[extropy-chat] Solar math (was: Nuke 'em)

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu Oct 27 13:42:14 UTC 2005

On Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 02:43:33PM -0700, Damien Sullivan wrote:

> Last I saw, which was a few years ago, solar was $4/watt, vs. $1/watt for
> conventional power plants, lasting 30 years.  So, 250 gigawatts.  Keep on

Residential electricity is e.g. 0.155 EUR/kWh where I sit. http://zebu.uoregon.edu/1998/ph162/l7.html
claims 0.25-0.50$/kWh for solar electricity. http://www.solarbuzz.com/StatsCosts.htm
claims around 0.30$/kWh, or 2-5 times residential electricity tarifs.

> spending for 30 years and you'd buy 1.5 terawatts, half of what the US needs
> in terms of total energy.  OTOH, providing heating through PV electricity is
> definitely the expensive way of doing it.  Also, my estimate is that the US

Right. http://www.solarserver.de/berechnen/index.html tells me that a 2-person
household with 70 l/day (60 C) needs 3.6 m^2 and a 200 l insulate tank to
achieve >80% coverage during 6 months of the year and 10%-60% the rest of the
year. Another good investment is insulation, heat exchangers in ventilation
and winter gardens.

> spends at least $250 billion a year on electricity, so this model is actually
> underspending.  If we accepted spending twice as much as we do now then it all
> works out.  If solar has gotten cheaper then all the better.

Price crossover will happen quite soon, especially if the polymer/semiconductor
spin-coat cells are stable and cheap. It's still a major investment, and most
of the U.S. is deep in debt.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820            http://www.leitl.org
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE
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