World solar power capacity exceeds 100 gigawatts

Feb 11, 2013
A solar power array at Ungersheim, eastern France. World solar power capacity passed the 100 gigawatt mark for the first time to 101 GW, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) said on Monday.

World solar power capacity passed the 100 gigawatt mark for the first time to 101 GW, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) said on Monday.

"This global capacity to harness the power of the sun produces as much electricity energy in a year as 16 coal power plants or nuclear reactors of one GW each," the association said in a statement

An unprecedented 30 GW was added to the world grid in 2012 alone, EPIA added.

"No one would have predicted even 10 years ago that we would see more than 100 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity in the world by 2012," said EPIA President Winfried Hoffmann.

"The photovoltaic industry clearly faces challenges but the results of 2012 show there is a strong global market for our technology," he added.

Read also: Wind farms turn in record growth in 2012

Explore further: Morocco raises 1.7 bn euros for solar plants

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Eikka
3 / 5 (3) Feb 11, 2013
16 coal power plants or nuclear reactors


Meanwhile, more than 1200 new coal plants are being planned across 59 different countries in the world.

The world will need to install 75 times more solar to beat that, and that's just the beginning.
El_Nose
2.6 / 5 (10) Feb 11, 2013
I wish our political system had the backbone to say, hey company if you are in a facility with over 10k sq foot of flat roof then you must cover it with solar and pump it into the grid -- and you will get a tax credit and the value of the electricity generated back.

Then mandate that all utilities buy back solar energy pumped into the grid.

When it gets to a point that almost every house has solar and eletricity companies are about to go under - bring them under state control, becasue they are just there for backup power to emergency facilities anyway at that point, and balancing the over all grid with battery backups and the such. hike local taxes by 1% but at that point your electric bill is 100$ per year
Grallen
4.6 / 5 (5) Feb 11, 2013
Wind and solar combines are 382.5 gigawatts. Word power consumption is 15 terawatts...
(http://science.ho...ion.htm)

Sigh...
kozod_minteszed
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 11, 2013
Yes the world power consumption is 15 terawatts, but this includes oil, so cars, planes, giant ships, buses, etc and natural gas which is used to create plastics, so the figure that needs to be changed into solar and wind (and others) is much smaller.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (10) Feb 11, 2013
Wind and solar combines are 382.5 gigawatts. Word power consumption is 15 terawatts...

So? Gotta start somewhere. Do you expect the entire world energy infrastructure to change in a matter of days? This will take some time. But wind, wave and solar are, for all intents and purposes, in limitless supply. And using them as opposed to the old crap has only benefits.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (9) Feb 11, 2013
Most of this energy is very unreliable. Cold fusion is the only feasible energy source from long term perspective. All other ways will lead into gradual decline of human civilization. And the people aren't able to decline gradually without wars.
ShotmanMaslo
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 11, 2013
Wind and solar combines are 382.5 gigawatts. Word power consumption is 15 terawatts...
(http://science.ho...ion.htm)

Sigh...


Dont forget about capacity factor, comparing GW alone is misleading.

30 % is impressve growth, but I thought we were further already, this is kinda disappointing. We have a lot of work to do.
Maggnus
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 11, 2013
Cold fusion is the only feasible energy source from long term perspective.


Except that there is no proof that it works, and those that are claiming otherwise have severe credibility problems. You keep posting this mantra, but posting it over and over again does not change the fact that it has not been shown to work.

Shake your head, your eyes are stuck.
antialias_physorg
3.2 / 5 (5) Feb 11, 2013
Cold fusion is the only feasible energy source from long term perspective.

You mean an energy 'source' that currently produces negative watts in output? That doesn't sound very prosmising.
Q-Star
3 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2013
So? Gotta start somewhere. Do you expect the entire world energy infrastructure to change in a matter of days? This will take some time. But wind, wave and solar are, for all intents and purposes, in limitless supply. And using them as opposed to the old crap has only benefits.


Ah yes,,,The scourge of modern man,,, think it yesterday, hear about it today, expect it tomorrow. How long did it take to develop the rail systems? The telephone systems? The first electric generation systems? The rural power grids? The "right" automotive design? The national high way system?

I agree with ya,,, this is still in it's infancy and is an industry requiring huge infrastructure,,, It's not my area of expertise, but I suspect it's a thing they will be tweaking for decades to come.

It seems to me that benefit of all these smaller projects is to be found primarily in the diversity of bugs and kinks that will discovered. It's early with much novelty to be found and explored.
Steven_Anderson
2.6 / 5 (5) Feb 11, 2013
The people who keep on going about cold fusion need to face the fact. It isn't a viable technology, and it has no scientific merit. An unknown source of energy that produces a few milliwatts of power when averaged over an hour doesn't have the potential to solve the world energy problems or CO2 problems for that matter. I am not suggesting that we shouldn't investigate it. But there are energy sources out their that are huge and untapped like Thorium. Did you know there is enough Thorium in one Utah mountain pass to supply the energy needs of the USA for 1000 years? Wind and Solar have huge potentials along with many other forms of energy. Hell even Tesla's inventions have more merit than cold fusion(although the power output is too low to be useful.)
VendicarE
2.8 / 5 (4) Feb 12, 2013
Those plans will soon be changed, since they are unsustainable.

"Meanwhile, more than 1200 new coal plants are being planned across 59 different countries in the world." - Eikka

VendicarE
3.8 / 5 (4) Feb 12, 2013
What a shame that Martini and Rossi's E-Cat has turned out to be a fraud.

Don't you agree?

"Cold fusion is the only feasible energy source from long term perspective." - Valeria

You know what "fraud" is don't you?
Aliensarethere
not rated yet Feb 12, 2013
"30 % is impressve growth, but I thought we were further already, this is kinda disappointing. We have a lot of work to do."

It's not 30%. 30/71=0,42. So it's 42% growth.
Eikka
1 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2013
Those plans will soon be changed, since they are unsustainable.


In the long run, perhaps, but unsustainable power is better than no power while the alternatives aren't up to the task.

Without this unsustainable power, coal, oil, natural gas, there would be barely any wind or solar power becuase they haven't solved the variability problem, and our societies are making sure that it isn't happening very soon.

It is possible to build e.g. wind turbines with a coefficient of power better than 70-80% but at the same time you sacrifice about 70-80% of the energy they could be producing, and increase the price of the energy they do produce and the number of turbines required 4-5 times. A lot of R&D would have to be made to make it cheap again.

But with all the subsidies going around that pay to produce energy no matter how or when it happens, the people who build and operate windmills simply don't have any incentive to develop better wind energy or solve its problems otherwise.
Eikka
2.7 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2013
And as far as solar power goes, there isn't much you can develop. Once you hit the point where you're consistently producing more power at midday than what you need to power the grid, you can't build any more. You can, but you get quickly diminishing returns.

And because of natural factors like the number of daylight hours, the effect of the angle of the sun on solar panels, weather; that amount of power produces an amount of electric energy that meets roughly 10% of the demand in Germany, and up to 20% in the US.

That's all you get, and no more. The rest you'll have to do with coal or whatever, as usual.

There's no way around it without truly massive grid scale energy storage systems, which are non-existent and implausible at the moment - no matter how much Anti-Alias likes to go on about sawing off half-a-mile wide pieces of bedrock and using them as hydraulic pistons.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2013
Once you hit the point where you're producing more power at midday than what you need to power the grid, you can't build any more.

Only true if you don't have storage of some kind. And there are plenty of good ideas around for implementing that (syngas, hydrogen, zinc-zinc oxide, mass storage, compressed gas storage, batteries, flywheels, hydraulic storage in mines, ... ).
When you get right down to it the day isn't far off when you can store your day's worth of energy at home.

Then you have to consider that we're currently living in a very static grid structure. There's a reason why people talk about moving towards a 'smart grid'. Many things that use energy don't need it NOW but just 'any time within the next couple hours' (EVs that charge at night, dishawashers, washing machines, etc. )

So there's really no logic behind a statement like "10 or 20 percent is as godd as it gets"
Aliensarethere
1 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2013
"30 % is impressve growth, but I thought we were further already, this is kinda disappointing. We have a lot of work to do."

It's not 30%. 30/71=0,42. So it's 42% growth.


So doing a simple calculation, with a 42% growth the next 10 years, would take us from 100GW to 3333GW
Eikka
2.7 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2013
Only true if you don't have storage of some kind. And there are plenty of good ideas around for implementing that (syngas, hydrogen, zinc-zinc oxide, mass storage, compressed gas storage, batteries, flywheels, hydraulic storage in mines, ... ). When you get right down to it the day isn't far off when you can store your day's worth of energy at home.


Well, that's where you hit the diminishing returns. First of all, the prices of these storage methods are high, and secondly they don't return you back all the energy. Most of them return less than half.

And third, almost all if not all of them are currently non-scalable.

For example, you could produce hydrogen at home or factory at some high price, but, how do you get fuel cells for everyone? They cost an arm and a leg, and require rare materials that simply aren't available in those amounts.

would take us from 100GW to 3333GW


And in real output, from about 15 to 500 GW. I guess 3.3% of world demand would be a start.
Eikka
1 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2013
For example, the mass storage that involves lifting a 500 meter block of bedrock in a hole requires so much water to operate that there's only three inland lakes in the whole of Europe where you could feasibly build one. That is - if you don't want to cause untold environmental damage by repeatedly draining and filling an entire lake in the span of hours.

Of course you could build more at the seaside, but then you need long transmission lines for your electricity users inland, which are inefficient, costly, NIMBY, a geopolitical hazard and vulnerable to faults.

That is assuming the whole thing is practically feasible in the first place.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2013
First of all, the prices of these storage methods are high, and secondly they don't return you back all the energy. Most of them return less than half.

But since they return the energy when supply is low and demand is high (i.e. when energy prices are high) that's acceptable.

And not all the schemes proposed are expensive or low efficiency. Volkswagen is currently investing in a pilot project where an old coalmine will be used as pumped hydrostorage (oh the irony). Enough to supply full energy for 40000 homes for one day. Pumped hydrostorage is pretty efficient (75-80%)

Volkswagen's calculations show that this would be extremely profitable for them, as they can either sell energy at premium prices or buy nergy when it's very cheap and then use it themselves (which would mean they don't have to buy costly CO2 certificates)

Almost indefinitely scaleable (even without new sites there are over 100 suitable mines in germany alone).
Eikka
1 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2013
But since they return the energy when supply is low and demand is high (i.e. when energy prices are high) that's acceptable.


You're forgetting that those situations happen about 80-90% of the time with wind/solar energy as it stands now. The price of the storage system, or of the alternative power system, will actually be the determining factor behind electricity prices even if the wind/solar energy itself was completely free.

You have to remember that eventually you get no coal, no oil, and no natural gas, and no nuclear power either depending on how the politics goes.

Pumped hydrostorage is pretty efficient (75-80%)


And it's also one of those things that are hard to build more - non-scalability problems - as we're running out of suitable places to build dams, and it has environmental issues like the emission of methane from the pools, flooding of large areas, and disruption of natural habitats and the flows of rivers etc.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2013
Almost indefinitely scaleable (even without new sites there are over 100 suitable mines in germany alone).


But how about suitable bodies of water that you can empty out and fill up back again, as you shift the water in and out of the mines?

Remember, every hydrostorage system needs a body of water at least equal to its volume right next to it. Preferably so large that the surface level won't change more than a meter or so.

Enough to supply full energy for 40000 homes for one day.


Why not speak in proper units to avoid muddying the waters and confusing people. 40,000 homes for 24 hours at 3 kW per home is roughly 3 GWh give or take.

In the German system, given that they use about 550 TWh a year, that would be equivalent to about two minutes and 52 seconds of power for the national grid.

That's not... well, practically it's nothing at all.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2013
Volkswagen's calculations show that this would be extremely profitable for them, as they can either sell energy at premium prices


Volkswagen can sell their stored energy at a profit a few times a month when the electricity prices peak due to serious undersupply. That's the basis of their calculation. Almost any storage system can be made profitable that way, as long as you have no competitors to bring the prices down.

Just wait till the spot price reaches €1500/MWh and you can probably make profit from AA batteries you bought at the local supermarket.

If most electricity would have to be derived that way, people would go back to oil lamps and wood stoves because you simply wouldn't be able to afford electricity.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2013
The solution using old mines is projected at 0.9ct per kWh retrieved (which comes to, average out over various forms of energy production, 10% of generation cost).
10% isn't negligible but it's also not a huge problem.

Then again 'storage' in terms of biomass isn't really storage (as much as the dump next to a coal powerplant doesn't count as storage).
I.e. it doesn't cost anything extra to simply decide WHEN to burn it.

And it's also one of those things that are hard to build more - non-scalability problems

Not at all. Consider the european energy grid: Scandinavia has additional capacity for 85TWh of pumped hydro storage alone. Which in itself would be more than enough to tide all the most industrialized nations in Europe over the occasional lull in continantal wind/solar production.
This does require additional north-south lines, but these are planned anyhow.
Eikka
1 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2013
85TWh of pumped hydro storage alone. Which in itself would be more than enough to tide all the most industrialized nations in Europe over the occasional lull in continantal wind/solar production.


Isn't.

The capacity factor of solar power is around 10%, the capacity factor of wind power is around 25%. Combined you get anything in between, plus seasonal variations that are up to 30% with wind power and up to 90-100% with solar power.

You need several months worth of storage or other alternative energy to "tide it over the lulls", because you're looking at lulls that last six months in certain places, most importantly in Scandinavia. They'd be using all of their own storage capacity to compensate for that.

Remember, 80-90% of the electricity would need to be stored or derived otherwise.

Then you have 4 times more energy you need to generate to account for all the heat and industrial processes that currently run on fossil fuels.

How much biomass can you grow?
Eikka
1 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2013
Scandinavia has additional capacity for 85TWh of pumped hydro storage alone.


And I would also like a citation for that.

Is it one of those ideas where you dam all the fjords in Norway and fill them up with water, and disregard the environmental damage it would cause? I.e. completely unworkable if you actually tried it?
djr
5 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2013
Eikka: "In the long run, perhaps, but unsustainable power is better than no power while the alternatives aren't up to the task."

I guess you don't get out much these days. Take a look at this article.
http://theenergyc...-forward

Here is a quick quote from the article to show how out of touch your are: "Powering a region with 100% renewable energy has been technically and economically feasible for a long time and is becoming reality all across Europe today"

You've been hanging out with NotParker for too long.....

kochevnik
2 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2013
Scandinavia has additional capacity for 85TWh of pumped hydro storage alone.
@Eikka And I would also like a citation for that.
12.72Twh are available with present hydro pumping in Norway alone: http://www.hydrow...ope.html

There is plenty of hyrdo storage in Europe now
deksman2
1 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2013
I would like to comment that 101GW is a lot more than just 1 nuclear power plant (by a factor of approximately 100 more).
Someone made a calculation error of big proportions here seeing how most nuclear power plants we've been using until now were in the range of 500MW to 800MW (of older construction).
That's an equivalent of 125 to 200 nuclear reactors of older design.
But, let's round the number and say that 1 average nuclear reactor produces 1000MW – which would still equate to 101 nuclear reactors (or about 1600 coal plants).

Newer nuclear units are in the range of 1200MW (the BN-1200 which is slated for construction in 2015).
Meaning that it would take 84 BN-1200 reactors to reach 101GW (1000MW = 1GW).

I urge whoever wrote the article to change their calculations to reflect proper values.

Other than that, solar panels can now provide energy during the night as well. We'd have to use less than 1% of Earth's land area to fully power the globes energy projections for 2050.

sirchick
not rated yet Feb 16, 2013
Eikka: "In the long run, perhaps, but unsustainable power is better than no power while the alternatives aren't up to the task."

I guess you don't get out much these days. Take a look at this article.
http://theenergyc...-forward

Here is a quick quote from the article to show how out of touch your are: "Powering a region with 100% renewable energy has been technically and economically feasible for a long time and is becoming reality all across Europe today"

You've been hanging out with NotParker for too long.....



But what is causing the delay if its feasible?
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 18, 2013
I would like to comment that 101GW is a lot more than just 1 nuclear power plant (by a factor of approximately 100 more).


Dont forget about capacity factor. Nuclear gigawatt is worth many times more than solar gigawatt.
kochevnik
1.7 / 5 (3) Feb 18, 2013
I would like to comment that 101GW is a lot more than just 1 nuclear power plant (by a factor of approximately 100 more).
Dont forget about capacity factor. Nuclear gigawatt is worth many times more than solar gigawatt.
Only if you think everyone and everything are your personal toilet

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