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Last weekend half of Germany was solar powered

Post in 'The Green Room' started by begreen, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Well - I think Btuser is probably right about the next "great" advancement in PV. Maybe (hopefully) it doesn't take the next 10 years, but even if it does, that is really a blink of an eye. Most hippies will be gone or too old by then, we just don't make hippies at the same rate as we used to.

    My point is that we subsidize energy. Many, many facets of it. If we are gonna do it, lets do it in OUR best interests.

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  2. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    I am of the opinion (and it is strictly my own opinion) that there will be no advances until there is a real emergency. Historically speaking, all great advances are the direct result of desperation. Should the giant power producer find that they are not making enough money because people are cutting back, or heaven forbid, doing without, the new technology will be found and utilized, pronto.
  3. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I hear a lot of folks waiting for a breakthrough in Solar tech. Frankly at current Si module prices, even if a new tech appeared tomorrow that had similar eff at $0/W it wouldn't change the economic analysis that much--too much of the current cost is in installation, mounting, inverters etc. And until the 'new tech' has a decade of track record in service, most folks will not risk saving maybe 20% on an install.

    IOW, Si is now effectively free, i.e. its cost is irrelevant.

    New tech is a pipe dream....Si is here to stay for a generation.
  4. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Even if no installation costs were involved (say, like myself doing a DIY), the cost of PV panels is far from irrelevant. When the actual electricity generated by the panels can pay themselves off in a few years - that is when you will see a jump in the market.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I think we are getting close. Last weekend I spoke with a local installer and he said he can now get panels for as low as a buck a kilowatt. $2/kw is easy. That's a significant drop from last year at the same time.
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Did you mean to say "kilowatt" as in 5000 watts of panels will cost $500 ?????
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That would be 10cents a KW. 5000KW = $5-10,000
  8. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Okay - now I get it. I had my checkbook open and ready at $500. When all the math gets worked out I am still betting on greater than a 10yr break even (at todays electric costs). It is definitely getting better.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    True, however this does not include Federal or state incentives. In some states the payback is now at the 2-3 yr horizon. YSMMV.
  10. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Or the $2700 grid tie inverter.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Also incentivized.
  12. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Looks like the state of IL. is at 30% for anything that I would be looking at.

    So a dollar a watt - $5000
    inverter - $2700
    DIY framing (ground install) ~$1000
    Additional wiring - ~$1000
    Add in the stuff I forgot and about $10,000 total - 30%
    ------------------------------
    $7000
    At current usage and rates and true power generation (obviously not 100% efficient, year round) - A probable "realistic" payback in about 10 yrs.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  14. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Now - if I just didn't have to go to a job everyday so that I could figure out all the little details...;lol

    By the way - thanks for the links, BG. I have emailed one of their recommended installers for a rough estimate of install and payback.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That's a good place to start. I'd also check to see if the incentives in IL require a licensed installer or if self-installed and inspected is accepted.
  16. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Even the installers don't have to be licensed...!!!
  17. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Ok. IF I can get modules at $1/W, and offset elec at $0.20/kWh, then I need to run for 5000 hours to pay it off. In most of the country, you can get 1000 hrs per year, and simple payback for the module is 5 years. In SoCal, figure 1250 hours and 4 years.

    But the balance of system will (for non-DIY) dominate the costs and payback, and benefit from incentives.

    I still think that by the time another hypothetical tech would be deemed 'safe' by the market, (>10 yrs if discovered today) Si modules will likely be down to $0.25/W. Enjoy the silicon. We're not going to run out of it, its 27% of the earths crust.
  18. GaryGary

    GaryGary Feeling the Heat

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    PV modules are cheap now because there is a large oversupply. From what I read, many of the companies that make them can't stay in business at these prices, and the fact that a number have gone bust seems to support this. The new tariff on China panels will also have an impact.
    I'm not sure I'd count on PV dropping in the next couple years? I don't think that 25 cents/watt silicon is in the cards -- but, I've been wrong MANY time before.

    Homemade solar air heating collectors cost about 5 cents per peak watt :)
    In MT they are basically free with the tax credit.


    Gary
  19. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    I had another installer survey my house today. He also said $1/watt for most standard 240 watt panels. Sun Power panels are more like 2-2.5X that. Still really cheap.
  20. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    The learning curve always drives folks out of business. Those folks always accuse the cheaper guy of dumping (and sometimes they are). And the market always wiggles prices around the learning/capital amortization curve. The great Si shortage of a few years ago plateaued module prices for a couple years too. On the 10 yr+ timeframe, I def expect them to be cheaper than now, and I would be surprised if they were more than $0.50/W in bulk.

    I suppose, ultimately, the endpoint on price/W will be a certain multiplier on the embodied energy cost. A car is a lot more complex than a solar panel, and it takes about 250 million BTU of process heat to make one. If that process heat were $10/MBTU, that's about 10% of the purchase price. If the same 10x multiplier applied to (much simpler) pv modules, and the embodied energy was 1 kWh/W, that would come out to $0.34/W using $10/MBTU process energy.
  21. sesmith

    sesmith Member

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    There are no subsidies for the fossil fuel industries?? How about we get rid of all subsidies for the fossil fuel industry and take away the exemptions that are granted to the natural gas industry that allows them to circumvent environmental law, and then take a look at the economics.

    Also don't forget to add in the human health costs related to burning of fossil fuels. That's also part of the cost of doing business as usual.
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    What I like about Germany's (and other European nations) efforts is the commitment to changing for the better. It's a solutions based approach that is really bearing fruit. In Berlin, they now have car networks for instant short trip rentals. It's all managed on your cellphone and quite affordable. You just pick up the nearest car and leave it at your destination. With over 4000 cars in the system it works quite well. This is just one example of forward, smarter thinking. There are many other good examples that happen when a society decides collectively to better itself.

  23. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Um, we have zipcar instant rental networks. And isn't the train lower emission for long distance travel?
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Seattle was one of the original zip car cities. It's a great idea, but the Car2go model appears to be similar, but a bit more flexible, affordable and with more cars. One big difference is there is no membership fee for Car2Go.

    This system is setup for urban transport as a supplement. Berlin has a good public transportation also. Germany also has an excellent train system, but there are places where trains don't go. I see that Portland, OR has Car2Go. I may just have to try it the next time I go there.
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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