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THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 22 Apr 2014, 19:08:47

RMI's plan to help Fortune 500 companies up their renewables game

Last week, RMI's program to significantly scale the commitment by Fortune 500 companies to source renewable energy was chosen as one of six winners at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit's Finance for Resilience ("FiRe") event. FiRe is designed to identify the best proposals to spur increased investment in renewables and scale them as quickly as possible.

RMI's plan is to create a Business Renewables Resource Center that will help to double clean energy cash flows by 2019 by increasing clean energy procurement by large commercial and industrial companies. While the center initially will focus on the U.S. market, the capability effectively will travel within these large corporations to other countries.

Most of the largest global companies have publicly set ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals, many of which require significant renewable energy solutions. Yet, as of the middle of last year, only 25 large companies together had put in place about 1,000 solar photovoltaic installations in the U.S. And although some companies such as Walmart and Google have gotten into the game at serious scale, investment by most large companies remains small compared to their energy profiles.

Commercial and industrial companies, collectively a major player for scaling renewables — especially wind and solar — are sitting on the sidelines. We see these non-energy, non-finance large companies, which together represent about half of all commercial and industrial energy demand, as ripe for transformation.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 23 Apr 2014, 19:01:26

Smart Wind and Solar Power

Wind power is booming on the open plains of eastern Colorado. Travel seven miles north of the town of Limon on Highway 71 and then head east on County Road 3p, a swath of dusty gravel running alongside new power lines: within minutes you’ll be surrounded by towering wind turbines in rows stretching for miles. Three large wind farms have been built in the area since 2011. A new one is going up this year.

Every few seconds, almost every one of the hundreds of turbines records the wind speed and its own power output. Every five minutes they dispatch data to high-performance computers 100 miles away at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder. There artificial-intelligence-based software crunches the numbers, along with data from weather satellites, weather stations, and other wind farms in the state. The result: wind power forecasts of unprecedented accuracy that are making it possible for Colorado to use far more renewable energy, at lower cost, than utilities ever thought possible.

The forecasts are helping power companies deal with one of the biggest challenges of wind power: its intermittency. Using small amounts of wind power is no problem for utilities. They are accustomed to dealing with variability—after all, demand for electricity changes from season to season, even from minute to minute. However, a utility that wants to use a lot of wind power needs backup power to protect against a sudden loss of wind. These backup plants, which typically burn fossil fuels, are expensive and dirty. But with more accurate forecasts, utilities can cut the amount of power that needs to be held in reserve, minimizing their role.

Before the forecasts were developed, Xcel Energy, which supplies much of Colorado’s power, ran ads opposing a proposal that it use renewable sources for a modest 10 percent of its power. It mailed flyers to its customers claiming that such a mandate would increase electricity costs by as much as $1.5 billion over 20 years.

But thanks in large part to the improved forecasts, Xcel, one of the country’s largest utilities, has made an about-face.

It has installed more wind power than any other U.S. utility and supports a mandate for utilities to get 30 percent of their energy from renewable sources, saying it can easily handle much more than that.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 24 Apr 2014, 19:22:16

EPA Reveals Top 100 U.S. Organizations Using Renewable Energy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Green Power Partnership has released a new list of the top 100 organizations that use electricity from renewable sources, such as solar and wind power.

Intel Corp. continues its seven-year run as the nation's largest voluntary user of green power, meeting 100% of its electricity load with renewable resources. Other technology companies in the top 10 include Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and Apple Inc.

The list is calculated based on annual green power usage in kWh by Green Power Partners. The top 10 partners are as follows:

- Intel Corp. Santa Clara, Calif.
- Kohl’s Department Stores, Menomonee Falls, Wis.
- Microsoft Corp. Redmond, Wash.
- Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas
- Google Inc., Mountain View, Calif.
- Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark.
- Staples, Framingham, Mass.
- Apple Inc., Cupertino, Calif.
- City of Houston
- U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.

For more information on the Top 100 list and other rankings, click here.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Thu 24 Apr 2014, 23:20:42

Bad news: The world’s energy supply isn’t getting any cleaner
BY BRAD PLUMER
July 10, 2013 (WAPO)
We've seen plenty of charts over the past few years showing that wind and solar power are growing at astronomical rates — not just in the United States, but around the world. That seems like an encouraging sign for efforts to tackle global warming.
But here's a sobering counterpoint. Roger Pielke, Jr., an environmental studies professor at the University of Colorado, has charted data on the share of carbon-free energy as a fraction of the world's overall consumption.
When you look at things this way, the share of clean energy around the world has actually stagnated over the past 20 years:
Image
It's true that carbon-free sources like wind and solar and hydropower and geothermal have been growing rapidly. But fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas have also been growing rapidly in the past two decades — particularly in China and India. The result is a stalemate of sorts. The world's energy supply isn't any cleaner than it was in the 1990s.
(By the way, fans of nuclear will note that the share of carbon-free energy grew most quickly 1965 and 1999 — a period, Pielke notes, when "nuclear power increas[ed] by a factor of 100 and hydropower by a factor of 6.")
Another way to look at the same phenomenon is to measure the "carbon-intensity" of the world's energy sector — that is, how many tons of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere for each unit of energy that's generated. This takes into account improvements in efficiency and the fact that natural gas is a cleaner fossil fuel than coal.
Here, too, there's been a real stagnation over the past few decades. Check out that gray line:
Image
This chart comes from a report this year by the International Energy Agency, which notes that since 1990, the carbon-intensity of the global economy has improved by a mere 1 percent — despite all the concern and all the conferences on climate change.
If that trend continues, the IEA says, global carbon-dioxide emissions will keep rising sharply and climate models suggest the Earth could heat up by as much as 6°C (10.8°F) over the long term. That's what the purple line represents. By the way, the World Bank isn't sure that humanity will be able to adapt to even 4°C of warming. So 6°C isn't exactly ideal.
Now, alternatively, if the world wants to avoid that balmy fate and keep global warming below 2°C, then carbon intensity will have to improve dramatically — far more dramatically than we've seen over the last four decades. That's what the blue line represents.
Is the blue line actually possible? That's the trillion-dollar question. The full IEA report, "Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2013" (pdf) has a slew of ideas on how to clean up the world's energy sector. For instance, global coal use would have to peak before 2020; power plants and factories would have to get a lot more efficient; things like nuclear power and renewables would have to expand at an even faster rate.
For now, though, the world's not on track.
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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Ulenspiegel » Fri 25 Apr 2014, 06:09:52

If you take predictions of the IEA seriuos you are in trouble. :-)
The IEA provides good bookkeeping for the past but has a piss poor record when it comes to useful predictions. :-)

The argument of Pielke junior has two issues:

1) The global efficiency of coal power can be increased dramatically, therefore, constant share of coal power may actually mean a decreasing primary energy consumption.

2) The timescale is interesting, if he takes the years 2009 and later, what would his result be. PV is growing exponentially, with a doubling each 4 years.
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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Sun 27 Apr 2014, 18:02:01

Infographic: How Much it Would Cost for the Entire Planet to Switch to Renewable Energy

As Inhabitat readers know, we live in a time marked by rising emissions, melting ice caps and the looming threat of climate catastrophe. Fortunately, there’s thousands of brilliant solutions to these pressing environmental issues – but how much would it cost to implement them on a global scale? This new infographic by QuidCorner shows that the global cost of switching to renewable energy is high at £29.46 trillion – but that’s still only 21% of global wealth. Check out the full infographic after the break!


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby ralfy » Tue 29 Apr 2014, 15:58:49

That reminds me of the graph about energy quantity and quality discussed here:

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3786
http://sites.google.com/site/peakoilreports/
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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Wed 30 Apr 2014, 00:49:24

Spanish island to be fully powered by wind, water
The smallest and least known of Spain's Canary Islands, El Hierro, is making a splash by becoming the first island in the world fully energy self-sufficient through combined water and wind power.
...
Its five turbines installed at the northeastern tip of El Hierro near the capital Valverde will have a total output of 11.5 megawatts—more than enough power to meet the demand of the island's roughly 10,000 residents and its energy-hungry water desalination plants.
...
Surplus power from the wind turbines will be used to pump fresh water from a reservoir near the harbour to a larger one at volcanic crater located about 700 metres (2,300 feet) above sea level.
...
El Hierro wants to extend its environmental credentials even further by ensuring that by 2020 all of its 6,000 vehicles are run on electricity thanks to an agreement with the Renault-Nissan alliance.
The wind power plant cost 80 million euros ($110 million) to build.
That's $11,000 per resident ($40,000 per family?). Not clear if that includes the hydro storage part.

I live in a town of 5000, $55 million would be unthinkable (can't even fix potholes, but I guess they don't have potholes on Canary Islands).
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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 02 May 2014, 19:15:09

138 COUNTRIES NOW HAVE RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGETS

Climate Strategies, a European economic research institute, has found that renewable energy targets now exist in 138 countries. Furthermore, 66 countries, including Australia, South Korea, South Africa, Canada and Brazil now have feed-in-tariffs, which are widely used in Europe. The study argues that Europe risks losing its foothold as a major competitive renewables market to China and the US if it doesn't regain leadership on climate and green energy policies,


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Dems Want $50 Billion to Create a ‘Green Bank’ to Fund Clean Energy Projects

House and Senate Democrats are proposing the creation of a “Green Bank” that would help finance clean energy projects for the purpose of helping to move the U.S. away from carbon-based fuels and saving the world from climate change.

The initial cost: $10 billion. But the legislation they offered would allow the Treasury Department to issue up to $50 billion in new debt to launch the bank.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Mon 05 May 2014, 19:42:38

The Time for Wind and Solar Energy is Now

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s latest report, which explores ways to cut carbon emissions, put the world on notice. Despite efforts in the United States, Europe and developing countries such as China to ramp up energy efficiency and renewable energy use, global carbon emissions have been increasing at a much faster clip than they were just a few decades ago. To avoid the worst of the worst, IPCC scientists say emissions will have to be reduced 40 percent to 70 percent from current levels by 2050, and they warn we only have a 15-year window to reverse course.

"We cannot afford to lose another decade," said Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist who co-chaired the committee that wrote the report. "If we lose another decade, it becomes extremely costly to achieve climate stabilization."

As Edenhofer points out, the cost of doing nothing likely would dwarf whatever we might spend today to address climate change. That said, it makes the most sense to replace fossil fuels with the most cost-effective, safest, carbon-free and low-carbon options that can be deployed as quickly as possible.

For the biggest source of U.S. carbon pollution — electric utilities — the best solution is wind, solar and other renewable energy technologies, which, according to the new IPCC report, "have achieved a level of technical and economic maturity to enable deployment at a significant scale." In other words, renewables are now a lot cheaper and better than they were when the last IPCC report came out seven years ago.


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Energy tower for producing electricity set for Arizona

Solar Wind Energy Tower (SWET) with a focus on "solar wind downdraft tower" structures for producing electricity last month announced it got the green light from San Luis, Arizona, to develop such a tower in the city, which is located on the southwest corner of Arizona, a border town to San Luis, Sonora, Mexico.

As the name "solar wind downdraft" suggests, the company has developed what is described as a hybrid solar-wind technology approach that can harness the power of a downdraft, created when water is introduced to hot dry air. The company said that its hybrid system is able to outperform pure solar collectors that produce only when the sun is shining and also wind turbines that produce only when the wind is blowing. Instead, the company has a hybrid advantage of being able to produce abundant, clean, affordable electricity.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 06 May 2014, 16:43:52

Green Bank Act gets a second chance

The Green Bank Act of 2014 has been introduced in the House and Senate again. In 2009, it passed in the House but not the Senate. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has introduced it once more, this time with a companion Senate bill sponsored by Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).
It would create permanent, reliable, low-cost financing for clean energy and energy efficiency projects across the United States and provide seed funding for state Green Banks. President Obama included this in one of this budgets, and the United Kingdom has a national Green Investment Bank.
In the absence of federal legislation, four states since have launched Green Banks: Connecticut, New York — capitalized at $1 billion -— Vermont and Hawaii, and 10 others are actively considering it, recently attending the first Green Bank Academy.

The federal legislation is modeled on Connecticut's Green Bank, called the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority. Connecticut was the first state to pass a green bank bill.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Sat 10 May 2014, 18:19:39

On the verge of commercially viable tidal energy

A UNIVERSITY spin-out company is poised to become the first tidal energy technology developer to produce commercially viable electricity.

Tests are now being carried out at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney on a turbine device and mooring system developed by renewable energy engineers in ­Glasgow.

Nautricity, a company which emerged from Strathclyde University, has spent 18 months building its first commercial-scale device known as a Contra Rotating Marine Turbine (Cormat).

With the help of a £250,000 Smart Scotland grant from Scottish Enterprise, it has also developed and patented a tethered-based mooring system, called a Hydrobuoy, that ensures the Cormat devices remain steady in strong currents.

Cameron Johnstone, the company’s co-founder and chief executive, said testing the device at full scale in real-life conditions was an important step forward that would produce valuable data to allow the company to move to full commercial deployment.

“Once we have demonstrated the technology here and shown that it can provide affordable electricity, we will then build out at home and overseas,” he said. “In order to be able to ­compete abroad in the future, it’s essential that we have a ­robust, indigenous ­market from which to launch our ­international business ­development.”


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby sparky » Sun 11 May 2014, 01:21:44

.
wake up "alternatives" are only a fancy way of spending tax payers money ,
there is , as of today , no project which can provide a return on investment
if there was private companies would rush over each others to get some going
as thing stand , there is no money in it except some government grants
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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 11 May 2014, 08:59:48

I agree with sparky. Once there are viable sources of alternative energy, the rest of us will find out about such by observing the stampede of Texan investors.

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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby kublikhan » Sun 11 May 2014, 09:37:15

Fact check time:

*In cumulative dollar amounts, over the lifetimes of their respective subsidies, the oil, coal, gas and nuclear industries have received approximately $630 billion in U.S. government subsidies, while wind, solar, biofuels and other renewable sectors have received a total of roughly $50 billion in government investments.

*“federal commitment to [oil and gas] was five times greater than the federal commitment to renewables during the first 15 years of each subsidy’s life, and it was more than 10 times greater for nuclear.”

*Renewable energy investments are working. The cost of renewable energy has dropped dramatically since the 1970s, with the greatest improvements occurring in the past 5-10 years. Wind energy has fallen over 90% since incentives for wind began in the 1980s, and attracted an average annual private investment of $15 billion for the past five years.
Fact Check

Fossil fuels and nuclear energy had 10x-15x greater subsidy support during their initial development phase. By comparison, the spending of tax payers money on renewables are a drop in the bucket compared to what went to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. Then there's the external costs.
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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 11 May 2014, 12:48:34

We are already over the development R&D for both Solar PV and Wind Power. Today's premium mono-crystaline silicon solar cells are a bare few percent more efficient than those installed on the Telstar 1 satellite in 1962. Another six decades of R&D has failed to produce any better tech, although costs have been driven down considerably.

Commercial large scale wind generation is even older, the first megawatt-sized wind turbine was put in service in 1941.

Both Solar PV and Wind Turbines are fully mature technology that can not yet compete with fossil fuels. But as the price of fuels increases, they someday will.

In any case, you CAN get subsidies for distributed solar and wind - the Solar PV on my roof qualified for both Federal and State tax rebates that covered about 40% of the costs.
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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby kublikhan » Sun 11 May 2014, 13:32:58

KaiserJeep wrote:We are already over the development R&D for both Solar PV and Wind Power. Today's premium mono-crystaline silicon solar cells are a bare few percent more efficient than those installed on the Telstar 1 satellite in 1962. Another six decades of R&D has failed to produce any better tech, although costs have been driven down considerably.
Development is not "over". There is a lot of development going on. And that very driving down of costs you speak of is incredibly important! The most incredible technology in the world is not very useful if it is not economically viable.

Also, your statement about solar cells not getting more efficient is incorrect:
A lot of attention has been paid to the declining costs of installed solar panels in the past few years. But there is another piece of the equation that is improving the economics of the solar industry and that is the steady and relentless increase in panel efficiencies themselves.

SunPower knows a good deal about such matters, since they have some of the most efficient panels in the industry and keep pushing the envelope. SunPower’s Efficiency Roadmap shows an overall absolute efficiency improvement of 6% over the eight-year period from 2007 to 2015 (from 17 to 23%). This is a big selling point for the company, since you can get 60% more energy from the same space.

DeGraaff noted that not all modules are the same, but by and large, there is a steady momentum towards increasing conversion rates across the industry. His observation is buttressed by the work of GTM Research. GTM – a respected source of information in the field – indicates that the average increase in efficiency of conventional panels is likely to improve by approximately 2% over 7 years, or an average of about 0.3% annually. This is consistent with information presented at Photon International 2013, illustrating an improvement of about 4% since the year 2000. This doesn’t seem like much at first glance, but an increase of an additional 2% from 16% to 18%, is a large relative increase, boosting overall electricity output by about 12.5% relative to the initial baseline.
As Solar Panel Efficiencies Keep Improving, It's Time To Adopt Some New Metrics

KaiserJeep wrote:Commercial large scale wind generation is even older, the first megawatt-sized wind turbine was put in service in 1941.
Again, the year something was first implemented is not the only thing that matters. The first steam engine was patented in 1698. Which was based on a prior invention from 1679. But the economics of these early steam engines were not all that great. It wasn't until the Watt steam engine of 1775 when steam engines really took off.

KaiserJeep wrote:Both Solar PV and Wind Turbines are fully mature technology that can not yet compete with fossil fuels.
I wouldn't say they are fully mature. Fully mature technologies don't usually have such high growth rates and rapidly changing technology:

The development in solar PV technology is growing very fast in recent years due to technological improvement, cost reductions in materials and government support for renewable energy based electricity production. Photovoltaic is playing an important role to utilize solar energy for electricity production worldwide. At present, the PV market is growing rapidly with worldwide around 23.5GW in 2010 and also growing at an annual rate of 35–40%, which makes photovoltaic as one of the fastest growing industries. The efficiency of solar cell is one of the important parameter in order to establish this technology in the market. Presently, extensive research work is going for efficiency improvement of solar cells for commercial use. The efficiency of monocrystalline silicon solar cell has showed very good improvement year by year. It starts with only 15% in 1950s and then increase to 17% in 1970s and continuously increase up to 28% nowadays.
Progress in solar PV technology: Research and achievement

Solar PV technology, though a not fully developed technology, is rapidly improving in short periods of time. As the technology matures, capacity will increase due to the introduction of nanotechnology and other future technology drivers. Research shows that one square meter of a solar panel will produce a much higher energy output in the next decade. Costs are predicted to fall due to additional new raw materials in addition to the silicon based panels. For example, new water based materials will result in a less expensive final product.
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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 12 May 2014, 02:57:48

Something is wrong with your figures. Telstar 1 had solar PV that was 28% efficient in 1962. I have 26% efficient panels myself and they are 4+ years old.

The current low cost of solar PV is because the Chinese are dumping solar panels below cost from their government-sponsored solar manufacturing. This is a deliberate play to put other suppliers out of business, and has nothing to do with US government R&D dollars.

As I mentioned before, six decades of R&D has not produced anything better than silicon mono-crystalline PV. All the other tech including thin film and Solyndra solar tubes and everything else has performed lower and ended up costing more than Chinese silicon panels.

The 6" wafer fab machinery that China is using for solar wafers was purchased from here in Silicon Valley two decades ago when the valley moved to 8" diameter and later 12" diameter wafers.

You must learn to look under the surface and not read just "puff pieces". I repeat, there is nothing to be gained from more government R&D dollars on distributed wind and solar PV. You CAN get subsidies for installing such systems, like I did.

R&D dollars belong on large central solar plants, mass energy storage, and like projects. But the R&D grant process is widely abused, as it was with Solyndra.
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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 12 May 2014, 11:34:56

KaiserJeep wrote:Something is wrong with your figures. Telstar 1 had solar PV that was 28% efficient in 1962. I have 26% efficient panels myself and they are 4+ years old.
...
You must learn to look under the surface and not read just "puff pieces".
If you find fault with my figures or sources I would appreciate if you provide links to your own sources. When I asked you to do this previously you ignored me. Can you provide the source that says the Telstar 1 had solar PV cells that were 28% efficient in 1962? I can't find any data to support this. I even dug into the paper where they discussed the actual building of the solar cells for the Telstar 1(not a puff piece). But I could not corroborate your statement. Instead, the reported efficiencies were in the 12-14% range or less.

It can be seen that the Telstar solar cell has a lower initial power output and efficiency than the blue-sensitive p-on-n cell.
source: power systems for space flight


Blue-sensitive p-on-n cells secured from a commercial source and rated as 12 percent efficient under outer space light

The Solar Cells and Their Mounting

1960 - Hoffman Electronics creates a 14% efficient solar cell.
1962 - The Telstar communications satellite is powered by solar cells.
1985 - 20% efficient silicon cell are created by the Centre for Photovoltaic Engineering at the University of New South Wales.
2007 - New World Record Achieved in Solar Cell Technology - 42.8% efficiency achieved by University of Delaware.
Solar Cell History & Timeline
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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 12 May 2014, 11:39:57

KaiserJeep wrote:The current low cost of solar PV is because the Chinese are dumping solar panels below cost from their government-sponsored solar manufacturing. This is a deliberate play to put other suppliers out of business, and has nothing to do with US government R&D dollars.
That is wrong for several reasons. First, China alone is not driving solar PV cost reductions:

One of the most misunderstood aspects of the solar PV phenomenon over the past 5 years is the idea that it has been that it has been driven entirely by surplus capacity from China, and little else. Defenders of fossil fuel generation will tell you that the cost reductions are a mirage, and will solar module prices will likely rebound as the market comes into balance. They are in for a nasty shock. Between 2007 and 2012 it is estimated that solar manufacturing costs fell by between 70 and 80 per cent.

But the cost fall was not simply a matter of capacity, it was also about efficiency – more powerful modules, less silicon, less metals, improved manufacturing processes and so on. And the fall is continuing.

Last week, SunPower, the second biggest US solar PV manufacturer, said it had succeeded in reducing manufacturing costs by 20 per cent over 2013, following a similar fall a year earlier (and the year before that). And it managed to obtain an even bigger (25 per cent fall) in the balance of systems costs, the amount it costs to make and install solar modules in utility-scale solar farms. SunPower president and CEO Tom Werner says the cost falls are not over yet. He told analysts last week that its next line of manufacturing plant will likely reduce the cost per watt by a further 35 per cent over its current manufacturing lines. “We believe that SunPower’s ability to directly attack cost across the entire value chain represents an important source of long-term competitive advantage.”
Solar PV continues to shoot down the cost curve

Second, China's overcapacity problem is not a simple attempt to put others out of business. It is more complex than that. If you are really interested in this topic I recommend the following paper. I'll highlight a few points:

Study findings show that overcapacity is driven by a small number of key recurring factors, among them:
1. High savings particularly driven by retained earnings from state-owned enterprises
(SOEs)
2. Collapse of demand in export markets, primarily in the United States
3. Low domestic consumption
4. Weak enforcement of regulations
5. Low input prices due to government policies
6. Too low cost of capital in China
7. Fiscal system encourages local government to attract excessive investment
8. Local protectionism
9. Inexpensive and widespread availability of technology
10. Regionalism driving industrial fragmentation
11. Environmental, Health and Safety standards

“What especially requires our attention is that not only traditional industries such as steel and cement that suffer
from productive overcapacity are still blindly expanding, but also some emerging industries such as wind power equipment and poly-crystalline silicon have the tendency of duplicating investments.”

China’s overcapacity was a problem long before the 2008 global economic downturn pushed the issue firmly into the spotlight. The country’s overcapacity challenge was staggering in scale in the 1990s, with excess capacities existing in almost all sectors of the economy. Capacity utilisation rates of 35% to 45% were common in many industrial sectors. Since it remained domestic, China’s overcapacity problem back then went largely unnoticed globally. China in the 1990s was not fully integrated into the global economy and as such its overcapacity did not translate into a huge trade surplus. That is not the case today.
Overcapacity in China

KaiserJeep, I would also advise you to dig a little deeper and not just read puff pieces.

KaiserJeep wrote:As I mentioned before, six decades of R&D has not produced anything better than silicon mono-crystalline PV. All the other tech including thin film and Solyndra solar tubes and everything else has performed lower and ended up costing more than Chinese silicon panels.
One the one hand you dismiss the low cost of Solar PV as being caused solely by the Chinese dumping panels below cost(which is false BTW). Now you are holding up the Chinese panels as the gold standard for cost comparison purposes. This seems contradictory if you ask me. Also, if we wrote off the last six decades of progress in Solar PV, we would be stuck with 2% efficient cells at a cost of $1,785/watt, instead of less than $1 a watt today:

1955 - Western Electric licenses commercial solar cell technologies. Hoffman Electronics-Semiconductor Division creates a 2% efficient commercial solar cell for $25/cell or $1,785/Watt.
1959 - Hoffman Electronics creates a 10% efficient commercial solar cell.
1960 - Hoffman Electronics creates a 14% efficient solar cell.
1980 - The Institute of Energy Conversion at University of Delaware develops the first thin film solar cell exceeding 10% efficiency.
1985 - 20% efficient silicon cells are created.
1992 - University of South Florida fabricates a 15.89-percent efficient thin-film cell.
2007 - University of Delaware claims to achieve new world record in Solar Cell Technology without independent confirmation - 42.8% efficiency.
Timeline of solar cells
The oil barrel is half-full.
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