Solar energy generation in California is expected to rise sharply during the second half of 2013, coming from utility-scale plants such as the California Valley Solar Ranch in San Luis Obispo. Here, 140 megawatts were brought online in December 2012. By December 2013, the project is expected to deliver its full capacity of 250 megawatts. (Source: US Department of Energy/NRG Solar)
Ann writes: "That's good news, but because China also produces the majority of PV solar capacity, it's also been accused of dumping by the EU"
The whole balance of trade problem with China under cutting both Solar and Wind, to the point of driving both US and EU mfgr's out of business has long term implications that prices will rise significantly as western economies force a balance of trade solution. First with stiff tarrifs, then with currency balancing that allows trade import/exports to balance.
So the near term might be the lowest prices ... and a good time to buy. Because the dumping windfall will get corrected one way or the other, most likely with currency parity, which will raise the price of all China made goods by something around 15-50% to stop the balance of trade problems. The import/export ratio can not stay in the 3:1 to 4:1 range much longer.
Even though your ROI was 7 years, it is still a terrible timeframe. Even 6 years.
In 6 years, the current solar tech will look and operate so dated. Eventually, there will be a solar tech that is cheap and a high efficiency. Somewhere, a team is working on it I am sure. If only we could get them some added funding.
Mydesign, I remember the effort of harvesting energy from tidal waves, but not why it failed. Considering what the Wave Glider can do in that department
I'd like to know why that effort failed. Any idea?
PV panel costs have been dropping rapidly as China has increased its use in huge quantities. That's good news, but because China also produces the majority of PV solar capacity, it's also been accused of dumping by the EU: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/eu-to-hit-100-china-solar-panel-makers-with-anti-dumping-tariffs
Price point matters. When Cell Phones cost $10,000 only very rich people had them, when they fell below $1000 a lot more people got them, and when they figured out ways to make them for a hundred or so, the market exploded into the billions.
When computers cost millions, big institutions had them. When they cost 10K, well off people and businesses had them. When they cost $1K, everyone had them. Now a netbook is a few hundred bucks and are almost disposable assets.
if a rooftop solar array costs $50K, it's a deterrence, no matter how good the economic story. When they cost $20K, well, it's that or a car. When they cost $5K, well, it's not
much of an issue at all and the install rate will explode.
"so far the hybrid harvesters have been solar/vibration and solar/heat. It seems like this is where this technology is trending, though. A hybrid solar-wind generator would be an amazing invention."
Elizabeth, in all hybrid models solar/sun light is at one end because of its abundant availability. The other combinations are with wind, heat, vibrations, tidal etc. in my country they had tried for power generation through tidal waves, but failed.
"great thing as cell costs continue dropping, the ROI gets shorter and shorter. I believe that as the ROI gets below 3 years, the investment will pick up and as it goes under a year, the demand will be Hyperbolic."
Path2009, actually panel cell cost is fine because it's a onetime investment. From user point of view power storage is bit concerned because of high cost and need of replacement in every 3-5 years.
Very informative post Ann. I think we have no real alternative relative to increasing energy usage than "green energy". Fossil fuel and nuclear have gotten an undeserved black eye over the years although still very viable as energy sources. I agree the ROI for wind and solar will continue to drop as the technology improves. I think the real "sleeper" is natural gas firing turbines for the production of electricity. I visited Dubai some years ago and was amazed at the number of gas turbines providing power for individual buildings and commercial complexes.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
If there's one thing 3D printing's good for, it's customization. New Balance Athletic Shoe Company has begun using 3D printing to make customized spike plates for its running shoes made for members of its Team New Balance runners. They provide better traction and shave off a tiny bit of weight.
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