Solar energy in India

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RamaY
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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby RamaY » 23 Jan 2015 03:13

matrimc wrote:RamaY:
> The shaded area can be used grow some crops or for cattle grazing (using grass that grows under sun shade.).

Aren't the panels very close to ground? May be at the height of mere 3-4 feet. How would one harvest the grass? May be one needs a small robot that can crawl under, mow the grass and push it out. Energy used for the robots should be lower than the energy equivalent of the grass harvested. That said, usage of the shaded area is for squeezing out more (from an efficiency point if view).


Panels need not be close to each other or to ground. By keeping sufficient distance between panels at say 10-15 ft height, farmers can get double benefit. The cattle walk around under the partial shade.

Here the solar energy tariff is regular income while farming is seasonal/periodical.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Kakkaji » 24 Jan 2015 09:50

I understand the solar panels are cleaned by spraying them with water. So, how do you clean them when they are 10-15 feet above ground?

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby ramana » 03 Feb 2015 02:14

Vivek Wadhwa has an op-ed circulated by Ram Narayanan about benefits of solar energy and that in 14 years they will be at par with other sources of power to the grid.

If anyone has access please post. Or else wait for me till Wednesday.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Rishirishi » 03 Feb 2015 02:19

Looking forward to it :D

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby RamaY » 03 Feb 2015 02:47

Kakkaji wrote:I understand the solar panels are cleaned by spraying them with water. So, how do you clean them when they are 10-15 feet above ground?


Image

Just add a pressure spray in the middle along the beam on top.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Vipul » 03 Feb 2015 04:08

The coming era of unlimited — and free — clean energy: Vivek Wadhwa.

In the 1980s, leading consultants were skeptical about cellular phones. McKinsey & Company noted that the handsets were heavy, batteries didn’t last long, coverage was patchy, and the cost per minute was exorbitant. It predicted that in 20 years the total market size would be about 900,000 units, and advised AT&T to pull out. McKinsey was wrong, of course. There were more than 100 million cellular phones in use in 2000; there are billions now. Costs have fallen so far that even the poor — all over world — can afford a cellular phone.

The experts are saying the same about solar energy now. They note that after decades of development, solar power hardly supplies 1 percent of the world’s energy needs. They say that solar is inefficient, too expensive to install, and unreliable, and will fail without government subsidies. They too are wrong. Solar will be as ubiquitous as cellular phones are.

Futurist Ray Kurzweil notes that solar power has been doubling every two years for the past 30 years — as costs have been dropping. He says solar energy is only six doublings — or less than 14 years — away from meeting 100 percent of today’s energy needs. Energy usage will keep increasing, so this is a moving target. But, by Kurzweil’s estimates, inexpensive renewable sources will provide more energy than the world needs in less than 20 years. Even then, we will be using only one part in 10,000 of the sunlight that falls on the Earth.

In places such as Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia, and the Southwest United States, residential-scale solar production has already reached “grid parity” with average residential electricity prices. In other words, it costs no more in the long term to install solar panels than to buy electricity from utility companies. The prices of solar panels have fallen 75 percent in the past five years alone and will fall much further as the technologies to create them improve and scale of production increases. By 2020, solar energy will be price-competitive with energy generated from fossil fuels on an unsubsidized basis in most parts of the world. Within the next decade, it will cost a fraction of what fossil-fuel-based alternatives do.

It isn’t just solar production that is advancing at a rapid rate; there are also technologies to harness the power of wind, biomass, thermal, tidal, and waste-breakdown energy, and research projects all over the world are working on improving their efficiency and effectiveness. Wind power, for example, has also come down sharply in price and is now competitive with the cost of new coal-burning power plants in the United States. It will, without doubt, give solar energy a run for its money. There will be breakthroughs in many different technologies, and these will accelerate overall progress.

Despite the skepticism of experts and criticism by naysayers, there is little doubt that we are heading into an era of unlimited and almost free clean energy. This has profound implications.

First, there will be disruption of the entire fossil-fuel industry, starting with utility companies — which will face declining demand and then bankruptcy. Several of them see the writing on the wall. The smart ones are embracing solar and wind power. Others are lobbying to stop the progress of solar power — at all costs. Witness how groups in Oklahoma persuaded lawmakers to approve a surcharge on solar installations; the limited victory that groups backed by the Koch brothers won in Arizona to impose a $5 per month surcharge; and the battles being waged in other states. They are fighting a losing battle, however, because the advances aren’t confined to the United States. Countries such as Germany, China, and Japan are leading the charge in the adoption of clean energies. Solar installations still depend on other power sources to supply energy when the sun isn’t shining, but battery-storage technologies will improve so much over the next two decades that homes won’t be dependent on the utility companies. We will go from debating incentives for installing clean energies to debating subsidies for utility companies to keep their operations going.

The environment will surely benefit from the elimination of fossil fuels, which will also boost most sectors of the economy. Electric cars will become cheaper to operate than fossil-fuel-burning ones, for example. We will be able to create unlimited clean water — by boiling ocean water and condensing it. With inexpensive energy, our farmers can also grow hydroponic fruits and vegetables in vertical farms located near consumers. Imagine skyscrapers located in cities that grow food in glass buildings without the need for pesticides, and that recycle nutrients and materials to ensure there is no ecological impact. We will have the energy needed to 3D-print our everyday goods and to heat our homes.

We are surely heading into the era of abundance that Peter Diamandis has written about — the era when the basic needs of humanity are met through advancing technologies. The challenge for mankind will be to share this abundance, ensuring that these technologies make the world a better place

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby kenop » 03 Feb 2015 04:51

RamaY wrote:
Kakkaji wrote:I understand the solar panels are cleaned by spraying them with water. So, how do you clean them when they are 10-15 feet above ground?

Just add a pressure spray in the middle along the beam on top.

Need to use a robotic cleaner that uses channels (in-built, may need a little bit of redesign) to move around.
Should provide better cleaning than a water jet.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby ramana » 03 Feb 2015 08:20

kenop need simple and robust solutions. Robot could break down and need imported parts.
Rishi^2

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/inn ... -on-india/





Innovations
Why Obama should stop pushing nuclear energy on India

By Vivek Wadhwa February 2 at 8:00 AM



This is not what India needs. (John Bazemore/AP)

The White House is claiming victory for a breakthrough in the impasse with India over nuclear energy. Indian laws have held suppliers, designers and builders of nuclear plants liable in case of an accident and this made U.S. companies fearful of doing business there. During his recent trip, President Obama persuaded India’s government to create an insurance pool to compensate victims of a potential disaster and to cap the liabilities of companies supplying the technology.

This is hardly a victory for the United States or for India. It no longer makes sense for any country to install a technology that can create a catastrophe such as Chernobyl or Fukushima — especially when far better alternatives are available. Technologies such as solar and wind are advancing so rapidly that by the time the first new nuclear reactors are installed in India, they will be less costly than nuclear energy. Most importantly, the alternative technologies are cleaner and safer.

Take solar energy, which has become a political hot potato in the United States because of Obama’s support of solar companies that failed. Critics are arguing that solar is inefficient, too expensive to install, and unreliable, and will fail without government subsidies. They argue that after decades of development, solar power hardly supplies 1 percent of the world’s energy needs and that we need to double our bets on fossil fuels and nuclear. But they are simply wrong.

Solar power has been doubling every two years for the past 30 years — as costs have been dropping. At this rate, solar is only six doublings — or less than 14 years — away from meeting practically all of today’s energy needs. Even with this, we will be using only one part in 10,000 of the sunlight that falls on the Earth.

In places such as Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia and parts of the United States and India, residential-scale solar production has already reached “grid parity” with average residential electricity prices. In other words, it costs no more in the long term to install solar panels than to buy electricity from utility companies — without government subsidies. The prices of solar panels have fallen 75 percent in the past five years alone and will fall much further as the technologies to create them improve and scale of production increases. By 2020, solar energy will be price-competitive with energy generated from fossil fuels on an unsubsidized basis in most parts of the world. Prices will keep dropping and efficiency will keep increasing even after this. In the late 2020s, these will cost a fraction of what fossil fuel- and nuclear-based alternatives do.

This is the reality — believe it or not.

Yes, there is an issue of energy storage for when the sun is not shining. Batteries are expensive and their capacity is limited. But these technologies are also advancing rapidly. They will improve over the next decade to the point that storage devices will be economical and sufficient for homes and villages. For India, energy production using solar will alleviate the problems of its decaying national electricity grid. Energy can be generated and stored locally — at the village level.

Wind, biomass, thermal, tidal, and waste-breakdown energy, and a host of newer energy technologies are becoming increasingly practical to install worldwide. Wind power, for example, is already competitive with the cost of new coal-burning power plants in the United States.

The president should not be prescribing medicine that he would not take himself. The United States has not installed any new nuclear plants for more than 30 years. There would be massive public protests if any were even proposed — anywhere in the country. Germany is working towards phasing out all of its nuclear plants by 2022 and many other developed countries are looking to follow its lead.

So why subject India and other developing countries to these dangers?

India is still reeling from the Bhopal disaster of 1984, when a leakage of cyanide gas at the Union Carbide plant killed 5,295 people and left tens of thousands with permanent disabilities. The surviving victims are still begging for fair compensation. This was a chemical catastrophe; a nuclear one would be far more destructive.

Instead of trying to chain India to the past with technologies such as nuclear, he should help the country leapfrog into the future with clean energy. This will benefit not only India, but also the world.

Theo_Fidel

Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Theo_Fidel » 03 Feb 2015 08:50

Ramana/kenop/etc,

I don't know about utility but I went through a 7 month drought last year and did not see a dramatic loss in production due to dirt. I think it is useful to clean but it is very cheap to over rate the panels for a system so your inverter ends up clipping most of the time. Ergo, no need for cleaning. In fact no need to replace damaged panels either though that depends on string layout. Personally I have never cleaned my panels, a couple of showers clear up the dust occasionally. The major performance factor for Silicon is temperature. There is a 30% drop in performance from 50f to 100f.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Amber G. » 03 Feb 2015 09:03

A News items:

Apple to build $2B solar-powered “command center” data center at Arizona factory site...

Another one.. ironically ..Chinese city that has pinned its hopes on the solar power industry tops China’s “most-polluted” list. Baoding, home to Yingli Solar, the world’s second-largest solar panel maker, was the most polluted among the 74 cities on an environment ministry list published on Monday.

Chinese solar power centre tops smog list
Last edited by Amber G. on 03 Feb 2015 09:09, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Bade » 03 Feb 2015 09:07

Hope people have seen or heard of this before.
Prof Jhunjunwala's talks are on youtube for those interested.
IIT-Madras project to supply low-power DC may end outages
It is based on a disarmingly simple idea: run a low-power direct current (DC) line from every sub-station into houses. This will feed into a separate meter, and then on to a set of lights and fans, or other low-power devices such as chargers or TVs. The rest of the house is run on regular alternating current (AC) power that is metered separately.

The 100 watts of power fed into these DC lines is so low the electricity boards will never need to shut this down, except to repair technical faults. Blackouts are thus eliminated at one stroke, or converted to what IIT-M calls 'brownouts'.

Image

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Vayutuvan » 03 Feb 2015 10:44

Ramay where is the water leave alone water with enough pressure to clean?

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Vayutuvan » 03 Feb 2015 10:46

AmberG: pollution of making solar panels, transportation, installation needs to be amortized over the lifetime of the soar panel operation. That is the correct accounting procedure.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Amber G. » 03 Feb 2015 23:53

Bade wrote:Hope people have seen or heard of this before.
Prof Jhunjunwala's talks are on youtube for those interested.
IIT-Madras project to supply low-power DC may end outages


Thanks, this simply looks very good. Watched the Youtube (Link given below) and am impressed by all the thought which went into a simple but powerful idea.

A somewhat similar concept was US homes which had a separate power on its telephone line/network with low DC voltage. Telephones worked even when the main AC power went out.



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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby SaiK » 04 Feb 2015 00:24

if we make mandatory grid-feedback based installations with cost-benefits for the installer (with subsidies), we can pretty much convert every home to be 1-2KVA solar energy feeder. basic necessities can be taken care of with day light activities with occasional rainy spurs for mains usage. hydro should look more as a backup and for industrial use. can be planned for industrial use the same way. we would definitely need smarter grids, that includes tripping on over draws.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby SaiK » 04 Feb 2015 00:33

RamaY wrote:Just add a pressure spray in the middle along the beam on top.
might be expensive considering someone with long handle to reach out and mop it up! easy, cheaper and gives our strong labor some job to do.

also, think how wipers work for car windshield.

Theo_Fidel

Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Theo_Fidel » 04 Feb 2015 00:42

So today I have been monitoring how snow melts off my Solar Panels. Been resisting the urge to run out there with a broom to mop it off. Finally at 2 PM all the snow has melted off and the panels are going full tilt. It going to be a 35 kw day.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby SaiK » 04 Feb 2015 00:48

should not it use its own energy to heat it up [again like heater coils on the windshield ]? melting it should be simple and easy. costs less as well.

Theo_Fidel

Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Theo_Fidel » 04 Feb 2015 02:14

Doing some dirty math.

1 solar panel = 3ftx5ft = 15 sqft.
8” of snow @ density of 10 lbs/ft3 = 15x.66x10 = 100 lbs. ~ 45 kg per panel.
Energy to warm 1 kg snow from (260K-273K) 10f = 13k(warming) x 2000 J/kg/K = 26,000 J/kg
Energy to melt 1kg snow @ 273K = 330,000 J/kg
Total energy needed = 26,000+330,000 = 359,000 J/kg.
Total energy per panel = 359,000x45 = 16,155,000 J
Converting to kwh ~ 4.5kwh per panel.
Assuming 30%-40% energy loss to underside(due to various reasons underside of panel cannot be insulated)=4.5x1.4 ~ 6 kwh per panel.
For my 32 panels = 32x6 = 192 kwh
192x$0.12 cents (utility rate) = $23.04
Did I miss anything? Yes solar insolation, lets ignore, wind, lets ignore, radiation losses, lets ignore….

So it would cost me ~$25 to melt 8” of snow from 10f on my 32 panels.
In return I would have saved ~ $2 in production.
Not worth it.

It is cheaper for me to put another kw of solar on the roof. I think the old school manner of thinking about waste/energy loss does not apply with solar. It is infinitely scalable and so cheap it is easier to throw a few more panels on the system than deal with loss of production. But that is just my experience.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby SaiK » 04 Feb 2015 03:12

wait.. i'm not giving up on you.. install a blower instead, with some sensor + rate monotic blowing.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Vayutuvan » 04 Feb 2015 07:59

SaiK: Too much energy to blow the snow off.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby SaiK » 04 Feb 2015 08:21

would it not be depend on how much snow present? as it falls, is the right time to blow. but then, I am all hypothetical onlee.. spraying chemicals is better - deicer etc.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Vayutuvan » 04 Feb 2015 08:43

SaiK: efficiency, sire, efficiency. It is always going to be less than 1.0 but how less?

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby SaiK » 04 Feb 2015 19:51

well.. aam admi broom then. :) might get >= 1 :twisted:

Theo_Fidel

Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Theo_Fidel » 04 Feb 2015 19:52

The beauty of solar is no moving parts. Nothing to breakdown for 40 years. Now how does adding more moving parts to it make sense? The only reason I looked at the electrical heating is the same 'no moving parts' model. All others are pish-pash.... :)

Oddly enough I do have an aam admi broom with a 25' extension. There's a few flurries coming down now, they say more snow today....

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby SaiK » 04 Feb 2015 20:57

well another cheapish (not aam approach) non-broom idea for you would be la patio sunshade kind of arrangement cover. when you or the sensor picks up snow in the air, energizes these screens to roll down and prevent them direct hit.. now, this will work because during snow, you don't anyway generate power. also need to consider those heavy blizzards.. so, back to basics a heater is the best option, plus i would add the blower for a composite solution.

but there is one more option that is two in one solution. 'll let you discuss this before I plant that idea.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Amber G. » 04 Feb 2015 22:29

matrimc wrote:AmberG: pollution of making solar panels, transportation, installation needs to be amortized over the lifetime of the soar panel operation. That is the correct accounting procedure.


Absolutely.

I was not impressed by Vivek Wadhwa's article.. among many questionable points..

1- It starts with odd "the experts were wrong in 80's" type refrain, as if just because he thinks experts were wrong does not prove any point in its favor. (Experts have been right too, more often than not)

2- He talks about boogie of Fukushima in the context of safety. Does he even know the basics of scientific principles ? (Hint: If anything, by all scientific measurements, Nuclear power has a very good PROVEN safety record - solar does not have that long history - or deep study on all safety factors)

3- He seem to make excuses, and hint of CT theories ("people" are against solar power) for some difficulties encountered in solar power generation, instead of being honest.

4. -The Moore type laws are not "laws" of physics.. yet he seem to provide nothing more than that kind of reasoning for solar.

I don't know, I would have liked to learn more and get more data.. but the article, as I said, really not impressed me. It does not answer points raised in other view points.

I will not discuss the safety of nuclear vs solar here .. but quote one aspect of costs (which people say that nuclear is too expensive etc)

Let me first just take one quote from the above article
Wadhwa article wrote:In places such as Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia and parts of the United States and India, residential-scale solar production has already reached “grid parity” with average residential electricity prices. In other words, it costs no more in the long term to install solar panels than to buy electricity from utility companies ..



Let me just quote from Wall Street Journal Article, an analysis by Nordhaus and Shellenberger (quite reputable people) for perspective..
(Link: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323716304578482663491426312
The cost of building and operating the Finnish nuclear plant over the next 20 years will be $15 billion. Over that time period, the plant will generate 225 terawatt-hours (twh) of electricity at a cost of 7 cents per kilowatt hour.
Since 2000, Germany has heavily subsidized electricity production from solar panels—offering long-term contracts to producers to purchase electricity at prices substantially above wholesale rates. The resulting solar installations are expected to generate 400 twh electricity over the 20 years that the panels will receive the subsidy, at a total cost to German ratepayers of $130 billion, or 32 cents per kwh.
In short, solar electricity in Germany will cost almost five times more for every kilowatt hour of electricity it provides than Finland's new nuclear plant


In my humble opinion, anyone genuinely concerned about the environment, safety and the cost of energy cannot be against nuclear power, at least in the near term... All the power to innovation and solar generation but it must be based on science and not wishful thinking.

After all, as some one said, we can use nuclear power in two ways -

1 - Use many small reactors installed locally in our planet .
or
2 - Use a large fusion reactor (supplied free of charge) some 150 million Km away.
:)

Theo_Fidel

Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Theo_Fidel » 05 Feb 2015 00:34

Amber G,

Humble request not to troll on this thread on your questionable views on nuclear power. If you have something on nuclear power please take it to the nuclear thread.

I too can post your opinion on 'exploding' solar panels.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Amber G. » 05 Feb 2015 00:47

There is NO trolling, at least from my part and this is to put it mildly.

Theo_Fidel

Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Theo_Fidel » 05 Feb 2015 00:57

You may think we are all children here, but please reconsider that you might be wrong.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29

"In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[4]"

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Rishirishi » 05 Feb 2015 03:00

Amber G. wrote:There is NO trolling, at least from my part and this is to put it mildly.


Your figures are wrong, very wrong.

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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Amber G. » 05 Feb 2015 03:20

Rishirishi wrote:
Your figures are wrong, very wrong.

Which figures?
(The WSJ article is given with the link so you can look/critique the authors (not mine) figures)

If you are talking about other figures.. can you be explicit on what makes you think that they are wrong?

Meanwhile getting back to the topic..

wrt to solar panels, A recent article from prestigious National Geographic.

How Green Are Those Solar Panels, Really?

As the world seeks cleaner power, solar energy capacity has increased sixfold in the past five years. Yet manufacturing all those solar panels, a Tuesday report shows, can have environmental downsides.

Fabricating the panels requires caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid, and the process uses water as well as electricity, the production of which emits greenhouse gases. It also creates waste. These problems could undercut solar's ability to fight climate change and reduce environmental toxics.

A new ranking of 37 solar manufacturers, the Solar Scorecard, shows that some companies are doing better than others. Chinese manufacturer Trina scored best, followed by California-based SunPower.

The annual scorecard was created by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC), a San Francisco-based nonprofit that has tracked the environmental impact of the high-tech industry since 1982. It's the group's fifth scorecard, and it shows that the industry is becoming more—not less—opaque when it comes to the sustainability of its manufacturing practices.

The coalition hopes the scorecard will increase transparency in a burgeoning industry that tends to be more focused on survival and growth than on tackling the dirtier side of an otherwise clean energy source.

Patchy Data on Chemicals, Emissions

The SVTC relies on companies' self-reported data for its scorecard, which looks at such things as emissions, chemical toxicity, water use, and recycling. The coalition says the market share of companies willing or able to share details about their operations is declining. It praises the third- and fourth-ranked companies, Yingli and SolarWorld respectively, for responding to the survey every year and for showing a continued commitment to sustainability.

Name-brand companies on the scorecard represent about 75 percent of the solar panel industry, but more generic players that care less about their environmental impact have been entering the market, said Sheila Davis, the coalition's executive director. Her group is concerned that as these discount competitors gain market share, fewer companies will make sustainability a priority.

Varying regulations and manufacturing practices make it difficult to get standardized data about the environmental footprint of photovoltaic panels. A study released in May by Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory found that the carbon footprint of a panel from China is twice that of one from Europe, because China has fewer environmental standards and more coal-fired power plants.

China has already seen a backlash. Panel manufacturer Jinko Solar, for example, has faced protests and legal action since one of its plants, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, was accused of dumping toxic waste into a nearby river.

Solar manufacturers in the United States are subject to both federal and state rules that dictate, for example, how and where they can dispose of toxic wastewater. In Europe recent regulations mandate the reduction and proper disposal of hazardous electronic waste.

Still, researchers say it's difficult to get quality data across solar panel markets. The numbers available on the environmental impact of solar panel manufacturing in China are "quite different from those in the U.S. or in Europe," said Fengqi You, assistant professor of engineering at Northwestern University and a co-author of the May study. "It is a very complicated problem."

The SVTC hopes that pushing for more transparency now will lead to better practices later. "It's a new industry," said Davis. If companies adopt sustainable practices early on, she said, "then maybe over the next 10 or 15 years-as these panels begin to come down, the first wave of them, and we're beginning to recycle them-the new panels that are on the market are zero waste."

Not Enough to Recycle Yet

Right now, solar panel recycling suffers from a chicken-or-egg problem: There aren't enough places to recycle old solar panels, and there aren't enough defunct solar panels to make recycling them economically attractive.

Ben Santarris, strategic affairs director for SolarWorld, said his company has made efforts to recycle panels, but the volume isn't there yet. "We have product that's still performing to standard from 1978, so we don't have a big stream," he said. "It is a problem, because on one hand there is an interest in getting ahead of a swelling stream of returning panels. On the other hand, there's not a big market for it right now."

Recycling is particularly important because of the materials used to make panels, said Dustin Mulvaney, an assistant professor of environmental studies at San José State University who serves as a scientific adviser to SVTC. "It would be difficult to find a PV module that does not use at least one rare or precious metal," he said, "because they all have at least silver, tellurium, or indium."

Because recycling is limited, Mulvaney said, those recoverable metals could go to waste: "Companies that are reporting on a quarterly basis, surviving on razor-thin margins—they're not thinking 20, 30 years down the road, where the scarcity issue might actually enter the conversation."

The silicon used to make the vast majority of today's photovoltaic cells is abundant, but a "silicon-based solar cell requires a lot of energy input in its manufacturing process," said Northwestern's You. The source of that energy, which is often coal, he added, determines how large the cell's carbon footprint is.

The SVTC said it's leading an effort to develop a first ever sustainability standard for solar panels, similar to the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED, within the next two years. That effort will get under way as new solar panel factories come online in the U.S. and elsewhere: Mission Solar just opened a plant in San Antonio, Texas, and SolarCity plans to open a five-billion-dollar factory in western New York.

It remains to be seen whether solar companies will face enough external pressure to drive significant change in a business that, from a power-generation standpoint, already has plenty of environmental credibility.

"Despite the efforts of the SVTC," said Santarris, "there still is not nearly the awareness there should be that solar panels are not all created equal from an environmental standpoint."

But there is optimism that as the industry matures, solar companies will adopt stronger sustainability measures. In just the five years since the SVTC began its scorecard survey, Mulvaney said, it has seen a change.

"When we started this, there was no information on environmental performance, aside from the fact that it saves us from the dirtier fuels," he said. "Now these companies are producing sustainability reports."


The story is part of a special series that explores energy issues.

Vayutuvan
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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Vayutuvan » 05 Feb 2015 04:53

My view is that we need to reduce (wasteful) consumption, reduce wastage, and cut down on transmission losses, smart distribution grid, better home/office design (more trees for reduction of AC consumption in summer), reduction of landscape lighting but streets lighted with money raised through property taxes, setting up and encouraging the use of mass transit (in US) which are electric or at least hybrid, bump up internet bandwidth so that people can do lot more "work from home" and "meet from home". Some are low hanging fruit and some are not. In any case, they might reduce the input requirement by about 30% (a wild guess), which is the amount that is dependent on oil. 55% is dependent on coal (a decade back figures) and there are almost 50% transmission losses.

Once that gives some breathing space, start (or already in final stages of yielding results) projects to develop clean energy - solar, wind, wave, and geothermal. I wonder what is the deal with geothermal. It seems to be almost unending, safe, and available everywhere irrespective of the season and whether conditions.

At one point, Google was supposed to have made $200 million investment in this technology. I was thinking of getting a system installed in my backyard. The payback was around 15 years which is not a problem as I am going to stay here for hatg long if not more. There was also some govt. subsidy.

I will avoid nuclear if at all possible. The expected loss is humongous, in my non-expert opinion. What cost can one place on 100s or 1000s of years of irradiated land and no-go zone? What would have happened had "three mile island reactor" blew up?

A_Gupta
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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby A_Gupta » 05 Feb 2015 05:32

Amber G. wrote:
Since 2000, Germany has heavily subsidized electricity production from solar panels—offering long-term contracts to producers to purchase electricity at prices substantially above wholesale rates. The resulting solar installations are expected to generate 400 twh electricity over the 20 years that the panels will receive the subsidy, at a total cost to German ratepayers of $130 billion, or 32 cents per kwh.
In short, solar electricity in Germany will cost almost five times more for every kilowatt hour of electricity it provides than Finland's new nuclear plant


A. That subsidy that German ratepayers are paying of 32 cents a kwh is their cost of jump-starting an industry (btw, airlines, railways, etc. all received such subsidies.)

B. Perhaps the German subsidy is overdone. Solar power is headed to 4 cents per kwh.

hanumadu
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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby hanumadu » 05 Feb 2015 11:03

A_Gupta wrote:
B. Perhaps the German subsidy is overdone. Solar power is headed to 4 cents per kwh.


What is the expected time frame fort this to happen?

Theo_Fidel

Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Theo_Fidel » 05 Feb 2015 21:57

Actual utility PPA numbers from the USA SW. Note this is after the 30% capital tax incentive. This is a bit dated as the report for 2014 is expected in April. $50/mwh equates to 5 cents per kwh. Note that there are a large number of projects already below that number. Keep in mind that this is a fixed PPA for 25 years on average. There is no inflation escalator. So in 2038 you will still be paying $50/mwh of power delivered.

Image
Last edited by Theo_Fidel on 05 Feb 2015 22:08, edited 2 times in total.

Vayutuvan
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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Vayutuvan » 05 Feb 2015 22:03

What is the percentage of solar today and projected? Just supplying at low cost does not matter as long as the percentage of the needs fulfilled is low.
Last edited by Vayutuvan on 05 Feb 2015 22:25, edited 1 time in total.

Theo_Fidel

Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Theo_Fidel » 05 Feb 2015 22:15

^^^
Not sure what the question is?
------

In any case one can look up the real time load dispatch incorporating Solar from CAISO.
http://www.caiso.com/Pages/TodaysOutloo ... Renewables

SaiK
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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby SaiK » 05 Feb 2015 22:17

oercntagw ? aes256?

Vayutuvan
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Re: Solar energy in India

Postby Vayutuvan » 05 Feb 2015 22:23

Simply put does solar scale to the same levels as coal or oil or nuclear. If the setup costs are too high - both in real terms and in terms of total efficiency, then it will not scale.

there will be bottlenecks in the process, there is no free lunch at least when conservation laws are taken into account. There is a catch in adopting every technology or nascent technology out there.

Consumption reduction by the hyper consuming folks need to be reduced as the first step. If not hmanity will run out of time as the conflicts over dwindling energy sources grow exponentially. All the resources will be spent fighting each other rather than four onto productive use.
Last edited by Vayutuvan on 05 Feb 2015 23:36, edited 1 time in total.


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