Why are less endowed countries like Germany beating the US in solar?

Discussion in 'In the News' started by Chuck, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    [​IMG] Even US solar companies have largly overseas customers.

    [FIMG=LEFT]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/500/Solar_Panel_Installation_Reginal_Enterprise_Tower.jpg[/FIMG]Allison Linn - MSNBC - June 14, 2010

    The American Southwest is ready. --Ed.

    It sounds so simple: Take a clean, free and endlessly renewable resource — the sun — and use it to power your homes and businesses.

    Yet even as the Gulf oil disaster offers yet another reminder of the drawbacks of fossil fuels, solar power remains on the fringes of the energy industry, especially here in the United States.

    Solar power accounts for less than 1 percent of U.S. energy usage, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group. And although many industry watchers see big potential, the giant U.S. market currently ranks fourth in solar electric capacity — behind Germany, Italy and Japan.... [RM]http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37623433/ns/business-us_business/[/RM]
  2. GreenBlues

    GreenBlues Well-Known Member

    Other priorities. Lack of urgency. No ability for most large corporations to plan for anything beyond the next quarter. No ability for elected officials to plan for anything beyond the next election cycle. I think that there are some in China, who could likely have went to school at say MIT, who are shaking their heads laughing at our lack of judgement in not better preparing for the future.

  3. hobbit

    hobbit He who posts articles

    This is when you have to weigh oil-soaked pelicans and moribund
    fishing industry vs. whatever obscure little mole-rat might have a
    little inconvenience living under a few square miles of solar panels
    in otherwise useless, non-arable southwestern desert, and ask the
    narrow-minded among the enviro-lobbyists "which hit would you rather
    take?" I think the choice is clear.
  4. drimportracing

    drimportracing Pizza driver: 61,000+ deliveries

    What hobbit said. (I'm going to look up moribund. ???) :D - Dale
  5. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    Maybe we could get enviroloonies and NIMBYs to stop blocking renewables in exchange for fossil-fuel-sucking liberty-loonies accepting laws mandating energy efficiency.
  6. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    Well, I guess I'm being picky but we only have 2 billion years left. How many years can fossil and nuclear fuels cover?

    I think the answer to the article's question is a combination of cheap energy (no economic imperative), low density (high cost of building an effective wide-scale grid) and politics (resistance to national and regional regulated planning).
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  7. Yaris Hilton

    Yaris Hilton Half a Bubble Off Plumb

    Germans are less endowed than Americans?
  8. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    A reference to the sunshine, not locals like Dolly Parton. :p
  9. JusBringIt

    JusBringIt Be Inspired

    Someone's in the gutter today :p.
  10. booferama

    booferama He who posts articles

    I don't know. Aren't Germans known for their love of sausage?
  11. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    I was thinking more along the lines of Oktoberfest girls.
  12. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Slight aside here, but isn't "Wind" better than "Solar."

    By better I mean cheaper and denser and frequently available at night.

    Some Turbines can produce 3 Megawatts.

    Why waste time/money on solar when it is better spent on wind?

    I know the anti renewable pre fossil fuel folks site "numbers" like"need a wind farm as big as Louisiana" but I calculated we would only need about 40,000 sq miles-a 200 mile square-it could easily fit in a decent sized corner of TX.

    Forget large scale solar-max out wind-easier and cheaper(and wind blows at night).

    Don't most studies proclaim the USA to have the most usable wind reserves?

    Anyone have any numbers-cost-wind vs solar?
  13. Yaris Hilton

    Yaris Hilton Half a Bubble Off Plumb

    So Americans have more wind than Germans?
  14. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Yaris Hilton:

    You are on a roll sir :D

    Regarding solar, it is not economically feasible yet. Wind either as you have to back up much of it with gas turbine peakers or another coal plant. With solar, you have to have a backup at night or when its cloudy…

    Just go do the cost of an install… Next figure in the amount of maintenance to squeegee the panels off every few weeks. If you have a battery back up to get off the grid, batteries are not maintenance free or inexpensive either.

    In the long run, this is our only choice but right now, oil does not produce electricity and until more cars go electric, supply and demand are pretty much in balance with peaks being handled through firing up the NG turbines and curtailing big customer demand while troughs are the epitome of the electric company’s nightmare scenario. The expense of a coal plant (not including environmental which is almost free right now) is maybe one half to one quarter that of a solar plant with similar output due to what is needed at night. You want to pay double or triple your current kWh rate for solar, go ahead. Today it doesn’t make it without subsidies and even than it rarely makes sense or everybody would be on solar.

    An aside, Germany is using solar for a number of reasons but in the press, they say it’s to reduce CO2. For the price and limited sun, if they were interested in lowering their CO2 emissions, it would be far more cost effective for them to install Solar panels in the desert SW here in the US and give away the power for free than to play the “we are reducing CO2” dance while in a high latitude and with far less sunlight to begin with. They are really doing this for their own interest including building an infrastructure to supply solar to the rest of the world far into the future.

    Good Luck

  15. JusBringIt

    JusBringIt Be Inspired

    Well, Americans tend to be on the larger side of life, so pardon the flatulence.
  16. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Someone is probably working on a pad in the driver's seat interfacing it with a special kind of turbo. :D
  17. Yaris Hilton

    Yaris Hilton Half a Bubble Off Plumb

    Hey, that's fuel being wasted!
  18. worthywads

    worthywads Don't Feel Like Satan, I am to AAA

    There's one area my wife wishes I could reduce. :( Could have more potential than an hho generator for me.

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