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kwlafayette





Joined: 03 Sep 2006
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Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan

PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:04 am    Post subject: Is the solar bubble about to burst? Reply with quote

Specifically, I am talking about photo voltaics. In my opinion, it is a failed technology (at least as far as large scale industrial production is concerned); I do not know why people are still working on it. For large scale solar power generation, there are already alternatives available to day that can produce electricity at a lower cost per megawatt.

http://greenwombat.blogs.fortu.....olar-deal/

My prediction; the failure of these projects will be spectacular. But it probably won't stop people from trying even more PV in the future. PV is fine for keeping your electric fence going, or for patio lights, but for large scale power production, there are better and cheaper alternatives already available.


Last edited by kwlafayette on Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
Mac





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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Is the solar bubble about ti burst? Reply with quote

kwlafayette wrote:
PV is fine for keeping your electric fence going, or for patio lights, but for large scale power production, there are better and cheaper alternatives already available.

Better and cheaper, yes, but to the adherents of the Church of the Goracle, PV is the Holy Grail of energies since, by ignoring little issues like the manufacturing process and disposal, they can claim it's non-polluting. By it's nature, PV restricts the size and amount of development which matches the goal of the true eco-freaks.

-Mac
FF_Canuck





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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excepting some major advances in materials science, yeah. It works great for limited applications, but even at the household scale, passive solar is a more efficient capture of the energy. As Mac said, I suspect the goal for many is less development, regardless of how we get there.
Cool Blue





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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was there ever really a bubble to begin with?

I saw an interesting on discovery where they were touring a US army solar farm.

They were using reflective dished to concentrate the sun on a sterling engine which then drove a generator as opposed to PVs. Interesting stuff.
Craig
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure why you have such hatred of PV? Compared with wind energy PV has much greater potential for advancement. Some of the advancements being made with PV technology will greatly reduce manufacturing costs and with nanotechnology will increase the efficiency.

Alberta will have net metering in place in six months. I need to reshingle my roof in about three years. New solar PV shingles look like regular shingles. If the technology continues to advance over the next three years I will probably install the PV shingles and take advantage of net metering. Obviously PV doesn't work in most parts of Canada (Calgary is pretty good) but for places like the American southwest I have no doubt that it will play an important role in residential energy needs in the next ten years.

Note: I do agree with you about industrial scale generation using PV. But I think it has the potential to play a big role residentially if advances continue to be made.

Quantum Dots Could Double Solar PV Efficiency

Quote:
"We have shown that solar cells based on quantum dots theoretically could convert more than 65 percent of the sun's energy into electricity, approximately doubling the efficiency of solar cells," Nozik said. The best cells today convert about 33 percent of the sun's energy into electricity.


Quote:
The NREL/NRL work not only shows higher overall efficiency for multiple exciton generation, it also establishes that the process occurs with lower photon energies, meaning it could make use of an even greater portion of the sun's light spectrum.
kwlafayette





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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes it is better on a small scale. One problem with net metering though is that you get a paltry rate for power you generate, but still pay retail for power you use. I do not hate PV, I am simply pointing out that these people are probably wasting a lot of money on something that has no chance of working.

Don't know exactly how much annual energy you can expect at Calgary's northern latitude, obviously not an ideal location for solar generation, but still better than some places.

PS. Mainly I am angry at the people who tout things like wind and PV as easy answers to all our problems, when even a cursory examination of the numbers reveals that they are not even close to being 10% of the answer. Also, when they fail to adequately prove that there is even a problem in the first place, but keep insisting that it be fixed with clearly inadequate solutions. That sets me off.
Craig
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kwlafayette wrote:
Don't know exactly how much annual energy you can expect at Calgary's northern latitude, obviously not an ideal location for solar generation, but still better than some places.


Calgary is one of the best in Canada...



But the south western USA is where it has its best chance.
kwlafayette





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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What are those numbers? Kilowatts per square meter per day?
Cool Blue





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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.standard-freeholder.....?e=1154262


Four solar farms being created locally
Posted By MICHAEL PEELING, STANDARD-FREEHOLDER
Updated 3 days ago

South Stormont and East Hawkesbury will be the sites of

four of Ontario's first solar energy parks by the end of the year, generating enough power for more than 5,000 homes annually with green energy.

Kinu Energy and Solaris Technology were both granted contracts from Ontario Power Authority (OPA) for renewable energy projects under 10 megawatts. The solar projects got the go-ahead back in May, but start dates for their construction are still pending. Some are expected to start by the fall.

Construction of the "solar parks" or "solar farms," will cost about $270 million and could employ more than 100 people. At least a dozen people will gain long-term jobs to maintain the solar energy projects once they begin operation.

The capacity to replace the use of fossil fuels of the projects is considerable. According to Solaris, its three solar parks will be able to feed enough power into the provincial grid to avoid 440,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually, which works out to be the same as taking 10,000 cars off the road for a year.


As of May, the OPA had signed off on a total of 326 contracts, with another 60 applications being processed. The contracts have an estimated power generation potential of more than 1.3 million kilowatt hours.

Kinu will open one of the four 100- acre solar panel farms near the village of Newington in South Stormont Township with an initial investment of $70 million.

"The biggest challenges were to find the capacity for new (solar power) generation and a distribution centre," said Kinu co-founder Ian Young, but he and partner Vincent Gallo were able to find the land and system in Newington.

Solaris vice-president of project management Robin Hutcheson said the region was chosen as the location for all three of the company's projects because it has an adequate ability to generate a minimum number of watts per square metre on a daily basis.

"Eastern Ontario has more clear sky and sunshine than other parts of Ontario," Hutcheson said. "Northwestern and Southwestern Ontario are also hotspots."

Solaris was born just last year and it's also looking to develop solar parks in France as well.

Hutcheson said the land purchased also boasts ideally flat conditions with good northeast exposure.

The contracts with the OPA are good for 20 years, which is a positive according to Hutcheson because it could take the two companies up to 15 years to make a profit because the initial investment required is so steep.

Hutcheson says it will be worth it though because farms such as these will bring the cost of energy generated on a farm down to the same cost from the grid, giving businesses more sustainable options to run on.
Craig
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kwlafayette wrote:
What are those numbers? Kilowatts per square meter per day?


(Kilowatt-hrs/mē/day)

Quote:
The Peak Sun-Hours reflected in the global solar power maps may differ from other sun-hour figures available because these global maps represent the worst case seasonal PSH (Kilowatt-hrs/mē/day) values used for calculating year-round applications. For solar power applications requiring performance throughout the entire year, the lowest monthly average Peak Sun Hours is used as the baseline - usually the winter low average. For summer-time only solar power applications, the figures in the global maps would need to be considered since summer-time averages are often 30 - 40 percent higher.


I really like the idea of solar shingles. They don't take up any extra space (we all need shingles anyway). If mass produced I'm sure the manufacturing price would fall dramatically. If they can get the efficiency up a little higher it could really take off and make a dent in traditional energy consumption (especially in certain parts of the USA - Canada not so much).

I would take this with a grain of salt because the site is obviously biased but an interesting claim anyway...

Quote:
It is presumed that at "peak sun", 1000 W/mē of power reaches the surface of the earth. One hour of full sun provides 1000 Wh per mē = 1 kWh/mē - representing the solar energy received in one hour on a cloudless summer day on a one-square meter surface directed towards the sun. To put this in some other perspective, the United States Department of Energy indicates the amount of solar energy that hits the surface of the earth every +/- hour is greater than the total amount of energy that the entire human population requires in a year. Another perspective is that roughly 100 miles square of solar panels placed in the southwestern U.S. could power the country.


Last edited by Craig on Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
Cool Blue





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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I had the money I'd put some solar panels on my house.

It would be worth it next time there's a major black out or ice storm.
Craig
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a cool tool to calculate how much solar energy you can get from your roof using Google maps...

http://www.roofray.com/calculator
Cool Blue





Joined: 21 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a pretty cool website, thanks!
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