Saturday 5 May 2012

More solar madness

Watts up with that on the incredible cost of solar power.


Rob said...

Your deceptive misleading conduct continues, throughout that article they compare the economics of building a solar farm with building a fossil fuel power station but ignore the fact that the solar array gets free fuel for life, they don't include the cost of fuel for any of the alternatives let alone any of the externalised costs.

They are also comparing the economics with the US market where power is half the price, even that incredibly pessimistic article points out the solar farm can produce at 12.7c/kwh, I hate to break it to you but here in Australia we pay 25c/kwh for grid power so the article establishes solar can produce power at half the cost of it from the grid.

Have you reached a point yet where you can admit you were wrong when you googled some Chinese trade website to get a "quote" of $50,000 for a 5 kw solar PV system, when in fact they are available from many Australian retailers delivered and installed for <$12,000 or <$16,000 without subsidies.

Some examples:

If that was a genuine error then surely it's only appropriate you correct the record and acknowledge that as you pointed out at the time once they cost below $20,000 the economics are heavily in favor of solar, well we are already way below $20,000

Skeeter said...

Rob, a suggestion: You might find your comment more effective if you submit it at

Rob said...

But their analysis is correct for the US, their retail power is 10-12c/kwh and this shows that solar produces at 12.7c/kwh, somehow though boy on a bike has interpreted 12.7c/kwh as "Solar Madness" when we pay 25c/kwh here for grid power and that's before any carbon tax rise. The only thing to add to the US discussion is that 12.7c/kwh is VERY close to grid parity with solar costs falling at 20-30% annually even the US with its dirt cheap power is on the cusp of solar-grid parity.

Skeeter said...


The Watts Up site makes a comparison of some actual capital costs of production in the US:

Gas-fired plant: $0.004/kWh
Cimarron Solar: $0.127/kWh (31.7 x gas-fired)
Webberville Solar: >$0.15/kWh (37.5 x gas-fired)
The writer in the US (not Boab) then tells us that he is paying $0.09/kWh retail.

The high retail price in Australia does nothing to diminish the madness of solar. In fact, it adds to the insanity.
Australia's coal is so cheap it can be shipped thousands of km to Korea where they make electricity and sell it to their consumers at less than we pay for our electricity.
The Australian retail price has increased by 49% since 2007, not because of increased production costs, but because of insane solar subsidies.

When I first considered installing solar, (before feed-in subsidies) Energex offered me $0.08/kWh for my solar to the grid. That was what Energex claimed to be paying for coal-fired. Qld electricity retailers are now buying solar at the subsidised rate of $0.500/kwh (6.25 x coal-fired wholesale rate) from home solar generators.
Virtually all of the increase in domestic retail rates is to allow retailers to subsidise solar feed-in tariffs.
So — whether they like it or not — domestic consumers, not governments, are subsidising solar.

From 1 July 2012 there will be another increase, which will include the carbon dioxide tax for the first time.

Rob said...

Never let truth get in he way of a good story, solar subsidies have contributed about 5% of the increase and the tight correlation between solar peak output and Peak demand means we have probablybeen saved the need for several additional peaking plants which would likely have cost more than the solar subsidies. It also delays the need for transmission upgrades because it produces power at the point of use so less needs to be transmitted at times of peak demand.
Furthermore the solar subsidy will be cut by 33% in July 2012 not increased, I fully support it being axed altogether as even without solar remains competitive with grid prices.