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View Diary: Green public investment should be a key part of America's industrial policy (65 comments)

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  •  Solar PV costs continue decline (12+ / 0-)

    I should say that the Kilo watt price of the electricity generated is going down.

    Boeing is about ready to produce 39.2% efficient Panels. Produced in quantity I think this just might break open the market. Put on a house here in NJ, they would generate something on the order of 250% to 300% of the electricity that house uses over a year. SO instead of selling $1000-$1100 worth of electricity back the Utility each year, the figure jumps, to around $2500 to $3000.

    If a home owner can earn 3k a year back on the panels, over ten years.... thats 30k. Which is what it cost my friend 6 years ago for his installation. But his Panels are only about 16% -18% efficient.

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 08:47:47 PM PST

    •  Yes, some amazing declines in PV costs (8+ / 0-)

      From a capital cost of $3.70 / Watt  in 2007 to $1.80 / Watt in 2010.

      http://www.reuters.com/...

      Hard to say if that decline can continue so steeply but it's a great sign.

      [Also note that quoted figures like this are generally only for the panels themsleves and do not include the balance of infrastructure and installation costs; total loaded cost may be triple the panel costs].

    •  I Still Can't Forsee Financing It for Us (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WarrenS

      It simply doesn't pay for most people to surrender so much investment capability for so many years in order to get something they already have --electricity.

      And if most people can't do it it's mere entertainment for those who can.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 09:14:16 PM PST

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      •  Big installations are coming too (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WarrenS, RosyFinch
        Even the largest existing U.S. plant, Sempra Energy's 48 MW plant at Copper Mountain, Nevada, pales in comparison to planned facilities such as First Solar's 290 MW Agua Caliente plant in Arizona.

        http://www.reuters.com/...
      •  You drop 60k and pay off the system (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WarrenS

        in 8 yrs, hypothetically.

        Its starting to look much better for the homeowner.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 09:32:17 PM PST

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      •  There should come a financing inflection point (5+ / 0-)

        Let's say a solar PV installation can be shown to return 12% a year on capital cost (so a simple payoff in 8.3 years, not counting present value of money and assuming rates stay the same).

        Let's say that second mortgages run 6% APR.

        That 6% spread would then be a major opportunity, for someone.  There should logically be businesses offering you no money down on solar installations if you are willing to pay a higher than market rate on the financing (but still less than the revenue you realize from the installation).

      •  Agree...but (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, WarrenS, Matt Z

        Truly rolling out the green paradigm to the max would drive production costs way down by the economy of scale, and shifting much of the costs to the rich, heh, via taxes and government subsidies, would allow installing solar panels, etc. appropriate tech on all structures in the nation.

        From retro-fit to R&D, there's more than enough jobs to put everyone back to work.

        it's all about priorities, and allocation of resources, and whether that will be done rationally, democratically, in the public interest, or at the arbitrary and capricious whim of elitist monopoly corporate fascists, for their own "private" profit, against the public interest.

        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

        by Radical def on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 10:56:08 PM PST

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        •  Eh... IIRC SEIA says (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WarrenS

          10% solar in 10 yrs get us, 380k jbs, Smart Grid peaks out at 500k, Wind 260k for 20% by 2030.

          About 1.2 million jobs over 20 yrs, with the second 10 years being much better.

          We spend 2.4% on  infrastructure, China 9%, in a 15 trillion dollar economy spending 10% on infrastructure is 1.5 trillion. Now were talking tens of millions of jobs.

          Throw in rebuilding of our Universities, 1.5 million jobs.

          FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 11:08:36 PM PST

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    •  Is that wrong? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WarrenS

      My friends old system generates 120% of what he uses over a year. THat 20% gets him a grand.

      SO if we replace his old 16% efficiency panels with 40%.
      He should generate... 250% of what he uses.

      SO if

      20%=$1000

      Then

      150% =$7500

      If everything stays the same thats 225k over 30 years, the so called lifespan of the install.

      My friends system cost about 30k, lets say the new panels are twice the price, 60k, the net is 165k. ANd you pay off the system in 8 yrs, without any rebates or credits.

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 09:22:35 PM PST

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    •  is this a joke about Boeing panels? nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WarrenS
      •  no joke, but probably not something you can (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WarrenS

        buy either.

        they use a GaAS solar cell and a concentrator.  you put the equivalent of 150 suns into a GaAs solar cell at 35% efficiency and get a whole bunch of electricity.

        of course you also shorten it's life by a factor of 20 or so.  theoretically, if you can transfer the heat away, you've got a winner.

        people have been playing with this for 20 yrs and nobody's made product yet...

        big badda boom : GRB 080913

        by squarewheel on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 10:20:22 PM PST

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      •  Boeing broke 40% in the lab about 2 yrs ago. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WarrenS

        Late last year they said they will go into production soon with a 39.2% efficient product.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 10:30:49 PM PST

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      •  Link, Nov 2010 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WarrenS

        http://boeing.mediaroom.com/...

        SYLMAR, Calif., Nov. 22, 2010 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today announced that Spectrolab, a wholly owned subsidiary, has started mass production of its newest terrestrial solar cell, the C3MJ+. With an average conversion efficiency of 39.2 percent, C3MJ+ will be the industry’s highest-efficiency cell.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 10:34:12 PM PST

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    •  I'd like to see some evidence that boeing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WarrenS, Calamity Jean

      is going to make those panels.

      the idea of concentrators + III-V solar cells has been around for a LONG time, and still you can't buy one.

      i think it was a publicity stunt by boeing to win a govt contract.  they (govt contractors) do a lot of stuff like that.

      I figured out that the cost of PV WITHOUT subsidies at about 0.20 a kw/hr.  it's pushing 0.15 in some states.

      in the NW it's cheap because they've destroyed the fishing industry with dams to keep electricity artificially cheap.

      when you can't blow the tops off of mountains anymore coal won't be that cheap either.

      unfortunately the cost of solar from china is almost certainly due to dumping. china is very very strategic and they want to make absolutely sure that our green industry dies, so they can feed the supply.

      and with that fucker inhofe helping them, they are a good way towards succeeding.

      big badda boom : GRB 080913

      by squarewheel on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 10:17:02 PM PST

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      •  Don't forget (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WarrenS, squarewheel

        to compare Solar PV cost with the peak rather than average cost of competing energy.  That's because, [especially in the summer when you are getting most of your solar energy] solar is flowign in at peak demand time of day.

        This comparison makes solar  that much more attractive, but the advantage is masked [in the majority of cases]  where people or businesses have flat electricity rates that don't reflect the additional costs of peak power.

      •  Production announced Nov 2010 (0+ / 0-)

        Spectrolab hit 41.6% in the Lab 2 yrs ago. They already power the ISS and 60% of sats in orbit.

        http://boeing.mediaroom.com/...

        SYLMAR, Calif., Nov. 22, 2010 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today announced that Spectrolab, a wholly owned subsidiary, has started mass production of its newest terrestrial solar cell, the C3MJ+. With an average conversion efficiency of 39.2 percent, C3MJ+ will be the industry’s highest-efficiency cell.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 10:38:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  And meanwhile over at Forbes Magazine,... (0+ / 0-)

      ...here's what the banner of their Josh Wolfe's newsletter on "Sustainable Energy" led off with:

      "Why Solar Energy is Flaming Out And Why The World Needs it to Happen Faster"

      The upshot of Wolfe's note? That solar panel and solar energy providers in the US are doomed to fail in a fit of hyper-competitiveness and competing product technologies. It's funny that a free market magazine insinuates that the free market will make everyone lose and that the "invisible hand" won't pick a winner.

      Here's his opening lede:

      Never before have so many sought so much radiation and prepared to lose so much money so quickly.
      When we worship the sun whether for tans or watts, we worship the past. Factoid: The sunlight you see now actually left the sun eight minutes ago. (Light travels at 186,000 miles per second and the sun is on average 93 million miles away)

      And then Wolfe moves on to this, his primary point - that solar energy activity today will be the "Greatest Unintended Philanthropic Consequence the World Has Seen":

      Lux Research tracks over 400 solar companies, many of them in the San Francisco Bay Area alone. My (not their) seemingly bombastic speculation is that 95% of these companies fail. Unlike software solar panel makers sell rivalrous goods: my roof or yours, this panel or that one. And many of these failed companies will have failed not because their technology didn’t work, but because the field was too crowded, customers had to cut through too much noise, expectations were disappointed and financing dried up too quickly.

      As Wolfe sees it, after all these companies with all these innovations in the US crater, some company with deep pockets will snap up said technology for pennies (or fractions thereof) on the dollar, and mine the every-loving profit-generating crap out of it in places like China, India, Africa and the Middle East.

      He projects that the companies most likely to capitalize on reaping profits from the solar meltdown will be those that already have infrastructure - like regional or multinational mobile phone or ISP operators. He suggests they will be similarly able to sell distributed solar-powered energy to locales that are not served by the grid today and that are far from the traditional, centralized power sources.

      As for those American start-up innovators, he's basically saying, "Thank you for playing (and innovating). Too bad you're gonna lose."

      "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by frisco on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 01:21:34 PM PST

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