Ann, a 25% reduction of cost in a primary part is a great thing. It is not clear from the article how big the 275kW unit is. A medium size coal plant typically puts out 400 - 500 mega watts of power. A typical nuclear factilty about 900 - 1,000 MW. So, that would be about 1,400 of these units to replace a medium size coal plant. Of course, the coal plant puts out that energy all the time, on demand. So, while this technology is interesting and useful as an augmentation, in areas with lots of sun, I wonder if it is economically viable.
TJ, I, too am surprised that California hasn't mandated that commercial roofs will use solar energy. But I'm even more surprised that Arizona, Utah and New Mexico haven't done so. I believe their desert areas get more usable sunlight hours per year than we do here in the golden state.
I just wish these things were available on a small scale for homes. But steam generation is not to be played with, unfortunately.
I am not thrilled that a bankrupt state gets involved in these things, but that is California's problem as long as they don't come crawling to the rest of the country to bail them out.
But politics aside, we could use more innovative electrical generation. Since the King will not let us use coal, and congress has made sure we keep the Middle East rich, the un-taxed sun seems a good place to go.
Too bad the ocean is so hard on equipment, as there is a lot of energy stored there from the sun and moon!
What's the relative cost of ownership/maintenance of this type of solar technology when compared to other fossil fuel technologies? Are these units durable with few moving parts to break or do they typically have on-going maintenance issues?
TJ, I agree in general with your topographical analysis of alternative energy methods. California is actually three different states, when it comes to that division. I live in the PNW-like sector. In the southeast, we've got the desert, and then there's the very long coast.
Don't worry, Warren, California isn't bankrupt yet; that's just the annual budget exercise you're watching. Meanwhile, that's an intriguing point you make about the ocean: it does store a huge amount of energy in the form of wave motion. I've read in the past about attempts to harness that energy. Does anyone know what the status is of those attempts?
TJ - You're absolutely right. To make the most of our resources, there is no one solution. It takes whatever appropriate technology makes the most sense - tied together through a smart grid. On a personal note, I've chanced to drive by the facility many times and always wondered what it was all about. Now I know. Thanks.
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