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Join Date: Oct 2011
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PV Price Discrepancies

01/07/2012 5:53 PM

I am a little baffled by the large differences I see in large scale solar Wp cost. When you read about projects on both sides of the pond:

-American projects seems to turn around $4/Wp at the end of 2011.

-European green field projects seem to come in at half that. $2/Wp (if you do not believe it do the financial calculations based on the different FITs)

Just imagine what kind of a difference in competitivity this means!

Is this just a sign of more mature European markets or what is behind this huge difference?

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#1

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/07/2012 6:12 PM

*sigh*

Wp?

FIT?

And where are the numbers coming from?

Not disagreeing, just asking you to share.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/07/2012 6:39 PM

Don't take it personal, but if you don't know these terms, I think you are not the adequate person to give the answer I am looking for.

FYI

FIT= feed in tariff (the tariffs paid in subsidy schemes where a certain amount is paid to the producer per kWh

Wp =Watt peak ( the standard unit for the power rating of a solar panel at standard test conditions)

LCoE=Levelized cost of electricity

sources of information: last time I saw the $4/Wp was for the T-Solar project for 44MW in south America and before that when Warren Buffet bought a plant. (http://www.midamericanenergy.com/newsroom/aspx/newsdetails.aspx?id=540&type=current)

the European prices for once from working with park developers and for the other based on the FITs. If you take the German FITs for example you are around 0.2€/kWh. Annual energy produced by a Wp is about 1kWh in Germany. If you base the LCoE on that you need revenues in the range of 10-15% of your overall investment (5% depreciation, 5% interest and operating and maintenance cost, 0-5%profit). That means 1.33-2€/Wp total cost installed, operated and maintained over 20 years,is the maximum a large ground mounted project may cost in order to be profitable. And I bet Buffet wants to make a profit so that means for a German project he would pay the lower price, which is well below 2$\Wp

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#7
In reply to #3

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/07/2012 7:19 PM

No offense taken - I was trying to plead ignorance but interest.

While solar economics gets discussed here a lot, it is generally discussed from the consumer or installer perspective.

I watch the subsidies get defined (a complete patchwork mess from my perspective as they change from state to state and are impacted by the Feds and local cities) but rarely get to discuss them with someone knowlegeble on the subject.

Now that I know the terms I'll sit back and watch.

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#16
In reply to #3

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/09/2012 7:02 AM

Dear Tompa,

Explaining your technology helps others to understand it better, that is a further point where CR4 is absolute King.

You were far too "rough" back for perfectly legitimate questions from someone wanting to learn more....

Being so rough may scare off other more knowledgeable people as well, as they simply have no use for talking to someone with such bad manners.......You could end up waiting a long time for a useful reply.

Many people here are engineers in different fields, they have a built in want to expand their knowledge. I am a prime example. I only partially understood the meanings as well....

Anyone who "throws" unknown mnemonics (Is that the right word, I am not sure?) around and is unfriendly to people asking for an explanation of them is simply not our type of people.

Be nice to us or go somewhere else and ask them as fast as you like!!!

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#18
In reply to #16

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/09/2012 7:43 AM

Guten Tag Andy,

I did not try to be unfriendly to anyone and luckily endigan didn't misunderstand my intentions. With writing in general there is always a difficulty that the tone is put into the messages by the reader more than by the writer. It is unavoidable.

From a philosophical point of view I can say the following:

I do listen in on some forums where I have little knowledge, however I will not reply in a forum where my knowledge is too feeble to make a contribution. I do not expect an automation expert for exanple to spell out acronyms like PLC that are well known in his field because I think that If I do not know these terms, then it is highly unlikely I can contribute.

in essence then, using common acronyms to the filed of question is a way of filtering the replies a bit to those who are truly familiar with the subject (again, no offense intended).

as good as these forums are in terms of getting a lot of people to chip in, their general problem is that there is a lot of quantity one has to read through to find the quality answers.

In the same philosophical spirit of keeping the forum as much as possible to contributions to the subject, I gave your post an off-topic rating (I hope you can agree to that) and at the same time I will post my message as off topic.

as far as sitting in on forums for the reason of learning something new goes, you are right. I recognized this after the first question from endigan. It was the reason why I spelled out the terms for him in my answer and it is why in the subsequent posts in this thread I tried to explain a bit more of how I came to certain results, when I answered to replies.

I am looking forward to your and everybody else's contributions to help solving the engineering mysteries on CR4 and hope that my share of knowledge will be useful to someone as well. Beste Grüsse, Tompa

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#20
In reply to #18

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/09/2012 9:53 AM

You may find this hard to believe, but I don't give a "Rat's a*se" as to whether I get GAs or OTs, I NEVER post for such reasons. I post because I see a need to post. Most CR4'ers are exactly that, they do it for love, not brownie points1

Am I right folks?

I was not the only person who found your tone unfriendly as I am sure you hopefully also noticed.

If you get 3 unhappy replies here, there was probably at least 10x more that did not want to be attacked. I often get private mail from others supporting me.... I wonder why??

You should remember two things:-

1) Others learn at your table, which is why CR4 is SO fantastic....

2) Read through carefully what you wrote and HOW you wrote (from another readers point of view) before posting, as you said yourself, interpretation is in the eye of the reader......

I can also be very aggressive critical in my answers and posts, but I don't do it accidentally, I mean what I write!!!

You imply that it was not intended in the way it came over, you were "misinterpreted" so to say......really big failure then.....what you intended to write and what you wrote were not synonymous with each other.

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#22
In reply to #20

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/09/2012 11:09 AM

You are right Andy..

Did you people know that 80% of France's power is nuclear, I guess the sun don't shine there.

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#26
In reply to #22

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/09/2012 4:23 PM

They actually have some incredible Sun powered systems around, some for many years.....the French are a pretty clever race as a nation......

Their biggest problem is that they are basically lazy in learning other languages as are Brits and people in the USA, Italy and Spain........which isolates all of them to some degree very effectively.....

But if you wish to learn more look here:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Themis_%28solar_power_plant%29

Also Google:-

"solar power in france" for more infos.......in English too!!

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#41
In reply to #26

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/10/2012 8:59 AM

Wow, 2400 Hrs. of sun at Themis.. Vielen Dank.

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#24
In reply to #3

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/09/2012 2:24 PM

Your terms may be just that localized to your area. Other areas of the world may have different terms for those same specs.

So we tend not to abbreviate unless we list the meaning first time. Keeps the confusion down on what one could be talking about.

Is being rude the proper way to get information where your from?

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#29
In reply to #24

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/09/2012 4:35 PM

Very well put, let us see over the coming months if he finally learns MANNERS - or not!

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#50
In reply to #24

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/11/2012 11:32 AM

your you're

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#56
In reply to #50

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/11/2012 8:55 PM

I don't think he means "you are" at any point in that post. As "you're" is a contraction of that, you can add yourself to the list of banal idiots cluttering threads with pontificating off topic incorrect 'factoids' they themselves have half learned by hearsay.

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#57
In reply to #56

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/12/2012 7:23 AM

Its a common failue on CR4 that many make and of course the spell checker will not find it as it is not a spelling error......

People with bad English grammar will always make this and other mistakes.....it's hardly worth anyone worrying about.....it's just makes it more difficult for people who don't have English as a first language, as when they look up a wrongly spelled word they get a completely wrong meaning.....

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#49
In reply to #3

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/11/2012 11:31 AM

<sigh>

FYI?

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#2

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/07/2012 6:27 PM

I don't see any evidence of that...

"All 3 forms of PVs (Crystalline Silicon, Thin-Film and Concentrator) show excellent growth, with PV cells and modules increasing for the 6th consecutive year and reaching a record of 1,282,560 peak kilowatts in 2009. Electricity generation, which consists of both grid-connected and remote or dispersed applications, continues to be the predominant end use for PV cells and modules. In 2009, PV cell and module shipments to the electricity generation market totaled 593,308 peak kilowatts, or nearly 99 percent of domestic shipments. At the same time, exports of PV cells have also shown a 47 percent growth in 2009 from the previous year, and exceeded domestic shipments in 2009, accounting for about 53 percent of total shipments. Thus PV demand continues to be on the rise both within and outside of the U.S."

http://ecocloud-sv.com/page/solar-pv-industry

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/07/2012 6:43 PM

What exactly are you replying to? My question is as to the origin of the price discrepancies. Your answer does not contain a single reference to any price or price forming.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/07/2012 6:51 PM

Sorry I misunderstood your acronym....Let's try again..

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/dec/22/feed-in-tariffs-solar-subsidy

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/07/2012 7:09 PM

This referes to a clumsy handling in England but it does not explain why european projects seem to cost half of American projects.

also I took the German FIT as an example because it is the most continuous scheme around. The handling in Germany is not comparable to what you refere to above or what happened in Spain and Italy.

be that as it may, I am interested in why the Americans have to pay twice what we pay.

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/07/2012 7:31 PM

I don't see any differences other than the FIT subsidies...Could you link to the examples you site, or post....Germany is beginning to cut their FIT's as well...

http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/23143

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/08/2012 7:42 AM

Okay,

Above you already have a link I posted for the Topaz ( US )farm bought by Warren Buffet recently.  here is the link to a 44MWp T-Solar project recently granted for Peru.

http://www.pv-tech.org/mobile/news/t_solar_signs_us145_million_loan_agreements_for_peruvian_pv_project

And here are the reference prices for roof top mounted <100kWp projects in Germany.

http://www.solarwirtschaft.de/fileadmin/media/Grafiken/pdf/BSW_Preisindex_111116.pdf

 Roof top is more expensive than ground mounted and cost goes down with size.  I know from experience that ground mounted multi megawatt projects come in at less than $2/Wp installed.  unfortunately, that date us difficult to find published on the net.  You can however find it the following way: the FIT for ground mounted at the end of 2011 was approx 22cents , for roof top 100kWp installations was about 27 cents. Because Germany set the tariffs in such a way that profits should be similar for the different projects we can assume that they calculated the cost of a ground mounted project to be at most (22/26=) 81% of a 100kW roof mounted system.  The link currently shows roof top mounted project cost around €2/Wp.  With the exchange rates that confirms just about the 2$/Wp

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/08/2012 9:21 AM

Could the discrepancy be in the land cost of a utility based project vs an equipment only install?

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/08/2012 12:28 PM

Doesn't sound right. Land in Germany is likely more expensive than in the US because of the higher population density.

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#17
In reply to #11

Re: PV price discrepancies

01/09/2012 7:04 AM

Agreed completely.

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#12

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/08/2012 10:55 PM

I'll support Endigan in some respects - good practice is to spell out the first time a term is used before using an acronym. I understand all the terms as both an engineer and Photo Voltaic Solar (PV) system owner (10 kw), but had to stop and think when reading your first post.

Most references to FIT have been in full as "feed in tariff" in what I've read, while power output is probably, if incorrectly, more often referred to as kW. It is not unreasonable to use kW as shorthand for peak power as it could hardly mean anything else but kWp when used as part of a specification.

The subject material might be common to all of us in this forum but it is an international one, so acronym use is different.

BUT to the main point.

Two major but basic factors to consider, other then install size, government subsidy, or economic factors like discounted costing are; technology type and date cost quoted.

I say this because there is a large difference in the installed cost of (say) the various solar thermal options and photo voltaic. And time is important too because the cost of PV panels has dropped by maybe 40% (don't quote that) in quite a short time.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 2:41 AM

Hi TrevorM,

I am referring to large scale projects. That means they are ground mounted and multi megawatt projects.

the prices for American projects are present projects and projects to be executed soon.

the price calculation for the German projects is based on 2011 tariffs, meaning past projects.

all in all that makes the picture look even more distorted as the FIT goes down even more in Germany in 2012 and consequently project cost has to be even lower from now on.

The technology choice (cristalline silicon, thin film silicon, CdTe, CIGS) is essentially without influence on the project level. You may see panel price differences for those different technologies. These are however mainly related to the conversion efficiency. The logic is that the end customer is only interested in his cost per Wp installed. Hence a lower efficiency panel needs more area and thus more mounting and so on. The market discounts that from the panel Wp price so in the end the park cost is about equivalent for all technologies.

PS: you would be amazed at how many people multiply Wp by the daylight hours for design calculations and how many mix up kW and kWh. So in order to keep things clear I maintain the "peak".

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#19
In reply to #12

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 8:09 AM

"good practice is to spell out the first time a term is used before using an acronym"

I agree. When a question is asked, there is a presumption that the person asking does not have the answer. Including as many readers as possible in the search for the best answer is a positive technique - including readers with peripheral or associative knowledge of the area in question can provide a fresh or different viewpoint which may serendipitously broaden the hyper-focus that some posters bring to the table. This post seems to include economics, politics, international competition, short-term versus long-term planning, as well as differences in actual production methods and capitalization techniques (have you noticed the recent changes in the world economy?). Lets get as many readers as we can simply understanding the question.

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#21
In reply to #19

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 9:55 AM

You and the other poster both deserve a GA.

I am just surprised that I appear to be the first!!!! You and he deserve more for your clarification.

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#35
In reply to #21

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 5:14 PM

Okay all you smarta**es, do you actually have anything to contribute?

up to now it is exactly that ranting group who has had no significant contribution to this thread.

as for manners:

- what manners are that to bulg into a thread without making more than a rant and the arrogance to speak as a single person directly as "we"?

- what manners make you start a crusade when the two people who supposedly have a problem with each other aren't in a sh**fight?

- what manners are that to continue a philosophical crusade in the name of others who have not asked for it on an engineering forum after the accused has already explained that no offense was meant?

- what manners make you guys give good answer ratings to an off-topic reply?

- what manners allow you to not declare your off-topic opinions as off-topic

- what incredibly childish manners let you rate my answers to the questions of post2 as off-topic?

- what manners make you not observe your own rules when talking about "GA" instead of good answer? There are always new people in these threads, why do they have to understand your acronym just fine?

and what absolutely pathetic attitude could make you give "a rat's a**" about whether you give good answers or not? To my understanding this was a forum where engineers look for good answers. Every time I give an answer which does not get a good rating, I wonder what more I could have told the one who asked. All you seem to care about is just being smarta**es who have to be seen everywhere and who get even their good answers from off-topic rants.

grow up, get a life!

If you want to contribute on the actual PV topic, be my guests. If all you want to do is rant, just meet at Andy's house and leave the forum threads alone!

CR4 Admin: Modified Post :

Inappropriate language has been removed. Please review Section 14 of the CR4 Site FAQ and the CR4 Rules of Conduct.

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#37
In reply to #35

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 10:12 PM

GA!

Oh no it's off topic

Can't make it a GA, but you get the spirit of the thing.

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#38
In reply to #37

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 11:06 PM

Having written much the same to the same member for the same disruptive behavior and empty pontifications, recently, I will add my vote to edigan's.

To make this 'on topic'; a factor in the US market is what can be charged. Historically the installer/supply industry was propped up by DOE subsidies to US manufactures and protection mechanisms against imported competition.

PV pricing in Asia is geared to the 'what theirs can sell for' in a given supplier market, so it will be some time before the US system reaches parity.

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#40
In reply to #35

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/10/2012 8:38 AM

You obviously still do not understand how CR4 works, so why bother coming here, just go somewhere else, we simply do not need you type of character at all, ever.....

Either change your manners or go.

The Admin people obviously find your manner unacceptable too as they have edited your last post, do that too often and you will find you are banned completely.......dwell on that for a moment or two!!!

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#44
In reply to #40

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/10/2012 3:26 PM

CR4 ADMIN: Deleted Post

Abuse/Attack: This post was deleted because it was an attack on another user. Please review the CR4 Site FAQ and the CR4 Rules of Conduct.

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#46
In reply to #44

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/10/2012 7:15 PM

CR4 ADMIN: Deleted Post

Abuse/Attack: This post was deleted because it was an attack on another user. Please review the CR4 Site FAQ and the CR4 Rules of Conduct.

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#47
In reply to #46

Mental Discrepancies

01/10/2012 8:58 PM

CR4 ADMIN: Deleted Post

Irrelevant This post was deleted because it is related to a deleted post and would otherwise be taken out of context.

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#48
In reply to #47

Re: Mental Discrepancies

01/11/2012 11:24 AM

Nice one Admin, well "de-posted".....

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#42
In reply to #35

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/10/2012 9:51 AM

You ask a complex question seeking an answer on a website that gives free advice. You will get what you pay for. Expect to have to sift the wheat from the chaff. Sometimes you will find a good answer or useful feedback, sometimes not.

I have posted questions, sometime I get great answers, sometimes I stump the board. That's the way it goes in life. If you want better results, provide positive guidance to the people bothering to give free input.

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#58
In reply to #35

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/12/2012 12:38 PM

Hi just thought I'd add that I tried to make an intelligent contribution to a different discussion and just got insulted for it, but few sensible responses - losing the will to stay with CR4 as a result. I agree totally with your comments mate and hope that many others read your "off topic" as its very relevant to all discussions.......

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#59
In reply to #58

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/12/2012 1:35 PM

if you are going to get all het up about off topic {OT} & good answers {GA}, you probably in the wrong place

if you are going to get all het up about people taking exception to the use of undefined acronyms, you are probably in the wrong place

if you are going to get all het up about a thread meandering over hill & yonder, you are probably in the wrong place

you can try to dictate the nature of this place, but it won't work

this place is infotainment at best

inclusive not exclusive

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#60
In reply to #59

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/12/2012 3:48 PM

Are you trying to insinuate some of the people that post here are crazy and ill mannered!

Well, I for one resemble that remark! Just you wait . . . We'll show you!

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#69
In reply to #60

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/13/2012 5:38 AM

Dear Reid,

your humour is very British I must say. Thanks and LOL!!!

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#73
In reply to #69

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/13/2012 3:46 PM

Sorry, the mis-quote is from the Marx brothers!

And I have never been to the British Isles. But I do admire some of their humor also.

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#74
In reply to #73

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/13/2012 5:19 PM

Great words from a great comedian.....

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#62
In reply to #59

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/12/2012 3:54 PM

What I am having the most difficulty understanding are the lectures on "manners" earlier in this thread.

As I was raised, to blunder into a conversation spouting irrelevant opinions is 'bad manners'.

That people on here have not only done that but then loudly censure the OP for finding their behavior objectionable, is inexplicable.

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#63
In reply to #62

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/12/2012 3:59 PM

Sometimes people get overly sensitive! Me included!

I was trying to paraphase Groucho Marx on the "I resemble that remark!" We take some of the trivial stuff too seriously sometimes.

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#64
In reply to #63

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/12/2012 4:22 PM

Seems to me "we" aught to look at the post to topic ratio.

This one seems an all time low in CR4 history - 64 posts to around 4 with any topic relevance.

So no, "we" are nowhere closer to knowledge and with those stats, never likely to be so.

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#65
In reply to #62

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/12/2012 4:29 PM

asking for definitions is not bad manners, the OP dismissed anyone who didn't understand the acronyms as not having standing to post a comment

this runs counter to the day to day practices on this venue

manners good or bad have nothing to do with it...

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#66
In reply to #65

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/12/2012 7:33 PM

I'm not suggesting the OP did not come across as an arrogant twat behaving in the style of Mighty Penguin Hunter.

What I fail to follow is the need to lecture on "manners", which primes the whole degradation into a useless 'b!tch fight'.

What is wrong with people doing what edigan did?

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#67
In reply to #65

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/12/2012 9:57 PM

The comment from the OP was made to me, I took no offense because he was right.

The lectures he got were quite over the top in my opinion, pity too, I was interested in the topic

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#68
In reply to #67

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/12/2012 11:02 PM

I'm still interested too

this place is what it is...

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#70
In reply to #65

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/13/2012 5:40 AM

GA

Does GA belong to the beginning of GArth?

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#14

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 3:42 AM

Surely 'price' is what the market will pay?

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 4:19 AM

Who would be willing to pay a commodity at twice it's value?

large scale projects are planned with a ROI (return on investment) in mind. Solar is still expensive and its market acceptance depends largely on lowering prices into a competitive range. Especially in the US where there is no government FIT,and a deal has to be struck with the local electric company, the pressure is on to have a project as cheap as possible.

the investors are usually international ( for example US investment funds financing german parks) or at least they have access to international information. so it is unlikely one can pretend to such an investor that it costs twice as much in the US.

I especially couldn't imagine that Buffet would buy an overpriced project.

there must be a deeper underlying reason.

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#23
In reply to #15

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 11:11 AM

I don't claim to have the answer, but offer the following suggestions:

1. cost of electrical infrastructure (invertors, batteries, cable) and utility interconnection

2. cost of structural supports of various wind, snow, or other loadings

3. varying code requirements between different jurisdictions

4. different installation labor rates

I do know NEMA components (usually used in USA) are usually more robust and heavier duty than "equivalent" IEC components (typically used in European markets). While this would be a minor cost difference, enough "minor" cost differences eventually become significant.

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#28
In reply to #23

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 4:33 PM

Just a thought but maybe part of this is because the USA (and some other countries) are locked into 120vac for private housing.....this means larger currents flowing for the same power transferred. Thick wiring and more heat losses.....

What makes it even worse is the fact that most houses only have a single phase 120 and maybe a single phase 220vac.(incorrectly referred to as a 2 phase system, which it is not!)

How many actually have the single phase 220VAC I have no idea......but a lot of in house electrics are only actually 120vac.

I am happy that we have 220v 3 phase here, very useful for larger machines.....

Just a thought, no hard facts to hand......maybe some others can comment further.

IEC units appear to be very well made and stable in the Euro environment is all I can say......

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#31
In reply to #28

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 4:46 PM

That could be relevant for residential projects. however, the large scale project the question refers to usually tie up to higher voltage substations (medium tension for example).

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#33
In reply to #31

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 4:55 PM

Well I believe that equivalent in the USA to IEC equipment (as far as I am aware anyway) covers a wide voltage range, and the lower end of the market may possibly lose some reliability due to what I said......higher voltage not being much of a problem, but double the current flowing surely is......

I am just guessing though.....

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#43
In reply to #28

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/10/2012 1:41 PM

Most US homes use 120vac for most devices. High wattage devices like clothes dryers and electric stoves will be 240 ac. The 220 or 240 vac is two legs of three phase power. Three phase is available it's just not ran into most homes as it's just not needed.

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#45
In reply to #43

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/10/2012 7:07 PM

US 220VAC is NOT 2 legs of a 3 phase. They would be at 120° to each other. Take a scope and look, you will find it is a single phase.....the RMS value remains at 220VAC.

If it was 2 phases, the RMS value would change (effectively lower) at certain points of the cycle as the result would be dependant on the actual voltage difference between the two phases, which alone is why it has to be a single phase!!

A 220VAC leg in the US is a SINGLE phase. They just put a link to the middle and call it neutral so that you can have 120VAC from either end to the middle.......

Many falsely believe that its 2 legs of a 3 phase output - WRONG!!!

Isn't it amazing, a Brit who lives in Germany could tell you that?

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#52
In reply to #45

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/11/2012 1:47 PM

Sorry to say but I've seen it done different ways. That 220 vac I've seen be any where from 208 to 240. They run three phase 240 to commercial applications all the time and use two phases for single phase 240 vac.

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#53
In reply to #52

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/11/2012 1:55 PM

You are still misunderstanding the way the voltage is generated, dangerously so.

But I have told you it correctly, no lies, no guesses, but you don't/won't understand it so now its your own little self-made problem.

I (and many others here) fully understand exactly how things work....... Why not ask for extra info?

Have a great day anyway.....

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#54
In reply to #52

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/11/2012 2:06 PM

YES, but most residential power is one phase of three available fed to a transformer with a center tap tied to "neutral" the legs are ~115 VAC and 180° out of phase. There is no neutral current flow on a 220 V devise just phase to phase.

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#55
In reply to #54

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/11/2012 4:32 PM

Well put. Thanks.

Phase difference appears to be 180° as you correctly stated, because the two ends are the same phase, so relative to the neutral (middle tag) you will see 180° of difference.

Not 120° as you would see on a 3 phase system as some others wrongly believe......

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#71
In reply to #55

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/13/2012 9:09 AM

Andy, you are also right about 220v equipment in U.S. homes. They are few, only hi loads like A/C, ovens, heaters.. I also don't understand why so many people here think they can place solar or wind units in the 500 watt range in their home and sell power back on the grid. It won't happen in "Hooterville". We have already had the "Fall of SOLARA" thread so I don't want to open that mess but when the U.S. government subsidises things that is more or less what happens here. It drives up the cost to consumers not down. I have a feeling that is not the case in Europe, so is it the people or the government there that keep this sort of PV devlopment on an even keel??

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#72
In reply to #71

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/13/2012 9:24 AM

Probably a bit of both!!

But I am far from an expert in this subject! Just staying around to learn some more....

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#51
In reply to #15

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/11/2012 11:35 AM

'John Ruskin' applies:

"There is always someone in the world who will make something a little worse, and sell it a little cheaper. He who considers price only is this individual's lawful prey."

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#25

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 3:07 PM

Good Topic.

The comment that the market equalises the price of various technology so the cost per kW is aproximately the same also holds true for the the establishment cost of MW PV farms. Equipment is going to cost approximately the same in every national market otherwise parallel importing occurs.

The difference in cost of construction, cost of ownership etc must then be explainable in terms of local factors such as:

1. Is the sun's energy level per m2 the same (Incredibly bright German sunlight?); and,

2. Local labour costs (does cheap German labour exist?); and,

3. Subsidy levels by way of free use of state owned land, FIT, tax incentives, cheap loans, etc etc. (last time I counted there were over 20 different ways various governments were effectively providing subsidies even if they are not called that)

The alternate answer is that the frame of reference used for the compilation of the comparative pricing is not the same: apples and oranges. Is it possible that the cheaper cost per Wp does not include infrastructure for feeding into the national grid and the more expensive $/Wp does include the cost of this infrastucture.

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#27
In reply to #25

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 4:25 PM

Finally someone who contributes to the subject. Thank you!

solar irradiation is not particularly high in Germany, the south of the united states is quite a lot better and so is Peru. As an example, in southern Spain the solar irradiance is about 50% higher than in Germany. Also, the irradiance only affects the reurn on investment but it would not change the cost of the installed power as this is measured in standard test conditions.

I don't have a labour cost list for you but I doubt that wages for simple labour ar cheaper in Germany than in America (certainly not than in south America). Germany has a lot of social cost for the employer and a standard of living similar to the united states. I doubt the employer gets off cheaper than an American company.

as for the subsidies, the only thing that springs to mind is that in Germany the utility company is obliged to connect the park to the grid.

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#32
In reply to #27

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 4:52 PM

I suppose I should have used emoticons to indicate irony as I understand German weather and labour are inversely related.

The answer to the difference between the $/Wp is probably in what you say "....is that in Germany the utility company is obliged to connect the park to the grid."

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#34
In reply to #32

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 5:05 PM

The last sentence is mostly true EXCEPT where the cables from the power station to say the village were either rated a little small or are old and already there is more solar power in the village than needed......its a complex question/calculation that catches some people out each year - to their cost.

You must get an agreement with the power company before the installation for such reasons.....

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#36
In reply to #27

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 6:24 PM

"Finally someone who contributes to the subject. Thank you!" !!!

Cristle's post is fine, but if know much at all, as your responses indicate, then this post adds little. For complete newbies it is good because it spells out a bunch of obvious factors, The obviousness of these is why I just alluded to and summarized them way back in my first posting - though I did make a mistake in thinking that you were interested in all Solar and not just Photovoltaic installations.

For the rest of us (and including you I guess) the hard part is the data for those factors,"the ratio of labour costs", "the details of the costing base", "the ratio of isolation per year for different countries" etc. .....that we still have not got.

PS the latter of the above items (isolation) is readily found on the web.

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#30
In reply to #25

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/09/2012 4:38 PM

Labour is expensive here and I haven't seen proper sunlight for months.....

I always say that it wasn't for the weather that I moved here 30 years ago!!!

In fact it could be a reason to return to the UK!!!!

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#39

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/10/2012 6:15 AM

Wow. Tompa seems to feel it is up to him to decide what is appropriate on this thread. So let us (that means me and and any other readers interested in actually finding answers to the original post) look at the original post.

"I am a little baffled by the large differences I see in large scale solar Wp cost."

This suggests that the poster does not have an explanation for what he sees as a large difference "in large scale solar Wp cost" between "projects on both sides of the pond." The poster himself chose to create a comparison between activities occurring on either side of the Atlantic Ocean ( the "pond"). This puts North and South America in one basket, and Europe with (we are left to assume) Africa in the other basket. Another threader was kind enough to provide and example of one of the baskets, namely the solar installation in the south of France, in the lower cost basket. This is a relevant example, because this "lower cost" example showed lower performance, essentially failing to meet the goal of reliable available power, as it was closed down in its original configuration. This is a rather obvious explanation of why it was cheaper: it did not work.

Engineering as a profession has as one of its beauties the concept of accepting reality, that is, what you think should happen is not nearly important as what actually does happen. Designing something new, like large-scale solar power, is a predictive process, where we do not really know how to do something until we actually do it. When "mature" large-scale solar power (lssp) is finally here, if the speed of innovation ever allows it to exist, then comparing cost/Wp across the Atlantic can justify ranting at those unfortunates who do not see reality in the "correct" way. We (as defined above) are actually trying to provide answers. My own work is largely economic at this tme, and the answers I get say that depending on concepts like cost/Wp to sell or justify a project does not work. Do we want it, can we build it, will it work are better questions. How stable is the value of a dollar, euro, etc., anyway? And yes, I do see this as highly relevant to this thread.

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#75
In reply to #39

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/15/2012 8:27 AM

Hi Woodpower,

I didn't have internet access for a the past couple of days, so sorry for the late reply.

I threw the two Americas in one basket because I saw similar price levels for projects there. In order to show this I gave an example from Peru and one from the US. You are right that being from Europe, I implicitly compared the America's with Europe, without delimiting what was on my side of the pond.

I am not aware in how far you are familiar with solar energy so let me establish a common base: A fundamental nature of solar installations is that their energy yield depends on the insolation. Therefore the nameplate power expressed in Wp does not represent the enery output of the plant. (this in contrast to conventional power plants, where you have a Powerplant rated at X MW which you may get on a nearly constant basis). PV plants are technically very reliable. However, in order to avoid misunderstandings; the technical reliability and the availability of the energy when you desire it - which could be seen as a service availability reliability - is for obvious reasons a function of the weather and the daytime.

On the other hand, installing the nameplate Wp power is virtually the same kind of effort in Europe or in the US or anywhere else, (as long as you look at two cases with roughly similar topografies, ground and size). The park will have the same quantity of a certain PV panels anywhere in the world for the same nameplate power. Therefore it should be possible to compare installation cost per Wp (=installed nameplate power) all over the world for similar installations.

You can now hopefully understand why I am explicitly looking for the price per Wp installed. It is a good means of benchmarking the project cost for the construction phase

The return on investment is a different story. It depends on the three factors: The project cost (installation and maintenance) per Wp, the energy yield per Wp and the sales price of the produced energy.

The cost of solar electricity is a chapter of its ownin the business plan of a PV park. If I understand your post correctly, you were thinking about the park profitability. as you can see, I agree with you that this is can not be drawn for the Wp cost alone. However, the different profitability of a PV plant in one part of the world or another should not give raise to a significant change in project cost per Wp installed. After all, the market is free enough for competitors to pitch in with a lower price. And the market should settle at a price where there is just a reasonable profit margin for the installers. That profit margin should therefore be about the same on both sides of the Atlantic and really anywhere in the free market.

The way I see it then is that the question on why there are such different prices is still open.

PS: A PV park being shut down is something I haven't come across yet and I would appreciate if you could link me to the post as I have not seen it. It seems strange in so far as if we are really talking about PV, there is very little operative cost. The vast majority of all cost incurred is up front (since there are no moving parts, defects are relatively rare). As this is sunk cost, even if the project would not be profitable from a return on investment point of view, it would still make sence to operate it because the variable cost is less than the earnings from the electricity produced. The major operational job is usually to hose down the panels once in a while to keep them clean and this is not a necessity but rather a matter for optimizing output. Once the park is operative, even if the owner would go bancrupt, someone should have an interest to operate the plant as it will produce energy nearly for free once The park is commissioned. Until you can point me to the post, I would guess, that the complaint refers to a CSP (concentrated solar power, meaning that through concentration of the light on a small surface steam is created and sent over a turbine) plant. There is obviously a lot more that can fail there and they have higher maintenance and operative cost than a PV plants. So if such a company goes bust. I can imagine that there is a risk no one else is interested in operating the plant.

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#61

Re: PV Price Discrepancies

01/12/2012 3:51 PM

Getting back do the main topic . . . before all the distractions and heated posting . . .

Have we come to any conclusion as to what actually is causing the observed pricing differential?

Or are the variables too many and too complex to quantify?

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