Repent! Repent! Grid Parity is Nigh!

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solar-parity

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been hearing dire warnings that unless Venezuela got its act together, it could just plain miss the short critical window of opportunity for monetizing its vast oil resources. “Other” technologies would inevitably catch up and make oil as irrelevant to the future as Whale Blubber was to our present.

“The stone age,” as the adage has it, “did not end for lack of stones.”

There was always something a little vague about the warnings. A fog over the question of which technology would “do in” oil. It was easy to come away with the sense that while theoretically true this was all a long, long way in the future.

No more. As of QIII, 2015, I’m ready to call it.

Photovoltaics.

In the library. With the candlestick.

This report from Deutsche Bank should scare the hell out of anyone sitting on top of an unexploited energy resource. It shows that “Grid Parity” – that mythical, long hypothesized magic moment when it becomes cheaper to produce electricity from a solar panel on your rooftop than to buy it from your utility company – isn’t just some exotic projection.

It’s here.

Now.

In lots of markets.

And not just small markets, either. Parts of the U.S., Japan, China, Germany, the UK and France are already at Grid Parity. Those are the six biggest economies in the world!

countries gp

And the trend is set to become entrenched, fast. By 2017 – just two years from now – 80% of global electricity market will be at Grid Parity.

And Deutsche Bank is keen to point out how new financing vehicles for Photovoltaics like the suddenly trendy “YieldCos” (sort of REITs for your Solar Panel) are closing the last remaining barriers for mass solad adoption.

The one-two punch of Grid Parity and standardized YieldCos will herald an enormous acceleration in solar adoption rates. We’re already on that exponential bandwagon, but the ride is only now starting.

It’s true – and DB stresses – that the oil and electricity markets remain pretty strongly segregated. Coal and Natural Gas, along with Nuclear and Hydro, remain by far the dominant sources of electric power worldwide, with Diesel far too costly to compete in most markets.

But with new battery storage technologies coming hot on the heels of improving Photovoltaic performance, with “Solar and Storage” becoming the Next Big Thing, and with Elon Musk waxing rhapsodic about his damn batteries, oil’s trump card as a transportation fuel may not last very long either.

If you’re worried about Climate Change – and you should be – this is all undoubtedly good news: the chances have never been better that large chunks of proven fossil fuel reserves will just be left underground, because it’s unprofitable to pump them out and burn ’em.

But if you’re banking on energy resources pulling you out of the godforsaken mess some tinpot pseudosocialist autocracy has left you in, this is pretty damn dire news. Because what the advent of mass solar generation and storage will do is put a cap on the potential price of oil: a level above which it cannot go without sending mass defections to an alternative, proven, established technology. And that price is only going to go down, decade after decade, until oil-based fuels become a niche product used only in specialist applications where its energy-to-weight ratio really makes the difference. So, basically, aviation and…nope, that’s it, aviation.

By 2025, Venezuela may find that it sits atop more extremely-impure JetFuel than it can ever possibly hope to sell. ¡Que Dios nos agarre confesados!

142 COMMENTS

  1. Awesome post. But it should be reworked beyond the Venezuelan context. Quite a few countries need to hear this news.

  2. Spain decided to tax the sun. If you produce your own electricity through solar panels you need to pay a hefty tax. If you don’t register to do this the fines are up to 60 million euros.

    Perhaps it has something to do with every spanish ex-prime minister having an executive position at the electric companies once they finish their term.

    • Spain is a little bit of Venezuela lucky enough to border countries that passed the feudalistic stage.
      And you are right on the second part as well.

      • Yes, we the Spaniards have good neighbours and thanks to Germany we have learnt something about managing our economy (there is no other way with an straight jacket like the euro) but USA is not far away from Venezuela and it could teach you guys a lot. I guess it is impossible without your own straight jacket but, can somebody imagine an American monetary union and Janet Yellen telling Maduro: “sorry, there is no millardito for you”.

    • This has to do with the other side of grid parity. The utility companies invest in power plants and a grid that are paid for through regular use. People feeding electricity into the grid and then demanding it be available at night runs completely counter to the idea of a power grid which focuses on the delivery of power not the storage of it. In Spain you are free to have solar panels and pay no tax if you are off the grid, but you are not free to use the electrical grid as a battery and shift what you should be paying for energy storage onto other consumers.

      • If you want to see the real future for power generation look at China. Massive nuclear power construction. Once solar reaches 10 or 15% of grid capacity any further expansion means peak production is just thrown away. The Real Thing Venezuela needs to worry about is Elon Musk and electric cars. Solar is a only exciting until legislation and regulation stops people from free loading on the public power grid.

        The lesson of every country that invests in solar and wind is clear… higher electricity prices.

        That said, island economies that use diesel generators are a prime target for solar since diesel Power plants can follow demand and shut off quickly. Cheap solar does have the potential to offset a large portion of diesel electric usage.

      • Actually solar is a bit like grain deliveries to bakers in Venezuela. Utility companies are required by law to deliver power at all times, but solar power delivers however much it feels like whenever it feels like. Just as the Venezuelan government sometimes buys so much food that it rots in port and other times bakers cannot even make a loaf of bread. The difference is that preserving food for later use is a good bit easier than preserving electricity. When you put a loaf of bread in the freezer you get a loaf of bread out. When you store some electricity in a pumped hydro station half of it gets eaten by the time you get to use it again.

        • When you store some electricity in a pumped hydro station half of it gets eaten by the time you get to use it again.
          I’d forgotten about that factoid. So true. Enter Elon Musk who has changed the law of thermodynamics by way of his sexy storage units at $3500 a pop, costs that don’t include those for solar panels, placed at the south/southwestern exposure of the house, assuming the rooftop architecture lends itself to a solar option, among other factors oh-so-average 😉

    • Most technology specialists said that Blu-ray players would be in every house in 2015 and replace DVD. Then Netflix and its peers arrived, changing the market 180 degrees… As MCM said, extract the damn oil before its too late.

  3. There is a couple of things you are missing here. As someone who has lived on for a fair amount of my life off-grid me explain.

    When the cost of a solar electric installations are amortized over the 20 or 30 years that the system will produce, there is cost parity. But with any system you use to produce your own power you have to pay for it all up front. Imagine paying for 20 or 30 years of your future energy use today, especially if you’re paying real world prices, not what we pay in Venezuela.

    Another sticking point is the physical size of the solar electric system. If you are going to live off grid the same as you would on grid, and assuming that your heavy consumption devices (hot-water heater, kitchen stove, clothes dryer) are electric, you need a system that’s going to take up a LOT of real estate. If you live in the suburbs with a large house and a large yard, or you live in the country that’s fine. In the high population density areas there is not enough energy falling on enough square footage to produce the energy needed for it’s residents. You could make every horizontal surface in a city (roofs, sidewalks, streets, awnings) be solar panels and it wouldn’t make enough power.

    A good way to visualize the situation is to imagine you’re going to go on a camping trip and you want to bring along a number of electrical/electronic items you want to use. Let’s say you want to take the TV, a DirecTV satellite receiver, a small fridge, some lights for nighttime use, and the boombox for music. You could power this with a very small electric generator you can carry in one hand, and a 5 gallon can of gas. The power the same set up with solar panels you would need many (let’s say 10) large heavy solar panels, a charge controller, a number of large truck sized batteries (solar panels don’t produce at night so you need to store the energy in batteries for use when the sun is not out) and you need an inverter to turn DC power from the batteries into AC power for your devices.

    So another way to think of it is that although solar electric MIGHT be able to produce electricity at the same price as conventional sources, in most situations it’s only able to produce a small amount. So instead of buying a liter of cold water from the bodega, there’s a device you can carry that produces its own water at the same cost, but it only makes a thimbleful. The fact that it’s the same price isn’t going to matter when you’re thirsty and want more than a thimbleful.

    In my last point is that people keep talking about how with subsidies alternative energy or green vehicles are economical. But when it subsidized we’re still paying the additional cost, were just paying it ahead of time through taxes. So it’s like me saying there’s a new program where you can buy a $90,000 Mercedes-Benz car and it only costs the same as a $40,000 Toyota when you go to the dealer and pay for the car, but a few years before you buy the car you have to sign up for a program, which allows someone to sneak into your house every night and steal money out of your wallet, and that stolen money also goes to pay for the Mercedes-Benz car. So you actually end up paying full price, the cost of the Toyota plus the additional amount, but you just don’t pay it all at once, and maybe you don’t even realize you paid it all because you didn’t keep track of the stolen money, but you did pay for it all. No free lunch.

    • The Up Front Cost argument really misses the point: Solar is a huge magnet for financial innovation right now. The article mentions YieldCos, which are addressed to doing exactly that at the utility-generation level. But the DB report goes into a lot of detail on the way most retail PV companies are cracking the problem through leasing: you never actually buy the photocells, you lease them, and pay a flat monthly amount.

      As for the capacity issue, surely the thimble analogy is overdrawn. It’s not hard to find home systems that make 10 KWh on average now, even pretty far north. That’s about half what a typical home uses. Mix some improved energy efficiency for appliances with improved panel efficiency driven by learning-by-doing as PV manufacturing scales up and you can see that gap closing, relatively fast.

      • Solar is a huge magnet for financial innovation right now.

        We know how well financial innovation in the energy fields worked for Enron back in 2001. We know how well financial innovations such as the subprime mortgages back in in the 2008.

        Gimme that old-time financial innovation
        Gimme the old-time financial innovation
        It was good enough for Enron/Lehman Brothers/Countrywide
        It’s good enough for me.

        Some say financial innovation, others say flim-flam.

      • I’m not sure where people are getting their numbers from here, but I highly suspect on the only one who’s actually lived off grid among all of the people here who are commenting.

        Of course you realize that with solar power you’re looking at at best, six hours per day of peak output. That’s assuming you have a tracker which keeps the solar panels pointed at the sun. And even with that, you have to take into account cloudy days. If your engineering a mission-critical system that needs to work day in and day out and provide the kind of reliable power that people in North America and Europe are used to, you really have to over engineer the system, which greatly reduces your cost savings.

        Regarding wind, if anyone remembering to take into account that for every megawatt wind power that you have online, you need to have a megawatt of traditional fossil fuel powered generators running on standby, meaning actually running, idling, and ready to go on a fraction of a second’s that notice because the wind can stop at any time. Understand that in the first world the kinds of brownouts like we have here in Venezuela where the lights go dim and the fans just about come to a stop, and then the lights get really bright and the fans seem to go at almost double speed are not tolerable. People are running systems and enterprises that need steady power 24 seven. And in order to provide THAT it takes a lot of overengineering, and things become much more expensive than best case scenarios.

        Yet one more thing to consider is just the basic reliability issue. When you have a commercial grade grid with super high reliability generators and redundancy, you have a very high level of reliability. In North America the power goes out very infrequently unless there is a major weather event or natural disaster. For something like lightning, the lights just make a barely perceptible flicker as the system protects itself and then returns online. When you have the incredible complexity of each family unit having at least one system, and possibly more if you’re talking wind and solar, you end up with hundreds of thousands or millions of points of failure.

        Alternative energy in its current state certainly has a place, and we see alternative energy in more and more places, but notice where we do see it. You’re more likely to see it for traffic lights or area lighting in places where access to the grid is difficult or unreliable.

        The best way to judge the economic viability of alternative energy is merely to see its implementation. People are always looking for a bargain. When alternative energy becomes less expensive than traditional energy you won’t be able to stop people from making the change. I know where I’m originally from in the US you have the option of buying renewable energy sourced electric as an option, and right now it costs a little bit more than traditional fossil fuel sourced energy.

        One last point, has to do with the greenness of these alternative energies. Maybe this is a bit off-topic, but I think it fits in with the conversation. When you take into account the energy spent and the pollution involved in creating all of the solar panels, batteries, charge controllers, inverters, etc. it’s not quite as green as it might seem, that sunshine magically powers your devices. Recycling is another thing that sometimes is counterintuitive. There are certain things that cause more pollution and use more energy to recycle than it does to just harvest new materials from their sources. Sort of like the people who think that by doing their banking online that are saving a tree because they don’t get a piece of paper from the bank. When you look at the amount of energy that’s used to run the server farms, the communications networks, the pollution created an energy used to create all of the technology that allows us to bank from our computer or our phone it’s not so great anymore. The biggest thing that we can do if we want to save money, and be green, and save the planet, is to use less, buy fewer things, and use less energy.

        People living in energy intensive, technology driven lifestyle who then think that because they recycle some of their garbage waste that they are saving the planet is akin to the serial killer/cannibal like Jeffrey Dahmer thinking that by going on a diet and eating a few less people is now a model citizen.

        • Excellent common sense exposition on the subject , can the new technology help diminish the use of fossil fuels in the generation of energy , very likely so , will it totally supplant existing grids and systems of generation of energy , very improbable .!! thank you for the realism !!

          • It’s not common sense, it’s a discourse stuck in a 2004-5 era time warp that hasn’t kept up with the fact that over the last decade technical and financial innovations have chipped away at each of these shortcomings and – more importantly – that over the next 10 Solar’s cost-advantage is extremely likely to become overwhelming.

          • over the next 10 Solar’s cost-advantage is extremely likely to become overwhelming.

            Spoken by a poly sci wonk whose acquaintance with the laws of thermodynamics is, I suspect, on a par with Giordani’s acquaintance with the laws of classical economics.

        • Thank you for the reality checks, most of which I’m aware. Now if we can only get the rose-colored-glasses set to move away from magical thinking and hyped-up websites to finally understand these realities.

    • I think you have outdated numbers. A 2-story, 2000sqft house static roof-only installation can provide enough electrical power to take that house with a family of four completely off grid (summer and winter) with an investment amortized over 7-10 years.

        • syd,

          The average roof panel will puts out about .19 kW and takes about 15 sq. ft.
          On a 1000 sq. ft. roof, we can fit 1000/15 panels: 66
          So the roof can produce 66 * 0.19 = 12.54kW
          For Boston’s yearly solar energy, we multiply 12.54 * 1400 = 17,556
          Then reduce it to 78% efficiency: 17,556 * 0.78 = 13,693 kWh
          The daily average is 13,6693 / 365 = 37.5kWh per day

          Is that enough?

          • By the way, Australia is currently testing a transparent solar panel that produces the same amount of electricity of current solar panels, but can be taped on top of them, so, in effect, close to doubling the capacity of current solar panels.

          • yes, I’m aware of the Australian experiment, as well as Dow’s roll out of solar shingles (mostly in the southwestern region of the US). Neither of these options will be cost effective in latitudes above 40 for reasons that several others have stated, your pie-in-the-sky figures for Boston notwithstanding.

          • Latitudes above 40 tend to have colder temperatures, at which my understanding is that solar panels tend to be more efficient.

          • No extorres. Much like your cheerleading ad nauseam over the idealized pet theory of oil2cash distribution for Venezuela, you haven’t thought things through, in realistic terms. You haven’t considered distance of the sun from the equator. You haven’t considered that, in the case of Boston, the rays of the sun are at a shallower angle (more spread out) and days are shorter while nights are longer. Finally, you haven’t considered the obvious: roofs are loaded with snow for months, covering up the solar panels. Think things through, extorres, rather than rely on simplistic popular websites to aid your logic. Yes, a website called solarpowerrocks.com is not the height of impartial credibility.

          • syd, yawn. You’re always judging by the superficial and never by content. I just picked the first solar panel calculator for you, syd; there are countless ones. They all give about the same numbers. I’ve also seen solar panel reports by government certified installers further north than Boston and their numbers match, too.

            Distance to equator, that’s taken into account when one measures the energy obtained at the surface, as per the map.

            Angle, also taken into account, so long as the installer also angles the panels properly.

            Shorter days, also taken into account by the measured energy of the area throughout the year.

            Snow, not as bumming as you imply (i.e., can be removed, sometimes slides off, sunlight sometimes still gets through), but with accumulators (e.g., from Tesla) can be ignored for several months.

            If your house can’t use solar panels, it may be for particular reasons such as mountain or tree shade or roof angles and construction or government specifications.

          • Notwithstanding your intense need to come across as an expert, extorres, your initial blue-skying reveals everything but.

            On countering by others who experience northern latitudes, you then change your tack, presenting figures taken from a superficial pro-PV calculator that in spite of its marketing, peppers its presentation with multiple “it depends”. The latter is ignored by you, in favour of your sweeping I-like-to-pretend-to-be-an-oracle comments.

            As for your I’ve also seen solar panel reports by government certified installers further north than Boston and their numbers match, too.
            Yeah, sure.

            As for other improbables ….
            Angle, also taken into account, so long as the installer also angles the panels properly.
            Your use of language betrays your ignorance, lack of experience with solar panels, and lack of logic. You don’t know what you’re talking about, extorres. Please try not to delude others.

            Snow, not as bumming as you imply (i.e., can be removed, sometimes slides off, sunlight sometimes still gets through), but with accumulators (e.g., from Tesla) can be ignored for several months.
            Laughable twat. Again, you have no clue what you’re talking about, extorres. And rather than point out the fallacies to you, only to have you twist and turn and waste people’s time, I’m just going to allow you to state whatever nonsense fulfills your capacity to delude yourself.

          • syd, you’re out of your element trying to project.

            You’re the one talking about run rays being more “spread out” at northern angles.

            Panels must be angled properly to maximize the energy conversion. You are wrong if you imply otherwise. If the house in question is not facing optimally, and the panels cannot be angled to compensate, that house will not achieve the potential calculated for the area.

            The energy maps measure the actual energy convertible in a region, taking into account all aspects of latitude. They do not take into account specifics like shade from trees and mountains at a particular location.

            The above all is summarized by the website I linked with “it depends”, which it does.

            syd, point to an incorrect statement, and provide proof of what makes it incorrect, or shut up.

          • extorres
            Snow, not as bumming as you imply (i.e., can be removed, sometimes slides off, sunlight sometimes still gets through),

            I suspect that you have little or no direct experience with snow on the roof of your residence. I do, having spent the first half of my life in NE. [play on words: NE in the NE, nada que ver con Omaha NE.] Usually, there is no need to remove snow from a roof, as the snow will add a layer of insulation, which is a good thing when you are dealing with temperatures below freezing. One time with a 24″ snowfall in 24 hours, when drifts were above some of the windows, we decided that removing snow from the roof would be a good thing. I removed snow from a small, nearly horizontal section of the roof using a shovel. Obviously, this involved scraping the roof. Scraping a solar panel with a shovel to remove snow will most likely do harm to the sun-absorbing film on the top of the solar collector.

            If a roof is poorly insulated, the snow will melt off relatively quickly. If a roof is well-insulated, the snow will have a greater tendency to remain. Regarding the dynamics of snow melting off a solar collector, I don’t know.

            Perhaps those infernal leaf blowers could be used to remove snow from solar collectors. However, leaf blowers/snow blowers would work best with a dry snow. With a wet snow, they would be ineffective.

            not as bumming as you imply : Decime otro de vaqueros. [As I worked in Zulia, I didn’t use Tu in Venezuela]
            Which reminds me of a solar-collector story from my NE hometown, where cowboys don’t ride the range. A relatively big player in the local home construction field built his own home. Since it was his own home, he decided to add some deluxe items to his own home. For example he had solar heating panels installed on his own home. The solar heating panels were installed on the north side of the house. Dumb, dumb. dumb.

          • No, extorres, I’ll just continue to let you delude yourself, thinking you’re an expert on a subject with which you have no experience. Clearly you have no clue about the sun’s wider-angled rays during the winter in northern climes. You have no clue about architectural elements facing a certain direction that might otherwise benefit from solar panels on rooftops. You have no clue about aesthetic considerations in a residential area that would limit any angling of panels. You have no clue about snow loads and the length of time that snow stays on insulated rooftops. (Oh no! wait! You say it can be cleared off! LOL) You have no clue about roof pitches and their multiple variations in a residential area. You have no clue when you talk about average. So pretend away, my dear oracle-wanna-be. Show us more your transparency!!

          • Correct, BT. That sentence from extorres was so ludicrous, so transparent, I can understand why the poor dear is busy trying to skate out of it. It’s déjà vu all over again.

          • Boludo Tejano,

            Very incorrect. I have over ten years experience living in snow belt regions,

            As to snow on a roof, yes, if it’s melting, then it is an indication of poor home insulation. But if you have good home insulation, the added insulation from the snow on the roof will provide little benefit, especially when countered by the structural detriment from its weight. With a solar panel, because of the material and angle, a roof will accumulate and shed snow more like a metal roof than like a shingle roof.

            By the way, snow removal from a roof is not supposed to be done with a shovel. The safest method would probably be a steam removal system.

            But like I said, it can be removed, but does not have to be because panels still produce some energy, however little, from light that gets through a few inches of snow, and because with accumulators like those from Musk, the house could be powered for a few months without any light getting through.

          • syd,

            The solar energy maps take into account the average amount of energy from the Sun falling on the surface at the mapped geographies. These take into account the “wider-angled rays during the winter in northern climes” or any factor you are trying to muster up. The engineering firms that install solar panels have energy output estimates for the regions they cover, which take into account snow cover, and even provide typical monthly fluctuations. The one I dealt with had readings from test and home installations in the area over several years, to provide realistic values in their estimates.

            Of course that for any particular house, particular factors come into play. You’re a fool if you think that a general statement will apply to every circumstance. If a house has a roof that cannot take the weight of solar panels, or if it is angled such that the panels will not produce their rated amounts of energy, or if the roof is facing the wrong direction, or if there are mountains or trees shading the roof, those are factors that I had no need to mention in a comment about whether panels can be an economically viable solution for those who have average circumstances and not below average ones, like the strawman case you are depicting.

            Face it, syd, lo tuyo es personal, no racional.

          • extorres
            Very incorrect. I have over ten years experience living in snow belt regions,
            Which makes me all the more surprised that you have such a casual attitude towards the effect of snowfall on the efficiency -and thus efficacy -of a solar collector. Sorta like a catire living in the tropics who discounts the possibility of sunburn.

            By the way, snow removal from a roof is not supposed to be done with a shovel.
            This is a message which never reached the rural area I grew up in. The shovel was the instrument of choice, at least for the do-it-yourself homeowners- and that is about all that there were in the area. No Roof Snow Removal Syndicate in the area to set Roof Snow Removal Standards. In any event, most roofs were designed with a steep pitch, which minimized the issue.

            At least we agree that a shovel should not be used to get snow off a solar roof collector.

            The safest method would probably be a steam removal system.
            While it would be safe, its energy expenditure and cost of service would have to be taken into consideration. I had never heard of using steam to take snow off roofs- that would be something from urban areas, or something that was developed after I left NE. [But then I never heard of leaf blowers while growing up, either. A Raker’s Progress- history of my childhood.] Using steam removal on a solar roof collector will have a definite- and probably substantial- effect on the collector’s net efficiency, considering the energy expended in generating steam in a freezing environment. Granted, using steam may be better than having a completely non-functional solar collector, but its use will still have to be taken into consideration in making a net energy balance. Not to mention the economic cost of using the service.

            Which leads to a similar conclusion: As you have to use something – steam or shovel or anything else- to get rid of the snow, it is problematic to install a solar roof collector in an area with substantial snowfall.

          • Latitudes above 40 tend to have colder temperatures,
            True. However, my experience with NE winters is that most winter days were cloudy, which would reduce the efficiency of a solar collector. A sunny NE winter day is a rare occurrence. Very rare.

          • extorres: “I have over ten years experience living in snow belt regions, ”
            BT: “Which makes me all the more surprised that you have such a casual attitude towards the effect of snowfall on the efficiency -and thus efficacy -of a solar collector.”

            You’re diplomatic, BT. But I agree. Extorres misses by a mile any consideration of snowbound locations in his/her initial sweeping generalization, zero variables mentioned [“… A 2-story, 2000sqft house static roof-only installation can provide enough electrical power to take that house with a family of four completely off grid (summer and winter) with an investment amortized over 7-10 years.”], only to skate around the comments of those pointing out wintry issues and other considerations. The skating later reaches such a pitch that extorres repeatedly loses syntax, while incorporating the earlier statements of others in his/her repartee, now gaining dishonest dimensions, when not a déjà-vu: extorres using us to build a knowledge base that he/she doesn’t initially own, while pretending to be an authority on a given subject. Sigh.

            As usual, extorres is very coy, as befits someone trying to be an authority. So we don’t really know if he/she did in fact have 10 years of experience living in snow belt regions, or whether his/her experience was during an academic formation, whereupon one would live in residence, or rent. Certainly I can’t believe that extorres would have ever formed part of a household with emphasis on the house, in a northern wintry latitude. For that type experience, especially for 10 years, would have altered significantly the incredibly generalized (and authoritative) statement on the subject of solar panels.

            extorres on solar panels in wintry climes: “Snow, not as bumming as you imply (i.e., can be removed, sometimes slides off, sunlight sometimes still gets through), but with accumulators (e.g., from Tesla) can be ignored for several months.”

            Really, now? http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-06/tesla-s-new-battery-doesn-t-work-that-well-with-solar . Never mind solar panels in winter, during very few days of limited light, and wide-angled sun ray dispersal that is not strong.

            What’s next for the weaver?

          • syd, boludo tejano, you’re absolutely right. I did some research and found that I must have imagined it all. I didn’t find a single, large family home using solar energy to be off-grid, let alone in a climate with snow. It turns out that it is impossible. Only billionaires could afford such a system. I take it all back.

          • syd, by the way, just a little science: If one tilts the surface onto which Sun rays fall, perpendicular to the Sun’s rays, then the spread is identical at the equator than at the north pole. A difference would be the amount and type of atmosphere through which the Sun rays travel, but those are other topics.

          • No extorres, you have no clue about the science of the sun in winter climates. But I understand how immature (and insecure) folks like yourself need to scramble to pretend to be what they aren’t and pretend to know what they don’t. Your comments, as well as your lack of integrity in owning up to some of your bogus remarks and skating routines, when countered, have totally discredited you on the topic of solar panels, as they did on your moralizing tap dances over your dream of oil2cash for Venezuela, damn the realities.

            As a clue, this link from Nasa may help you better understand the science knowledge you now pretend to have — and don’t: http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/stargaze/Sunangle.htm

          • syd, read your own damn link! Look at the diagram.

            If you angle away from the perpendicular of the Sun’s rays, it spreads. What you keep insisting happens in northern latitudes, refers to the Sun’s rays ON THEN GROUND. But if you angle a solar panel to be perpendicular to the rays, whether at the equator or anywhere else, they will be spread the SAME.

            Holy cow, syd, think!

          • Once again, it’s you, extorres, who can’t think in realistic terms, nor evidently read the finer print (*). Because, contrary to your claim of 10 years of experience in northern latitudes (LOL), and your attempt to sell us on your knowledge base of solar panels (in winter climes), reality bites.

            From an architectural point of view, do tell us real winter birds at what pitch or angle might the roof-top solar panel be in northern latitudes, on a rooftop in a residential area, so as to maximize the sun’s rays.

            Next, tell us again, from your engineering-vetted government sources (LOL) and the reality of a foot or more of snow on rooftops that can stay a good two months or more, how that — in your words “sunlight sometimes still gets through, but with accumulators (e.g., from Tesla) can be ignored for several months.” Meaning, in Tesla batteries that been proven ineffective in such climates, as per a recent Bloomberg link I provided you.

            Finally, do you have any more links, other than your PV-panel sales outfit that offers a come-on calculator, which only works when one submits one’s contact particulars, threafter used for direct marketing, sometimes sold to third parties?

            (*) In the arctic summer, even though the sun shines 24 hours a day, it produces only moderate warmth, because it skims around the horizon and its light arrives at a low angle.

          • “Is that enough?”
            Here we go again. You throw out numbers but don’t back them up, as though you were some drunken researcher trying hard to prove your point.
            You mention “average” without accounting for any sense of geography/climate, distance from the equator, geographical locations, direction of the roof vis-à-vis the sun, the potential for obstruction, type of roof, its pitch, etc. In sum, what the hell are you talking about when you mention “average”? Jeeez. Unbelievable.
            Next, where do you pull these figures from?
            The 78% efficiency that you designate Boston is a real jewel. Did you make that up, too?

          • extorres,
            In your mathematical computation from that very scientific site called solarpowerrocks, you have omitted, perhaps by design, the critical and repeated phrase: “it depends”. Like your cherry-picking cheers for the oil2cash distribution proposal (for Venezuela), there are many variables that your rose-colored glasses do not want to consider regarding solar power generation via residential roof panels.

          • Syd, you *started* by telling us your skepticism was based on…five year old information! On a subject whose single most salient fact is that its basic features are changing terrifyingly fast. And you strike this pose of hard-boiled realism. No me jodas vale…

          • Not quite, Quico. Nine years ago, I looked into thermal conversions to supplant (not replace) electrical power at a suburban church, whose pastor was an engineer by training. Five years ago I dug for practical information at a realistic level, rather than choosing to understand solar power energy from secondary source readings. A few years later, I called Dow to discuss solar shingles, again digging for realism, away from secondary-source readings designed to sell financial vehicles, and Musk presentations of sexy objects designed to sell PV panels. In the process I came to understand that alternative energy sources has its limits, and solar power energy most definitely has its physical limits in 40+ latitudes at both ends of the globe.

            I realize that your youthful enthusiasm has many times led you to quickly jump on bandwagons. Don’t put me in the same category, Bub.

            Note: I am not putting solar power down, even for 40+ latitudes. I’m just pointing out some of its limitations and underscoring those presented elsewhere.

          • syd, I have also looked at engineering firm, government certified analysis for homes further north than Boston, not secondary sources. I will not share with you the non secondary sources, but will tell you that the many calculators on the Web match quite well with the numbers by the engineering firms. If the results don’t quite make everyone jump out and say “I’m switching!” it is because, you’re right, the results are not quite there yet, but they are so dang close that many people *are* switching. Quico’s post is spot on.

          • I have also looked at engineering firm, government certified analysis for homes further north than Boston, not secondary sources. I will not share with you the non secondary sources…

            Yes, I’m sure you have, dear. Ooooh, top secret. Keep deluding yourself, extorres. Show us more!

          • “Not quite, Quico. Nine years ago, I looked into thermal conversions to supplant (not replace) electrical power at a suburban church, whose pastor was an engineer by training. Five years ago I dug for practical information at a realistic level, rather than choosing to understand solar power energy from secondary source readings. A few years later, I called Dow to discuss solar shingles, again digging for realism, away from secondary-source readings designed to sell financial vehicles, and Musk presentations of sexy objects designed to sell PV panels.”

            “Yes, I’m sure you have, dear.”

          • Whatever, extorres. Keep skating. I’ve known your phoney routines for a long time. Others are now cottoning onto that with your latest bogus attempt at being knowledgeable in a subject that you don’t command.

            You say it’s personal? No, extorres. Even if it were Perenceja, I would let him know in short order the way detest pathological liars, pretenders, and phoneys who aim to fool others into thinking that they are what they aren’t, or that they have all the answers that they don’t.

      • What’s your source for the numbers game you throw out extorres? That is, without considering critical factors, mentioned below, among them geography — a no brainer.

    • I looked into the residential-solar-panel marketing blitz in my home city (Popn 500,000), about 5 years ago. And I found a few surprises: up-front costs, a lease contract that locked in customers for 7 years (7 years! technology goes through a lot changes in that time frame, while you’re locked into obsolescence), no off-the grid capability, but rather a locked in arrangement whereby you can buy any daily deficit in solar production (and there would be plenty during winter, or if your roof had minimal exposure to the southwest) and sell any of your surplus energy to the electrical company. In sum, it was not the pie-in-the-sky that Elon Musk or this post wants you to believe.

      There was a time, or perhaps still — not sure — that if you lived in a rural location, you could/can be off-the-grid. But like in Spain, that type of libertarian practice does not last long. There’s always someone leading you to the trough.

      • I had some of those newfangled “electricity” salespeople come by my house recently to try to sell me their wares. You had to string these unsightly string-looking “cable” things to your house, the entire thing could catch on fire at any time, and the cost!..what hogwash, wax candles and gas lights have always been good enough ’round here.

    • In addition to the problems associated with the initial investment, the largest consumers of electricity are not residential customers, but industry. Photovoltaic panels are not going to generate the massive amounts of electrical energy consumed such things as manufacturing and aluminum smelting.

      Look, I am not saying that alternate technologies will not start to capture greater and greater segments of the energy market. But, it won’t happen as fast as some people are thinking. Even if electric cars become the norm, trucking transport will still be using diesel fuel. Planes will still need jet fuel. Plus, the industrialization of new markets will keep on increasing demand for petroleum. The new technologies will not reduce demand soon. They will only slow the rate of increase in demand.

      I think that Venezuela can count on continuing to sell petroleum for at least the next two decades. Note: Given the accelerating rate of changes in the world, I refuse to make ANY predictions for more than two decades from now.

  4. Well, I have said this for the last 10 years or so and “energy” specialists and economists said it was rubbish.

    It is not about photo-voltaic energy alone. I see it in Europe everywhere now: it is about making cars more efficient, making houses much more energy efficient, it is about wind energy etc, etc.

    Every way you see it, oil as main source of revenue is fraught to end. If oil prices were to rise by a zillion, this would accelerate the energy shift by a lot. If not, any country depending too much on oil and with a positive population growth would get into trouble really soon…much so if the country became one of the most corrupt on Earth.

    • There will always be a need for what I like to call high density energy sources like oil/LNG that can pack a lot of BTUs into a small space. We’ll never have electric ships (that plug in at the dock and run between ports crossing oceans on batteries) or electric trains that carry their own power (batteries, solar panels on the roof), 18 wheelers, etc. There is a lot we can do to become more efficient, and use alternative energy in applications where it’s appropriate, but where we need a lot of energy in a small space it doesn’t work. 90 megatons of TNT might cost the same as a 90 megaton nuclear bomb, but we won’t figure out a way to drop 90 megatons of TNT via a ballistic missile.

      Someday nuclear could replace fossil fuels if it wasn’t for that whole terrorist thing.

      • I don’t disagree with what you say. The point I am trying to convey is that
        The world will heavily depend on oil for many decades still.
        It is not only about energy: a lot of what a lot of people are wearing has actually some oil component, just as an example.
        The point is: all those things will be slowly but surely replaced. Even a country as devoid of corruption as Norway, with its low population growth, is trying to see how it can diversify.

        People are expecting magic shifts. That almost never happens. But a tiny yearly loss of opportunity for a fast growing population has already very dramatic effects.

      • The day Fusion reactors become viable, we can kiss goodbye to all current forms of energy generation bar PV for offgrid applications.

        That day will come in the next 20 years

        • I hope that in your 20-year projection, you are not assuming that conversion to energy from fusion reactors will be near instant/very widespread. I also hope you don’t assume that changes in infrastructure will be cheap.

        • The day Fusion reactors become viable, we can kiss goodbye to all current forms of energy generation bar PV for offgrid applications.

          Fusion has been the energy source of the future for at least 50 years. Which reminds me of a dinner I had back in the day with family friends and a guest from western Canada, the homeland of one of the family friends. As an engineering student interested in energy, I asked the guest about tar sands in Alberta, and got a positive response. Tar sands in Alberta is one of those future energy sources that have panned out. Another future energy source that has to a degree panned out is wind energy, with generating costs having fallen greatly in the last 30 years, with taller and more efficient wind turbines. Regarding fusion- while we should continue to invest in research, I would be skeptical about its panning out.

  5. Several things Quico, the best research source for this is Allianc Bernstein – they wrote something similar and very thorough in…..Summer 2013. Secondly caveat emptor with ‘bank research’ banks don’t produce research (its not peer reviewed, and its internally filtered if it goes against the interests of the bank/or any important client). Anyhow, there are some interesting considerations too. Some parts of the world may skip the grid altogether. For example in 2013, the Bernstein analyst traveled to rural India. There is no grid there, well in small villages for the price of a goat, goat herders were able to install a solar PV system, this was life transforming as it allowed them not walk miles to recharge their mobile phones, plus provided light at night. Now coming back to the West. Well its kind of tricky, we may end up relying less on the grid (ceteris paribus on current technology), I think the grid will end up being like our fixed landlines (phone) used less but still there. At the moment there are some tricky things, if you turn on several appliances at home, the surge in your power consumption could not be handled by your solar panels, etc, of course this may change. Anyhow all this may be a hidden blessing, as (let me come out of this closet….) I am one of those who thinks oil has been a curse, it will remain a curse, for us, because its the property of the State (Dorothy we are not in Texas). Once oil becomes worthless, the eternal ‘mojon mental’ that every Venezuelan is indoctrinated with (pre and post Chavez) -chamos somos un pais rico- can be buried once and for all. It is this ‘somos un pais rico’ BS that I think is toxic for the whole of Venezuelan society.

    • – Solar energy is not necessarily about abandoning the grid. I think the most efficient use of solar energy can be done by the utility companies not the individual.

      – I do not think oil can ever become worthless, it is a great source of very cheap energy (and that is with high oil prices). Oil prices will go down as demand decreases but there is always going to be an important demand. That will mean that oil that is costly to acquire or process (like the orinoco oil) will become unfeasible and will have to remain there, so yes that one may become worthless.

    • its not peer reviewed, and its internally filtered if it goes against the interests of the bank/or any important client.

      I can certainly vouch for that.

  6. Many years ago oil took over coals place as the primary source of energy , and yet there is still a coal industry , its not as important and profitable as it used to be but its still there , the main consequences for coal of oil catching up to its usefulness and convenience and surpassing it is that coal is now a business with paper thin profits which is run on a very tight and optimized form of operation . I think that Anons comments are the most balanced and realistic , ultimtately oil is going to become less competitive as an energy source but it will take a long time for it to cease to have the importance it has today .!! Meantime we must try and improve and optimize the way we exploit it so that it yields the most it can in an increasingly more difficult market enviroment and of course see if we can diversify as a country our sources of forex income (which people think easy and which is actually something extremely difficult to achieve subject to all kinds of contingent factors) .!!

      • Thanks for the information Kepler which interesting although Im not sure how to interpret it , my fear is that the greater the rate of population growth the more difficult is to give it a better quality of life because less has to be apportioned among more. and that too rapid population growth makes for a greater chance of the social fabric getting damaged and the institutions being rendered less capable of dealing with the needs of a rapidly increased population.

        According to the posted data there are 4 more venezuelans now than there were in 1960, while there are 3 more Colombians now than there were in 1960, I think that the 1960 Venezuelan population data needs checking , the data given was that it was above 7 million whereas I remember it being closer to 6 million which would mean that our population quintuppled between 1960 and now ( from 6 to 30 million) making things worse.

        Colombia derives most of its forex income from oil and carbon and other mineral exports , something like 70% if memory serves me right , some 15 to 20% from manufacturing and the rest from agriculture ( including cofee and carnic products ) . Their overall income on average is much lower than has been the case in Venezuela . They are definitely a poorer country .

        One thing that distinguishes us from them is that they have an established upper class which dominates both political power and the economy since forever and which is more forward looking and better organized than most . A class which really has taken up a ‘project colombia’ that helps the country achieve goals that are difficult , they also have a tradition of hard work and entrepeneurship which is greater than our own.

        Alberto Quiros once wrote an article years ago when he attended a meeting of press owner and publishers where he reported his surprise at how tightly the press organizations were run vs the situation in Venezuela.

        • Colombians are also much better educated in general than Venezuelans, and I don’t mean just the Alphabrutisasion Chavista.

        • Regarding the population issue. I know there is a lot of debate of whether population growth will be crucial for the sustainability of our planet. But according to many studies population will peak and then fall very quickly. In Venezuela for example, even if our population has grown, birth rates have fallen and I think we are ‘borderline replacement rates’ (2.1 births per woman and still decreasing). In most of the developed countries, birth rates are way below replacement rates (US is the highest with 1.7). Furthermore, as many developing nations are urbanizing, birth rates will fall even more (The fact that the US is the highest is mainly because of migration, so as many developing countries urbanize there will be less migration as the population starts to shrink). I think we could be very optimistic that since the world is becoming more urban, we can reap the benefits of economies of scale to reduce the costs of energy (including alternative energy). Maybe in the future we could be arguing that there is not enough population to support all of the infrastructure we have in place right now, or we could see new migrations between regions/countries to offset these changes.

      • It’s also good for Hydro Québec. In fact they do interesting research on batteries. If Mr Musk is successful and people in Vermont, New Hampshire and upstate New York start buying electric cars HQ could very well sell them some of that electricity.

  7. Oil is a curse as much as owning a car is a curse for someone who insists that it is best used if driven under the influence , the real curse lies in our inability to understand and deal with our oil resources with any degree of rationality and balance , our propensity of creating with it kind of ‘cargo cult’ , os seeing it as a magic source of limitless wealth capable of allowing us to gratify all our wishes and desires with no productive effort required on our part to develop a more diversified and sane economy .!!

    We are also too candid in thinking that if it had never existed we would automatically have been able to develop an economy capable of giving us many of the things we have enjoyed for most of our lives ( excepting the current sick politically caused disaster) . Developing a modern economy is tough, requiring virtues which perhaps we dont posses in abundance and a great deal of ingenuity and hard effort and luck. Maybe we would have become a big Honduras or a second class Colombia .

    What we must learn is to see the opportunity for economic gorwth that oil offers us with a more maturity and intelligence , try and fight the tendency to use it to create a clientelistic corrupt system of inept goveranance. The curse is not in the oil , its in our heads.!!

    • You will never get the simple equation, Bill.

      Resource curse = One precious resource abounds + population is uneducated, almost savage (pero alfabrutisada) + government is “populist” or “democratic”, as opposed to authoritarian = Massive Corruption, Kleptozuelan or Nigerian Megaguiso Festival is AUTOMATIC.

      Please notice the important + signs in the equation: all factors are necessary.

      It’s infallible, Historically, Worldwide.

      • I get the equation all right , the thing is that among the factors that cause the curse the sick corrupt populist cultural mentality factor comes first , there are countries that have oil but arent cursed , dont blame the car for car accidents blame the imprudence of drivers , their ineptness and drining habits. !!

      • your “equation” seems to forget the preexisting problems that venezuela had before the disastrous Chavez era.
        You cannot gloss over the reality that venezuela before chavez was a plutocracy that suffered from the same problems it does today if perhaps to an arguably lesser degree.
        A resource is not a curse unless it is mismanaged by the ruling classes.Populism and democracy are not the problem. Greed and corruption are the curse and there has never been a shortage of that in venezuela.

        • Fred : Fukuyama has studied the phenomena of populism/ clientelism extensively , it is the first obstacle to the creation of a modern functioning state , one which is institutional and not subordinate to any political partisan concerns and it is endemic in any young inmature democracy where the ruler treats its control of the state resources as something which it can use to advance its sectarian political and sometimes personal patrimonial agenda . Historically its a phenomenon common to all young democracies . Even the US went through a lenghty populist clientelar stage from the time of Andrew Jackson until the changes intorduced by the Peddleton act and later Teodore Roosevelt freed the US government civil service from this plague . Palante is right in that historical observation shows that modern governance is something more easilty born during the time of authoritarian regimes , but it can be done in democracy if the pols are pressured into it by a proactive public opinion. I suggest you try to read Fukuyamas latest book on the Political Order and Political Decay , its a hefty book but he can deep into the historical roots of clientelar populism and how sometimes it can get suppressed even in a democracy .

          I would point your attention that sometimes its not only corruption that hinders good governance ( although not as terribly as is sometimes alleged , by way of example look at Chinas regime which tolerates a certain measure of corruption but which has delivered its people a much improved standard of living . ) also to be considered is the incompetence of rulers , their inept handling of public resources and of course the ideological delusions which make their thinking and decisionmaking stupid and destructive.

          The latter factor is to be feared as much as the former , even though few people take notice of it.

        • “A resource is not a curse unless it is mismanaged by the ruling classes.Populism and democracy are not the problem. Greed and corruption are the curse and there has never been a shortage of that in venezuela.”

          Populism is a monumental problem for numerous reason. But that’s another story.

          Greed and corruptions are the result of the “Curse”. Or do you think they only grow on Venezuelan oil producing trees?

          Excessive Greed starts with lack of education, lack of moral values. Uncontrolled Corruption develops due to the lack of controls and constraints from the soft, corrupt so-called “democracies”. 2 of the crucial factors of the infallible equation. It is exacerbated by the oil curse, because you have more to steal, and an easy substance to steal, as opposed to developing other areas of the economy that are not that easily stolen and turned into quick-cash (agriculture and other industries).

          Populism exacerbates the problem even more, as opposed to authoritarian Regimes where fewer people steal and nation-wide corruption is diminished (Qatar, Arab countries, 5 years of MPJ, when they built most of what you see in Vzla today).

          Unconvinced? One word: Petrobras.

  8. I’m hearing stories about local governments and ulitities in North America pushing back on this trend by introducing extra costs and user fees. In that sense our politics and what drives it still resembles the stone age. But in my view the only thing that will allow Venezuela to become a developed democracy in the long run is if you are right, and Venezuelans are forced to depend more like everyone else on their human capacity to feed themselves and run their country.

  9. Slightly OT but another technology that will cap the price of crude is the conversion of natural gas to liquids. Fracking has had an effect on gas prices even more dramatic than on crude prices, resulting in increasing substitution of gas as feedstock.

    For the first time last week I replaced my old crankcase oil with Pennzoil’s synthetic made from natural gas.
    Diesel, jet fuel, and gasoline made from gas is also close to becoming economically competitive.

    Conversion modules are being tested that are small enough to go after wasted gas, ie., gas now flared from offshore or other remote sources, distant from pipelines.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_to_liquids

    • This is Shells vision since the nineties, natural gas can used to do many of the things which are done with refined crude oil , natural gas is much cleaner , abundant and very often cheaper to produce and process , it probably isnt the money maker that crude has been but there is a lot going for it . Venezuela is also rich in gas resources , less so than in crude oil but rich enough . I wonder why its not included in the package of energy resources of the future. , its certainly a very promising product if you look at what new technology can do with it. !!

      • Hmmm. The world’s largest oil reserves, rich in natural gas, mega-amounts of sunshine, and a Cuban-style government to put it all together and make it work!

        Venezuela has to be the best place on Earth to live! A progressive, socialist paradise!

        • Resources per se dont make a country rich , what makes a country rich is its people capacity to transform those resources into wealth , moreover its organizational and institutional capacity to make the best most profitable use of those resources . Lacking the latter , we are unfortunatelly a rather poor country !!

          The case has been made (with malicious and shrill glee) that an abundance of resources can also have an adverse effect on peoples habits of thought and behaviour which sap their development of the capacity to make the best use of their resources . This is true , but also true is that with the right mental approach an abundance of resources can help people achieve a better life for themselves. !!

  10. “Yes, we the Spaniards have good neighbours and thanks to Germany we have learnt something about managing our economy (there is no other way with an straight jacket like the euro) but USA is not far away from Venezuela and it could teach you guys a lot. I guess it is impossible without your own straight jacket..”

    I like the “straight Jacket” metaphor. Comparing today’s Spain, an educated, developed European country with savage Kleptozuela is way too generous, though. We’re a Century behind Greece, if that.

    The only “straight jacket” that could save an utterly destroyed Venezuela, in the profoundly putrid, abominable state it is at all levels of society, would be a new Authoritarian Right-Wing corrective regime.

    Hopefully better than Franco, (my parents and entire family lived through it in Northern Spain) or even Pinochet, or MPJ, tough, bloody times.

    Although can you imagine Venezuela today after 17 years of Pinochet or 17 years of Perez Jimenez, instead of 17 of Chavismo, and/or 40 years of Ad/Copey MUD ?!

    250,000 people would not have been murdered, not even 5,000. That’s for sure.

    Venezuela would look like Qatar or Dubai, better than Chile, or something like my country, modestia aparte.

    • “I like the “straight Jacket” metaphor. Comparing today’s Spain, an educated, developed European country with savage Kleptozuela is way too generous, though. We’re a Century behind Greece, if that”

      If that were true, you wouldn’t have had so many Spaniards, and other Europeans, including Italians and other European peoples, flocking to Venezuela in dorves seeking a better live as far as the 90’s… Hell, if Spaniards were choosing Venezuela to live, that’s the undeniable ultimate evidence that proves that Venezuela was ahead of Spain in that time!!! Actually, Venezuela has been much richer than most of South America thoughout all XX century, even when I see videos of Venezuela today, I still can notice that the poor dress better and the cars are beter than what we have here in Brazil. Venezuela was some sort of Eldorado of South Ameirca, they were building 200 metre-high skyscrapers when there were none in the continent. Venezuela was the Eldorado to Portuguese people as well, even today the Potuguese community in Venezuela is one of the largest and most influential in the world because of its size.

      This view that Venezuela is “100 years behind” is not only obsolete but inacurate. How long did it take for the Czech Republic to be rebuilt after the fall of the USSR? And Romenia? And Estonia? 100 years?

      Put MCM ruling Venezuela and in 10 years, not 100, the country will be back as its feet. Don’t fall for the stupid theories that argue that you need 100 generations to improve a country in a globalized world. Brain drain? Put MCM and the brain-drain tide will reverse. Capital flight? The same.

      • “If that were true, you wouldn’t have had so many Spaniards, and other Europeans, including Italians and other European peoples, flocking to Venezuela in dorves seeking a better live as far as the 90’s…”

        Your logic there is as flawed as it can possibly be. You seem to lack what most Venezuelans do, a lack of basic History schooling.

        The Spaniards or Europeans that went to Venezuela,were escaping the freaking Worldwide Depression on the late 20’s, as a desperate adventure, sort-of like a wild-wild west move in the USA, from Britain before. Or, a bit later, the second wave of Spaniards (including my parents) came because of a brutal Civil War, and the ensuing massive economic depression, plus those fleeing Franco’s Dictatorial repression.

        https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerra_Civil_Espa%C3%B1ola

        It was a time of opportunity in Vzla, guess why? MPJ had been around for a short while, and the Ad/Copey MUD had not corrupted the entire country yet. As soon as Spain recovered from those Historic Blows, Civil War, Economic Depression, and Dictatorship persecution, and then Vzla started getting corrupted ZERO Spaniards continue to come. Trust me, I grew up in the 70’s in CCS. None came after the 60’s. Other Europeans? Very few, looking for a chance to get rich quick, in the “new world” they went everywhere in S. America, the adventurous few Europeans. That migration was greatly reduced in the 60’s and 70’s, even with the oil boom, then the 80’s. No one in their right minds came to Kleptozuela in the 90’s, unless they has a juicy “GUISO” waiting for them somewhere.

        The 100 years behind Greece was mostly a joke between Spaniards that you probably missed. But yes, you can’t compare Spain, a country with Centuries of History behind it, a mayor economic power still, part of the EU and the Developed First world, to svage, murderous, corrup, massively ignorant and under-educated Vzla, one of the worst countries on the Planet today. You are comparing Haiti to France, dude. It might take less than a century, but not much less, to get to Europe’s level. Even The USA is still playing catch-up in many ways, in terms of Culture and Savoir Vivre.

        • Not to mention that every single European who could, or their children born in Vzla or other S. American populist disasters, got the hell out of there by the millions as soon as they could, starting in the early 90’s, if not earlier. Even the poorest Portuguese Panaderos we loved so much, or the poor Gallegos with their awesome tascas, and their children, packed their bags got the hell out, forever, in the past 40 years.
          Most of the readers of this blog or the 1.5 Million of us educated Euro-Venezuelans that left know that all too well.

          So if anything, Vzla has been Regressing in time, while Europe is always leading the way, forging ahead, working less and enjoying the finer things in life. The Gap between the Third World and First World actually seems to be getting larger, when you look at Europe and whatever’s left of Vzla. With few exceptions.

  11. Thank you for the post, even if we are the only ones who get it. Sometimes I feel like CC its its own echo chamber screaming in the wilderness and nobody listening.

    I put my money with Elon Musk and Tesla anyday. When he gets done with his Giga factory and his battle with the utility companies in the USA, you will begin to see huge chunks of the USA go of the grid. His system of solar panels and batteries that Tesla is developing, will completely solve the problem of off-peak power generation and storage.

    The Germans are already producing a big chunk of their electricity from solar even though they get a fraction of the sunlight than the USA gets. The USA has enough sunlight and resources to produce 100% of its electricity from solar using a tiny fraction of its land.

    The issue is not how but when it will all happen. The Europeans and USA progressives realize that we HAVE to move to renewable resources if we are going to have an Earth to live on. The transition has already begun.

    Those of you who want to become familiar with the view of this issue from an USA progssive should read “The Collapse of Western Civilization” by Naomi Oreskes. She is a well respected Harvard Professor.

    • It’s a novel dude. Pure fiction. Besides, ivory tower “progressives” have been predicting the end of western civilization since at least the start of the industrial revolution and the writings of Karl Marx.

  12. Current U. S. oil usage in bbls./da. is roughly 66% transportation/24% industrial/10% residential-commercial-power generation. The Elon Musk revolution will affect transportation usage, as well as industrial/residential/commercial usage. The problem with expensive $60+/bbl oil is that it generates alternative cost-competitive sources, which are non-carbon polluting, which will become increasingly important in a global-warming environment, as usage of carbon-emitting fuels is increasingly taxed/discouraged. The Saudis have seen the future, and with 200 years or so of light crude reserves, are maximizing current production/income. while their new 3000-student tech university is studying ways to generate alternative power sources, such as wind, while trying to diversify the Saudi economy away from oil, including plans to manufacture finished vehicle parts. .Venezuela is mired in the past, with an historically-failed political ideology, a financially-bankrupt country, a technologically-bankrupt oil industry, with their hopes unrealistically pinned on $65/bbl. break-even heavy oil, and with an abysmally undereducated human resources base with which to diversify its economy away from oil, to, say, international tourism, which, with Venezuela’s abundant natural geographical beauty, and proximity to the U. S. market, could easily supplant oil’s foreign currency income in time.

    • The Saudis have seen the future, and with 200 years or so of light crude reserves, are maximizing current production/income. while their new 3000-student tech university is studying ways to generate alternative power sources, such as wind,
      You mean jinn, not wind. The average Saudi has barely enough energy to pick up his purse.

  13. Use of oil is mostly concentrated in transportation and industry , not in power generation where other sources are much more competitive ( starting with natural gas) . Oils presence in the power generation industry is minimal . Solar pannels used to provide electricity to homes and buildings will no hurt oil as much as electric cars. Venezuela tried to maintain the presence of oil in power generation thru Orimulsion (which could be burned with minimum emissions and had a very low cost) but the effort has been abandoned . Use of oil for industrial products will probably remain high althugh its bound to diminish in the transportation sector as the use of electric motor vehicles rises and becomes dominant..

    The economics of substituting all the existing infrastructure which uses oil for infrastructure which uses other power sources will be fraught with great challenges , it will take decades before its completed . The economics of the substitution will have to provide a big incentive for users to do so. otherwise business losses will be inmense . That will have a big impact on how quickly other sources or forms of energy displace oil from its current position .

    At some point Venezuela will be forced to change the way it exploits and takes advantage of its hydrocarbon resources if it is to survive as a livable place , the current shodiness will have to be replaced with forms and systms of exploitation which are run and organized with optimal technical and commercial efficiency . In the developed world its already happening in Britains north sea , where fields which were to be abandoned in a few year have had their exploitation systems upgraded to such exquisite pitch of perfection that they will now remain exploitable for years to come .

    Thats a challenge we must face and which we havent even started to think about yet . Diversification iinto other economic areas is another challenge but it will be take time and be more difficult to confront if the buffeting of oil income were to dissapear too prematurely ,

      • Absolutely, petro-chemicals will still be around, but they need updated state-of-the-art refineries, with constant expensive maintenance, and experienced well-paid personnel, who don’t steal copper tubing/wires/employee cars from the employee parking lot/etc.–so much for Venezuela’s hopes in this regard, for the time being….

  14. There is this superstition that processing crude into products or that using it as feedstock to produce petrochemicals is always preferrable to selling it as crude , the truth of the matter is that depending on market conditions thats not always the case , sometimes refining causes a crude producer to lose money , other times is helps it to make more money , sometimes (oftimes) the petrochemical market is a very low profit market worse than refining or selling crude , The simplistic view that the further you go in the processing chain the better the economic result has been shatered again and again as prices and market conditions fluctuate and change . These facts are the kind of facts people in the street never learn about because their not into the reality of the business. What is important is to have a versatile capacity for disposing of the crude different ways where conditions change and make one kind of oil business better or worse than the rest , Thats the problem with making the reality of oil into a cauldron of myths without actually experiencing in real time how the business actually works. We live in a world were amateurs have views that they imagine are as good as those of professionals. !! how many people know that the best feedstocks for petrochemicals are very often methane gas not nafta or some other refined product ?? I dont know why oil being so very important to our survival as an economy people dont try more seriously to inform themselves about how the business of oil operates. One thing which is clear is that in future we will need a Pdvsa or some other kind of oil industry operation which is technicaly and commercialy top knotch and absolutely independent from partisan political microcontrol !! Even if the pols are able to resist the clientelar or cheap populist temptations their ignorance has cost the country billions thru out the decades because they are inept at controlling handling the oil business as if it were an abstract symbolic patriotic concept !! .

    We cannot afford to continue to have our oil handled by patriotically inspired amateurs no matter how popular they become or how high they rise the political ladder.

  15. I dunno, some really good comments here against PV taking over. I am strongly tempted to put my money with Francisco that PV is poised to spread, but I am not sure how relevant that is to Venezuela. The objections to PV (connecting household supplies to the grid for instance) sound like minor technicalities but they are probably not so relevant anyway. The key question is about use of internal combustion engines versus batteries to power vehicles, and not about where the electricity to power electric vehicles is going to come from. Afaik oil is not a dominant resource for electricity production (see ref below). The question is more about making electric vehicles economical and lowering the cost of batteries, not the cost of electricity. Will battery prices continue to go down and the technology become widely adopted?

    The future of PV is not so relevant to Venezuela unless electric vehicles *dependent* on PV for charging becomes the norm, and that last condition seems one too many.

    http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/keyworld2014.pdf

  16. I am arriving late to this discussion, but it sounds incomplete to me to talk about grid parity without mentioning feed-in tariffs, capacity mechanisms and the whole range of policy instruments in place in most developed markets to force the introduction of renewables – some of which are rather controvertial, to say the least.

    So long as there is no credible energy storage alternative available to TSOs, it seems unlikely that renewables will face out flexible fossil fuel generation in the short term – for an acceptable retail price anyway.

    I do find the discussion interesting though. Thanks for raising the issue.

    • it sounds incomplete to me to talk about grid parity without mentioning feed-in tariffs, capacity mechanisms and the whole range of policy instruments in place in most developed markets to force the introduction of renewables

      Another welcomed realist, thank you Yuruan. Though that information is not likely to be included in sell sheets on yieldcos, as pumped by Deutsche Bank, or indirectly by the author of this melodramatic post.

  17. syd, in reply to the thread above: I’m really gonna try to clear this up.

    Imagine a paper on a table. If we take a flashlight and shine its circular beam straight down on the paper, then the light on the paper will form a circle of light. This is the scenario of the Sun shining down at noon at the equator on a flat field. If we now move the flashlight so that instead of being perpendicular to the table it shines on the paper at an angle to the table, then the light on the paper will become oval shaped (i.e., what you’ve been describing as spreading out). This is the scenario of the Sun shining at an angle on a flat field, whether it is in the evening in the equator, or noon at very northern latitudes. If we leave the flashlight in this last position and raise the angle of the paper so that it is perpendicular to the light beam, the shape of light on the paper will go from oval shaped, back to a circle shape (i.e., no longer spread out).

    What you keep bringing up is the lower amount of Sun’s energy reaching the parts of Earth where the rays are incoming at non perpendicular angles. It’s not that the Sun’s rays have less energy, it’s just that they are more spread out, as per above, at these latitudes. But if one compensates, even in at those latitudes, by tilting a surface to be perpendicular to the Sun’s rays, the rays won’t be spread out any longer on that surface. Close to the Poles, solar panels are placed on the walls of buildings, not roofs, for example, because the sunlight approaches mostly from the sides. Another example, if you lie on the sand at a beach at noon, it is the skin perpendicular to the sunlight that will get sunburned first and most, regardless of latitude.

    The outputs of solar panels at different locations on Earth are thus not affected by this spreading out of Sun rays that you brought up, syd, if the panels are angled perpendicular to the sunlight. Their outputs are mostly affected by the amount of atmosphere through which the sunlight must travel, and by the duration of exposure. The monthly and annual energy maps used by solar panel installers take this into account in making their estimates. They can even calculate the diminished output of a solar panel if it will be installed at non optimal angles.

    To clarify a few other things, syd, I did not say 10 years experience in northern latitudes. I said 10 years experience living in the *snow belt*; if I add all my years living in northern latitudes, the total is more than 18 years. As to snow, solar panels work even after light snow. They stop producing electricity after a few inches of snow, or if one area of the panel is blocked. Black solar panels tend to melt and shed snow naturally. The snow surrounding a panel actually increases the effectiveness of the panel from sunlight reflecting onto the panel. The melting of snow is also increased due to reflection. In heavier snowfall, the panel’s heat melts the snow near it letting all the snow slide off. The installation should prevent accumulation of snow at the foot of the panel to maximize the shedding of the snow. When the panel is overwhelmed with snow, garden rakes, or squeegee type tools are suggested, though roof snow removal should be done by professionals. Down times will be covered by the accumulators.

    Here’s a link to solar industry associations: http://www.solarpvdirectory.com/associations.php . Pick the country of your choice and visit the websites of their members.

    If you were right in everything with which you’ve been trying to insult me, there would be no installations of solar panels in northern latitudes. The fact that there are countless installations and that their number is growing supports Quico’s post, contrary to your position. Really, syd, lo tuyo es personal.

    • Thank you for your scholastic presentation of the light from a flashlight on white paper to illustrate the light from the sun. I’m fully aware of this, as noted in my earlier comment, which encompassed as well, other factors applied to residential houses in a snow-belt. http://caracaschronicles.com/2015/07/25/repent-repent-grid-parity-is-nigh/#comment-200499, to which you replied: http://caracaschronicles.com/2015/07/25/repent-repent-grid-parity-is-nigh/#comment-200615. Hopefully the text in the Nasa link I provided you might have helped you as well. But nothing will bring home the issue as does living a house in a snow-belt region, better yet, owning it to gain a better appreciation of investment and maintenance costs of your latest cheerleading over solar panels.

      Thank you, too, for you link to trade associations assisting PV panel salesmen and consultants, in various countries of the world. One out of two Canadian links wasn’t working; the other has no portal with objective information for the public. It is, after all, a trade association with a membership drive. A trade assn link would never be my logical choice for objective public education on and pitfall awareness of the solar panel industry. Then again, you and I have different criteria for evaluating objective information. And I must say, this second link you provide is a step up from that ridiculous PV panel calculator (think vacuum salesman) you thought would be so helpful in outlining your position.

      Funny that in all the years you say you lived in the “snow belt” (and different regions have their definition of this variable term), you never once considered the heavy snow belt of northern latitudes during your earliest delivery on the subject: A 2-story, 2000sqft house static roof-only installation can provide enough electrical power to take that house with a family of four completely off grid (summer and winter) with an investment amortized over 7-10 years.

      That is what sparked contrarian comments from two readers, before a few others followed suit after your pie-in-the-sky attempt. Perhaps you see yourself victimized by them as well, extorres. (Lo tuyo es personal.)

      How anyone is going to climb up a ladder to reach two stories, in the dead of winter, to remove snow from the upper placement of rooftop solar panels, or hire a professional to do so (there goes the cost advantage of solar energy) in a “snowbelt” environment, where snow on rooftops is normally a foot or more, lasting a good two months or more, during very, very few hours of unobstructed sun, and where accumulators have so far been proven ineffective, is beyond my logic. But hey, that’s what you’re proposing …

      Earlier, in spite of BT and my assertion of heavy snows that last (a good 2+ months), you were trying to convince us that “sunlight sometimes still gets through, but with accumulators (e.g., from Tesla) can be ignored for several months.” To those of us who have experienced life in a house in the snowbelt, that was laughable, as was your comment: “But like I said, it [snow] can be removed, but does not have to be because panels still produce some energy, however little, from light that gets through a few inches of snow, and because with accumulators like those from Musk, the house could be powered for a few months without any light getting through.

      Now, you change tack again and say that: “As to snow, solar panels work even after light snow. They stop producing electricity after a few inches of snow, or if one area of the panel is blocked.”

      So earlier some light gets through the heavy snow, now the panels stop producing electricity (meaning no light gets through) after a few inches of snow.

      Really, extorres, you’re like a clotheshorse with a big wardrobe, switching new outfits every few minutes, and checking your image.

      While you’re choosing what shoes to wear, try not to sidestep any longer the issue of accumulators such as Tesla, proven ineffective in snow belt climates, as per a recent Bloomberg link I provided you, and of which I reminded you a second time, above.

      And while you’re selecting scarves for your outfit, do try to answer my earlier posed question:
      at what pitch or angle might the roof-top solar panel be in northern latitudes (where snow belts dump over a foot of snow, lasting 2+ months), on a rooftop in a residential area, so as to maximize the sun’s rays, for example from December through early March? Don’t be shy!

      In the meantime, Anon’s comment was on the money http://caracaschronicles.com/2015/07/25/repent-repent-grid-parity-is-nigh/#comment-200480, and I appreciated the objectivity. If only your comments came close to practical considerations of costs (not your strong suit), among other issues, I might take you seriously.

      Really, extorres, lo tuyo es un complejo. La propia víctima

      • syd: “distance of the sun from the equator”

        Earth’s radius is 6,371 km. Distance from Sun to Earth is 149.6 million km. Difference of distance to Sun from equator and north pole is 0.04%. Negligible. Even if you don’t think it is negligible, it is taken into account in the energy maps that you can find in countless websites because they measure the actual energy as measured at the mapped locations, as I replied to you. You were wrong to bring this up, and I have not been wrong in either explanations or dismissals of this.

        syd: “the rays of the sun are at a shallower angle (more spread out)”

        The Sun rays are at a shallower angle ON THE GROUND, but not for solar panels that are angled PERPENDICULAR to the sunlight. Perpendicular means NOT SHALLOWER ANGLE, so the Sun rays are NOT MORE SPREAD OUT for solar panels that are installed properly, as I replied to you. Again, you were wrong to bring this up, and I have not been wrong in either explanations or dismissals of this.

        syd: “days are shorter while nights are longer”

        Yes, they are and the decreased amount of energy available due to this factor is taken into account by the energy maps used by any professional installer, as I replied to you. Again, you were wrong to bring this up, and I have not been wrong in either explanations or dismissals of this.

        syd: “roofs are loaded with snow for months, covering up the solar panels”

        Again, snow, not as bumming as you imply. Some of it melts away, some of it slides off, some light still produces power even with a few inches of snow cover, some of it can often be removed by non professionals, the rest can be removed by professionals, and any down time is covered by accumulators, whether you use Tesla or other brands. This is what is being done in many snowy areas of the world. It is being done more and more at an accelerating pace, especially when prices of oil go up.

        If the above quotes of yours are what you base your rejection of my original comment, you’re way off.

        • extorres,
          Since you craftily avoid certain issues, let me ask them directly:
          Do you, or do you not agree with the published findings that the Tesla accumulators are ineffective for northern wintry climates? If not, back up your opinion with objective published findings.
          Do you, or do you not agree that the pitch of solar panels on residential roofs in northern snow belt regions would render such housing aesthetically ridiculous, if the solar panels were even effective in the low-light conditions of winter months?
          Do you have any idea of the cost issues and ROI of solar panels in northern snow-belt regions?

          • syd,

            1) Telsa accumulators of the two residential models to which you linked seem to be ineffective for northern, winter climates, but Tesla’s commercial model (of which you have not demonstrated any knowledge) seems to be effective. If a residence needs months of power, I would probably choose a different brand, but Tesla’s commercial model is definitely up for the task. By the way, I have no need to defend Tesla’s accumulators for residential use since I was not the one to bring Tesla up, and I only included Tesla as an example within parentheses when talking about accumulators, in general. In sum, I stand by the statement that accumulators, including Tesla’s commercial model but not excluding other brands, can keep a house powered over snowy months.

            2) I disagree that the pitch of solar panels on residential roofs in northern snow belt regions would look aesthetically ridiculous. I’m not sure how the argument of aesthetics is entering this discussion, at this point; if it were worth it, I would use solar panel siding regardless of looks. Looks aside, Solar panels still produce electricity on cloud-covered winter days if there is sufficient light getting through the clouds. Less, but still a non negligible amount.

            3) Yes, I do. I received energy assessment reports, produced by government certified providers, including month by month energy production analysis and ROI analysis, based on my family’s usage over each of the previous years for the two single-family homes I have owned in the snow belt region over 10 years.

          • 1) extorres first mentions the use of “accumulators (e.g., from Tesla)” as defense for PV panels on residential rooftops in winter climates:
            July 27, 2015, 12:36pm
            http://caracaschronicles.com/2015/07/25/repent-repent-grid-parity-is-nigh/#comment-200615

            extorres mentions a 2nd time the use of accumulators “from Musk” (meaning Tesla) as defense for PV panels on residential rooftops in winter climates:
            July 28, 2015, 1:43pm
            http://caracaschronicles.com/2015/07/25/repent-repent-grid-parity-is-nigh/#comment-200805

            syd’s first ever mention of accumulators includes a financial-oriented link refuting their efficacy for residential houses in snow belts.
            July 28, 2015, 7:41pm
            http://caracaschronicles.com/2015/07/25/repent-repent-grid-parity-is-nigh/#comment-200862

            extorres, finally realizing that his previous two defenses of (Tesla/Musk, etc.) accumulators on residential houses in a snow belt are rendered silly, now states there’s no need to defend Tesla’s accumulators for residential use (in the snow belt of previous discussions) since he was not the one to bring Tesla up.
            July 30, 2015, 8:47pm
            http://caracaschronicles.com/2015/07/25/repent-repent-grid-parity-is-nigh/#comment-201210

            Ahhhhhhhh. extorres then switches tack again and states that commercial accumulators would be “up to the job”. Ohhhhhh. What size would this commercial accumulator be for residential use, say, that 2000 SF house in your earliest delivered example? What would be its cost? And finally, what would be its pay-back period? Do share that ROI on the use of commercial accumulators on residential houses in snow belts from your oh-so top-secret sources of primary information!

            2) Aesthetics is very much part of the solar-panel equation, most particularly in residential areas, . That you’re puzzled over this factor betrays your latent need to inform us that you have previously owned — not one, but now two (count ’em) single-family homes in the snow belt region (hush-hush on where), over 10 years. Evidently, you’re unfamiliar with the very critical aspect of architecture and its features in any house, or houses in a residential division. And for good reason. Weren’t you trying to argue that if solar panels were angled on rooftops (they would need to be close to perpendicular) they could indeed capture the low-angled dispersal of sun rays in winter time, in snow belt regions? You’re also unfamiliar with the widespread use of brick in snow belts, when you counter that solar panel siding would do the job. Overall, you show that you do not have experience as a homeowner in snow belts, in spite of your latent attempt to state otherwise.

            3) Outside of trolls, and good-natured folks who come to banter a little here and there in the CC fray, most of us come here in good faith and to share. If you say you have primary source information on energy assessment reports, produced by government certified providers, why not share the link? Or at best, provide us with the titles and/or authorship? There’s no need for the hush-hush? Clearly, you have shown to have superficial expertise in the subject of solar panels, in spite of your attempt to be perceived as otherwise. So, there’s no need to hide and pretend on the CC fray. Unless, of course, extorres, lo tuyo es un complejo.

          • syd,

            1)

            What you call my first “defense for PV panels on residential rooftops in winter climates” is still true: snow is not as bumming as you imply, but with accumulators *can* be ignored for several months.

            What you call my second “defense for PV panels on residential rooftops in winter climates” is still true: snow can be removed, panels still produce light with some snow cover, and, with accumulators *like* those from Tesla, a house *could be* powered for months.

            You pretend that your first mention of accumulators was about accumulators, but it wasn’t; it was about Tesla. And you also pretend that my statements were about Tesla, but they weren’t; they were about accumulators.

            You also sidestep my main argument to focus on a statement of mine that began with “by the way”, the main argument being that Tesla DOES have a model to which you make no reference that CAN effectively keep power up for as long as one wants, even in snow belt regions. Do you know what is still true? That I have no need to be defending Tesla.

            As to your questions on the Powerpack model from Tesla, the size would depend on the energy use of the family of four in that 2ksqft house. Fortunately, the Powerpack model can be connected infinitely in series to whatever energy need the family may have. The current cost is about 25USD per Powerpack. The pay-back period would depend on the current costs of electricity for that family, as well as their current amount needed. Something else to consider is the importance for them to be off-grid. For example, if they have a “grow” operation, the pay-back period is very quick. The ROI reports that I have, not only did not include Powerpacks since they did not exist then, they would not apply to all houses, nor all families, nor all financial situations, nor all electricity provision alternatives, so they are irrelevant for generalizations, not top-secret as you surmise. The concept may be foreign to you since you seem to have generalized from the results of your investigations for your needs, to the whole industry and all people under all conditions.

            2) As to aesthetics, I would not care if my neighbors didn’t like my installing panels on my home’s roof.

            As to the angle of the solar panels, you still don’t get it. The optimal output from solar panels is achieved at perpendicular angles to the Sun, but the Sun’s position changes during each day, and over the months. Analogous to a broken clock that tells the exact time twice a day, a fixed angle solar panel will produce optimal output twice a year. A professional installer will ensure that the chosen angle is as close to the angle that produces the highest possible usable total for the year, within the adjustment possibilities. This angle will never be the perpendicular to a winter Sun postion. In snowy regions, installers tend to angle the solar panels 10degrees or so more upright than they would in non snowy regions because the increased shedding of snow increases the total usable output for the year at the sacrifice of even higher output over the summer. The necessity for this also hinges on the size of accumulators decided upon by the homeowner.

            As to brick versus other siding, at least in USA vinyl seems to be by far the exterior wall material of choice lately, even in snowy regions. For USA, take a look at https://achaluvadi.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/figure-2-top2exterior-walls-2013.jpg from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction. Brick and brick veneer tend to be chosen more in the south.

            As to your not believing that I lived in a home that I owned then moved to another, both in the snow belt and over 10 years, tough patooties. No skin off my nose.

            3) “why not share the link?” For the reason I already put forth: from an analysis of a particular one cannot extrapolate to a generalization, especially when it comes to something so parameter based as are PV systems and financial considerations. As to keeping any information that I consider personal away from you, well, quite simply it’s because I don’t trust you with it.

  18. extorres,
    1) Again, your need to bend physical logic and negate cost-effectiveness to suit your dreamscapes are in evidence. Get it through that psycho-complex-addled head of yours. Or as another mentioned, crypto-chavista, that the science behind accumulators, be they Tesla’s or any other brand, are far from being cost-effective in residential applications, and would be even more so during winter months in snow belts.
    Your first two mentions of accumulators noted (Musk’s) Tesla. So, too, did my subsequent link on Tesla accumulators, the serious analysis on which refuted your dreamscapes for PV panels in residential homes in snow belts. Not wanting to accept that, you then lie, stating: “You pretend that your first mention of accumulators was about accumulators, but it wasn’t; it was about Tesla. And you also pretend that my statements were about Tesla, but they weren’t; they were about accumulators.” Estás enfermo, vale.
    Next, you accuse me with confusing syntax — a natural output from those who skate — of sidestepping your “main argument”. I take it that you mean your latest attempt to introduce the use of a (commercial) Tesla model that you say “can effectively keep power up for as long as one wants, even in snow belt regions.” So now you’re back to defending Tesla, this time trying to convince those of us who actually have experienced snow belts that Tesla’s commercial accumulator will work for residential purposes. Never mind the Bloomberg analyst who states that Tesla batteries for residential purposes is a tiny market — for numerous reasons. For you whisk that reality away by ending your thoughts with: “Do you know what is still true? That I have no need to be defending Tesla.” Estás enfermo, vale.

    Your oh-so-top-secret-government-produced-sources-not-to-be-shared (LOL) are clearly unsuitable for dealing with current on-grid realities for the majority of populations. No matter. There’s always one of your PV-sales-calculator sites to help you. (LOL)

    So you once again defend Tesla, this time its “Powerpack” (sic) model, which you note its current cost as USD25,000. Really now? How do arrive at that, when the link I provided to the current Bloomberg article (which unlike your needs, doesn’t submit to waffling, nor links that promote the sales of solar panels) notes otherwise for Tesla’s Powewall batteries. Several are needed in order to serve an average family in a residential area. And the ROI would certainly not be worth it for an average family during the long months of winter in a snow belt.

    As for your need to manipulate the information, links to which you play coy, on the basis of the information being a, as you state: “foreign concept …since you seem to have generalized from the results of your investigations for your needs, to the whole industry and all people under all conditions” again, you need to miss the point.

    When you first generalized the benefits of solar panel use for an average family in a 2ksf home, you included no concept of winter low-light months in snow belts. Unlike you, several of us weren’t sucked in by cheerleading. In my case, my investigations of residential solar panel energy, over a number of years, were of a practical nature. For I needed new shingles and wanted to know the suitability and cost effectiveness of solar-related options, in a residential area, in the snow belt, where rooftops are completely covered in a foot or more of snow, some of that melting, only to be supplanted by more.

    2) You said: “As to aesthetics, I would not care if my neighbors didn’t like my installing panels on my home’s roof.” How perfect. Fits with a chavistoid ‘que se jodan’ mentality, when not considering resale value. In the latter case, your comment renders ridiculous your attempt to convince us you were once a homeowner in the snowbelt for 10 years.

    Like several other CC readers who actually live, or actually have lived in snow belts during winter months, your initial generalization of solar energy savings in a 2ksf family home included no concept of a snowbelt scenario. That’s why your pie-in-the-sky was quicly countered by several, followed by doubts that you had any experience as a homeowner in this type of climate.

    Like those of us who have actually lived in snowbelts, I’m perfectly aware of the Sun’s changing, angled positions during the day, in winter months, as well as the limited amount of sunlight, from late October on. And because of this experience, I will not invest large upfront costs in any highly changeable element, con jobs notwithstanding. Reason being, I live in the real world with pocketbook considerations. I’m also grateful for objective input, even from companies selling PV arrangements (DOW). Can you imagine the lawsuits if they were less honest?

    For my money, solar panel arrays are aesthetically unpleasant and inapplicable to my roofline and walls with a SW exposure. Finally, accumulators are cost prohibitive and output ineffective during the long winter months.

    As for your A. Chaluvadi jpg, showing the top 2 exterior wall materials in 2013 for New Homes, it does not take into account the variety of home values, nor the very widespread use of brick in snow belt regions, including north of the USA, for over a century. There’s a reason for the prevalence of brick, and a reason why it has diminished (not been eliminated) for new tract homes (in snow belts) of middle to low values, in recent years.

    3) As for your stated: “As to keeping any information that I consider personal away from you, well, quite simply it’s because I don’t trust you with it….” Bájate de esa nube. I never asked you for personal information. Don’t need it. For your writing and your insecurity-laden manipulativeness to the point of lies, gives your persona away. Furthermore, the links you have consistently provided are of such low intellectual scope, they’re useless.

    • syd,

      1) just because PV systems are not suitable for your residential applications does not mean that they are not cost-effective for some residential applications, even in winter, even in snow belts. In fact, they were right for my home, and the only reason I didn’t install them in my first house was that we learned we were moving. In my second house, we found that the ROI of reinsulating was quicker than that of the PV system. Also the reinsulation would decrease our PV needs, we started with that, instead. If I had to installed a PV system, right now I would not go with a Tesla accumulator because I saw that we had no need for months of sunless power, since I do know how to remove snow from a roof. We would’ve only needed a few days of sunless power. Snow really is not so bumming. But, alas, you still won’t accept I ever was a homeowner in the snow belt.

      My first use of the word accumulator was after someone had already mentioned Tesla, so I added Tesla in parentheses as an example of an accumulator that could accomplish what I had been talking about. And it can. Not the Tesla models mentioned in your article, but the commercial model called Powerpack — not Powerwall. It is now very clear you have no clue about it, nor about all the commonly used accumulators that can also accomplish the same thing, not without smell, or in such little space, but definitely fulfill the same function. You’re making me feel the need to defend Tesla, so I may have been wrong about that, though I really should not have to; my statement still stands, with or without Tesla. If you want to know about Tesla’s Powerpack, which is not mentioned in your article, then look it up. I noticed how you assumed I called it Powerpack by mistake instead of looking it up. Telling. I already predict that you’re going to say it is irrelevant, anyway.

      2) I do care about resale value, not about neighbor’s taste in aesthetics, unless the latter affects the former. If I think a future owner will prefer a house with solar panels, I will not care what my neighbor thinks of them. If I think my neighbors are going to buy my house, I will consider their opinion heavily.

      You can have all the doubts as to my homeowning status in the snow belt you want, and for the ridiculous reasons you choose, the facts don’t change: You have not disproved anything that I have said. On the contrary, I have disproved or proven irrelevant all your attempts to prove me wrong, starting with distance to the equator and the spreading of Sun rays. Where did you learn physics? Let me guess, where learning by caletre is the way to pass.

      I accept that for you solar panels are not the solution. I don’t think they are for everyone, not even for the majority. What you don’t seem to want to accept is that they are the solution for others, again, not everyone, but definitely for an accelerating, increasing number of others, even in the snow belt.

      Syd, you really focus on the trees and not the forest. My comment on solar panel siding was as an illustration of my stance regarding not caring what neighbors would think if the panels fulfilled their function, were worth it, and at least maintained the value of my home. Do you really want to start a whole discussion regarding brick and brick veneer external wall material. Just because aesthetics is so important to you, and apparently to your neighbors, or else…, it does not mean it is to everyone. People who care more about their pockets, or about going green, may decide to sacrifice aesthetics for solar panels, or worse, they may actually think solar panels look good.

      3) For someone who thinks so lowly of me, you certainly dedicate much of your time to me. Thank you?

  19. 1) In your latest charade, you maintain that PV systems are “cost-effective for some residential applications, even in winter, even in snow belts.” even though those with serious analysis disprove you. Next you say, you didn’t install PV systems in your first home (in a snow belt), nor in your second (in a snow belt), because the ROI of reinsulating was quicker than that of the PV system. Uh-huh. And cheaper, by a country mile, but never mind that little detail. Best to keep up your little games on CC, so as to gain needed attention and deflect from other posts.

    Next, you try to convince us/me through a series of non-sequiturs that you if you were to install a PV system, you would not go with a Tesla accumulator “because I saw that we had no need for months of sunless power” (HUH?), “since I do know how to remove snow from a roof”. (UH-HUH) “We would’ve only needed a few days of sunless power.” (HUH?) “Snow really is not so bumming.” (UH-HUH) “But, alas, you still won’t accept I ever was a homeowner in the snow belt.” (WHATEVER)

    After stamping your mental little feet on semantics, denying that you had mentioned Tesla (no, Mom, it wasn’t me. Really, it was Ernie) you finally admit to using Tesla (“in parentheses as an example of an accumulator that could accomplish what I had been talking about.” Never mind your mention of Musk’s accumulator later on. For someone who denies mentioning Tesla, you sure have used that name on several occasions.

    It gets better.

    You state in your earlier routine http://caracaschronicles.com/2015/07/25/repent-repent-grid-parity-is-nigh/#comment-201369 “As to your questions on the Powerpack model from Tesla…” HUH? I never mentioned the Powerpack model, before I gave you the benefit of the doubt, that you had incorrectly identified the appropriate Tesla accumulator for residential use, you know, while trying to convey the impression that you have had experience with, and came this close, I mean, this close to installing a PV system in your home, had it not been for the quicker ROI of insulation material (LOL).
    So now you maintain that the size of Tesla’s POWERPACK “would depend on the energy use of the family of four in that 2ksqft house.” And that, “Fortunately, the Powerpack model can be connected infinitely in series to whatever energy need the family may have. The current cost is about 25USD per Powerpack.” (No proof of that cost) ” The pay-back period would depend on the current costs of electricity for that family, as well as their current amount needed.”

    Yeah right.

    So you go from a decision to use insulation over purchasing a much more costly PV system (ineffective during winter months in a snow belt) to trying now to convince that Powerpack is the solution for that 2ksf home. You know, Powerpack being Tesla’s answer of an accumulator for large-scale businesses like Target and Walmart, as per Tesla.

    Your need to stretch to that extent frankly spells p-s-y-c-h-o-t-i-c. Clearly you have an awful lot of time on your hands to play games with people, deflecting attention from the post to your needs ….

    2) Next you play a frequently seen routine: “You have not disproved anything that I have said. On the contrary, I have disproved or proven irrelevant all your attempts to prove me wrong,” Yeah, whatever, extorres …

    “…starting with distance to the equator and the spreading of Sun rays. Where did you learn physics? Let me guess, where learning by caletre is the way to pass.”

    In your muddled skating, you have again twisted the comments of another to suit you. Suggest you re-read, rather than invent: http://caracaschronicles.com/2015/07/25/repent-repent-grid-parity-is-nigh/#comment-200466. And know that the position of the North Pole and latitudes in its proximity, relative to the sun, does indeed change, and that this shift is responsible for the seasons. The Sun’s rays during winter in snowbelt latitudes strike the Earth at a significant angle, and therefore, deliver the least amount of energy. But maybe you can find another grade-school exercise on the Web (like that of aiming a flashlight on paper) to maintain your argument of PV panel efficiency in winter, in snow belts, by positioning the panels perpendicular to the rays of the Sun. Gee, why haven’t seen this architectural example yet in residential zones in a snow belt. What am I missing?

    3) “For someone who thinks so lowly of me, you certainly dedicate much of your time to me.” Wow. Classic narcissism. Since proportions don’t form a part of your mental world, extorres, know that I don’t spend nearly as much time or energy as you do, shaving semantics, building fanciful scenarios, justifying them with the flimsiest of intellectual support, deflecting attention away from a post towards your mental charades, in which you engage, not just me, but with several others. That’s a LOT of time on your hands. That’s a LOT of dishonesty. That’s a SUSPECT motive, when not mental.

    How’s your oil2cash routines comin’ along? Have you found any other blogs or social media where you can try to convince readers of its moral application for Venezuela, at this moment?

    • syd,

      1) PV systems CAN BE cost effective for some people.

      2) Tesla’s PowerPack model of accumulator would be the only model that they have announced that would seem to work for a PV system in the snow belt.

      3) Tesla’s PowerPack model was announced to cost $250 per kilowatt-hour at 100 kWh per battery.

      4) Only for people who consider that they need close to a 100KWh accumulator PV system, or more, would I consider suggesting waiting to get a Tesla PowerPack.

      5) The Sun emits the same amount of energy all year round everywhere it shines. What changes at the north in winter is the energy ABSORBED by the less perpendicular GEOGRAPHY and by the fewer hours of shine, not the amount of energy arriving from the Sun. On a solar panel that is perpendicular to the sunlight, the energy from the Sun is almost THE SAME, in winter as in summer, at northern latitudes as at the equator, at any given height over the horizon.

      P.S.) I’m still waiting for the arrival of the Oil to Cash book. I’ll be commenting here as soon as I get it and have a chance to read it. If you want to trash it by content, rather than by authorship, I suggest you get a copy, too.

      • By the way, there was an announcement about a new chemical for a new kind of battery which would make Lithium ion batteries obsolete. Estimated launch date, next year. We’ll see if all this Tesla talk becomes moot.

      • 1) No, extorres. PV systems are NOT cost effective for people who live in residential houses, during winter, in snow belts, your insecure delusions notwithstanding.

        2-4) The PowerPack model has been created by Tesla for industrial, not residential use, no matter how much you try to invent otherwise, now hedging your delusions by stating that the PowerPack *would seem* to work for a PV system in the snow belt. Tesla’s decision is logical from two points of view: usage and costs, the latter not mentioning all PV components, beyond just the battery @ USD250,000 per Powerpack accumulator. Since you purportedly decided against installing a PV system on your supposed own residential home in a supposed snow belt, in favour of insulation, but didn’t have the integrity to mention the obvious reasons of cost, effectiveness, and simplicity, your recent claims of an industrial utility pack for residential use, say on that earlier example of 2ksf home you were pumping, is ludicrous. (SolarCity told California regulators last year that the retail price to install an average home battery of 5 kilowatts in size was $23,429 — WSJ, April 28, 2015 — a sum that doesn’t include all PV system components).

        5) With no credible back up to your *scientific* claims, while you bash the understanding of others, you ought to dispute your inventions and skatings with NASA: http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/stargaze/Sunangle.htm .

        6) Your delusions over the effectiveness of oil2cash applications in Venezuela’s political and economic climate of the past 15 years have already been countered by others who have dismissed you as a charlatan. So considered is also the policy wonk looking for a market for his pet theory, infantile presentation to boot. Glad you can help him, financially. Don’t expect others with sharper criteria to jump in.

        • syd,

          1) “The idea that solar panels are ineffective during the winter months was proved to be inaccurate one. … Snow and solar cells are not always put together in the same equation but this however does not mean that photovoltaic panels are not worth the investment in the areas characterized by long winters and plenty of snow. They can still be worth of money.”
          http://interestingenergyfacts.blogspot.ca/2012/10/solar-panels-and-snow-minimum-power.html

          “In most cases power losses are minimal, even in snowy Canada,”
          http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121024175236.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+News%29

          Payback numbers:
          http://www.oneroofenergy.com/snow/

          Snow not so bumming:
          http://www.cnet.com/news/a-tale-of-solar-panels-snow-and-roof-rakes/

          One of the studies found here:
          http://www.academia.edu/3193083/The_Effects_of_Snowfall_on_Solar_Photovoltaic_Performance

          2) That’s right, Tesla’s PowerPack was created for commercial/industrial use, not residential use. But, given where I was going to live, I bought an commercial grade snow plow for my residential use, not a snow blower, nor a wimpy snow plow. Similarly, I would want an industrial grade PV system on my home. Why would one buy a wimpy residential 5KWh battery system @ 23kUSD, versus Tesla’s commercial 100KWh @25kUSD? Heck, I don’t even buy Microsoft’s Windows Home edition for my home use; I buy the business edition, which is much more stable.

          By the way, are you suggesting that I should have installed the PV system *before* insulating my home? I’m glad I didn’t because, now that I heard about that new battery coming out and its expected cost per KWh will be one tenth of the Lithium ion alternative, I’m thinking I’ll be going with that.

          3) I’m so sorry that you can’t understand the NASA article you provided. Perhaps you should ask someone who you trust to explain it to you. In that article they explain how it’s the same amount of sunlight reaching the north as at the equator, only that it is at a different angle, which is irrelevant when talking about the angle of solar panels, because they would always be set to face the Sun. In other words, your article explains how the same amount of energy can be harnessed in the North as in the South as anywhere in between, at any given relative position of the visible Sun, excepting for atmospheric effects, not “spreading of rays” effects. That spreading you keep bringing up shows how little you understand the material.

          4) Cash distribution is the easiest way out of Venezuela’s mess. You’ll never understand that, either, it’s too difficult for you. You’re a prime example of education not teaching people how to think.

  20. Car companies currently releasing EV models – Tesla, BMW, Nissan, Fiat, Ford, Chevrolet, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Volkswagen

    Electronics companies investing in home/industrial battery systems – Panasonic, Samsung, Tesla, LG Chem, BYD, Bosch, AES

    Essentially the entire Car and Electronics industry is investing billions in EV and Battery systems. How can anyone expect prices not to come down?

    The minute Solar + Battery are cheaper than gas/coal; utility companies will switch over. The minute electric cars are cheaper than combustion engines, consumers will switch over.

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