Energy production is of key importance, not size of systems

by Ginosar  

Report: U.S. Market Sees 50% Annual Growth

The hodgepodge of federal and state policies are favoring the growth of large-scale solar farms, which will help propel the U.S. closer to the No. 1 spot, says GTM Research.

The report above claims that the US photovoltaic market is rapidly advancing and we soon would surpass Germany in PV installations.

I am all for effective renewable energies, but PV, the way we pay for it, and the way the industry and media report on it is highly misleading, so I wrote my assessment of this report below and commented on it on the original site and others:

The total long article on photovoltaic above did not mention even once, unless I missed it, the energy generated by photovoltaic systems or the price per kWh. Why, because very little energy is generated by PV and the total price to our society is very high. Tax rebates are not free! We all pay for it. But what are we geting for our payments?

Why are energy production and cost are importantt? Because the reality is that we are in the middle of a dangerous global warming , and we must reduce our GHG. Also, the purpose of green energy should be dedicated to replacing as much fossil-generated electricity as possible with GHG-free electrical energy. And this is not happening now with PV on any meaningful scale.

We want to replace Germany's prominent position with PV? What a futility. Germany spent some 70 billion dollars over more than a decade and is now getting a miniscule one third of one percent (1/3 %) of its electricity from PV. In the mean time they are not reducing their dependence on coal power plants. Oppositely, tens of coal power plants are now in the pipeline to go on line in the coming few years. Some new ones are already on line.

So, what did the Germans achieve, more GHG from coal and the erroneous satisfaction that they are going green.
And the USA is falling into the same ignorance and waste as Germany. First we do not have billions to waste on future dreams. We do not have the time to play with GHG. Put the money into wind energy which in many cases can compete now with fossil electricity. We will general several times the electricity per dollar that PV can. Put money into R&D for new technologies including solar. Put money into central tower solar that is so much more economical and generate more green energy that way too. But do not claim that we are going green when what we are doing is giving huge profit to solar companies.


Dr. Steven Chu is not so sold on current solar PV. He said that the price has to drop by ten to one to be useful on a mass scale. And that is what we need- mass replacement of coal generated electricity by conservation, efficiency and green technologies. A utility manager told me recently that despite the drop in solar panels, the price of the PV systems remained the same to the users. The profit, however to the solar company increased. We did not get more electricity per dollar at all.

The many jobs that are generated by subsidies for solar should be given to many more workers performing energy conservation. Most of our existing housing stock is poorly insulated and waste considerable amount of energy. But conservation is not "sexy" and very little is done in this area. Why, there is no national Conservation organization that pushes our legislators, both at the local level in California, and the national level in Congress. So every one "knows" that conservation is important but we do very little conservation.

Do put money into PV but never talk, never mention how much energy is actually generated by PV and how much reduction is occurring in our GHG emission.

Sadly we are so blind to reality, it is amazing how much energy and money we waste on technologies that satisfy our emotions but not reducing our GHG.


Dr. Matania Ginosar

Environmental Scientist & Electrical Engineer

Prev. Mgr. Solar Office, California Energy commission.






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