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Thread: Solar Power generation in Alberta - Truly competitive now, or soon?

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    Default Solar Power generation in Alberta - Truly competitive now, or soon?

    Despite working in the big bad oil and gas industry, I've always followed solar power pretty clsoely because I think it just makes so much sense for a sunny place like Southern Alberta.
    Current story in the Herald says that it's currently about equal to building new natural gas fired power plants even without subsidies.
    https://calgaryherald.com/business/l...gly-make-sense
    Still, Jeyakumar said based on price alone, the conditions are ripe for solar to rise in Alberta.

    “There are many instances where in a very competitive market, you’re seeing solar outbid gas projects. That is already happening,” she said.
    I know we have many knowledgeable folks on here, what say you?

    - - - Updated - - -

    From another thread, that I didn't want to derail:
    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
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    Calgary is the sunniest city in all of Canada, solar probably makes the most sense. I imagine Edmonton isn't too much different being so close.
    I guess if they are covered in snow though they won't work so well haha.
    Quote Originally Posted by suntan View Post
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    Azimuth, man, azimuth. That is the problem. The sun is too low in the sky in winter.
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    https://effecthomes.ca/is-alberta-a-...-on-your-home/

    While AB is not AZ, it still has considerable solar potential and that potential only gets better as panels get more efficient.

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    I just hope when they go tits up they don’t take a bunch of taxpayer money with them somehow.

    Doesn’t Travers have an extreme proclivity to hail and crazy windstorms?
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

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    Yea I dont understand why this isnt more incentived here.

    A tilting/adjustable solar panel with hail resistant coating, plus a Tesla power wall would be very practical here.

    In the winter you can aim it lower and get something like 40% power increase from the reflection off the snow.

    Obviously cleaning would be required on occasion - but perhaps coatings can be found.

    The question is cost recovery - a tesla powerwall is about 10k and a decent solar panel(s) for a 2500sq ft house is what , another 10k?

    How many years til payback?
    Last edited by revelations; 08-29-2019 at 09:49 AM.

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    I would do a solar supplement on my home if it weren't cost prohibitive but right now it makes no sense.
    Originally posted by SJW
    Once again another useless post by JRSCOOLDUDE.
    Originally posted by snowcat
    Don't let the e-thugs and faggots get to you when they quote your posts and write stupid shit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by revelations View Post
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    Yea I dont understand why this isnt more incentived here.

    A tilting/adjustable solar panel with hail resistant coating, plus a Tesla power wall would be very practical here.

    In the winter you can aim it lower and get something like 40% power increase from the reflection off the snow.

    Obviously cleaning would be required on occasion - but perhaps coatings can be found.
    Isn't the bigger problem with solar actually storing the power due to the extremely high cost of large enough batteries to power the whole home? After buying battery + panels I imagine the payout time just wouldn't be worth it without really significant incentives. I think the Tesla battery is like $15K USD alone.

    Cool point about the snow though, I never even thought of that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
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    Isn't the bigger problem with solar actually storing the power due to the extremely high cost of large enough batteries to power the whole home? After buying battery + panels I imagine the payout time just wouldn't be worth it without really significant incentives. I think the Tesla battery is like $15K USD alone.

    Cool point about the snow though, I never even thought of that.
    Storage is definitely the bottleneck right now, though several new emerging technologies are promising. Chances are this one is solved within the next five years.

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    I worked for a company that used solar for remote sites and they found that optimizing for angle was actually a hassle and they ended up just placing all the panels vertical. Big benefit was no problems with snow accumulation. Obviously that approach is not applicable for grid-connected generation, but for single-home or small industrial sites, it makes a lot of sense.
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    Even without storage, the average payback period is DECADES long here in AB.

    A completely stupid government mindset - why are these green technoligies not being promoted harder by those in power?

    http://neighbourpower.com/solar-payback-in-alberta/

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    Quote Originally Posted by revelations View Post
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    Even without storage, the average payback period is DECADES long here in AB.

    A completely stupid government mindset - why are these green technoligies not being promoted harder by those in power?

    http://neighbourpower.com/solar-payback-in-alberta/
    Why should they be? If a business or technology can’t stay afloat on its own merit it should die.

    If people think it’s such a great idea they should be willing to pay the overblown costs associated, asking the government to subsidize it is just making everyone else pay for what you want.

    Not like our market in Canada has enough scale to move the needle on global green tech economics anyways.
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

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    Quote Originally Posted by revelations View Post
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    Even without storage, the average payback period is DECADES long here in AB.

    A completely stupid government mindset - why are these green technoligies not being promoted harder by those in power?

    http://neighbourpower.com/solar-payback-in-alberta/
    Maybe not as much in Canada, but it's too easy to make money off "dirty" power right now where all existing infrastructure exists so I don't think the relevant people in power GAF. They will be dead before the gravy train stops so it doesn't concern them.

    You could probably make similar money on green power, but I don't think anyone is really taking an initiative there. Just looking at the USA, everyone in power is a 60+ old school republican who doesn't even believe climate change is a thing. Until enough time passes such that the mindset changes, I don't see much happening personally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by revelations View Post
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    Yea I dont understand why this isnt more incentived here.

    A tilting/adjustable solar panel with hail resistant coating, plus a Tesla power wall would be very practical here.

    In the winter you can aim it lower and get something like 40% power increase from the reflection off the snow.

    Obviously cleaning would be required on occasion - but perhaps coatings can be found.

    The question is cost recovery - a tesla powerwall is about 10k and a decent solar panel(s) for a 2500sq ft house is what , another 10k?

    How many years til payback?
    I think the laws of thermodynamics prevent that, but alright, humour me, how would that work?

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    Quote Originally Posted by killramos View Post
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    Why should they be? If a business or technology can’t stay afloat on its own merit it should die.

    If people think it’s such a great idea they should be willing to pay the overblown costs associated, asking the government to subsidize it is just making everyone else pay for what you want.

    Not like our market in Canada has enough scale to move the needle on global green tech economics anyways.
    It is absolutely possible to build a solar plant that makes enough money to be profitable. Other than the very high initial investment, there's almost zero carrying cost because there's very little labour involved.

    The problem is that you can build a zillion of these things, and it still cannot fulfill our energy needs.

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    I’m game with a business building a project that makes money on its own merit. Fill your boots.

    But none of this government propping up unsustainable projects because virtue signalling.
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

    If you think I have been trying to present myself as intellectually superior, then you truly are a dimwit.
    Originally posted by Toma
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    Quote Originally Posted by suntan View Post
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    I think the laws of thermodynamics prevent that, but alright, humour me, how would that work?

    I tried to find the study (Finland? Sweden?) where they tested solar panels in the winter, but I wasnt successful.

    They aimed two sets of panels at something like 90 degrees.

    One panel was placed so that the panel was facing south, but in an area without snow (eg. plowed parking lot?) and the other one was placed on snow covered ground.

    It was a suprising amount to the researchers - even though the DURATION of solar panel energy production was short (daylight).

    Of the 2-3 hours of usable power, the one with the snow reflection made something like 40% more during that time.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    Here is an example of a solar panel getting SOME improvements from snow, but these panels were not set to a high angle.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUoSA8DAWQ8

    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    Regarding incentivizing technology - governments have been doing this for decades, but a pragmatic approach needs to be done and common sense needs to be applied.

    For eg. Ontario pissed away insane amounts of $$$ for things like EV tech. due to a virtue signalling government. Also Hydro One went through some seriously dumb moves - again, in the name of politics, and not common sense.

    For eg. solar power in Vancouver is NOT worth incentivizing due to them having grey skies for 6 months a year.
    Last edited by revelations; 08-29-2019 at 10:49 AM.

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    I have a grid connected solar system on my house paid for by me and the carbon tax while the NDP was still in power. I don't have a battery storage, so the extra juice I generate just gets sold back into the grid. I did the calculations based on the estimates before installing it and I think the payback was 14 years. That of course assumes my consumption stays roughly flat and price doesn't increase. If price goes up, then the time obviously shrinks. Since flipping the switch on in late April, I've generated 4100kwh, which is a bit better than my estimate.

    The most interesting things I've noticed are the decreased efficiency on hot days and how little is generated when not in direct sunshine i.e., a cloud comes over and the production drops. I'm really interested to see how it does over the winter months. My panels are all south facing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by revelations View Post
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    I tried to find the study (Finland? Sweden?) where they tested solar panels in the winter, but I wasnt successful.

    They aimed two sets of panels at something like 90 degrees.

    One panel was placed so that the panel was facing south, but in an area without snow (eg. plowed parking lot?) and the other one was placed on snow covered ground.

    It was a suprising amount to the researchers - even though the DURATION of solar panel energy production was short (daylight).
    Well yeah if they're fucking morons and place the panels perfectly vertical that could happen. Or they could just point the panels facing the sun. Tough call.

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    Quote Originally Posted by suntan View Post
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    Well yeah if they're fucking morons and place the panels perfectly vertical that could happen. Or they could just point the panels facing the sun. Tough call.
    Um, they aimed them both south as I mentioned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by revelations View Post
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    Um, they aimed them both south as I mentioned.
    At 90 degrees? Do you know where the sun is?

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    Quote Originally Posted by suntan View Post
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    At 90 degrees? Do you know where the sun is?
    Ya know, I'm sure there's a way to make your point without being an asshole.
    Also, in arctic countries in the winter, the sun is damned near the horizon, so having a vertical panel isn't that far from optimal, and it has other benefits, like simplified install, reduced slow loading etc.

    TLDR 1) you are a dick and 2) you are not as smart as you think you are.
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    I'm glad this is such a safe space full of support and encouragement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by killramos View Post
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    Why should they be? If a business or technology can’t stay afloat on its own merit it should die.

    If people think it’s such a great idea they should be willing to pay the overblown costs associated, asking the government to subsidize it is just making everyone else pay for what you want.

    Not like our market in Canada has enough scale to move the needle on global green tech economics anyways.
    I've had this discussion with some people before. If Oil companies didn't get their subsidies, are they viable businesses? I imagine some are but I imagine the industry wouldn't be what it is now.

    I don't know the answer and not familiar enough with the breaks companies get to really have an opinion, but have heard the conversation when what you said comes up and in relation to O&G.

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