Two Billion Solar Panels

Tony Duncan suggests that Texas can run off solar electricity. Let’s do the math.

Texas is averaging about 55 Gigawatts of electrical consumption today.  Averaged out over 24 hours, a cloudless summer day might achieve 200 watts / m² solar insolation. The most efficient solar collectors are about 15%.

55,000,000,000 / (200 * 0.15) = 1,830,000,000

It would require almost two billion 1 m² solar panels to meet the average consumption today – assuming that you had a currently non-existent technology to store the electricity at night.

Now assume you got an outrageously good deal on the solar panels and only had to pay $100/m² – that would cost $200,000,000,000 for the panels and maybe that much again for the installation and power lines.

And of course it won’t work very well when it is winter, cloudy, dusty or at night.

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48 Responses to Two Billion Solar Panels

  1. Tony Duncan says:

    Steve,

    I am confused, where did I say that ALL of Texas’ power needs could be met by using current solar technology?
    what do you mean “currently non existent technology to store energy at night”. I guess you are unfamiliar with molten salt.

    I am always fascinated with the argument that because some new technology is not perfect that it is therefore worthless. I imagine the arguments in 1890 regarding those slow, inefficient, ridiculously expensive prone to breakdown horseless carriages. And EVEN if those issues can be improved the infrastructure needed to allow them to become dominant would cost hundreds of billions of dollars and the logistics of such a thing would be so crazy, it is virtually impossible for the horseless carriage to ever replace the horse.

  2. Paul H says:

    It really could not be simpler. If solar power is effective and cheap private enterprise will quickly invest in it without the need for subsidies.

  3. chris y says:

    Big solar thermal plants with molten salt thermal storage cost about $4/W for limited storage time. To carry through several days of cloudy conditions, the price will be closer to $6/W. If you really just want solar for Texas, then you need to meet peak demand of 55 GW for several days. With 5 hrs/day average solar insolation, that means you need at least 55 GW*(48hrs)/(5hrs) = 528 GW peak of solar capacity. At $6/W, that gives a cost of $3.16 Trillion, just for the solar farms, not including land lease costs.

    And even with this conservative overbuild, the fossil fuel plants will still need to be kept operating on standby in case an unprecedented weather event ( more than 2 days of continuous cloud cover) takes down the solar plants. so add their ongoing operating costs to the tally.

    A promising solar energy path is a co-generation plant where solar thermal supplants a coal-fired or natural gas fired plant. The solar thermal plant in Florida that opened last year to much fanfare, cost $5.5/W to add solar thermal to an existing gas fired generator. The utility will recoup half of the capital costs through avoided gas purchases by the time the solar thermal equipment needs to be scrapped and replaced.

  4. GregW says:

    I think if there is anyone we can trust to do the right thing it’s the Chinese. I think someone called their system “boomtown communism.” You do realize they are still a totalitarian dictatatorship, Tony? All moral equivalence aside, concentrating absolute power in the hands of a few by force is not my ideal. You seem to admire them or at least their fabulous reliance on solar power and their awesome committment to reducing carbon induced global warming.

  5. Justa Joe says:

    It’s an insult to the automobile industry to compare it to the solar “industry.”

    The car competed with the horse as a vehicle for land conveyance, and the car won displacing the horse within a few decades. PV has been around since 1839. It competes against coal, gas, hydro, and nuke as a major source of electrical power so far it’s losing BADLY.

    Car > solar panel

  6. Chilli says:

    I find very few members of the public have actually considered calculations like this. There is a widespread belief that a solar or wind farm can easily match any conventional power station. They just have no idea of the vast scale of wind or solar needed to replace just one conventional power plant:

    eg. To match the average power output of 3GW coal fired plant using the latest 3.6MW turbines:

    3000 MW / 3.6 x 0.27 efficiency = 3086 turbines. Three thousand!! – each requiring 200T of steel for the tower, 200T concrete for foundations and access roads, 1T of Chinese rare-earths for the magnets, miles of ugly pylons to carry the leccy from remote windy areas. Each 3.6MW turbine costs $3M so that’s $9Bn total compared to just to $1.6 for a conventional 3GW station.

    And compare the land area too:

    Wind turbines need 8 x rotor diameter spacing in all directions = 0.64km2 per turbine – so that’s 2000km2 – rendered uninhabitable to humans due to noise and flicker. Compare that to the 1km2 land required for a conventional station. Absolutely no comparison. By any measure conventional power stations have less impact on the environment.

    • GregW says:

      The public are generally not well informed for various reasons and that’s discouraging, but there is no excuse for those who have taken it upon themselves to get elected to govern and then refuse to carefully consider the math and the consequences of their actions.

  7. The great thing about this is that there is absolutely nothing stopping Tony Duncan from trying to power all of Texas with solar. He isn’t breaking a single law by creating and selling solar power. Odd that he would stand with those who wish to make other, less-polluting forms of energy legally restricted and subject to onerous regulation. Almost like there’s some kind of agenda, rather than science, driving that there solar-energy advocacy.

  8. Les Johnson says:

    I am installing 3 solar powered attic fans in my house in Houston. According to the company, i should get pay back in 1-2 years. According to my calculations, it will take 2-4 years.

    The price? About $1000, if i do installation myself.

    This is to save about 300 watts. But only during the day. When the sun is shining enough.

    Scaling up to supply Texas at these rates, would be just shy of 200 billion dollars. But you would only have power during the day. When the sun is shining enough.

    • Paul H says:

      Better turn your computer off soon then!

    • hell_is_like_newark says:

      Save your money…

      ASHRAE did a study back on attic fans. They don’t do squat. I can also back up those finding from my own personal experience (I used to do energy efficiency improvements on homes). Pulling in cool air does nothing about the massive amount on infrared radiation being emitted onto the ceiling below. The fans can also draw moisture into the attic, which is a no-no.

      If you want to really reduce your cooling loads, assuming you have fiberglass insulation in the attic: Put down a layer of cellulose on top of your existing insulation, at least 6 inches thick. Fiberglass is a terrible insulator, but if you put something on top of it that resists air-flow, it will work a lot better.

  9. Paul H says:

    In the UK we are being offered free solar panels on condition that any surplus is sold by the company installing them. There is no way they could afford this unless they were being hugely subsidised.

  10. Al Gored says:

    Steven, Steven, you greedy capitalist earth hater.

    What’s a mere $400,000,000,000 if we can make the Texas climate normal and good?

    Don’t you care about the children? And what about those lizards that are so close to the brink that they may need to shut down oil drilling in West Texas? As I recall, there have been studies showing that CAGW – the kind that will happen without solar panels everywhere – will kill off all lizards… and they could be saved by the shade of solar panels everywhere.

    Going for this is a no brainer. You know, the kind of decision made with no brain.

  11. hell_is_like_newark says:

    Here in NJ, our retail electrical rates went from about $0.12 to $0.18. This is largely result of having to fund the energy credits for all these solar panels. Its not he fuel since most of our electricity is from nuclear (price has gone down) and coal (price stable for years).

    As a side project, I have been researching tech to see (at least for commercial clients) if it is cheaper to generate electricity on site instead of buying from the grid. This one engine I am looking at will produce electricity (at the current natural gas rates) at out $0.14 a kWh. And that is with a $0.03 per kWh factored in for M&V and maintenance. If you can use the waste heat, paybacks are under three years. If you can’t.. the paybacks will be much longer.

    NJ is still plunging ahead. There is talk of our electrical rates going up another 50% to European levels!

  12. Julienne Stroeve says:

    This may have gotten lost in the comments, but I found it an interesting summary of possibilities (segment 10 further deals with wind and segment 8 deals with the military’s efforts to get off fossil fuels). http://earththeoperatorsmanual.com/segment/9

    • Justa Joe says:

      That article is just a puff piece for the “green crowd” with little significance just more overwrought “green” PR.

      An M-1 Ahbrams tank uses approximately 300 gallons of fuel every eight hours of operation. I’d hate to even think how much fuel an F-15 would use at full throttle. The military isn’t getting off “fossil” fuels anytime soon.

      • Jimash says:

        Actually…
        “The fuel used for the demonstration was from the camelina plant, a weed-like plant that needs little to flourish and isn’t used as a food source. HRJ’s refining process and emissions are cleaner than those of conventional fuels, officials said.

        The Air Force is the Defense Department’s largest user of jet fuel, consuming 2.4 billion gallons per year. The Air Force plans to switch half of its continental U.S. jet fuel requirement to alternative fuels by 2016. A short-term goal is to have all Air Force aircraft certified to fly using alternative fuels by 2012, Yonkers said. ”

        http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=58488

      • suyts says:

        I’m actually astonished that someone finally decided to use weeds to make ethanol. I’ve screamed that thought since the inception of corn based ethanol!

        Because it makes sense, and doesn’t adversely effect any particular group of people, I see congress or some other govt. entity shutting it down pretty soon…..

      • Justa Joe says:

        I’ll believe it when I see it. Armies need to procure fuel in theatre.

        That bio-fuel business is a priority of the current administration so the military has to cater to this foolishness even if they know it is in fact foolishness. I don’t see the military meeting these goals no more than I see Obama’s CAFE standards being realized.

  13. Les Johnson says:

    hell is like newark:

    I would not put fans into a cold climate, for the moisture reason. But, forgiving your name, hell is like my attic. I work in the Sahara, and I find my attic HOT in comparison. Fans can’t hurt, and I can afford the 1000. If nothing else, my AC and other equipment should avoid an early heat death. I do expect if I can reduce the heat, my AC bills will drop, as the AC and all the ducting is in the attic.

    We have non-fiberglass, blown in insulation in the house attic. I do like fiberglass though, as that is all we used in Canada, but we put vapour barriers over it, for the reasons you state.

    If I was building a house, I would put mylar on the roof rafters, and use solar fans to vent the area between the roof and the mylar. I suspect this would take care of most of the radiant solar heat.

    Power in Houston is not bad. We pay 12 cents, with 20% wind (yeah, yeah, I know.) Some plans you can pay as little as 5.5 cents. Even at 12 cents, our last bill, during the heat, was $220.

  14. Les Johnson says:

    Julienne: Spanish solar subsidies were only thing thing keeping the solar plants alive. Hundreds now face bankruptcy.

    In Canada, Ontario pays a feed in tariff of 14 cents for wind, when the wholesale price is 6. That is over a 100% subsidy. These Ontario subsidies are also in peril, and may be cut after the next election.

    In other words, with out subsidies, alternate power can’t compete. That is probably why no one commented. They were being, for here, oddly polite.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-01/spain-proceeds-with-plans-to-cut-subsidies-for-new-solar-power-stations.html

    • julienne stroeve says:

      Interesting that oil/gas subsides are left out though in your post.

      Here is a link to 2006 subsides from a report in Texas:
      http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/energy/subsidies/exhibits/exhibit28-5.php

      Notice the 25.7% subsidy for oil and 20.2% for coal. Notice the other very small subsidies for renewables except ethanol (which is heavily used by the US Military).

      The idea that all of our energy sources are NOT subsidized is incorrect.

      • suyts says:

        Dr. Strove, the differences being, some subsidies are effective and others are not. The fact is, I’m glad our government encourages more energy and fuel production. Heaven knows we need them both! The problem starts to manifest when we subsidize an otherwise non-viable product. Simply put, wind and solar aren’t viable. They are too expensive and too unreliable to ever be of any utility. Solar arrays, may as some point have some use in some areas, but, currently it makes little sense to deploy any for other than testing and refinement purposes.

        Ethanol, in and of itself, could probably become a positive addition to our fuel equation. But not in the manner the U.S. is perusing it. I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but food prices are up sharply in the last few years, this is directly attributable to the embracing of our ethanol policies. (Farmers would disagree.) Poor food down our fuel tanks is probably the most diabolical thing a warped mind could imagine. Given the fact that we can make ethanol out of any type of vegetation I think it would be more prudent to use something that doesn’t directly harm the people of the world. 40% of our corn crop goes to ethanol production.

        I know I was brief and only made sweeping assertions, but I’d happily go into more detail if you desired.

        James….. BTW, thanks for the studies! I’ll give them both a good go over tomorrow!

      • chris y says:

        As with every source of energy, what matters is the energy delivered to the user. In 2007, the EIA reported subsidies for various energy sources in $/energy delivered, or $/MWhr. The results show that solar enjoys subsidies that are almost 100 times larger than petroleum liquids or gas, when normalized to the actual delivered product, energy.

        Subsidies and Support per Unit of Production (dollars/megawatthour)

        Natural Gas and Petroleum Liquids 0.25
        Coal 0.44
        Hydroelectric 0.67
        Biomass 0.89
        Geothermal 0.92
        Nuclear 1.59
        Wind 23.37
        Solar 24.34
        Refined Coal 29.81

        Some idiot politicians have been whining about oil company tax breaks of $2B/year. That amounts to about 1.6 cents/gallon of gasoline. Compared with the going price at the pump, this is smaller than the allowed error of a certified pump at the local gas station. It is also dwarfed by the federal taxes levied on liquid petroleum products.

      • Justa Joe says:

        chris y – the link provided by Julienne doesn’t really say in what form these energy “Subsidies in 2006” came in Not all subsidies are created equal. There is one kind where the government gives someone (i.e. solar) someone else’s money, and there is the other kind where the government lets you pay less in taxes than the government thinks you could pay and calls it a subsidy. An oil company gives the the govt. $20B, and someone says that they’re being subsidized because it could have been $22B.

        It is clear that the number appears large for oil companies because of the sheer volume of money and taxes involved. The oill companies just get the same kind of write-offs and depreciation of assets as any other business.

        Oil companies pay a higher amount of income tax relative to earnings than other industries.
        http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2011/05/clarification-about-oil-company.html

      • Les Johnson says:

        Julienne: your

        Interesting that oil/gas subsides are left out though in your post.

        Ah, so you are not an economist, then.

        The so-called subsidies to fossil fuels are mostly tax breaks. Tax breaks are not subsidies. According to your source, 87% federal “subsidies”, and 100% of Texas’s, are tax breaks. Especially when that same source shows that oil and gas taxes are a major source of revenue for Texas, its hard to call a tax break a subsidy. (in a similar vein, one organization called a tax break in Canada a “subsidy”. According to the government,this tax break was designed to increase activity and INCREASE oil royalties. In business, we call this a investment. Tomato, Tomatoe)

        Lets break it down, again from your source:

        Out of 11450 trillion BTU used in 2005, 1.1% was from renewables, and they received 45.4% of all subsidies (tax or direct). Oil and gas received 25.7%, on 9296 trillion BTU. On a per BTU basis, renewables received 130 times more money per BTU, than oil and gas. 130 times!

        Its even worse when you look at direct subsidies, not tax breaks.

        O&G received 8.6% of 3 billion in “subsidies”, as direct spending. This is 258 million.
        Ethanol received 1.8377 BILLION in direct spending. Solar 356 million.

        It should be noted that feed in Tariffs are not shown in the wind and solar categories. While not government subsidies, they are subsidies from the consumer.

        But, if you want to argue that “direct subsidies” should be removed from O&G, I agree. As long as direct subsidies are also removed from renewables, too. And feed in tariffs.

        Question: if all direct subsidies were removed from O&G and renewables right now; which industry would still be working next year?

      • Les Johnson says:

        corrigendum: My

        O&G received 8.6% of 3 billion in “subsidies”, as direct spending. This is 258 million.

        This should be:

        O&G received 8.6% of 3.5 billion in “subsidies”, as direct spending. This is 301 million.

        Additional:
        It should also be noted, though, that 228 million of the above direct subsidies, was spent on the Strategic Oil reserves.

  15. Bruce says:

    Hmm, if you did solar PV you’d also need about 20,000,000 Telsa batteries (53 kWh capacity) or equivalent, assuming 16 hrs of coverage per day (ie since you probably only get 8 hrs usable solar power per day). Cost at the 2009 list price for replacement Tesla battery packs is only $720B. Cheap. Assuming 10% of the Li-ion batteries is lithium that makes about 400,000 tonnes of lithium, or about ten years of world production.

    Last year rare earths (eg Sm and Nd used in wind turbines) went into slight supply deficit, then increased in price more than 1000%. Any battery material you imagine, except maybe sodium-sulfur, is going to go the same way.

    Or you could use load leveling dams, in which case you’d need at least twice as many solar panels because of the efficiency losses.

    I like this, its fun collecting so many zeroes. Mere uranium is so boring when you only need a few tonnes a year.

  16. julienne stroeve says:

    James, since I’m not in the business of energy, I of course am not qualified to discuss the $ sense of each energy source. I agree that corn isn’t the best way for ethanol and there are many other sources of ethanol besides corn; apparently Brazil is successful using sugar cane as their ethanol source. I do have a problem with subsidies going to companies that continue to have record (in the billion dollar) profits every year while the rest of us suffer in this economy. I do however remain unconvinced that solar and wind are not viable. But again, I’m not an energy expert doing the cost studies on all these ways to fuel ourselves. I suppose if you are in the energy business you may know more than I do about these topics, but I have sat in on several meetings that have discussed these energy sources, including nuclear even sat and listened to T Boone Pickens and his efforts to have natural gas be the end-all answer. I would be happy to have the oil/gas subsidies removed though. I’m for us paying the true cost of our energy consumption, since I think that is the only way to get us to change our energy habits.

    • Justa Joe says:

      “…apparently Brazil is successful using sugar cane as their ethanol source”

      In what way is it successful? Gasoline /Gasohol costs more in Brazil than it does in the USA particularly when it is compared to per capita income, and their is less per capita demand for fuel in Brazil, which has about half of the population of the USA.

      14% of the cost of a gallon of gas goes to the government right off the top.How’s that for us paying the true cost of our energy consumption? After the government collects the gasoline excise taxes the oil companies still pay income taxes. Top 3 U.S. Oil Companies Paid $42.8 Billion in Income Taxes in 2010. It seems like the oil companies are subsidizing the government and not the other way around.
      http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/top-3-us-oil-companies-paid-428-billion

      “ExxonMobil’s pretax income in 2010 was $52 billion, from which it paid $21.6 billion in income taxes worldwide, leaving a net income of $30.5 billion.” (income not profit)

    • suyts says:

      Well, obviously, we’ll disagree as to whether our energy habits are detrimental or not, but I believe I can provide some particular insights towards these issues in that I am in the business. I’m a net admin responsible for implementation of “smart grid” technologies for a rural electric cooperative. That said, I’m not pronouncing myself as an authority and then appealing to my pronouncements, but only to let you know I have some familiarity with these issues.

      First, T Boone is a business man. His advocacy begins and ends with his bottom line. That doesn’t mean his views are invalid, but his motivation may not be to the benefit of the U.S. society as a whole. While I, too, am for removing subsidies, I’m not sure right now would be the best time. Our economic doldrums will only be cured on the back of cheap and reliable fuels and energy. One can’t run a production plant on the schedule of wind and the cost would be prohibitive. Without the subsidies, the last number I saw on wind would come in at about 26cents/kWh at production! (Coal and hydro come in at about 2 cents….. give or take)

      Julienne, the problem with your perspective is that it isn’t realistic. Let’s say as an effort to curb electric use we increase the bill by 30% across the board for everyone in this country. I’d wager that if there was a 30% increase for you and I, it wouldn’t effect our use in the least. I’d still run my A/C at 72 degrees. But, here’s what it would do. We’d lose some more production plants, we’d lose some more jobs, and our trade deficit would increase as our tax base would decrease. So, the question is, at what point would raising our cost effect our behavior as to electricity use? For me, I’d say if we doubled my bill I would look for ways to cut costs. Of course, being in the middle of this drought/heat wave, my largest use would be of near necessity, so the action would be more punitive than anything. But then, what of the less fortunate? This is a real question facing my company today. Bills are going out next week for a month of nearly continuous 100 degree days. Many of our customers are on fixed incomes. Many are farmers who won’t be harvesting much of anything this month Many have doubled or tripled their energy use in their combat with the heat. Unemployment in this area is right at the national average, so there is a dearth of jobs already, which translates to a lack of circulating money. We’ll see how it washes out, these are some pretty tough people in this area, but I fear we are testing their limits and causing harm to them.

      In my vision of the perfect energy production mix, I would have Nukes as the main source of energy, but because they need taken down for maintenance on a fairly regular basis, I’d back them up with our cheapest and most plentiful resource…. coal. Both have to be augmented by nat gas for peak demand. (Obviously neither coal nor nukes can have their output quickly adjusted.) And supplemented with as much hydro as one could possibly get. Using that mix, we’d have very cheap and very reliable and very plentiful energy. And as a bonus to the people that think it matters, our emissions(from electric generation) would probably get cut by more than half. If we were to embrace such a policy, the economy would immediately respond. And, the response would be a lasting response.

      The problem using nat gas as the primary source is two fold…. sort of. One, its a little costlier. But more importantly, it is already another source of fuel/energy. Its best use (btu efficiency) is to make a direct fire with it. Cooking and heating. If we were to switch to primarily use gas as a source of electricity, we’ll end up driving the costs of heating up.

      Well, obviously there’s much more to say, but I see I’m on the verge of writing an essay so I’ll leave it at that.

      • J Calvert N says:

        Re: “Brazil is successful using sugar cane as their ethanol source. ” Raw sugar production produces a huge amount of the by-product molasses. There is the problem of what to do with it – as there is not much of a commercial demand for it. But it can used to make alcohol with very little use of fossil fuel. (Sugar mills are fuelled by bagasse – the leftover plant material after the cane has been crushed. But the sugar-cane farming and harvesting uses some fossil fuels.) So far, so good.

        But I hope nobody in Brazil is contemplating the chopping-down of more Amazon rain forest just to grow sugar-cane for fuel. That would be nonsense.

        (Why am I saying this – as a CO2 skeptic? Because as far as I can tell, leaving the (overrated) CO2 aspects aside, deforestation is a real man-made climate-warming effect – that works a bit like UHI but on a far larger scale.)

      • Justa Joe says:

        How does one define success? Very authoritative sources on the left (like Bill Maher) delight in informing us Americans how successful Brazilian alcohol fuels are. I’m a tad familiar with álcool fuel down in Brasil, and I’m curiuos to know what the actual benefits are supposed to be.

        #1 álcool and gasolina comum are still more expensive in Brazil than in the USA even after US gas prices spiked up. If the alternative fuels are so great shouldn’t we see some cost benefit to the end user, or are we just supposed to be happy with the very dubious climate ‘benefits’? FAIL

        #2 Fuel demand on a per capita basis is much lower in Brazil than in the USA. Car ownership is less per capita in Brazil, of course. The cars that they do have are smaller. A 4 door Honda civic is like a Lincoln Town Car down there. The population of Brasil is much less than the USA. Regular gas is also still used in Brazil. One can see comparing Brazil’s automotive fuel requirements to the USA isn’t realistic. -FAIL

        Sugar based álcool formulated fuel hasn’t stopped Brazilian outfits like PetroBras (Petrobras is a world leader in development of advanced technology from deep-water and ultra-deep water oil production) from developing every oil reserve they can find so obviously álcool hasn’t diminshed the demand for good ol’ gasoline. -FAIL

  17. Les Johnson says:

    Apparently this is an ongoing calculation, showing how much more it costs, in subsidies, for renewables than conventional sources.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121055427930584069.html?mod=opinion_main_review_and_outlooks

  18. Les Johnson says:

    More on so-called subsidies, from the victims payees.

    http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2011/05/clarification-about-oil-company.html

    Follow the links in Professor Perry’s blog to see detailed explanations on the so called “subsidies”, and on the higher effective tax rates that oil companies pay.

  19. Les Johnson says:

    Justa Joe: your

    And as a bonus to the people that think it matters, our emissions(from electric generation) would probably get cut by more than half.

    Quite likely. Pielke Jr did an analysis that showed that US emissions would be at 1950s levels, if all the proposed nukes had been built, and that rate had continued, US emissions would be at 1930s levels. Pielke calculated 80% reductions, then gave a real world example; France.

  20. Mark says:

    Our government should do more to promote solar energy devices instead of cutting taxes on oil because the use of solar energy is clearly on the rise. In Canada the government offers a cash rebate of $150 as a part of the Ontario Home Energy Audit Program which significantly decreases the final cost. Even though there still are some lingering myths about using this kind of energy in our country its great success is undeniable.

    • DirkH says:

      Canada? As much insolation as here in Germany. You pay 2.40 EUR for 1 Watt peak of solar ATM (module+inverter+installation costs); it will produce 800Wh/year; lifetime, say 20 years. So after 20 years you have produced 16000 Wh or 16kWh.

      Again: you produce 16 kWh for 2.40 EUR or in other words one kWh costs you 15 Eurocents or about 21 US cents – that’s before considering capital cost, cost of transmission, intermittence (need for storage or reserve capacity == spinning reserve) and TAXES.

      You can call this a lingering myth, but that shows only that you never ran the numbers. Of course, subsidies make it all worthwhile for the owner, not tax breaks but REAL subsidies, a money present, money taken out of the pockets of electricity users, classical OTHER PEOPLES MONEY which makes it the posterchild socialist scheme – and that’s why red-green politicians love it to bits.

  21. Richard A says:

    ….And to keep these pesky solar panels clean for optimum efficiency …..1,830,000,000 panels @ 1 person 1,000/day= 1,830,000 days, then lets say 1,000 cleaners, then 1,830 days = 5 years to clean all…..@ ? $ cost ……well even if one person could clean 10,000 / day…….

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