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

  1. #41
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    Pfft solar. Let's just go nuclear and be done with it.
    I can eat more hot wings than you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinL View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by davidI View Post
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    Very interesting. Can you detail the system / costs / capacity / etc.?
    +2.

    I would be interested to see the numbers too.

    I was reading online and from what I can gather its about $10-16K installed and payback period of 9 years.
    Source: https://kubyenergy.ca/blog/the-cost-of-solar-panels

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    It's a 20 panel Canadian solar system. Each panel can do 315 watts. So peak generation is about 6300w. I only hit that on a cool sunny day. On a normal day I think I average about 35 kwh most ever was 50kwh. The cost was around $15k I think, I'll have to find the receipt for the exactly number and the grant. The power that I burn from the panels never goes to the meter. The consumption side gets slowed or stopped. If I make excess, then the outflow side if the meter starts increasing. The outflow price is just the price of electricity, but the inflow has all the variable charges etc. So reducing inflow is more valuable than creating outflow. We try to run the appliances during the day and the central air usually runs during the day, but we still buy quite a bit from the grid at night. Without the 30% grant I don't think I would have done it. I'll rerun the numbers with my new info and see what the return is going to look like once I see a whole year of data.

    The panels are warrantied for 20 years and I think there is some resale value added to the home now. I think the expected life of the panels is quite a bit longer than the 20 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CompletelyNumb View Post
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    Pfft solar. Let's just go nuclear and be done with it.
    This is the answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CompletelyNumb View Post
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    Pfft solar. Let's just go nuclear and be done with it.
    1000x yes, if someone actually built it without jacking up our electricity rates for the construction of it, and without the use of tax dollars.

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    Nuclear doesn't make sense in Alberta when we have vast and cheap natural gas.
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    Quote Originally Posted by msommers View Post
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    Storage is definitely a big hurdle right now. Northern communities have an interesting situation: full sun then full darkness. How can you harness full sun while storing the excess for full darkness instead of relying on diesel fuel?

    Various northern grants have helped these communities build solar power walls but personally I don't agree with it. Their impact is so small and they already have power generation capabilities. So not only is this money given to not have a long last effect (ie: wasting money), their carbon footprint is actually higher given per capital because of the environmental cost to produce and transport said panels.

    Strangely, lithium mining companies all seem to have had their stock prices drop off.
    Actually the Dutch sorted this out hundreds of years ago... It's called hydraulics in the modern age.

    Use excess power generated in summer via wind / solar to pump uphill to fill a raised reservoir. Then when peak needs arrise you release reservoir through water turbines.

    How you keep that upper reservoir from freezing however in the Arctic circle...

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    Quote Originally Posted by msommers View Post
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    Nuclear doesn't make sense in Alberta when we have vast and cheap natural gas.
    we also had coal, but the 'social license' expired on that, thanks to the NDP (modern coal is very clean).

    Nat gas will no doubt suffer a similar fate leaving nuclear fission as the only viable, primary option. Just need to figure out what to do with the waste - although the latest designs pretty much migitate this (but not eliminate).

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyL View Post
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    How you keep that upper reservoir from freezing however in the Arctic circle...
    Use the excess power to heat the reservoir, lol. (large matrix of heating nets on top)

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    Quote Originally Posted by revelations View Post
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    we also had coal, but the 'social license' expired on that, thanks to the NDP (modern coal is very clean).

    Nat gas will no doubt suffer a similar fate leaving nuclear fission as the only viable, primary option. Just need to figure out what to do with the waste - although the latest designs pretty much migitate this (but not eliminate).
    Coal and clean don't ever belong in the same sentence. Let's not kid ourselves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by revelations View Post
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    (modern coal is very clean).
    “Very clean” compared to what? Old/legacy coal plants?

    How about compared to nat gas? Got any good reading around “clean coal”? I keep hearing this term so I’m genuinely curious about it

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabad66 View Post
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    “Very clean” compared to what? Old/legacy coal plants?

    How about compared to nat gas? Got any good reading around “clean coal”? I keep hearing this term so I’m genuinely curious about it
    That I dont know (compared to Nat Gas) but the newer coal scrubbers are light years away from the black soot and heavy metal pollution associated with old plants.

    Having said that, the local environment impact from coal MINING is enormous though.

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    I don't have data to back this up in front of me, but I did look once. Old coal power was aful, new clean coal power is pretty good, and natural gas generation is even cleaner than the cleanest clean coal.

    I'd argue natural gas extraction is cleaner than coal mining too, but not everyone agrees with that. I'm heavily biased towards natural gas though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabad66 View Post
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    “Very clean” compared to what? Old/legacy coal plants?

    How about compared to nat gas? Got any good reading around “clean coal”? I keep hearing this term so I’m genuinely curious about it
    The modern plants run "super critical" and are extremely efficient compared to old coal burning plants. Most or all in Alberta are efficient while Saskatchewan is more like a controlled Tire Fire...

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    My plan to take over the world includes going to Hawaii, using a 200 foot tungsten rod plunged into an active magma volcano chamber, and melting the beach sand at the other end. Essentially making silicon ingots for free. Think big or go home.
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    Coal is a dead technology. There are vastly superior alternatives, including natural gas (if you insist on burning fuels to create energy). Between the increasing ability of renewable power, modern thorium/molten salt nuclear reactors, and natural gas... there's no reason whatsoever to use coal. For anything. Let the dead technology stay dead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A790 View Post
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    Coal is a dead technology. There are vastly superior alternatives, including natural gas (if you insist on burning fuels to create energy). Between the increasing ability of renewable power, modern thorium/molten salt nuclear reactors, and natural gas... there's no reason whatsoever to use coal. For anything. Let the dead technology stay dead.
    Not quite... 3rd world has lots of coal available to them inexpensively and in a local source.

    Whereas destroying a facility and building a replacement is extremely carbon intensive...

    Clean coal rivals natural gas on emissions production. Ever been to sheerness when it's operating? Nobody seems to mind being there, rec site being heavily used proves it. Nobody comes away claiming blacklung...

    Keeping power affordable and improving the emissions in these developing economies makes plenty of sense in a lot of ways. Shipping natural gas across the world, at increased cost, and demolishing and building new facilities makes little sense and has a negative environmental impact...

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    TLDR

    The panel and battery cost is $33K. US Gov pays $9K of that. Grid is set up to sell excess into the grid, in bright sunny Cali.

    ROI is still 11.5 years.


    So if we get 30% less sun, and with 0 government subsidization, ROI will be closer or over 20 years which is exactly what these panels and batteries life cycles are rated for. So it's pretty much pointless at this point.

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    China will fix it all. They will produce panels for 1/10th price eventually.

    As for large scale generation:

    https://www.pv-magazine.com/2018/05/...wer-and-lower/

    There was a tiny blip last year where generators were concerned about the 25% USA tariff on China, but it has already resumed its downward march to 25 cents / watt.
    Earth is a pink frosted doughnut, and not a glazed cake doughnut.

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    So in 2019 AB, solar power is in no way practical for the average home owner living in the city.

    However, that does not mean INDUSTRY (or governments) cant start incentivizing/ building large scale setups here.

    America for eg. needs a 100 mile by 100 mile array of solar panels to pretty much power the entire country right now.

    “If you wanted to power the entire U.S. with solar panels, it would take a fairly small corner of Nevada or Texas or Utah; you only need about 100 miles by 100 miles of solar panels to power the entire United States. The batteries you need to store the energy, to make sure you have 24/7 power, is 1 mile by 1 mile. One square-mile. That’s it.” — Elon Musk
    Obviously the transmission/disrtibution losses would negate a lot of this (eg. powering the state of NY with a system from Arizona) , but even then, if you were to say, power the States nearby to such a facility, would mean enormous cost savings (and profits for others).

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