Posts regarding ‘Energy’
In 1965, Gordon Moore, cofounder of Intel, observed that the number of transistors that can be inexpensively placed on an integrated circuit doubles about every two years. That’s held true over the last 40 years.
Shai Agassi, founder of Better Place, says that Moore’s law also applies to batteries. They double capacity every 5 years. In other words, batteries for an electric car to travel 150 miles on a charge will be 1/2 the size and 1/2 the price every five years.
The new application, called Tendril Vantage Mobile, lets users monitor their energy consumption, accumulating energy costs and pricing changes from their cell phones. The application will also send users alerts and notifications of various changes in home energy use and pricing structure. One of program’s key features is that it lets users set energy consumption rules for their homes and establish quotas for how much can be acceptably used. Then, for example, if an energy use threshold is crossed in a household, users will receive a message from Tendril alerting them to the need to turn off lights, the pool filter, etc.
:: Venture Beat
:: Flowing Data
First Solar announced that they have reached $1/watt for solar panels, within spitting distance of grid parity.
First Solar’s eventual goal is “grid parity,” a phrase that refers to making solar power cost the same as competing conventional power sources without subsidies. Right now the cost of making panels accounts for a little less than half the total cost of installation. The company estimates that it needs to get manufacturing costs down to $0.65 to $0.70 per watt, and other installation costs down to $1 a watt in order to reach grid parity—goals First Solar plans to reach by 2012.
The question, though, is whether First Solar or any other solar manufacturer would be able to handle the flood of orders that would ensue if they reached competitive cost. At that point, it comes down to a matter of having enough of raw materials. That is where the real limitations come to bear, according to a paper that will appear in the March issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology. In the paper, Wadia and colleagues Paul Alivisatos and Daniel Kammen evaluated the global supplies and extraction costs for 23 promising photovoltaic semiconductor materials and found that the three materials that currently dominate the market—silicon, CdTe and another thin-film technology based on copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS)—all have limitations when ordered in mass. While silicon is the second-most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, it requires enormous amounts of energy to convert into a usable crystalline form. This is a fundamental thermodynamic barrier that will keep silicon costs comparatively high. Both CIGS and First Solar’s CdTe rank poorly in abundance and extraction cost, with CdTe ranking dead last in long-term potential based on current annual extraction rates.
Nanosolar also said they were able to produce their panels for $1/watt when they debuted last year.
From “The Vote Solar Initiative Blog”:
The recovery package will immediately spur job creation along each link in the solar supply chain- from PV panel manufacturers to solar hot water system installers. Serious kudos to our hard-working friends at SEIA who traversed the halls of Congress until the 11th hour, and to all of our members who chimed in online to make their voices heard. For more information on the bill check out SEIA’s website.
Solar provisions in the final economic recovery bill:
Renewable Energy Grants: Given the economic downturn, many traditional solar project financiers were left without the tax appetite necessary to put the 30 percent solar tax credit to good use. This provision puts solar finance back on track by offering DOE grants as an alternative to the tax credit. To be eligible for the program, the project must commence construction in 2009 or 2010 and be placed in service by January 1, 2017. Applications must be filed by October 1, 2011.
Repeals Penalty for Municipal Solar Finance Programs: Around the country, cities are implementing innovative finance programs that help residents and businesses go solar without breaking the bank. As the tax code was written, there was some uncertainty as to whether participants in these programs could claim the federal solar tax credit. This provision ensures that businesses and individuals can qualify for the full amount of the solar tax credit, even if projects are financed with local development bonds or other subsidized energy financing.
Loan Guarantee Program: This provision is especially helpful for the development of large-scale solar power plants. It establishes a temporary DOE loan guarantee program for renewable energy and electric power transmission projects. The program is available for any renewable project that commences construction by September 30, 2011. The program provides $6 billion in renewable funding.
Manufacturing Investment Credit: Everyone wants manufacturing jobs, and this provision will help attract solar manufacturing facilities to the U.S. It provides up to $2.3 billion to fund 30 percent investment tax credit for facilities engaged in the manufacture of advanced energy technologies. Projects must be certified by the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy, through competitive bidding.
Remove Limits on Solar Water Heating: This provision gives solar hot water heaters the same treatment of solar panels. It repeals the $2,000 monetary cap, making solar water heating property eligible for the full 30 percent tax credit.
Government Procurement: We are still tracking down details, but there appears to be multi billions of dollar available for the installation of solar on government buildings, military bases and schools.
This guy in Texas has kept track of the price he paid for every gallon of gas since 1979.
RMI just came out with a report on relative efficiency of electrical production per state. Go here and click on a state to see how much it sucks or doesn’t suck, relatively speaking. Interesting and another reason to get off the centralized grid. Based on a survey of industry professionals (i.e. I asked Jeff, Ole, and Dave Holister), a grid-tied PV system most likely side steps this grid inefficiency because the electricity from your PV just goes directly to your non-PV neighbors thus creating a poor person’s distributed microgrid. Jeff, I welcome your criticism of this generalization.
In 1978 Bruce Hannon and Timothy Lohman calculated the amount of fuel that would be saved if Americans went on a diet and everyone got down to their ideal weight. Here’s their conclusion:
We have calculated the total fossil energy equivalent of
the food calories saved by reducing the present degree of
overweight (2.3 billion pounds for the adult United States
population) to optimum body weight and the annual fossil
energy reduction once all Americans reached their optimum
weight. The energy saved by dieting to reach optimal weight
is equivalent to 1.3 billion gallons of gasoline and the annual
energy savings would more than supply the annual residential
electrical demands of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco,
and Washington, DC.
Thirty years later, we need to collectively lose 6 billion pounds, which would be roughly 3.4 billion gallons of gas.
:: Wattzon Blog