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Solar power generation powering ahead

By johnboy - 8 August 2011 39

graph

The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission has published their latest summary of generation under the troubled feed-in tariff scheme.

• During the June 2011 quarter, 1,653 new connections of renewable generators were made to the distribution network, compared with 868 made during the previous quarter.
• In total, 6,057 renewable generators were connected to the distribution network at 30 June 2011, compared with 4,404 at the end of the previous quarter.
• During the June 2011 quarter, 3,245 new applications for connection of renewable generators to the distribution network were received, compared with 1,552 during the previous quarter.
• Total installed capacity of renewable generators at 30 June 2011 was 13,987,950 watts, up by 4,454,385 watts from the level at the end of the March quarter.
• Metered output of renewable generators for the June 2011 quarter was 2,538,012 kWh compared with 3,201,300 kWh in the March quarter.
• Total metered output of renewable generators from 1 March 2009 to 30 June 2011 was 11,840,448 kWh.
• At 30 June 2011, there were twelve suburbs with 100 or more sites connected and 61 suburbs with over 50 sites connected.

What’s Your opinion?


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39 Responses to
Solar power generation powering ahead
1
Martlark 7:08 pm
08 Aug 11
#

11 megawatts? That’s a pathetic amount of electricity. A 240MW hydro power station was recently completed for $240m. (Bogong Power Station). When you consider that these 4600 sites were each given about $5,000 in capital subsidies; add in the rough per house $10,000; and the cost per installed MW is almost $6million, whilst this single hydro system is just $580k. A hydro station can generate electricity 24 hours a day, predictably and reliably, without ongoing subsidies. Solar power may give you some generation for about 5hours per day, unless foggy, cloudy or raining. What a crock these solar schemes are. Note: costs are rough.

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2
Chip 9:15 pm
08 Aug 11
#

Thank goodness for this news so that if I go to Somalia I can whinge about how we in Australia are doing it tough as well. Fancy paying a premium to produce cleaner electricity! In the meantime, perhaps I could imagine that the environment is a worthwhile charity and happily donate some $$ to improve things thought the downside to that is that if my donation is compulsory, I can’t get an ego rush out of my generosity. Next time I am at a swanky restaurant with my well heeled mates I must remember to philosophise about whether economic rationality is a religion that has served our society well.

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3
Classified 10:01 pm
08 Aug 11
#

Chip said :

Thank goodness for this news so that if I go to Somalia I can whinge about how we in Australia are doing it tough as well. Fancy paying a premium to produce cleaner electricity! In the meantime, perhaps I could imagine that the environment is a worthwhile charity and happily donate some $$ to improve things thought the downside to that is that if my donation is compulsory, I can’t get an ego rush out of my generosity. Next time I am at a swanky restaurant with my well heeled mates I must remember to philosophise about whether economic rationality is a religion that has served our society well.

Um, ok. Thanks.

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4
OpenYourMind 10:14 pm
08 Aug 11
#

Martlark, um, you do realise that 11,840,448 kWh is not 11MW? I get the feeling you don’t really understand solar and just want to have a rant.
In terms of annual energy production, solar is as, if not more, reliable than all other power generation systems. In Canberra, each installed kW produces an average of 4kWh per day. The outlay for each kW is getting cheaper each year. These are facts.
The percentage contribution of solar is still very low, and the change in power demand is such that solar is the perfect solution. Our grid cops the hardest time these days on sunny days when lots of people crank up the aircon. Going into the future, developing a much larger percentage of our total power generation through a wide variety of renewable resources will be the best path for our country.
For the individual, if circumstances (ownership, orientation etc) allow, solar is a very satisfying thing to own. It’s a nice feeling when you are producing as much power as you use. Government grants did lead to gold rush, however like all these things, it will settle down and find a new level. Panels keep getting cheaper.
Going deeper into the future, pumped hydro will be very useful way for us to store our excess electricty produced by all these cheap solar panels :-)

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5
Martlark 7:49 am
09 Aug 11
#

OpenYourMind said :

Martlark, um, you do realise that 11,840,448 kWh is not 11MW?

I may have mixed up things there. Oh Well. The rage got me.

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6
Martlark 7:58 am
09 Aug 11
#

OpenYourMind said :

Martlark, um, you do realise that 11,840,448 kWh is not 11MW? I get the feeling you don’t really understand solar and just want to have a rant.

On reflection, “Total installed capacity of renewable generators at 30 June 2011 was 13,987,950 watts”, I’m just about right. That’s 13MW. So there. Paying 10 times the capital cost for electricity that costs 5 times as much.

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7
Solidarity 9:47 am
09 Aug 11
#

OpenYourMind said :

Martlark, um, you do realise that 11,840,448 kWh is not 11MW? I get the feeling you don’t really understand solar and just want to have a rant.
In terms of annual energy production, solar is as, if not more, reliable than all other power generation systems. In Canberra, each installed kW produces an average of 4kWh per day. The outlay for each kW is getting cheaper each year. These are facts.
The percentage contribution of solar is still very low, and the change in power demand is such that solar is the perfect solution. Our grid cops the hardest time these days on sunny days when lots of people crank up the aircon. Going into the future, developing a much larger percentage of our total power generation through a wide variety of renewable resources will be the best path for our country.
For the individual, if circumstances (ownership, orientation etc) allow, solar is a very satisfying thing to own. It’s a nice feeling when you are producing as much power as you use. Government grants did lead to gold rush, however like all these things, it will settle down and find a new level. Panels keep getting cheaper.
Going deeper into the future, pumped hydro will be very useful way for us to store our excess electricty produced by all these cheap solar panels :-)

You’re so full of it. Thinking of solar as a “renewable” energy sourcs is stupid, the panels don’t come from nowhere, they’re not cheap, easy or clean to make and they don’t have a long service life. Hell, you need to use mined resources (out of the ground) to create a bloody solar panel.

I just wish we could get a nuclear reactor online and wipe all these stupid and unworkable solutions off the cards.

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8
chewy14 9:48 am
09 Aug 11
#

Openyourmind,
I like that in all those “facts” you presented, you didn’t actually compare solar with other forms of electricity generation or even compare small scale solar with large scale solar.
Wonder why?

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9
OpenYourMind 10:08 am
09 Aug 11
#

Sorry, Marlark, but you’re still not quite right. Bogong is a 140MW installation costing $240m – so that’s $1.7million per installed MW or $1700 per installed kW. Naturally, you can’t compare an installed kW of hydro to solar because solar are not 24/7. Solar panels are indeed a long way short of this ‘bang for your buck’ of hydro, however the whole point of the solar schemes was to kickstart an industry and bring it to the forefront and in the process reduce prices. I’m not against hydro, where it’s environmentally feasible etc.
Even for solar, there are more economical ways to deliver it than individuals having rooftop systems, but the big thing with rooftop is that each individual has a sense of ownership and contribution. Sure, the systems were not well tailored, but being a victim of their own success is not the fault of solar, but of the schemes.

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10
SigmaOctantis 10:33 am
09 Aug 11
#

Just as a side point, how much do these solar panels cost to install at home? Trying to find out the price of these things from the solar compaines is like drawing blood from a stone.

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11
Innovation 10:46 am
09 Aug 11
#

Solidarity said :

I just wish we could get a nuclear reactor online and wipe all these stupid and unworkable solutions off the cards.

I’m not sure if the pun was intended but I suppose when a nuclear reactor goes feral it potentially wipes everything off the cards. Would you still support nuclear if it was in any sort of radius of your backyard? Perhaps because you live a long way from a suitable site you think nuclear is OK? I would have thought that Fukushima and Chernobyl and a long list of less serious incidents around the world would illustrate that it is impossible to predict and prevent all nuclear risks.

I agree that solar has a long way to go before it is viable (or the cost of other non sustainabe energy increases significantly) but we shouildn’t close our mind to its continuing development. And the more people that invest in the solar industry the more likely that we will have significant advancement in the near future.

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12
OpenYourMind 10:47 am
09 Aug 11
#

chewy14, it’s not how solar compares with other forms of generation that matters to the individual, it’s how long it takes to recover your investment on solar vs cost of metered electricity. As I said in a previous post: “Working in reverse, at ActewAGL’s current electricity price of 11.1c/kW, over a 5 year period, each installed kW would need to cost no more than $1080 to return 15% gross per annum. Solar PV’s aren’t at this price point yet, but it’s quite possible in the future. Naturally, when this occurs, the game will change again in some way.”

So in strict dollars, solar is still expensive, but the gap is closing. There’s some very detailed reports looking at the cost to Australia in being 100% renewable. Take for example: http://www.science.org.au/reports/documents/AusRenewableEnergyFuture.pdf

SigmaOctantis, a reputable solar company should be able to look at your orientation, shading, roof angle, energy consumption etc. and quote on a system tailored for you. If you just say ‘how much does it cost’, it would be like walking into a car dealer and asking how much a car would cost. As a general rule, pick a company that has been around a while, uses better quality cells and inverters and understands the current rules in Canberra. Generally speaking a 4kW system should cover the electricity usage of an average energy conscious house.

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13
Solidarity 11:05 am
09 Aug 11
#

Innovation said :

Solidarity said :

I just wish we could get a nuclear reactor online and wipe all these stupid and unworkable solutions off the cards.

I’m not sure if the pun was intended but I suppose when a nuclear reactor goes feral it potentially wipes everything off the cards. Would you still support nuclear if it was in any sort of radius of your backyard? Perhaps because you live a long way from a suitable site you think nuclear is OK? I would have thought that Fukushima and Chernobyl and a long list of less serious incidents around the world would illustrate that it is impossible to predict and prevent all nuclear risks.

I agree that solar has a long way to go before it is viable (or the cost of other non sustainabe energy increases significantly) but we shouildn’t close our mind to its continuing development. And the more people that invest in the solar industry the more likely that we will have significant advancement in the near future.

You mean two plants that went critical because they were both subjected to conditions way beyond what they were designed to cope with?

I can’t believe people still spout this crap. Seriously, I wouldn’t even expect crap like this spouting from Today Tonight viewers.

To answer your question: yes, build it in my backyard. The people in Lukas Heights don’t seem to have an issue with it, nor have they been “wiped out”.

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14
Thoroughly Smashed 11:44 am
09 Aug 11
#

Solidarity said :

I just wish we could get a nuclear reactor online and wipe all these stupid and unworkable solutions off the cards.

Heh.

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15
OpenYourMind 11:47 am
09 Aug 11
#

Nuclear is such a stupid idea that even Americans realise it’s a stupid idea!
Nuclear is a bad idea on every level. In particular it is an astonishly poor financial proposition. Nuclear carries enormous costs in terms of financial risk, build time (incurred interest), ongoing running (think 24/7 guards, monitoring etc.), decommissioning costs, uranium transport etc. The financial risks associated with building a reactor are so great that no private organisation will underwrite them, they need Government subsidy (hey, just like solar!).
Nuclear is not safe. Sure, newer reactors, even thorium reactors show promise of being ‘safer’. However no reactor can possibly allow for the extreme events such as Megatsunami, supervolcano, asteroid strike, super quake, finacial demise of a nation, war, political unrest etc. All very improbable, but when the result of a nuclear catastrophe has proven to be so great, the risk management has to be greater still.
Most importantly, they are a political lemon. Solidarity, you may think they are ok, but there’s enough people that don’t, and they vote. Even before Fukushima, Nuclear would have been a tough sell. Now, it simply just aint gonna happen.

Solar, Nuclear at a safe distance!

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