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(TreeHugger)   In the USA, there are now more workers in solar power than coal miners   (treehugger.com) divider line 304
    More: Spiffy, USA, solar energy, workers  
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3663 clicks; posted to Main » on 23 Apr 2013 at 11:11 PM (51 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-24 02:45:47 AM

Befuddled: Ever look up how much coal a coal-fired powerplant burns?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navajo_Generating_Station
The plant consumes about 8 million tons of low sulfur bituminous coal each year

That's close to 22 tons of coal a day for just one powerplant. We're not going to be giving up on burning coal any time soon.


Clean as a babies butt compared to high sulphur coal of the east. Doesn't make it right.
 
2013-04-24 02:45:58 AM
flondrix:


nmrsnr: bdub77: Further proof that Obama is destroying this country. What happens when the sun runs out of energy, Obama? HUH? WHAT HAPPENS THEN?

[upload.wikimedia.org image 826x758]

One thing I have always wondered about...how can we know the future fusion history of the sun with such certainty, when we have never managed to produce a sustained fusion reaction in the laboratory?


We have a few billion examples.

I'm gonna draw from Carl Sagan here, but Imagine an alien dropped into an earthly forest. No, he won't watch an oak grow from acorn to grandfather oak, but he can see the various stages through example. "Ok, that's a sprout. And that's a sapling... " etc.

We have more stars to work with than we have oak trees.

There's also the theoretical side. Some clever people have worked out "ok, if nuclear fusion works the way we think it does, then we can expect this" and they check that.
 
2013-04-24 02:53:20 AM
catpuncher:
The claim is that you must be high.  Nobody said anything about a coal plant vs. a single solar panel.

More solar workers produce a very tiny fraction of the energy that relatively few coal workers can.  That's the point.

It's a highly subsidized infant industry, rife with fraud.  These highly subsidized workers are simply the case in point.

Even in California, levelized costs, which discount the subsidies (making solar look cheaper), estimate solar's costs to almost four times as high.

When you mean "semi-permanent", you do mean the estimated 20 year life span of the solar panels, right?  Because 20 years is a long time?  Almost permanent?


[citation needed] for most of the bs in that post.

As to the last point--no, not 20 years.  Solar modules don't last 20 years.  How many times in this thread have I noted that they come with a freaking 25-year warranty.  That the GUARANTEE.  Simple math will tell you that the actual lifetime is longer.  Physics will tell you that the lifetime is MUCH longer.

My point with the semi-permanent was that we get to keep the panels that keep on giving long after we forget about them.  "Semi-permanent" in the sense that they could keep on going for a very, very long time.


Which is one reason why LCOE is not a good measure of the value of solar, and indeed why it is difficult to compare the $/kWh of solar to other sources, or even to discuss the $/kWh or solar at all.

How much does one kWh cost to generate with coal/gas?  Depends primarily on the momentary cost of fuel.  Those faciliies are relatively cheap to build (assuming we are even including the capacity cost, which people often leave out!), and the main operating expense is fuel.  But let's say $0.03, just to pick a number.

How much does one kWh cost to generate with Mr. Steve's solar system?  Well, now it depends in WHICH kWh.  The first kWh cost $20,000 (give or take = the installation cost of the system).  The second kWh cost $0.00, as did the third, the fourth, the fifth, etc...

The cost/kWh for a coal/gas/nuke facility basically goes up slowly over time.  The cost/kWh for a solar system spikes on the first instance, and then drops to basically zero.

That makes them tough to compare.  It also guarantees that a 20-year LCOE is not fair to the solar system.

And then there is the matter of locational pricing, which LCOE may or may not capture.  And environmental value, which it usually does not capture.

Etc.
 
2013-04-24 02:53:24 AM

Rent Party: Just out of curiosity*, and outside the cost of the car, what were your total install costs for that system? And how big is your house, and where do you live?

/ Genuinely curious.


The upfront cost of the system was $26,000. That included 3.8kw of array, grid-tie inverter w/ battery backup, new breaker panel and sub panel, and a gas generator tie. Permits and installation included. All of the components used are locally sourced, so that raised the cost considerably, along with the fairly involved install with several forms of backup power.

Had I gone with a plain-Jane grid tie with out of state or foreign panels, the cost would have been about half.

It is a 1,000 Sq.ft. all-electric house w/ a 480 Sq.ft shop, near Tacoma WA.

I got 30% of that back on my taxes, so the IRS cut me a check for ~$8,000 last month. The Washington State production incentive pays me for my output, cutting a check every August for ~$2,400, through the year 2020. Plus I save a couple hundred a year in utilities. Compared to driving my 20mpg truck, I save a couple grand on gasoline too.

My basic ROI is about 6.5 years. Every day after that is just pure sweet, sweet profit.
 
2013-04-24 02:53:58 AM

MrSteve007: You're correct that our current nuclear power plants offer very cheap power. But you'd be remiss not to also point out that almost all of our nuclear capacity was built well over 35+ years ago, when construction prices were far cheaper.

Why don't you run some cost per kWh comparisons when building new nuclear capacity. After the financial fiasco that was WPPSS, resulting in the largest public bond default in history, private investment wants nothing to do with nuclear power. Even will full loan guarantees backed by the government, they're hard pressed to get new plants off the ground. Quite a few "Nuclear Renaissance" projects have collapsed recently - both in the US and abroad.


Don't have to "run some cost per kWh comparisons when building new" blah blah blah, that's included in the DoE link posted above.

Seriously?  The "financial fiasco" is why nuclear plants didn't get built?  It's not because the US rejected every new nuclear licensing application from 1978-2012?  Which they then froze after special interest groups petitioned the NRC and threatened them with lawsuits?  What world do you live in?
 
2013-04-24 02:55:41 AM
catpuncher:

When you mean "semi-permanent", you do mean the estimated 20 year life span of the solar panels, right? Because 20 years is a long time? Almost permanent?

In my experience, consumer solar panels have 25 year warranties, and I rather doubt that they spontaneously catch fire on day 25-year-plus-one.

How long do coal plant parts serve before they need to be replaced? Do you have any info on that?
 
2013-04-24 02:56:12 AM
I love when people use the phrasing "iron clad."

It makes me want to throw two minute rule lanyard cards at them.

/oh look its this thread again
//Germany unplugged their entire nuclear fleet over Fukushima, nevermind that they have no coal
///manufacturing is abandoning them, and the Russian coal lobby thanks them for their shortsightedness
 
2013-04-24 02:57:02 AM

catpuncher: Rambino: catpuncher:
Did you seriously just call the second cheapest source of electricity per kwh, including all construction and decommissioning costs, "a financial nightmare" while calling the second most expensive a safer financial bet?  Do you have some sort of source for your fairytales?


I have a source: Me.

I have personally worked on transactions and projects in both nuclear and solar energy.  I know the market value of a nuclear power plant, and I know the market value of a solar power plant.  I know the financial risks associated with both.  (As well as other sources, for that matter).  This is what I have been doing full time for the past 20 years.  This is what I should be doing right now instead of Farking.

Here is my hyper-specific conclusion on this point:  The proformas for the nukes only make sense when you make a few optimistic assumptions about the future, and they would be completely unfinanceable (in the US) without federal loan guarantees (which they get).  The proformas for solar projects make sense, and get financed, despite some freakishly pessimistic assumptions about the future, and (usually) without federal loan guarantees.

The ongoing capex for a nuke is astounding.  The downside liability risk is astounding.  The failure risk is catastrophic (as in all-or nothing).

Nuclear energy (in its current form) makes sense as a government project, and ONLY as a government project.

Solar energy has the safest risk profile of any energy source - performance risk, liability risk, failure risk.  Ongoing expenses are minimal and predictable.  Solar energy is so safe, financially speaking, that Wall Street is treating solar energy like mortgages and annuities.  No other energy source gets that vote of confidence.  None.

Oh this is fun.
The State of California disagrees with you.
The US Department of Energy disagrees with you.
And now people who don't have older, inefficient nuclear plants:
Le French and Ze Germans disagree with you.
The Austral ...


Alas, I did not expect that you would take me as an authority.  And I suppose it won't matter when I say that I am one of those experts cited in news stories about solar energy--including several that appear in Fark from time to time...    :)

But if you want to give the impression that you know what you are talking about, you really should not cite cost data for solar energy from 2007.  Cuz, you know, a few things have changed since then.
 
2013-04-24 02:58:05 AM
Old king coal ain't so merry anymore
 
2013-04-24 03:02:15 AM

Rambino: catpuncher:
The claim is that you must be high.  Nobody said anything about a coal plant vs. a single solar panel.

More solar workers produce a very tiny fraction of the energy that relatively few coal workers can.  That's the point.

It's a highly subsidized infant industry, rife with fraud.  These highly subsidized workers are simply the case in point.

Even in California, levelized costs, which discount the subsidies (making solar look cheaper), estimate solar's costs to almost four times as high.

When you mean "semi-permanent", you do mean the estimated 20 year life span of the solar panels, right?  Because 20 years is a long time?  Almost permanent?

[citation needed] for most of the bs in that post.

As to the last point--no, not 20 years.  Solar modules don't last 20 years.  How many times in this thread have I noted that they come with a freaking 25-year warranty.  That the GUARANTEE.  Simple math will tell you that the actual lifetime is longer.  Physics will tell you that the lifetime is MUCH longer.

My point with the semi-permanent was that we get to keep the panels that keep on giving long after we forget about them.  "Semi-permanent" in the sense that they could keep on going for a very, very long time.


Which is one reason why LCOE is not a good measure of the value of solar, and indeed why it is difficult to compare the $/kWh of solar to other sources, or even to discuss the $/kWh or solar at all.

How much does one kWh cost to generate with coal/gas?  Depends primarily on the momentary cost of fuel.  Those faciliies are relatively cheap to build (assuming we are even including the capacity cost, which people often leave out!), and the main operating expense is fuel.  But let's say $0.03, just to pick a number.

How much does one kWh cost to generate with Mr. Steve's solar system?  Well, now it depends in WHICH kWh.  The first kWh cost $20,000 (give or take = the installation cost of the system).  The second kWh cost $0.00, as did the third, the f ...


Wait wait wait... just so we're clear, before I post the citations that I have, you're telling me that since I didn't post citations that (choose as many as you'd like):

Solar produces anywhere near as much electricity as coal in the US

Solar power is not highly subsidized (sometimes up to 100%)

Fraud is not a concern in the industry

California's levelized solar costs are not 4x the amount of nuclear (damn, I already posted the link for that one earlier in the thread)

And that the expected output of a 20 year old solar panel, manufactured in the past five years is not 20% of its initial capacity and will have to be replaced?


Do I need to explain to you that a warranty is not a guarantee?  That's pretty simple statistics, and if you were in business you'd know that.  Further, almost all of these companies offering 25 year warranties will not be around in 25 years.  What do you think happens when subsidies go away?

MrSteve just posted again.  Do I really need to provide a link for high subsidized or can I just put a ^ at the top of my post?
 
2013-04-24 03:04:10 AM
Ringshadow:

I love when people use the phrasing "iron clad."

It makes me want to throw two minute rule lanyard cards at them.

/oh look its this thread again
//Germany unplugged their entire nuclear fleet over Fukushima, nevermind that they have no coal
///manufacturing is abandoning them, and the Russian coal lobby thanks them for their shortsightedness


I thought Germany was rich in soft (nasty, polluting) coal.

Why else would they build Bagger 288?
 
2013-04-24 03:04:54 AM

Rambino: catpuncher: 
Oh this is fun.
The State of California disagrees with you.
The US Department of Energy disagrees with you.
And now people who don't have older, inefficient nuclear plants:
Le French and Ze Germans disagree with you. ...


Alas, I did not expect that you would take me as an authority.  And I suppose it won't matter when I say that I am one of those experts cited in news stories about solar energy--including several that appear in Fark from time to time...    :)

But if you want to give the impression that you know what you are talking about, you really should not cite cost data for solar energy from 2007.  Cuz, you know, a few things have changed since then.


Giving a quote for a pop news story doesn't make you credible.  You apparently don't like the US DoE EIA's 2017 projections, or the 2012 numbers from Europe, instead relying on your own "authority."  You're clearly in a class of your own.  You're not an authority, you're a clown.
 
2013-04-24 03:05:19 AM

catpuncher: The US Department of Energy disagrees with you


Did you even read that report?

The DOE places the total levelized cost of nuclear above that of:
-Hydro
-Wind
-Coal
-Nat gas (almost all forms)
-Geothermal

And roughly equal to biomass.

The only form of energy it out performs is an estimate for solar power, which I'm sure will need a downgrade in cost estimates soon, with plummeting installation costs being seen. Interestingly, since that DOE report also excludes all forms of incentives and tax credits - making the cost effectiveness loom even worse.
 
2013-04-24 03:08:27 AM
maxheck:
I thought Germany was rich in soft (nasty, polluting) coal.

Why else would they build Bagger 288?


My brother has been watching the situation. I haven't bothered honestly. From what little I've heard, Germany hasn't got much in the way of coal, which makes them building coal plants hilarious. Russia has coal and is thrilled.
Though I've also heard France's response to this is to start constructing nuclear plants on the border. So there's that.

This is all such stupid knee-jerk anyway. It's like, you idiots, you aren't on a ring of fire and if you got hit by a 9.2 earthquake there wouldn't be enough people left over to give a damn about your neighboring nuke plant anyway.

/this counts for most of the US as well
//the nuke plant might still stand, nothing else in the area will be left to care
 
2013-04-24 03:08:30 AM

catpuncher: Further, almost all of these companies offering 25 year warranties will not be around in 25 years.


You mean companies like General Electric, Sharp, Kyocera, Samsung, LG?

Or were you thinking of the companies whose warranties are backed by multi-national insurance companies?

Every credible solar module warranty on the market is bankruptcy-proof.
 
2013-04-24 03:13:31 AM

Rambino: catpuncher: Further, almost all of these companies offering 25 year warranties will not be around in 25 years.

You mean companies like General Electric, Sharp, Kyocera, Samsung, LG?

Or were you thinking of the companies whose warranties are backed by multi-national insurance companies?

Every credible solar module warranty on the market is bankruptcy-proof.


This ship will never sink, this zeppelin will never crash, these banks are too big to fail...

/The Iraq invasion will be over in weeks
//high schoolers can run Bhopal
///that empty field at Love Canal is a great place for a school
 
2013-04-24 03:14:37 AM

catpuncher: Giving a quote for a pop news story doesn't make you credible. You apparently don't like the US DoE EIA's 2017 projections, or the 2012 numbers from Europe, instead relying on your own "authority." You're clearly in a class of your own. You're not an authority, you're a clown


If you say so...   :)

But here's the thing: I'm not alone. There are many, many people working in the solar industry (kind of the point of TFA).  And most of them know I am right, because they all know it too.  We all see it every day.  I don't have to convince you--reality is obvious to those who aren't on some weird anti-solar mission.
 
2013-04-24 03:22:52 AM

Ringshadow: Rambino: catpuncher: Further, almost all of these companies offering 25 year warranties will not be around in 25 years.

You mean companies like General Electric, Sharp, Kyocera, Samsung, LG?

Or were you thinking of the companies whose warranties are backed by multi-national insurance companies?

Every credible solar module warranty on the market is bankruptcy-proof.

This ship will never sink, this zeppelin will never crash, these banks are too big to fail...



Seriously?  Really?  You aren't going to trust a 25-year warranty because Lloyd's of London might go under and GE could crash?

Or, more to the point, we are discounting it completely?  At a bare minimum, those warranties are powerful votes of confidence by GE and pals.  Because even if GE might go down, GE doesn't think GE is going down.  GE is issuing 25-year warranties because it plans on being around forever and thinks that 25-year warranties are a good idea.

But hey--don't take my word for it -- just snoop around the intertubes looking for historical performance of solar modules.  The technology isn't new.  Shouldn't be too hard to find folks still using their system installed in 1973.  These things last for freakin-ever.  They just do.  That's not fantasy, but observable reality.

Heck, 5 seconds on google found this guy from 1980: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2012/10/solar-panels -outliving-their-warra">http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/ post/2012/10/solar-panels -outliving-their-warra
 
2013-04-24 03:24:00 AM
 catpuncher: The US Department of Energy disagrees with you

Did you even read that report?

The DOE places the total levelized cost of nuclear above that of:
-Hydro
-Wind
-Coal
-Nat gas (almost all forms)
-Geothermal

And roughly equal to biomass.

The only form of energy it out performs is an estimate for solar power, which I'm sure will need a downgrade in cost estimates soon, with plummeting installation costs being seen. Interestingly, since that DOE report also excludes all forms of incentives and tax credits - making the cost effectiveness loom even worse.


I sure did, maybe you should read the entire report.  It's projections through 2017 that include the front-loaded costs of $18.5 billion for new plants that will be under construction but not yet generating.  Further, the report should exclude incentives and tax credits.  They're still costs.  Are you the sort of guy who believes the money from the government is free?

Rambino: catpuncher: Further, almost all of these companies offering 25 year warranties will not be around in 25 years.

You mean companies like General Electric, Sharp, Kyocera, Samsung, LG?

Or were you thinking of the companies whose warranties are backed by multi-national insurance companies?

Every credible solar module warranty on the market is bankruptcy-proof.


I was thinking like the cheaper panels that almost everybody uses, but let's examine your pricey model warranties:

You mean this warranty from GE? Warranty:  5 year limited workmanship warranty, 20 year limited power warranty
Or this one from Sharp? Limited Warranty For Power: The warranty period with respect to power output continues for a total of 25 years from date of purchase by the first consumer purchaser, the first 10 years at 90% minimum rated power output and the balance of 15 years at 80% minimum rated power output.  in SHARP's sole discretion, the exterior of which has been damaged or defaced, which has been subjected to misuse, abnormal service or handling, or which has been altered or modified in design or construction.

Gee, it's almost like these things have a 20 year life span, after which they degrade and need to be replaced.  "B-b-b-but warranty!"
 
2013-04-24 03:26:54 AM

catpuncher: Rambino: catpuncher:
Did you seriously just call the second cheapest source of electricity per kwh, including all construction and decommissioning costs, "a financial nightmare" while calling the second most expensive a safer financial bet?  Do you have some sort of source for your fairytales?


I have a source: Me.

I have personally worked on transactions and projects in both nuclear and solar energy.  I know the market value of a nuclear power plant, and I know the market value of a solar power plant.  I know the financial risks associated with both.  (As well as other sources, for that matter).  This is what I have been doing full time for the past 20 years.  This is what I should be doing right now instead of Farking.

Here is my hyper-specific conclusion on this point:  The proformas for the nukes only make sense when you make a few optimistic assumptions about the future, and they would be completely unfinanceable (in the US) without federal loan guarantees (which they get).  The proformas for solar projects make sense, and get financed, despite some freakishly pessimistic assumptions about the future, and (usually) without federal loan guarantees.

The ongoing capex for a nuke is astounding.  The downside liability risk is astounding.  The failure risk is catastrophic (as in all-or nothing).

Nuclear energy (in its current form) makes sense as a government project, and ONLY as a government project.

Solar energy has the safest risk profile of any energy source - performance risk, liability risk, failure risk.  Ongoing expenses are minimal and predictable.  Solar energy is so safe, financially speaking, that Wall Street is treating solar energy like mortgages and annuities.  No other energy source gets that vote of confidence.  None.

Oh this is fun.
The State of California disagrees with you.


It took me three minutes to get to the second paragraph of this one before I realized you have absolutely no idea what that report says.  Because it says, quite literally, it does not address exactly what Rambino is saying.
 
2013-04-24 03:29:45 AM

Rambino: Heck, 5 seconds on google found this guy from 1980: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2012/10/solar-panels -outliving-their-warra">http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/ post/2012/10/solar-panels -outliving-their-warra


You really have no idea the statistics behind warranties, or rather, statistics in general.  You can get 500,000 miles out of a car.  It doesn't mean that all cars last 500,000 miles.

Rambino: catpuncher: Giving a quote for a pop news story doesn't make you credible. You apparently don't like the US DoE EIA's 2017 projections, or the 2012 numbers from Europe, instead relying on your own "authority." You're clearly in a class of your own. You're not an authority, you're a clown

If you say so...   :)

But here's the thing: I'm not alone. There are many, many people working in the solar industry (kind of the point of TFA).  And most of them know I am right, because they all know it too.  We all see it every day.  I don't have to convince you--reality is obvious to those who aren't on some weird anti-solar mission.


You have numbers from reliable, independent sources contradicting your fallacious assertions about the costs of solar power and still stick to your guns.  Bravo.  Nobody's on a weird anti-solar mission.  Some people just hate liars.  Maybe you're this guy.
 
2013-04-24 03:31:54 AM

MrSteve007: Rent Party: Just out of curiosity*, and outside the cost of the car, what were your total install costs for that system? And how big is your house, and where do you live?

/ Genuinely curious.

The upfront cost of the system was $26,000. That included 3.8kw of array, grid-tie inverter w/ battery backup, new breaker panel and sub panel, and a gas generator tie. Permits and installation included. All of the components used are locally sourced, so that raised the cost considerably, along with the fairly involved install with several forms of backup power.

Had I gone with a plain-Jane grid tie with out of state or foreign panels, the cost would have been about half.

It is a 1,000 Sq.ft. all-electric house w/ a 480 Sq.ft shop, near Tacoma WA.

I got 30% of that back on my taxes, so the IRS cut me a check for ~$8,000 last month. The Washington State production incentive pays me for my output, cutting a check every August for ~$2,400, through the year 2020. Plus I save a couple hundred a year in utilities. Compared to driving my 20mpg truck, I save a couple grand on gasoline too.

My basic ROI is about 6.5 years. Every day after that is just pure sweet, sweet profit.


Wow!   I'm in Maple Valley, and didn't think that kind of setup would float year round out here.   I've got a bit more square footage and my kitchen and water are gas, but I still have considerable electrical use.

Who did the install, since we're kind of neighbors?
 
2013-04-24 03:32:58 AM
Ringshadow:

Though I've also heard France's response to this is to start constructing nuclear plants on the border. So there's that.

Yeah, France. I've been following their progress since the 70's when they decided "Hey, let's throw our national will towards energy independence through a closed-cycle nuclear program."

They sort of half achieved that.They export energy to most of Europe. But even with the best of intentions and a farkton of francs, they still don't have an answer to the waste problem. They sell the useful hot stuff to Japan and the not-so-useful stuff they send to Russia to get buried. Last I checked, they're looking to build their own Yucca-Mountain style waste repository. Despite major investments in recycling through sophisticated reactor design, they still can't deal with the waste short of God rescinding some laws of physics.
 
2013-04-24 03:33:26 AM

catpuncher: You have numbers from reliable, independent sources contradicting your fallacious assertions about the costs of solar power and still stick to your guns.


Actually, no.  Your sources don't contradict me.  You just can't connect the dots.  But that's all right--you just keep right on posting.
 
2013-04-24 03:35:23 AM

Ringshadow: Rambino: catpuncher: Further, almost all of these companies offering 25 year warranties will not be around in 25 years.

You mean companies like General Electric, Sharp, Kyocera, Samsung, LG?

Or were you thinking of the companies whose warranties are backed by multi-national insurance companies?

Every credible solar module warranty on the market is bankruptcy-proof.

This ship will never sink, this zeppelin will never crash, these banks are too big to fail...

/The Iraq invasion will be over in weeks
//high schoolers can run Bhopal
///that empty field at Love Canal is a great place for a school


did....did you really just compare the Hindenburg, the Titanic, and the 2008 financial crisis, the Iraq war, and Love Canal to getting a warranty repair??
 
2013-04-24 03:35:45 AM

Rent Party: It took me three minutes to get to the second paragraph of this one before I realized you have absolutely no idea what that report says.

Because it says, quite literally, it does not address exactly what Rambino is saying.

It quite literally does not say that.  It says what it is, and what it isn't, which is common when addressing levelized costs.  There are assumptions in any model.  Feel free to reject any further estimates of... well, anything, from now on until the end of time.
 
2013-04-24 03:40:17 AM

Rambino: catpuncher: You have numbers from reliable, independent sources contradicting your fallacious assertions about the costs of solar power and still stick to your guns.

Actually, no.  Your sources don't contradict me.  You just can't connect the dots.  But that's all right--you just keep right on posting.


Are you aware of some future cataclysmic nuclear event that should be written into cost estimates?
 
2013-04-24 03:42:09 AM

catpuncher: Rent Party: It took me three minutes to get to the second paragraph of this one before I realized you have absolutely no idea what that report says. Because it says, quite literally, it does not address exactly what Rambino is saying.

It quite literally does not say that.  It says what it is, and what it isn't, which is common when addressing levelized costs.  There are assumptions in any model.  Feel free to reject any further estimates of... well, anything, from now on until the end of time.


FTFR:  Paragraph 2, in it's entirety.

Although these levelized costs are useful, care must be taken not to misuse them. It
is important to keep in mind that these are nominal values, not precise estimates.
They are for a specific set of assumptions that might not be completely applicable for
the study in question. More precarious yet is comparing one levelized cost against
another, which is useful in the case where levelized costs are of significantly
different magnitudes, but problematic where levelized costs are close. Most
important is the caution that these estimates do not predict how the units will actually
operate in an electric system, how the units will affect the operation of one another,
or their effect on system costs. Such estimates require a more sophisticated model
such as a market model, which are themselves not perfect. Finally, these cost
estimates do not address environmental, system diversity or risk factors which are a
vital planning aspect of all resource development.


Now, lets see what Rambino had to say on the matter....

The ongoing capex for a nuke is astounding.  The downside liability risk is astounding.  The failure risk is catastrophic (as in all-or nothing).

Nuclear energy (in its current form) makes sense as a government project, and ONLY as a government project.

Solar energy has the safest risk profile of any energy source - performance risk, liability risk, failure risk.  Ongoing expenses are minimal and predictable.  Solar energy is so safe, financially speaking, that Wall Street is treating solar energy like mortgages and annuities.  No other energy source gets that vote of confidence.  None.


So, in short, you didn't read TFA, because it explicitly says it doesn't address the concerns raised by Rambino.  Yet somehow,  you think it does.

That tells me something.
 
2013-04-24 03:43:21 AM

catpuncher: Or this one from Sharp? Limited Warranty For Power: The warranty period with respect to power output continues for a total of 25 years from date of purchase by the first consumer purchaser, the first 10 years at 90% minimum rated power output and the balance of 15 years at 80% minimum rated power output. in SHARP's sole discretion, the exterior of which has been damaged or defaced, which has been subjected to misuse, abnormal service or handling, or which has been altered or modified in design or construction.

Gee, it's almost like these things have a 20 year life span, after which they degrade and need to be replaced. "B-b-b-but warranty!"


Once again, reinforcing that you have not the slightest clue of how this technology works.

I'll help you out.  Silicon-based solar modules degrade continuously.  Slowly, but continuously, starting on day one.  The physicists will tell you to expect an average degradation of output to the tune of 0.5%/year.  The warranties take a more conservative view, obviously, and tend to guarantee 80% after 20 years--i.e. 1%/year degradation.

This doesn't mean they are broken, and they will not stop operating after 20 years, they just continue to slowly degrade, and generate slightly less than before.  That's all part of the LCOE calculation.

I have never seen a solar module come anywhere close to failing to meet its output warranty.  In fact, every facility I have worked on has degraded at a rate well below 1%/year.  Frequently less than 0.5%/year.

Also--the physics of doped silicon dictate that the degradation should stop at 50% (which should take about 100 years), and thereafter stay at 50% forever.  Yes, forever--poly-silicon modules have a theoretically infinite operating life.  It's the other bits that break.
 
2013-04-24 03:45:42 AM
I was going to get the extended warranty on my new flat panel TV, but, you know...Spanish flu and the Hyatt Regency collapse....
 
2013-04-24 03:52:22 AM

Befuddled: Befuddled: That's close to 22 tons of coal a day for just one powerplant.

Sorry, that's 21,917 tons of coal a day.


22 tons, or 22 THOUSAND tons? That's kind of a big difference....
 
2013-04-24 03:56:02 AM
No. I was saying that any time someone says its failsafe, there is reason to step back, take deep breaths, and double check, because every industry has written their safety record in blood over that stupid shiat.
In other words: go tell that story to SONGS in California. They replaced their steam generators and have had MASSIVE FAILURE. Manufacturer defects. Songs is down. May never come back up. Manufacturer is on the tab but this sort of failure? Psh right.
In other words: recognize the scale we are discussing. And realize why we must act like nothing is guaranteed.

/bedtimes for rad tech
 
2013-04-24 03:57:44 AM
Ok-- one more.

Nuclear power plants do not underperform.  They perform, or they don't perform.  They are on, 24/7, for 18/24 months, then taken down for maintenance and refuel.  And rinse and repeat.

Similarly, if something happens, they go offline completely.  If there is a problem at an NRC inspection, or a leak detected, or a problem in the power block, or anything else of any kind whatsoever, the facility goes offline completely, until it comes back online completely.

All or nothing.

That is a problem for a billion-dollar investment.  Talk about a billion eggs in one basket.  Particularly when the fix for almost any problem with a nuke could cost millions and take months.

Financially speaking, it is a real problem.  There are a number of things that can (and DO!) go wrong, and some of those could have catastrophic effect on the financial performance of the facility.

Compare a large solar system.  First, there is hardly anything that CAN go wrong, physically.  Often there are literally no moving parts.  But if there is a problem, it is readily identifiable, readily fixable, and the problem is almost certainly partial.

For instance-- Problem: underperformance because of increased dust.  Solution: increase washing frequency.  A cost, yes, but not catastrophic.  Zero facility downtime.  Problem: underperforming modules.  Solution: install some more modules.  Cost, but not catastrophic.  Zero facility downtime.

Worst-case problem: central inverter goes down prematurely.  Solution:  Replace inverter.  Probably no cost; warranty repair. Some facility downtime (either partial or complete, depending on size and design), but limited in scope since inverters are basically off the shelf.

Also, the solar facility will not have any scheduled maintenance outages.

The solar facility is more predictable than the nuke, and the problems are less problematic.  Financially speaking, photovoltaics is the safest energy technnology of them all, by a mile.
 
2013-04-24 03:59:33 AM
MMM A THREAD FULL OF GOOGLE SEARCH EXPERTZ ARGUING!!!!
 
2013-04-24 04:31:33 AM

Rambino: Also, the solar facility will not have any scheduled maintenance outages.

The solar facility is more predictable than the nuke, and the problems are less problematic.  Financially speaking, photovoltaics is the safest energy technnology of them all, by a mile.


Um, solar facilities do, in fact, have scheduled outages for maintenance.  They're handled the same way that a nuclear plant handles them: perform them during a time of statistically low load, only shut down part of the system (in the case of nuke, one reactor, in the case of solar, some fraction of the panels).  I'm not sure where you're getting that nuclear plants are shut down 100% ever, that's something that never really happens with any power plant, not even coal/natgas.

You're also missing panel breakage and wear in solar power, which is roughly analogous to fuel replacement in a nuclear reactor, your standard solar panel lasts about 5-15 years depending on the type you're using.  The oxide layer will build up and eventually interfere with the junctions on a Si-based device if nothing else, you can't fix that by cleaning*.

In fact, you seem to have missed both the major advantage and the major disadvantage of solar in your analysis.

Primary disadvantages: Space and transmission.  An actual solar  plant requires square mile after square mile of land to supply power on the order of what a 500 square foot nuke plant with some security land around it can do.  The current produced is DC, meaning you have to waste a big chunk of power on an inverter if you want to transmit the power any significant distance.

Additionally, the weather can fark a solar plant for days at a time, not so much a nuke plant.  That last sentence is why we can never go 100% renewables.  Some things can't deal with decreased energy supply, like heavy manufacturing.

Primary advantage: Decentralization.  Nuke plants, even if you're using smaller ones, really have to be centralized to some degree, meaning you're going to have transmission losses, will have to carefully maintain your distribution infrastructure, etc.  A squirrel builds a nest in the wrong place, New York blacks out for three days.  Solar, however, can be decentralized almost building by building, so that in many regions the grid barely need matter at all.

Generally speaking, this makes solar sort of unambiguously the best choice for residential-level electrical supply, and nuclear kind of unambiguously the best for industrial energy supply.  It's not a situation where one is better than the other at all times.

*Fun fact: you can fix it by shooting your panels into space, the lifetime on satellite solar panels is closer to 30-50 years before stellar radiation screws 'em up.
 
2013-04-24 04:37:27 AM

Rambino: Also--the physics of doped silicon dictate that the degradation should stop at 50% (which should take about 100 years), and thereafter stay at 50% forever.  Yes, forever--poly-silicon modules have a theoretically infinite operating life.  It's the other bits that break.


As someone in the field, let me point out that saying this to one of us is a good way to tell the materials physicists from the materials-engineering trained guys.  The physicists will nod and approve of your insight into the physics of the materials.  The engineers will laugh at you and maybe refer you to a paper on oxide field strain capacitive failure or weathering, maybe with a snide comment about "assuming uniform oxidation" or spherical cows.

The only solar panels that reliably don't fail completely over half-century periods are literally floating outside the atmosphere, which isn't really practical if you're trying to power a terrestrial house.
 
2013-04-24 05:58:12 AM

studs up: I was believing the math until this from tfa:

 solar workers outnumber actors in California

bull-farking-shiat
bullshiat


Maybe if we don't consider the actor/waiter people with their blockbuster scripts waiting for their big break.
 
2013-04-24 06:43:58 AM

thorthor: incrdbil: fifthhorseman: incrdbil: Dow Jones and the Temple of Doom: Do they even mine anymore? I thought they just blew the tops of off mountains are ruined entire forest ecosystems and rural communities?

Mountain top removal is not the 'strip mining' of old. Forests are not devasttaed, and rural communities benefit, do not suffer from it.  And yes, conventional mining still occurs.

Ahahahahahahahahahaha! *deep breath* Ahahahahahahahahahaha!  Yes I'm sure that the charges are placed to save the trees.  *wipes eyes, blows nose*

New growth is planted, in studied methods to prevent future eroson and promote healthy growth patters--not over dense unhealthy tree planting that was used decades ago.  fill material is used ot create useful land for development--a crucial thing in many mountain areas.  My home now has a new regional hospital, large shopping areas, an industrial park, and new residential areas that would not have existed otherwise--with no ecological harm.

Liberal farktards should get some recent real information.

"No ecological harm"? What do you call mountains LITERALLY flattened, with the fill going into stream beds to support your shopping malls and tract housing that will subside into the earth that was never meant to support it.


So a useless mountaintop, among many, is altered. The fill does not go into stream beds--it goes into areas that are pressed, allowed to settle, then reclaimed--according to many regulations, and monitored afterwards--before being developed. Granted, there have bene earlier incidents that led to this increased regulation, but firms doing this work now do not want lawsuits chasing them years later. It is not good buisness.

But thanks to Oabamas War on Coal, we faced reduced energy options--meanwhile Solar fails to meet demand, will continue to fail to meet demand, and the stupid farkign greenies still attack every effort to meet our energy needs without supportign any real workable solutions. So thats why I've adopted a universal fark the environmentalists attiude. They claim to be pro-earth, but are primarily anti-human.
 
2013-04-24 07:24:44 AM
Did they factor in that a lot of miners are out of work due to policy and that a lot of solar workers are employed due to subsidizing?  Don't let facts get in the way of making you feel better or smug.
 
2013-04-24 07:28:38 AM
Solar panel waste stream is focused at production and end-of-life, where the waste can be captured and reprocessed safely and with some regulation. The coal waste stream is spread across production, use, and disposal with much less containment and far weaker regulation (weakened mining safety and stronger emissions controls for the burning, but very little control outside of that).
 
2013-04-24 07:30:03 AM
Also, a kilogram of solar panels produces energy for many years. A kilogram of coal produces energy over a few seconds.
 
2013-04-24 07:39:35 AM
Whenever this argument rears up I feel the need to point out the strangeness of people being happy about jobs for jobs' sake. If the solar industry hired fewer people but managed to produce the same amount of power, wouldn't that be a good thing? We are so hell bent on creating jobs these days. Jobs are a necessary vehicle to create wealth; they are not the end point of an economy. If we all lost our jobs and sat around sipping lemonade while robots did all of the work, all that would need to be figured out is a system for properly distributing the wealth and preventing a population explosion.
 
2013-04-24 07:41:39 AM

Mean Daddy: Did they factor in that a lot of miners are out of work due to policy and that a lot of solar workers are employed due to subsidizing?  Don't let facts get in the way of making you feel better or smug.


buh- buh-   WAHHHHH
 
2013-04-24 07:47:05 AM
Everyone is in a rush to talk about solar power subsidies, but no one addressed the cost of pollution and global warming due to coal plants.  Coal power has huge negative externalities.  Prices those costs in and then show me the comparison to solar power.

/incrdbil is just a coal industry astroturfer, right?
 
2013-04-24 07:54:07 AM

tinfoil-hat maggie: Rambino: Incontinent_dog_and_monkey_rodeo: The thing about nuclear vs solar is that nuclear takes 8 years to build, even after you get all the permitting taken care of.  That's a huge investment of capital for a damn long time before you see a return.  With solar, once the permits are in place you're generating electricity within 3 months, very little time to tie up dead money before some cash starts coming back in.

Also, you don't need a billion dollars to throw up some solar panels.  Downward scalability is a pretty big deal.

Very true, although I haven't rad anything about the waste from Solar power. IE: discarded panels, manufacturing waste, etc. Granted Nuclear has hot fuel rods that stay hot for a very long time.( That's just my limited knowledge)

That said I do believe the best power wont be one power source but everyone generating there own only Solar and Wind does that.Although that doesn't give utility companies a steady paycheck.


By supplementing the grid with user-end solar, power companies increase capacity without having to build new plants. They avoid the huge up-front investment which doesn't pay put for years. It also helps them meet state and federal green power mandates.
 
2013-04-24 08:01:43 AM

Tommy Moo: If we all lost our jobs and sat around sipping lemonade while robots did all of the work, all that would need to be figured out is a system for properly distributing the wealth and preventing a population explosion.


The way that the system is currently set up, the robots would all be owned by venture capitalists, (who'd get all the money from their labors,) and nobody else would be able to get a job, so I'm pretty sure that a "population explosion" isn't something to worry about.
 
2013-04-24 08:21:01 AM

I sound fat: You guys do realize, however, that this data comes from an organization who's job it is to promote how awesome solar power is and how good it is for the world?

Not saying it isnt true, but I have learned in life that if an organization exists to say good things, they are going to say good things, whether they are true or not.


Where the subject in question is profitable industries, you can't beleive any one party to the discussion. You have to listen to all sides, and sift the truth out for yourself.
 
2013-04-24 08:23:03 AM

Martian_Astronomer: Tommy Moo: If we all lost our jobs and sat around sipping lemonade while robots did all of the work, all that would need to be figured out is a system for properly distributing the wealth and preventing a population explosion.

The way that the system is currently set up, the robots would all be owned by venture capitalists, (who'd get all the money from their labors,) and nobody else would be able to get a job, so I'm pretty sure that a "population explosion" isn't something to worry about.


That would be self-correcting, though. If enough people were unemployed, we'd hit a tipping point where one could only get elected to Congress by promising to extend unemployment insurance indefinitely, which would effectively make it into a national dividend / permanent unstigmatized welfare. Sometimes I think the 1% support Keynestian wastes of money just to keep workers around to get mad at and look down on people who don't have jobs, even if the job they are doing is contributing nothing to society (i.e. digging a hole and filling it in with dirt.)
 
2013-04-24 08:26:47 AM
 there are more solar workers than coal miners.

BS statistic is BS.
 
2013-04-24 08:45:50 AM

Infernalist: studs up: I was believing the math until this from tfa:

 solar workers outnumber successful actors in California

bull-farking-shiat
bullshiat

Better?


OK, how about Solar works working for companies that can turn a profit without huge government subsidies?
 
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