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Thread: Solar gets cheap fast

  1. #1
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    Solar gets cheap fast

    [URL="http://www.grist.org/solar-power/2011-06-09-solar-getting-cheaper-fast"]http://www.grist.org/solar-power/2011-06-09-solar-getting-cheaper-fast[/URL]

    The Solynrda fiasco’s unintended consequence of causing china to drastically drop prices on its solar panels may be the answer to our energy problems.
    Yay USA!


    The article is too long with too many charts and graphs to post.

    [QUOTE]

    There's a joke in the solar industry about when "grid parity" -- the time when solar becomes as cheap as fossil sources -- will happen. Ron Kenedi, the former VP in Sharp Solar's U.S. business liked to throw out random dates, telling me once "November 21, 2012" in jest.

    The truth is, it will happen in phases -- one market and one technology at a time.

    But according to two top solar executives -- Tom Dinwoodie, chief technology officer and founder of SunPower and Dan Shugar, former president of SunPower and current CEO of Solaria -- "ferocious cost reductions" are accelerating that crossover in a variety of markets today

    [/QUOTE]


    [QUOTE]

    Their goal: to explain that solar PV is no longer a fringe, cost-prohibitive technology -- but, rather, a near-commodity that is quickly becoming competitive with new nuclear, new natural gas, and, soon, new coal.

    [/QUOTE]


    [QUOTE]

    Notice in the first chart how steadily manufacturing costs have come down, from $60 a watt in the mid-1970's to $1.50 today. People often point to a "Moore's Law" in solar -- meaning that for every cumulative doubling of manufacturing capacity, costs fall 20 percent. In solar PV manufacturing, costs have fallen about 18 percent for every doubling of production. "It holds up very closely," says Solaria's Shugar

    [/QUOTE]

    [QUOTE]

    What has driven these cost reductions? A staggering ramp-up in installations around the world that have driven an even greater increase in solar manufacturing. ([B]By the end of this year, GTM Research predicts we'll have 50 gigawatts of module global production capacity[/B].)



    As SunPower's Dinwoodie puts it:


    [B]That 17 gigawatts installed in 2010 is the equivalent of 17 nuclear power plants -- manufactured, shipped, and installed in one year[/B]. 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 gigawatts of "cute" adding up at an astonishing pace.

    [/QUOTE]


    [QUOTE]

    [B][U]This year, the U.S. industry may install 2 gigawatts of solar[/U]. The last nuclear power plant to come online in the U.S., Watts Bar 1, has a capacity of 1.1 gigawatts -- but that took 23 years to complete, not two years.[/B]

    [/QUOTE]

  2. #2
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    Do you use Solar Buster?

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    Unless I missed it I don't see any mention of Solyndra in the article. How exactly did a company that couldn't survive because China was already making better and cheaper solar motivate the Chinese market?

    I think it would be great if solar could be as cheap and reliable as fossil fuels. I just don't think that we should pour tax dollars down the drain by subsidizing it. I can see putting some federal dollars toward research or an X-prize type contest to help give the industry a push but long term subsidies aren't the answer. Let it become marketable before we try to get it on the market.

    <edit> and before you say it, yes I support ending oil and natural gas subsidies as well.

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;4247112]Do you use Solar Buster?[/QUOTE]

    I think my power company purchases solar energy.

    Have you considered anger management therapy Warfish?

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=Trades;4247143]Unless I missed it I don't see any mention of Solyndra in the article. How exactly did a company that couldn't survive because China was already making better and cheaper solar motivate the Chinese market?

    I think it would be great if solar could be as cheap and reliable as fossil fuels. I just don't think that we should pour tax dollars down the drain by subsidizing it. I can see putting some federal dollars toward research or an X-prize type contest to help give the industry a push but long term subsidies aren't the answer. Let it become marketable before we try to get it on the market.

    <edit> and before you say it, yes I support ending oil and natural gas subsidies as well.[/QUOTE]


    The article did not mention Solynrda but China lowered the price of their 'old school panels' to kill of the new type of panels Solynrda was trying to bring to market. I will find a link for that.

    <edit> [URL="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/20/business/global/us-solar-manufacturers-to-ask-for-duties-on-imports.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all"]www.nytimes.com---U.S. Solar Panel Makers Say China Violated Trade Rules[/URL]


    Tax dollars HEAVILY subsidize all of the other (Nuke, Oil, Gas, Coal, etc.) types of energy in the US why not the POP (Pay one Price) type of energy. Or does this frighten the seven sisters of the petroleum industry?

    If you read the article you'd see that it is marketable.
    Last edited by Buster; 11-22-2011 at 03:05 PM.

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=Buster;4247171]The article did not mention Solynrda but China lowered the price of their 'old school panels' to kill of the new type of panels Solynrda was trying to bring to market. I will find a link for that.

    <edit> [URL="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/20/business/global/us-solar-manufacturers-to-ask-for-duties-on-imports.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all"]www.nytimes.com---U.S. Solar Panel Makers Say China Violated Trade Rules[/URL]


    Tax dollars HEAVILY subsidize all of the other (Nuke, Oil, Gas, Coal, etc.) types of energy in the US why not the POP (Pay one Price) type of energy. Or does this frighten the seven sisters of the petroleum industry?

    If you read the article you'd see that it is marketable.[/QUOTE]

    An article I posted a few weeks ago said the exact oposite. It said that the panels Solyndra was making were outdated before they got the loans and that they had nothing in the pipeline to improve upon them.

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=Buster;4247171]The article did not mention Solynrda but China lowered the price of their 'old school panels' to kill of the new type of panels Solynrda was trying to bring to market. I will find a link for that.

    <edit> [URL="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/20/business/global/us-solar-manufacturers-to-ask-for-duties-on-imports.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all"]www.nytimes.com---U.S. Solar Panel Makers Say China Violated Trade Rules[/URL]


    Tax dollars HEAVILY subsidize all of the other (Nuke, Oil, Gas, Coal, etc.) types of energy in the US why not the POP (Pay one Price) type of energy. Or does this frighten the seven sisters of the petroleum industry?

    If you read the article you'd see that it is marketable.[/QUOTE]


    Some things from your article...
    [QUOTE]For one thing, if successful, it would drive up the price of [URL="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/science/topics/solar_energy/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier"][COLOR=#004276]solar energy[/COLOR][/URL] in the name of trying to breathe life into a flagging American industry. High costs have already kept solar power from becoming more than a niche energy source in the United States. [/QUOTE]

    [QUOTE]
    “The U.S. is a major contributor to the fast-growing global solar industry,” said Andrew Beebe, Suntech’s chief commercial officer. “Protectionism would not only put thousands of jobs at risk, but it would inhibit solar technology’s ability to compete against traditional forms of electricity generation,” he said.
    [/QUOTE]

    I don't see how any of this article says Solyndra was using better tech. Again I think the market should decide what is viable and all subsidies should be replealed.

    From my article posted in this thread on October 12. [URL]http://www.jetsinsider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=233517&page=2[/URL]


    [COLOR=#000000][QUOTE]
    [COLOR=#000000]Solyndra manufactured a unique type of cylindrical solar panels made out of a new material that, at the time the company was founded in 2005, seemed like a low-cost alternative to traditional solar panels, which used expensive polysilicon materials. [B]It was a good idea in theory, but here's what went wrong:[/B]
    [LIST][*][B]Solyndra's panels weren't as effective as its polysilicon competitors.[/B][*][B]The price of silicon plummeted after 2008, making traditional solar panels much cheaper to make.[/B][*][B]The price drop, combined with a Chinese manufacturing boom, lowered the cost of panels by about 40%. [/B][/LIST]
    [B]By the time the DOE granted Solyndra its loan, the company was selling solar panels at less than it cost to make them.[/B][/COLOR]


    [LEFT][COLOR=#000000]Read more: [URL]http://www.businessinsider.com/government-totally-ignored-the-inevitable-solyndra-disaster-2011-9#solyndras-business-model-was-totally-flawed-1#ixzz1eT332wRj[/URL][/COLOR][/LEFT]


    [/QUOTE]
    [LEFT][/COLOR][COLOR=#000000]So now we are supposed to make prices go up in a protectionist bid for a company that wasn't viable in the first place?[/COLOR][/LEFT]
    Last edited by Trades; 11-22-2011 at 03:22 PM.

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=Buster;4247152]I think my power company purchases solar energy.

    Have you considered anger management therapy Warfish?[/QUOTE]

    I'm not angry.

    Exposing that you support an idea you don't actually use yourself is simply the starting point for discussion on that issue.

    If the environment was what you folks say (i.e. in massive danger) and solar was what you folsk say it is (a great new clean tech thats cheap and should be supprted), then by basic logical extention, you'd be using it exclusively.

    The fact that our biggest proponents of Global Climate Change Disater Pending Theory do not, themselves, do almost anything to protect the environemnt in their own lives speaks volumes, on a myriad of points.

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    [QUOTE=Trades;4247191]An article I posted a few weeks ago said the exact oposite. It said that the panels Solyndra was making were outdated before they got the loans and that they had nothing in the pipeline to improve upon them.[/QUOTE]

    link?

    Assuming you are correct… the facts are that there is "new technology" solar panels in existence AND China definitely dumped the old school panels that they manufacture on the world market, driving down the price.

    Some would say China did this to kill off the manufacturers of the new stuff.

    But any way you slice it...17 gigawatts of Solar panels were manufactured and installed in 2010. That is a significant amount of electricity.

    IMHO if that pace can be sustained for a decade world energy prices will plummet.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=Buster;4247220]link?

    Assuming you are correct… the facts are that there is "new technology" solar panels in existence AND China definitely dumped the old school panels that they manufacture on the world market, driving down the price.

    Some would say China did this to kill off the manufacturers of the new stuff.

    But any way you slice it...17 gigawatts of Solar panels were manufactured and installed in 2010. That is a significant amount of electricity.

    IMHO if that pace can be sustained for a decade world energy prices will plummet.[/QUOTE]

    Story is linked in 2nd post. Solyndra was selling their panels for less than they cost as well, what does that say? It is great that there is 17 gW of solar panels in use now but at what true cost? The technology is changing so rapidly will those solar panels even be cost effective (if they even are now) in 3 years?

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;4247216]I'm not angry.

    Exposing that you support an idea you don't actually use yourself is simply the starting point for discussion on that issue.

    If the environment was what you folks say (i.e. in massive danger) and solar was what you folsk say it is (a great new clean tech thats cheap and should be supprted), then by basic logical extention, you'd be using it exclusively.

    The fact that our biggest proponents of Global Climate Change Disater Pending Theory do not, themselves, do almost anything to protect the environemnt in their own lives speaks volumes, on a myriad of points.[/QUOTE]

    Do you own a nuclear reactor?
    or a coal fired electrical generator?
    or a Howitzer?
    or a farm?
    or a B-1 Bomber?
    or how about a sewage plant?
    or a road grader?
    or a school house?
    or a military base?
    or a slaughter house?
    or a fire engine?

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=Trades;4247226]Story is linked in 2nd post. Solyndra was selling their panels for less than they cost as well, what does that say? It is great that there is 17 gW of solar panels in use now but at what true cost? The technology is changing so rapidly will those solar panels even be cost effective (if they even are now) in 3 years?[/QUOTE]


    The true cost is posted in the article in post 1 of this thread.


    [QUOTE]

    Here's another important statistic: When SunPower built the 14-megawatt 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. In 2010 alone, the average installed cost of installing solar PV dropped 20 percent.

    [/QUOTE]

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=Buster;4247235]Do you own a nuclear reactor?
    or a coal fired electrical generator?
    or a Howitzer?
    or a farm?
    or a B-1 Bomber?
    or how about a sewage plant?
    or a road grader?
    or a school house?
    or a military base?
    or a slaughter house?
    or a fire engine?[/QUOTE]

    I didn't ask if you owned a Solar Power Plant.

    I asked if you choose, in your own choice of power providers, in the open marketplace, to do business with a Solar Power provider or not.

    Your post would be relevant.....only if your view was that power generation should be a Government Service, provided to all, and paid for via taxation.

    You could support solar power via your actions today. You could choose solar.

    You don't.

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    [QUOTE=Buster;4247171]Tax dollars HEAVILY subsidize all of the other (Nuke, Oil, Gas, Coal, etc.) types of energy in the US why not the POP (Pay one Price) type of energy. Or does this frighten the seven sisters of the petroleum industry?

    [/QUOTE]



    And how does the federal government recoup the revenue the currently receive from the products sold by the seven sisters?

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    [QUOTE=Buster;4247251]The true cost is posted in the article in post 1 of this thread.[/QUOTE]

    Is that the true cost or the cost after subsidies?

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    BTW - End consumers care less about the one time cost of the panels and more about the efficiency of creating energy. If I cover my roof with solar panels and only yield eneough energy to heat my water, I am not interested at pretty much any price. If the same panels can eliminate my electric bill, am am pretty interested an almost any price.

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=Piper;4248199]BTW - End consumers care less about the one time cost of the panels and more about the efficiency of creating energy. If I cover my roof with solar panels and only yield eneough energy to heat my water, I am not interested at pretty much any price. If the same panels can eliminate my electric bill, am am pretty interested an almost any price.[/QUOTE]

    Really? At almost any price? I will be by your house to install solar panels and Geothermal heat for $2,000,000 this afternoon. Is 2:00 good for you?

    I think the technology needs to show it will pay for itself over time. Negating the electric bill is all well and good as long as you show you are at least breaking even within a few years and the system has a life span of at least double the break even point.

    For example, Lets say it costs $6000 to install solar on your property and it completely meets your needs (not realistic for a modern family in the North-east) for the next 10 years. Your weekly electric bill before solar is about $100 month. You would hit a break even point, assuming you didn't finance the $6000, in 5 years so you would need an additional 5 years of cost/maintenance free use to really make it worth your while. This of course assumes static electricity prices and usage.

    I have the same problem justifying a more fuel efficient car. I drive a 10 year old Dodge Dakota with 110k miles on it. It is in great shape and I average about <$1000/year maintenance on it. I only get 14.5mpg average on it but I haven't found a formula that makes buying a new more efficient car worth it. Even at $4/gal for gas.

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    [QUOTE=Trades;4248220]Really? At almost any price? I will be by your house to install solar panels and Geothermal heat for $2,000,000 this afternoon. Is 2:00 good for you?

    I think the technology needs to show it will pay for itself over time. Negating the electric bill is all well and good as long as you show you are at least breaking even within a few years and the system has a life span of at least double the break even point.

    For example, Lets say it costs $6000 to install solar on your property and it completely meets your needs (not realistic for a modern family in the North-east) for the next 10 years. Your weekly electric bill before solar is about $100 month. You would hit a break even point, assuming you didn't finance the $6000, in 5 years so you would need an additional 5 years of cost/maintenance free use to really make it worth your while. This of course assumes static electricity prices and usage.

    I have the same problem justifying a more fuel efficient car. I drive a 10 year old Dodge Dakota with 110k miles on it. It is in great shape and I average about <$1000/year maintenance on it. I only get 14.5mpg average on it but I haven't found a formula that makes buying a new more efficient car worth it. Even at $4/gal for gas.[/QUOTE]

    Sorry I didn't articulate it enough for you. Of course it has to pay for itself over time.
    No reason to be a dink about it. Thanks for the finance 101 lesson.

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    There are some great solar and wind technologies out there. I've been working with a company that has created a sort of vacuum tube device that can heat water with sunlight even with temperatures below freezing outsize. The tubes are cheap and the tech can function as supplemental heat and ac (using a heat pump) as well as a water heating technology. No stimulus loans though because they didn't bundle donations to Obama.

  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=chiefst2000;4248230]There are some great solar and wind technologies out there. I've been working with a company that has created a sort of vacuum tube device that can heat water with sunlight even with temperatures below freezing outsize. The tubes are cheap and the tech can function as supplemental heat and ac (using a heat pump) as well as a water heating technology. No stimulus loans though because they didn't bundle donations to Obama.[/QUOTE]

    So help them out and post a link to the tech.

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