Half Baked Idea - US Govt buys solar farms?

Discussion in 'Legislation' started by SpartyBrutus, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. SpartyBrutus

    SpartyBrutus Hypofueller

    Many (probably most) Americans would agree that we need to reduce the amount (and percent) of energy derived from fossil fuels. Most would agree that we are taking too much time changing.

    In my view, the alternative energy industry is being held back waiting for congress to extend (or not) the renewable energy tax credits due to expire in 3 months. If delayed, PV and Wind will tank for a while with layoffs and investment $$ yanked away from startups. Also, I dont believe that free enterprise goes from 0-60 faster than a hybrid on this - research, investment $, supply chain alliances, IP, UL testing etc take time to rev up (install PV).

    Why not take a more agressive step than just tax subsidies? Could the US government ?simply take bids on say giant solar farms and transmission lines with the contracts going to the (US based) PV firms that can guarantee 20 years of xx cents/KWh? This keeps the most efficient PV firms booked up with orders (and growing). It also gets PV making energy for the US grid sooner rather than later.

    Whats our common GOAL? Should just some groups/investors benefit from (eventual) PV investments or should we all benefit?

    I know this is half baked - so what do you think?

    Sparty Boone Brutus
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2008
  2. Shiba3420

    Shiba3420 Well-Known Member

    You are interchanging PV and solar freely. Remember that solar power includes heat based energy production (ie mirros aimed at a tower or a tube to collect heat well above boiling point) which is not PV based, but is the cheapest form of solar power right now and has the advantage that it is more easily stored than electric power, which is the only way PV can store.

    The largests PV companies are just now scaling up to the point where they can produce one GW of material a year. So if you take all their output for the next year and install it in one sunny place, it would be capable of generating 1GWH during full sun. I don't think total world output is more than 25 to 50GW per year and probably much lower. So next year we coudl install, maybe another 50GW of PV using all available sources, or you could install 20 2.5GW wind towers. Both would output a max of 50GWh, but the wind could keep going after the sun goes down. Right now wind is still the dominant green energy source. Wave/tide/current and thermal-solar and second. PV is 3rd. PV is progressing nicely, but really the industry should continue at the same pace they are now. At current grown rates we may be able to produce 10 to 20 percent of power from solar (both thermal & PV) by 2030; That's pretty good.

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