• Tag Archives solar
  • Home Solar – Take 5

    Well, for the 5th time we had a guy come into our house and run the numbers for a solar system.
    Long story short, we use enough power to require a 8kw system, which fills most of the roof (honestly, its so scattered all over the roof that even I said it was an eye sore).
    The big issue with such a big system is the cost.
    We are looking at a 25 year loan to cover it. So I would be paying it off till I am 78 years old. Yikes.
    If we chose to sell the house in the mean time, we have to find someone that is willing to take on the payments. Some $150 bucks a month.
    On top of all that, if we run our AC, we will still get a power bill.
    The panels that we were quoted on were pretty much bottom of the tier made in China stuff. (And we all know what my experience with them has been like!)

    So, after all that, it should come as zero surprise that we decided, once again, to not go with the system.

    We have looked at leasing, owning, financing and tax credit and one other option I cant remember.
    I badly want solar, but just cant afford 40 grand.
    The difference in cost of systems here in the States vs in Australia is just astonishing.

  • Interesting price structure

    Well, I will give it some credit at face value… This is could really shake things up in a good way.
    Well done Aussies, well done.


    The 150MW solar tower and molten salt storage plant to be built in Port Augusta has been made possible by a ground-breaking pricing and contract structure that could help completely reshape Australian power markets, including the end of “baseload” power as we know it.

    The South Australian government announced last week that it had signed a deal with US company SolarReserve to build the 150MW solar tower with molten salt storage project – to be known as Aurora – just a few kilometres from the now closed Northern coal-fired power station.

    The output of Aurora will be around 500GWh – roughly the same as the annual consumption of the state government and the various assets it owns.

    But it is the unique nature of the contract that explains the difference between what the government will pay SolarReserve ($75-$78/MWh), and what SolarReserve will receive, and will likely serve as a template for more “dispatchable” renewable energy projects in the future.

    Essentially, Solar Reserve will provide the S.A. government with some of its needs from other sources in the market when demand and the price is low. Aurora will cover the government for energy and prices when the government’s demand is at its highest, around the middle of the day.

    But because the government can and will get some cheap power elsewhere, Aurora will be able store its solar power in its molten salt storage tanks so it can sell into the market at the system peaks, in late afternoon and early evening, when the market prices are highest, boosting its revenue.

    In English. They have made a really sweet win win deal.
    Aurora will sell their electric at the price set by the government at the times the government needs it, at all other times, they can do what they want.
    The government wins because they get renewable energy at a price they can afford, Aurora win because while they cant make money at the government price, they can sell it latter (or any other time) at a price that will make them money. Thus the project gets funded because the base-load price is ‘guaranteed’.

    Nice work guys. Love it. Hope it works out in practice as well as it sounds.

  • Solar eclipse – online vewing

    Todays the big day if you are State side.
    If you are not stuck in traffic, you might want to take the easy way out and watch the eclipse online.

    Here is a nice write up on some of your options.


    I personally am going to open a few tabs and see which is the least obnoxious. I have a horrible feeling that they will try and make it like a typical USA sporting event and shout every second of the event… Coupled with 1 second cuts to nothing related to the celestial event…..

    Wow. I sound like two grumpy old men.

  • Face west to feed the duck curve

    This one caught me out…..


    To solve ‘duck curve,’ Missouri utility to pay bonus for west-facing solar panels.

    In an effort to better align solar-energy production with peak demand, the electric utility in Columbia, Missouri has begun to pay higher rebates for new west-facing arrays than it will for those facing south.

    Fantastically simple. Sure, not everyone has west facing roof space, but why not incentivize those that do and are thinking about adding solar?

    The biggest problem with the duck curve is that evening ramp up. As the sun sets, the people go home and the solar output really drops off, the power companies have to fairly quickly ramp up megawatts of generation, sometimes even getting close to a gigawatt.
    Thats tricky and expensive.
    A west facing solar panel will put out more power at sunset than a north or south facing one (the usual direction).

    To be clear, it will NEVER solve the duck curve. Only storage will, but it is a small step in reducing the steepness of that curve up the ducks neck.

  • Solar traffic jam

    The solar eclipse on the 21st is getting some press over here.

    I liked this guys take on it.


    In short, he thinks there is going to be a whopper of a traffic jam.

    Traffic, along with weather, will be the chief challenges for people wanting to see the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017. I analyze how the U.S. population is distributed with respect to the U.S. road network and the path of total solar eclipse to predict how many people will visit the path of totality and the resulting traffic congestion. Using advanced ArcGIS.com software by Esri, U.S. Census data, and a road network model of every street in the USA, I present estimates for where people will gather for the eclipse and in what numbers.

    The main reason I love this guys article is because of all the data he pulls and uses to make his point.
    Will it happen?

    Duno. I will not be amongst it.
    I do not have the holiday time, I don’t like crowds and I have more (to me) interesting things to watch – like the electricity grid.