Why isn't electricity cheaper?


#954

what is the PSO for? the consistency of supply/baseload?

so in other words highly intermittent supply- i.e. particularly solar is not comparable


#955

You’re probably out by about two orders of magnitude there, but a fair point!

I would happily pay a levy for things that ***actually ***improved security of supply, like an LNG terminal or bunker storage for fuels.

Subsidising peat plants is also particularly galling when you think that (by global standards) Irish motorists are very heavily taxed for things like driving to work.

Although its abhoreent, the PSO levy is as least transparent. Designing a grid around intermittent wind it also costly - but in a murky way - and is one of the reasons Irish consumers pay the highest prices (net of taxes) on electricity in Europe.


#956

irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/solar-energy-and-climate-targets-1.3534834

Wikipedia tells me that our 3 peat power stations have a total capacity of 346 MW, so even if we assume that Mr Smith is optimistic, it would still only take a few years to replace Peat powered electricity with PV

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_power_stations_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland


#957

except the 3 peat power stations you refer to are capable of producing when most needed - winter evenings. How much electricity do you reckon solar produces at the time of peak demand i.e. Wednesday 10th December at 17:30
eirgridgroup.com/site-files/ … _FINAL.pdf

Solar works well for countries with lots of sun and lots of sun-related demand (i.e. for air-conditioning) - Ireland is further north than all of the contiguous United States - meaning that most American examples are not applicable ( I say this as most people seem to get their electrical engineering knowledge from Facebook these days)

There’s a reasonable chance that it might be windy on a stormy December evening - is it really that much of a leap to think that it might be better for Ireland to focus on utility-scale wind generation rather than indulging hobbyists with their PV panels on their (not even optimally aligned) roofs

Chicken P wrote this post a long time ago;


#958

Short answer, any future use of renewables will be a combination of solar, storage (of all kinds) wind tidal & wave. Fossil fuels will still need to be available to cover gaps for many years to come.


#959

With respect that’s a political talking point (the solar part, at least within the Irish context). If something is viable generally it’s going to be viable for more that the small fraction of time that solar is productive at Irish latitudes. If something is a stopgap solution, like a Woodstove in a passive House on a very cold day it’s because it’s cheap to install.

99% of Norway’s electricity comes from hydro. Obviously we’re not blessed with melting ice/ Fjords or whatever but why not import energy from the right sources rather than import solar panels from China which will only work a fraction of the [wrong] time which wastes money as well as manufacturing energy.

If people want to buy PV panels then off they should go, renters and people who live in apartments etc who can’t do so will subsidise the middle class suburbanites who have the roof space and capital to install the panels.

Given the very low wholesale price of electricity at night we should be encouraging nightrate electricity for immersions and improving storage heaters, that’s the real low hanging fruit.

The wind will still blow at night, and it’s a more convenient time charge your car then too…

Tip: I’ve got into the habit of putting the dishwasher on delay timer every night. It’s easy to do buy default after dinner and then you can put you tea cup in afterwards without forgetting to do so


#960

twitter.com/tsrandall/status/10 … 43520?s=12


#961

I’m well aware of the problems with PV, but like it or not we signed up to the Paris climate agreement so subsiding burning peat to generate electricity is the dumbest thing we could be doing, its a lose lose situation, there is no up side, PV does at least have an upside


#962

Even the micro generators wouldn’t exhibit most of their demand when they themselves are generating it so if you mandated local storage with PV installations it might smooth the curve - I’ve no idea how much that affects the cost efficiency but it’s not positive. That’s a lot of powerwalls… and it doesn’t fix the seasonality problem. Maybe a holistic approach - if the ground area around a wind turbine had equivalent PV capacity to the turbine - you get power ‘hail or shine’.


#963

Some PV experience in Ireland. It generates throughout the year, oodles of it in the summer. With a powerwall or two from mid-April to mid-September I’d be effectively off grid, even on cloudy days. Even in the winter, there’s a chunky reduction - up to 20% even in the depths of winter, and that’s with an electric (geo-thermal) heating system.


#964

Even the micro generators wouldn’t exhibit most of their demand when they themselves are generating it so if you mandated local storage with PV installations it might smooth the curve - I’ve no idea how much that affects the cost efficiency but it’s not positive. That’s a lot of powerwalls… and it doesn’t fix the seasonality problem. Maybe a holistic approach - if the ground area around a wind turbine had equivalent PV capacity to the turbine - you get power ‘hail or shine’.
There are a number of solar projects (id estimate 0.5GW) in planning with attached storage in some cases (not sure on these figures). It clearly would be better to have grid scale storage. None or very few will be built without a sizable subsidy or until costs fall.


#965

I have about 3.5Kw of PV and right now it provided 100% of the energy requirements between 2 hours after sunrise until 2 hours before sunset on most sunny days.
My next project is to install a windturbine with about 1Kw generating capacity, this should generate sufficient power for lighting most evenings then the batteries will come later.
I’m not planning to go off-grid, but I do want to be able to generate and store/consume up to 90% of my power requirements.


#966

Have you looked at storage yet? A single large powerwall would do me, but the cost is still prohibitive (I’ve 6kw, so in the brighter months we switch to using the washing machine during the day. Like you, we cover everything for most of waking hours, heat as much water as we need with some of the excess and export to the grid; even on a cloudy day, it’ll generate 1.5kw, more than enough to power the house and heat water).


#967

Most of the residential suppliers are increasing their prices this summer by ~8%
However the PSO Levy is due to decrease by 45% pa from October bonkers.ie/blog/gas-electri … -decrease/.


#968

Grant of up to €3800 to install a solar PV and battery storage system in homes built before 2011
seai.ie/grants/home-grants/solar-pv/


#969

Interesting. I’m looking at their maths here

1.5kWp: 200 a year savings x 9 years = 1,800 + 1,050 grant = 3,850 installation cost?

3kWp: 330 a year savings x 13 years = 4,290 + 2,100 grant = 6,390 installation cost?


#970

Thanks for that! that might make things worthwhile…


#971

I think you had a typo there. It’s 14 years payback. That’s a long time for something that could break down or become obsolete.


#972

Well, there’s very little to it. The panels are solid state, there some wires that go to the inverter. It’s screwed to the roof. The inverter could go, I guess, but it would have to be badly installed to do so. So I think break down is unlikely. As for obsolete, I hemmed and hawwed for 10 years before getting PV, during which the price halved, but the efficiency barely moved. I think the price could drop further, but that’s not really obsolesence, that’s opportunity cost.

I’ve had mine for 2 and a half years and have saved about a fifth of the net cost (less home improvement tax rebate), but everything I have is electric and I work from home (so heating is on all the time).


#973

I think you’re looking at it the wrong way, does it really matter if someone makes a better panel with a better efficiency rating, so long as your set up still works who cares

That said if you were sure PV prices were going to fall by a big amount in the next while it might make sense to wait before you buy

Also every time the price of grid electricity rises your 14 year payback gets cut, assuming you paid for the set up in cash, so IMO someone with PV has just paid for their future electricity in advance at a lower fixed rate than everyone else