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Thread: World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind

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    World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind

    A transformation is happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity.

    This has happened in isolated projects in the past: an especially competitive auction in the Middle East, for example, resulting in record-cheap solar costs. But now unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

    The chart below shows the average cost of new wind and solar from 58 emerging-market economies, including China, India, and Brazil. While solar was bound to fall below wind eventually, given its steeper price declines, few predicted it would happen this soon.
    More at source

    Unsubsidized solar now cheaper than subsidized fossil fuels.

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    I'm glad to see some real progress in the price of renewables. Because up to now they have been considerably dearer than conventional energy sources.

    I remember when the wind farms came online in Ireland starting around the year 2000 it meant that our electricity bills just kept going up and up. Ultimately they increased by at least a quarter and we still only get about 10% of our electricity from wind.

    The cost of electricity has only begun to stabilise in ireland now that the number of new wind farms being built as begun to slow down.

    As you can probably infer I'm not a fan of renewable electricity if it costs significantly more than conventional electricty. I see it as a tax that hits the poor disproportionately hard.
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    It's interesting how the cost of solar has come down, mostly due to the economies of scale associated with mass production. It is a great way of generating power, provided you have enough land and sunshine available. Unfortunately this is not always the case, particularly if you're living in more northern latitudes and in an expensive city.

    One of the biggest problems with solar is the power storage. The real capital outlay is not so much on the solar panels but rather on the batteries needed to store that energy. It typically means a huge capital outlay on heavy and bulky deep cycle lead acid batteries, which, due to the battery chemistry being used in this case don't last forever anyway.

    The SpaceX / Tesla taxpayer beneficiary Elon Musk produced a gimmicky "powerwall" battery some time back but it had such a low capacity and short life-cycle, not to mention the fact that it is a fire hazard due to the lithium-ion chemistry that it was laughable. This was an excellent example of a fake energy solution aimed at idiots with more money than sense.

    An alternative battery type is the Nickel Iron aka Edison battery. They are bulky and expensive but they should last longer than lead acid batteries because they use an alkaline electrolyte instead of sulphuric acid more typically found in lead acid battery types.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyBatty View Post
    It is a great way of generating power, provided you have enough land and sunshine available. Unfortunately this is not always the case, particularly if you're living in more northern latitudes and in an expensive city.
    Germany was until recently the largest producer of solar power. Is that northern enough for you?

    Secondly, most photovoltaic systems being bought now are not being bought by householders but by electricity providers as are most battery storage systems.

    Large industrial batteries have nearly halved in price in terms of kw/r storage in the last few years due to various improvements in technology including increases in battery lifespan.

    So it will soon be almost irrelevant whether the end user has rooftop space or not because power generated by solar cells will be delivered direct to his wall sockets from the national grid.


    The SpaceX / Tesla taxpayer beneficiary Elon Musk produced a gimmicky "powerwall" battery some time back but it had such a low capacity and short life-cycle, not to mention the fact that it is a fire hazard due to the lithium-ion chemistry that it was laughable. This was an excellent example of a fake energy solution aimed at idiots with more money than sense.
    I wouldn't scoff at Tesla if I were you. They are offering battery storage systems at about 1/3 the price of their competitors and are fast approaching the magic "$100 per kw/h" price point for their industrial battery systems. At which point it is anticipated that large scale adoption by electricity companies will begin to take place. This will be particularly true in developing countries where the capital outlay for new coal-fired power stations may be both cost and time prohibitive.

    By mid 2016 Tesla were sold out of their storage batteries and had reservations for a further 50,000 units of their industrial powerwall batteries, at value of nearly half a billion dollars.

    I haven't heard of any of their in situ battery systems catching fire yet so they should have mainly happy customers.

    Whatever way you look at it, the cost of battery electricity storage is tumbling and will soon allow for far greater market penetration of renewable power sources.

    Whatever else is true, cheap batteries will surely kill nuclear.

    I'd say we've already seen the last nuclear fission power station granted planning permission in the western world.
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    Whilst this may admittedly be a hard concept to grasp, the fact is that Germany doesn't get as much sunlight compared to Northern Hemisphere countries or regions with more Southern latitudes. The magical implication here being that to capture a given amount of electrical capacity in most parts of Germany would require more space and solar panels than it would in a region such as Southern Spain or Southern Italy. This again has an implication on overall system cost, maintenance and viability.

    The other scientifically challenged barrier to overcome here is the realisation that solar power is somehow magically related to.... sunlight!

    And now, moving on to the Tesla Powerwall and whether it really is such a cunningly wonderwall product.

    The current Tesla 10kWh (advertised capacity, probably less in practice) pack is claimed to cost about $3500. It doesn't appear to be designed for heavy workloads, meaning that if you were to cycle it more than 500 or so times it's going to already be well past its prime. Of course, Tesla's marketing propaganda doesn't make any of this clear.

    The Tesla 7kWh model appears to be more suited to heavier cycling and usage, but its power ratings and pricing look much less attractive to the potential customer. It supposedly costs (according to Tesla) U$3000.

    See some analysis here:
    http://www.catalyticengineering.com/...rwall-battery/

    (BTW, the above article appears to be mistaken about the cost of the Tesla battery, as is shown in the actual UK "street" cost in the kopitiambot article below.)


    A comparable lead-acid array with 10kWh capacity goes for about $3000, the same as the price Tesla claimed for the 7kWh pack. (The Tesla price quote probably being fiction anyway.) Lead acid has its drawbacks of course, and like the Tesla batteries isn't suitable for heavy workloads.


    The real price you as the end consumer will end up actually paying for the Tesla Powerwall is of course another matter. According to recent news, in the UK that means 5400 pounds for a 14kWh unit = U$6700. Even if capacity were scaled down to the 10kWh model that has been mentioned in the press, it is still significantly more expensive than Tesla's original price claim of $3500.


    https://kopitiambot.com/2016/12/09/t...n-west-london/


    Then there's the safety factor. Lithium batteries have a fun habit of spontaneously and spectacularly combusting. Is that really the kind of think you want anywhere near your house? The safety factor alone should already be a deal breaker to anybody with 1/2 a brain. (Rich people looking for toys usually don't consider such factors.)

    Tesla car going up in smoke.



    Tesla Powerwall Guestimates, because hard info about it (compared to the marketing hype) is scarce.

    Tesla Powerwall model being sold in the UK, presumably rated at 48VDC, 14kWh when brand new.

    Tesla Powerwall 14kWh (2x Tesla 7kWh units stuck together?) = designed for more realistic workloads than the 10kWh model they touted.
    Actual UK Street Price (Battery only) = 5400 pounds or U$6700

    Presumed intended demographic for Tesla Powerwall = Rich yuppies who want to "go green" but will stay connected to the powergrid, meaning that the battery will hardly be used. (Hence why that 10 year guarantee is easy for Tesla to provide.)

    Life expectancy under light usage conditions ie < than 50% discharge daily you may be able to reach 10 years before losing significant capacity but since the battery seems to be aimed at grid connected rich folks anyway, it hardly matters. It is essentially a white elephant "green tech" piece to brag about to your friends.

    Life expectancy when under heavy workloads and you're not nursing your Tesla Powerwall along, probably not much more than 5 years, if that.

    Power Cycles - significant battery deterioration after as little as 500 cycles, batteries probably finished by the time you've completed 1900 cycles.

    Tesla Powerwall suitability for "Off Grid" and entirely disconnected from the powergrid? Not suitable nor economically sensible.

    Serious questionmarks over the fire safety of lithium chemistry batteries such as the Tesla Powerwall.

    Conclusion: The Tesla Powerwall is essentially a gimmick for daydreaming hipsters, rich people and ecowarriors. The price may seem attractive but you're not really buying into energy independence. You're buying into the illusion of energy independence which is a completely different thing.


    Compare that to a Nickel Iron battery solution


    48VDC Nickel Iron Battery Pack with 14.4kWh capacity, comparable to Tesla Powerwall.
    Nickel Iron Battery Pack up front cost = ~ $11400

    Intended Nickel Iron battery demographic = industrial applications, off gridders.

    Fairly safe, no volatile chemistry unlike lithium batteries such as the Tesla Powerwall.

    Robust, can be discharged to 80% without issues meaning that you have most of the available battery capacity available to you provided there is charge available in the battery.

    Long life power cycles, can be cycled over 11000 times.

    Long lifespan, estimated at 30+ years.

    Size, more bulky than Tesla Powerwall.

    Conclusion, Nickel Iron packs are bulkier and cost almost 2x the price of the Tesla Powerwall, but they are designed and intended for realistic workloads and will last infinitely longer under actual load conditions than a Tesla Powerwall.

    I know which one I'd buy, and it ain't the Tesla Power hype.
    ~ **** Democracy! It's 2 wolves and 1 sheep deciding what's for dinner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Horned God View Post
    Large industrial batteries have nearly halved in price in terms of kw/r storage in the last few years due to various improvements in technology including increases in battery lifespan.
    What is kw/r? Some kind or private science unit?
    What apparent battery lifespan improvements are you referring to?

    So it will soon be almost irrelevant whether the end user has rooftop space or not because power generated by solar cells will be delivered direct to his wall sockets from the national grid.
    That is a very wishful prediction. Particularly when it comes to powering a typical megacity.
    Granted it may be possible to run a few lights and the fridge in a communal space of some African village with such a solution.

    I wouldn't scoff at Tesla if I were you.
    See previous post. ^
    Or prefer the Tesla hype, whatever floats your boat.

    They are offering battery storage systems at about 1/3 the price of their competitors and are fast approaching the magic "$100 per kw/h" price point for their industrial battery systems.
    Utter nonsense. You didn't even try to do any basic research to back up those claims and grabbed those figures out of a fantasy.


    At which point it is anticipated that large scale adoption by electricity companies will begin to take place. This will be particularly true in developing countries where the capital outlay for new coal-fired power stations may be both cost and time prohibitive.
    Dreaming.

    By mid 2016 Tesla were sold out of their storage batteries and had reservations for a further 50,000 units of their industrial powerwall batteries, at value of nearly half a billion dollars.
    Fancy, but who are placing those orders and who are paying for those orders? How many "green subsidies" aka taxpayers money are being poured into paying for those orders? How much is the taxpayer paying for all of this, vs what would it all have cost if it weren't being subsidised with taxpayer money?

    I doubt that any of this makes economic sense. It sells not because it is economically viable. It sells because the taxpayers are being fleeced to pay for it all whilst the Musks and Al Gore's of this world get rich in the process.

    I haven't heard of any of their in situ battery systems catching fire yet so they should have mainly happy customers.
    1. The media won't know or hear about it if it did.
    2. The general public find such news much less exciting than if a car burst into flames on the street, hence there would be little to no media interest in reporting such news.
    3. There aren't that many lithium chemistry Powerwalls installed yet, it's still early days.


    Whatever way you look at it, the cost of battery electricity storage is tumbling and will soon allow for far greater market penetration of renewable power sources.
    I have yet to see evidence that the price of battery storage suitable for sustaining a household's needs are falling. What is falling is the price of pseudo-solutions which are incapable of powering a household. That's a completely different thing.

    Whatever else is true, cheap batteries will surely kill nuclear.
    Dream. On.

    I'd say we've already seen the last nuclear fission power station granted planning permission in the western world.
    Dream. On.
    ~ **** Democracy! It's 2 wolves and 1 sheep deciding what's for dinner.

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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by RoyBatty View Post
    What is kw/r? Some kind or private science unit?
    Kwh. If there was a Skadi prize for pedantry you'd win it!

    What apparent battery lifespan improvements are you referring to?
    Tesla guarantees its powerwall batteries to last 10 years and estimates a 5000 cycle life. Which is a good bit more than the 500 cycles that you seemed to think. Your assumptions are out by an order of magnitude!

    This is from an interview with Musk:
    And he mentioned that there are indeed different chemistries in the two Tesla Energy products. The backup power option, the Powerpack, is quite similar to that in the Tesla Model S and X, using a nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathode. The daily cycling option, the Powerwall, is made of nickel-manganese-cobalt (with “quite a lot of manganese in there”). The first is meant for ~60–70 cycles per year, and the other one for 365 cycles a year. Tesla expects the Powerwall to last for approximately 15 years, ~5,000 cycles (but with the warranty being 10 years). The Powerpack is expected to last for, “depending on how it’s used, anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 cycles.” And they have comparable calendar lives.
    https://cleantechnica.com/2015/05/07...sk-transcript/



    Quote Originally Posted by The Horned God
    So it will soon be almost irrelevant whether the end user has rooftop space or not because power generated by solar cells will be delivered direct to his wall sockets from the national grid.
    Quote Originally Posted by Roybatty
    That is a very wishful prediction. Particularly when it comes to powering a typical megacity.
    Granted it may be possible to run a few lights and the fridge in a communal space of some African village with such a solution.
    That is a very wishful prediction. Particularly when it comes to powering a typical megacity.
    Granted it may be possible to run a few lights and the fridge in a communal space of some African village with such a solution.
    It's not wishful it's inevitable.The cost of solar power is declining at an exponential rate.




    As for "mega cities" what percentage of the worlds population lives in mega cities, 20% maybe?
    Anyway, if there isn't enough space on the roof they'll just install the solar panels on the south facing walls of the buildings and maintain them like they clean windows.



    They even have transparent solar panels that can replace glass on the drawing board.

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-te...ore-effective/

    That will be your mega city problem solved.

    Now back to the present day. The cost of solar power has fallen by 2/3rd since 2010 and is already the cheapest form of power generation in many parts of the world. As the price falls, adoption of solar power rises on an exponential curve which closely matched the exponential price drop. That's basic economics.




    As Solar has still reached only a couple of percent of world energy generation but is being adopted faster than ever, economies of scale in production still have ample time to work further magic on solar's cost per kwh.




    Utter nonsense. You didn't even try to do any basic research to back up those claims and grabbed those figures out of a fantasy.

    Lol! How dare you project you're own modus operandi on to me.

    Here are some figures;
    Ben Kallo at equity analyst firm RW Baird believes that Tesla's current battery costs are ~$150 to ~$200 per kilowatt-hour, well below the industry average pack costs of ~$350 per kilowatt-hour (as estimated by Bloomberg New Energy Finance). Kallo suggests that the Chevy Bolt's battery costs "are significantly higher" than those of Tesla.

    Kallo suggests that Tesla "could reach its <$100 per kilowatt-hour target in the intermediate term as Gigafactory production ramps." He continued, “Additionally, we believe TSLA is ahead of expectations on reducing battery costs, and continues to have a significant lead on competing EVs.” (Kallo upped his Tesla stock target to $300 per share based on improved Model X production.)

    https://www.greentechmedia.com/artic...-Kilowatt-Hour
    So GM claims they will have a sub $100 per kwh battery available in 5 years. Tesla will likely get there much quicker. Sub $100 per kwh batteries will be a game changer.


    Dreaming.
    You are the one that needs to wake up and lift your nose from oil and nuclear lobby propaganda.

    The UK's Hinkley point nuclear power station will produce energy at $155 per kwh starting in 2023. Solar and wind are already at $100 per kwh in Germany. Adding battery backup to the renewables at $100 per kwh leaves renewables at below $200 per kwh. Still slightly more expensive than nuclear perhaps, but the difference is that solar is dropping in price and nuclear isn't. In fact once you factor in storing the radioactive waste in a facility for the next 100,000 years nuclear looks a lot more expensive over time than it might first appear.



    https://www.boell.de/en/2015/06/30/g...island-its-own


    Fancy, but who are placing those orders and who are paying for those orders? How many "green subsidies" aka taxpayers money are being poured into paying for those orders? How much is the taxpayer paying for all of this, vs what would it all have cost if it weren't being subsidised with taxpayer money?
    The subsidies are neither here nor there. Nuclear gets subsidies as well and always has, but in spite of the subsidies hardly anybody is building new nuclear power stations. In fact nuclear is being phased out in most countries in the developed world.

    Following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Germany has permanently shut down eight of its 17 reactors and pledged to close the rest by the end of 2022.[2] Italy voted overwhelmingly to keep their country non-nuclear.[3] Switzerland and Spain have banned the construction of new reactors.[4] Japan’s prime minister has called for a dramatic reduction in Japan’s reliance on nuclear power.[5] Taiwan’s president did the same. Shinzō Abe, the new prime minister of Japan since December 2012, announced a plan to re-start some of the 54 Japanese nuclear power plants (NPPs) and to continue some NPP sites under construction.[6]

    As of 2016, countries including Australia, Austria, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, and Portugal have no nuclear power stations and remain opposed to nuclear power.[7][8] Belgium, Germany, Spain and Switzerland are phasing-out nuclear power.[8][9][10][11] Globally, more nuclear power reactors have closed than opened in recent years but overall capacity has increased.[10]

    The United States is, as of 2013, undergoing a practical phase-out independent of stated goals and continued official support. This is not due to concerns about the source or anti-nuclear groups, but due to the rapidly falling prices of natural gas and the reluctance of investors to provide funding for long-term projects when short term profitability of turbine power is available.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_phase-out



    I doubt that any of this makes economic sense. It sells not because it is economically viable. It sells because the taxpayers are being fleeced to pay for it all whilst the Musks and Al Gore's of this world get rich in the process.
    And the oil companies are getting rich while polluting the air and the water. Remember the BP disaster in the gulf of Mexico? Well Anyway, we need to invest in new technology. The dinosaur wine won't last forever...



    1. The media won't know or hear about it if it did.
    2. The general public find such news much less exciting than if a car burst into flames on the street, hence there would be little to no media interest in reporting such news.
    3. There aren't that many lithium chemistry Powerwalls installed yet, it's still early days.
    That's the "jewish media" right? Because jews control all the media in the world:



    You are brainwashed.

    Btw I'm not impressed by an electric car on fire. Combustion engine cars catch fire as well. Where, among the 10's of thousands that have been installed, is the example of of a Tesla powerwall catching fire, hmm? I suggest to you that there isn't on becasue it hasn't happened. And it hasn't happened because it isn't likely too happen.

    It is very rare for a Lithium ion battery to just spontaneously catch fire. Personally I don't know a single person who's phone or laptop has caught fire.


    I have yet to see evidence that the price of battery storage suitable for sustaining a household's needs are falling. What is falling is the price of pseudo-solutions which are incapable of powering a household. That's a completely different thing.
    There are advances being made all the time. The cost of lithium ion batteries is continually falling and when they reach sub $100 per kwh they will take off if not before.




    Dream. On.
    See my link on Nuclear phase-out. Nuclear is dead on its feet already. It's lobbyists just don't know it yet.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member RoyBatty's Avatar
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    This is from an interview with Musk:

    >And he mentioned that there are indeed different chemistries in the two Tesla Energy products. The backup power option, the Powerpack, is quite similar to that in the Tesla Model S and X, using a nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathode. The daily cycling option, the Powerwall, is made of nickel-manganese-cobalt (with “quite a lot of manganese in there”). The first is meant for ~60–70 cycles per year, and the other one for 365 cycles a year. Tesla expects the Powerwall to last for approximately 15 years, ~5,000 cycles (but with the warranty being 10 years). The Powerpack is expected to last for, “depending on how it’s used, anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 cycles.” And they have comparable calendar lives.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Horned God View Post
    Tesla guarantees its powerwall batteries to last 10 years and estimates a 5000 cycle life. Which is a good bit more than the 500 cycles that you seemed to think. Your assumptions are out by an order of magnitude!

    The devil is in the details. Those Tesla claims are meaningless because it doesn't define what they mean by "a cycle".

    Tesla appear to have two battery energy storage products.

    The first one is the Powerpack aka NCA type batteries. "1500 cycles" (I'll get to this later) lifetime if you're lucky, even according to their own figures. This product does not appear to be aimed at the typical "off-gridder".

    The second one, the NMC (the nickel, manganese, cobalt variation) used in the Powerwall is claimed to possess a 5000 cycle life and would be more suitable to the "off-gridder" or some energy-independence enthusiast.

    Here's the problem:
    What exactly constitutes a "cycle", according to Tesla? A 100% or near 100% discharge and recharge? I very much doubt it. Of course, they don't tell you or publish this information as far as I can tell.

    The 14kWh NMC battery (presumably it is 2 x 7kWh Powerwalls merged into a 14kWh pack) is claimed to possess a 5000 cycle life. But what kind of cycles are we talking about?

    If it were to be cycled between 100% full down to 20% (meaning a Depth of Discharge of 80%) every day giving the household ~ 11kWh of actual power drawn from the battery, that NMC battery will most likely deteriorate at a much faster rate than the touted "5000 cycles".

    Why?

    Because this type of battery chemistry simply isn't designed for such kind of usage. Lithium batteries deteriorate faster when they are fully charged.

    To get closer to that magical 5000 cycle figure, the battery will most likely need to be kept within a range of ~ 30% - 80% of its charge capacity. In other words, don't discharge it below 30%, don't charge it above 80%. It's a trade off between keeping it within a range where it lasts longer vs charging and discharging the most possible energy out of it.

    That leaves one with about 50% or so of the battery capacity being effectively usable every day. Want more capacity? You'll need another Powerwall, unless you don't care how long it lasts and run it to its limits until it loses so much capacity that it needs replacing.

    Assuming you want to stand a chance of hitting Tesla's claimed "5000 cycle" mark for the NMC, that 14kWh Tesla Powerwall will effectively need to become a 7kWh (usable capacity) battery. Whether it will even reach that mark when the battery is used in such a way is by no means a verified certainty.

    UK Street price for that 14kWh (which assuming you want to make it last it is more like a 7kWh battery) is $6700. That means, $6700 for what is effectively a 7kWh battery with a 10 year warranty.

    The shop price here and now today, per kWh for a 14kWh Tesla NMC Powerwall, when keeping in mind that only about 1/2 that capacity will be usable over its "5000 cycle" lifetime? $950 / kWh.

    That is a very far cry from their claimed $350kWh price, and the "sub $100" future fantasy prices being claimed by other parties.
    ~ **** Democracy! It's 2 wolves and 1 sheep deciding what's for dinner.

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