Sunday, May 10, 2009

Solar power is a damp squib

Moving away from the corruption of our MPs for a second, it's time to examine the alterniative power market. Which, via the insanely prolific Tom Nelson, is not going terribly well.
PRINCE Charles’ star-studded climate-change crusade was under a cloud last night as a row raged over his favourite solar power station.

Official figures have revealed the £4million project at Woking, Surrey, produced only enough electricity in one year to power a single 100-watt lightbulb for just 59 days.

That’s an electrifying cost of £72,000 per day—funded by taxpayers and energy trusts.

Even Green campaigners are calling for the plug to be pulled on the Woking solar structure—a huge glass-panelled canopy at the town’s railway station.

And why has the project been such an expensive failure...?
Woking Borough Council, which backed the project, defended the cost yesterday.

Asset manager Diane Spencer said: “The council is confident the canopy will reach and hopefully exceed anticipated output in coming years.”

Um... Is that a hope based on any, y'know, scientific projections? Or are you just trying to save your skin? Let me guess...
The council said “inclement weather” had been one factor in the poor performance.

What, really? You mean that trying to build solar power installations in one of the most northern, rainiest countries in the world is a bit fucking stupid? Well, ain't that a fucking surprise...?

Look, power sources that rely on the weather are inherently unreliable, because the weather is inherently unreliable: when are these fucking morons going to learn?

6 comments:

microdave said...

This doesn't surprise me one bit. I've had a couple of solar panels to provide some battery charging at a remote site I use. Neither of them ever produced their claimed output - even when new and facing directly at the Sun during the middle of a summers day. A passing cloud reduces the output by 40-50%, and on an overcast day they might only give 10% of rated power.

The first one packed up after 3 years due to water ingress, and with some designs a well aimed bit of bird crap will also knock the output down!

Wind Turbines are much the same - they actually shut down in strong winds, or disintegrate like this one in Denmark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3FZtmlHwcA

Pa Annoyed said...

The point is still valid, but the Star have got the wrong number wrong by a factor of 100.

Here's a more credible version.
http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/s/2050411_less_power_generated_by_woking_canopy

According to this, the canopy was supposed to generate 59,200 kWh but only generated 45,123 kWh, a shortfall of 14,077 kWh, the shortfall being enough to supply a 100 Watt light bulb for 5865 days.

I'm pretty sure that shortfall number, divided by 10 instead of multiplied, is the source of their number.

This I'm sure is a consequence of the corrosion of GCSE standards in maths and physics. Did you see those exams?

Incidentally, the £4m cost for the canopy, divided by a maximum 30 year lifetime for solar pv, divided by the 45,000 kWh it actually produced, gives a price per unit of nearly £3/kWh. However, it does also serve as a very nice sun shade.

Anonymous said...

Why should they learn when there are no consequences for being incompetent?

Until 'they' start getting the sack, nothing will change.

And Chaz - you are a moron. Stick to art history, or whatever you studied. It clearly wasn't science, was it?

Chalcedon said...

Weather is chaotic. We know this. We know how wrong forecasts can be. Remember that hurricane from 1987? Not even guessed at. For most of the year the weather is overcast and dull. Solar power stations only work reasonably well in sunny and hence hot climates, like Southern Spain and North Africa. Building one in the UK is utter madness. The science is there and states the obvious, but with numbers and projections. It will cost a mint and provide bugger all power. Just like these stupid wind turbine arrays.

Henry Crun said...

B..b...b...b...but DK, we have been promised global warming. The planet is going to get hotter. That nice Mr Gore and nice Mr Hansen said so.

Can't understand why solar power wouldn't work....jesus wept!

Arseholes, the lot of 'em.

thisisasensationalistrant said...

You fail to name any successes of solar energy you fucking prick