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Thread: Municipal Power Plants

  1. #1
    Super Grandmaster BCO's Avatar
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    Default Municipal Power Plants

    I found a very interesting article on the Nanosolar blog about Municipal (2 - 10MW) solar power plants. A couple of things really stood out to me:

    Municipal solar power plants are an avenue for delivering a GigaWatt of power in a state through one solar farm each in a few hundred cities local to where the power is needed as opposed to constructing a new coal-fired or nuclear plant. They can also be deployed very rapidly. (It takes 10-15 years to get a new coal plant done; a solar plant can be done in 12 months provided no administrative blocks exist).
    In any region with a decent amount of sunshine, there is no more economic way of reliably providing municipal power during the day than through a municipal solar power plant.
    The whole article's quite interesting.

    Link

    Now if only we could get a couple of hundred of these up and running in the next couple of years.

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    They won't do it - as they prefer to get kickbacks from coal sales etc...

    But it is an excellent idea - clean, renewable and we always got lots of sunny days for this idea to be a practical reality.
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    The initial capital costs are enormous and you still need some alternative power source for cloudy days and night time.

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    Good Idea + ANC = 0
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    Quote Originally Posted by psc View Post
    The initial capital costs are enormous and you still need some alternative power source for cloudy days and night time.
    Actually, NanoSolar is competitive on a per watt basis with coal, at around $0.99.
    Last edited by BCO; 17-04-2008 at 02:16 PM.

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    I started fiddling some figures as to the fuel costs Eskom has - but got bored.
    Basically, they say 11c/KWh is below cost, so we can start off an say 10c/KWh is coal costs.
    They generate 38million KW/h, so that is around R3.8 million rand in coal an hour?? Or do I misunderstand something.
    If not, Eskom is spending close to R80million per day on coal - at those costs, solar starts to sound cheaper.

    Anyways, someone with better knowledge of getting some figure for coal expenditure, feel free to jump in.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moederloos View Post
    I started fiddling some figures as to the fuel costs Eskom has - but got bored.
    Basically, they say 11c/KWh is below cost, so we can start off an say 10c/KWh is coal costs.
    They generate 38million KW/h, so that is around R3.8 million rand in coal an hour?? Or do I misunderstand something.
    If not, Eskom is spending close to R80million per day on coal - at those costs, solar starts to sound cheaper.

    Anyways, someone with better knowledge of getting some figure for coal expenditure, feel free to jump in.
    If Eskom spends R80mil a day on fuel, and a Nanosolar plant costs $1 per Watt, then a 2 MW plant could cost $2 million, or about R16 million. So for the cost of one day's coal, the govt. could install five 2 MW municipal power plants. That sounds pretty sexeh.

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    That (almost) sounds too good to be true...

    What's the catch?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulr View Post
    That (almost) sounds too good to be true...

    What's the catch?
    Nanosolar can't produce enough PV to meet the demand. Since December last year they've been sold out till 2009.

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    Slightly OT: How many solar panels would it require to run an entire largish house?

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    Is there any concrete evidence that Nanosolar has actually "shipped" any quantity of there PV panels.

    There is also no technical info available (unless you sign a NDA and are a "large customer").

    In addition if you do the calculations on the feasability of the PV's on a commercial scale they still are capital intensive.

    Realise that you will need at least 3 x the peak demand in PV generation, mounting and tracking systems, some means of storage (expensive) or a backup which would involve peaking (at 9x the cost of a coal power station, to run).

    In addition the PV's would need many inverters to reduce loss in the power delivery from the farm (or tons of copper) as the PV's can not run at very high voltages.

    Realisticy you are looking at an efective cost of $5 per watt which would work out at approximately 3.5 times the cost of an equivelant coal fired base station.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xrapidx View Post
    Slightly OT: How many solar panels would it require to run an entire largish house?

    One would need to know your average dail consumption.

    If you wish to become grid "free" it will take quite a few (plus batteries for storage), a quick thumsuck use your monthly kW/h usage and times by 300 to 500 to get a cost .

    Using alternative or more efficient means for cooking (gas/induction), heat pump geyser or solar, efficient lighting etc will minimise the overall (electrical) energy requirement of your household.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by psc View Post
    Realisticy you are looking at an efective cost of $5 per watt which would work out at approximately 3.5 times the cost of an equivelant coal fired base station.
    But with no fuel costs.
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    Another thing which must be pointed out is that solar panels also have a lifetime. But I'm fully for the idea of setting up solar power plants to supplement our power grid. It might not be a perfect solution to use as a primary, but that's the point. Who says that you need to have a single primary source of power? It's just easier, that's the only thing. Sub-sources and approaching different areas and requirements with different solutions is a viable alternative. All it requires is proper planning. And as Moederloos pointed out, Good idea + ANC = 0 (same can be said about planning, look at the state of the current school curriculum)
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