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#26 2020-01-20 20:05:07

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: New Solar Power Technology

Even in the sun-deprived UK unsubidised solar plus storage schemes are becoming commercially viable:

https://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news … orage_site


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#27 2020-01-20 20:22:15

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,750

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#28 2020-01-20 20:36:03

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: New Solar Power Technology

First is nothing to do with utility scale.

Second probably reflects increased efficiency as subsidies are removed.  A lot of the jobs are to do with people selling solar panels. not very relevant.

Third,  since when did a company failing stop a technology advancing?  Railroad companies used to fail all the time. Car companies have been collapsing regularly since cars were first made. Totally irrelevant to the technology. Can't even think why you bothered posting that!







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#29 2020-01-21 20:16:57

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,750

Re: New Solar Power Technology

Gridserve is not doing anything that is a game changer that has not already been done by others including Elon Musk's systems which he has installed all over the world. Gridserve is a power supplying company with the article you posted containing nothing about no subsidies for taking out the loans to built the power plant. I found it in this one:
UK council to generate all its power needs from renewables

Electricity from the York solar farm will initially be sold on the open market, although a number of other local authorities are said to have expressed an interest in buying the power.

Here is the important factor that is not being realized in the US as the grid companies are selling the cheap power at there price since the rules are that they must own the wires to make that same claim. Here we are getting power from solar by residential to be lower than the cost of the power companies but it takes one putting up more panels than they need. The rub is when the panels one would need are bought up by the power companies to make there arrays. This drives the resident then to not do the panels as they are not affordable at the higher efficiency levels as the prices on them are hiked upward. This is what has happened to 3 installations that were started 2 plus years ago when the costs to do business made it inpossible for them to make the panel purchase. 1 Of the istallations has sold off the property with the new owner still looking to build the array system but when.
Installers and construction firms that build do not just sell the panels so when large arrays like this one is made the number of jobs and business drop that once would build for the resident.

Here is where the UK is different:

The solar farms will secure our energy supply, give us control over our energy prices, contribute to reducing fuel poverty and generate an estimated operating surplus of £150 million over 30 years that can be invested back into the most important frontline services.

Any one having the money to build a large farm array could do so and if enough do some business will continue to lose but it could be the other types of power providers that are still needed for when solar has just to many days with low level output and the batteries are drained. So solar needs to be very careful with the number of large installations.

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#30 2020-01-22 05:44:57

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 2,212

Re: New Solar Power Technology

I take it that UK council workers will only be working during the daytime and during the summer?  More virtue signalling from people that have a guaranteed income, which they extract from the public like vampires, using taxes that they have no choice but to pay.  It is so easy to put no end of other peoples money into idealistic causes, when they have no choice but to pay whatever you tell them to pay.

I would call them deluded suckers.  But in this case, it is we, the UK tax payers, who are the suckers.


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#31 2020-01-22 06:38:11

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: New Solar Power Technology

I presume even you would agree that if the current (unsubsidised) price of 5-6 pence per KwH (already much lower than nuclear) for UK solar could be reduced down to 2-3pence per KwH, that would at least be "interesting". You can't just sing the same old song when the cost is already down below 2 cents per KwH (with some storage as well) in the USA.  All the evidence is that costs will fall further.

The point is that we wouldn't have got here - with cheap wind and solar energy (though still not a reliable baseload, I accept) - without subsidies, and lots of supported research into the technology in previous decades. We are now on the brink of truly reliable green energy which delivers energy independence and lost of employment in the domestic economy.


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#32 2020-01-22 08:45:26

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 2,212

Re: New Solar Power Technology

louis wrote:

I presume even you would agree that if the current (unsubsidised) price of 5-6 pence per KwH (already much lower than nuclear) for UK solar could be reduced down to 2-3pence per KwH, that would at least be "interesting". You can't just sing the same old song when the cost is already down below 2 cents per KwH (with some storage as well) in the USA.  All the evidence is that costs will fall further.

The point is that we wouldn't have got here - with cheap wind and solar energy (though still not a reliable baseload, I accept) - without subsidies, and lots of supported research into the technology in previous decades. We are now on the brink of truly reliable green energy which delivers energy independence and lost of employment in the domestic economy.

Think of it like this.  When you buy solar power or wind power in the UK, you are essentially buying power from a natural gas power plant.  The solar or wind power yielded reduces the fuel bill of that power plant somewhat.  But you then have two sets of capital and operating costs to pay.  Even if the solar power were literally free, your electricity bill wouldn't be much cheaper.

The economics of solar power look artificially good at present.  Most of the cost per kWh of renewable energy projects is capital cost.  Interest rates and bond yields are very low, so capital intensive projects are cheaper, at least in theory.  We also have the situation in which weak consumer demand since 2008, has led to low commodity prices.  For an energy source that requires 10-20x more materials than the equivalent unit of fossil or nuclear energy, that is certainly a boost.  And we have the situation in which the Chinese are exporting equipment at less than its manufactured cost.  Put all of those things together and you have the makings of a bubble.  The question is: How long will it last?

I have some doubt about the 2-3p/kWh figure.  Let's do a little maths on that.  The average power density of a utility grade solar power plant is 5W/m2 in the UK.  Over the course of a year, that is 44kWh/m2.  At £0.02/kWh, that implies revenue of £0.88/m2.  For American readers, that is about $1US.  Out of that, needs to come any repayment of capital, cleaning, repairs, etc.  Doesn't exactly look like a profitable investment does it?


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#33 2020-01-22 10:07:40

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 6,222

Re: New Solar Power Technology

Louis,

Maybe you can fool some people who don't know any better or are willing to believe whatever they read if it agrees with their ideology, but you're not fooling me because I paid for wind and solar for years.  The objective world disagrees with your assertions that wind and solar are cheaper than coal or gas or nuclear and its disagreement is expressed in the form of higher rates paid by rate payers in countries primarily sourcing their energy from wind and solar.

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#34 2020-01-22 14:02:18

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: New Solar Power Technology

It's not me, so the ad hominems are irrelevant. 

Here are the expert analysts from Lazard, from two years ago:

"Lazard’s latest annual Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE 12.0) shows a continued decline in the cost of generating electricity from alternative energy technologies, especially utility-scale solar and wind. In some scenarios, alternative energy costs have decreased to the point that they are now at or below the marginal cost of conventional generation."

https://www.lazard.com/perspective/leve … rage-2018/

And here's the latest report from Deloittes:

https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/e … tlook.html

"For the first time ever, in April 2019, renewable energy outpaced coal by providing 23 percent of US power generation, compared to coal’s 20 percent share."

"Falling costs and rising capacity factors, along with the emerging competitiveness of battery storage, drove renewable energy growth in 2019. Declining battery storage costs increasingly enable wind and solar to compete with traditional “dispatchable” energy resources."

The latest Lazard report gives low cost points for unsubsidised wind of 2.8 cents per KwH and 3.6 cents for unsubidised solar. 

https://www.lazard.com/perspective/lcoe2019




kbd512 wrote:

Louis,

Maybe you can fool some people who don't know any better or are willing to believe whatever they read if it agrees with their ideology, but you're not fooling me because I paid for wind and solar for years.  The objective world disagrees with your assertions that wind and solar are cheaper than coal or gas or nuclear and its disagreement is expressed in the form of higher rates paid by rate payers in countries primarily sourcing their energy from wind and solar.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#35 2020-01-22 17:27:11

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,750

Re: New Solar Power Technology

One must remember that the max kilowatt from the solar farm is devided by the customer wattage requirement. That is the amotimized across the expectation not of just the upfront cash price but for loans to max life of the solar array farm and as other mention there are other costs which are much harder to figure its additional costs for the kilowatt rate that would be charged at the customer level.
So there are expectations for the life of the solar panels if all goes well and if they can stay near max output all the better for costs staying low to the customer but thats fantasy land. The same will hold true for the battery units replacement time frame as they will not last as long as the arrays will. Thats also unplanned at this time for what to charge the customer for getting monies before needed.
Last there is taxes on income for the US plus states numbers are and property taxes as well to consider for not losing funds from the profits that would want to be made by the owner.

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#36 2020-01-22 17:39:17

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: New Solar Power Technology

When a solar power company puts in a tender they take account of all the things you mention (finance, efficiency declines etc), so there is no point in raising them in relation to the price they are charging to networks.  The price is the price. If they get it wrong and go bust, they go bust. However, I don't think there's much evidence of solar power suppliers failing to deliver. 

SpaceNut wrote:

One must remember that the max kilowatt from the solar farm is devided by the customer wattage requirement. That is the amotimized across the expectation not of just the upfront cash price but for loans to max life of the solar array farm and as other mention there are other costs which are much harder to figure its additional costs for the kilowatt rate that would be charged at the customer level.
So there are expectations for the life of the solar panels if all goes well and if they can stay near max output all the better for costs staying low to the customer but thats fantasy land. The same will hold true for the battery units replacement time frame as they will not last as long as the arrays will. Thats also unplanned at this time for what to charge the customer for getting monies before needed.
Last there is taxes on income for the US plus states numbers are and property taxes as well to consider for not losing funds from the profits that would want to be made by the owner.


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#37 2020-01-22 19:51:18

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,750

Re: New Solar Power Technology

Here is another example from the US side where a large array field is replacing and shutting down the coal, propane energy plants.

article has it as :

Arizona's largest public utility is gearing up to close its coal plants, eventually move off natural gas and move to carbon-free technology during the next 30 years to power its customers.

A business that creates power for the consumer changing is a good thing but we are still waiting to see if the rates will drop of go up.

https://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/new … yptr=yahoo

Currently APS, the subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW) gets about 50% of its power from non-carbon sources, the biggest of which is Palo Verde Nuclear Generating station, combined with solar and some wind. The short-term plan, one that it will share with Arizona Corporation Commission regulators in April, will be to reach 65% clean energy by 2030 with renewables making up 45% of that total. APS will count on deployment of more battery storage beyond the 850 megawatts of storage it already has planned. The series of moves will likely result in rate increases for customers. The goal is to keep those increases to the cost of living annually

https://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/new … jects.html

Nothing so far shows if the solar is subsidized or not....

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#38 2020-01-22 20:42:51

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: New Solar Power Technology

I'm not surprised by Arizona! Together with New Mexico and Southern California it's in the perfect location for cost effective solar.

Also, sunshine down there is very dependable as well, I think.  If you can have chemical batteries to manage the daily solar cycle and hydro to act as emergency storage, you are pretty much there as long as the price is right.

SpaceNut wrote:

Here is another example from the US side where a large array field is replacing and shutting down the coal, propane energy plants.

article has it as :

Arizona's largest public utility is gearing up to close its coal plants, eventually move off natural gas and move to carbon-free technology during the next 30 years to power its customers.

A business that creates power for the consumer changing is a good thing but we are still waiting to see if the rates will drop of go up.

https://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/new … yptr=yahoo

Currently APS, the subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW) gets about 50% of its power from non-carbon sources, the biggest of which is Palo Verde Nuclear Generating station, combined with solar and some wind. The short-term plan, one that it will share with Arizona Corporation Commission regulators in April, will be to reach 65% clean energy by 2030 with renewables making up 45% of that total. APS will count on deployment of more battery storage beyond the 850 megawatts of storage it already has planned. The series of moves will likely result in rate increases for customers. The goal is to keep those increases to the cost of living annually

https://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/new … jects.html

Nothing so far shows if the solar is subsidized or not....


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#39 2020-01-22 20:58:45

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 6,222

Re: New Solar Power Technology

Louis,

Please explain why people using wind and solar are paying more for power than people using coal or gas.  Claiming the cost to generate the power from wind or solar is lower while people who are actually using power generated by wind or solar are paying more for their power are incompatible.

SpaceNut,

The True Cost of Renewable Energy

This is how this farce works on our side of the pond.  Solar power, which was the scam I bought into, listed a rate that looked fantastic on paper.  However, the power company then added fees to actually deliver the power.  The 12 cents/kWh is the lowest rate I ever paid for solar power, not the highest rate!  Please not the chart showing the amount of power actually produced per dollar of federal subsidy provided.  Solar collected more money in the form of federal subsidies than it did from actually producing power, which isn't too surprising.

I can understand why people would buy into this, though.  I'm saving the planet, I'm investing in the future, etc.  I think I gave solar a pretty fair shake considering I paid the asking price between 2013 and 2019.  The rate never went down, only up.  In the end, they were running coal and now gas (Texas has shut down almost all of our coal plants and opened new gas turbine power plants) in the background 24/7, just as Calliban stated, so they probably saved a little bit on the fuel bill.  Unfortunately for our family, we never saw a dime of those supposed savings.  I paid a car note's worth of money over to the power company every month for at least 9 months out of the year.  Solar was great for someone, but that someone was never your's truly, the guy paying the exorbitant rate for the power whilst solar power was already subsidized by both Uncle Sam and Texas to the nth degree.

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#40 2020-01-22 21:15:49

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,750

Re: New Solar Power Technology

I smell that same stink up here in the north from the power companies and from those that have had panels installed by companies. Just the off the shelf devices for what they were intended for fail to perform even for targeted applications.
The last device I picked up has an intermitent power switch which really is not needed if they had used a pull tab for battery isolation until installed. I might buy a few others and make use of the panels and batteries but change out the electronic circuitry which control how the light functions to work. I have a hallway that needs light even at low levels just about all the time for when people enter to go from room to room so the motion sensor will be adapted for that location and a simple light switch may be used for others. The point is the solar is not to control how or when the light is needed as most devices are designed but to charge during the day and not to control when the unit can work....
Now to read the link thanks...

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#41 2020-01-22 21:24:52

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: New Solar Power Technology

That's a bit like going back to 1958 and asking "Please explain why people in the USA using freeways are having to pay more for roads than people in Costa Rica."

I am not arguing that on average around the world wind and solar are the cheapest generator of electricity. It's pretty much natural gas in most places. But in some places it is (a) the cheapest and (b) pretty reliable (as battery storage is being thrown in the mix).  What is certainly true is that wind and solar increasingly all around the world are beating coal and nuclear on price.

I'm not clear whether you went solar with a domestic system plus grid or were buying electricity from a solar power firm.

Utility solar is about four times cheaper than domestic solar...

I don't think any individual consumer should "move to solar" for anything other than financial reasons.  Whether we decide to subsidise it is an entirely different question.

A lot of this turns on what you value. I value energy independence, air quality. creating well paying jobs in our own economy and technological development - reaching for a better future.


kbd512 wrote:

Louis,

Please explain why people using wind and solar are paying more for power than people using coal or gas.  Claiming the cost to generate the power from wind or solar is lower while people who are actually using power generated by wind or solar are paying more for their power are incompatible.

SpaceNut,

The True Cost of Renewable Energy

This is how this farce works on our side of the pond.  Solar power, which was the scam I bought into, listed a rate that looked fantastic on paper.  However, the power company then added fees to actually deliver the power.  The 12 cents/kWh is the lowest rate I ever paid for solar power, not the highest rate!  Please not the chart showing the amount of power actually produced per dollar of federal subsidy provided.  Solar collected more money in the form of federal subsidies than it did from actually producing power, which isn't too surprising.

I can understand why people would buy into this, though.  I'm saving the planet, I'm investing in the future, etc.  I think I gave solar a pretty fair shake considering I paid the asking price between 2013 and 2019.  The rate never went down, only up.  In the end, they were running coal and now gas (Texas has shut down almost all of our coal plants and opened new gas turbine power plants) in the background 24/7, just as Calliban stated, so they probably saved a little bit on the fuel bill.  Unfortunately for our family, we never saw a dime of those supposed savings.  I paid a car note's worth of money over to the power company every month for at least 9 months out of the year.  Solar was great for someone, but that someone was never your's truly, the guy paying the exorbitant rate for the power whilst solar power was already subsidized by both Uncle Sam and Texas to the nth degree.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#42 2020-01-22 21:39:44

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,750

Re: New Solar Power Technology

The big power companies own the poles and wires which are on them which connect to our homes. So when we want power we are paying for the power to come to our homes through those wires and then paying for whom we want the power to come from in our electrical bills. So we are getting hit with a user cost and a useage costs for the electricity that we use.
It was more than a decade ago that both functions were joined at the hip and the cost back then was about half what I pay now for the same kilowatt hours used. Even from the same company...

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#43 2020-01-22 21:55:46

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 6,222

Re: New Solar Power Technology

Louis,

I purchased solar power from the same electric utility company I was purchasing power from since my wife and I moved to Houston in 2006.  When we moved into the home we live in now, we switched to solar.  Going back to 2013 is nothing like going back to 1958.  People had solar panels on their homes where I grew up in Austin in the 1980's and nobody on our block was independently wealthy.

In 2019 I looked into purchasing a home solar system of 6kWe for partial offset or 12kWe (IIRC) for full offset.  I posted the results of that search in Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset.  My wife and I both lost our jobs during a 6 month period of time during the year thereafter, which is when we learned how to live as frugally as possible, something we haven't had to do in years.  Our job losses wiped out all of our savings and the power bills helped gobble them up.  I switched to using gas to save what little money we had, which BTW, is actually the cheapest form of power here in Texas, with or without subsidy.

I value all of those things you listed as well, but not to the point that I'm willing to end up on the street because I can't pay my bills.  YMMV.

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#44 2020-01-23 15:28:07

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,750

Re: New Solar Power Technology

I do hope that you have found work once more and that it remains stable.
For me the cost of propane, oil are just to high to heat with, wood is a bit more work than I would want as the home just does not heat well for where the stove can be put. I have looked into the cost for an outside boiler for heat/ hot water versus the more expensive but easier to use wood pellets. While the electrical is stable for price its just to much for using it for the heat let alone only hot water. It leaves modified natural sun light as the next option to look at for can I build or buy cheap enough.

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#45 2020-01-23 15:55:10

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: New Solar Power Technology

V sorry to hear about the double job whammy. I hope your prospects are reviving.

I am not a fan of raising people's electricity bills to fund green energy development.  There is of course the argument that higher bills mean more energy saving which might be true to a limited extent but most energy use is pretty essential in modern life. I have always argued that building the green energy infrastructure - a major undertaking like building the freeway system -  should be funded through general taxation.

Now we are on the threshold of a really significant change in electricity generation. I know you and others are sceptical but the evidence is that prices are now becoming competitive across much of the world.  One proof is that while subsidies are being reduced or withdrawn,
green energy continues to expand. Morevover, chemical battery storage is allowing green energy to compete with other fuels on a daily basis.  The problem of intermittency hasn't been entirely removed but it is being addressed slowly but surely.



kbd512 wrote:

Louis,

I purchased solar power from the same electric utility company I was purchasing power from since my wife and I moved to Houston in 2006.  When we moved into the home we live in now, we switched to solar.  Going back to 2013 is nothing like going back to 1958.  People had solar panels on their homes where I grew up in Austin in the 1980's and nobody on our block was independently wealthy.

In 2019 I looked into purchasing a home solar system of 6kWe for partial offset or 12kWe (IIRC) for full offset.  I posted the results of that search in Home Solar System to Achieve Energy Usage Offset.  My wife and I both lost our jobs during a 6 month period of time during the year thereafter, which is when we learned how to live as frugally as possible, something we haven't had to do in years.  Our job losses wiped out all of our savings and the power bills helped gobble them up.  I switched to using gas to save what little money we had, which BTW, is actually the cheapest form of power here in Texas, with or without subsidy.

I value all of those things you listed as well, but not to the point that I'm willing to end up on the street because I can't pay my bills.  YMMV.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#46 2020-01-23 20:21:50

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,988

Re: New Solar Power Technology

For kbd512 .... Best wishes for both you and your wife to find steady income streams.

I thought about this once before in the context of Bill Gates running into obstacles developing nuclear power in the US.

Your expertise on the one hand, and political persuasion on the other, would appear (to me at least) to give you an edge to influence the current administration to open up nuclear power plant options in this country.  If you decide to look into this, I will offer my support. I'd like to see small modular nuclear power plants installed in every village, town and neighborhood in the continental US, in the outlying states, and in all the territories.

SpaceNut wrote:

I do hope that you have found work once more and that it remains stable.
For me the cost of propane, oil are just to high to heat with, wood is a bit more work than I would want as the home just does not heat well for where the stove can be put. I have looked into the cost for an outside boiler for heat/ hot water versus the more expensive but easier to use wood pellets. While the electrical is stable for price its just to much for using it for the heat let alone only hot water. It leaves modified natural sun light as the next option to look at for can I build or buy cheap enough.

Some months ago I caught an episode of some TV show with a home-update orientation.  I've forgotten everything else about the show, but this segment is burned permanently into memory ... the family had a small power steam plant in an outlying building.  It had not been used in years, but the current generation took the hardware and made a steam heating plant for the home, using wood as input.

I bring this up because it shows that an otherwise dangerous piece of equipment could be located away from the house, and able to deliver large supplies of hot steam (or water if you prefer) to the home.

With modern control electronics, the system could be sustained by automated systems to deliver logs or chips or whatever is configured for the system into the firebox as needed.  I suppose a human needs to clear the clinkers periodically, but even that is automated in modern coal power plants, so it might be automated for a home heating system.

Since this topic was set up to discuss Solar Power Technology, this might be an opportunity to set up a new topic with a title more appropriate to "modern" steam heat from wood in America ...

(th)

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#47 2020-01-23 20:36:03

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,750

Re: New Solar Power Technology

How much do solar panels cost to install for the average house in the US in 2020?
Table of array size shows that the cost of kw system size drops as the size goes up. A second table shows a size of 5kw system for each state with a wide variety of costs.
Solar Electricity Cost vs. Regular Electricity Cost

When Will Rooftop Solar Be Cheaper Than the Grid?

The parity of solar versus grid power only happens when you have more panels creating the power at the lowest panel costs to install possible.

Here is why the US is not making progress towards cheap power as How Utilities Are Fighting Back on Solar Power

With Americans are starting to see savings from solar, many traditional electricity suppliers are working to retain their profit margins

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#48 2020-01-23 23:11:11

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 6,222

Re: New Solar Power Technology

All,

We're doing fine now, or so I hope.  We both found new jobs and for the time being those jobs are paying the bills.  Everything in life is temporary, to include employment.

tahanson43206,

I support nuclear and small modular reactors because we have no other near term viable solutions within the realm of affordability to rapidly replace coal and gas at the scale of our total primary energy supply.  If I had my preferences, I would love to have solar and wind that works as well as is necessary and batteries that store as much energy as their equivalent mass in liquid hydrocarbon fuel.  Unfortunately, such is not presently the case and the basic math doesn't care about what I want or what I believe.  It dictates what works and what doesn't.  You can fight math and physics or you can work with it to get what you need and some of what you want.  We need crazy amounts of power to support our modern luxurious lifestyles where we do not want for food or warmth or cooling or anything else we could reasonably ask for.

What I do not want is to build gigantic sprawling power facilities of any kind.  We need portable power infrastructure that can be returned to the factory for maintenance, yet also runs 24/7/365.  If required, our military should operate the reactors to ensure that maintenance is performed by the book and no penny-wise but pound-foolish shortcuts are taken.

Our military has operated mobile nuclear reactors without serious incident for more decades on end than I've been alive and I assert that the reason they've been so successful is their unyielding training regimen and performance standards, mindset that puts what's most important into proper focus, and the fact that when it comes to nuclear power rank confers no privileges.  If something is wrong, a Seaman Recruit in charge of a reactor can tell a Captain to go pound sand if the Captain orders that man or woman to do something he or she knows should never be done.  There are lots of places to cut costs, but a reliable power provisioning infrastructure isn't one of them.

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#49 2020-01-24 18:28:50

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: New Solar Power Technology

Good to hear you and your wife's personal circumstances are much improved after that nasty dip in fortunes!

Unless each small modular reactor is going to be protected by a ring of military and SWAT teams, it's a non-starter in my view in the modern age, because you are basically giving terrorists a potential radiation bomb that could destroy whole cities (destroy in the sense of making them non-functioning - we had a foretaste of that sort of thing in the UK with the highly effective Russian-novichok attack in Salisbury).

Nuclear energy in terms of large central reactors is of course a well established technology and so far has been protected against terrorist attack. But everything I read suggests it's at least 4 cents per KwH more expensive than natural gas and more like 5-6 cents.  Onshore wind and in many parts of the world solar energy are already beating it on price by anything between 3 and 8 cents.

I approve of LENR research which might deliver the Holy Grail of high density, safe and readily accessible energy. But there is no evidence we are close to that yet (though a lot of interesting research is taking place).


kbd512 wrote:

All,

We're doing fine now, or so I hope.  We both found new jobs and for the time being those jobs are paying the bills.  Everything in life is temporary, to include employment.

tahanson43206,

I support nuclear and small modular reactors because we have no other near term viable solutions within the realm of affordability to rapidly replace coal and gas at the scale of our total primary energy supply.  If I had my preferences, I would love to have solar and wind that works as well as is necessary and batteries that store as much energy as their equivalent mass in liquid hydrocarbon fuel.  Unfortunately, such is not presently the case and the basic math doesn't care about what I want or what I believe.  It dictates what works and what doesn't.  You can fight math and physics or you can work with it to get what you need and some of what you want.  We need crazy amounts of power to support our modern luxurious lifestyles where we do not want for food or warmth or cooling or anything else we could reasonably ask for.

What I do not want is to build gigantic sprawling power facilities of any kind.  We need portable power infrastructure that can be returned to the factory for maintenance, yet also runs 24/7/365.  If required, our military should operate the reactors to ensure that maintenance is performed by the book and no penny-wise but pound-foolish shortcuts are taken.

Our military has operated mobile nuclear reactors without serious incident for more decades on end than I've been alive and I assert that the reason they've been so successful is their unyielding training regimen and performance standards, mindset that puts what's most important into proper focus, and the fact that when it comes to nuclear power rank confers no privileges.  If something is wrong, a Seaman Recruit in charge of a reactor can tell a Captain to go pound sand if the Captain orders that man or woman to do something he or she knows should never be done.  There are lots of places to cut costs, but a reliable power provisioning infrastructure isn't one of them.

Last edited by louis (2020-01-24 18:29:10)


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#50 2020-01-24 21:39:50

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 6,222

Re: New Solar Power Technology

Louis,

Small modular reactors (SMR's), while much smaller in physical size than gigawatt-class reactors, still weigh as much as a main battle tank.  It's a very thick steel tank with many tons of Uranium metal inside.  Unless the terrorists are showing up with dozens of workers and cranes of the size used in bridge or skyscraper construction, there's not much that they can do to the reactor and they certainly can't "steal it" unless the authorities just stick their thumbs up their butts and watch.  For obvious reasons, you and I both know that's never going to happen.

These reactors can be transported back to the fuel reprocessing station in purpose built armored vehicles.  Unless the terrorists have access to munitions in the weight range of those used by tactical fighters, all of which are controlled by nation-states who don't want their people irradiated, then there's not many practicable scenarios where terrorists could cause catastrophic damage simply because we built SMR's instead of gigawatt-class reactors.  Moving reactors around is no different in practice than moving nuclear fuel around, which we already routinely do, except that the fuel is at least as well protected as it's ever been if not more so.

I realize that our Hollyweird folks have very vivid imaginations and are highly creative in their attempts to evoke emotional responses to their captivating storylines, yet none of the silliness they portray in TV shows and movies has been implemented by a terrorist organization as it relates to nuclear power and nuclear weapons.  In point of fact, SWAT teams don't behave the way their TV show counterparts do because if they did they'd be sitting in jail with the people they're after.  I tend to think that's because the ideas the come from Hollyweird are nonsense, even if it's highly entertaining nonsense, and everybody knows it.

I'd like you to lay out a practicable scenario wherein a terrorist group, even if sponsored in some way by a nation-state like Iran, manages to render a city uninhabitable by attacking a nuclear reactor being transported to or from one of the places where we already have operating nuclear reactors.  I would like you to substitute reasonable responses by both the terrorist group and the defending government being attacked for the over-the-top Hollyweird nonsense.  For example, if the terrorists do manage to get their hands on a tactical fighter or a drone, then for sake of reality let's act as if the defenders have at least ten times more of those assets and might take umbrage at some upstart group thinking they can attack people or civil infrastructure in their airspace.

The London Police walked right up to a man with a fake suicide vest and blew his brains out, even as a civilian defender was in direct physical contact with that terrorist.  The Police didn't hesitate for a split second to off someone who presumably had no access to nuclear anything, yet they were keenly aware that if the device was real he could injure or kill others with it and very aggressively defended their people.  If nuclear materials were potentially the object of terrorist activity, try to imagine how swift and assured the response would be.  There's zero doubt in my mind that every instrument of our government, from the US Air Force to Delta Force, would be used to mercilessly end any terrorist bid to acquire or weaponize our nuclear materials.

Moving on to the business case...

SMR's have the ability ramp up and down much faster than gigawatt class reactors.  I would also note that I've never suggested that we put a SMR in every neighborhood, either.  I expect the SMR's to be used in the same facilities where traditional gigawatt-class reactors have been used, but without the massive hulking infrastructure of reactors of that scale.  Basically, each SMR would be emplaced in its own concrete pit in a reactor hall, the thermal output of each reactor would be used to drive a comparatively tiny sCO2 turbine, and all pieces of the support infrastructure would be truck-portable except for the building that houses the reactors.

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