edatoakrun
Posts: 4295
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:33 am
Delivery Date: 15 May 2011
Leaf Number: 2184
Location: Shasta County, North California

$2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:46 am

"Big Solar" has arrived, here, in California. Check out the slide-show at the link below.

Whatever you may think about the positive and negative effects of California's efforts to increase the "renewable" proportion of it's electricity generation, it is undoubtedly a very large effort.


Out in the Mojave Desert in California, a power plant that could eventually generate enough electricity for 140,000 homes hopes to get its moment in the sun soon. When the $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah is completed — sometime next year, if all goes according to plan — nearly 350,000 mirrors on 3,600 acres will reflect light onto boilers. Steam will power turbines, which will generate electricity that flows to California homes. It will be the largest such plant in the world. These “solar workhorses of the desert,” says V. John White, an analyst in Sacramento and an advocate for renewable energy, “can produce a lot of high-quality energy in the way that other renewable energies can’t do. And there are only a handful of places on the planet that have solar radiation that good.” But some opponents have criticized the Obama administration for pushing solar projects that don’t pan out. The solar-panel maker Solyndra declared bankruptcy last year despite receiving $528 million in federally guaranteed loans, while BrightSource Energy, one of Ivanpah’s developers, has benefited from a similar $1.6 billion government loan. It’s expensive harnessing the sun. And the costs go beyond construction. BrightSource says that it has spent more than $56 million relocating desert tortoises.

Julie Bosman


http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012 ... ld.html?hp
no condition is permanent

Herm
Posts: 3765
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 3:08 pm
Delivery Date: 29 Aug 2012
Location: Timbuktu, Mali

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:01 am

how many homes in CA could be outfitted with solar panels if that money was used to subsidize a portion of the costs?

How much is CA spending on homeowner solar subsidies?

User avatar
garygid
Gold Member
Posts: 12407
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:10 am
Delivery Date: 29 Mar 2011
Leaf Number: 000855
Location: Laguna Hills, Orange Co, CA

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:15 am

At about $15,000 per each of the 140,000 homes, one could
make a major step toward distributed energy generation.

However, the Power Company does not want to lose control
of its strangle-hold on power, and the big (guarenteed) profits!
See SOC/GID-Meter and CAN-Do Info
2011 LEAF, sold in 2015
2010 Prius, 2014 silver Tesla S
Nissan EVSE, mod to 240/120v 16A
PU: SDG&E
Solar PV: 33 x 225W -> 7 kW max AC
To Sell: X-treme 5000Li EV motorcycle

thankyouOB
Posts: 3576
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:14 am
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2011
Leaf Number: 1442
Location: Coastal LA

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:37 am

there already are federal GRANTS in the way of a personal TAX CREDIT -- not federal loan guarantees as with this project -- for any residential project in the country. they return 30% of the cost of the solar to the homeowner.

and there are utility grants, too, for the homeowner.
LADWP paid for 48% of the cost of my PV solar.

get on board.
dont be left out.
may reserve/delivery 4/30/11
--
ECOtality/LADWP/ Blink 4/4/11
--
Gardena Nissan, msrp -1k
red SL with etec L3
SOLAR POWERED since 2008

User avatar
Electric4Me
Gold Member
Posts: 531
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:25 pm
Delivery Date: 04 Aug 2011
Leaf Number: 772
Location: Union City, CA

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:32 am

I was surprised to learn about the water needs of typical power plants for cooling. The desert plants like this use a different kind of cooling, but PV doesn't need any. I wonder how the economics really work.
Good reporting on our relationship with water and power:
http://www.kqed.org/news/science/climatewatch/waterandpower/
Bill Davis
2011 Cayenne Red SL
2014 Toyota RAV4 EV
6.4 kW PV system
Leaf Quick Release Hitch for bikes/cargo
Fun in the Leaf! (video)

ERG4ALL
Posts: 603
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:17 am
Delivery Date: 10 Mar 2011
Leaf Number: 000404
Location: Phoenix/Show Low AZ

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:30 am

That is interesting that for the same money 140,000 homes could have a $15,700 subsidy for PV arrays. If this were considered to be a 50% subsidy, the array size could be doubled to $31,400. With that amount of influx it would be conceivable that PV could be installed for $5 per watt. This would make for a 6,280 watt array. In the same area that this central project will be servicing that sized array should just about meet all the needs. This coupled with the 30% Federal Tax Credit, a homeowner would only have to spend $6,280. Our 6.8kW system generates 15 mWh per year. At an average of $0.10 per kWh it is possible that the system could pay for itself in a little over four years.

The only wrench in the works is whether the proposed generation plant has the capability to store enough energy to be able to meet the electrical demand overnight. If it does, then it may be a solution that a homeowner would not be able to provide and may be superior.
Reserved 4/20/10, Ocean Blue Ordered SL 9/30/10, ESVE Installed 11/22/10, Delivered March 8th, 2011.

User avatar
drees
Moderator
Posts: 6166
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:51 pm
Location: San Diego

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:25 am

Yeah, the big benefit of solar thermal is that it will have some storage which will enable it to produce power later into the day.

In the summer, typical peak demand on weekdays is around 4-5pm. Weekend and winter demand peaks between 7-9pm. So not a whole lot of storage is needed - certainly don't need 24-hour storage - more like 4-5 hour storage max. Storage also smooths out generation if clouds hit the array.

Contrast that with PV - a fixed array oriented for maximum annual production peak production is around 1pm in the summer and is close to half peak output by 5pm. And of course is completely gone when the sun goes down which misses the winter peak completely. 1-axis tracking can flatten out the curve significantly, but typically increases cost enough that it's cheaper to throw more panels at it. One could also tilt the array towards the west, but that has limited effect and decreases annual production - there's not enough solar on the grid yet that it's worth the compromise.

Personally I'd rather see more distributed roof-top installs before big desert installs - that generates power closer to where it's used and also provides an insulating benefit for the building it's on - cooling the building in the summer and keeping the building warmer in the winter which further reduces HVAC loads.
'11 LEAF SL Powered By 3.24 kW Enphase Solar PV

thankyouOB
Posts: 3576
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:14 am
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2011
Leaf Number: 1442
Location: Coastal LA

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:40 am

ERG4ALL wrote:That is interesting that for the same money 140,000 homes could have a $15,700 subsidy for PV arrays. If this were considered to be a 50% subsidy, the array size could be doubled to $31,400. With that amount of influx it would be conceivable that PV could be installed for $5 per watt. This would make for a 6,280 watt array. In the same area that this central project will be servicing that sized array should just about meet all the needs. This coupled with the 30% Federal Tax Credit, a homeowner would only have to spend $6,280. Our 6.8kW system generates 15 mWh per year. At an average of $0.10 per kWh it is possible that the system could pay for itself in a little over four years.

The only wrench in the works is whether the proposed generation plant has the capability to store enough energy to be able to meet the electrical demand overnight. If it does, then it may be a solution that a homeowner would not be able to provide and may be superior.


These are loan GUARANTEES, not grants. it is not fungible in the way your comment assumes.
Of course, your idea is a good one, there just isn't funding for it, and right now in CA there are even news stories -- planted by the private utilities -- that subsidies for solar from utilities hurts customers who cant afford to install PV.
may reserve/delivery 4/30/11
--
ECOtality/LADWP/ Blink 4/4/11
--
Gardena Nissan, msrp -1k
red SL with etec L3
SOLAR POWERED since 2008

User avatar
JeremyW
Posts: 1511
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:53 am
Delivery Date: 23 Jun 2012
Leaf Number: 19136
Location: San Gabriel, CA

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:46 pm

edatoakrun wrote:"Big Solar" has arrived, here, in California.


Wait? Just now? ;)

The first solar thermal plant was an 14 MW facility in Dagget, CA- SEGS I. 8 other plants were built, with the last coming online in 1990, bringing the total to 354MW. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Energy_Generating_Systems

According the the CA ISO (the manager of California's transmission grid), recent solar expansion has raised total output to over 800MW. Yesterday (6/14) saw 840MW peak. Although watch out, the solar power shown after ~20:00 is actually natural gas fired from SEGS. No thermal solar incorporating storage is online yet in California, as far as I know.

While I too took the nameplate MW rating and divided it by cost to get that ~$5/watt figure for this new plant, I do want you gents to realize something. Nameplates are just the maximum that the system could generate in ideal conditions. To get the most watt hours per day/month/year you want the system to have a high capacity factor, which is (actual production)/(nameplate*hours in a year). To have the highest capacity factor, your going to want to set up where you can get the most sun hours a year....

Image

Arguably, this means you want to put them somewhere in the southwest desert. So why didn't they just put photovoltaic panels out there? Well, with power plants, planning takes years. In 2008, '09, '10, etc PV was significantly more expensive then it is today. We've seen quite a price drop over the last year. It's going to take some time before new large projects go through the planning. The thermal storage systems, which hopefully will be implemented in new and future plants, will keep solar thermal in the picture for a while.

Now, this doesn't mean that I'm not for putting solar on everyone's roof in Cali. We should. We need both. :) I'd also like to point out there are a lot of houses where there's not enough unshaded roof space for 6kW of panels, or areas (like right on the coasts) where you'd see a significantly lower output due to weather. How do you explain to Joe 6 pack that his neighbor gets more panels (and more bill reduction) because of a better facing roof, or less shading? What about upgrades to the distribution grid feeding these 140k houses? There's a lot of trade offs with 140,000 houses having solar and building a plant out in the desert, and I don't believe they are directly comparable.

To see other solar projects in the pipe, see: http://www.energy.ca.gov/siting/solar/index.html

Jeremy
Former 2012 SL leasee 6/23/12 - 9/23/15
Now driving Honda Fit EV, License plate: CHADEMO
2000 Honda Insight for long trips

User avatar
Electric4Me
Gold Member
Posts: 531
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:25 pm
Delivery Date: 04 Aug 2011
Leaf Number: 772
Location: Union City, CA

Re: $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah

Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:13 pm

JeremyW wrote:How do you explain to Joe 6 pack that his neighbor gets more panels (and more bill reduction) because of a better facing roof, or less shading? What about upgrades to the distribution grid feeding these 140k houses? There's a lot of trade offs with 140,000 houses having solar and building a plant out in the desert, and I don't believe they are directly comparable.

One thing I think we need to do a better job of going forward is bring in solar planning into building (residential and commercial) design. Now that I have solar I see all the rooftops around that are either well or badly laid out for this. If folks buying new or used houses could see that house X had a bad layout and would cost XX in electricity costs per year, but house Y was good and they could add solar to bring it to YY, that might after folks. Kinda like the energy ratings on new appliances.

Aaaahhh... who am I kidding? Energy is still too cheap to drive this!
Bill Davis
2011 Cayenne Red SL
2014 Toyota RAV4 EV
6.4 kW PV system
Leaf Quick Release Hitch for bikes/cargo
Fun in the Leaf! (video)

Return to “Environmental Issues”