Photovoltaic Power Comes of Age

The price of PV power has made it quite practical these days. According to Wikipedia, Earth has a few TW of power consumption and according to Digitimes, global PV installations are around 28 gW. PV is starting to make a dent. In a decade or so, PV will be a major component of our electrical production. I really should cover my roof with PV panels to run my computers when the sun shines. Now, if only the NiFe battery were produced locally…

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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4 Responses to Photovoltaic Power Comes of Age

  1. oiaohm says:

    The most important with all renewable is storage.

    The thing I want to know this is a key one. Are we to the point that I could run a battery charger on off peak power and have a cost saving to pay for the value of the batteries.

    Ray this is the difference here. On peak power is about 22c a Kilowatt.

    Controlled supply what is 18 hours a day when the power company decides to give it to your. Is 14c a Kilowatt.

    Controlled supply 8 hours a day is about 10c a Kilowatt.

    Your power is very cheep Ray. If 8c per Kilowatt could pay for the batteries. Changing over to controlled supply would be worth while.

    Solar or Wind without batteries is not worth it.

  2. Ray says:

    The cost of producting electricity is high though: $1/watt. Over here, it cost around 10c/Kilowatt, and the cost of PV is 10,000 times higher.

  3. Ivan wrote, “a PV system to power said house is one-third to half that.”

    Nope. A modern house needs only a few kilowatts and prices for the panels are ~$1/watt. My house, which is large, and electrically heated, has a 46KW service entrance. Average load is ~3KW in winter. Our monthly electrical bill is less than $100. NiFe batteries are about $500/KWH. To heat the house with solar power it would be silly to use PV. Dealing with all the other loads which are way less than 1KW average would cost only $20K or so, a tiny percentage of the value of the house. It would probably cost much less if I had been consulted on the construction. Passive solar heating could have been built in and combined with summer shading from trees and vines for not much more than the original construction cost. I would also add a few KW of wind-power which can work at night.

    My house is worth much more than $100K. Even so, the PV components are very durable and need little maintenance if installed correctly. They last 25 years or so. Over that time they would produce more power than their cost. I happen to live in a place with very cheap power so that might not be true here but anyone living on diesel power is laughing. I am also in one of the sunniest places in Canada. Suppose my 3KW solar panels produce 12 KWH per day. That’s about $1 but over 25 years it’s $11000. So, it’s a break-even proposition but it should be very reliable, is a cushion against increasing rates and delays the need for more hydro-electric dams. The solar panels on the roof cool the roof in summer and provide some insulation in winter.

    The real problem with PV is storing the energy for hours or days depending on weather. It’s probably more practical to supply the daytime loads and use the grid at night. That would cut the capital cost in half. That also reduces risks. Energy storage can be dangerous in a home.

  4. Ivan says:

    An average house is around $100,000, a PV system to power said house is one-third to half that. How is that cost effective for the average family with the mortgage, car loan, and cost of living?

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