Solar PV ERoEI

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  • Fri, Nov 21, 2008 - 04:08am

    #1

    gyrogearloose

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    Solar PV ERoEI

[quote=Damnthematrix]

No, not with PVs. They are labor and science intensive, made by people
in white coats in 99.99% dust free environments etc etc… THAT is
where the expense comes from.

[/quote]

 

Sure "THAT is where the
expense comes from." But why is that expensive ?

All those white coats (
disposable plastic one use ? ) the dust free environment construction all EAT
resources.

Leaving them out of the
equation is selective and can distort market perceptions. My point about this
is sort of the same as your point below 
about markets.

 

[quote=Damnthematrix]

I haven’t got time right now to search for a link, but that article was soundly rebutted….

[/quote] 

The link was a rebuttal, but I
was trying to use it as an example of selective inclusions/exclusions.

[quote=Damnthematrix]

[quote=gyrogearloose]
Explains fairly well the how many bits are left out of "payback" calculations and how "Fuzzy" the answer can become.

So I contend that a good rule of thumb of payback should be simply the cost ( excluding govt subsidies ).

Companies don’t usually "conveniently" leave out the cost of certain aspects of making the item.[/quote]

Hamish, this the classic error people who do not understand resource
depletion make…. We have squandered all types of resources because
‘the market’ made them really cheap,[/quote]

Funny, I can look at it from a perspective and see it as you are making the classic error.

Look at it from this perspective for a minute. Companies are proclaiming a fast energy payback and in doing so are distorting peoples perceptions of the ERoEI of PV but they don’t care about the actual ERoEI, they just project data in a way that makes them look good as they are marketing and chasing a profit.

So what is the REAL ERoEI of PV ? I distrust the companies when they leave out aspects in ERoEI calculations in their advertising.  Does this guy have a hidden motive to run PV down ? http://www.jeffvail.net/2006/11/energy-payback-from-photovoltaics.html

Of the two I am leaning towards Jeff Vail. 

 

[quote=Damnthematrix]

The result was that you guys drove
around in 3 ton yank tanks 

IF the US motorist had had to pay a couple of bucks a
gallon instead of 5c, then you would’ve all been driving around in
small cars too, and instead of peaking in 1970, your oil resources
might still be viable to this day….

[/quote]

Our family car was a Suzuki alto ( 800 cc ) which
managed 330,000 km before blowing a big end… And we called them yank tanks too. And YES about their price of petrol.  but back to PV

[quote=Damnthematrix]

What I’m getting at here is that electricity is also way too cheap.
We are currently being offered 44c/kWhr for solar power we feed into
the grid, and people are actually objecting because it might increase
their bills by $1.50 a month… I mean to say, they MUST BE KIDDING…
everyone should be paying 44c, period. Then we wouldn’t have climate
change issues, etc etc…. but it’s all too late now, we’ve hit limits
to growth, and that is that.

[/quote]

If everyone was paying
44c/unit for electricity, your PV’s would have been a lot more expensive. ( and
my way of calculating payback would probably give the same answer )

Your point about market
distortions is very true. Lets look PV. In the Jeff vale website ( first link )
he argues that the ratio works out a 1:1 . If that is true the manufactures
claims of better ratios cause distorted beliefs about their "greenness" and
many resources could essentially be wasted on what is actually a bad idea.

Aren’t you, in  dismissing some of the expenses, ( first
quote ) distorting your own ‘market perception’ ?

I am trying to plan long term.

In 25 years when your PV’s are
dieing, batteries shot, and the chances of replacing them poor to none, my
kids will be able to maintain a pumped storage wind and or solar thermal power
system ( yet to build but well planed ) with a very low tech. Innocent

Cheers Hamis

 

 

 

  • Fri, Nov 21, 2008 - 05:22pm

    #2

    krogoth

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    Hey Matrix, in America we call this being Pwned!

I looked it up for you, Matrix, since you have no time to check facts- 

 Pwn (/poʊn/, /puːn/, /pəʔˈoʊn/, /pɔːn/, /piˈoʊn/, /pwəʔˈn̩/, /oʊn/) is a leetspeak slang term, derived from the word "own",[1][2][3] that implies domination or humiliation of a rival, used primarily in the Internet gaming culture to taunt an opponent who has just been soundly defeated (e.g. "You just got pwned!"). Past tense may also be spelled pwnd, pwn3d, pwnt (pronounced with a t sound), or powned (with the standard d sound).

 

Nice work, Gyro

  • Fri, Nov 21, 2008 - 11:35pm

    #3

    gyrogearloose

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    Re: Solar PV ERoEI

I made a post, in the thread we were having a discussion in, to here as I made this thread.

Over an hour ago in a direct response comment to a question directed to me by matrix, I pointed to here in case he had got lost in the over-sized thread.

Given he has made other posts since and is still online as of this time.

I am beginning to think you may be right Krogoth.

Now if Chris changes to his stated ERoEI of 22 for solar electric in CC 17 b at 9.09 ( or specifically excludes PV )  I will Know you are right and I will say thank you.

Regards Hamish

 

 

  • Sat, Nov 22, 2008 - 12:10am

    #4

    Damnthematrix

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    Re: Solar PV ERoEI

Boy…..  you guys are hot!  I don’t feel pwned (whatever that means!) I feel pounded……  Give me a break, I only just found this thread right now.  Just because my computer’s switched on and I’m shown as ‘online’ doesn’t mean I wasn’t planting cucumbers.

To begin with Hamish, your first post is so all over the place it’s hard to know where to start.  But let’s start here.

Not all PVs are created equal.  I don’t think the new crop of thin film PVs will ever see the light of day, too high tech.  MY PVs, are actually Amorphous, which is thin film but not the Ga As or TiO2 ones you often see bandied around as the saviours of solar power.

The other thing is that not all locations are created equal either.  The ERoEI of PVs will dramatically vary depending on location.  And speaking of location, I hope you live in Nevada or Arizona if you are going to install solar concentrator equipment, because it will ONLY work in totally clear skies, as the merest of light scatter renders them 100% useless….

You are right about the end of high tech energy supplies like ours (the inverter I am sure will die well before the PVs), and the batteries will only last five years if I’m lucky, but when you say:

"In 25 years when your PV’s are
dieing, batteries shot, and the chances of replacing them poor to none, my
kids will be able to maintain a pumped storage wind and or solar thermal power
system", you are in error…. because wind is even more maintenance hungry.  Where will you get bearings?  Commutators?  Carbon brushes?  Solar thermal I dealt with above.

You see, I am NOT dreaming about all this stuff lasting forever, I KNOW we are going into serious energy descent, but by then it won’t matter, because we won’t be able to communicate like this on the ‘net or watch TV anyhow…..  and as we grow most of our food (including soon our own milk) we will rarely have non-fresh food and I expect we will need little refrigeration

After all humanity has lived without all those hi tech gizmos for a very very long time… 

  • Sat, Nov 22, 2008 - 12:13am

    #5

    Damnthematrix

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    Re: Solar PV ERoEI

And another thing…..

It’s not the ERoEI of PVs that matters, because they ABSOLUTELY do pay for themselves, it’s only the time it takes to do it that is contestable.  What DOES matter is that the enormous amount of ENERGY UP FRONT  needed to build this energy infrastructure means we will do more harm than good for a very long time before the dust settles…. if ever. 

  • Sat, Nov 22, 2008 - 01:08am

    #6

    gyrogearloose

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    Re: Solar PV ERoEI

[quote=Damnthematrix]Boy…..  you guys are hot!   I only just found this thread right now. 

To begin with Hamish, your first post is so all over the place it’s hard to know where to start. [/quote]

It was in direct response to you in  https://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/financial-crisis-tab-already-trillions/8931

Post # 32 ( unless someone posts above it after now ) In that thread my reply was just a pointer to where I wrote my reply. Sorry for the confusion.

So you can sort out my post by looking at what I was replying to, I will only  comment on new points here.

[quote=Damnthematrix]  And speaking of location, I hope you live in Nevada or Arizona if you are going to install solar concentrator equipment, because it will ONLY work in totally clear skies, as the merest of light scatter renders them 100% useless….

[/quote]Home is not to bad in that respect, anecdotaly it tends more to be either completely cloudless or full cover than other areas of the country.

[quote=Damnthematrix] You are right about the end of high tech energy supplies like ours (the inverter I am sure will die well before the PVs), and the batteries will only last five years if I’m lucky, but when you say:

"In 25 years when your PV’s are
dieing, batteries shot, and the chances of replacing them poor to none, my
kids will be able to maintain a pumped storage wind and or solar thermal power
system.. with very low tech", you are in error…. because wind is even more maintenance hungry.  Where will you get bearings?  Commutators?  Carbon brushes?  Solar thermal I dealt with above.
[/quote]

Sure, if you buy a cheap wind generator from China, expect to have to replace the bearings etc next weekSmile

When I said low tech I mean LOW tech, rebuild-able with 100 year old technology. When I build things I tend to swing from either just good enough to last for a couple of uses or making a brick shit-house look like a house of cards. And when I say I am trying to plan long term I mean LONG term, so my grand kids can still fix them.

 

[quote=Damnthematrix]You see, I am NOT dreaming about all this stuff lasting forever, I KNOW we are going into serious energy descent, but by then it won’t matter, because we won’t be able to communicate like this on the ‘net or watch TV anyhow….. [/quote]

I think you are a little more pessimistic than me. I know the we will not be able to make computers in the future like we do now.

But we may be able to preserve enough long enough that future generations may be able to build a more stable society. And if we prepare well now they will be able access our current knowledge and start making say 1980’s era computers for a small portion of the population to use in say libraries.

[quote=Damnthematrix]

After all humanity has lived without all those hi tech gizmos for a very very long time… 

[/quote]

True. 1978 I was considered a computer nerd, but today I don’t have a cell phone, etc

But I hope for better than living in caves for my grand kids.

Cheers Hamish

 

  • Sat, Nov 22, 2008 - 01:45am

    #7

    gyrogearloose

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    Re: Solar PV ERoEI

[quote=Damnthematrix]

And another thing…..

It’s not the ERoEI of PVs that matters, because they ABSOLUTELY do pay
for themselves, it’s only the time it takes to do it that is
contestable. What DOES matter is that the enormous amount of ENERGY UP FRONT  needed to build this energy infrastructure means we will do more harm than good for a very long time before the dust settles…. if ever. 

[/quote]

When you say that I presume that you are not talking about PV as you seem so for them.

I’m getting a little confused now. Now the ERoEI does not mater?

And if you are applying the "energy up front" comment to  solar, it is exactly part of my argument against solar.But you seem so for it?

I have said to people the PV could be considered to be a non rechargeable battery with a very high watt hr/kg.

You put all the effort in today, and get a trickle back over the next 25 years. Which could be read as importing 25 years of pollution into today.

But that would also apply to my wind system. Difference being my wind system could be repaired then for a very low investment, where as how do you fix a PV panel?

And as to  "ABSOLUTELY do pay
for themselves" every time I run some numbers I get the opposite. What are your workings over say a 30 year life expectancy? Include replacement cost of batteries, maintenance of charger etc ( not your time but including any fuel used to get parts ) 

Some quick numbers of mine using $6 per watt for say your panels ( NZD )

Cost of panel  $ 384

Power          W  64

Hrs/day at rated    5  (Year round average)

Kwhrs/year        117

$ / Kwhr            $0.2

Payback            16 years ( no interest considered, charger, batteries and their replacement not considered )

From a link in a previous post the panels come in at about 1/2 the cost of the system so that would push the payback to 32 years excluding the maintenance ( and interest ). 

Where am I badly out ?

 

Cheers Hamish

  • Sat, Nov 22, 2008 - 02:24am

    #8

    Damnthematrix

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    Re: Solar PV ERoEI

The ERoEI doesn’t matter AS MUCH as the EuF…  It’s plain to see that solar’s ERoEI is nowhere near as good as fossil energy, but we must get away from FFs.  Agreed?

The EuF could easily be gotten from abandoning waging war for instance……  but I won’t hold my breath!  It is plainly obvious that what we need is a monumental mindset shift…

" You put all the effort in today, and get a trickle back over the next
25 years. Which could be read as importing 25 years of pollution into
today."

I’ll go along with that…..  but it does NOT take 25 years to pay the energy back.  Unless you put them up somewhere really cloudy like Seattle, or Dunedin….  which is also too far from the Equator. 

We have already generated more than 5000 kWhrs, so says the meter.  We have 20 panels.  Per panel, that’s 250 kWhrs.  I doubt very much it takes more than that to make one.  You also asked about the cost of the white coats before.  The blokes who make these things are highly paid technicians who want more than $2 a day!  And I’m sure the R&D is still being amortised. 

" But that would also apply to my wind system. Difference being my wind
system could be repaired then for a very low investment, where as how
do you fix a PV panel?"

If I can’t get replacement PVs, YOU won’t be able to get bearings……  they are all hi-tech devices.  Bearing balls are a sure sign of advanced technology.  Wind turbines (and I know this from personal experience) require replacement bearings far more often than PVs ever need replacing.  I know people who own 32 year old PVs, considered today to be ancient technology, and they STILL produce energy.  I would be very disappointed if my PVs didn’t last at least 40 years.  32 years hence your turbine will have been scrapped as junk, like any other hard working mechanical device.  PVs just sit there.  Converting photons into electricity…..   On the subject of our batteries, BTW, they are merely a little luxury we can currently afford, they make us blackout proof, and when they fail, well we’ll just wear grid balck outs just like everyone else…  with the added insult of course that if they occur in daylight hours the generated energy will be simpy wasted…

You see, I have a different attitude to yours.  For starters, We have a whole system approach.

When we lived in the big smoke, we had to pay ~ $900 a year in electricity.  Because our house is now so efficient, we only pay maybe $40.  So say we save $850 a year, and our system cost us $12,000, then it will have paid for itself in ~ 14 years.  We are already 1/4 of the way there.

IF, as I suspect, the price of power rises dramatically as we all wake up to ourselves that we can’t continue emitting greenhouse gases, then the $ payback time will be radically shorter.

I don’t really care how long it takes to payback.  As far as we are concerned, it cost us a second bathroom.  We’d rather have PVs on the roof than an ensuite. 

Like I said, it’s PuF that matters, and it could be had for free if we so decided as a civilisation. 

You obviously live in a windy place (Wellington?!) and I live in a sunny one (Queensland).  It’s horses for courses… 

  • Sat, Nov 22, 2008 - 03:41am

    #9

    gyrogearloose

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    Re: Solar PV ERoEI

[quote=Damnthematrix]

The ERoEI doesn’t matter AS MUCH as the EuF…  It’s plain to see that solar’s ERoEI is nowhere near as good as fossil energy, but we must get away from FFs.  Agreed?

The EuF could easily be gotten from abandoning waging war [/quote]

What if EuF and FF’s and from the bottom  PuF ?

[quote=Damnthematrix] You also asked about the cost of the white coats before.  The blokes who make these things are highly paid technicians who want more than $2 a day!  And I’m sure the R&D is still being amortised. [/quote]

My only question over the white coats was an expressed uncertainty over my assumption the the dust free environmental suits were one use and made of plastic, hence maybe a hidden unaccounted for energy burden on the panels. ( but accounted for in the shelf price you pay ) That the blokes that make them are not just off the rice paddy and still living in a mud hut can be considered part of the problem. To "produce and maintain" Smile such skilled workers takes a lot of energy.

[quote=Damnthematrix]If I can’t get replacement PVs, YOU won’t be able to get bearings……  they are all hi-tech devices.  Bearing balls are a sure sign of advanced technology. [/quote]

When was the caged roller bearing invented and by whom ? I knew who from some reading about horology ( had to check up when. ) 200 year old high techWink. Anyway soft metal slide bearings are easier to repair with low tech, but do suffer from higher drag and more frequent lubrication requirements.

[quote=Damnthematrix] You see, I have a different attitude to yours.  For starters, We have a whole system approach.

When we lived in the big smoke, we had to pay ~ $900 a year in electricity.  Because our house is now so efficient, we only pay maybe $40.  So say we save $850 a year, and our system cost us $12,000, then it will have paid for itself in ~ 14 years.  We are already 1/4 of the way there.
[/quote]

$12,000 Ouch !!! 

But if you had built your house in the big smoke you could be connected to the grid, using the same small amount of power you use now, and had quite a few grand in the bank ( until someone wipes all debts and consequently all assets ! )

However I now get a glimmer of why you claim payback. 

If you had said that you used to be really wasteful, leaving all your incandescent lights on all the time, heaters on with windows open etc. and had a $20,000 a year power bill.

But now  you have got PV’s on you roof you only spend $100 a year on grid power because you have also switched to LED’s installed double glazing and shut the windows when it got cold,

So you look at your old bill and your new bill and the cost of the PV’s and claim a payback was only 8 months, ( extreme tongue in cheek I know.. ) I would have believed you from that perspective.

But we then come back to market distortions caused by erroneous perceptions due to "fuzzy" numbers benign used to distort the ERoEI compared to how others ( like me ) would calculate it.

[quote=Damnthematrix]IF, as I suspect, the price of power rises dramatically …..
[/quote]

Covered in earlier post

Cheers Hamish

  • Sat, Nov 22, 2008 - 03:55am

    #10

    Damnthematrix

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    Re: Solar PV ERoEI

One more thing…..

I find it odd that everyone’s so concerned about how long an investment in PVs takes to payback.

When you last bought a car, did you ask the dealer how long it would take for the car to pay for itself……? Wink

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