Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Mature technology (Score 1) 259

And now, you are confusing the issues also. The point about residential solar is that, when all those A/C units kick in, so does the output of the solar systems. Moreover, that electricity doesn't have to be delivered over the grid. Residential solar has a greater impact than just the generation cost.

This sound like a wishful thinking trying to stretch reality to desired outcome. A/C and power usage in general peaks in later afternoon, at sunset, when PV generation is marginal. E.g. google "Duck Pattern". Residential rooftop doesn't payoff without subsidies even when it is oriented South (before demand peak) and you are talking about reduction it for A/C only. It isn't guaranteed either, any cloudy but still hot weather, and the grid will need to provide the almost same power, and invest into the same infrastructure providing it. Hence demand charges for commercial customers - the same demand charges should apply to residential customers and then it will be clear what needs to be done to save resources.

Utilities have a perverse incentive: since they generally operate both generation and end-user sales, with prices set through a regulatory body, these utility companies actually benefit when the base cost of generation increases. Solar threatens their profit and that's why utilities oppose it.

Solar doesn't threaten their profit, as they will receive their percentage one way or another from ratepayers as you noted. If they will be short of money, they will raise rates. And they have wholesale installations of the same solar that generated more power than residential solar countrywide. What is under threat is ability of non-netmetering ratepayers to get their electricity at fair price, without paying for "free backup" infrastructure and for netmetering subsidies used by somebody else. Backup is not free, pay it from you own pocket. Why should ratepayers pay you $0.13/kWh for solar when at any time they can sign wholesale PPA for $0.04/kWh solar, and it will be provided at exactly the same time? Netmetering was fine and useful start-up tool when there were few customers, now it becomes leaching in high solar insulation states as your fellow ratepayers eventually pay for it.

As for Hawaii, the story is clearly not finished there. Hawaii has some of the the highest electricity costs in the nation, so the opportunity for solar is greatest there.

Finally, the argument initially was about solar in general, not specifically rooftop solar.

Yes, exactly, Hawaii is no-brainer case for solar. But solar at utility scale, not rooftop, and some not so cheap yet energy storage will be needed. So why should ratepayers pay double price for residential rooftop when they can get much cheaper wholesale installation?

As I pointed out above, even if utility-grade solar offer the possibility to provide cheaper electricity than the alternatives, utility companies benefit from the status quo, and that is why solar has had such a small impact on US generation.

If it is financially viable for an oil state to use utility grade solar, it's financially viable for most southern states in the USA.

These are baseless conspiracy theories. How about getting at real numbers and reports? Solar is 1% US electricity generation, but it was above wholesale electricity price until very recently, and is not dispatchable, so what was the point to invest in it? Once it can compete with natural gas prices, it will be able to displace part of natural gas, but as you know, Sun doesn't shine 24h per day, so it will never be 100% without storage, which is expensive so far. Wind has reached 5% generation in the US - and somehow "evil utilities" and "Big Oil conspiracy" didn't prevent it from expanding. Because its cost (around $0.02/kWh in mid US after subsidy) makes more sense, and capacity factor somewhat better than solar. It may change in the future as PV panel prices go down faster than wind turbine prices, but until recently economy was in favor of wind over utility grade solar.

Residential rooftop solar cost is just way above where it makes economic sense, and it will stay significantly more expensive than utility grade solar when PV panel costs will go down. Just because most of its cost is labor.

Comment Re:The cleanup (Score 1) 259

Nuclear is not replacement for coal. It is supplement. They both go together as they are not really dispatchable. You build and you have sunken cost for decades, and you can't shut it off or reduce power to match surplus wind/solar or demand, because you need to pay interest anyway. 70%+ of new nuclear cost is capital cost, fuel is just few percent. 2 decades later you may have much cheaper energy sources, but your expensive nuclear that you start building today may be only one decade into operation and require couple of more decades of fixed rates to pay off. You will either decommission it at loss, or demand exorbitant government mandated rates from ratepayers to support it.

Comment Re:Mature technology (Score 1) 259

Solar's intermittent requires it to ride on the backs of other power sources to be feasible at all. There is a cost associated with that, but I'm sure the folks at cleantechnica don't talk about it much.

Yes, but you should compare it with nuclear plants like recently signed deal in UK for Hinkley Point. Government signs a deal to buy electricity from it at some exorbitant ~0.10 GBP/kWh rate for few decades, adjusted for inflation, and that is after it will be built some decade later! Now tell me how it is not possible to provide backup or even power-to-gas solution for much cheaper wind energy over this decade and keep average cost under 0.10 GPB/kWh over next few decades? Just investing in energy saving solutions can reduce energy needs at lower cost and make new nuclear unnecessary.
In the US large part of the electricity is generated by natural gas one way or another, and intermittent nature of wind&solar isn't as big an issue so far as newer natural gas plants can be scaled up and down in seconds. You would need to compete then against cheap natural gas cost only, but we are getting close to it.

Comment Re:Mature technology (Score 1) 259

Solar if flailing with by far the largest subsidies ever seen for any power technology on a per MWH basis. After a decade still only about 1% of US generation

You will find that this is because utilities in many states have been able to push anti-net-metering changes, making residential solar uneconomic. On the other hand, CA residential solar capacity recently hit 5% of peak capacity, triggering a change from one net metering plan to another.

As for the idea that Solar cannot be economic, let me destroy that idea by asking what technology can provide power at 2.99c per kWh? Answer: Solar

Solar is only failing because regulators and politicians have been bought off by utility companies who are heavily invested in fossil fuels.

You are mixing apples and oranges. Yes, utility grade solar can provide 3 cnt/kWh, or maybe a bit higher price in the US South West, it is not Dubai. Yes, this is going down quickly. It has nothing to do with residential rooftop nonsense that is barely economical at unsustainable retail electricity rates due to excessive labor cost to put few panels on roof and service them there. It is pushed by aggressive greenwashers like solarcity that are not competitive in normal wholesale solar market where most solar electricity is generated and can't survive without leaching ratepayers. Nevada and Hawaii got rid of netmetering subsidy, California will follow. There are no free backup plants in grid and commercial customers pay $42/kW/month demand charges in Sand Diego for good reason. Try sell residential rooftop solar at 3 c/kWh while paying demand charges and see if it pays off next century.

Comment Yes - let it buy liability insurance (Score 1) 259

Let it succeed or fail on it's own merits. Instead of doing everything you can to block it based on irrational and unscientific fear.

YES! Let them buy liability insurance on commercial market without any taxpayer funded limits and exclusions. Check back next day how many insurance companies lined up to underwrite liability of billions of dollars :/

Comment Re: A clear case of not needed (Score 1) 199

These demo vehicles can refuel in 3-5 minutes and travel across whole Europe from Norway to Italy using existing hydrogen fuel stations at sustained unlimited Autobahn speeds. Half usable as a car Model S or X costs more and can't do even that without spending half of the time cooling down and charging.
For your interest, residential electricity in Germany is around 0.30EUR/kWh as it started transition to renewable energy for real and it reflects in rates. That is around $11 (0.30EUR*$1.1/EUR*33kWh/g.e.) per gallon equivalent in US terminology. Many people park on street and don't have access to any outlets at night. Try explain how "practical" pure battery cars are :/ With ICE or fuel cell range extenders, maybe, but not without.

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 199

What a BS of "partial burning"! It is called steam reforming and is 70% efficient process used in chemical industry like ammonia production. Natural gas power plants are only some 40%-60% efficient and are really burning everything, and emitting much more various burning pollutants comparing with methane reforming.

And it is not how hydrogen fuel is produced. PEM fuel cell fuel requires higher purity and is typically produced from excess electricity. E.g. wind electricity that otherwise would be discarded.

Comment Re:That's awesome.. (Score 1) 199

No they don't. They just bury it leaving problem for future generations. Just think how silly it is, you run reactor for some 40 years and leave radioactive waste for thousands of years for somebody to deal with it later.
Nuclear reprocessing is still expensive and experimental, and involves extraction of plutonium that means proliferation of nuclear weapons and risk of nuclear terrorism. That is why it was banned in the US.

Comment Re:It's missing the full picture (Score 1) 199

Your numbers are approximately correct, but it is way too simplistic analysis.
You need to compare with alternatives and what better ones you have? Electrify railroads? It is already done closer to metro areas, but it costs massive amounts of money, adds power losses in lines, and if electric grid is out, all trains stop.
It is not that direct losses are biggest issue. Electricity cost can vary at least couple of times depending on supply/demand. You can run electrolizers on cheapest electricity but you can't do the same with many other electricity usage, you use it when you need to use. This already may cut fuel costs in half.
Batteries alone have by order of magnitude too low specific energy, high cost to run trains over hundreds of miles and have no quick charging option that may be necessary. And charging/discharging also imply energy losses.

Slashdot Top Deals

"Catch a wave and you're sitting on top of the world." - The Beach Boys