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The Trillions Poured into Multi-National Solar Energy - Green Hope & Epic Boondoggles
03-28-2011, 09:17 PM,
Information  The Trillions Poured into Multi-National Solar Energy - Green Hope & Epic Boondoggles
I've covered boondoggles in energy before but I have yet to sink deep into the taxpayer funded subsidized massive solar projects that I feel are being initiated prematurely. There is a force driving these initiatives and investing massive amounts of time resources and money. Huge contracts are being appropriated to private firms with a relative lack of attention and debate given by the media, government and by the public at large.

DESERTEC is a massive venture to harvest the energy of the sun on a grand scale. SCHOTT Solar will be the main contractor in building the solar farm in the form of a PV array that will span 16,900 KMs in the the North African Sahara desert. Another DESERTEC project is underway in the US a group led by Deutsche Bank, E.on, Munich Re, Siemens. In mid-2009 are also investing in a project to redirect solar rays in the Mojave Desert with largely the same big players involved.

The plan is to build Concentrating Solar Thermal Power Plants (2,940 TWh/y in total) to harvest the energy an unprecedented power grid would be constructed to meet up to 15% of Europe's energy requirements.

Quote:Andasol plant and has been developing this technology together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and the Technical University Clausthal-Zellerfeld; and nCoat, which is collaborating with Sunvention USA, Inc. and BSR Solar Technologies GmbH to use nCoat nanotechnology coatings in a pilot project in Indiana.

Nanotechnology coatings would be used to increase efficiency and reduce wear but how much impact this technology would have on net throughput vs cost is debatable. I haven't found figures on this yet but there is hopeful predictions, at least according to the numbers being pitched by the conglomerate.

Quote:According to Desertec, in order to meet today's global power demand of 18,000 TWh/year, it would suffice to equip about three thousandths of the world‘s deserts (about 90,000 square kilometers) with solar collectors of solar thermal power plants. About 20 square meters of desert would be enough to meet the individual power demand of one human being day and night – all this absolutely CO2 free.

PV as it exists is a money pit that government have been apt to throw citizen tax dollars into by the truckload.

Quote:The major problem of photovoltaic solar energy – its relative inefficiency – still needs to be overcome to make the cost of electricity produced by solar cells equal or less than electricity produced by nuclear or fossil fuels and to allow solar energy to become a major energy source independent from government subsidies (although the established carbon based energy sources still receive plenty of subsidies even today).

But why wait the time is now en masse.

Quote:This technology already works on a large scale. On July 1, 2009 the solar-thermal power station Andasol 1, located in the Spanish province of Granada in Andalusia, was officially inaugurated. This 50 megawatt plant is the largest solar power plant in the world, providing climate friendly power to 200,000 people. Two more 50 MW plants, Andasol 2 and 3, will go online this year and in 2011. In the Mojave desert in California, nine CSP plants have been operating successfully for up to 20 years.

Here's an article that outlines the plan for the DESERTEC project in North Africa.

Quote:The $550 Billion Solar Project in North Africa: A Reality Check

a heavy hitting consortium of companies unveiled plans for a $550 billion solar farm to be built in the sunblasted North African desert. The plan called for the biggest ever deployment of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), a massive effort that could supply 15 percent of Europe's power.

CSP entails using mirrors to redirect the sun's rays to heat up water or oil with a concentrated heat beam. Ideally, this will also power large-scale desalination plants to green North Africa and stimulate agriculture.
See full article and an interview with Travis Bradford, a noted expert on solar energy and the executive director of the Prometheus Institute from DailyFinance:


Sketch of possible infrastructure for a sustainable supply of power to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (EU-MENA). For illustration: the red squares indicate the space needed for solar collectors to produce the present power for the world (18.000 TWh/y, 300x300 km2), for Europe (EU 3.200 TWh/y, 125x125 km2) and for Germany or MENA (Middle East and North Africa, about 600 TWh/y, 55x55 km2). The square labeled "TRANS-CSP Mix EUMENA 2050" indicates the space needed for solar collectors to supply the needs for seawater desalination and about two-thirds of the electricity consumption in MENA in the year 2050 and about one-fifth of the European electricity consumption by Concentrating Solar Thermal Power Plants (2,940 TWh/y in total). Click here to enlarge map.

I hope this project is both affordable and efficient in terms of net yeild and land use. It would create a highly centralized source of power that Europe, North Africa and the US would need to dependant on for their energy needs for. Unfortunately we have to trust those at the helm if we proceed on this route for developing and installing Solar Energy.

In the past this has translated to a massive waste of time and resources.

Solar energy mega-projects that both invested and promised such as those dubbed Solar One, Solar Two and (Commercial project Solar Tres is in development in Spain by Torresol Energy) collectively titled The Solar Project translated to epic fails. Let's learn from history before going all in on DESERTEC.
There are no others, there is only us.
03-28-2011, 09:56 PM,
RE: The Trillions Poured into Multi-National Solar Energy - Green Hope & Epic Boondoggles
Solar power is viable for lots of areas of the world. The main problems with solar energy are (1) energy doesn't store or transmit well and (2) large farms are space intensive. Consequently, 'inefficiency' means not easily centralized. It takes lots of space to make a solar 'power plant.' As long as the energy model is an oligopoly of a few companies extracting rents from the serfs, solar will never be viable. It's less an efficiency issue and more of a captive markets/dependency issue.
09-30-2011, 03:59 AM,
RE: The Trillions Poured into Multi-National Solar Energy - Green Hope & Epic Boondoggles
Quote:Obama admin approves 2 solar loans worth $1B
Sep 28, 7:59 PM EDT

The Energy Department on Wednesday approved two loan guarantees worth more than $1 billion for solar energy projects in Nevada and Arizona, two days before the expiration date of a program that has become a rallying cry for Republican critics of the Obama administration's green energy program.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the department has completed a $737 million loan guarantee to Tonopah Solar Energy for a 110 megawatt solar tower on federal land near Tonopah, Nev., and a $337 million guarantee for Mesquite Solar 1 to develop a 150 megawatt solar plant near Phoenix.

The loans were approved under the same program that paid for a $528 million loan to Solyndra Inc., a California solar panel maker that went bankrupt after receiving the money and laid off 1,100 workers. Solyndra is under investigation by the FBI and is the focal point of House hearings on the program.

SolarReserve LLC, of Santa Monica, Calif., the parent company for Tonopah, is privately held. The Energy Department said its rules prevented it from discussing the company's financial information. Sempra Energy of San Diego, which owns Mesquite, is publicly held.

Full Article:

Also see link to an interactive map of proposed Solar Plant locations in the Southwestern US:

Here's a previously accredited loan for Green Job Creation, now in default, to another company that went bust.

Solyndra’s $733 Million Plant Had Whistling Robots, Spa Showers

It was built with funds including proceeds from a $535 million U.S. loan and U.S. taxpayers may be stuck with it. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 6 guarantee.
There are no others, there is only us.
10-17-2011, 04:21 AM,
RE: The Trillions Poured into Multi-National Solar Energy - Green Hope & Epic Boondoggles
On top of the massive subsidization of Jatropha biofuel (produced in India) including a major US air force contract the US Export-Import Bank have awarded huge loans to solar power projects in India.

The jobs spin is a common pitch to get this irrational contracts, loans, subsidies and grants awarded but they fail to factor in job losses, efficiency and that the profits are based on a subsidized energy model.

Quote:U.S. Government Loans $500M for Solar Power Projects in India
By Terence P. Jeffrey
August 17, 2011

The U.S. Export-Import Bank, an independent agency of the federal government, says that it has $500 million in loans in the “pipeline” to fund new solar energy projects—in India.

The $500 million in new loans will come on top of $75 million in financing that the Export-Import Bank has already provided this year for solar power projects in India.

“In fiscal year 2011 to date, the Bank has approved financing totaling approximately $75 million for four solar projects in India,” the bank said in a July 18 press release. “The Bank also has about $500 million of India solar projects in the pipeline that will generate an estimated 315 MW of solar power.”

While in India last month, Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg, an Obama appointee, announced two of the new solar projects the U.S.-government bank will be financing.

“In New Delhi, Hochberg announced authorizations totaling more than $25 million for two separate solar transactions,” the Export-Import Bank said in a July 19 statement. ”Ex-Im Bank is providing a $16 million, 16.5-year loan to Azure Power Rajasthan Pvt. Ltd. to purchase thin-film solar modules from First Solar Inc. in Tempe, Ariz, for the construction of a five-MW solar photovoltaic plant in the state of Rajasthan.

“Additionally,” the statement said, “Ex-Im Bank authorized a $9.2 million, 18-year loan for thin-film solar modules from Abound Solar Inc. in Loveland, Colo., to Punj Lloyd Solar Power Ltd. for the construction of a five- MW photovoltaic solar power plant in Rajasthan.”

On May 24, Hochberg told the House Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade that the Export-Import Bank is a lender of “last resort” that loans money for projects in other parts of the world that private-sector banks will not finance.

“I think that … much of global trade has moved to emerging markets, be that Turkey, be that India, South Africa. And, candidly, after the financial crisis in particular, banks are more reluctant to lend to those parts of the world …,” Hochberg told the committee.

“So we really act as a lender of last resort,” Hochberg testified. “We act when--If other banks are unwilling or unable to provide financial support, we will look at it and make sure there is a reasonable assurance of repayment, and in that case, we've been able to step in, with the private sector not able to do that on its own.”

The government-run bank says that by loaning money to fund projects in foreign countries that use goods and services from the United States it creates jobs within the United States.

“Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers,” the bank said in its statement about the solar power investments in India.

The bank says that in the first half of this year alone it approved 173 transactions involving India that had a total value of $1.4 billion. This U.S.-government financing, the banks said, was responsible for “supporting over 10,000 U.S. jobs.”

That works out to $140,000 in U.S. government loans to borrowers in India for each U.S. job “supported” by the bank.
There are no others, there is only us.
12-02-2011, 07:30 AM,
RE: The Trillions Poured into Multi-National Solar Energy - Green Hope & Epic Boondoggles
Reality Check on North Africa and the Middle East ongoing dramas.
About the Middle East and African Conflict: What is being built?

See the links and find out about DESERTEC

This infrastructure is also being funded and pitched via the green movement to set up infrastructure for the Internet of Things and "Things" include you.

More reading on that angle including Smart Dust, Smart Grid, Smart Tech, Smart Cars, Smart Meters, IPv6, Smart Phones and Smart Planet aka Real World Web aka Web 2.0 aka Singularity.

Smart Dust: HP & Shell to deploy Central Nervous System for Earth (CeNSE) via 1T Micro-Sensors + DARPA and Honeywell (see A Global Green Energy Revolution Post #17)

Jesse Schell - DICE 2010: Design Outside the Box (Disturbing Presentation) (torrent)

The Singularity: Five Technologies That Will Change the World (and One That Won't)
See post #7 For Big Picture Singularity Network

False Flag: Internet is out of IP addresses! The IPV6 Pillar to the Real World Web
How to give everything and/or everyone a network ID via IP

Electric Vehicles, The Smart Grid and the Crony Subsidy Windfall to Force EV Adoption
Aside from the fact that it forces old cars off the road and the sheer cost we have yet another grid infrastructure to merge with DESERTEC

The Future of Money: Smartcards, Encryption, Digital Currency and Thin Branch Banking
How the Grid Relates to Digital Currency and everything that goes with it

Really this relates to so much including commerce, "terrorism" screening, monitoring, CCTV, pre-crime, social engineering, product tracking .. too much of a tangent for this thread alone.
There are no others, there is only us.
03-22-2012, 08:32 AM,
RE: The Trillions Poured into Multi-National Solar Energy - Green Hope & Epic Boondoggles
Solar farms are proving to be just for show (and maybe the tax rebate + carbon credits) with no real practical use. This is exampled by Apple and it's 100 Acre swath of land that provides a mere 0.055 percent of the total power needed by the data center. Even though the harvesting area is more than 8 Times the area of their 500,000 square foot facility it doesn't come close to the required estimate of 362 times the land footprint needed to erect all of the solar panels for 100% solar power.

Quote:Amazon Man Questions Logic of Apple Solar Farm
By Cade Metz
March 21, 2012

Apple is building a 100-acre solar farm to help power its massive data center in Maiden, North Carolina. But Amazon data-center guru James Hamilton questions whether this actually makes sense.

In a recent blog post, Hamilton — who also served as a data center architect at Microsoft — asks whether such solar farms are “really somewhere between a bad idea and pure marketing, where the environmental impact is purely optical.”

The Amazon man takes a close look at the solar array Apple is building beside its North Carolina data center — which helps drive the company’s fledgling iCloud service — as well as a smaller array already in use at Facebook’s new data center in Prineville, Oregon. “I’m really developing serious reservations that this is the path to reducing data center environmental impact,” he writes. “I just can’t make the math work.”

In short, Hamilton argues that a solar farm would have to be ridiculously large in order to significantly reduce the strain that these massive computing facilities put on the environment. Even Apple’s solar farm, he says, takes up too much land — and by his estimates, it will provide the data center will only about four percent of the power it requires.

Apple and Facebook are just two of the many web giants building a new breed of data center that consumes less power than traditional facilities and treats the planet with a little more respect. Google and Facebook have made particular strides in this area — and apparently, Amazon has too. But Hamilton believes that this revolution has little do to with solar.

Facebook’s solar farm is rated at 100 kilowatts, but Hamilton estimates that often overcast skies in the Oregonian high desert deliver only 13.75 kilowatts — about 0.055 percent of the total power needed by the data center. “It might run the lights in the data center but it has almost no measurable possible impact on the overall energy consumed,” he says. “Although this is pointed to as an environmentally conscious decisions, it really has close to no influence on the overall environmental impact of this facility.”

Actually, it does only the run lights. Facebook said as much when we visited the data center this past fall, and a company spokesman reaffirms that the solar farm was never meant to do more. “The initial intent was as an experiment — to see what kind of impact could be made with a small installation,” he says. “The fact that it powers the lights is a bonus; mostly we installed it to see what we could learn.”

But Hamilton’s ultimate point is that if you did build a solar farm large enough to provide most of the power for such a facility, it would be significantly larger than the data center itself. Though Apple is building is a 20-megawatt solar farm in North Carolina, Hamilton points out, it’s still providing only a fraction of the power needed to run Apple’s data center. If you wanted to power the entire 500,000-square-foot facility, he estimates, you’d need a 181-million-square-feet solar farm.

“There are many ways to radically reduce aggregate data center environmental impact without as much land consumption,” he says. “Personally, I look first to increasing the efficiency of power distribution, cooling, storage, networking and server and increasing overall utilization [as] the best routes to lowering industry environmental impact.”

That may very well be the case. But let’s not forget that a data center solar farm makes for a much nicer headline.

I'm sure the materials mined and used in the construction of these solar farms aren't so hot either. Stay tuned for that exposé.
There are no others, there is only us.
06-17-2012, 09:44 AM,
RE: The Trillions Poured into Multi-National Solar Energy - Green Hope & Epic Boondoggles
Quote:Reality check: When the power grid goes down, all grid-tie solar systems will go down with it
Saturday, June 16, 2012
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

A lot of people believe they are becoming "power independent" by installing grid-tie solar systems, but what many don't realize is that virtually all such systems are designed to actively go offline when the power grid goes offline.

A "grid-tie" solar system is one that ties into the power grid, pulling electricity from the grid when needed, then pushing excess electricity back into the grid when the local customer isn't using the full capacity being generated by PV panels (photovoltaic). As long as the grid stays up, it's a clever solution because it reduces or even eliminates the customer's electric bills while generating "clean" energy.

Because of the very fact that these systems are tied into the power grid, however, they all have a safety feature that disconnects them from the grid when the grid goes down. In other words, if the power grid goes offline, your entire grid-tie solar array becomes instantly useless and you can't power a laptop computer even if you have $100,000 worth of solar panels sitting on your roof. In a grid-tie system, they all are instantly shut off.

Let me be clear, because some people reading this article seem to vastly misunderstand the issue: When the power grid goes down, your entire PV array is instantly disabled by your grid-tie inverters, and you cannot use your PV array for anything! Even if the sun is shining, you will have no power from it, period. Understand?

Some early comments to this story suggested that people could simply install a throw switch that would divert the PV array to local use only. This is NOT allowed by local electrical code! Such a system is very difficult to engineer in a safe manner and would almost certainly violate local codes in nearly all U.S. cities. It simply will NOT pass inspection and will not be allowed in most areas. I spoke with top solar consultants to confirm this. At best, such a system would exist in a "grey area" of regulatory approval, I was told.

Again, most people reading this story still do not understand what I'm saying here, and I've backed this up with conversations with top solar experts and equipment providers around the world. When the power grid goes down, virtually all grid-tie systems go down with it. Your solar panels are instantly rendered useless and cannot be used until the city power grid is restored.

It's a "safety" feature
Four out of five people reading this will not believe this information because it is so counter-intuitive. I spoke with architects and engineers who didn't even know this information. They were all proven wrong. If you install a grid-tie solar system, the entire system is immediately useless when the grid goes down. You will have zero power, even if the sun is shining. Your solar array only functions when grid power is up, get it? That's the way grid-tie systems are hard-wired. There is no BYPASS function. Grid down = solar array down, period.

What's the reason behind all this? Because if the main power grid is down, the assumption is that a power line worker may be working on the line somewhere. If a local solar customer is feeding electricity back up the line, that can be dangerous -- even deadly -- to a power line worker. Thus, all grid-tie solar equipment sold today includes the "safety feature" of automatically shutting down when the grid goes down.

Or at least that's the official explanation from the solar power companies, because there's no explanation as to why these inverters have to shut off the local supply of power from the PV panels. Why not let the homeowner continue to have electricity from their own solar panels even if the power grid is down?

Off-grid systems
"Off-grid" systems allow precisely that. These systems, which do not tie into the power grid, run on a combination of solar panels, batteries and often a backup generator running on gasoline, diesel or propane.

Off-grid systems are ridiculously expensive to own and operate, mostly due to the cost of batteries. Today's battery technology remains stuck in the 1800's, meaning that even so-called "deep cycle" batteries will still last only 5 - 10 years. If you do the math on the cost of batteries for a typical off-grid system running a household of four people, you'll come to the surprising figure that batteries alone can cost you $500 / month, each and every month that you use an off-grid system (that's the total cost of the batteries divided by the number of months they will last).

That's why most people don't go with off-grid systems. Grid-tie systems cost significantly less, especially with solar panels now at rock-bottom prices thanks to China dumping them onto the U.S. market below manufacturing cost. (Right now is a great time to buy solar panels, before new tariffs kick in.)

Batteries can be eliminated in such a system by having a standby generator. The solution I personally recommend, as I have researched this in considerable detail, is to purchase a 20kw Generac generator and acquire a 1,000-gallon propane tank to power it. If you practice some simple energy conservation techniques (such as limiting use of air conditioners or heaters), you can run a typical household for 2-3 months on 1,000 gallons of propane. And if you have solar panels to help along the way, that could be stretched to 4-6 months since you'd only be using the propane fuel at night or when the sun isn't shining.

Only an off-grid system gives you true energy independence.

Many people who buy grid-tie systems mistakenly think they're buying off-grid systems
The kicker in all this is that many people mistakenly think they're buying one kind of system when, in reality, they're buying the other kind. Solar installation companies that install grid-tie systems do not necessarily inform their customers that their systems will not function when the power grid goes down. So these customers, even after spending $20,000 to $80,000 or even more, end up with a system that's 100% dependent on the power grid!

There's going to be a rude awakening for these people when the power grid goes down and their solar systems refuse to function. Because, for most people installing solar systems today, the whole idea is to have power when the grid goes down.

And how likely is the grid to go down? Cyber security expert David Chalk says there is a "100 percent chance" that the grid will go down in the near future due to vulnerabilities to cyber terrorism. I recently interviewed him about this subject, and you can watch that interview at:

When I asked him how many months or year it might be before we suffer a catastrophic infrastructure failure of some kind, his reply was, "It's more like a matter of days."

His website is

Off-grid solar equipment is in short supply
As you probably suspected, the kind of solar equipment used to build off-grid systems -- the kind that function without the power grid -- is in very short supply. Manufacturers in Germany, Japan and China are backordered for months. Free inventory is virtually zero. Install times for new systems can now stretch out as long as six months in some cities.

If you want an off-grid solar system and you're not already in the queue to get one, there's very little chance you can have one in place before the prophecy date of December 21, 2012... if that even matters to you. I personally don't put any special weight on that date, but I do believe our world is becoming increasingly unpredictable. Those who want to be safe, prepared and living with a source of electricity need to take steps now to install off-grid systems.

Don't rely on solar installation companies to know what you want. In most cities, they automatically assume customers just want "grid-tie" systems to reduce their electric bills. So if you don't insist on it, you'll end up buying a grid-tie system that becomes a useless heap of dead electronics on the day the power grid dies.

Additional notes: Yes, even off-grid systems are vulnerable to solar flares and EMP attacks. There's no protecting fragile electronics from such events unless you keep a spare set of redundant equipment protected inside Faraday cages or wrapped in aluminum foil and stored inside galvanized aluminum trash cans. Even then, you'd have to figure out how to reinstall everything from the ground up, which would require an expert electrician.
There are no others, there is only us.
06-17-2012, 02:45 PM,
RE: The Trillions Poured into Multi-National Solar Energy - Green Hope & Epic Boondoggles
The way these fascist government environment-based scams work is that you have to get in fast and get out fast.

War and welfare profiting is different. There the goal is to drag it out as long as possible.

Environmental scams are dependent on whatever is currently fashionable; hydrogen, shale, biomass, recycling, etc. You have your media outlets hype the possible solution for a year in advance, then hit the public with a big subsidy from Congress. Then you must extract all your profits before the numbers demonstrating unviability pile up.

After the profits have been siphoned off into holding companies where the courts can't touch them, you quietly declare the project "uneconomical", liquidate the assets, throw those pennies at the dumb investors, and move on to the next one.

06-26-2012, 10:55 PM,
The Trillions Poured into Multi-National Solar Energy - Green Hope & Epic Boondoggles
Solar is finally coming round the corner as there are new materials that look to capture all frequencies of light.

Data centres use SOO much electricity it is pointless going solar JUST for such places. a small nuclear station would be better for them. Unless they work some way to build circuits that don't heat up.... lots of energy wasted keeping these things cool..... hmmm a heat source....what could we do with that excess heat??

Yes the solar cells are ornamental. because its apple. they dont do original.

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