Showing posts from September, 2015

Going Solar

Some people insist that solar PV has achieved "grid parity" but to claim this they obviously have to consider grid connected PV. The real cost of solar PV is masked when grid connected. In order to better understand the real cost of solar PV, let's make a simplified exercise here. What would be needed to go off grid? The following: Obviously, the solar PV panels. Storage batteries A gasoline electric generator (unless you plan to store heroic amounts of electricity, you would need the backup generator). We'll consider the following parameters in our installation (feel free to substitute your own numbers): Annual solar capacity factor: 18%. Cost of the PV installation (including inverters, installation, etc.): $3 per Watt. We'll use Tesla storage batteries (the 7kW version) at a cost of $6,000 including installation. Solar panel useful life: 20 years. Batteries useful life: 10 years. Annual electricity usage: 8,400 kWh. So, this ho

It Doesn't Work That Way

Note: this article is a team effort between Susan Chapelle and myself. I am sometimes too harsh, Susan is more diplomatic. We hope our collaboration will continue in the future and be fruitful. Thank you, Susan ! There is a misconception that in order to solve a problem, the most important step is "finding a quick solution." In our current political climate, this seems most evident with global climate change. For example, in this subject people may present any or several of the following "solutions:" Implement heavy carbon taxes. Subsidize renewables. Ban Arctic drilling. Aggressively ramp up nuclear power plant construction. Offer generous tax incentives in the purchase of EVs. Divest from fossil fuels At times, these approaches do not work as intended, and may even be counterproductive.  Why? The world is infinitely more complex than a bunch of bureaucrats working on spreadsheets in a government office, and the climate is infi