• Tag Archives solar
  • 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.

  • Solar duck curve

    I really need to get to that blog about the duck curve… But it just ain’t going to happen between now and the 21st.

    Ok Ok, here is the quick version.
    We have so much solar in California, Hawaii and Australia that each day, the sun rises and the power stations have to produce less power as all that power from solar panels gets injected into the grid.
    Then, the people go home from work and turn on their home AC and plasma TV’s… just as the sun is setting, so now the power stations have to ramp up their base load.
    The resulting curve looks like a ducks back (the green line).

    Hence, duck curve.
    (Yes, it changes shape a bit on the weekends, but not that much).

    Stop and think about this….. power has to be used at the same time it is produced. Or flip it around, you have to produce the exact amount of power that is required in real time. The power grid is NOT a battery. There is NO flywheel. It is all done, it HAS to be all done, in real time.

    So, what if there is more solar than you can use? Just ask Hawaii.
    Bad things happen. The solar feeds back into the power station and tries to run it in reverse. This is bad. Very Very VERY bad. (Trust me on this one).

    Another challenge? The amount of ramping up and down the power companies have to do each day. They have to shed generation in the mornings as the sun rises and then ramp up the generators in the evening.
    Very complex and very expensive.

    Another challenge? Wind turbines. We get sunny windy days. Bleh.

    Another challenge? Clouds. None in Southern California, but other parts of the state have some (or so I am told). As the clouds come and go, so does the solar power.

    Can this get any tricker?

    Yup. August 21st 2017.
    There will be a solar eclipse across the USA.


    The grid has never (ever) been tested like this. Ever.

    I am going to be sitting at work looking at my groov web pages.
    I have grid frequency, grid voltage, solar radiation and grid base load graphs… I will be cooking my popcorn before the lights go out…..