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Are Solar Panels Sustainable On A Large Scale?

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posted on Apr, 8 2017 @ 06:03 PM
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a reply to: D8Tee
yes, we shut down nuclear power in the long term. 6% is not much but you have to see it local. I provide enough power for myself and two other households over the course of the year. That´s a start in my opinion


It´s important to plan the pv-system the right way, you wan´t to avoid shadow and dirt, have a steep angle and south orientation. I think the future will be fusion, bio-gas and then the pure regeneratives like solar and wind.




posted on Apr, 8 2017 @ 06:06 PM
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a reply to: TheScale

It´s not really hard. It´s just that you miss the knowledge. What do you want to know specifically? I´m an electronics engineer... just ask.

The current efficiency is at 18,9%, according to WINAICO, a german supplier.Inverters are up to 98.5% efficient.
edit on 8-4-2017 by verschickter because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 8 2017 @ 06:55 PM
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a reply to: verschickter

A breakthrough in Fusion would change things.

Rooftop solar panels are great.

Intermittent power sources like solar and wind have their limits as far as how much you can load onto a grid, is Germany not bumping up against that limit soon?

I guess they can import from other countries grids if need be?

Biomass I don't feel the same way about.

Germany has quite high electric rates, I'm glad I don't have to pay them.

Biomass used for the production of biogas and biofuels are some of Germany's most important sources of renewable energy. In 2010, biomass accounted for 30% of renewable electricity generation and for 70% of all renewable energy (mostly wood). 40% of German wood production is used as a biomass feedstock.

edit on 8-4-2017 by D8Tee because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 03:56 AM
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a reply to: D8Tee
I´ll try to adress your post in the order you wrote it.

The problem with the grid is multilayered. Unlike the USA for example, we have a real grid, meaning interconnected network of sections that can be shut down but you can reroute the energy over another pair of lines. That gave us reserves and the EVUs (grid & plant owners) didn´t invest much. Now we have more decentralized power plants, like single or small groups of wind turbines (I can count over 30 in my sight of view, some new ones get build as I write this) or mid range pv-systems around 300kwp.

Unlike in the past, where you had massive supply lines from the big power plants that get redistributed, you now have low to mid range pv and wind systems that supply in more rural regions, where the lines never were planned to take that current. It works, if the power is used regionally, but if you have huge rural PV and wind farms, where no industry is, we need to upgrade the grid.




I guess they can import from other countries grids if need be?

It´s vice versa. We export cheaper than the production. Meaning with the EEG law, it can be that we supply power to belgium, france, switzerland and austria for cheap, when PV-systems and wind come alive and the Merit-Order-Effect takes place (shutting down a plant would cost more money. Then they sell it international, if all the water-pump plans are loaded. Because there are still some water-plants that pump water up the hill if there is excess energy on the grid to use it at peak times. The slots for installable plants like this are all full in germany, though.

Bigger PV-systems now have to partake in direct selling of the energy at a the energy stock market. For that, they have to have systems installed that regulate the power down. Same with wind. So the merit-order problem is countered a bit.


About Bio-gas (you wrote bio-mass):

With bio-gas I ment more recent technologies like algae. Bio-mass power plants should only be utilized for bio-waste. Not throwing food into it. Then there is the problem with single culture, same plant, every year on the same field. This is not good for the soil. Not far away there are several bio-mass plants and the region is packed with maize fields for bio-mass.

In the summer, huge machines drive throughout the night, using tons of fuel to harvest the stuff alone, to pack it into silos and later stuff it into the biomass-reactor. It´s much more worse than PV in terms of efficiency. It´s really worse for the environment.

I can only speak for south germany region but in the 90-2005 we had heavy rape seed production for bio-diesel fuel. Around 2000-2005 it changed to bio-mass because of the huge subsidizing. It turned normal agrar type farmers into money farmers.

But I know the hypocrisy, I have a subsidized pv-system on my roof, so I´m also a money farmer. I don´t feel bad about it because I bought the house with the system already in place and overtook the contract but I´m aware of the hypocrisy..

edit on 9-4-2017 by verschickter because: (no reason given)

edit on 9-4-2017 by verschickter because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 04:32 AM
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a reply to: verschickter

Fusion power would be worthy of a Manhattan style spare no expenses project.

Why Fusion Power is always 30 years away


To reach this all-important milestone, we will likely have to wait for ITER. Latin for “the way,” ITER will be the largest and most powerful fusion generator in the world, and is expected to to cross the break-even point. ITER is projected to produce 500 MW of power with an input of 50 MW, and be able to hold plasma for half an hour or more. That’s enough energy to power roughly 50,000 households.

Based on the tokamak design, the project is the result of a collaboration between the European Union and six other countries, including the U.S., that have pooled resources and expertise to build a reactor that is expected to be the gateway to useable fusion energy.



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 09:03 AM
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a reply to: D8Tee

I doubt the military ignored fusion. The´ve been into it from the begining, I bet. Maybe it was concluded that they get to big to be usefull, except for big stuff like carriers or DUMBs. Operating a fusion reactor at sea, is another difficult task. Leaves us with DUMBs...



posted on Apr, 9 2017 @ 07:38 PM
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originally posted by: verschickter
a reply to: TheScale

It´s not really hard. It´s just that you miss the knowledge. What do you want to know specifically? I´m an electronics engineer... just ask.

The current efficiency is at 18,9%, according to WINAICO, a german supplier.Inverters are up to 98.5% efficient.


well efficiency of light conversion isnt really my concern. im more interested in the energy costs per panel to manufacture versus what u will get over its lifetime. when i read about a new manufacturing process back in 2007-2008 we had just come up with a process that gave us around a 5% net gain over a panels lifetime. so if we havent progressed much further from that time i dont see how they can sustain the ecosystem without an ungodly number of panels or an outside energy source to supplement the panel ecosystem.



posted on Apr, 10 2017 @ 12:21 PM
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a reply to: TheScale
Then let me explain:
Depending on the Wp (maximum power output), Size and type of pv-cells (mono-/poly crystal and laminated types) it takes 2-4 years to get even with manufacturing energy / payback energy.
It´s not that easy to calculate, because it depends on those factors:

You can expect up to 1-5% power loss each year, stopping at around 20% total power loss if realy bad. Or everything is fine, it mostly depends on the heat conditions and manufacture errors. Normally manufactures give at least 5-10 year warranty on the cells and up to 25 years (!) warranty that the degradation is less than 10%.


Location / Module:
-Module type: there are mono- and polycristal and laminated types similar to those in calculators (they are somewhat flexible)
-Orientation (East, South, West)
-Mounting angle: the best angle depends on your location.
-Dirt accumulation: mid degree is around 15% loss.
-Heat conditions: a windy area is better, because cooler modules have a better efficiency
-Efficiency: around 18% is max. That means 1000W/m² * 0.18 = 180Wp per square meter. Here is a datasheet:
www.winaico.com...
This module has roughly 1.7m² and up to 340Wp.
-Correct electrical installation.

Inverters:
-Heat conditions: Hot inverters limit the output power or shut down to cool.
-Maximum power point tracker: has to run faultless to surf at optimum power harvest.

Cables:
-Length and conditions (animal bites, cuts)

Then there is:
-Weather
-Dirt
-Animals (some birds drop stones on the panels, humans do golf balls, basket balls)

Those are the factors that you have to look at. But it´s definitly a myth that solar panels never pay back there energy. This happens at 3 years approximately, if you do not mount the modules up side down, in the plain shadow or faced straight north.
edit on 10-4-2017 by verschickter because: (no reason given)

edit on 10-4-2017 by verschickter because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2017 @ 01:17 PM
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Stunning drops in the cost of wind and solar energy have turned the global power market upside down.

For years, opponents of renewable power, like President Donald Trump, have argued they simply aren’t affordable. The reality is quite different.

Unsubsidized renewables have become the cheapest source of new power — by far — in more and more countries, according to a new report from the United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

In just one year, the cost of solar generation worldwide dropped on average 17 percent, the report found. The average costs for onshore wind dropped 18 percent last year, while those for offshore wind fell a whopping 28 percent.

The result is “more bang for the buck,” as the U.N. and BNEF put it. Last year saw 138.5 gigawatts of new renewable capacity. That not only beat the 2015 record of 127.5 GW, but it was built with a total investment that was 23 percent lower than in 2015.

Thinkprogress.org, April 6, 2017 - Stunning drops in solar and wind costs turn global power market upside down.

That is last year's energy growth in solar. And wind has dropped too. Almost every day, some county in the US is "going solar." India has had large growth too. This is forcing people to look at energy storage. Every now and then some type of flow battery is being installed with solar. There has not been a combined effort to attach storage with solar. But that should turn around.

The above article says instead of subsidizing solar they having to pay natural gas plants to keep the grid stable! Energy storage would help that out.



posted on Apr, 10 2017 @ 01:41 PM
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a reply to: TEOTWAWKIAIFF
You probably know that but I´ll say it for others, everything is subsidized to a point. Coal, gas, pv, nuclear, water, wind...



posted on Apr, 10 2017 @ 01:54 PM
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china is set to become the next powerhouse in Alternative fuels...they will spend 360 billion on it by 2020....
www.nytimes.com...

in the near future, the only thing America will be number one in will be gun murders, and military spending.



posted on Apr, 11 2017 @ 01:51 PM
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originally posted by: verschickter
a reply to: TheScale
Then let me explain:
Depending on the Wp (maximum power output), Size and type of pv-cells (mono-/poly crystal and laminated types) it takes 2-4 years to get even with manufacturing energy / payback energy.
It´s not that easy to calculate, because it depends on those factors:

You can expect up to 1-5% power loss each year, stopping at around 20% total power loss if realy bad. Or everything is fine, it mostly depends on the heat conditions and manufacture errors. Normally manufactures give at least 5-10 year warranty on the cells and up to 25 years (!) warranty that the degradation is less than 10%.


Location / Module:
-Module type: there are mono- and polycristal and laminated types similar to those in calculators (they are somewhat flexible)
-Orientation (East, South, West)
-Mounting angle: the best angle depends on your location.
-Dirt accumulation: mid degree is around 15% loss.
-Heat conditions: a windy area is better, because cooler modules have a better efficiency
-Efficiency: around 18% is max. That means 1000W/m² * 0.18 = 180Wp per square meter. Here is a datasheet:
www.winaico.com...
This module has roughly 1.7m² and up to 340Wp.
-Correct electrical installation.

Inverters:
-Heat conditions: Hot inverters limit the output power or shut down to cool.
-Maximum power point tracker: has to run faultless to surf at optimum power harvest.

Cables:
-Length and conditions (animal bites, cuts)

Then there is:
-Weather
-Dirt
-Animals (some birds drop stones on the panels, humans do golf balls, basket balls)

Those are the factors that you have to look at. But it´s definitly a myth that solar panels never pay back there energy. This happens at 3 years approximately, if you do not mount the modules up side down, in the plain shadow or faced straight north.


gotta go to work so i will go over the data in the link when i get back later today. is it a payback economically for the consumer? cause i see alot of data that pushes that which is a different argument.
edit on 11-4-2017 by TheScale because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 11 2017 @ 02:22 PM
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a reply to: TheScale
the financial payback is real, see my posts above, where I do the math based on my case. I installed it myself so if you add workhours to it, your payback takes longer. of course it depends on the €cent per kw/h you get. 43cent is excellent, nowadays it´s around 13cent (?) in Germany for new installations, I think.

Newer modules also have a better efficiency with scattered light, meaning a cloudy day for example. Comes in handy in the winter, where you have lots of reflections from snow, freezing cold so good efficiency and depending on the mounting angle, a good harvest because the sun comes in lower than in summer.

In the link to the datasheet, try to replace the DE with EN for the english version, maybe it works. It´s also not 340Wp, it´s 315Wp, my mistake (should not matter much, I have 275Wp and do fine)
edit on 11-4-2017 by verschickter because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 11 2017 @ 03:57 PM
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a reply to: verschickter

It's a gold mine at 43 cents.

Very good investment in guv subsidy if you could get in at that rate, I am assuming it was getting negative political feedback to have the rates drop to 13?



posted on Apr, 12 2017 @ 10:51 AM
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originally posted by: verschickter
a reply to: TheScale
the financial payback is real, see my posts above, where I do the math based on my case. I installed it myself so if you add workhours to it, your payback takes longer. of course it depends on the €cent per kw/h you get. 43cent is excellent, nowadays it´s around 13cent (?) in Germany for new installations, I think.

Newer modules also have a better efficiency with scattered light, meaning a cloudy day for example. Comes in handy in the winter, where you have lots of reflections from snow, freezing cold so good efficiency and depending on the mounting angle, a good harvest because the sun comes in lower than in summer.

In the link to the datasheet, try to replace the DE with EN for the english version, maybe it works. It´s also not 340Wp, it´s 315Wp, my mistake (should not matter much, I have 275Wp and do fine)


financial payback is an entirely different argument then the one im making. checkout my previous posts about the costs of producing a panel. to get the resources, gather them up, get them to a factory to produce the panel and ship it to a customer for installation all has energy costs associated with it. many panels still to this day will not give more energy over their lifetime then it took to manufacture and the ones that are energy positive, were just barely over the hump. the ultimate goal is to be completely off fossil fuels but to do that the pv systems need to provide far more power then they cost to produce. for example id gladly take a 5% efficient panel over a 100% efficient one if the 5% panel gives back 10X the power it cost to produce vs a 100% efficient panel that maybe produces 90% of what it costs to make. yeah one is very efficient but its not self a sufficient ecosystem and will always rely on outside power.



posted on Apr, 12 2017 @ 11:33 AM
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originally posted by: TheScale

originally posted by: verschickter
a reply to: TheScale
the financial payback is real, see my posts above, where I do the math based on my case. I installed it myself so if you add workhours to it, your payback takes longer. of course it depends on the €cent per kw/h you get. 43cent is excellent, nowadays it´s around 13cent (?) in Germany for new installations, I think.

Newer modules also have a better efficiency with scattered light, meaning a cloudy day for example. Comes in handy in the winter, where you have lots of reflections from snow, freezing cold so good efficiency and depending on the mounting angle, a good harvest because the sun comes in lower than in summer.

In the link to the datasheet, try to replace the DE with EN for the english version, maybe it works. It´s also not 340Wp, it´s 315Wp, my mistake (should not matter much, I have 275Wp and do fine)


financial payback is an entirely different argument then the one im making. checkout my previous posts about the costs of producing a panel. to get the resources, gather them up, get them to a factory to produce the panel and ship it to a customer for installation all has energy costs associated with it. many panels still to this day will not give more energy over their lifetime then it took to manufacture and the ones that are energy positive, were just barely over the hump. the ultimate goal is to be completely off fossil fuels but to do that the pv systems need to provide far more power then they cost to produce. for example id gladly take a 5% efficient panel over a 100% efficient one if the 5% panel gives back 10X the power it cost to produce vs a 100% efficient panel that maybe produces 90% of what it costs to make. yeah one is very efficient but its not self a sufficient ecosystem and will always rely on outside power.


Well, the energy consumed in the production has to be paid by someone, so it will end up in the price.

With nowadays produced cells you should hit energy balance in about two years.

It is an economies of scale thing, with increasing demand there will be increasing investment in more efficient/cheaper production.



posted on Apr, 12 2017 @ 04:45 PM
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originally posted by: moebius

originally posted by: TheScale

originally posted by: verschickter
a reply to: TheScale
the financial payback is real, see my posts above, where I do the math based on my case. I installed it myself so if you add workhours to it, your payback takes longer. of course it depends on the €cent per kw/h you get. 43cent is excellent, nowadays it´s around 13cent (?) in Germany for new installations, I think.

Newer modules also have a better efficiency with scattered light, meaning a cloudy day for example. Comes in handy in the winter, where you have lots of reflections from snow, freezing cold so good efficiency and depending on the mounting angle, a good harvest because the sun comes in lower than in summer.

In the link to the datasheet, try to replace the DE with EN for the english version, maybe it works. It´s also not 340Wp, it´s 315Wp, my mistake (should not matter much, I have 275Wp and do fine)


financial payback is an entirely different argument then the one im making. checkout my previous posts about the costs of producing a panel. to get the resources, gather them up, get them to a factory to produce the panel and ship it to a customer for installation all has energy costs associated with it. many panels still to this day will not give more energy over their lifetime then it took to manufacture and the ones that are energy positive, were just barely over the hump. the ultimate goal is to be completely off fossil fuels but to do that the pv systems need to provide far more power then they cost to produce. for example id gladly take a 5% efficient panel over a 100% efficient one if the 5% panel gives back 10X the power it cost to produce vs a 100% efficient panel that maybe produces 90% of what it costs to make. yeah one is very efficient but its not self a sufficient ecosystem and will always rely on outside power.


Well, the energy consumed in the production has to be paid by someone, so it will end up in the price.

With nowadays produced cells you should hit energy balance in about two years.

It is an economies of scale thing, with increasing demand there will be increasing investment in more efficient/cheaper production.


your missing the point. if panels take almost as much energy to produce as they give out over their lifetime then to sustain that ecosystem will either require another source of energy like fossil fuels or the panels need to produce far more power then it takes to manufacture. forget economic costs cause that doesnt fill the energy gap. for example, back in 2007-2008 the newest PV manufacturing technique gave around 5% more power over its lifetime then it took to produce. so for every panel that supplies power for residential and commercial use, u need 19 panels producing the energy needed over their entire lifetime to replace those panels when they inevitably fail. u can start to imagine the numbers of panels needed just to sustain that eco system when it takes 40,000-45,000km2 of panels just to deliver what we use in the US right now. if those panels are only producing 5% more then they took to manufacture then that number suddenly goes up to 800,000-900,000km2 to sustain that ecosystem with no outside energy source
edit on 12-4-2017 by TheScale because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2017 @ 12:15 PM
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a reply to: TheScale
this post is my last try, read it in a friendly tone because I´m out of patience. It´s not to offend you but sometimes very clear words are the last attempt...


...
many panels still to this day will not give more energy over their lifetime then it took to manufacture and the ones that are energy positive were just barelly over the hump
...

and most of the rest that you wrote is false! Simply false and myths. Your 5%/100% example shows you lack the bigger picture and have no idea of the relations in the numbers. Of course efficiency in energy harvest is tied to the production energy payback. Your example is unreal to the maximum.

If you don´t read my posts, where I both explained the financial payback and the energy payback, I really can´t help you further. The numbers I gave you include the resources to a high degree, you can´t do the math 100% correct. You would have to include shipping too. If you take it to that level, nothing is viable in any way.

Because fossil fuels. Who say´s PV-systems have to be the only replacement? It has it´s place but is not the holy grail, I wrote that one or two times in this thread.

And again for you:
The energy/resource payback is roughly 3 years, because it depends on the energy harvest
But keep repeating the myth to yourself and believe it.

I know, what I know and have some background in pv-systems. I did some ROIs, many pvsol-calculations and also worked on the hardware side. Quality panels will last decades, but you have several factors that can greatly reduce the lifetime and harves of the panel. I can provide you with facts, you just keep repeating someting you´ve read somewhere. But hey, you can fool yourself if you want, it´s your right, but you help keeping up that myth, that concerns me. I´m not trying to convince you, because there is nothing to convince, it´s facts and reality.



yeah one is very efficient but its not self a sufficient ecosystem and will always rely on outside power.

What does that mean? Please name one self sufficient power production system. For the case that you talk about guided inverters (means: you need AC from the outside), there have always been so called "island inverters", they don´t need sine wave guidance.

excuse my bad english, cheers


edit: here is an english source, it goes down to points like energy needed for the substrate that is needed in the production of a single cell. Should be nitpicky enough:
www.nrel.gov...
I have to say they are very optimistic with 30 years lifetime (0% fail quote it seems). 15-20years is more realistic and it will produce at least 10 years of clean energy.
edit on 13-4-2017 by verschickter because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2017 @ 12:20 PM
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a reply to: TheScale


if panels take almost as much energy to produce as they give out over their lifetime


but that´s not true.
edit on 13-4-2017 by verschickter because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2017 @ 03:09 PM
link   

originally posted by: moebius

originally posted by: TheScale

originally posted by: verschickter
a reply to: TheScale
the financial payback is real, see my posts above, where I do the math based on my case. I installed it myself so if you add workhours to it, your payback takes longer. of course it depends on the €cent per kw/h you get. 43cent is excellent, nowadays it´s around 13cent (?) in Germany for new installations, I think.

Newer modules also have a better efficiency with scattered light, meaning a cloudy day for example. Comes in handy in the winter, where you have lots of reflections from snow, freezing cold so good efficiency and depending on the mounting angle, a good harvest because the sun comes in lower than in summer.

In the link to the datasheet, try to replace the DE with EN for the english version, maybe it works. It´s also not 340Wp, it´s 315Wp, my mistake (should not matter much, I have 275Wp and do fine)


financial payback is an entirely different argument then the one im making. checkout my previous posts about the costs of producing a panel. to get the resources, gather them up, get them to a factory to produce the panel and ship it to a customer for installation all has energy costs associated with it. many panels still to this day will not give more energy over their lifetime then it took to manufacture and the ones that are energy positive, were just barely over the hump. the ultimate goal is to be completely off fossil fuels but to do that the pv systems need to provide far more power then they cost to produce. for example id gladly take a 5% efficient panel over a 100% efficient one if the 5% panel gives back 10X the power it cost to produce vs a 100% efficient panel that maybe produces 90% of what it costs to make. yeah one is very efficient but its not self a sufficient ecosystem and will always rely on outside power.


Well, the energy consumed in the production has to be paid by someone, so it will end up in the price.

With nowadays produced cells you should hit energy balance in about two years.

It is an economies of scale thing, with increasing demand there will be increasing investment in more efficient/cheaper production.


you cant just throw cash at something to produce energy. it has to come from somewhere such as fossil fuels. ii have first hand experience with a 7.5kw system and even at 20+ years youd be lucky to break even. if u got a loan for a system through one of the many companies installing them then your probly completely upside down and will never make the money back unless power goes up by orders of magnitude per kwh.


edit on 13-4-2017 by TheScale because: (no reason given)



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