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Surely no-one can complain about a solar power plant?

By johnboy 15 May 2009 37

Simon Corbell has braced himself for your complaints over the possible locations for a solar power plant here in the ACT.

    “The Government has identified two potential sites for the solar facility, one within Kowen Forest and other within the former Ingledene Forest,” said Mr Corbell.

    “Naming two possible sites for the facility does not in any way preclude potential solar power facility proponents coming forward with other suggestions, but the site must be located within the borders of the ACT,” Mr Corbell said.

    “Any sites in this project must be scrutinised through a community consultation process as well as satisfying ACT planning regulations including lodging a development application.

I gather Ingledene Forest is to the south of Tharwa which should at least cheer Val Jeffreys up with the possibility of customers in his store.

At the same time Simon is also asking for industry to put its hand up to build and operate the thing.

    The Government will commit $30 million towards the facility, with the nature of the contribution to be finalised in consultation with the preferred proponent.

    “We are prepared to make a substantial contribution towards establishing this facility and to building a firm foundation for renewable energy generation in the ACT.

    “Through the EOI we are seeking proposals for a solar power facility that uses commercially proven direct solar technology, is capable of providing power to at least 10,000 homes, is located within the ACT, is commercially viable and meets the scheduled generator requirements under the National Electricity Market.

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Surely no-one can complain about a solar power plant?
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affordable 6:38 pm 17 May 09

what a lot of crap putting solar panels on houses, besides being very in efficient for the cost, the sun only shines during the day when most people are at work, so the power is not being used, Ok it may go back into the grid, would it not be very efficient to put solar panels on shops and offices that use all the power when the sun shines.

DrKarl 2:05 am 16 May 09

Put it in Holder the sun sines out of my Ass just fine!!
Better still build a Nuclear Power Plant I want to be a Nuclear Safety Officer, Duh! I am bald, over weight, and a high school drop out, and want to get off the tools, No $#&t I am all of that! don,t destroy my dream job!

monomania 10:19 pm 15 May 09

OK. Give us a link. I’ve presented a range of figures for reliable sources to indicate costs. If a 5kW system that can cost $20000 and will return $4500 a year from feed-in tariffs, you are saying the ACT government is stupid enough to make us ordinary electricity consumers pay solar investors 23% on their investment?

Either solar is more expensive than you say or those pushing PV are taking the rest of us for a ride. I think the solar PV industry is snowing governments and concerned citizens with the support of the greens who have a majority of support from people with a strong bias towards their own version of self reliance and are anti big business, anti science and anti government. However they are prepared to rely on government support for such inanities as PV micro-generation.

shutterbug 9:26 pm 15 May 09

monomania said :

shutterbug said :

Depending on the source, there are around 98,000 households in Canberra.
If each household were equipped with an entry level PV system with grid connect, it would cost around $500 million.
If each household got a higher end system which would supply 100% of power and normally retail for $20,000, it would cost a total of $1.9billion.
That is of course if every one paid the full retail price, which is unlikely as such a bulk roll out of PV and assosiated equipment would allow for bulk pricing.

So, for $1.9 billion dollars, every Canberra household could be GIVEN a PV power system and therefore given the ability to generate their own energy without paying ongoing bills.

Even if the AC-DC and some smaller components need to be replaced after 10-20yrs, it still ends up costing the public less than the current energy we buy.

With regards to the AC-DC price, they can be expensive. There are some European made ones with 10 yr warranties that cost $5000. Then there are some that start at far less.

Now you are being silly. You were the one who started to talk about 5kW systems on each house.

And you are making up figures. Some how $48000 becomes $20000. Why not go for broke. $4.99 and a free packet of jellybeans.

We are not arguing 10% or 20% here. Domestic solar is 10 times more expensive than conventional power. That is the big problem with people who advance solutions to climate change. No common sense. We are to believe in the rational evidence of science to support climate change but accept that there are magical solutions.

Where did the magic $48,000 come from?
Seriously, there are 5kw systems around for $20,000 at retail. Do your research.

Gungahlin Al 9:25 pm 15 May 09

The EOI documents are specifying an installation that offsets 10,000 houses. So the idea of 10,000 individual installations out of 98000 houses in Canberra isn’t particularly realistic unfortunately.

A brief skim through some of the documentation shows it will be a major task for GCC to pull together a submission. Any potential helpers out there keen to make a difference?

monomania 8:42 pm 15 May 09

shutterbug said :

Depending on the source, there are around 98,000 households in Canberra.
If each household were equipped with an entry level PV system with grid connect, it would cost around $500 million.
If each household got a higher end system which would supply 100% of power and normally retail for $20,000, it would cost a total of $1.9billion.
That is of course if every one paid the full retail price, which is unlikely as such a bulk roll out of PV and assosiated equipment would allow for bulk pricing.

So, for $1.9 billion dollars, every Canberra household could be GIVEN a PV power system and therefore given the ability to generate their own energy without paying ongoing bills.

Even if the AC-DC and some smaller components need to be replaced after 10-20yrs, it still ends up costing the public less than the current energy we buy.

With regards to the AC-DC price, they can be expensive. There are some European made ones with 10 yr warranties that cost $5000. Then there are some that start at far less.

Now you are being silly. You were the one who started to talk about 5kW systems on each house.

And you are making up figures. Some how $48000 becomes $20000. Why not go for broke. $4.99 and a free packet of jellybeans.

We are not arguing 10% or 20% here. Domestic solar is 10 times more expensive than conventional power. That is the big problem with people who advance solutions to climate change. No common sense. We are to believe in the rational evidence of science to support climate change but accept that there are magical solutions.

Postalgeek 8:29 pm 15 May 09

Well,

andym said :

Surely Canberra is one of the worst places in Australia to build a photovoltaic power station? Somewhere up north with longer, clearer days would give more bang for the investment dollars.
http://www.bom.gov.au/watl/sunshine/

Well Canberra (or Perth, or Darwin, depending on who you believe) is the ‘sunniest’ capital in Australia. Of course ‘sunniest’ can mean several separate things; how many hours of practical daylight in a given day, or the lack of cloud cover. You can have a place that may get 11 hours of sun on a sunny day, but may only have 100 cloudless days in a year. I assume the references to Canberra being the sunniest capital in Australia refer to lack of cloud cover, while references to Perth refer to hours of daylight.

http://www.abc.net.au/stateline/act/content/2006/s2249866.htm

shutterbug 8:05 pm 15 May 09

arescarti42 said :

http://www.aussiesolar.com.au/html/grid_feed_systems.php

$38000 for a 4KW home installation. $26500 with rebates/subsidies.

That’s a very expensive example, certainly at the higher end of the pricing I have seen. Though I note those panels carry a 25yr warranty, vs. the 10yr warranty of cheaper systems.

I’ve heard that in a bulk roll out situation, it could get down to $20,000 per home. Going it alone, you could easily get up to $35000 for a 100% solution.

As for light rail, you can’t carry suitcases on it, can’t carry shopping on it, at least not comfortably.
It’s a white elephant, a minority with a ridiculous dream when even the current busses are under utilised.
I remember a lesson my parents taught me, if you want a new or better something, use the one you have already.

arescarti42 7:45 pm 15 May 09

http://www.aussiesolar.com.au/html/grid_feed_systems.php

$38000 for a 4KW home installation. $26500 with rebates/subsidies.

arescarti42 7:31 pm 15 May 09

shutterbug said :

If each household got a higher end system which would supply 100% of power and normally retail for $20,000, it would cost a total of $1.9billion.

So, for $1.9 billion dollars, every Canberra household could be GIVEN a PV power system and therefore given the ability to generate their own energy without paying ongoing bills.

Hmmm, $20,000 for a system that will provide all a household’s needs seems VERY optimistic to me. I’ve heard closer to $40,000 for a small household where there’s no grid connection (true they have to buy batteries). Include things like airconditioning or electric water heaters and I’d be willing to bet you’d require more than $40000 worth.

Light rail is about more than CO2 emissions by the way. There are pretty significant social and economic benefits from better public transport. Improved access for people too young, old and poor to drive, and reduced traffic congestion to name a few.

The power plant to be built in the ACT will almost certainly be Solar thermal, not PV. Solar thermal is far far cheaper than PV, but isn’t really suitable for small scale installation.

shutterbug 5:56 pm 15 May 09

dvaey said :

monomania said :

Rubbish. On present day costs the figure for PV would be 4.5 – 5.5 billion for domestic and about the same for government and industry. At present PV is very expensive and micro generated PV is it’s most expensive configuration. Why use it if there are cheaper alternative renewables and other alternatives to reducing carbon emissions.

Just trying the maths here. Lets just take some numbers here, lets say theres 300,000 homes in Canberra and each home costs $5000 to wire up, thats $1.5B. Now, the number of houses is high and the cost is low, but its not out by a factor of 300% like you suggest.

Also consider, not every home will WANT a panel, and also that a number of homes already have panels setup.

Spectra said :

In addition to what fnaah has already mentioned, there’s also the minor detail that your typical $8000 PV installation won’t actually supply you with enough power for the whole house. Nor do we have any kind of storage infrastructure to deal the the minor problem of cloudy days or, you know, night time.

A friend of mine lives on a rural property in QLD, with no connection to mains power or town water. They have solar panels on their roof and a battery bank for ‘storage infrastructure’. They dont have any problems with running out of power or water, however they also dont run the A/C 12hrs a day or have half-hour steamy showers, theyre sensible with their power because if they overuse it, its not a matter of a large bill, its a matter of no power until the sun comes out.

Then again, in this day and age of people living payday-to-payday and overuse of resources, some education would be needed before giving people access to stored power in this way.

Depending on the source, there are around 98,000 households in Canberra.
If each household were equipped with an entry level PV system with grid connect, it would cost around $500 million.
If each household got a higher end system which would supply 100% of power and normally retail for $20,000, it would cost a total of $1.9billion.
That is of course if every one paid the full retail price, which is unlikely as such a bulk roll out of PV and assosiated equipment would allow for bulk pricing.

So, for $1.9 billion dollars, every Canberra household could be GIVEN a PV power system and therefore given the ability to generate their own energy without paying ongoing bills.

Even if the AC-DC and some smaller components need to be replaced after 10-20yrs, it still ends up costing the public less than the current energy we buy.

With regards to the AC-DC price, they can be expensive. There are some European made ones with 10 yr warranties that cost $5000. Then there are some that start at far less.

The cat did it 5:36 pm 15 May 09

Don’t get me wrong- I’d like to see renewables get a fair deal, but when it comes to solar energy, there’s a lot of selective analysis and fact-quoting. The numbers fellow Riot-Acters have been quoting are averages. We also need to distinguish between cost comparisons and energy comparisons, and to consider how PV cells might actually fit into Australia’s present/near future electricity system.

The electricity grid works on an instantaneous balance of generation and load. Consumers expect complete security of supply, so electricity providers install enough capacity to meet projected peak demand- it would be a brave politician who would tell black-out enraged voters that ‘on average’ there was enough electrical energy.

Since the amount of electrical storage in Australia’s East Coast grid is minimal, that means that solar power will be displacing the present peak generating plant, which is natural gas, which is presently the greenest form of conventional generation (since Australia’s hydro resources are limited, and further constrained by drought). Given their relative generation costs, PV cells won’t substitute for base-load coal-fired capacity. And we still need significant generation capacity after sundown. At best, PV cells would save the cost of coal going into a coal-fired station, but this cost-saving is minimal, because we still have to pay the construction costs of the coal-fired station, even when it’s not generating power.

Anything can be made ‘economically competitive’ if you give it a big enough subsidy …

haroldbeagle 4:53 pm 15 May 09

I don’t believe they are thinking photovoltaics for this plant, but concentrated solar power. ie big mirrors heating fluids driving turbines, similar to the one at this Link

Gungahlin Al 4:53 pm 15 May 09

andym said :

Surely Canberra is one of the worst places in Australia to build a photovoltaic power station? Somewhere up north with longer, clearer days would give more bang for the investment dollars.
http://www.bom.gov.au/watl/sunshine/

Precisely the opposite I would have thought Andym. Sunny days proportion here are incredible compared to back home.

andym 4:07 pm 15 May 09

Surely Canberra is one of the worst places in Australia to build a photovoltaic power station? Somewhere up north with longer, clearer days would give more bang for the investment dollars.
http://www.bom.gov.au/watl/sunshine/

Clown Killer 4:03 pm 15 May 09

I’m sure that there’s some dour, hair-shirt wearing vegan douche-bag getting all irate about the privatisation of the sun’s rays or something right this very minute as they wait for their mung-bean powered photocopier to warm up so they can start printing off leaflets on recycled paper. Hoards of the selfish pests will be marching on the Legislative Assembly by sundown…

monomania 4:00 pm 15 May 09

monomania said :

shutterbug said :

And DC-AC convertors don’t cost thousands.

One Australian suppliers prices

Fronius 1500Watt Grid Connect Inverter   $3250
Conergy 1500Watt Grid Connect Inverter $3075
Motech 3600Watt Grid Connect Inverter   $3850
Fronius 5000Watt Grid Connect Inverter   $5750

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