The Solar Power Revolution Begins in Earnest

RodShaft

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Not at all outlandish. Privatise everything is my motto. People should only avail of what they can afford, this lark of providing infrastructure or services for free is an unacceptable drag on the private sector.
Were you able to afford the doctors, nurses and hospital services of whatever hospital you were born in?
 


Civic_critic2

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$ per peak-watt is a measure of the cost of the panel per square metre or cost of installation at any given time. If it costs $6 per watt on a panel that generates 200W at peak then the cost of the panel or panel + installation is $1200. This is around 10 times higher than current costs, which is hardly surprising with a new technology or application such as the solar road. That's the cost now, that cost will tumble over a decade. Private individuals will also pave their driveways and patios with these, supermarkets will pave their car parks - it isn't just the government here who will 'subsidise' this to drive it forward. And efficiencies will increase also over the next 2 decades, further driving down price.
 

owedtojoy

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Good article in The Economist about solar, wind and nuclear.



Nuclear power: When the facts change... | The Economist

The article mentions some of the technical advances that are making renewable energy cheaper and more feasible - energy storage, cheap and clean gas-fired generators to take up the slack when renewable sources are idle + others.
 

Vega1447

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$ per peak-watt is a measure of the cost of the panel per square metre or cost of installation at any given time. If it costs $6 per watt on a panel that generates 200W at peak then the cost of the panel or panel + installation is $1200. This is around 10 times higher than current costs, which is hardly surprising with a new technology or application such as the solar road. That's the cost now, that cost will tumble over a decade. Private individuals will also pave their driveways and patios with these, supermarkets will pave their car parks - it isn't just the government here who will 'subsidise' this to drive it forward. And efficiencies will increase also over the next 2 decades, further driving down price.
That doesn't make sense.

$/"peak watt" using your figures gives 6/200 not 6*200.

More "peak watts" means less $/"peak watt".
 

Civic_critic2

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If a panel produces 200W and the price is $6 per watt then the panel costs $1200. The use of the symbols $/W here does not mean 'dollar divided by watt', it means 'dollar per watt'.
 

onetimeonly

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I wouldn't really call it a revolution, solar power has been (and will be) improving in a slow-and-steady manner for a long time.

This tech will only be useful when it is very cheap. There is no chance of 15% efficiency in situ over the course of a day/year. Once it can be made cheap enough that building materials (roof tiles, external renders, paving slabs, even glass in some usage cases) are all harvesting a few percent at no huge increase in cost over standard materials, this kind of thing will be everywhere. This is just a node on the path though, a test case to encourage further research. It will take time and investment.

All of this is an evolution, efficiency gains are hard won across all energy use cases but very very worthwhile in the long run.
 

Civic_critic2

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You're right of course, it's a rapid evolution as much as a revolution. Politically it leaves a couple of outstanding problems - for a country thinking of its strategic defence unless vast electricity storage becomes feasible the question of how an enemy may stymie your energy generation capacity through weather modification becomes critical. Alternative instantly despatchable power sources at least for emergency cases and the military remain.

A second remaining issue is the control of middle east oil. People think that creating alternative fuel sources will render the middle east and its oil irrelevant. This may be so in the long, long term but the point of middle east oil is not simply to access a supply for yourself; it is to control everyone else's access to it too. Whoever controls the oil controls the ability of other countries to run an army. That will remain the case for the forseeable future.

Brilliant Light Power may be the solution to this, presuming its not a very sophisticated con job but by all appearances it's legit. We'll know soon enough, within the next two or three years.

[video=youtube;ZjJYg4Abv50]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjJYg4Abv50[/video]
 

Civic_critic2

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Brilliant Light Power looks like total horse manure to me.
Well it sounds too good to be true and sins against fundamental understandings of physics. However he has allegedly the only explanation for some spectrum effect which is observed in the cosmic background radiation which no-one else understands but which is consistent with his theory. He has also raised 10s of millions of dollars from investors. But most crucially he has 5 independent validators who have confirmed his experiments - I looked some of them up a few months ago to find out their credibility and they were proper heavy guns with recognised institutions so that checked out. He also has the respect of the guys in Stanford Research Institute, an outgrowth of Stanford. However they are investigating LENR themselves and taking a lot of flak for it. Thus far the experiments seem to check out but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating over the next couple of years. Worth keeping an eye on.
 

Watcher2

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Colas is a French company who are world leaders in producing bitumen emulsion for roads and they've cracked how to create a solar road. They have found how to integrate solar panels into a road surface without breaking the panels and while retaining all the characteristics needed for a safe road surface. On top of this they can simply lay these down on existing roads, no need to construct new roads.

[video=youtube;YQba3ENhlKA]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQba3ENhlKA[/video]

Ireland has 100,000km of roads. At an average of 4m width that makes 100,000,000 square metres x4 available for electricity generation: 400 million square metres.

These panels are 15% efficient, so on a good day receiving 500W per square metre that means a fully covered road has network has the potential to generate 30GW of power. By way of comparison, Ireland's total installed capacity is 6GW.

This doesn't include private driveways, car parks and footpaths which can also be paved with these panels. A solar roadway also has the potential to deliver electricity to moving cars in realtime by induction energy transfer.

For those who thought the world was running out and running into an energy crisis - no, the truth is one of abundance not lack. We are about to enter an age of abundance despite hysteria to the contrary. That's presuming we survive the next few months of US warmongering, which is not looking guaranteed.

On top of the roads and footpaths there is also a new type of transparent solar panel that can generate power from windows:

[video=youtube;qMhdpWMDp04]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMhdpWMDp04[/video]

These technologies are not the future, they are beginning to be installed now.
Peak oil is a myth. Peak "cheap" oil is a different matter although recent events show that anything is possible on the pricing front.

I don't know about the above solar road. Something tells me it wont exactly work in practice. Sounds great but I would be shocked if there is not a big fat BUT.
 

Civic_critic2

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That doesn't make sense.

$/"peak watt" using your figures gives 6/200 not 6*200.

More "peak watts" means less $/"peak watt".
You're actually right there, more peak watts from a given panel for the same price does mean less dollars per peak watt. In that sense $/W means 'Total $' divided by 'Total Watts', which gives the cost per watt, or $/W.
 

Vega1447

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You're actually right there, more peak watts from a given panel for the same price does mean less dollars per peak watt. In that sense $/W means 'Total $' divided by 'Total Watts', which gives the cost per watt, or $/W.
Yup... :)

Peak watts seem an odd rating as it is measured in Watts==Power.

Much more reasonable to compute average D=#kWh/day - varies by season or even Y=average #kWh/year.

Then (yearly cost)/Y = average price of a kWhr (unit).

Yearly cost would be install cost (priced as yearly repayments on original investment) + yearly maintenance over lifetime of system.

Average price of a kWhr (unit) can be compared with 20-30 cent for present domestic supply.
 

Civic_critic2

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No, I mean you're right to divide the cost by the wattage to get the cost per watt, despite the short-hand $/W posibly confusing people. The $/W is the standard for determining the total price of a system (+ installation) as well as identifying the price-point where solar is competitive with coal. Overall that comparison must be conducted through a comparison of the relative costs per kW/h, as you say. The point of $/W is that the standard is .50c per watt to be competitive with coal and is the aim that the industry and observers are shooting for.
 

Watcher2

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Let's hope Samsung don't jump on that particular bandwagon. They might inadvertently challenge SpaceX rather than Tesla...
hahahahaha, good one.

On the plus side, you could have an amphibious motor like the one in that James Bond movie because Samsungs S7 can work in water.
 

Hans Von Horn

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No, I mean you're right to divide the cost by the wattage to get the cost per watt, despite the short-hand $/W posibly confusing people. The $/W is the standard for determining the total price of a system (+ installation) as well as identifying the price-point where solar is competitive with coal. Overall that comparison must be conducted through a comparison of the relative costs per kW/h, as you say. The point of $/W is that the standard is .50c per watt to be competitive with coal and is the aim that the industry and observers are shooting for.
Clearly you do not understand.
 


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