Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Chasing Sunbeams: Taming the Sun and Solar Energy

By Norman Rogers March 18, 2018

A new book, Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet, is available from MIT Press. The book touts the wonders of solar energy and tells us that there is an urgent need to invest trillions in more solar energy. The book is filled with outright errors.......Solar has the huge problem that it doesn't work at night. It doesn't work during the day if it is cloudy. Even the sunniest city in the USA, Yuma, Ariz., has 50 cloudy days a year. ........Under favorable conditions, the average power produced is about 25% of nameplate capacity.

If a realistic computation of the unsubsidized cost of electricity is made, solar electricity costs 12 cents per kWh, under good conditions in sunny locations. Natural gas can deliver electricity for less than 5 cents........His book is weak, with a speculative flavor, but apparently, it is what important people want to hear.  The message is that if you say nice things about solar energy, you may go far in the world.........

Solar energy has to be backed up with a fossil fuel plant because it does not work at night or when there are clouds.

There is no capital investment benefit from solar energy because you still need the backup gas plant..............The obvious question is, what is so important about solar energy that we need to refashion the entire energy system?........... Read more

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