Category Archives: Solar

CSP with thermal energy storage is seasonal, so it can not balance variable power or contribute much power for half the year

Concentrated Solar Power not only needs lots of sunshine, but no humidity, clouds, dust, smog or or anything else that can scatter the sun’s rays.  Above 35 degrees latitude north or south, the sun’s rays have to pass through too … Continue reading

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Concentrated Solar Power: Water Constraints

CRS. 2009. Water Issues of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Electricity in the U.S. Southwest. Congressional Research Service. As you can see in the two maps below, the best sites for CSP are also the most water challenged.       … Continue reading

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Concentrated Solar Power: location, location, location

Location, Location, Location:   What follows is from: SBC. June 2013. Concentrating Solar Power. SBC Energy Institute. The best sites are between 10° and 40°, South or North. As you can see in the chart below, this makes a huge difference, … Continue reading

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Short-circuiting a solar boom in Japan

Spain is still feeling the painful effects of the costs of overbuilt solar PV, and now Japan is finding itself in the same position.  This article does a lousy job of explaining that the grid must be in exact supply … Continue reading

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Is there enough renewable energy to replace fossil fuel electricity generation?

NREL. July 2012. U.S. Renewable Energy Technical Potentials: A GIS-Based Analysis. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This document is a thought experiment that uses GIS mapping to estimate how much renewable power could possibly be generated in each state regardless of … Continue reading

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Solar Thermal ESOI (Energy Stored on Invested)

Barton, N. April 17, 2013. ESOI for solar thermal. http://sunoba.blogspot.com/2013/04/esoi-for-solar-thermal.html Published information is available to evaluate the ESOI score for the most common solar thermal storage technology – a molten 60-40 mixture of sodium and potassium nitrates, commonly known as … Continue reading

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Solar Photovoltaics (PV) limited by raw materials

This paper (excerpts below) shows that there are limits to growth — there simply aren’t enough minerals in the world that can be produced physically and/or at a reasonable cost for the many of the most common kinds of PV … Continue reading

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Distributed Generation is destabilizing the Electric Grid

Electricity distribution is designed to flow one way from a centralized system to customers. But Distributed Generation (DG) from solar  PV and wind violates this. Impacts caused by high penetration levels of intermittent renewable DG can be complex and severe … Continue reading

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Tilting at Windmills, Spain’s disastrous attempt to replace fossil fuels with Solar Photovoltaics

Book review of “Spain’s Photovoltaic Revolution. The Energy Return on Investment”, by Pedro Prieto and Charles A.S. Hall. 2013.  Reviewed by Alice Friedemann, www.energyskeptic.com Olmedilla, Spain 60MW Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant. Source: SolarNovus Large Solar Installations around the world. Finally, … Continue reading

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Ivanpah Biggest solar power plant ever – $2.2 billion for only 100 MW

The $2.2 billion dollar Ivanpah Solar power plant generates 100 MW of power when you take the 25% capacity into account (not 400 MW).  That’s enough power for 25,000 to 50,000 homes (not 140,000 as claimed).  There are 116,700,000 households … Continue reading

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