Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Lifestyle

Luxury home fragrances, beauty products, gourmet food

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?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
39 Responses to
Solar power generation powering ahead
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
Bramina 11:46 pm 02 Jan 12

Martlark said :

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.

That’s the thing. It a product doesn’t work when it is night cloudy, it is clearly inferior to, a product that we can reliably call upon and use at any time is clearly superior.

Would we tolerate it if television stations stopped transmitting when it is night time? Would businesses tolerate workers who stopped working if it was cloudy. Would employees tolerate employers if they sent them home without pay every time it rained?

Yet we are supposed to accept a method of power generation that doesn’t work at these times.

Walker said :

I’ve heard it suggested that in a few years we’re reaching the point where solar will out-bid coal cost-wise so things are going to go where they go anyway.

I don’t think there is any certainty that solar will ever be comparable on a cost basis with coal etc. I’m not aware of any good scientific reasoning to say solar can become cheaper. It seems to be one of those myths that people roll out so often it becomes a commonly accepted truth. But if anyone has such evidence I would be grateful to see it.

Moreover, there is a fundamental principle of economics that there is no such thing as a free lunch. To get something, somebody always has to pay. There is no avoiding the price.

Solar doesn’t want to be reliable. Solar wants to be lazy and have lots of free time/lunches whenever it feels like it. But this has a cost that society must pay. And that cost is pretty close to the cost of electricity from coal etc.

So for the real cost of solar, including the cost of being unreliable, to be comparable to coal etc. solar must be even cheaper

SigmaOctantis said :

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.

I don’t think they want people to know the true cost of solar. They have a vested interest in people thinking solar is viable.

dungfungus 1:30 pm 02 Jan 12

Solidarity said :

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.

“In Canberra, each installed kW produces an average of 4kWh per day. The outlay for each kW is getting cheaper each year. ”
Unfortunately the 4kWh only happens for a few hours and the production for the other 18 hours is ZERO.

steveu 12:29 pm 02 Jan 12

Article, that is somewhat biased I think though still worth a read.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/business/global/27iht-renuke.html?_r=2

I personally think that the start up of the solar industry is something the likes of ACTEW etc. al. have been champing at the bit to get going – as finally having an excuse to charge us all more for electricity.

dpm 8:35 am 02 Jan 12

So, on days like today (but maybe when all of Canberra is back from holidays!), do you think ACTEWAGL will notice a difference in energy consumed cf. to similar days
last year, or the year before? They would have to take into account the growth in houes between years (e.g. electricity used per connected house) but just wondering if all the installed solar panels on houses are at least cancelling their air-con electricity needs, and if that is noticable?
I wonder if ACTEWAGL have stats on this (or if any other jurisdictions do)?
Serious question… 🙂

chewy14 11:16 am 10 Aug 11

You can’t get enough gold from seawater but in Japan their crap comes gold plated:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/4429197/Japans-sewers-paved-with-gold.html

Skidbladnir 11:04 am 10 Aug 11

johnboy said :

working fusion reactors do not exist at all.

They do, and have achieved fusion reactions since 1997.

Efficient fusion reactor, ie: those which produce net power output is the problem that ITER exists to solve..
Construction on the net-output version began in 2007.

So you’re more than a decade late with your statement there, Jb.
Efficient fusion is the next step.

johnboy said :

if they can’t extract the gold in seawater

The extracton of gold from seawater is obscenely difficult, the base concentration so low, and the potential return so low that that not a process that is considered legitimate since its input costs vastly exceed any profit.
Why harvest a tenth of a troy ounce (Hooray, $180!) from a cubic mile of seawater, when also you have to get rid of 116 million tonnes of sodium chloride (which is roughly humanity’s annual salt consumption) before you even see gold?

That is just a way of turning money into less money.
Also, gold is for the most part, recoverable from other sources and recyclable.
Nobody invests in gold recovery technology, because its like investing in perpetual motion machines.

Lithium recovery is merely currently difficult but potentially quite profitable, and is what what Japan and Korea have been making progress in using manganese adsorption.
IE: These people.

Holden Caulfield 10:13 am 10 Aug 11

Walker said :

(Speaking of banana skins, I heard a rumour about a Delorean lurking about Canberra, anyone spotted such a thing? Sure could use one about now…)

Yes I have seen a De Lorean in Canberra. It was some time back in the past now.

johnboy 10:02 am 10 Aug 11

mate if they can’t extract the gold in seawater I think it’ll be some considerable time before they’re getting lithium that way.

It’s like the ore/dirt question.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/04/japan_discovers_rare_earths_under_pacific/

Not to mention that theories about how to manage fusion are common but working fusion reactors do not exist at all.

Skidbladnir 9:57 am 10 Aug 11

johnboy said :

and the oceans of cheap lithium?

There’s more lithium reserved in seawater than land-originating sources (but in less concentration, obviously) and if you don’t mind harvesting hydrothermal vents you’ve got a licence to print money, but you
didn’t really look hard, did you?

chewy14 9:54 am 10 Aug 11

OpenYourMind said :

Probably another relevant example of why nuclear is a bad idea is the new Finnish Olkiluoto nuclear plant currently being constructed. It is supposed to be the show piece of modern nuclear. Its construction has been marred by all sorts of project issues and the cost over-run is now such that it is more expensive than the equivalent renewable solution…. and that’s before even counting the cost of cleanup at decommissioning time. Do you think Australia could do better with a nuclear plant construction than the Finnish, who already have a nuclear infrastructure??

How many large scale solar plants are there in the world?
What is the equivalent renewable solution and cost?
Why do you seem so keen to highlight nuclear’s problems whilst completely ignoring those of solar?

There is definitely room for a mix of technologies in our future energy production. Ignoring or simply dismissing nuclear as an option is not a smart move.

Diggety 9:47 am 10 Aug 11

OpenYourMind said :

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!

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S036054421000602X

johnboy 8:59 am 10 Aug 11

and the oceans of cheap lithium?

OpenYourMind 8:21 am 10 Aug 11

Probably another relevant example of why nuclear is a bad idea is the new Finnish Olkiluoto nuclear plant currently being constructed. It is supposed to be the show piece of modern nuclear. Its construction has been marred by all sorts of project issues and the cost over-run is now such that it is more expensive than the equivalent renewable solution…. and that’s before even counting the cost of cleanup at decommissioning time. Do you think Australia could do better with a nuclear plant construction than the Finnish, who already have a nuclear infrastructure??

OpenYourMind 8:11 am 10 Aug 11

Skidbladnr, the micro nuclear reactors you reference are likely to have almost as many downsides as the bigger reactors, but they produce relatively (excuse the pun) little power. They may be of use in some instances, eg extreme isolation, aircraft carriers, but for the most part, they make solar look bargain basement.

Anticipating the most extreme events is not being closed minded, just rational. All of the events I mentioned have occurred on the Earth’s surface (eg megatsunamis, asteroid strikes, social collapse) have occurred numerous times. They are statistically very low in probability, but when you are putting at risk large populations and the environment, no risk is too small. The Fukushima accident has clearly demonstrated this, a couple of extreme events, some human error, some equipment failure and 200,000 people have to be evacuated, massive clean up costs, shut down of other reactors, contamination (albeit small) of crops and livestock. That’s a big risk to be taking!

Walker 12:13 am 10 Aug 11

(Speaking of banana skins, I heard a rumour about a Delorean lurking about Canberra, anyone spotted such a thing? Sure could use one about now…)

Skidbladnir 12:08 am 10 Aug 11

johnboy said :

Oceans of lithium? Deuterium mebbe?

No.
In simple terms, the three fuel requirement for lower cost fusion that ITER are aiming for.
In more accurate terms, the D-T fusion cycle they intend to use requires breeder Lithium in order to have minimal need for natural Tritium, as tritium becomes both fuel and byproduct of the fusion reaction, satisfying the self-sustaining component of fusion power generation.
Getting that part right is the difficult (expensive) step.

Clearly journalists who grasp nuclear issues and their underlying science are few and far between, haven’t you got a Brumbies match you’d prefer to watch replays of?

Walker 12:06 am 10 Aug 11

I’ve heard it suggested that in a few years we’re reaching the point where solar will out-bid coal cost-wise so things are going to go where they go anyway. Too bad the confusions between here and there slowing the whole thing down. “I’m from the government and I’m here to help!” ….

The ANU came up with great inventions, but have to go off shore to develop it further because nobody here wanted to take it on… who was in charge who let that one slip past some years back? It’s an incredible and short sighted loss.

Pandy 11:19 pm 09 Aug 11

Skidbladnir said :

Innovation said :

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?

Set up one of these?
Coverage of it is here, it has been significantly simplified for people like you.

Also, you seem to have a strange idea of what the word nuclear means, and have stuck with the 1970s fission vision. Science marched on a long time ago.
If we funded it appropriately, clean fusion isn’t really all that far away.

OpenYourMind said :

Nuclear is such a stupid idea that even Americans realise it’s a stupid idea! Nuclear is a bad idea on every level… Megatsunami, supervolcano, asteroid strike, super quake, finacial demise of a nation, war, political unrest… dead rising from their graves, human sacrifice, cats and dogs living in sin…

Living large the irony of your chosen name, I see.

I await Mr Fusion and the chance to use all those very expensive banana skins.

johnboy 11:11 pm 09 Aug 11

Oceans of lithium? Deuterium mebbe?

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site