[ExI] The silent PV revolution

Alfio Puglisi alfio.puglisi at gmail.com
Thu Mar 29 22:49:26 UTC 2012

2012/3/29 spike <spike66 at att.net>

> ** **
> ** **
> *>…* *On Behalf Of *Alfio Puglisi
> *Subject:* [ExI] The silent PV revolution****
> ** **
> >… electricity markets this summer: there is a non-negligible chance that
> a major country is going to have so much production from solar
> photovoltaics that it will have to *export* a sizable fraction of it…Traditional
> energy giants are lobbying like hell the government to regulate the market
> … ****
> **
> ** **
> Now, as soon as solar power saturates that market and the power must be
> sold at a lower rate, then everything changes.  You introduce a risk term
> and a reduction in revenue.  ****
> ** **
> I have a friend who is putting in a huge solar installation in eastern
> Oregon.  This concern (that the local power company will get all its needed
> expensive renewable power, then offer him coal-gen prices for any above
> that) keeps my friend awake at night.  His PV farm is the first to go in,
> but if a neighboring farm decides to follow his lead (farmers are bad to do
> that) then both eventually go broke.  His long-term financial survival
> hinges on convincing all local land owners that he is not making money on
> those PVs.

This is true for large-scale PV installations. Admittedly, the bulk of PV
generation here comes from the 30,000+ installations above 50KW. But in the
near future, the focus is on rooftop panels. Only 300,000 installed, plenty
of room for a lot more. Already at current prices and without feed-in
tariffs, the owner is more or less breaking even over the life of the PV
system: half of the money comes from savings on the electricity bill, and
the other half from the (guaranteed) price for electricity exchange between
production peaks and lows.

In another year or two, the first half will be enough to cover the rooftop
panel cost. At that point, you just dimension the system based on your peak
consumption, and overcapacity be damned, I just care about the energy that
I am *not* buying from the grid, and I can give away the rest.

Yours truly is horribly failing to do all this, though: I only have a share
(1KW worth) in a community PV project installed on the roof of a public
school 100km away. Just for the fun of it: sent the money one day, and
received the pictures of the system some months later. Financial break-even
after 10 years, meanwhile the school has a reduced bill.

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