Affordable solar: It's closer than you think

Dec 01, 2011 By Marcia Goodrich
Solar panels

It's time to stop thinking of solar energy as a boutique source of power, says Joshua Pearce.

Sure, solar only generates about 1 percent of the in the US. But that will change in a few years, says Pearce, an associate professor of and at Michigan Technological University. The ultimate in is about to go mainstream.

It's a matter of economics. A new analysis by Pearce and his colleagues at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, shows that are very close to achieving the tipping point: they can make electricity that's as cheap—sometimes cheaper—as what consumers pay their utilities.

Here's why. First, the price of has plummeted. "Since 2009, the cost has dropped 70 percent," says Pearce. But more than that, the assumptions used in previous studies have not given solar an even break.

"Historically, when comparing the economics of solar and conventional energy, people have been very conservative," says Pearce.

To figure out the true cost of photovoltaic energy, analysts need to consider several variables, including the cost to install and maintain the system, finance charges, how long it lasts, and how much electricity it generates. Pearce and his colleagues performed an exhaustive review of the previous studies and concluded that the values given those variables were out of whack.

For example, most analyses assume that the productivity of solar panels will drop at an annual rate of 1 percent or more, a huge overestimation, according to Pearce. "If you buy a top-of-the-line solar panel, it's much less, between 0.1 and 0.2 percent."

In addition, "The price of solar equipment has been dropping, so you'd think that the older papers would have higher cost estimates," Pearce says. "That's not necessarily the case."

Equipment costs are determined based on dollars per watt of electricity produced. One 2010 study estimated the cost per watt at $7.61, while a 2003 study set the amount at $4.16. The true cost in 2011, says Pearce, is under $1 per watt for solar panels purchased in bulk on the global market, though system and installation costs vary widely. In some parts of the world, solar is already economically superior, and the study predicts that it will become increasingly attractive in more and more places.

In regions with a burgeoning solar industry, often due to favorable government policies, there are lots of solar panel installers, which heats up the market.

"Elsewhere, installation costs have been high because contractors will do just one job a month," says Pearce. Increasing demand and competition would drop installation costs. "If you had ten installers in Upper Michigan and enough work to keep them busy, the price would drop considerably."

Furthermore, economic studies don't generally taken into account solar energy's intangible benefits, reduced pollution and carbon emissions. And while silicon-based solar panels do rely on a nonrenewable resource--sand--they are no threat to the world's beaches. It only takes about a sandwich baggie of sand to make a roof's worth of thin-film photovoltaic cells, Pearce says.

Based on the study, and on the fact that the cost of conventional power continues to creep upward, Pearce believes that will soon be a major player in the energy game. "It's just a matter of time before market economics catches up with it," he says.

Explore further: Scientists get set for simulated nuclear inspection

More information: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 15, Issue 9, pages 4470-4482. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2011.07.104

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tpb
3.6 / 5 (7) Dec 01, 2011
I would like to see where the dollar/watt figure comes from.
The articles on Solyndra say the latest solar panels from china at $1.70/watt are what did them in.
rawa1
1.4 / 5 (28) Dec 01, 2011
The price of cold fusion energy could be in the range of cents per Watt already, if we would start to develop it before twenty years, when the first publications about it were released. In addition, such energy is stable and it can be produced at the place of consumption = no wires and similar infrastructure is needed. And we could save researchers for development of more meaningful technologies.
dschlink
4.3 / 5 (11) Dec 01, 2011
With installation costs around $5.50/watt(based on an estimate I got last Spring), the panels could be free and it wouldn't matter.
rawa1
1.6 / 5 (18) Dec 01, 2011
With installation costs around $5.50/watt(based on an estimate I got last Spring), the panels could be free and it wouldn't matter.

The price of installation can be never lower. And we still neglecting the price of solar power instability and the price of recycling of solar panels and many less or more hidden risks like this one.

http://www.firere...e-Facts/
kochevnik
4.1 / 5 (15) Dec 01, 2011
The price of installation can be never lower.
You've never been to a Home Depot, I take it. BTW never is a very, very long time.
Bob_Wallace
4.4 / 5 (15) Dec 01, 2011
Solyndra was done in by low cost PV panels long, long ago (in solar panel price time).

Solarbuzz is reporting lowest retail prices of $1.25 for thin film and $1.28 for mono-cSi panels. Large number wholesale is going to be less.

Germany has been reporting $3.50 for installed residential solar. If they can do it there, we can do it here.

A project in the LA area that gets large numbers of individuals together to do group buys and group contracting for installation is installing at $4.78/watt. That's a number from some months ago when panels were more expensive.

Installation costs are falling because new racking and connecting systems are greatly lowering labor requirements. They will fall further as installation becomes a full time, competitive business.
Bob_Wallace
4.2 / 5 (17) Dec 01, 2011

At $5.50/watt installed you'd be paying $3.85/watt after the 30% federal subsidy.

At $3.85/watt, financed for 20 years at 8% and a 20% capacity factor (4.8 solar hours per day avg.) you would be locking in your electricity at $0.154/kWh for the next 20 years. As your neighbors' utility bills rise, your payments will stay flat.

After the panels have been paid off your electricity will cost you nothing for a few more decades.

That's an investment that works.
Callippo
1.5 / 5 (21) Dec 01, 2011
The cold fusion device would require no installation cost. No accumulators, no wires, no jobs for technicians. You roof will remain empty. Price tag can be as low as few cents per kW. You can sell the resulting copper. The production of solar panels is very environmentally unfriendly. The production of m2 of silicon cell consumes 11 tons of demineralized water, not including the water used for cleaning of panels.

http://www.global...ion.html

http://www.lasveg...d-water/
Sonhouse
4.6 / 5 (11) Dec 01, 2011
The cold fusion device would require no installation cost. No accumulators, no wires, no jobs for technicians. You roof will remain empty. Price tag can be as low as few cents per kW. You can sell the resulting copper. The production of solar panels is very environmentally unfriendly. The production of m2 of silicon cell consumes 11 tons of demineralized water, not including the water used for cleaning of panels.

http://www.global...ion.html
`

So show me the results where we are allowed total access to the equipment to make our own measurements. I think you will find that to be a no-no.
Callippo
1.2 / 5 (17) Dec 01, 2011
So show me the results where we are allowed total access to the equipment to make our own measurements.

The science doesn't use the "total access to the equipment" for verification of experiments at all. It gets the description of experiments and tries to replicate them.

http://www.lenr-c...xces.pdf

From the above follows, the cold fusion of hydrogen at nickel was never scientifically falsified, because it lacks the attempt for replication of Focardi and Piantelli's publications. Anyway, recently the Defkalion company claimed, they succeed with reverse engineering of E-cat catalyst based on spectral analysis from university of Padua and it reported the development of their own cold fusion device. So if you really need such way of cold fusion confirmation, you can inspire right there: http://pesn.com/2...Product/
that_guy
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 01, 2011

At $5.50/watt installed you'd be paying $3.85/watt after the 30% federal subsidy.

At $3.85/watt, financed for 20 years at 8% and a 20% capacity factor (4.8 solar hours per day avg.) you would be locking in your electricity at $0.154/kWh for the next 20 years. As your neighbors' utility bills rise, your payments will stay flat.

After the panels have been paid off your electricity will cost you nothing for a few more decades.

That's an investment that works.

This is how people need to look at it, although the lifetime of a typical panel is only a few decades (15-20 years). Also, did you account that installed peak watt capacity does not amount to watt hour produced?

I've done the calculations in AZ where I live - and even if the cost per watt is higher, you're not paying for markup or infrastructure like you do with the electric company. Remember, you pay 2-3x the unit cost of energy production to your utility for transmission/maintenance/profit.
SemiNerd
5 / 5 (7) Dec 01, 2011
I would like to see where the dollar/watt figure comes from.
The articles on Solyndra say the latest solar panels from china at $1.70/watt are what did them in.

Prices continue to drop. In addition, the 1$ per watt was conditioned on an in bulk (of what size?) purchase at the lowest possible global cost.

Its likely that the prices will continue to drop even lower.
Bob_Wallace
4 / 5 (12) Dec 01, 2011
No, solar panel life is much longer than 15-20 years. The longest range study I've seen was on panels installed 35 years earlier and they were still going strong. They had lost a bit of output, but nothing major. That study was done in 2003 and I can find nothing about that array haven been taken down after the study was completed.

The first solar panel was made roughly 50 years ago and it is still working fine. That panel was stored out of the Sun for a long time so we can't make a definitive statement based on its lifespan, but silicon panels are basically thin sheets of rock protected by a layer of glass.

I don't know what you mean by this - "Also, did you account that installed peak watt capacity does not amount to watt hour produced?" I gave you the capacity factor if that is what you are trying to ask. Your AZ capacity factor is likely to be higher, thus your cost of power less.

that_guy
2.3 / 5 (4) Dec 01, 2011
@bob -
Solar panels can be designed to last longer, or used longer - however, from what I looked at a few years ago, the typical useful lifetime for a typical home installation is about 20 years. I'm only talking current (slightly outdated) numbers, not what it will be in a few years, or high end panels or anything like that.

As to the peak capacity remark - I hadn't done the math, but I was asking if you accounted for actual power generation, as installed capacity isn't completely indicitive of actual power generation. I did run the numbers now, and see that what you have may be slightly optimistic for most areas, but roughly in line with reality.

Also, accidentally missing from my remark, is the fact that panels are cost effective in phoenix from a consumer point - although not necessarily so much for a utility.

Our provider, APS charges 18c a KW/H at day, and 5c KW/H at night - installing a solar system saves a few c a KW/H here, b/c it's competing with 18c a KW/H
antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (10) Dec 01, 2011
the typical useful lifetime for a typical home installation is about 20 years.

Installed some on my parents' roof (15 years ago) Still hardly any degradation (maybe 5%). And those weren't top-of-the-line panels back then (but still pretty expensive). Paid for themselves after 9 years. Since then it's been all cash in the bank.
dusanmal
1.8 / 5 (16) Dec 01, 2011

At $5.50/watt installed you'd be paying $3.85/watt after the 30% federal subsidy.


So, steal from other hard working taxpayers 30% of your cost and you have cheap electricity...? Nice. Stealing from others is the only way solar energy can get a foothold. However, soon we'll get rid of the crony capitalist in chief and solar will need to fight on true merits not for you with my money.
Brutusfly
4.4 / 5 (14) Dec 01, 2011
Odd to criticize subsidized solar when using the internet to post your criticism. I think our tax dollars being "stolen" to build the internet worked out pretty well myself. Some people prefer the U.S. to be uncompetitive and a weak in one of the most important industries of growth on the planet I suppose.
that_guy
4.4 / 5 (13) Dec 01, 2011
We should stop stealing money for roads, and libraries, and schools. Or better yet, how about this:

May 17, 2011 ... On a mostly party-line vote, the Senate on Tuesday defeated a Democratic measure to strip major oil companies of about $20 billion in tax ...


And that's just one form of tax credit...there are others specifically for oil companies to hire people, drill, build and use pipelines...some are cash payments, and others are tax subsidies...

Then you have the coal industry, the natural gas industry...We subsidize all forms of fossil energy to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars a year...

You are half right dusanmal, we could just end energy subsidies altogether, and solar panels would be about as cost effective.

If it weren't for the crony capitalism of the oil companies, maybe solar could compete on its own merits, rather than needing subsidies just to get a fair playing field.
jonnyboy
1 / 5 (4) Dec 01, 2011

At $5.50/watt installed you'd be paying $3.85/watt after the 30% federal subsidy.

At $3.85/watt, financed for 20 years at 8% and a 20% capacity factor (4.8 solar hours per day avg.) you would be locking in your electricity at $0.154/kWh for the next 20 years. As your neighbors' utility bills rise, your payments will stay flat.

After the panels have been paid off your electricity will cost you nothing for a few more decades.

That's an investment that works.


good, then you won't mind ponying up the cash for my solar setup and selling me the power at 10% less than the local utility?
Bob_Wallace
4.1 / 5 (8) Dec 01, 2011
@that_guy

I bought a couple of 35watt panels for my sailboat in 1988. They're still doing fine. A friend is using them on his cabin.

I bought 400 watts of "hard used" Arco panels in 1992. They had been used with concentrating lenses in a research project and the intense sunlight had turned them brown. Even being "brownies" they still performed very close to factory specs and 20 years later are still performing close to factory specs.

I suspect you may be confusing warranty with expected lifespan. Consider, for a moment, a 30,000 warranty is common for autos but we often get well over 100,000.

Utilities are going to be able to install at sizes that bring their cost of power well under residential costs. GMT has reported a couple of long term (20 yr) contracts at $0.10/kWh. Utilities can pay very big money for peak hour power. I've seen figures over $3/kWh for short periods.

Bob_Wallace
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 01, 2011

Prices continue to drop. In addition, the 1$ per watt was conditioned on an in bulk (of what size?) purchase at the lowest possible global cost.



I would guess truckloads. Chicago, for example, has a solar array that uses 32,000 panels.

If you are buying retail for your own use it's possible to save some money by going together with others and purchasing a pallet of panels. Or go big and get a container full. ;o)

If you're shopping for panels here is a place to try. They are listing single panels at $1.28/watt at the moment. And they have grid-tie systems.

I checked their reputation and they seem quite good. Apparently they sell a lot via eBay.

You should do your own due diligence.

http://www.sunelec.com
that_guy
3 / 5 (2) Dec 01, 2011
I'm not arguing with your anecdotal evidence of your experience, I'm just saying that most of the sources a few years ago said 15-20 years of expected effective lifetime.

I'm sure it's conservative, and you can eek out more useful power beyond the 'useful' lifetime. (Which is perfectly fine if you're connected to the grid or charging batteries anyways, and don't need a set amount of electricity.)

A new search turns up estimates from 20-25 years to 30-40 years. It also says that a major cause of aging and lower output is browning, and that the newest panels coming out do not have that issue.

As for me I'll do more research in a year or two, once we find if we're going to stay put, or if we get a new house.
astro_optics
1.2 / 5 (6) Dec 01, 2011
You guys are optimistic indeed, The government will find the way of charging you to generate your own electricity sooner rather than later :(
Vendicar_Decarian
4.1 / 5 (10) Dec 01, 2011
Lets assume for the sake of argument that the cost per watt is $2.00

George Bush's war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan are projected to cost America 4 trillion dollars.

That kind of money would purhcase 2 trillion watts of power generation, 2,000 gigawatts.

Assuming that only 1/10th of that could be realized, that amount of power generation corresponds to 1800 TWh of energy.

This is enough to replace all coal fired power plants in the U.S. with PV Solar.

Such is the extent of America's intellectual failure.

Gnanalingam
5 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2011
The Market price of Solar Modules FOB Taiwan are below $1/Watt. Please see pvinsights(dot)com/
Today's price Silicon PV Module Price $Per Watt 1.45 to 0.75
ThinFilm PV Module Price $Per Watt 1.15 to 0.65.
Also read all about LCoE from Solar - Most Up-To-Date Review Article on the Levelized Cost of Electricity from Solar Photovoltaic Technology @ appropedia.org/Levelised_Cost_of_Electricity_Literature_Review. All questions are answered. It will soon become the mainstream! The author has given a correct picture. Best wishes to him.
ABSOLUTEKNOWLEDGE
2 / 5 (8) Dec 02, 2011
The cold fusion device would require no installation cost. No accumulators, no wires, no jobs for technicians. You roof will remain empty. Price tag can be as low as few cents per kW. You can sell the resulting copper. The production of solar panels is very environmentally unfriendly. The production of m2 of silicon cell consumes 11 tons of demineralized water, not including the water used for cleaning of panels.

http://www.global...ion.html


andrea rossi already seling ecats 1mw cold fusion plants

most are stuck in the past or there little box in this forum

http://ecat.com/ check it out its no joke
Nerdyguy
3.6 / 5 (5) Dec 02, 2011
"Affordable solar: It's closer than you think"

Actually, it's already affordable and, depending on the application, has a relatively decent turnaround time on the payback. "Really Cheap Solar is closer than you think" is a more realistic consideration.

The problems with solar go well beyond price. It's inefficient, bulky, hard to install without professional experience, and the list goes on.

But, it keeps getting better. And, the continual drop in price and increase in efficiency will only help.
Nerdyguy
4 / 5 (4) Dec 02, 2011
andrea rossi already seling ecats 1mw cold fusion plants

most are stuck in the past or there little box in this forum

http://ecat.com/ check it out its no joke


This is NOT Rossie's site.

PESN, which has been most closely associated with Rossi from the press, is reporting that Leonardo-ECat.com is Rossi's "official" site.

PESN ALSO SAYS:
"I phoned Rossi to ask him about this (ecat.com), and he didn't know about the website, and said he would go take a look, but that he thought it probably was the North European License group."
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (8) Dec 02, 2011
So, steal from other hard working taxpayers 30% of your cost and you have cheap electricity...? Nice. Stealing from others is the only way solar energy can get a foothold.

You are aware that nuclear, coal and oil get MASSIVE subsidies (much more than alternative energy sources)?
http://en.wikiped...ubsidies

So by installing solar you are actually reducing the amount of money you are 'stealing' from others.

But I'm certain you have never applied for a tax refund in your life - because that would be stealing from others (as those missing tax dollars for investments have to be payed by others, now)
Anda
5 / 5 (2) Dec 02, 2011
Dense "cold" aether "fusion" theory makes you reach orgasm, Calippo-Rawa1.
Poor pathetic guy
Nerdyguy
4 / 5 (6) Dec 02, 2011
So, steal from other hard working taxpayers 30% of your cost and you have cheap electricity...? Nice. Stealing from others is the only way solar energy can get a foothold.

You are aware that nuclear, coal and oil get MASSIVE subsidies (much more than alternative energy sources)?
http://en.wikiped...ubsidies


Exactly. We should be putting our (eggs) money in more than one basket. There is no logic in this being political.

Sure, there are some debacles like Solyndra but, so what? There always have been and always will be.

It's about as pointless as us arguing about what brand of toilet paper the government should be buying. Because nobody really cares about this issue, it -- and most others -- fly under the radar and things get done by price/efficiency metrics.

These decisions should be made by scientists and engineers with the mission statement of: provide X amount of power, use X budget, and deliver the best plan.
Osiris1
3 / 5 (4) Dec 03, 2011
Oh when we seek to 'contract' everything what fools we make of ourselves! I am going to put these 220 watt panels on my bus roof. I AM an engineer. I do not NEED a steeenkin contractor. I can do it MYSELF. It is THIS kind of thinking that made America. Saudis have to 'contract' everything, and cannot do anything by themselves. They are helpless without foreigners to literally wipe their noses. This is not prejudice, it is fact. That is why their country's workforce is almost all foreign, and those workers can never be citizens of the magic kingdom else they would soon take it over...and the Saudis at least know THAT. Are all of YOU Saudis?
I can put 2600 watts or more on my roof for about $6,000 or a little more. I design the mounting system, buy the material, get a machine shop to help me with a little fabrication, mount and connect the panels and control system interface to the inverter/charger and I'm done...and sellin power to da Southern Cal Edison! How 'bout YOU?
Callippo
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 03, 2011
Dense "cold" aether "fusion" theory makes you reach orgasm, Calippo-Rawa1.

I simply perceive the research of solar technologies as effective, as the research of steam engine. Yes, it definitely works and it can still be improved - but why we should do it, if another technologies are already in the game for many years?

My question simply is, if we are developing solar cells and nuclear plants, why not the steam engines and horse powered automobiles? There is lotta space for their improvement too.

The ignorance of the cold fusion finding with people simply indicates, they didn't learn to think economically yet. Today most of research resources is dealing with various conversion of energy instead of real production of energy. But if we really want to colonize the surrounding space, we cannot spent all raw sources and material resources in building of solar plants and wind mills anyway.
Nanobanano
3 / 5 (6) Dec 03, 2011
This is enough to replace all coal fired power plants in the U.S. with PV Solar.

Such is the extent of America's intellectual failure.



Yup.

Because we are "capitalistic", the government is FORBIDDEN to do ANYTHING that makes mathematical sense.

Likewise, a mere 1 trillion could purchase enough wind turbines to power the entire U.S, replacing ALL coal, nuclear, and even hydro.

For a 1 trillion more, you could make it double redundant and transmit power from where it's windy to where it's not, and sell any excess to canada and mexico...

But, according to our pals on FOX news, wind allegedly cost like twice as much as Coal.

In reality, after some digging, I found the cost of wind power at 1/8th turbine capacity to be less than the bulk price of Coal alone over the 30 years expected life span. Not even counting the price of maintenance, repairs, and pollution from the coal plant, nor even the coal fired generator's purchase and assembly.

Nanobanano
3 / 5 (6) Dec 03, 2011
But yes, roughly 1 trillion dollars is all it would cost to make and install enough wind turbins to power the united states ALL energy needs for 30 years at EXISTING, KNOWN, PUBLICLY AVAILABLE PRICES.

Our public, our CONGRESS, our president, and our judiciary are either:

A) unqualified fools

B) guilty of treason whereby they have usurped their authority in order to prolong the status quo and maintain the existing corporate aristocracy in the energy and banking sectors.

Obviously, B is the much more likely case, as I cannot imagine anyone with any real education having not at least taken a look at the mathematics of this situation.

Wind is much cheaper than solar in the greater scheme of things, but it's also not as energy dense in terms of maximum energy per unit area.
Eikka
1 / 5 (3) Dec 03, 2011

This is enough to replace all coal fired power plants in the U.S. with PV Solar.

Such is the extent of America's intellectual failure.



The extents of your intellectual failure is that solar panels can't be turned on and off at will, thus they will never replace a single coal fired powerplant.

At that scale you have to factor in the cost of actually managing the influx of energy you get, with a difference of 1:10 between average and peak power.
MNIce
1 / 5 (1) Dec 03, 2011

..., a mere 1 trillion could purchase enough wind turbines to power the entire U.S, replacing ALL coal, nuclear, and even hydro.

For a 1 trillion more, you could make it double redundant and transmit power from where it's windy to where it's not, and sell any excess to canada and mexico...

But, according to our pals on FOX news, wind allegedly cost like twice as much as Coal.

In reality, after some digging, I found the cost of wind power at 1/8th turbine capacity to be less than the bulk price of Coal alone over the 30 years expected life span. ...


Numbers and sources, please! Did you include land cost? Environmental effects of large-scale wind exploitation? Availability factors (at any given time 5-10% of turbines are down for repairs)? Transmission lines are very difficult to build politically (NIMBY!), and widespread wind farms require many more miles of line than a single-point generator plant. Besides, you have to beat the cost of the already-installed-and-paid base.
Eikka
1.3 / 5 (4) Dec 03, 2011

Wind is much cheaper than solar in the greater scheme of things, but it's also not as energy dense in terms of maximum energy per unit area.


And it's also not possible to generate the amount of energy on wind alone because of the variability.

And it's generally not possible to sum up different energy sources that depend on forces of nature like the winds and the tides, or the sun, because the interference between them makes the system exibit even more variation.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Dec 03, 2011
I can put 2600 watts or more on my roof for about $6,000 or a little more. I design the mounting system, buy the material, get a machine shop to help me with a little fabrication, mount and connect the panels and control system interface to the inverter/charger and I'm done...and sellin power to da Southern Cal Edison! How 'bout YOU?
Uh did you get a permit for that? Did the electrical inspector sign off on it? And does your homeowners insurance company know you've made electrical modifications to the property they're insuring which was not done by a certified electrician?

Of course maybe you live somewhere where you don't have to do all that.
A) unqualified fools

B) guilty of treason whereby blahblah
HELLO QC. So after 40 days and 40 nights the holy flooder returns to deluge us with his stream-of-consciousness postings, wide as the Nile and just as muddy.

Enough metaphors. How many posts today Nanobonobo? 40? 60?
Nanobanano
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 03, 2011
NIMBY is unfortunate.

Told my mother about solar powered water heating and how it could probably save her 1/6th annually on the electric bill.

"Not interested if it requires a 'lawn ornament'."

I'm like, stumped.

The NIMBY thing will definitely go away in another decade or two when oil REALLY starts to get expensive and all the baby boomers and "sandwich" generation people are retired, and people in my generation are stuck figuring out how to pay for their two generations of early retirements and worthless public policy.
kochevnik
3 / 5 (4) Dec 03, 2011
And it's also not possible to generate the amount of energy on wind alone because of the variability.
All energy is variable. Coal will last for some decades then dry up, never to again be useful. We can't build a battery that stores a 5billion year supply. But the sun will be around for 5billion years and all you need to do is jack your electric car in to store energy. Are you saying you're too lazy to do that simple task?

And it's generally not possible to sum up different energy sources that depend on forces of nature like the winds and the tides, or the sun, because the interference between them makes the system exibit even more variation.
You obviously know nothing about the central limit theorem in basic statistics class, or you wouldn't post such nonsense.
Walfy
5 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2011
China is so thankful to Enron, Chevron, Haliburton, and the Bush family and friends, for having successfully stifled solar technology in the US for so many years.
topkill
5 / 5 (1) Dec 04, 2011
Could we agree that you morons who are all hung up on "cold fusion" go create your own religious blog where you can discuss matters of FAITH with others of a like mind.

The rest of us would like to discuss reality and actual science.

When one of them, ANY of them, gives a single damn working device to someone, then come back and talk to the adults.
Nerdyguy
2.3 / 5 (4) Dec 04, 2011
Because we are "capitalistic", the government is FORBIDDEN to do ANYTHING that makes mathematical sense.


Absurd, idiotic, high-school drama-queen stuff.

No system is perfect, of course, but arguing that one of capitalism's failures is its inability to make wise investments is absurd.

Capitalism doesn't make decisions for how you should invest. Your congressmen do. Your senators do. Your state and local officials do. And, I don't care what system you live under. The people in power will make those decisions, by and large, based on what is in their best interests and will get the job done.
topkill
3.3 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2011
Because we are "capitalistic", the government is FORBIDDEN to do ANYTHING that makes mathematical sense.


Absurd, idiotic, high-school drama-queen stuff.

No system is perfect, of course, but arguing that one of capitalism's failures is its inability to make wise investments is absurd.

Capitalism doesn't make decisions for how you should invest. Your congressmen do. Your senators do. Your state and local officials do. And, I don't care what system you live under. The people in power will make those decisions, by and large, based on what is in their best interests and will get the job done.


Exactly. Why do we act like a capitalist system is supposed to solve the problems of human nature. Every system is going to have these problems.

As Bob Wallace points out: Are we going to solve the problem of money in our political system? It corrupts everything the way we are running it now and would corrupt any system of government.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Dec 04, 2011
Could we agree that you morons who are all hung up on "cold fusion" go create your own religious blog where you can discuss matters of FAITH with others of a like mind.

That's a bit hard because they are all the same poster (using various sockpuppets).
Hengine
1 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2011
Are solar panels surpassing the embodied energy level from production yet?
topkill
5 / 5 (2) Dec 04, 2011
Are solar panels surpassing the embodied energy level from production yet?


It never ceases to amaze me when I hear people try to be green and ask questions like this. You really think the energy for creating the solar panels is any less than the energy required to keep digging up coal or drilling for oil and building the transportation networks and refineries and drilling platforms, yada yada yada.

Give it a rest will you? It can't possibly be any worse than the alternatives and once they exist, they are clean where the fossil fuel equivalents are NOT! Big difference.

So if you're green, then grow up. If you're not and trying to screw the green movement, then congrats...you pass yourself off as "concerned" really well.
rwinners
4.5 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
There is only one major hurdle facing all forms of alternative energy. It is the entrenched political power of the conventional power industry. The people who own and operate carbon based power plants in particular have a huge investment in them. It matters not that those plants have already paid for themselves many times over. In fact, it is because of this that they are so profitable and coveted by their owners. Those owners will use their huge incomes to influence both government and people in general to accept their 'huge' benefit to society.
Ober
2 / 5 (1) Dec 05, 2011
Well this solar stuff is good, but it STILL NEEDS THE GRID!!!!
If you remove the grid, then you have to consider the costs of batteries and factor the production, pollution and maintenance from that as well. So it would seem that CURRENTLY, WE NEED BOTH TECHNOLOGIES!!! When battery technology catches up, perhaps THEN, off grid solar becomes affordable and non-polluting. But how do you run a metal-ore electric induction smelter off solar????? Zillions of panels??? Acres of batteries?? Pretty expensive metal you will produce from the smelting process!!!
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 05, 2011
Why not simply hookup the power to the dark side of the planet? Then you don't need storage.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
There is only one major hurdle facing all forms of alternative energy. It is the entrenched political power of the conventional power industry.


Not so. There are as many hurdles facing alternative energy sources as there are facing, well....conventional energy sources. It's a very complex world. Jumping any one hurdle is not sufficient.

The people who own and operate carbon based power plants in particular have a huge investment in them....Those owners will use their huge incomes to influence both government and people in general to accept their 'huge' benefit to society.


Very true. As is the case with a manufacturer of solar cells. Or the local plumbing company in my town that gets a lot of govt. contracts.

But, to heap scorn on a person or organization that built something and is trying to protect it is somewhat counterproductive and pointless. There are other avenues. And we seem to be exploring all of them.
nicehost
1 / 5 (1) Dec 05, 2011
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kochevnik
1.3 / 5 (3) Dec 05, 2011
But, to heap scorn on a person or organization that built something and is trying to protect it is somewhat counterproductive and pointless. There are other avenues. And we seem to be exploring all of them.
Yeah. Just because they're killing people and destroying the ecology and supporting corporatism and the police state. They're really just swell guys exploring all the avenues when you get to know them.

Geopolitical strategy and the petrodollar just happened spontaneously. A bunch of bearded guys at the WTO and UN just got together in one big group hut. It's not like there's a geopolitical strategy to instigate preemptive wars in the middle east, padding bankster's pockets in perpetual side deals. Nobody is IN ON IT getting their cut.
nicehost
1 / 5 (1) Dec 05, 2011
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
Just because they're killing people and destroying the ecology and supporting corporatism and the police state.


Oh, you little Russian drama queen. Perhaps you could spare us all the political intrigue.

I suppose you'd be perfectly happy if we turned all the power off tomorrow morning, but most of the rest of the world actually needs all the energy we can get.

The fact that there is coal/nuclear/oil in almost every nation, including those with systems as diverse as communism and democratic republics gives the lie to the rest of your inane drivel.

rwinners
3 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
There is only one major hurdle facing all forms of alternative energy. It is the entrenched political power of the conventional power industry.


Not so. There are as many hurdles facing alternative energy sources as there are facing, well....conventional energy sources. It's a very complex world. Jumping any one hurdle is not sufficient.

The people who own and operate carbon based power plants in particular have a huge investment in them....Those owners will use their huge incomes to influence both government and people in general to accept their 'huge' benefit to society.


Apples and Oranges. Conventional power producers are entrenched. Alternatives are not.
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 05, 2011
Oh, you little Russian drama queen. Perhaps you could spare us all the political intrigue.
So exactly WHAT are you doing in my backyard, then? Saving incubator babies? Looking for WMDs? Getting played by Zionists because you think your polisci degree has some bearing on reality?

Nobody cares about your bankster bootlicking, even in your own country. Tools like you get State Dept., lobbying and thinktank positions at best. All parasite jobs.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
Oh, you little Russian drama queen. Perhaps you could spare us all the political intrigue.
So exactly WHAT are you doing in my backyard, then? Saving incubator babies? Looking for WMDs? Getting played by Zionists because you think your polisci degree has some bearing on reality?

Nobody cares about your bankster bootlicking, even in your own country. Tools like you get State Dept., lobbying and thinktank positions at best. All parasite jobs.


lmao you moron. I don't work in government or politics. Nor do I have a degree in polisci. Guess I'll go lick some bankster boots now. Toodles.