Phximiev
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Location: Phoenix

Re: About the Solar and other Energy costs in Europe

Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:58 pm

Well, we do here in Phoenix with APS. For instance, we pay 9¢ a kilowatt off peak 9-9, and 12¢ on peak. There is an electric car rate that we are considering that ranges as low as 4¢ off-peak and 25¢ on peak. Whilst I can't say what others are paying, it would seem that other utilities would have similar plans.

Battery storage might make a difference to us anyways.

Then again who has that technology right now?
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Aerowhatt
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Re: About the Solar and other Energy costs in Europe

Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:30 pm

Another important piece of the puzzle is that utilities want solar centralized and utility owned for revenue purposes. This actually creates one of the perceived problems that they are complaining about. Loosing a significant portion of generation to a cloud for a short period of time. Just like making making grid fingers large enough and diverse enough to avoid large percentage swings in loads over the short term (a common grid design principle).

By distributing that same Solar farm capacity over a large geographical area (thousands of rooftops) the partly cloudy high production percentage variation is diluted to acceptable levels. But in the wide distribution scenario the utility doesn't have control of the revenue, so they lobby against it and want to add fees to undermine the positive economics of distributed solar for the owners of it. Discouraging widespread distributed generation. There is no sense in it . . . it is driven by dollars ;)

Only in the utility ownership large scale solar farm model are large battery banks needed to fill gaps. Gaps created by grouping the solar capacity in one small place, instead of scattered across the city where the cloud impact is far less dramatic and the aggregate variation is entirely predictable from satellite imagery and weather forecast data. Just as the load variation trends are now tracked and compensated for daily and are entirely predictable. By getting the entire solar industry thinking along their only acceptable model (the one with the revenue stream for utility companies) do we get to a place where we add cost and inefficiency to fit the model. Instead of making the model fit the existing landscape far more simply and efficiently.

In real terms the power company sells the excess electricity that a PV array owner produces, to their neighbors at retail. They don't have to buy fuel to generate it or the equipment to generate it. In most modern societies distributed solar it is at a maximum as loads are at maximum as well. So where is the problem or the perceived premium cost. We also have a utility owned and run pilot solar generation facility with large battery bank buffering, built with the help of large sums of federal tax dollars. It's complex, expensive and except for the centralized revenue model, unnecessary.

Whats the solution? how do we shift away from corporate thinking driving the future, and driving it poorly?

Aerowhatt
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Kuuuurija
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Re: About the Solar and other Energy costs in Europe

Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:57 pm

Aerowhatt wrote:Ineffective at what?

Costs per kWh produced.

PV1
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Re: About the Solar and other Energy costs in Europe

Fri Aug 28, 2015 4:26 am

Kuuuurija wrote:
Aerowhatt wrote:Ineffective at what?

Costs per kWh produced.

Over the next 23 years (25 years from install date), my solar panels, without any incentives, are cheaper than grid power. Instead of $150+ a month for dirty coal power, I'm making my own solar power for the up front cost of $130 a month. But, factoring in the rebates we got, we're getting 100% net solar power for $70 a month over the 25 year warranty on the solar panels. Our price per kWh is 7 cents, but by the time fees, charges, and tax is added, it's more like 12 cents/kWh.

Looking on Enphase at some systems in central UK, their panels are producing similar to mine.
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Kuuuurija
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Re: About the Solar and other Energy costs in Europe

Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:37 am

PV1 wrote:Over the next 23 years (25 years from install date), my solar panels, without any incentives, are cheaper than grid power.

Lucky you! Must be some exceptionally favourable conditions at your place!
But in large scale, as an average for Europe, the solar power is 14 times costlier than coal power.

Don
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Re: About the Solar and other Energy costs in Europe

Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:51 am

When it comes to the true 'cost' of coal power, I think all we're seeing so far is the tip of the iceberg

When it comes down to the money saved vs the upfront cost, I'd like to see the USA mandate that all new homes be required to have solar water heating installed. We put a 40 sq ft collector on our roof about 8 years ago. It feeds two 55 gallon super insulated storage tanks and it provides 90% or more of all the hot water our household uses. Federal credits paid about half of my installation costs (I designed and installed it myself) and it easily paid for itself in less than 4 years. I figure we're saving enough not heating water that it covers the coast of recharging the car(s)

Don
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Aerowhatt
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Re: About the Solar and other Energy costs in Europe

Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:25 pm

Kuuuurija wrote:
PV1 wrote:Over the next 23 years (25 years from install date), my solar panels, without any incentives, are cheaper than grid power.

Lucky you! Must be some exceptionally favourable conditions at your place!
But in large scale, as an average for Europe, the solar power is 14 times costlier than coal power.


The devil is in the details I'm sure. I could mount my panels upside down and achieve 14 times more expensive or less than coal power. It's a silly "fact" that was arrived at with tricks of statistics. Follow up on the foot notes etc, and I can guarantee one will find that the cost of the solar installation was amortized into it (likely for a short amortization period) while the cost of the coal power did not include the capital cost of the generation facility or some such. One could easily flip the spin and make coal 10 times more expensive than solar. Five different presuppositions will yield five different conclusions from the exact same statistic set.

They should have opted for 2 to 4 times as expensive instead. At least in a worst case scenario it might be plausible. 14 times is ridiculous and unrealistic. Even if organized crime installed them and skimmed off the top, 14 times is ridiculous!

Aerowhatt
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Kuuuurija
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Re: About the Solar and other Energy costs in Europe

Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:58 pm

I did calculation based on my real power bill once: http://www.fotothing.com/photos/92d/92d ... 17_5c6.jpg
Row 4 there is renewable (mostly wind energy), row 5 oil shale energy tariff. Renewable energy was more than 11 times costlier on the real bill. For me solar 14 times costlier than coal sounds about right.

Aerowhatt
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Re: About the Solar and other Energy costs in Europe

Sat Aug 29, 2015 3:20 pm

Kuuuurija wrote:I did calculation based on my real power bill once: http://www.fotothing.com/photos/92d/92d ... 17_5c6.jpg
Row 4 there is renewable (mostly wind energy), row 5 oil shale energy tariff. Renewable energy was more than 11 times costlier on the real bill. For me solar 14 times costlier than coal sounds about right.


Well there is your answer. It's not the metrics of renewables that are at fault it's your utility company, or perhaps your government, or perhaps both. They obviously don't want to be bothered with it. So what better way to get the government off their back than to send waves of unsatisfied (ripped off) customers to their doors? Smart business on their part but not very forward thinking.

No lets look at reality. My utility company offers wind and solar mix as an option for a premium of $0.017 per KWH over the price of their conventionally generated product (mostly coal and nuclear). It's voluntary and scaleable. You can select how many KWH per month you want from none up to a max of 85% of your total usage.

We have a tiered billing system, first tier is about $0.12 per KWH (with taxes and all) Second tier is $0.15 per KWH. Third tier is a bigger jump up to $0.193.

So I opted for the max 85% on utility generated solar + wind. Plus I have a small grid tie solar system with the goal of keeping me in tier 1 for what I Import (purchase from the utility).

The onsite solar produces an average of 300 KWH per month. Which keeps me in tier 1, even with the electric car charging all done at home. So here are the numbers with and without any renewables for 720 KWH per month.

NO renewables:

720 total KWH used - 450 Kwh x $0.12/Kwh = $54.00 + ( 270 Kwh X $0.15/Kwh = $40) = $94.00 per month

Maximum renewables: (remember the 1.7 cent surplus added to 85% the power purchased)

720 total KWh used - .85 x 420 Kwh = 357 Kwh: we have (357 Kwh x $0.137/Kwh) + (63 Kwh x $0.12/Kwh) = $56.47 per month + 300 Kwh made on site.

Now one must consider the cost of the onsite infrastructure to produce the 300 Kwh per month. $37.53 per month is available from the above calculations to make payments on it. The system cost me $6832.00 to install giving about a 15 year payback on the investment. Mind you that's assuming the electric rates don't rise over that time. As they do (we know they will by ~8% per year (past history)) the payback shortens because onsite production costs are fixed. Now add in the federal tax credit (30% of installation cost) and the system pays for itself in a maximum of 10 years (with flat utility rates from our power company right . . . that will happen). The shortest warranty on any of the equipment is 15 years. So with history as a guide on rising electricity rates I stand to make up to a ~10% return on my investment over the first 15 years. A safe investment (based on warranties and insurance (needed anyway) to cover most possible damage to the system. It's far and away the best paying high safety investment that I can find.

Given it is sunny here with a latitude of about 35-36 but the system still produces half of an average sunny days power on a completely overcast rainy day. No longer a Great investment but still not a bad one.

Start to consider that we have no way to safely (let alone economically viable) store or dispose of nuclear waste. That Global climate change due to the massive amount of carbon we have released into the atmosphere and oceans is probably real and a real concern. That fracking for gas and oil is destabilizing strata and at the root of recent 1000 fold increases in seismic events in some areas.

Solar energy and wind energy are not your villains. Corruption and profiteering are!

Renewable energy (especially solar) is not a be all end all to a cleaner power solution, it's a part of it. Just as our current and past energy supplies have been multifaceted, not just one source ever!

Bottom line a US utility kept mostly honest by the PRC says that their solar and wind power is ~13% more expensive than conventional.
Aerowhatt
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Kuuuurija
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Re: About the Solar and other Energy costs in Europe

Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:25 pm

I have no doubt, that for producers the renewable energy might be profitable, especially when taxpayer pays enough subsidies for that. Our most famous wind energy producers fly their private helicopter and, believe me, there is not too many people here in Estonia who can afford that. Those windmill kings were almost broke just before they entered into wind energy business.

Your calculation includes subsidies too. I do not know how much your government pays subsidies directly to the producers of the renewable energy and to the companies who produce equipment for renewable power plants.

If the renewable was efficient per se, there was no need for any subsidies and governments rather collect some extra taxes on this business.

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