Hey solar, y u no popular?
The article primarily focuses on "wind vs. solar" where wind is calculated on giving a 36:1 EROI. Solar on the other hand is netting about 5:1.
EROI charts are going to vary greatly depending the years the data is from, what projects the numbers were taken from, and the firms involved in the
projects. In the case of solar and wind, new technologies have a great potential to produce much more attractive EROIs but some of this hasn't been
In any case, EROI calculations are not going to have end-all say. I think they are a good indicator though to see what kind of levels a certain energy
type is running in, regardless of their accuracy.
We should also take into account here that the study does not even address economics. Positioning for solar and wind are both restricted by suitable
areas. Infrastructure is another key issue, and where a new industry takes an incredibly long time to sprout, once the economics change it can be
accelerated quite quickly.
In an case, I also found a EROI chart for solar that cites a higher value, around 12:1.
Compare that to the declining energy returns in the oil industry, and it appears that we are very close to a shift in energy production:
If you look at that graphic, you can see the energy returns on oil had a drastic decline, and has been steadily declining since 1970s. We are at a
time now where oil sands developments are tearing the Earth apart to get a minuscule 3-5:1 return on energy. That's not good...
There are some people who argue peak oil is a myth, but if that's the case, why not keep those nice, ultra profitable 100:1+ values of energy return
they had in the past? Money talks, BS walks.
Given that the proven technology and infrastructure is readily in place, and readily available with oil, not to mention the lobbying efforts of the
industry, it's no surprise they maintain their position in energy production. But things will eventually have to change, although economics (IMO) is
the most contributing factor. As soon as commercialization and monetization of solar and other alternatives becomes easier, we may see projects
sprouting up as fast as oil wells did at the turn of the century.
But to be honest, solar isn't looking that good in certain aspects.
I mention in another thread a huge project happening in Greece, Project
which is going to use up a dismal 200km2 size of land.
Total investment: up to 20 billion Euros
Estimated total revenue: up to 80 billion Euros
Surface of land required: 200 km2
It's impressive given that it should make a 60 Billion Euro profit.
So now we have profit, where's our solar??
Helios is rated at 10,000MW, and for arguments sake, lets say it runs full capacity 365 days of the (very sunny) year for 14 hours a day. (Not likely
but lets just give it some boosted numbers...)
That would give us about 51 tWh a year. The US consumes about 28,714 tWh a year.
. This means, that even with the generous numbers given to Helios, we would need
roughly 563 of them to power the states. Which would require about 100,000 km2 of land. To put that into perspective, the US only has 381,000 km2 of
deserts (arid land) Source.
Mind you I was being pretty liberal with the numbers. Essentially, it could take either 1/3 or possibly all
of the land in every desert in the
US, to produce energy needs from a similar project to Helios. This isn't realistic in any sense, and my example is just to get and idea of the amount
of space needed for the idea of, "Why can't we just get all our energy from solar?"
Another one that comes up a lot with solar is, "if solar powered my electric car I'd save so much money!"
It seems that way, because even at the extra cost of solar compared to nuclear, coal, etc, it is still a lot cheaper than gasoline. (But not cheaper
than coal, hydroelectric or nuclear.)
The cost to consumers for coal generated electricity currently averages around $0.10/kWh. Due to the efficiencies and cost of commercial PV
modules they remain uncompetitive with this cheap coal-powered electricity, averaging closer to
Of course, it only seems cheaper until you factor in your battery costs:
How long will an electric car battery last? The lithium-ion battery pack in the Tesla Roadster is projected to have a lifespan of about 5 years or
Right now Gas is $3.50 gallon, average.
If your car gets 30MPG the gas used to travel 100,000 Miles is
around roughly $12,000.
A new battery for your EV? About the same. Don't forget to add in the "cheap" energy you are getting out of the socket, which is said to be around
At the end of that time the pack will need to be replaced, at a cost of approximately $10,000.
But even if you still like those numbers, forget them because the grid is not even able to handle the extra loads. Power outages happen now without
the added demand, and if you shifted the transportation industry's needs to electrical outlets, you would see the grid collapse.
2-11-2012 by boncho because: (no reason given)
edit on 2-11-2012 by boncho because: (no reason given)
2-11-2012 by boncho because: (no reason given)