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Global solar dominance in sight as science trumps fossils
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Lord Beria3



Joined: 25 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:43 pm    Post subject: Global solar dominance in sight as science trumps fossils Reply with quote

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/10755598/Global-solar-dominance-in-sight-as-science-trumps-fossil-fuels.html

Quote:

Solar power has won the global argument. Photovoltaic energy is already so cheap that it competes with oil, diesel and liquefied natural gas in much of Asia without subsidies.


Roughly 29pc of electricity capacity added in America last year came from solar, rising to 100pc even in Massachusetts and Vermont. "More solar has been installed in the US in the past 18 months than in 30 years," says the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). California's subsidy pot is drying up but new solar has hardly missed a beat.


The technology is improving so fast - helped by the US military - that it has achieved a virtous circle. Michael Parker and Flora Chang, at Sanford Bernstein, say we entering a new order of "global energy deflation" that must ineluctably erode the viability of oil, gas and the fossil fuel nexus over time. In the 1980s solar development was stopped in its tracks by the slump in oil prices. By now it has surely crossed the threshold irreversibly.


The ratchet effect of energy deflation may be imperceptible at first since solar makes up just 0.17pc of the world's $5 trillion energy market, or 3pc of its electricity. The trend does not preclude cyclical oil booms along the way. Nor does it obviate the need for shale fracking as a stop-gap, for national security reasons or in Britain's case to curb a shocking current account deficit of 5.4pc of GDP.


But the technology momentum goes only one way. "Eventually solar will become so large that there will be consequences everywhere," they said. This remarkable overthrow of everthing we take for granted in world energy politics may occur within "the better part of a decade".


Curious to see what people say to this. Is it realistic? I hope so but not sure.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"Eventually solar will become so large that there will be consequences everywhere,"


I suppose somebody will say we are sucking so much energy out of the Sun that it will cool down.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That picture of reflective solar panels is interesting. How does that work, when so much light is reflected?
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adam2
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solar is already competitive with fossil fuels for daytime electricity production, under some circumstances.
That however is not the same as being competitive with fossil fuel for night time use.
There are numerous technologies whereby solar energy may be stored for night time use, but all of them involve substantial capital outlay and significant losses.
Pv to replace daytime oil or gas burning, probably
Pv to replace nightime oil or gas, unlikely in the near or medium term.

Many developing countries have electricity shortages and could make much use of solar, but it wont be the total answer.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Economy 7 was introduced when there was a surplus of night time electricity. If solar dominates then the price differential could be reversed. Seriously smart meters would have variable pricing to match supply and demand.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biffvernon wrote:
Economy 7 was introduced when there was a surplus of night time electricity. If solar dominates then the price differential could be reversed. Seriously smart meters would have variable pricing to match supply and demand.


Yes, I can certainly forsee a future in which the large scale use of PV leads to lower prices in sunlight and higher prices at night.
This could shift significant demand to daylight hours.

Smart meters could help match supply and demand, but without very expensive storage, there is going to be significant demand at night and NO PV production.

Hydro is a good complement to wind and solar since the ouput is readily adjusted to match demand, but most good sites are already in use.
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vtsnowedin



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surely there are some flexibility in the system that will be adjusted as conditions change. The river system I am most familiar with has for decades closed the gates about sundown and stored all the nights flow when few were on the water to notice. Then about nine A.M. local time the flume-ways to the generators were opened to provide power during the peak demand hours at the cheapest cost. If and when plentiful PV. power is available during the daylight hours they could just as well hold the water for the night hours.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
Surely there are some flexibility in the system that will be adjusted as conditions change. The river system I am most familiar with has for decades closed the gates about sundown and stored all the nights flow when few were on the water to notice. Then about nine A.M. local time the flume-ways to the generators were opened to provide power during the peak demand hours at the cheapest cost. If and when plentiful PV. power is available during the daylight hours they could just as well hold the water for the night hours.


Yes, given sufficient controlable hydro power, then solar can make a substantial contribution with hydro output being adjusted as needed.
Every unit of solar generated power would then be a corresponding volume of water still behind the dam for night time use.

In the absence of nuclear or fossil fuel generation this needs enough hydro power to meet 100% of the nightime demand and a significant proportion of the daytime cloudy weather demand.
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Catweazle



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If new materials are used to make super-capacitors the potential for solar is huge.
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vtsnowedin



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Catweazle wrote:
If new materials are used to make super-capacitors the potential for solar is huge.
I'm afraid Cat that I don't follow your reasoning. Do super-capacitors and solar panels ever go together?
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adam2
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
Catweazle wrote:
If new materials are used to make super-capacitors the potential for solar is huge.
I'm afraid Cat that I don't follow your reasoning. Do super-capacitors and solar panels ever go together?


Not often at present, I presume that the proposal is to store electricity from PV in supercapacitors and use it at night.
At present the amount of energy that can be stored for a given capital cost is far too small for affordable bulk energy storage.

The technology is however improving and shows promise for the future.

At present losses are also a problem, not only from the cost of the energy wasted, but also the losses appear as heat. Cooling a utility scale bank of super caps could be a problem.
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fuzzy



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
Catweazle wrote:
If new materials are used to make super-capacitors the potential for solar is huge.
I'm afraid Cat that I don't follow your reasoning. Do super-capacitors and solar panels ever go together?


Not often at present, I presume that the proposal is to store electricity from PV in supercapacitors and use it at night.
At present the amount of energy that can be stored for a given capital cost is far too small for affordable bulk energy storage.

The technology is however improving and shows promise for the future.

At present losses are also a problem, not only from the cost of the energy wasted, but also the losses appear as heat. Cooling a utility scale bank of super caps could be a problem.


Supercapacitors are somewhat misnamed. As a way of getting bursts of energy for a short time they are good but I can't ever see how they can store much. Maybe very high voltage capacitors, but they would be an armed bomb. Vanadium batteries could scale up. I wouldn't worry about cooling etc, power station transformers work fine and arc melting transformers send 100MW into a dead short and still survive with oil circulation and fan heat exchangers.

We could just go to bed when the sun sets. If we didn't have to work 'for the man'..
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Ralph



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

biffvernon wrote:
Quote:
"Eventually solar will become so large that there will be consequences everywhere,"


I suppose somebody will say we are sucking so much energy out of the Sun that it will cool down.


Peak solar!! Great idea!! Now that peak oil hasn't worked out as hoped, we need the next, NEW, latest and GREATEST fear meme to pimp!



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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ralph wrote:
Now that peak oil hasn't worked out as hoped,
in the tiny corner of the world that you understand. Yet. And in case it's escaped your attention, no-one round here is actually hoping for it: we are merely dealing with it.
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Ralph



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RenewableCandy wrote:
Ralph wrote:
Now that peak oil hasn't worked out as hoped,
in the tiny corner of the world that you understand. Yet. And in case it's escaped your attention, no-one round here is actually hoping for it: we are merely dealing with it.


and doing so quite admirably! It took peak oil back in..wellwhenever, but you know the problem was licked the instant that personal peak oil solutions were being manufactured and sold to anyone who wants one. The idea of burning liquid fuels to just move people around really is pretty silly, isn't it? We should have cured that one a century ago, but it is nice that finally, now, after the hammer blows of peak oils, that we can motor around happily without needing to burn stuff to make it happen.

Not that we HAVE to mind you, certainly they wouldn't be selling Corvettes in America if everyone was as interested in prospering in our post peak world as I am.
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