Solar PV ERoEI

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gyrogearloose's picture
gyrogearloose
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Solar PV ERoEI
Damnthematrix wrote:

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.

 

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.

 

Damnthematrix wrote:

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

 

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

Damnthematrix wrote:
gyrogearloose wrote:

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.

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,

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. 

 

Damnthematrix wrote:

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....

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

Damnthematrix wrote:

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.

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

 

 

 

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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

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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

 

 

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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... 

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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. 

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Re: Solar PV ERoEI
Damnthematrix wrote:

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.

It was in direct response to you in  http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/financial-crisis-tab-already-trillion...

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.

Damnthematrix wrote:

  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....

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.

Damnthematrix wrote:

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.

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.

 

Damnthematrix wrote:

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.....

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.

Damnthematrix wrote:

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

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

 

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Re: Solar PV ERoEI
Damnthematrix wrote:

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. 

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

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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... 

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Re: Solar PV ERoEI
Damnthematrix wrote:

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

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

Damnthematrix wrote:

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.

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.

Damnthematrix wrote:

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.

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.

Damnthematrix wrote:

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.

$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.

Damnthematrix wrote:

IF, as I suspect, the price of power rises dramatically .....

Covered in earlier post

Cheers Hamish

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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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Re: Solar PV ERoEI

EuF is Energy up Front, and FF is Fossil Fuel. EuF is a typo, should've read EuF!

Bearings may have  been invented a long time ago, but they have improved out of sight...  my first car (built in the 60's) had to have new wheel bearings fitted every 4 or 5 years (I owned it for 17 years, so I know!).  Our last car, a Honda, did 400,000 km on one set of bearings..

 $12,000 Ouch !!!    ACTUALLY we got a $4000 rebate....

But if you had built your house in the big smoke you could be connected to the grid.  I don't know how many times I have to say this.....  we ARE on the grid, we feed into it, and we use the batteries in BLACKOUTS ONLY!

No we weren't wasteful, we've been using CFLs for 25 years, way back when they cost $25 EACH.  But we didn't have solar hot water, and we didn't have gas cooking (which today only costs us $80 a year).  The average QLD household consumes 30 kWhrs/day or nearly 11,000 a year which costs $1640 at current rates.

So if you were to compare what we consume now with the average household, then we would save $1600 a year, and the payback would then be  7.5 years.  IF you take the rebate into account, the payback is only 5 years...

IT PAYS to be efficient.  I always remind my customers!

I don't know why you say OUCH over a $12,000 investment...  I've paid considerably more for cars which are now on the scrap heap. 

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Re: Solar PV ERoEI

Because for some odd reason some people think that it is important to consider the ERoEI before embarking on some grand scheme to replace fossil fuels and  squandering vast amounts diminishing resources on what may be a doomed idea.

I believe that there should be some clear yardstick that even non technical but environmentally aware people can gauge the appropriateness of their purchases, not be hoodwinked by slick sales pitches into buying something that goes against their ethos.

So when developing this yardstick the bounds should be clear and consistent and not factor in hidden "savings" made by consumption changes and not leave out some of the effectively embedded energy costs.

Leave it up the the purchaser to add in the effective savings they may make due to change4s in consumption caused by being limited power supply. 

So yet again I am back to http://www.jeffvail.net/2006/11/energy-payback-from-photovoltaics.html

Every way I look at it, what I think of as a fair yardstick ( installed cost ) keeps coming up with a poor ERoEI

 

And as to the car I didn't, because it was not a self liquidating asset. It is a depreciating liability. What I did do was look at what are the alternatives going to cost and the impact the alternative would have on our lifestyle. 

Cheers Hamish

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Re: Solar PV ERoEI
gyrogearloose wrote:

Because for some odd reason some people think that it is important to consider the ERoEI before embarking on some grand scheme to replace fossil fuels and squandering vast amounts diminishing resources on what may be a doomed idea.

Hmmm....  well I think modern civilisation is a doomed idea!  FACT is, even oil's ERoEI is falling below 5, and will only take maybe 30 years before it's down to break even....  At least PVs might/should be recyclabable, whereas oil and coal once consumed are gone forever.

gyrogearloose wrote:

I believe that there should be some clear yardstick that even non technical but environmentally aware people can gauge the appropriateness of their purchases, not be hoodwinked by slick sales pitches into buying something that goes against their ethos.

Are you being objective here?  I believe that our Pvs have already eliminated the emissions needed to manufacture them, and will from here on end reduce our emissions for at least 25 years (well beyond my passing). 

gyrogearloose wrote:

So when developing this yardstick the bounds should be clear and consistent and not factor in hidden "savings" made by consumption changes and not leave out some of the effectively embedded energy costs.

Hamish, it isn't that simple, as I have continually said.  Location, installation criteria, technology type, ALL affect the payback.  There are no easy ways, in much the same way that there are no easy ways out of this financial quagmire...

gyrogearloose wrote:

Leave it up the the purchaser to add in the effective savings they may make due to change4s in consumption caused by being limited power supply.

So yet again I am back to http://www.jeffvail.net/2006/11/energy-payback-from-photovoltaics.html

Every way I look at it, what I think of as a fair yardstick ( installed cost ) keeps coming up with a poor ERoEI

Which is the way of ALL future energy.  Even wind, once the better sites are taken, will produce diminishing returns... 

gyrogearloose wrote:

And as to the car I didn't, because it was not a self liquidating asset. It is a depreciating liability. What I did do was look at what are the alternatives going to cost and the impact the alternative would have on our lifestyle.

That's why we need an attitudinal change.....  at least solar power is a positive way of spending your money, negating emissions as opposed to cars that go on increasing them until they die. 

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Re: Solar PV ERoEI
Damnthematrix wrote:

Hmmm....  well I think modern civilisation is a doomed idea!  FACT is, even oil's ERoEI is falling below 5, and will only take maybe 30 years before it's down to break even....  At least PVs might/should be recyclabable, whereas oil and coal once consumed are gone forever.

And if their ERoEI is 1 they can only provide enough energy to replace themselves with no surplus left over. May as well not start.....

Damnthematrix wrote:

Are you being objective here?  I believe that our Pvs have already eliminated the emissions needed to manufacture them, and will from here on end reduce our emissions for at least 25 years (well beyond my passing). 

Hmmm. You believe without proof, I doubt and search for proof.

Damnthematrix wrote:

Hamish, it isn't that simple, as I have continually said.  Location, installation criteria, technology type, ALL affect the payback.

Adjusting the achieved ERoEI from the reference ERoEI for locational variations is comparatively easy. In crude terms if the location insolance is 1/2 of the reference location, the ERoEI will essentially halve, all other things being equal.....

 

So far what this thread boils down to is that you implicitly trust the manufacturers/advertisers claims,  and I lean towards trusting Jeff Vail's method.

 

Damnthematrix wrote:

That's why we need an attitudinal change.....  at least solar power is a positive way of spending your money, negating emissions as opposed to cars that go on increasing them until they die.

But PV is possibly a negative way............ Wink

As I have also pointed out in other posts, we need to consume less.

Hey, Lets use fashion talk    LESS is the new MORE !

Cheers Hamish

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Re: Solar PV ERoEI

"
So far what this thread boils down to is that you implicitly trust the manufacturers/advertisers claims, and I lean towards trusting Jeff Vail's method."

Well that is simply not true. All the references I have read have been independent like the one I posted above.

Read this too http://www.nmccae.org/downloads/pvpayback.pdf

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Re: Solar PV ERoEI

Have you read the whole paper ( not just the abstract ) ?

From the abstract  ( with bits not relavent to my point removed )

ScienceDirect wrote:

For many years, the photovoltaics community has relied on the concept of energy payback time (EPT) as a means of quantifying the ratio of energy generated from a PV panel or system over its lifetime, compared to the energy that was required to fabricate it.


This paper argues that the EPT concept is obsolete, misleading


Therefore, a new norm for the PV community is proposed, the energy yield ratio (EYR) 

It ended with a claim of values for the new  EYR

So far all I can take from this is that they want to change the name of the concept from one label to another. 

It is not enough to entice me to part with USD 31.5 to read further. Especially since in the 4 years since  release, its proposed new name has found so little traction I have can't recall seeing the term.

Cheers Hamish

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Re: Solar PV ERoEI

Thanks Mike

yet another link that helps make my case !

nmccae.org wrote:

Excluded from the analysis are energy
embodied in the equipment and the facility itself, energy
needed to transport goods to and from the facility

At least they state some of their omissions.

For example did they include the energy used to run the computers that were used to design the plant. Small I know, but what was the tally all of the small things they ignored. The end price does not ignore them Wink

And on the very last page ( after acknowledgements)

nmccae.org wrote:

The effects of the other components of a photovoltaic
system can be significant compared to the module
payoff, most notably in systems requiring batteries. You
have to take into account all components of a PV
system. The whole system needs to be a net gain to be
truly sustainable

Hardly up front about it but at least they say it

Cheers Hamish

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Re: Solar PV ERoEI

In that case your neighbours are saying ouch, because you ( via the govt) screwed them out of part of the cost of your PV system.....

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Re: Solar PV ERoEI

yet another link that helps make my case !

 

nmccae.org wrote:

Excluded from the analysis are energy
embodied in the equipment and the facility itself, energy
needed to transport goods to and from the facility

Morning Gyro,

I put it to you that this is because once millions of millions of panels are produced the amount of emergy from the facility becomes so tiny it doesn't matter.

And as I keep telling you, the Amorphous technology I use is actually rolled out,  The Si is literally sprayed on the SS substrate as a continuous process, the panels being simply guillotined to whatever lengths are required.  Most of those panels UbiSolar produce ar now not even framed, as they have developed roof integrated technology, like this:

 

Sandwich roof with heat insulation and photovoltaic

Cross section by a ready roof element: Amorphous photovoltaic from
Uni-Solar. Under it in 3 different strengths deliverable a foamed heat
insulation.

Sandwich roof with heat insulation and photovoltaic<br /> Cross section by a ready roof element: Amorphous photovoltaic from Uni-Solar. Under it in 3 different strengths deliverable a foamed heat insulation.


With such big surfaces, about perfectly rationalized work is necessary.
Just like here with a ThyssenKrupp roof element with photovoltaic.

gyrogearloose's picture
gyrogearloose
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 8 2008
Posts: 537
Re: Solar PV ERoEI
Damnthematrix wrote:

yet another link that helps make my case !

nmccae.org wrote:

Excluded from the analysis are energy
embodied in the equipment and the facility itself, energy
needed to transport goods to and from the facility

Morning Gyro,

I put it to you that this is because once millions of millions of panels are produced the amount of emergy from the facility becomes so tiny it doesn't matter.

You believe that without proof.  I believe in the scientific method. How do we know they are so tiny it does not matter. Why do all these bits that don't matter end up pushing the cost of the panels so high ?


Sciencedirect wrote:

For many
years, the photovoltaics community has relied on the concept of energy
payback time (EPT) as a means of quantifying the ratio of energy
generated from a PV panel or system over its lifetime, compared to the
energy that was required to fabricate it.

This paper argues that the EPT concept is obsolete, misleading

Therefore, a new norm for the PV community is proposed, the energy yield ratio (EYR)

Another thought on this. Everything I did, and everything I was taught was about economic payback. If it was negative but had  societal benefit, an attempt to account for the societal benefit was made. But the point it was clearly stated as an assumption. 

Along came PV. In the early days they were prohibitively expensive. Now lets take a cynical viewpoint. " hey guys, economic payback is so poor, lets make a new payback measurement method, energy, and we will ignore some of the energy that we put in, so we can market them and they look GOOD on the payback front"

A bit rough I know but look at the quote. Who has been relying on EPT ? I was not taught it at engineering school, I heard it from them......

 

The integrated roof panel is a neat idea.

How about they take it a step further and leave some uncoated SS substrate sticking out the sides that can then be roll formed to be the roof joining bits. Then you use even less material, and you don't have to paint the bits between the panel. Moves like that might even make PV economic for a new house or re-roofing because it is the roof.

If this concept reaches economic payback before we roof our house, PV it is going to be !

Or don't they do it because it is not economic for reasons I have not yet thought of ?.....

Cheers Hamish

 

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pir8don
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Posts: 456
Re: Solar PV ERoEI

Damned if I know - you two have certainly maintained a lively and technical discussion. My experience with solar electric and solar hot water is that I need every bit of my technical nouse to keep the system up and maintained, but we've done it on the cheap and didn't do it for payback. We like the independence and believe it is better to do things yourself than pay someone else to do them for you. You can't put a dollar value on that. Solar is probably not for everyone and it doesn't seem credible that many more people will go that way in the future we seem to be facing so its a bit of mute point.

By the way Mike. You said 5 years for your batteries. You might be able to get a lot more if you convert them to Lead alkaline by replacing the acid with a substance known as Alum. There is thread here that I have been following that seems to make good sense. I haven't been able to get the right stuff but my latest idea is to take the acid out then dissolve (hopefully) aluminium foil in the acid before adding baking soda. This may or may not achieve the same result.

I posted the link before for you but you may have missed it

http://blog.hasslberger.com/2007/01/how_to_convert_a_lead_acid_bat.html

Don 

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gyrogearloose
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
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Posts: 537
Re: Solar PV ERoEI

Hi

Like you attitude re DIY   I found that the more you fix things, the more you become able to fix. Some days it seems like a lost art. Trying to make sure my kids "help" me fix things. My 4 yr old daughter so proud of her wee blue overalls !

Our first solar H/W went in 30 years ago. Had a problem with it boiling over and the resulting water splashes clouding the window with mineral deposits!  boy the little things that trip you up. Modified from manufacturers original design to fix the problem.

looked at the link. My bullshit alert meter went off when I read "The information was posted to the watercar yahoo group"

Read it anyway. He had a couple of successes and failures. Couple of thoughts.

If it worked, it may not actually be by becoming an alkaline cell, but by removing the sulphate buildup ( that I seem to remember from somewhere ) that can reduce a cells capacity

With the not insignificant amount off acid that can be retained in the battery even after being inverted to drain, the added alum may have desulphinated the battery, the the acid leaked out and become a standard but rejuvenated battery.

Without more information, that actual answer could be any number of things, including "experimental error" 

If you choose to do the experiment I would suggest you follow a reasonable degree of scientific procedure.

Not knowing anything about you (and with potential others in mind) I will break it down into small steps, setting up a blind study.

It may seem a lot of work, by it is likely to save you a lot of time overall.

1 Use the material they suggest, not some ad hock substitute.( or if you really must, document how you made it properly )

2 start with two failed batteries that are as close to identical as possible

3 mark them 1 and 2

4 charge 1 like normal.

5 discharge 1 completely through something like a car brake light.( sounds like
you should be able to pick a good discharge time or current form your
familiarity with PV ) measure voltage at intervals ( at least 10 over the expected discharge time )

6 repeat 4 and 5 for 2 ( best to try and repeat in similar temperature days.)

7 toss a coin, heads cell 1 , process the cell as per sites recipe

8 attach some long flying leads to each of them ( paired ) 

9 twist up the wires so you cant tell which goes to which battery. Tag the wires A and B.

10 put something over them so you cant identify which one is charging by some method,It's best not to cheat when you only cheat yourself ;-)

11 charge A like normal.

12 discharge A  ( as in 5 )

13  repeat 11 and 12 for B

14 tabulate the before and after results on a graph, is there any noticeable changes ?

15 carefully untwist wires to link 1 with A or B

16 check to see if any change was associated with the processing. Voila your answer as to "does it work? "

17 let me know the results. ( but only if you followed good procedure Wink )

If I seem a bit pedantic, it is because I am also trying to make a point.

If there is an error in procedure from what you see I am trying to achieve let me know, this was rattled off pretty quickly .

It has shocked me that I have had testing done in labs, then realised hat they don't seem to really understand the scientific method.

I am hoping that maybe if people here catch the idea it might help. 

Chasing after ideas that only work if you use wishful thinking and belief can eat time.

 

Cheers Hamish

 

P.S. If you have more than 2 batteries, The more the better. Reduces the probability or getting an anomalous result.

 

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pir8don
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
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Posts: 456
Re: Solar PV ERoEI

Hi Hamish

Take your point about procedure to test results but note that all reported failures have been with dead batteries. I have a pretty good deep cycle only 80AH so was thinking of that to try. The only others I have are my 10KWH of storage for solar which is devided into four identical batteries and I am not too keen to do them unless I get good results with the 80.

Among other things, I have worked in electronics so those are the skills I find myself using most. My sine inverter has broken down twice and I keep having trouble with the MPPT chargers that I have.  Not to mention all the broken hifi gear bought cheap and fixed.

I originally installed our solar water below the water cylinder in the expectation that it would themal syphon. First tried 15mm copper then 20 but ended up having to use a pump to get it to cycle. In theory it probably should have worked but it didn't in practice - so see what you mean about eating time. I am not the worlds best plumber and now need to move it all up to the roof with the solar panels and then pump it round. Quite a bit of work ahead and my partner is getting nervous about insurance if it leeks.

Is that the same scientific method that uses induction? - just finished reading "The Black Swan" and while ingesting it am trying to be a bit of an skeptical empiracist (sp?).

Don

 

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Solar PV ERoEI

pir8don

Because we don't rely on our batteries for actual storage, only emergency use during blackouts, we use gel cells which can'r be emptied out.....  Having said that, the Alum trick is actually a hoax...  it doesn't work.  Somewhere in my millions of MB of information I have a link to an explanation why, but I have a community paper to get to the printers by the weekend...

If you want to rejuvenate your batteries, you'd be better off emptying all the acid out, cleaning the plates, and replenishing the cells with brand new sulphuric acid.  What to do with the old acid is the concern... 

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 3998
Re: Solar PV ERoEI

Don,

 

IF you live somewhere cold, I wouldn't put your tank on the roof.  Even here in sub-tropical Australia we can get frosts...  last year we saw -6C!

Our tank is inside the house.  We use a small elctronically controlled pump to circulate the water thru the panels.  Pump starts when the temp difference between the panels and the bottom of the tak is 9C or more, and cuts out when same difference is 4C or less.  Even though we use [solar] power to run the pump, think of it as energy: you can lose far more heat energy overnight than the electrical energy you use throughout the day is worth...

Our system is so efficient, we have NEVER boosted in three years... 

pir8don's picture
pir8don
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 30 2008
Posts: 456
Re: Solar PV ERoEI

Thanks Mike

We aren't planning to put our tank on the roof. Just the vacuum copper rods and manifold that is the solar heater. I have already built a controller to run the pump and will store the water in the inside tank and run the copper inside too. 

There are heaps of different replies to the article about alkaline batteries that report in detail the success of conversions of working batteries. Of interest to me but no relavence to you using gel cells. How do you keep your DC stable without batteries in circuit? or have I read you wrong and the batteries are always there just not much storage?

Don

Futuo's picture
Futuo
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2008
Posts: 155
Re: Solar PV ERoEI

Really good discussion, but Hamish your obsession with Jeff Vail's 1:1 EROEI really concerns me...especially considering what he says later on in comments on that blog:

 "I agree, the 1:1 figure is probably quite a bit off." -Jeff Vail

Further down, there are some rather lengthy posts as to why Vail's price-based EROEI will always be incorrect. Here's a bit that hopefully can stand alone to make the point:

"Energy costs are certainly a part of many of these, but silicon is
widely regarded as the single most energy-intensive part of the whole
thing. Not only that, but the actual prices of many of these items are demonstrably
not proportional to the energy content of the items they're attached
to. The price of silicon, as I've mentioned, has ranged from $8/kg to
more than $200/kg over the past decade despite no significant changes
to the manufacturing proces. Something similar can be said about the
gasoline used during shipping.

This is my biggest problem with
using money as a proxy for energy -- the implicit assumption that
prices reflect energy content is extremely difficult to
validate. This is in large part due to the fact that prices are
determined by the market, period. They don't necessarily have anything
to do with actual manufacturing costs, especially in an undersupplied,
rapidly changing market like the PV market."

 Conveniently, in all the posts after, Vail never respons to this one and confronts the argument that price is a weak factor for determining EROEI values. 

In conclusion to Vail:

"It seems to me that in the end the goal is to shift as much of our
energy generation portfolio as possible over to renewables. Insisting
that renewables be built only from renewable energy not only fails to
accelerate the process, but quite possibly decelerates it.
Either way, it doesn't affect the total amount of energy generated and
consumed. Isn't it better to make renewables from fossil-derived energy
in the short term if it increases the amount of energy we generate from
renewables in the long term? Handicapping renewables in the short term
strikes me as penny wise and pound foolish."

 The purpose of this post isn't to import the discussion being had on that blog...I just want to be careful of this Vail-worship that seems to be so necessary for the weight of your arguments :P

 

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Solar PV ERoEI

Good post Futuo.  You only have to look at the price of oil over the last four months:  down from $147 to $54.  Abarrel of oil still contains the exact same amount of energy regardless of the price.

What DOES affect the ERoEI of PV is the source of all the materials.  Does the Si come from half way around the world, or next door to the factory...? 

Futuo's picture
Futuo
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2008
Posts: 155
Re: Solar PV ERoEI

Exactly! And as i believe has already been mentioned, the silicon required for solar PV can be of much inferior quality to that required for computer chips and other silicon products. It's not really fair to just use the flat out price for silicon, when in many instances the unused "waste" silicon from microchips and other electronics is perfectly suitable for our PV purposes. At least, that's all according to my dad (who is a licensed environmental engineer and definitely credible), although i'm sure i could find some literature out there to support it.

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Solar PV ERoEI

Especially if we're talking amorphous Si such as is in my PVs.....

Unlike crystalline (mono or poly) Si cells which are manufactured at 1300 deg C under strict clean lab conditions, amorphous panels are literally spray painted on at a mere 300 deg C, a fraction of the energy needed...  WHY this technology has not caught on is beyond me...  it's like people are seeking maximum efficiency, whereas what's really needed is lower $ per W.. 

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