Friday, March 28, 2008

One Point Twenty-One Giga-watts!

I lied it is only 1.0 giga-watts. As the American Century draws to a close the Pacific Century surges forward.
Sharp invests $72M in Japan thin-film solar cell plant
Sharp has made a total capital investment of approximately $724
million to build a thin-film solar cell plant in Sakai, Osaka
Prefecture, that is capable of annual production up to 1 gigawatt per
year. With the annual production capacity on a 1 gigawatt scale,
Applied Materials may be the supplier of the equipment.

Via Electronic News.
The Dawg House is being evaluated for a 0.000004 giga-watt installation. This plant alone could provide for 250,000 per year. In three years this kind of plant by itself would meet the Million Solar Roofs goal years early.


wagga said...

Dawghouse will be first in the neighborhood with a system?

Rob Dawg said...

Maybe second. ;-)

Seriously, there are a few old passive water systems for pools but no visible PVs. You know the neighborhood, perfect for solar, too rich to care. Yet.

Winston said...

Hey Rob, here's another big piece of PV news. Notice that the good folks at SoCal Edison are only planning to pay $3.50/Watt, which is cheap enough to be competitive with Natural Gas in your neck of the woods.

w said...

What the hell is a gigawatt?

tk said...

To put it a gigawatt in perspective, a coal-fired power plant is typically around a few hundred megawatts, so a gigawatt is a lot.

This is cool. My company here in the Bay Area is licensing a new type of technology to make cheap, solar-grade silicon and the push to put more solar panels on houses only brings us more money. But actually, it's a lot more efficient and a better use of resources to build a few large power plants based on solar energy and send that electricity to thousands of rooms rather than installing thousands of little solar systems on those same homes. Where is the push to do that?

Casey Serin said...

Rob, in 1985 I'm sure solar cells are availabale at every corner drugstore. But here in 1955 they're a little hard to come by!!


Steve said...


Details...Details.. much before state rebates, how much after, what's your time line to recap the investmet? At the top rate, which I do hit, KW's are around .38 each, so big money there.

I'm inland from you and went with a swamp cooler last year(aka evaporative cooler)and knocked about $200/month off in the peak heat months. Been considering Solar but the "best" deal was around $30K before rebates and many of the companies in the business appear to be staff by ex mortgage brokers.

What are those silly little details el jefie Dog?

Winston said...


The nice thing about photovoltaics is that there isn't a lot of reason to build really big installations. In fact, one of the big advantages of photovoltaics over say the solar thermal technologies is that you can produce electricity near where it is consumed, saving transmission costs. The project I linked to seems pretty close to an ideal use of PV in that large commercial roofs are big enough to get the installation costs down but small enough that you can fit them near where power is consumed saving the need for expensive (and difficult to build for the same reasons that roads are difficult to build) transmission lines.

Rob Dawg said...

Steve, I've been relating the details over the last few weeks. I are un real engineer, my B-I-L a real 'trician. $16k for 30x165W hard framed panels. 7kW conditioner and tie in hoping $4000. A few hundred dollars more for intelligent switching in anticipation of an electric car. $3500 in parts/supplies. Additional Labor $2500. $9k CA rebate. $2k Fed rebate. Savings on the electric bill covers ~80% of the remainder. Expected ROI 6-7 years. If electricity goes above 18¢ baseline then instant ROI.

Rob Dawg said...

The big lie is the big installations. PV are distrbuted elements and that's why the big companies hate them. The old saw; "you can't meter the sun" sounds trite but is true.

Steve said...


Last time I price a system out, about $35 K before rebates, $16K after all was said and done.

SCE plays a bit of a game with net metering, they only pay the lowest rate for the electricity you "sell" them, and then no doubt resell at the whopping 35+ cent rate.

I've often wondered if there was a business to rent roof space from homes, stores and others to "farm" electricity to sell back into the grid.

Saw a show on the 'Tube about a company out in Md of all places that does that very thing with Whole Paycheck Food stores. Company puts up the solar array, takes on the maintenance and upkeep, sells power back to the store for a fixed amount per KW/h for 20 years.

Neat business model, probably some reason why the Edison's of CA. would fight it.

Steve said...

Sun Edison, interesting company.

Winston said...

Well, the solar thermal installations are still cheaper than PV and SoCal Edison's PV plans look cheaper than I've ever heard of an individual's solar installation being, so for the time being, distributed PV isn't going to take over. In the longer run, theres a good chance that it will.