able to replace fossil fuels some day.

    RR

    [link]      
  37. By mac on July 14, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    “You are all drinking renewable energy koolaid”

    And just exactly what is $200 dollar a barrel oil ? We’ve ALREADY HIT $147 BBL.

    Just exactly what is that ? Kool Aid with a shot of Rum thrown in ?

    [link]      
  38. By mac on July 14, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    KIt,

    In a previous post, you asked for proof that there were the equivalent of 140 Nuke plants involved in the world-wide production of solar hot water.

    Robert’s post is the answer…

    Solar PV – 40 GW
    Wind – 198 GW
    Geothermal – 11 GW
    Hydropower – 1010 GW
    Biomass power and heat – 62 GW
    Solar hot water/heating – 185 GWth

    [link]      
  39. By Rolf Westgard on July 14, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Solar remains a hard to find fraction of 1% of our electric energy. Without feed in tariffs, it is still a joke. As to wind the Electric Reliability Council of Texas(ERCOT) has just released its report. Texas has by far the most wind name plate capacity of any state at over 9500 MW. ERCOT reports that its capacity factor is 8.7% resulting in an effective capacity of 835 MW in 2011. ERCOT reports that wind currently provides 1.1% of Texas electric grid power. Our biggest wind project, Cape Wind off Cape Cod, will struggle to provide 100 MW during the summer when demand is highest for its $2 billion+ cost. You are all drinking renewable energy koolaid.

    [link]      
  40. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Rolf, California, alone produced 48,898 Megawatt/hrs of Wind electricity, Yesterday.

    http://www.caiso.com/green/ren…..sWatch.pdf

    Maybe you guys built some bad wind turbines, in bad locations, or something.

    [link]      
  41. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    That comes out to 2,037 Megawatts/hr on average.

    [link]      
  42. By rufus on July 14, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Here’s where you went wrong, Rolf; from your ERCOT source:

    to meet the peak demand in summer, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the Texas power grid, counts wind at 8.7% of nameplate capacity.[11

    Wind is weakest on the hottest Summer Days. That’s when you need the Solar back-up – like the smarter guys over in California are doing.

    [link]      
  43. By mac on July 15, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Windmills provide no electricity, to the U.S, grid. Neither does solar or geothermal

    Wheew !!! Glad we got that out of the way…..

    Now, we can carry on a rational discussion.

    Thank Goodness !!!!

    [link]      
  44. By rufus on July 15, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Well, I think most of us like the idea that as long as the sun shines, and the earth turns on its axis we can have clean, affordable electricity. Our politicians constantly let us down, but our Scientists just keep making things better, and better.

    They never cease to amaze me.

    [link]      
  45. By mac on July 15, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Rufus,

    I was just kidding when I said wind and geothermal and solar don’t produce any electricity, Solar is going absolutely bananas, In 2 or three more years renewables will no doubt have a much larger share of the electricity
    market,

    None of this puts any gas in our tanks, unfortunately.

    If a solar farm’s panels last 25 years and it only takes 8 months to recover the energy invested in building the solar park, then the EROIE is better than 25 to 1. Pretty good if you ask me.

    [link]      
  46. By rufus on July 15, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Yeah, I got the humor, mac.

    And, you’re right, our problem, right now, is transportation. And, unfortunately, that’s going to take a few years. A few Looooong years, I’m afraid.

    [link]      
  47. By Kit P on July 15, 2011 at 9:58 am

    “KIt,

    In a previous post, you asked for proof that there were the equivalent of 140 Nuke plants involved in the world-wide production of solar hot water.

    Robert’s post is the answer…”

    Could you try to keep up MAC, I addressed this is comment #11.

     

    Tell me MAC if solar hot water is so good, how is yours working. The one I built in California worked fine. What did I learn? Since then I have heated my hot water with electricity or NG.

     

    Solar hot water is not equivalent to electricity. In China, they can not make enough electricity. Solar hot water means people have hot water that would not otherwise. That is certainly a good. Overtime as people in China will switch to making hot water with electricity. For the same reason that you and I make hot water that way.

     

    It goes to what Rufus said,

     

    “A few years down the road we’ll see how it’s shaking out. ”

     

    I have been around a long time. Remember Jimmy Carter! What do we learn when we build wind and solar? We learn that we have a bunch of eyesores that do not make electricity. We do have 30 year old biomass and geothermal plants around that still make electricity.

     

    Quality trumps quantity because it produces more electricity over time. So how are the 10 year old wind turbines doing?

     

    “ERCOT reports that its capacity factor is 8.7% ”

     

    MAC writes,

     

    “And just exactly what is $200 dollar a barrel oil ? ”

     

    Rolf was referencing wind and we do not make much electricity with oil in the US. Mac and Rufus are jumping on the band wagon of renewable energy forgetting that the horse that pulls the cart leaves patties behind.

     

    “Maybe you guys built some bad wind turbines, in bad locations, or something. ”

     

    So Rufus, you want to investigate the CF of California wind farms and the environmental impact.

     

     

     

    More from Rufus,

     

    “like the smarter guys over in California are doing. ”

     

    No Rufus they are idiots, California imports huge amounts of electricity. Most of their new renewable energy is built in other states. California uses huge amounts of imported NG to make electricity.

     

    NG is a great way to make electricity. If it is 20% of the mix great but when it is 50% of the mix, rates get high and industry leaves.

     

    “Well, I think most of us like the idea that as long as the sun shines, and the earth turns on its axis we can have clean, affordable electricity. ”

     

    Rufus you are aware that the sun does not shine at night and the wind does not blow when you need electricity? Yes, wind and solar can make small amounts of relatively expensive electricity for people who live in mild climates and make movies.

     

    I think the reason they are so bad at making electricity in California is that they do not have to be good. The test of a good utility is how well they do on really bad days.

    [link]      
  48. By rufus on July 15, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Well, YESTERDAY, CALIFORNIA Produced 47,224 Megawatt hrs of Electricity from Wind, and Solar.

    And, That is just Domestic Production. A lot of their Imported electricity is, as you stated, also from Wind.

    http://www.caiso.com/green/ren…..sWatch.pdf

    You’re entitled to your own opinion, Kit, but not your Own Facts.

    [link]      
  49. By rufus on July 15, 2011 at 10:18 am

    14.6% of California’s electricity, yesterday, came from Domestic Renewables (Not counting Large Hydro.)

    [link]      
  50. By rufus on July 15, 2011 at 10:21 am

    As is usual in most states, the Sun shined during the Day, and the Wind blew in the Evening, and Night.

    That 47,2244 MW hrs was produced w/o burning any depleting fossil fuels.

    [link]      
  51. By Harquebus on July 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    It takes more energy to collect the wind and solar than you get back. Diminishing energy returns does not make a wise investment. Somebody forgot to mention that.

    [link]      
  52. By rufus on July 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Is that some sort of joke. As mac pointed out, the energy payback on Solar is, now, less than 8 months, and Wind is similar.

    [link]      
  53. By Wendell Mercantile on July 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Rufus~

    I agree totally with you about solar. The Sun gives us about 12 billion kilowatt-hours/square-mile/year.That’s where rests the solution to our energy future — at least until fusion power becomes a reality. :-)

    I just want to know when those solar panels are going up in Tunica County.

    [link]      
  54. By rufus on July 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    You got me, Wendell. Someday, I imagine.

    [link]      
  55. By mac on July 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Rufus,
    Clean Technica has a really good collection of wind statistics, graphs and so on. You may have already checked this out, If interested go to clean technica home page, scroll down to Clean Links and hit the World Wind Power button, Lots of links, Wish they would do one on solar
    Or..
    http://cleantechnica.com/world…..ind-power/

    [link]      
  56. By rufus on July 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    mac, I’m getting an ‘address not valid’ when I click on your link.

    [link]      
  57. By mac on July 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Rufus OK.

    I guess it won’t work. Here is the Clean Technica homepage. Just go down to ‘clean links’ and hit the windpower button

    http://cleantechnica.com/

    http://cleantechnica.com/

    [link]      
  58. By Kit P on July 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    “As is usual in most states, the Sun shined during the Day, and the Wind blew in the Evening, ”

     

    I see Rufus you are just making stuff up again. You look at one day in California and start drawing conclusions.

     

    “You’re entitled to your own opinion, Kit, but not your Own Facts.”

     

    The fact is that the utilities are required to supply electricity 24/7/365. California has a mild climate most places. Aside from California having the dumbest energy policy west of the German Green party, it makes no sense for anyplace else in the US.

     

    So Rufus where does the rest of California’s electricity come from?

     

    Burning natural gas produced elsewhere, importing electricity produced elsewhere.

     

     

    Here are some more links Rufus so you can cherry pick data and make wild leaps of logic.

     

    https://www.midwestiso.org/MarketsOperations/RealTimeMarketData/Pages/RealTimeWindGeneration.aspx

     

    http://transmission.bpa.gov/Bu…..altwg.aspx

     

    Notice right now BPA has about 6 GW of excess generating capacity to send to California so wind is just icing on the cake.

     

    Rufus, if you run into some folks who lost their jobs making aluminum PNW don’t bring up California.

     

     

    [link]      
  59. By mac on July 15, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Rufus,
    If you want some up-to-date solar statistics and projections to 2015 the EPIA has some, (European Photovoltaic Industry Association) ( 44 page PDF)

    http://www.epia.org/index.php?id=18

    [link]      
  60. By mac on July 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Kit,

     

    Let’s rip off all these “ridiculous’  rooftop solar hot water heaters worldwide AND REPLACE THEN WITH appx 100-150 NUKES.

     

    While were at it, let’s start tearing solar panels off of people’s roofs. (According to Kit, they do not work)

     

    SOLAR HOT WATER HEATING is mandated in Israel,  And Hawaii !!!

     

    But, for Kit the only answer is to build more Nuclear Plants

    [link]      
  61. By mac on July 15, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Italians Vote to Abandon Nuclear Energy

    “Italy abandoned nuclear energy in 1987—shortly after the Chernobyl nuclear accident—by voting against it in a referendum similar to Monday’s. In the current vote, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis in Japan drew people to the polls. As in other European countries, Italy earlier this year imposed a moratorium on its nuclear plans, but Mr. Berlusconi’s government was hoping to resurrect them longer term by building several plants across the country. Early on Monday, as the results were coming in, Mr. Berlusconi said that without the possibility of nuclear plants, Italy would have to “strongly commit” to renewable energy.”

    ITALIANS voted 95% against reviving nuclear power in Italy,

    OOOPPS !!

    WSJ

    [link]      
  62. By Kit P on July 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    “But, for Kit the only answer is to build more Nuclear Plants ”

     

    It sure is a good way to make electricity. The way I figure it MAC you must have a really weak argument if you have to misrepresent what I say or shout,

     

    “SOLAR HOT WATER HEATING is mandated in Israel,  And Hawaii !!! ”

     

    So Mac, how about your house? It is not a fair question. What you and Rufus do is keep citing references to loon sites on topic you do not understand.

     

    An ‘expert’ was NPR and was asked efficiency of air conditioning. He said one of the problems was south facing window. When I built my house in California without air conditioning, I put in large south facing (100 mile view) windows to provide for passive solar gain for winter heating. The low-e glazing and proper overhangs kept the heat out in the summer.

     

    When you look at ‘zero’ energy houses the really expensive part is the solar panels. Most of the things that make a house efficient are really inexpensive. You can retrofit an attic in an old house for less than $200 with radiant barrier. So there are ways to apply new technology to existing dwellings.

     

    The point here is MAC is that the SUN FOLLOWS A PREICTABLE PATH. If you put the panel on the ground next to a substation or on the roof of a commercial building , the panels are going to make more electricity.

     

    [link]      
  63. By Anonymous One on July 15, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Kit P wrote:


    Here’s another important statistic: When SunPower built the 14-MW Nellis Air Force Base system in 2007, it cost $7 per watt. Today, commercial and utility systems are getting installed at around $3 per watt.

    Yes, paid for by the US government and I have not been able to find one statistic about actual generation for our tax dollar.

    Actual generation statistic for Nellis Air Force Base Solar System
    102.81GWh of energy produced since system installation – November 2007
    http://mypowerlight.com/Commer…..e0fdd5c872

    [link]      
  64. By Anonymous One on July 15, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Rolf Westgard wrote:

    ERCOT reports that its capacity factor is 8.7% resulting in an effective capacity of 835 MW in 2011. ERCOT reports that wind currently provides 1.1% of Texas electric grid power.

    What ERCOT actually reported:
    http://www.ccarenergy.org/ERCO…..4-2010.pdf

    ERCOT WInd Generation Facts 2009
    Annual average capacity factor = 24.4%

    For 2010:
    http://www.ercot.com/news/pres…..nr01-10-11

    Wind energy represented 7.8 percent of the total energy, compared to 6.2 percent in 2009 and 4.9 percent in 2008.

    [link]      
  65. By mac on July 15, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Typical Kit behavior,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, calling everyone a loon that disagrees with him ,,,,,

    [link]      
  66. By mac on July 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm

     

     

    95 %  of the voters in  Italy  said no to Nuclear.

     

    Maybe, the Germans have more common sense than the Italians

     

    OOOPPS !!!

    German parliament votes to phase-out nuclear energy

    Feature story – June 30, 2011

    [link]      
  67. By Kit P on July 15, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    “Actual generation statistic for Nellis Air Force Base Solar System 102.81GWh of energy produced since system installation”

     

    Now that is what I am talking about! 22% CF

     

    Thanks for the link.

    [link]      
  68. By rufus on July 15, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Looks like if you put that Nellis farm up at $2.00/Watt, and financed it with a 20 yr bond issue you would be making a little money from the get-go. Of course, after you retired the Bond in 20 yrs. you would be rocking and rolling.

    Obviously, at $7.00 it will probably never be a money maker; but, then again, it will never be dependent on shipped in coal, or nat gas.

    [link]      
  69. By rufus on July 15, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Keep in mind, the Nellis system was installed in Nov. It’s had 4 lower power periods, and 3 higher power periods. I’m figuring, it’s probably turning about 6 mwhrs/day per megawatt over a 12 month period.

    [link]      
  70. By Kit P on July 15, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    “The $100 million solar power plant at Nellis ”

    http://www.ens-newswire.com/en…..26-093.asp

     

    In 3+ year this plant has produced about $5M in electricity. That is a 60 year payback period ignoring the cost of interest.

    [link]      
  71. By rufus on July 15, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    wiki Texas Wind, and it has the ERCOT quote. That 8% number applied to the “peak” (Hot Summer Daytime) period.

    Repeat after me:

    Evening, and Nighttime – Wind

    Daytime – Solar

    Like California

    [link]      
  72. By mac on July 15, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    We already knew that wind and solar are variable.

     

    And the next great revelation please ?

    [link]      
  73. By paul-n on July 15, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    I’m not so sure it’s a slam dunk, Rufus.  

     

    At 22% capacity factor, 1 kW of system produces 1927kWh/yr.  Using an approximate large commercial rate of $0.1/kWh, that is $193/kW/yr.

    So, even at your $2k/kW, that is a 10yr payback, not counting any operating cost, or depreciation of equipment (life of panels, inverters, etc)

     

    Using the realistic installed cost of $4/W, you are looking at a 20yr payback.

    There may well be some operational value for military bases to have large amounts of self generation, so that may make their “payback” better.  

    But panels on the roof of a house in the city – more expensive to put up, and a lower capacity factor.  The only thing in their favour are higher residential electricity rates, but it is still not a slam dunk.

    If it was, these subsidy programs would not be needed.

     

     

    [link]      
  74. By paul-n on July 15, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    I’m not so sure it’s a slam dunk, Rufus.  

     

    At 22% capacity factor, 1 kW of system produces 1927kWh/yr.  Using an approximate large commercial rate of $0.1/kWh, that is $193/kW/yr.

    So, even at your $2k/kW, that is a 10yr payback, not counting any operating cost, or depreciation of equipment (life of panels, inverters, etc)

     

    Using the realistic installed cost of $4/W, you are looking at a 20yr payback.

    There may well be some operational value for military bases to have large amounts of self generation, so that may make their “payback” better.  

    But panels on the roof of a house in the city – more expensive to put up, and a lower capacity factor.  The only thing in their favour are higher residential electricity rates, but it is still not a slam dunk.

    If it was, these subsidy programs would not be needed.

     

     

    [link]      
  75. By mac on July 15, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Go ahead.

     

    Argue, argue argue,,,,,,

     

    Next year solar wll grow 50-70% CAGR and windmills will be put up everywhere,  Solar in over 100 countries and windmills in over 80 countries.

     

    Argue, argue, argue…….

     

    I can’t wait for the Global Renewables
    Report  2012 edition.

     

    [link]      
  76. By rufus on July 15, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Again, Paul, it was installed in Nov. It’s had 4 weak seasons (Nov – Apr,) and only 3 Strong Seasons (May – Oct.)

    I figure, “annualized” it’s probably about 25%.

    Also, from what we know now, it’s a big mistake to figure a 20, or 25 year life. We’re definitely in the 50 + year range.

    And, of course, the Big question: What WILL Coal, and Nat Gas cost 20, or 30 yrs from now.

    Personally, I’m glad we’re giving ourselves some options. The investment seems very minor compared to the possible good we might be doing.

    [link]      
  77. By rufus on July 15, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    But, I agree with one thing, Paul If someone came to my house, and started quoting figures like $5.00 or $6.00/Watt, I’d laugh’em out the door.

    Kit’s right about one thing. Right now, it’s a “Solar FARM” type thing. Residential is, at best, a ways down the road.

    The exception to that, of course, is a place like India, where something like 65% of the population is “off grid.” There a small panel, and a battery can make a miserable life just a little bit better (enough better to be worth the fairly small investment.)

    [link]      
  78. By paul-n on July 15, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Kit wrote;

    When you look at ‘zero’ energy houses the really expensive part is the solar panels. Most of the things that make a house efficient are really inexpensive.

    This is an underappreciated fact.  Many homebuilders take the opposite approach, and do expensive “green” measures to justify charging a higher price.  But there is no substitute for careful planning/design -something that many builders are not good at.  

    Numbers I have seen of Passive Houses show that you can get an 80% energy reduction by attention to design, for a certain cost.  You then spend that much again, to make the house  a net zero by adding solar panels, to take out the last 20%.  Fine if you want to spend your own money doing that, but where does the best value for government money lie?  Is it better for building codes to mandate solar PV and/or hot water, or to mandate high efficiency fixtures – (which have the double bonus of using less water).  Once you get the hot water use down low enough, the payback on the solar HW is getting out there, unless you can integrate it for space heating.

    You can retrofit an attic in an old house for less than $200 with radiant barrier. So there are ways to apply new technology to existing dwellings.

    Indeed there are many.  But many people prefer to put their money into granite countertops, massive fridges, his and her bathroom sinks and so on.  Energy efficiency is only selling feature to the minority that are truly interested in energy efficiency.

    An extreme example, of a couple that are into serious energy efficiency is here – how take an old, brick schoolhouse and make it meet the Passive House standards

    Our space heating costs were significantly lower this (second) winter.  The cost breakdown was $7 for electricity, $ 13 for LPG, and $ 199 for firewood, for a total heating cost of  CA$ 219.  We are pleased.

    Not bad for southern Ontario – a place not known for mild winters.

    [link]      
  79. By russ on July 16, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Rufus said:

    Europe started out, and still are to a large extent, paying Ridiculous Feed-in Tariffs. It was/is bizarre.


     

    Right – and to see what they got for the money poured down the drain   http://www.erneuerbare-energie…..7124/5466/

    Germany 2010 stats – latest I have seen.

    Solar PV was a very, very, very minor player.

    Another comment was about Westinghouse making simple to install solar racking – for any DIY type to install.

    How many DIY types know enough about electrical code or electrical work in general to do the installation? not many

    How many people have any chance of doing a clean, non-leaking install on a rooftop? not many

    Mac used Cleantechnica as a resource – long back I learned that Cleantechnica is probably one of the worst sources of information around. They manage to find totally off the wall stuff to support their fanatic green agenda.

     

    [link]      
  80. By paul-n on July 16, 2011 at 6:46 am

    How many DIY types know enough about electrical code or electrical work in general to do the installation? not many

    Very soon, they won’t have to.  The development of the micro inverters (like Enphase and Aurora) are slowly changing this game, at the homeowner level.  the next generation of these, will come pre-connected to the panel, and end in a three pin plug, that you simply plug into an outlet somewhere.  It doesn;lt get much easier than that.  

    Appliance (and computer) makers worked out years ago that if you make it such that you just plug it in, and turn it on, many people will buy it, and we are about to see solar panels go the same way.  The (mostly unionised) electricians will fight this, as may even the current crop of PV installers, as most people know how to plug something in.  

    The micro inverters are also lowering the bar, dramatically, as to the minimum sized system worth having, and you can add another panel at any time.

    How many people have any chance of doing a clean, non-leaking install on a rooftop? not many

    Agreed, but there is no law that says they have to be on the roof./  if you are just doing a couple of panels, and are plugging them into an outside socket, having them at ground level on the south side of the house/garage is a lot easier, safer and cheaper.  Some houses you will have no choice but the roof, but otheres, like the south facing balcony of a condo, suddenly become viable.

     

    lots of things change when you do not need a big inverter – you do not need a big array either.

    This business model – of many small things instead of fewer larger things, and not needing to pay a professional to set it up for you,  seems to have worked very well for the computer industry, and even cars v trains, I think it will catch on with PV.

    When the DIY’er can buy it at Home Depot, take it home, put it in the sun and plug it in – I think a lot more people – especially women – will start buying.

    I see this as being the game changer for residential PV, not the price of the panels themselves.

     

     

    [link]      
  81. By rufus on July 16, 2011 at 8:06 am

    You’re right, Paul. I’m way behind the curve on this.

    Also, I’ve been reading about roof-mounted panels that don’t require holes in the roof. Plug, and play will make a huge difference.

    [link]      
  82. By Kit P on July 16, 2011 at 9:56 am

    “So, even at your $2k/kW, that is a 10yr payback, not counting any operating cost, ”

     

    This a tracking system so the cost is going to be higher and there will be maintenance costs.

     

    “Keep in mind, the Nellis system was installed in Nov. It’s had 4 lower power periods, ..”

     

    The CF was for almost 4 years.

     

    “Also, from what we know now, it’s a big mistake to figure a 20, or 25 year life. We’re definitely in the 50 + year range. ”

     

    All we know that it has worked for almost 4 years. We know a well maintained nuke plant will last for 40 years which is a good indicator that it will last for 60 years making electricity at less than $20/MWh.

     

    We know that after the first utility scale PV are built and the cost are known that there is not a building spree.

     

    I think that we should keep building PV on military bases as fast as they can manufacture panels. It surely has to be one of the least wasteful things our government does. There is always hope that they will keep working if the cost is hidden by having some junior enlisted guy maintain them.

     

    “Numbers I have seen of Passive Houses ”

     

    I built the first ‘walkout basement’ in Amador County in 1986. What a hassle, getting people do something new. Every house in my neighborhood in Virginia has a walkout basement’ with radiant heat.

     

    “unless you can integrate it for space heating ”

     

    That was my original intent but I found that the solar gain kept the house very nice in winter. I will point out that there was a very narrow range between being above valley smog/fog and below the snow line.

     

    “How many DIY types know enough about electrical code or electrical work in general to do the installation?”

     

    I do but would not install PV on the roof. I did most of the wiring in the house. I booted the building inspector after being red tagged. This individual did not know what a cantilevered beam was or that it was okay to exceed code.

     

    [link]      
  83. By mac on July 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    No holes in the roof solar……………

    Solyndria tubular rack mounted solar cells. Supposedly these arrays can make it through winds up to 130 mph, without additional ballast, Snap together connectors. Really fast installation, Pretty interesting stuff.

    “Solyndria Series 200″ You Tube video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..re=related

    [link]      
  84. By rufus on July 16, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Wow, mac, you’re looking at a half a penny to a penny per watt installation cost.

    I wonder about insurance.

    I, also, wonder that those things are wholesaling for.

    [link]      
  85. By rufus on July 16, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    hmmm, I just did a real quick “look-around,” and it looks like Solyndra is way out of the ballpark on “cost per panel.”

    Prolly need to keep lookin’ around. :)

    [link]      
  86. By rufus on July 16, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    “holes in roofs” aren’t really a big thang, anyway. “Weight” could be in some commercial, flat roof applications, and there you’d just go ‘thin film’ I suppose.

    What makes installing solar panels, neat, is: it’s a simple, repetitive task, using a standardized component. It’s all “snap-on.” At the end of the job you call the licensed electrician with whom you have a working relationship to come out and “sign it off.”

    A couple of years down the road “intallation costs” will be, almost, an afterthought.

    [link]      
  87. By mac on July 16, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Rufus said,
    “A couple of years down the road “intallation costs” will be, almost, an afterthought.”

    A lot of people who follow the solar business seem to be saying the same thing, that installation costs are where most of the “wiggle room” is right now for solar to reduce prices Not too long ago, i read somewhere that a German company had figured out a way to cut costs for commercial installations by about 30%

    There’s a bunch of interesting films about all these various solar technologies & solar companies on You Tube.

    [link]      
  88. By Wendell Mercantile on July 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    What makes installing solar panels, neat, is: it’s a simple, repetitive task, using a standardized component. It’s all “snap-on.”

    A simple, repetitive task. Sounds perfect for those Tunica casinos.

    [link]      
  89. By rufus on July 16, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Might also apply for Iowa Hog Farmers, and Airline Pilots. :)

    [link]      
  90. By paul-n on July 17, 2011 at 1:12 am

    So we can agree that Pv panel and installation costs will continue decrease, to a greater or lesser extent, but then what?

     

    The bigger question, in my opinion, is will solar actually ever amount to any meaningful portion of electricity production?

    It still has not in Germany, the most aggressive solar country, and I don’t think it will on this continent either.

    Global capacity is at 40GW, and if we assume an average capacity factor of 15%, that is equal to 6GW.  

    Or, it works out to 52TWh – which means that all the solar in the world is producing just over the annual electricity consumed by the state of Oregon.

     

    According to the European PV Industry Association, there was 16.6GW of solar installed worldwide last year.

     

    So, to get to, say, 10% of current US annual electricity production, 3950 TWh (EIA), or 395 TWh, the US will need to add all of the world’s 2010 PV production, every year, for the next 16 years, just to get to 10% of existing capacity.  

     

    So, PV is getting cheaper, and is creating some meaningful opportunities for self generation, but that still doesn’t mean it is going to be able to scale up enough to make any real difference to anything – except the amount of press coverage it receives.

     

     

    [link]      
  91. By Kit P on July 17, 2011 at 10:07 am

    “So we can agree that Pv panel and installation costs will continue decrease, ”

     

    No, I do not expect that unless you ignore the ‘hidden’ cost. The cost are not really hidden any more than they are with coal or nuclear. It just that solar advocates have double standards.

     

    One again the goal is not to make electricity but to make electricity when people need it. So what is the best way to capture solar energy to reduce peak demand in a hot dry climate? We have been doing it for thousands of years. It is called thermal mass. It works great and can be very attractive done correctly.

     

    The environmental benefits of solar are a myth. If you look at LCA you will find that solar is not a very good choice.

     

    So when the reality of the actual performance of solar sets in, we stop building solar and any economy of scale goes away.

    [link]      
  92. By rufus on July 17, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I think your premise is wrong, Paul. Solar will, mostly, in the U.S., be installed iin areas where the capacity factor is more like 22 to 25%.

    Back in the 50′s the President of IBM, or Univac, or one of them Brainiac Outfits said he thought the world-wide demand for computers was probably 5, or 6.

    I’m looking at Solar the same way. As Coal, and Nat Gas, naturally, gets more expensive, and Solar, naturally, gets cheaper, I can see a Solar Farm outside virtually every American Town, and City. It seems to me that they will start off in S. Cal, Arizona, N. Mex, and Texas, and spread upward.

    These areas need the most electricity on Hot Summer Days, and $2.00/Watt Installed Solar is going to start looking better, and better. I predict we will, eventually, see a Lot of Solar in the U.S., and that it will provide a significant percentage of our electricity.

    This ain’t Germany.

    [link]      
  93. By rufus on July 17, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Let’s put that in perspective. Munich (Southern Germany) is 48 N.

    Rome, Italy 41 N

    Memphis, Tn 35 N

    Casa Blanca, Morocco is 33 N.

    Houston is 29 N.

    [link]      
  94. By Kit P on July 17, 2011 at 10:34 am

    “I’m looking at Solar the same way. ”

     

    Computers and cell phones are better than slide rules and CB-radios. That is if you have electricity and a cell tower. Better things are adopted quickly. How fact did x-ray machines hit hospitals?

     

    The problem with solar is that it is not a good way to make electricity. There is not way to make it a better way.

     

    “virtually every American Town, and City ”

     

    We already do! The good one in NJ has a 14% CF. Rufus you do not need a ‘big’ solar farm to get a pretty picture. If you have a nuke plant you put up some PV up. The PV is in the foreground the nuke plant is background. The purpose of the solar is so you can discuss your leadership. The purpose of the nuke plant is to make electricity.

     

    That is just the way it is.

    [link]      
  95. By rufus on July 17, 2011 at 10:46 am

    The lattitude of McAllen, Tx is 26 N

    [link]      
  96. By rufus on July 17, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Kit, people are losing trust in the ability of “People” to do Nuclear.

    And, THAT is just the way it is.

    [link]      
  97. By rufus on July 17, 2011 at 11:15 am

    The lattitude of Miami, Fl is 25 N

    [link]      
  98. By russ-finley on July 17, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Agree with others about the Home Depot DIY panel idea with microinverters on the panels. As far as roofs go, the best option is a metal roof. Some racks are designed to attach to the metal ridges without compromising the water barrier.

    [link]      
  99. By rufus on July 17, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    There is no doubt in my mind that a trained man (the owner of the small installation company, for ex,) and two young physically fit boys (preferably, not hung over,) with a Cherry Picker can install a house in a day ( a loong day.) :)

    I make it $0.10/watt, tops.

    I’m not talking about four, or five guys, climbing up and down ladders, trying to figure out what to do, next. – which is about where most of it is, today.

    I’m talking: Be on the job site at first light, 30 minutes for lunch, and know you’re going to go home late, and tired.

    [link]      
  100. By rufus on July 17, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Sorry, Kit, I don’t give a whit about See Oh Two. Hell, I love CO2; I think we need More of it.

    No, I’m looking, strictly, at the fact that coal, nat gas, oil, etc are depleting, finite resources. As such, they will not only get more expensive, but they will, eventually, get God-awful expensive. And, I threw “oil” in there because Diesel fuel is how coal is transported.

    I just do not believe that Anything will compete with Solar, Wind, and Biomass on a Long-term basis. $2.00 “Installed” Solar South of the 35th Parallel just looks like a killer.

    Throw in some Wind from good, “Windy” regions, and a back-up of biogas from cellulosic ethanol production for a little “spinning reserve,” and the idea of using nuclear to boil water for steam just seems quaint.

    [link]      
  101. By Kit P on July 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Glad to hear the you have not fallen for AGW Rufus but it was an example of how you evaluate a criteria.

     

    “No, I’m looking, strictly, at the fact that coal, nat gas, oil, etc are depleting, finite resources. ”

     

    Gosh Rufus if someone offers you cool aid tell them you only drink Jack.

     

    Renewable energy does reduce fossil use so it will stretch the use of fossil fuel.

     

    The problem is that wind turbines and solar equipment is also a finite resource. We should deploy that equipment carefully to make as much electricity as we can.

     

    Nothing is wrong with your motives Rufus but you have a bad case of false expectations.

     

    “boil water for steam ”

     

    Rufus have you ever stood next to a 1000 MWe steam turbine/generator? Until you do, it may not be obvious why we make electricity with steam. Take a field trip to a power plant and then go look at a PV or wind farm.

    [link]      
  102. By paul-n on July 17, 2011 at 4:40 pm

     

    Rufus wrote;

    Back in the 50′s the President of IBM, or Univac, or one of them Brainiac Outfits said he thought the world-wide demand for computers was probably 5, or 6.

    This statement is often attriobuted to Thomas J Watson,  the chairman of the board of IBM, supposedly in 1943.  However, there is little eveidence that he actually said this, but since so many people say he said it, everyone assumes he did.

    Interesting discussion of that here;

    From that page;

    …a similar quote to the Cambridge mathematician Professor Douglas Hartree, around 1951:

    I went to see Professor Douglas Hartree, who had built the first differential analyzers in England and had more experience in using these very specialized computers than anyone else. He told me that, in his opinion, all the calculations that would ever be needed in this country could be done on the three digital computers which were then being built — one in Cambridge, one in Teddington, and one in Manchester. No one else, he said, would ever need machines of their own, or would be able to afford to buy them.

    Well, we know how that one worked out…

    [link]      
  103. By mac on July 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Why is solar PV so expensive ?

    Well, part of the problem is permitting fees. In some localities permit fees can run as high as ,50 cents a watt. That means for a 5,000 watt system you are charged a permit fee of $2.500 in some areas.

    No wonder nobody can afford solar !!!

    [link]      
  104. By rufus on July 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    You know, Kit, I do take a gratuitous shot at Nuclear every now, and then. Hell, I’m human. That said, though, I’m not particularly ill-disposed toward Nuclear, even today; But, there IS something we’re doing wrong in the management of Nuclear.

    I don’t pretend to have all (hell, any) of the answers, but the big corporations, like Tepco, Entergy (or, whoever owns the one out in Calhoun, Neb) just aren’t using common sense, or something. For instance, a Japanese Judge, citing evidence of powerful Tsunamis in the Fukushima area, ordered Tepco to build its seawall higher. Tepco, with the help of the Government, fought the ruling in court for several years until they finally won. They probably paid almost as much in court expenses as it would have cost them to raise the damned seawall. Then, there’s the placement of the diesel back-up generators.

    Just a total lack of common sense. Turns out the owners of that Vermont Yankee Reactor has been lying for years about buried pipes, and leaks. At Calhoun they were carrying diesel fuel in to the generators by hand in the middle of a flood, and lying about how much water was in the plant.

    As I said, I don’t know what the answer is. But, right now, if Entergy came with a plan for a reactor in tunica county I’d be stridently vocal against it.

    Maybe, nuclear really is too powerful for mere mortals to be messing with – especially where “profits” are involved.

    [link]      
  105. By mac on July 17, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    We need to get rid of these nuclear windmills. The last one that got knocked down in a windstorm in Oklahoma spread radiation as far east as Tennessee.

    [link]      
  106. By mac on July 17, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    “So what have we learned about solar in 40 years? It is still not ready for prime time”

    What did they say about flat screen TVs ? That were talked about for decades. ?????

    As backwards as you are, you probably now own one.

    [link]      
  107. By mac on July 17, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Sure Paul,

    Stupid rich kids will buy exorbitantly expensive solar backpacks.

    We already know this….

    Now what ???

    [link]      
  108. By rufus on July 17, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    btw, Sam’s energy ticker always has some neat stories regarding alternatives/renewables/oil/etc.

    The Top Story this evening is: Lufthansa begins First Regular Bio-Fueled Passenger Flights.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/…..ights.html

    The Energy Ticker is neat stuff, Sam; Thanks.

    [link]      
  109. By Kit P on July 17, 2011 at 10:01 pm

     

    “You know, Kit, I do take a gratuitous shot at Nuclear every now, and then. ”

     

    Sure Rufus, it is a lot easier than supporting you BS on wind and solar. I started a new thread for your pleasure.

     

    “Well, part of the problem is permitting fees. ”

     

    This is true. If you are going into the serious business of making electricity, you have to learn the rules. It is not a hobby

    [link]      
  110. By mac on July 18, 2011 at 12:21 am

    The only reason everyone picks on “poor old Kit ” is that Kit picks on everyone else. You reap what you sow….

    [link]      
  111. By mac on July 18, 2011 at 1:30 am

     

    “This is true. If you are going into the serious business of making electricity, you have to learn the rules. It is not a hobby”  – KIT

     

    That’s right…. That basically leaves you out of the electricity picture, mister “Kit Joule” or is it  “Kit Coulombes ?

    [link]      
  112. By thomas398 on July 18, 2011 at 5:55 am

    Kit P said:

    “people are losing trust in the ability of “People” to do Nuclear. “

     

    The the people who make electricity and the people who make decisions about making electricity.

     


     Kit thinks there is an energy oligarchy that will make decisions with no concern of the political consequences.  Sorry, this isnt China.

    `

    [link]      
  113. By Kit P on July 18, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Christopher Houston “Kit” Carson

    [link]      
Register or log in now to save your comments and get priority moderation!