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Large scale solar power generation

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Posted by dwickford on July 30, 2005, 4:02 pm

Further to recent posts in alt.conspiracy:


Message ID of my post:

I would like to know a little more about the economics of large scale
power generation using solar power.  I'm not too bothered about the
technology: photovoltaic, or e.g. heat pump, but I'm interested to know
whether or not solar can be economic now that the markets seem to have
decided that the price of oil will be high.

The type of scale I'm thinking about is 1000MW. Say you get 50W/square
meter then 1GW needs 20E6 meters squared which is about 20 square
kilometers, which isn't a lot of desert when you see the size.

(This post is only about technology production - biomatter may be

Posted by Tim Keating on July 30, 2005, 4:45 pm
On 30 Jul 2005 09:02:12 -0700, dwickford@yahoo.com wrote:

1.  The required amount of desert land area isn't a significant
factor.  (we have plenty to spare.)

2.  One would likely use dual axis trackers, thus multiply land area
by 5.    The partial shading would permit other usage of land area
under and around trackers.  (offsetting cost)..

3.   Using recent retail prices one would likely pay 3$/watt for
panels and another $/watt for the Trackers, mounting, & transmission.

  Thus one is look at roughly $ Billion to construct a 1GW solar
plant which produces output 10 to 12 hours a day.   ~8Wh/day per watt
of PV.  Most of which is produced during peak usage times.. (Thus
electricity produced is substantially more valuable).

   3a.  Caveat to Item #3.. Large installations would likely
manufacturer their own panels and trackers on site. Thus cutting out
several middlemen, thus costs could drop by 50% or more.

4. Little or no reoccurring fuel costs..   Which is a large unknown
cost factor for virtually all other energy sources except wind and

5.  PV installation has a long lifespan and is recyclable.  

Posted by Tim Keating on July 30, 2005, 4:57 pm
 On 30 Jul 2005 09:02:12 -0700, dwickford@yahoo.com wrote:

One should also factor in that Oil and Nuclear are heavily subsidized
by our government..  

 I.E.   Oil needs large DOD expenditures..   ~250B$/yr
          Nuclear gets subsidized liability insurance.  10 to 30B$/yr
          As we import more and more LNG,  it too is dependant on
large DOD expenditures.  

Posted by Ed Earl Ross on July 30, 2005, 5:53 pm
 dwickford@yahoo.com wrote:


$=US Dollar

The Australia Solar Tower has a design cost of $70M for 200MW of
power. It will provide power day and night. Although, there will be
more power during the day.

Portugal's planned PV system, which will be the largest, delivers
less power (64MW), but if scaled up to 200MW would cost an
estimated $000M.

OTEC will cost about the same as the Portugal PV system.

I don't have cost figures for a salinity-gradient solar pond, but
expect they cost about the same as other solar technology.

Some systems generate electricity only during daylight, such as PV
and solar concentrators with steam or Stirling engine. OTEC, solar
tower and salinity-gradient solar ponds generate power day and
night. All are expensive.

A 200MW nuclear plant would cost about $00M.

"If the man doesn't believe as we do,
we say he is a crank, and that settles it.
I mean, it does nowadays, because now we
can't burn him."  (Mark Twain)

Posted by Steve on July 31, 2005, 1:49 am
I would argue that we still don't know how much nuclear power costs.  At
least not until we have a permanent and waste disposal site.


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