Do you have adblock enabled?
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Slate)   The state of the US solar industry: "one side is wearing an American flag over a German flag, and the other has an American flag draped over a Chinese flag"   (slate.com) divider line 32
    More: Strange, United States and China, Chinese, United States, chinese flags, U.S. Division, solar energy, preliminary ruling, trade war  
•       •       •

1625 clicks; posted to Business » on 19 Feb 2014 at 11:58 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



32 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread
 
2014-02-19 12:02:30 PM  
can't really blame germany after they went all in on solar and realized that was a terrible mistake
 
2014-02-19 12:04:39 PM  
Solar power...When will people learn?
 
2014-02-19 12:11:49 PM  
I'm all for cheap solar power, but doesn't Solarworld have a point? If China is just dumping it's government paid for glut, won't that unfairly drive competing companies out of business?
 
2014-02-19 12:32:13 PM  
There nothing quite like free trade to send all your manufacturing jobs overseas.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-02-19 12:35:41 PM  
If we could just get rid of the unions and Obamacare and welfare we would be able to compete with these union free third world countries that don't have universal healthcare or unemployment benefits.

You know, countries like Germany.
 
2014-02-19 12:39:26 PM  

Do you know who Garblox is: I'm all for cheap solar power, but doesn't Solarworld have a point? If China is just dumping it's government paid for glut, won't that unfairly drive competing companies out of business?


Yes, unless we impose responsible trade restrictions.

So... yes.
 
2014-02-19 12:39:33 PM  

Do you know who Garblox is: I'm all for cheap solar power, but doesn't Solarworld have a point? If China is just dumping it's government paid for glut, won't that unfairly drive competing companies out of business?


and once they have the monopoly they jack up the price. but don't let the free market folks hear you, or they'll call you a heretic!

/also ignore that the chinese stole all the designs from western companies in the first place, thus skipping the entire expensive R&D process
 
2014-02-19 01:02:35 PM  
Combine wind, solar, and wave generation to filter and purify sea water and pump it up into reservoirs.  Use water to power turbines and then divert to farmland.  The hardest part with these "free" energy resources is how you store the energy for when you need it, but a reservoir that powers a hydroelectric generator solves this problem nicely and it also solves other problems as well.  Side benefits includes detoxifying oceans at least in coastal areas where the water is sourced, providing clean water for farms and for public consumption, and refilling aquifers and diverting water from areas that are suffering flood conditions.

I think the Arabs would latch on to this more readily than the Chinese or Germans.  If you look at the middle east, you would see a lot of arid land right next to oceans.  Make a hundred or so of these ocean-to-reservoir systems and you could turn the deserts into gardens.  Water, power, creating new farmland for food... just an idea.
 
2014-02-19 01:54:54 PM  
The lack of stability and the back and fourth with politicians and tax credits, has created a boom and bust market for renewables. That's not the kind of market that attracts manufacturing and research investment.

Every time the GOP brickwalls renewables U.S. jobs suffer.

When we are importing all the hardware and technology from foreign countries instead of building it here you can thank your local fossil fuel funded douche bag Republican. The USA, made in China.

Renewables are profitable now. The day will come when all these technologies are not only profitable but very attractive, sadly we won't be the country that takes advantage of that market. Thank your local Republican.
 
2014-02-19 01:55:25 PM  

sprawl15: can't really blame germany after they went all in on solar and realized that was a terrible mistake


The problem in Germany atm is that they don't get a lot of sunshine.  Quelle surprise.
 
2014-02-19 01:56:15 PM  

real_headhoncho: but a reservoir that powers a hydroelectric generator solves this problem nicely and it also solves other problems as well.


only on a small scale
 
2014-02-19 01:58:28 PM  

unyon: sprawl15: can't really blame germany after they went all in on solar and realized that was a terrible mistake

The problem in Germany atm is that they don't get a lot of sunshine.  Quelle surprise.


nah their problem was that they pushed extremely hard for solar, which wiped out enough peak load to make providing traditional base load unprofitable (since the rates are normalized assuming a standard load profile rather than just at night). energy companies were pointing out they would go out of business, germany spun the other way around and tried to get people to cut that shiat out until some form of efficient energy storage is developed. but they had all this capital investment in solar, so might as well sell it to the world
 
2014-02-19 02:02:01 PM  

real_headhoncho: Combine wind, solar, and wave generation to filter and purify sea water and pump it up into reservoirs.  Use water to power turbines and then divert to farmland.  The hardest part with these "free" energy resources is how you store the energy for when you need it, but a reservoir that powers a hydroelectric generator solves this problem nicely and it also solves other problems as well.  Side benefits includes detoxifying oceans at least in coastal areas where the water is sourced, providing clean water for farms and for public consumption, and refilling aquifers and diverting water from areas that are suffering flood conditions.

I think the Arabs would latch on to this more readily than the Chinese or Germans.  If you look at the middle east, you would see a lot of arid land right next to oceans.  Make a hundred or so of these ocean-to-reservoir systems and you could turn the deserts into gardens.  Water, power, creating new farmland for food... just an idea.


I don't see that as a big hurdle, if you can get those sources to be consistent.

With solar, that would be pretty consistent, but limited to only day time use, yet we consume more energy during the day anyway, so no need to store the excess, we can just burn it off with a few cultural changes.  I remember living in CA and being told to run appliances at night, well now you will be encouraged to run them during the day.  Then after the sun goes down switch to fossil fuels.  If worked correctly, that should reduce the need for fossil fuels to about 30% of what is needed now.

Wind is a tough one since it is highly variable.  It may not be as cyclical as solar is to the sun being up, but I imagine wind is a crap shoot on how much you can PLAN to get.

Now, tidal generators should also be very consistent and predictable since tides are always moving, but can tidal energy help someone in Iowa?  These systems can only benefit coastal regions directly.

My mentality is to stop trying to completely replace fossil fuels in one fell swoop, and instead just work on needing less and less of it.  And then let other tech help to reduce the amount of energy needed.  For example ipads, LED TV's, LED lights, etc. are much more efficient users of energy than the previous tech.  If every 60W light bulb was replaced with the 6W LED equivalent, then you just reduced the energy needed for 60W lighting by 90% and in turn reduced your fossil fuel consumption for 60W lighting by 90%.

incremental steps > magic bullet
 
2014-02-19 03:13:11 PM  

Do you know who Garblox is: I'm all for cheap solar power, but doesn't Solarworld have a point? If China is just dumping it's government paid for glut, won't that unfairly drive competing companies out of business?


Those evil Chinese! Subsidizing our solar panels for us!
 
2014-02-19 03:54:00 PM  

BMFPitt: Do you know who Garblox is: I'm all for cheap solar power, but doesn't Solarworld have a point? If China is just dumping it's government paid for glut, won't that unfairly drive competing companies out of business?

Those evil Chinese! Subsidizing our solar panels for us!


For now... What about in the future when they've established market dominance?
 
2014-02-19 04:36:00 PM  
The US is extremely late to the party in solar.

Part of the problem is scale: Chinese PV plants are 4 times the size of US plants & mostly automated (unlike US plants).

Solar can be a job creation engine in the US but for installation, infrastructure construction & maintenance, not manufacturing.
 
2014-02-19 04:44:26 PM  

dumbobruni: The US is extremely late to the party in solar.


Seeing as we largely invented the modern technology and have been manufacturing the product for decades before China ever developed out of an agrarian, communist economy - I fail to see how this statement is true.
 
2014-02-19 04:45:22 PM  

Do you know who Garblox is: BMFPitt: Do you know who Garblox is: I'm all for cheap solar power, but doesn't Solarworld have a point? If China is just dumping it's government paid for glut, won't that unfairly drive competing companies out of business?

Those evil Chinese! Subsidizing our solar panels for us!

For now... What about in the future when they've established market dominance?


Well according to TFA, Chinese firms got around previous tarriffs in 2012 by moving production lines to Taiwan.

Seems like its fairly uncomplicated to move production around. If Chinese firms get too expensive, rivals would spring up somewhere else.
 
2014-02-19 04:54:01 PM  

MrSteve007: dumbobruni: The US is extremely late to the party in solar.

Seeing as we largely invented the modern technology and have been manufacturing the product for decades before China ever developed out of an agrarian, communist economy - I fail to see how this statement is true.


Yes, that is true. But developing a viable market for solar panels, with subsidies and mass production? Nope.

The US has a market now, but it came far too late for American PV panel firms.
 
2014-02-19 04:59:58 PM  

Do you know who Garblox is: BMFPitt: Do you know who Garblox is: I'm all for cheap solar power, but doesn't Solarworld have a point? If China is just dumping it's government paid for glut, won't that unfairly drive competing companies out of business?

Those evil Chinese! Subsidizing our solar panels for us!

For now... What about in the future when they've established market dominance?


Then maybe we'll just have to pay full price?

Or maybe they'll choose to continue to screw their own taxpayers for our vendor even then, like they do for steel.

Or someone else will come along and undercut them.
 
2014-02-19 05:09:21 PM  
And it would not surprise me if some of the big energy companies in the US are also working to drive up the cost of solar.
 
2014-02-19 05:10:30 PM  

dumbobruni: Yes, that is true. But developing a viable market for solar panels, with subsidies and mass production?

Nope.The US has a market now, but it came far too late for American PV panel firms.


What I think is most interesting is that the US PV manufacturing industry was in trouble before China ever came onto the scene in any large fashion. This chart shows the change nicely.

upload.wikimedia.org

At the beginning of the last decade, the US accounted for a little over 1 out of every 4 solar panels made worldwide. Japan had roughly half of the market. China was non-existent.

In less than 10 years - China + Taiwan account for nearly 2/3rd's of the world's production - most of which has come in just a few years. Japan's percentage has nosedived, as has the USA. Now considering this is simply a share of production vs. total production, output in the countries may not have reduced, it's just that China has gone crazy in making panels and flooding the world's markets.

Personally I'm on the fence about them dumping on the market - I'm beginning to think they simply put forward a national effort to mass produce the panels in huge amounts and have used economy of scale to legitimately drop prices to the floor, while the rest of the world dabbled in renewables and are being left behind.
 
2014-02-19 06:07:56 PM  
I just did my taxes last night.  The tax credit for the solar system I put in last year is really, really nice.
 
2014-02-19 09:08:16 PM  
My electric bill is such that it would take about 200 years for the savings to pay for the hardware and installation.
 
2014-02-20 12:17:36 AM  

GoldSpider: My electric bill is such that it would take about 200 years for the savings to pay for the hardware and installation.


That is very weird. My parent's solar panels paid for themselves in under 5 years, and they live in Northern England.
 
2014-02-20 06:29:45 AM  

GoldSpider: My electric bill is such that it would take about 200 years for the savings to pay for the hardware and installation.


What are your assumptions?  Have you gotten an actual quote?  Where do you live and such?

If you don't use much electricity, a smaller install will do for you.
 
2014-02-20 07:29:15 AM  

limeyfellow: GoldSpider: My electric bill is such that it would take about 200 years for the savings to pay for the hardware and installation.

That is very weird. My parent's solar panels paid for themselves in under 5 years, and they live in Northern England.


The less electricity you use the longer it takes to recoup the cost. Someone living in a well insulated home with a wood burning fireplace, gas stove, gas heating, and who doesn't leave every damn light in the house on like a certain pre-teen I could name is going to take longer to recoup costs especially if they don't take advantage of government subsidies.

The costs per Watt is dropping, especially now that the Chinese have entered the market with a vengeance. It's only a matter of time.
 
2014-02-20 08:44:23 AM  

Monkeyhouse Zendo: The less electricity you use the longer it takes to recoup the cost. Someone living in a well insulated home with a wood burning fireplace, gas stove, gas heating, and who doesn't leave every damn light in the house on like a certain pre-teen I could name is going to take longer to recoup costs especially if they don't take advantage of government subsidies.

The costs per Watt is dropping, especially now that the Chinese have entered the market with a vengeance. It's only a matter of time.



Doesn't the cost mostly scale?  IE if you're living like you do, you only need a couple panels, not a roof full of them.
 
2014-02-20 09:03:45 AM  

Firethorn: Doesn't the cost mostly scale?  IE if you're living like you do, you only need a couple panels, not a roof full of them.


Last time I looked there was a baseline cost for wiring, batteries, and a converter. After that cost scaled linearly with how much you needed to install. There is a point where if your electricity usage is low enough it just isn't worth it if you're doing a pure cost analysis and you're not able to swing a tax break to offset the cost.
 
2014-02-20 09:14:32 AM  

Firethorn: Doesn't the cost mostly scale?  IE if you're living like you do, you only need a couple panels, not a roof full of them.


Here a 250 Watt panel would retail about $220.  A 250W micro inverter is about $250.  A 3000W inverter will cost $1,500.  The rack for one panel is more than 1/2 the price of one for 8 panels and that is about $800.  Hooking it into the meter could cost $1,000 for one panel or 20.  A 250 Watt panel will make about $.88 of electricity per day on average for most of the year and will make double that in the summer for about $400 per year.  That only makes sense if I'm paying the power company for power, they will only give me $.08 for extra power I make.
 
2014-02-20 10:50:37 AM  
The calculations that show solar to be cost effective frequently ignore cost of money/opportunity cost. When actual rules for finance are used you probably only have an actual benefit in the sunniest of locations. And that includes tax credits distorting the market.
 
2014-02-20 03:16:01 PM  
I'm going with the German side; I've forgiven them for Pearl Harbor.
 
Displayed 32 of 32 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
Advertisement
On Twitter






In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report