Monday, November 15, 2010

Shine, baby, shine!


In [the] future, German solar module makers will not only be forced to export more but also rely on their image when they expand their international presence. This works for some industries. The question is whether it will work for the solar sector.
Is there a "Made in Germany" premium for solar?


  1. Never had any doubt.

    Now let's see how serious savvy Texas businessmen are about reducing fossil fuel consumption & cutting carbon emissions by installing their share of 1 Terawatt of solar power by 2020.

    Development of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal power projects will cut emissions of carbon dioxide by about 570 million tons over the decade, the equivalent of shutting down 100 coal-fueled power plants or taking 110 million cars off the road...

  2. I never see you mention nuclear power, at least not that I recall. Why is that?

  3. Late to the party, girl. If ye have the power, search SciGuy for IANVS + Nuclear or Nuke & ye shall find what ye don't recollect.

    Lot's of discussion & debate about nuclear power over last couple three years.

  4. It's certainly not the first time I have been late. Nor the last. Of course I have the power, I just don't have the time. Can't you help me out? A brief summary, perhaps?

  5. New nukes are way too expensive the way we do it. We'd have to adopt a French socialist or Chinese communist business model. And good luck with that.

    With lots of government help (mega-subsidies, guarantees for low interest loans, limited liability), we'll probably build a few for political if not technological reasons.

  6. Here's a progressive take on Sen. Lamar Alexander's proposal to build 100 new nukes by 2020.

    Alexander’s plan to build 100 new nuclear power plants [8] would double the number of U.S. plants. Private investors, however, are very reluctant to invest in new plants because they are such a risky investment. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 [9] established a federal loan guarantee program to back stop 80 percent of investment in each project so that taxpayers would pick up the tab if borrowers default. So far, only one loan guarantee has been issued, [10] for a plan to build two reactors in Georgia. Another proposed loan guarantee for a reactor in Calvert Cliffs, Maryland is on hold because the credit cost of the loan guarantee was too high [11] based on the plant’s cost and the risk of loan default.

    The cost of a new nuclear reactor is extremely uncertain because no new reactor has been built in the United States since the 1970s. However, given the history of cost overruns in nuclear construction in the US, and examples of dramatic cost overruns for plants currently under construction in other nations, a new reactor could be expected to cost at least $8 billion. This estimate is very optimistic. The Calvert Cliffs plant’s price tag is $10.5 billion [12]. In 2009, the government of Ontario put its plan to build a new plant on hold after the price more than tripled to $26 billion [13].

    Sen. Lamar Alexander plans to nuke his own agenda

    Even the head of our largest nuclear operator has little appetite for any new nukes any time soon.

    John W. Rowe, the chairman of Exelon, said recently that his company would not break ground until the price of natural gas was more than double today’s level and carbon emissions cost $25 a ton.

    However, a few will probably get built despite the odds.

    Nationwide, ground has been broken for just four reactors, two twin-unit nuclear plants since the 1970s. Work is limited to digging the foundations and other site preparation, but both expect that within a few months they will get licenses to construct and operate their reactors. Both are in locations that are insulated from the market, in Georgia and South Carolina. In both locations, the business risk rests with the ratepayers, not with the shareholders.

    G.O.P. Gains on Capitol Hill May Not Advance Nuclear Power

    We have many friends & associates in the nuclear industry, but most are looking at retirement after decades of praying for a nuclear renaissance back here in the States.

    Yours truly spent 20 or so years there ourselves. A whole lotta grey in those parts these days.

  7. And don't neglect the comments @CP. There be some pretty savvy energy policy dudes, sprinkled here or there with an infiltrator or two.

    JR's no slouch himself.

  8. Make that:

    "... Sen. Lamar Alexander's proposal to build 100 new nukes in 20 years."

  9. Wow. Totally depressing. I had no idea the cost was so high.

    You know I love the comments on blogs. Often the comments are far more informative as well as entertaining on occasion.

  10. How do you have time to read and keep up to date with everything? I feel like I will never catch up.

  11. Energy r us.

    "When you think of the solar industry, or investing in this industry remember the old joke, and consider the ultimate forward integration possibilities with Berkshire Hathaway. At the 2010 stock holder meeting I was able to ask both Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet about their plans for their solar investment in BYD. It is no secret that Munger has a hankering for solar as shown in his youtube video. Connect the dots, Berkshire (BHK.A) owns a major interest in the company BYD (BYDDY.PK). BYD is known for batteries, cars, but is also a major solar company making modules and inverters. Berkshire owns the roofing company Johns Manville (who have announced BIPV plans). Berkshire owns the building company Clayton Homes and and owns the Electrical Utility companies MidAmerica Energy, PacifiCorp, Rocky Mountain Power, Pacific Power. Munger answered my question regarding forward integrations potentials by indicating that the higher cost of today's solar energy is a small blip when looking at the over all macro economic factors facing the world. In other words he is bullish. I think Berkshire Hathaway has potentially the ultimate forward integration strategy."

    Structural and Electrical BOS Components for Solar PV

  12. Okay, clearly wind and solar are in; nuclear is out (sorta). What about biofuels? (NOT ethanol, for obvious reasons.) Texas already has several biomass plants planned, but it's not looking too hot due to cost.

    Algal oil looks promising, but I am not too sure. It seems the technology has a long way to go and again, it's costly.

    What are your thoughts?

  13. While biomass & eventually algal oil will probably be in our energy mix for some time, the best energy solutions don't burn things & release waste particulates & gases to our environment.

    Solar, wind, tidal, hydro are among the cleanest & most environmentally friendly. Geothermal & nuclear would be next. Nat gas is cleaner than coal or oil but still has fracking & emissions concerns.

    Perhaps someday, fusion & artificial photosynthesis will be mastered.

  14. I think we are totally screwed. You're lucky you're old. How do you maintain such youthful enthusiasm? Seriously - it's almost nauseating. Ugh. I am way too pessimistic. People just plain suck.

  15. Now, now, we'll have no doom & gloom around here. We've seen worse, & we'll see better.

    While maturity may have its clarity & privilege, we'd surrender them all to be a giggling, bug-eyed child again.

    "No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit." ~ Helen Keller

  16. Really? There is nothing on this earth that would entice me to go back to childhood. And mine was quite nice, from what little I remember.

    FYI, the search isn't working on SciGuy, at least not for me.

    There you go with your eternal optimism again. I am all about the doom and gloom - post-apocalyptic sci-fi is my favorite subgenre.

  17. Let me know if that last comment ended up in spam...

  18. Really? We'll visit that one again when you're looking at 60.

    SciGuy Search requires Chron sub.

    Not eternal, just persistent.

    For doom & gloom again & again, try A Canticle for Leibowitz. Required reading in early 60s, along with On the Beach & The Day the Machines Stopped.

    No spam over here.

  19. Well, let's be clear here - I didn't say I didn't want to be younger, I only said I didn't want to be a child again. There is a big difference. Perhaps you are right and that will change as I age.

    I am a Chron subscriber, but only the paper edition. I guess that won't help me here.

    I read Canticle in HS. Of course I don't remember it. I will definitely have to read it again, if I can find time. On the Beach looks really intriguing - will have to check that out as well. The Day the Machines Stopped might be fun, but perhaps a bit hard to find.

  20. My favorite post-apocalyptic book from my teens (that I recall, anyway) was Ariel. Yes, I had a unicorn collection. (Still do, in boxes, somewhere.) Looking back now, the eighties were a bit embarrassing.