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Tags global warming , Solar panels , Solar power

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Old 28th May 2012, 05:57 AM   #1
Bikewer
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For the naysayers-Germany sets solar power record

Slashdot posted a Reuters article indicating that Germay has set a record as far as solar power production, generating nearly 50% of it's daytime needs last weekend by solar alone:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/0...84P0FI20120526

Not that this solves all the attendant problems of cloudy days, storage, and transmission, but it does rather strongly indicate that solar is not the pie-in-the-sky impossibility that is so often portrayed.

A "smart" power grid with a variety of local generation devices would seem to be quite possible if only we develop the political will to actually do it.
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Old 28th May 2012, 07:13 AM   #2
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Yup.

Germany isn't exactly a sunny place either.
A Renaissance of design needs to co-evolve with alternate power generation.
There's some good TED talks regarding novel architecture.

We've got a long way to go.
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Old 28th May 2012, 08:06 AM   #3
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Not quite such a long way anymore, I think is the point
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Old 28th May 2012, 08:20 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
Not quite such a long way anymore, I think is the point
Gosh, I thought the records Germany were setting were in importing Soviet natural gas. <google, google, google>

And they are one of the top ten importers of hard coal.

Sure 'nuff.

And..

http://theenergycollective.com/node/74847

The inefficient, Rube-Goldberg, EEG subsidizing scheme of robbing Peter (the 97% without solar systems) to pay Paul (the 3% with solar systems) creates unacceptable inequities, especially for lower income households without solar systems, and inefficiencies throughout the economy. The PR mantra of renewables promotors justifying subsidies, because they are saving the world from global warming/climate change, is self-serving in the extreme. See URL.

http://theenergycollective.com/wille...ing-difference
http://theenergycollective.com/wille...newables-later

Last edited by mhaze; 28th May 2012 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 28th May 2012, 08:26 AM   #5
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So at what percentage solar power grid would actually impress you mhaze?
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Old 28th May 2012, 08:36 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by nvidiot View Post
So at what percentage solar power grid would actually impress you mhaze?
Wrong question, but good attempt to frame the argument.
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Old 28th May 2012, 08:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by mhaze View Post
Wrong question, but good attempt to frame the argument.
Well it was a better attempt than your "Taint the well" and call it good
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Old 28th May 2012, 08:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mhaze View Post
Wrong question, but good attempt to frame the argument.
Wrong? It's just a question. You're obviously not impressed by the solar figure now. What would impress you?
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Old 28th May 2012, 09:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by nvidiot View Post
So at what percentage solar power grid would actually impress you mhaze?

22 Gigawatt, in a very sunny month, is not impressive knowing how much solar is subventionned. Still better off then a few more brown coal work at Braunschweig...

Now I will be *deeply* impressionned when the same happens in december, during a stormy day. Heck , or just even in december.
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Old 28th May 2012, 09:55 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by nvidiot View Post
Wrong? It's just a question. You're obviously not impressed by the solar figure now. What would impress you?
I've provided links and evidence showing why the OP article is not at all impressive. Quoting:

Conclusion: The above data indicates Germany’s (quixotic?, misguided?, irrational?) exuberance towards renewables will make no global warming and/or climate change difference, but will adversely affect Germany's future economic well-being, because it will end up with an energy systems setup that will have at least 2 times the levelized (owning+O&M) cost of competitor nations that did not follow Germany.

Germany is implementing renewables through subsidies more so than other nations, because it has the excess capital to do so, and because it claims to want to set an example to the world. A bit of chest beating; gorillas do it in the jungle. Other nations, especially the developing nations, do not have the resources, and/or the willingness, to follow Germany.
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Old 28th May 2012, 11:33 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
Slashdot posted a Reuters article indicating that Germay has set a record as far as solar power production, generating nearly 50% of it's daytime needs last weekend by solar alone...

And what's the percentage during the work week when all those businesses and factories are consuming power?
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Old 28th May 2012, 11:50 AM   #12
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Day time needs in summer must be quite low in Germany. Cool enough for no a.c.; not cold enough for heat; long days and less lighting, etc.

Still, pretending with these technologies is the start that's needed to get to refine everything.
Its analogous to the beginnings of the space program, or computers.
Don't dump out the baby with the bath water, as they say, and in this case, its pv.
Direct use (daytime) saves a lot of hassles, and there are obvious applications.
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Old 28th May 2012, 12:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by mhaze View Post
Wrong question, but good attempt to frame the argument.
Yeah, about that framing thing,...

From the OP cite:
Quote:
22 gigawatts of electricity per hour - equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity - through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday
Your citation claims, "oh noes it costs too much".

Well about that cost framing, if you leave out the costs of the consequences of global warming you can frame the success one way.

If you only compare current costs which include a whole lot of infrastructure investment you can frame the success one way.

If you only compare the relative value of the competitiveness of solar with cheap oil and gas that, no matter when we run out, is not a renewable source, you can frame the success one way.


I think the citation you posted was worth reading, the points worth noting but there are a myriad of ways to look at cost.
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Old 28th May 2012, 01:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
22 gigawatts of electricity per hour - equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity - through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday
Just so everyone is on the same sheet, Fukushima Daiichi has a combined generating power of 4.7 GWe with 6 reactors; F Daini, it's sister plant, is rated at 4.2 GWe with 4 reactors. Reactors commonly generate 1 to 1.6 GWe each. The amount of solar generated is about 4 Daichi stations.

The phrase "gigawatts of electricity per hour" is an error. A power reading (watts) is an instantaneous measurement. It would be impressive if they had been able to say "22 GWe for 8 hours". Very likely it made a peak power of 22 GWe.

Last edited by shadron; 28th May 2012 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 28th May 2012, 02:03 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by shadron View Post
Just so everyone is on the same sheet, Fukushima Daiichi has a combined generating power of 4.7 GWe with 6 reactors; F Daini, it's sister plant, is rated at 4.2 GWe with 4 reactors. Reactors commonly generate 1 to 1.6 GWe each. The amount of solar generated is about 4 Daichi stations.
I appreciate the correction. It doesn't change my perspective but it is relevant.

It would seem the argument against alternative energy is twofold, one, there will never be enough and two, it is too expensive. If there are other arguments, feel free to add.

The idea there will never be enough reminds of the claim they should close the patent office, everything that can be invented has been. We all know how silly that was.

Re the cost, what is the alternative? Pretending we will never run out of fossil fuels? Go all nuclear because it's cheap and just work on better safeguards? (I'm not against nuclear power but I do think the events in Japan and Chernobyl must be considered.)

Why not invest in the infrastructure and the R&D of alternative energy? Seems like a no brainer to me.
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Old 28th May 2012, 02:08 PM   #16
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I think Daniel Nocera has the answer to solar energy storage problems.

However, there are a number of ways solar, working only on sunny days, without any energy storage system, could make significant contributions to making the world a better place in which to live. One example would be intensive, modular development of solar powered, reverse osmosis, desalination plants along the Red Sea and the coasts of Africa in general.
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Old 28th May 2012, 02:22 PM   #17
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Skeptic Ginger. Those 22 GW were generated during a week end during a sunny day no cloud. That's pretty rare in germany . Now , see the things is that those solar stuff were subventionned over the last 10 years to the tune of 100 billion euro about. And that is for about 3% of the total energy generated yearly today. This does not look as good as the reporting pretend it is when you look more carefully. Sure it is a good step because every watt gained that way is one a coal brown work won't have to generate, and frankly I am much much more afraid and warry of coal plant (read the stimate on the number of cancer worldwide and number of death caused by coal. Very edifying. CHernobyl is child play in comparison) than nuclear plant.

Also considering fukushima, and chernobyl, I am sorry, but at the moment the risk of nuclear plant meltdown is truly overstated by the media making a climate of fear. That is particularly true in germany, where the risk of tsunami (quasi nil) and earthquake (one slightly above average earthquake in 800 years in a very localized region, the rest being as small activity as one can be in europe).

And frankly, if one starts to fear about meltdown with nuclear plant, they should also think of all those chemical plants which are not even 1/100 of the standard of security a nuclear plant is. Think seveso/bhopal and the likes. If you think the nuke plant can't resists the local earthquake, hink of the total nightmare with the chemicals plants.

Bottom line, people are being manipulated by the media into fear mongering at least in germany. And solar/wind is being praised with people saying or using imagery saying they will replace nuclear by wind (or solar). They are simply being lied to, or at least the truth that it is not feasable without humongous ruinous investiment is not properly shown.
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Old 28th May 2012, 02:27 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Yeah, about that framing thing,...

From the OP cite:

Your citation claims, "oh noes it costs too much".

Well about that cost framing, if you leave out the costs of the consequences of global warming you can frame the success one way.

If you only compare current costs which include a whole lot of infrastructure investment you can frame the success one way.

If you only compare the relative value of the competitiveness of solar with cheap oil and gas that, no matter when we run out, is not a renewable source, you can frame the success one way.


I think the citation you posted was worth reading, the points worth noting but there are a myriad of ways to look at cost.
The three links I provided have a great deal of material on this subject. But since you want to talk about cost, let's just do that.

How much value, in euros, of electricity were generated

...for those two days
...per year

by that 200B euro solar investment in Germany?

Assuming what they meant was 22GWatt/Hours for a total of 8 hours (re Shadron's post). At 0.22 Euro per kwhour (highway robbery) this looks like about 5M euro per hour or 40M total take for those two days. In 2011 the total production was 18B kwh. The value of that was about 40B.

So we've got $200B invested, for $4B total consumer paid in revenue. I don't know what the "wholesale cost" might be, since the $4B has to pay for all aspects of getting power to the consumer - power line maintenance for example. Let's assume it's 50%, so the value that can retire the debt and pay principal is 2B.

2b on 200B would pay 4% interest and no principle.

See a little problem here?



In other words, if you want a really, really bad business deal, go ahead, put your solar collectors under clouds. But Germany's not stupid so why would they do this?

Answer: Export sales of solar and wind equipment is big business for them, so they need or could benefit from "showcasing it". Interesting - the government buys massive amounts of this junk from it's own industries, promotes it, tries to develop a export business model - while in actuality, increasing their natural gas imports to the point where they are Russia's biggest customer.

Increasing coal imports, too.

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Old 28th May 2012, 03:02 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
....people are being manipulated by the media into fear mongering at least in germany. And solar/wind is being praised with people saying or using imagery saying they will replace nuclear by wind (or solar). They are simply being lied to, or at least the truth that it is not feasable without humongous ruinous investiment is not properly shown.
The backlash against this, when it gets figured out by the public, is likely to be destructive to the future of the very industries promoted.

Think Solyndra, but way more massive.
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Old 28th May 2012, 07:19 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by mhaze View Post
The three links I provided have a great deal of material on this subject. But since you want to talk about cost, let's just do that.
Actually Skeptic Ginger was talking about cost framing: "Well about that cost framing, if you leave out the costs of the consequences of global warming you can frame the success one way."

The idiocy contained in the blog posts that you linked to is that they are just about the costs of photovoltaic solar power. Using the same "logic" the high costs of every form of generating power means that every country in the world should stop generating power !

IMO the costs of photovoltaic solar power in general are not currently worth the benefits, e.g. in CO2 reduction, for the simple reason that it is too inefficient. The future looks better though since the cost of PV power has already dropped by a factor of 50 since 1976 (IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources) and should follow this trend.
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Old 29th May 2012, 04:28 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
Actually Skeptic Ginger was talking about cost framing: "Well about that cost framing, if you leave out the costs of the consequences of global warming you can frame the success one way."

The idiocy contained in the blog posts that you linked to is that they are just about the costs of photovoltaic solar power. Using the same "logic" the high costs of every form of generating power means that every country in the world should stop generating power ! .....
The articles showed that the actions of Germany will have no effect on net world Co2 production.

Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
IMO the costs of photovoltaic solar power in general are not currently worth the benefits, e.g. in CO2 reduction, for the simple reason that it is too inefficient. .....
The problem with heavy investments in a rapidly changing and improving technology actually is "cost". Namely, if (as I would think we could agree) PV shows a 30% improvement in cost effectiveness in 5 years, then the people of Germany have LOST 30% of their 200B euro investment, for nothing.

And I think if we calculate it here and now, that's already happened with them. Likely, far in excess of 30%. That's the case with numerous large scale installations in my area.
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Old 29th May 2012, 04:37 AM   #22
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Funny to see how some people are complaining about subsidies for green tech. but they never mention the much larger subsidies most countries have for fossil fuels....

hypocrites

http://www.iea.org/press/pressdetail...ESS_REL_ID=424

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Old 29th May 2012, 04:41 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by mhaze View Post
I've provided links and evidence showing why the OP article is not at all impressive. Quoting:
Translation: "Like woo-woos, I will not answer your question, as doing so would force me to be impressed at some point in the future."
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Old 29th May 2012, 04:50 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I appreciate the correction. It doesn't change my perspective but it is relevant.

It would seem the argument against alternative energy is twofold, one, there will never be enough and two, it is too expensive. If there are other arguments, feel free to add.
Land used. A common solar density is 11w/m^2, so 22GW amounts to 2 Gm^2 = 2000 km^2. I'd be afraid to compute land costs in Germany on a parcel like that. Consider that optimally catching the sun (tilting the panels thru the day) will require perhaps twice that much land to achieve relatively high output in morning and evening. Thankfully that tilting can be done passively; John Denver built a system in Snowmass demonstrating that 20 years ago.

Quote:
The idea there will never be enough reminds of the claim they should close the patent office, everything that can be invented has been. We all know how silly that was.
You bet your life.

Quote:
Re the cost, what is the alternative? Pretending we will never run out of fossil fuels? Go all nuclear because it's cheap and just work on better safeguards? (I'm not against nuclear power but I do think the events in Japan and Chernobyl must be considered.)
OK, let's consider the safeguards required. Chernobyl? Don't use that reactor design (and the USSR did upgrade that design, and it has since been running the bulk of the Russian nuclear power since, without containment. Scary?). In Japan? Get the damned diesels off the ground - in fact, build the whole plant on a bluff built to the specs of, say, the Hoover dam foundation, 120 ft above sea level. And don't forget that the land side of a subduction zone boundary will most assuredly subside somewhat when an earthquake occurs. That's right off the top of my head; no doubt there are better alternatives. Same solution for the station in Nebraska that almost flooded last year. This isn't yet rocket science.

Quote:
Why not invest in the infrastructure and the R&D of alternative energy? Seems like a no brainer to me.
Money. Days are too short. You lose 10% of power generated when you put it on the grid; keeping sources local is best economically. A transmission line into the desert to maximize sun time will cost 10% in transmission, and will not be carrying any power (that is, generating revenue) 2/3's of the time. That's a bummer for ROI.

Use solar/wind to generate power to be used locally in a rural area? That's great, if somewhat pricey. Feed it back into the grid for 4x the price of power generated in large plants? Not a really good idea, though lots of thoughtful, cash-rich people are happily doing that today.

Remember what I said about that 22GWe earlier - that is a peak reading (very probably), not likely any kind of average, and most certainly not an average over full day cycles.
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Old 29th May 2012, 04:58 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
Slashdot posted a Reuters article indicating that Germay has set a record as far as solar power production, generating nearly 50% of it's daytime needs last weekend by solar alone:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/0...84P0FI20120526

Not that this solves all the attendant problems of cloudy days, storage, and transmission, but it does rather strongly indicate that solar is not the pie-in-the-sky impossibility that is so often portrayed.

A "smart" power grid with a variety of local generation devices would seem to be quite possible if only we develop the political will to actually do it.
Considering waht the goals of Germany are, this was to be expected and they still have a very very long way to go. but good to see them going the way this time, and not only talk like in the past
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Old 29th May 2012, 05:46 AM   #26
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23 cents is more than double what I pay though.
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2 prints, same midtarsal crock..., I mean break?
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Old 29th May 2012, 06:37 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
23 cents is more than double what I pay though.
It's not 23 cents, it is 0.23 Euro, which is more like 35 cents per kwh.

But haven't you heard? High energy prices are "good".
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Old 29th May 2012, 06:40 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by mhaze View Post
It's not 23 cents, it is 0.23 Euro, which is more like 35 cents per kwh.

But haven't you heard? High energy prices are "good".
they are indeed, so we are less wastefull with it.
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Old 29th May 2012, 07:05 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by DC View Post
they are indeed, so we are less wastefull with it.
Yeah, I guess if electricity prices tripled, us poor and middle class folks would have to be less wasteful, if we can afford electricity at all.

Al Gore and friends won't be concerned about the price. Maybe we can stay at his giant mansion in the summer heat? I'm sure it will be nice and cool throughout.

Thank goodness solar power remains only a small component of Germany's electricity supply, and will remain a very small component of mine.
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Old 29th May 2012, 07:13 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
Yeah, I guess if electricity prices tripled, us poor and middle class folks would have to be less wasteful, if we can afford electricity at all.

Al Gore and friends won't be concerned about the price. Maybe we can stay at his giant mansion in the summer heat? I'm sure it will be nice and cool throughout.

Thank goodness solar power remains only a small component of Germany's electricity supply, and will remain a very small component of mine.
there we go again with that Al Gore..... i never ever mentioned him or his movie, i never quote him or anything. but somehow constantly his name gets trown at me. laughable.

we all have to be less wastefull. sure rich people will have less troubles with keeping up their wastefull lifestyles. so what? is that worth wrecking our climate for it? just becuase others do it too? i assumed you are not that dumb. don't tell me im wrong with that.
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Old 29th May 2012, 07:39 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by mhaze View Post
It's not 23 cents, it is 0.23 Euro, which is more like 35 cents per kwh.

But haven't you heard? High energy prices are "good".
23 eurocents is around 28 dollarcents around the time of this thread, actually.
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Old 29th May 2012, 07:47 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by DC View Post
there we go again with that Al Gore..... i never ever mentioned him or his movie, i never quote him or anything. but somehow constantly his name gets trown at me. laughable.

we all have to be less wastefull. sure rich people will have less troubles with keeping up their wastefull lifestyles. so what? is that worth wrecking our climate for it? just becuase others do it too? i assumed you are not that dumb. don't tell me im wrong with that.
Don't tell me how to live my life or how to spend my money.

Live your own life your own way, and I'll do the same.

When and if solar power makes economic sense, it will become a mainstream source of electricity.

At the moment, it's a bad joke on the world, imo.
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Old 29th May 2012, 07:55 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
Don't tell me how to live my life or how to spend my money.

Live your own life your own way, and I'll do the same.

When and if solar power makes economic sense, it will become a mainstream source of electricity.

At the moment, it's a bad joke on the world, imo.
whenever you can be a danger to other people you are told how to behave, be it in traffic or how to handle toxic waste etc etc. and so it will be with energy.
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Old 29th May 2012, 07:58 AM   #34
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Does solar power have to generate "enough" for absolutely everything? Is using solar power to merely significantly reduce the amount of coal that needs to be burned for instance morally reprehensible or something? What does this all-or-nothing mentality of solar energy detractors stem from?
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Old 29th May 2012, 08:04 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
Don't tell me how to live my life or how to spend my money.

Live your own life your own way, and I'll do the same.

When and if solar power makes economic sense, it will become a mainstream source of electricity.

At the moment, it's a bad joke on the world, imo.
What is your problem? You should report to the twice weekly party meeting for a group discussion on your capitalist-lackey attitudes. Many who have done this have become good comrades of the people's republic. But rest assured - in the absence of that, loyal socialists on the internet tubes will kindly inform you of correct behavior. They know they know more and are wiser than you. It is only needed that you, too, realize this.

Have you ever encountered a truly wacko religious cult? When you first meet them, they do not tell you all of the inner secrets and truthinesses. Only after you've been with them a week or two do they start to reveal these, and then, bit by bit.

The ManBearPig, Al Gore, is like that. They are devout believers in his doctrine, but do not discuss it openly with outsiders. Sort of like the way that certain cults marry the 12, 13 and 14 year olds off to the Profit Leader, but would they ever discuss this openly? Of course not.
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Old 29th May 2012, 08:06 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by mhaze View Post
What is your problem? You should report to the twice weekly party meeting for a group discussion on your capitalist-lackey attitudes. Many who have done this have become good comrades of the people's republic. But rest assured - in the absence of that, loyal socialists on the internet tubes will kindly inform you of correct behavior. They know they know more and are wiser than you. It is only needed that you, too, realize this.

Have you ever encountered a truly wacko religious cult? When you first meet them, they do not tell you all of the inner secrets and truthinesses. Only after you've been with them a week or two do they start to reveal these, and then, bit by bit.

The ManBearPig, Al Gore, is like that. They are devout believers in his doctrine, but do not discuss it openly with outsiders. Sort of like the way that certain cults marry the 12, 13 and 14 year olds off to the Profit Leader, but would they ever discuss this openly? Of course not.
yeah there we go again the usual nonsense from the science deniers like you and your fellow creatards
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Old 29th May 2012, 08:07 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Fishstick View Post
23 eurocents is around 28 dollarcents around the time of this thread, actually.
Wow! That currency is dropping like a wind tower in a Texas hurricane.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Does solar power have to generate "enough" for absolutely everything? Is using solar power to merely significantly reduce the amount of coal that needs to be burned for instance morally reprehensible or something? What does this all-or-nothing mentality of solar energy detractors stem from?
Seems to either indicate a complete misunderstanding of the problems involved, or a reframing and misrepresentation of a group of arguments a-la strawman fashion.

Originally Posted by DC View Post
yeah there we go again the usual nonsense from the science deniers like you and your fellow creatards
Let's see, 22Gw for 200B Euros is about 18 Euro/watt, which is $23 dollars per watt, give or take.

I can cite a dozen installations here which cost $8-10/watt for five year ago build costs. But now, with the cheap Chinese PV imports at $1/watt, the book value of these installations has dropped way down. In other words, the people that installed systems at $10/watt and often took out bank loans, have have systems worth about $4/watt plus five years of depreciation. On a 20 year useful life, the residual value is some $3/watt.

So they've lost 7 out of 10 dollars they invested. Lost = wasted.

It would appear this analysis would be far, far worse for the German solar array installation. Even artificially jacking up the cost of electricity does not change that. In other words, the free market wins.

You here who are devout and faithful to the Green Gaia, should wise up and look at these numbers and think them over.

Last edited by mhaze; 29th May 2012 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 29th May 2012, 08:16 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by mhaze View Post
. . . . .
The problem with heavy investments in a rapidly changing and improving technology actually is "cost". Namely, if (as I would think we could agree) PV shows a 30% improvement in cost effectiveness in 5 years, then the people of Germany have LOST 30% of their 200B euro investment, for nothing.

And I think if we calculate it here and now, that's already happened with them. Likely, far in excess of 30%. That's the case with numerous large scale installations in my area.
Somebody has to go first, and great that the Germans have the cash and incentive to do it now.
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Old 29th May 2012, 08:32 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by mhaze View Post
The articles showed that the actions of Germany will have no effect on net world Co2 production.
That is short term, and short sighted framing. You are of course, welcome to point out the short term effects of investing in PV power.
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Old 29th May 2012, 08:37 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
...When and if solar power makes economic sense, it will become a mainstream source of electricity.

At the moment, it's a bad joke on the world, imo.
Better close the patent office, there's no reason to think innovation could possibly continue.

I'm sorry but I get your attitude here even less than MHaze's, "it's too expensive". Are you saying any R&D investment in solar power is a bad joke?
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