Skip to comments.Once 'Overhyped and Sexy,' Solar Tumbles
Posted on 03/31/2013 4:58:00 AM PDT by Red in Blue PA
The excitement over solar power, which once attracted billions in private investment and public subsidies, has waned recently, underscoring the limitations of renewable energies and the unchallenged dominance of fossil fuels. Some of the $75 billion sector's high profile names have fallen on hard times recently - most notably Suntech Power (STP). The China-based solar panel company rattled the industry when it filed for bankruptcy last week. In its heyday, the stock traded just shy of $90 and had a market capitalization of $16 billion: on Thursday, the last day U.S. markets were open, the shares traded around for 42 cents each.
"The overall story is about growth and declining costs," said Arno Harris, chairman of the SEIA Board, in an interview. Much like the way low-cost natural gas is transforming the U.S. energy market, "[solar] costs have come down so dramatically, it's created a Darwinian environment," Harris added. He pointed to the collapse in silicon - a linchpin of solar panel manufacturing - which has led to a steep drop in prices per watt of solar panels. That amount is now less than a dollar, down sharply from $4 per watt a few years ago, making it difficult for companies to make money. Yet in many ways, Suntech's spectacular fall is a microcosm of a sector in transition, and holds lessons for U.S. solar firms. As domestic drilling and abundant natural gas has stoked expectations for U.S. energy independence, it has also sapped attention from renewable energy.
(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...
Ayatoilet Barky’s fair-haired boy crashed.
Once ‘Overhyped and Sexy,’ Solar Tumbles
The excitement over solar power, which once attracted billions in private investment and public subsidies, has waned recently, underscoring the limitations of renewable energies and the unchallenged dominance of fossil fuels
Call me optimistic, But I do hope to see a similar headline about Obama and company soon.
Because we have enough cheap natural gas to last for hundreds of years, we don’t need ethanol, solar or wind projects. They are money pits created by enviro-nazis in their quest to remake America into a third-world hovel. The first move in dismantling these atrocities is eliminating the EPA, Nixon’s biggest blunder.
It was simply a technology bubble. In the 1970s...everyone felt that solar would arrive one day. Well...by the late 1990s...the crowd felt solar was now on the verge of arriving and delivering a massive contribution to society. They guessed wrong. Solar has yet to arrive.
When your entire house can run on half the amount of power that you currently consume....and the solar apparatus on your roof can deliver one-hundred percent of what you need at least 200 days out of the year....then it’ll amount to something. Today’s just not that day.
About three years back, my wife had someone come over to do an estimate for a solar system on our house to supplement our regular power. As part of the estimate, they did an analysis of how long it would take us to break even on the investment. It was 20 years—I kid you not. And I’m sure they were being as optimistic as possible.
The only viable green energy is hydroelectric so naturally the greenies are desperate to tear out as many dams as possible.
And may I presume that was WITH heavy federal subsidies and tax breaks, in other words, other taxpayers helping to shift the break-even from 40 years to 20?
End all subsidies for solar, wind, ethanol, and oil now,
and see which one is standing in two years. Hint: The only one that is economically viable.
Solar has it’s place. As you drive the interstates you see lots of installations of solar panels powering various devices and far removed from wires.
The same is true for say pumping water on remote pastures some distance away from wires. Ditto residences far removed from wires.
Fewer and fewer people are convinced of the environmental damage fossil fuels are causing. Thanks to skeptics and the alternative press, the hoaxes and exaggerations have come to light.
The cycle of global warming has ceased and may be reversing. It’s gotten to the point where we barely hear the term global warming any longer. It’s been replaced with the term climate change which is an all encompassing term that any natural disaster (unusual heat, cold, snow, storms, earthquakes, etc.) can be blamed on.
Doesn’t help matters that whenever and wherever there is a global summit on the matter, a brutal cold snap with accompanying snow and ice appears. This is especially the case whenever Al Gore is due to make an appearance. :)
Oh no, the EPA and DHS will one day be combined. Ya know, like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees morphed into the Department of WAFTGAWAHTHY (we are from the government and we are here to help you). How's your meds holding out?
Solar has its place...So does the occasional windmill. Everything “has its place”.
The atrocities occur when the greenies want THEIR projects to usurp everything else.
At best, solar panels can be purchased at $4-5 per watt, IIRC. The commercial efficiency is about 15%. Laboratories claim efficiencies of 30% to 50% (that and $4.50 will get you a Frappuccino at Starbucks) . The real improvement over the years was in the durability of a panel; the warrantees are into 20 years, again IIRC.
The breakthroughs that the market was and is waiting for is in cost of manufacturing and efficiency. Bring the cost per watt down and get more power out per panel, and all the while keep the quality/longevity the same. We are still waiting. Of course, if you can bribe an "expert" in solar energy to endorse a new manufacturing process, you too can get a huge govmint subsidy.
The math: with an average electric bill of $200-300 a month as the method of recouping any costs ideally ($12, 000 to $18,000 over 5 years), how much is a homeowner willing to spend up front? The numbers are actually less attractive.
Schadenfreude .. when AlGork’s misery just cries out for some salt rubbed in !
the reason solar was doomed from the start is simple: once you get set up with a workable system, you no longer have to buy anything from the conglomerates that support he political system. Can’t have people having real independence now, can we?
Because of the proliferation of Chinese panels, the arrays themselves are now down to around $1 per watt. Panels rated at 250 watts can be had for less than $300. Then add in the balance of the equipment: wiring, inverter, control center, grid-tying, installation, etc. - maybe another $1.50 to $2 per watt - less if you can DIY the install.
WITH federal and state subsidies via tax-credits (65% combined here in NC), you can re-coup costs in 5 years. Plus, you’re fixing your cost of electricity, vs. being subject to regular increases from your utility company.
WITHOUT subsidies, it’d take 15 years to pay for itself. Panels degrade over time, and the typical warranty is that they’ll produce 80% of their rating at 25 years. That means break-even at best vs. doing nothing.
If costs continue to decline, you’ll probably see more adoption - at least until the subsidies expire in 2016 (unless renewed). I’m half-considering it myself - I’m way over-taxed, and this would be a way I could get some of it back. But it will be an economic decision - not because I’m worried about the size of my carbon footprint.
———.So does the occasional windmill.———
I hiked into the far back country of Philmont Scout Ranch. They have wells at the back country camps and once had windmills. The windmills were replaced by battery electric pumps and an array of solar cells.
Well there you go...everything has its place. Whatever WORKS is good. :-)
Solar doesn’t work too well in New England, for example.
However, in Israel, everybody has a little solar array on top of their house to make their own hot water.
Unfortunately, the left HATES Israel, so their successes in “alternative energy” don’t count! LOL.
Which brings us to the crux of the matter.
Solar and wind are not scientific...they are POLITICAL.
JMO, of course.
Much like the way low-cost natural gas is transforming the U.S. energy market, “[solar] costs have come down so dramatically, it’s created a Darwinian environment,” Harris added. He pointed to the collapse in silicon - a linchpin of solar panel manufacturing - which has led to a steep drop in prices per watt of solar panels. That amount is now less than a dollar, down sharply from $4 per watt a few years ago, making it difficult for companies to make money.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.