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Take Two!

April 14, 2017

By Paul Homewood



On 6th April 2017, the stunningly ignorant Joe Romm reports that unsubsidised solar power is now the cheapest source of new power:



Stunning drops in the cost of wind and solar energy have turned the global power market upside down.

For years, opponents of renewable power, like President Donald Trump, have argued they simply aren’t affordable. The reality is quite different.

Unsubsidized renewables have become the cheapest source of new power — by far — in more and more countries, according to a new report from the United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).




On 15th April, the failed Independent reports that solar power investment has collapsed in England, because the wicked Tory government has dared to withdraw subsidies:



The number of solar panels being installed in the UK has fallen by more than 80 per cent, according to an analysis of new figures in the latest sign that the industry is being strangled by government policies despite being one of the cheapest sources of electricity.

The Solar Trade Association (STA), which produced the figures based on recently released government statistics, found the first three months of this year had seen a catastrophic collapse in the number of solar panels being put up following the withdrawal of virtually all subsidies….

Under government rules, solar has not been allowed to bid against other power generators for contracts to supply electricity at a guaranteed price even though it is in a position to save money for consumers.


Me thinks Joe Romm is telling porkies!!

  1. CheshireRed permalink
    April 14, 2017 9:55 pm

    Romm, the Indy, the Guardian, the BBC. They ALL tell climate porkies, and they know it.

    • homercidel permalink
      April 14, 2017 10:23 pm

      Unfortunately…I have to agree, at the very least they misrepresent by omission.

  2. Bruce of Newcastle permalink
    April 14, 2017 11:46 pm

    It’s easy to test Mr Romm’s claims.

    I use the Excel NPV function and easily available data. I then goalseek the value of the electricity produced until the NPV result is zero – which gives the effective price you’d need for the electricity to break even on the investment (compared with just being on the grid).

    Here is an example from 2014 of how to do the quick calc.

    So I’ll put these numbers in:

    2 kW rooftop PV setup ($8,000)
    1 x Tesla Powerwall ($7,000)
    6% interest rate on capital
    $100 for annual insurance
    $100 for annual maintenance
    12 kWh generated per day for 300 days per year (assuming 6 hrs/day full sunshine)
    8 year NPV timescale (since that is about how long the battery lasts for)
    All in USD for a setup in the USA, where Mr Romm comes from.

    Total capex is then $15,000
    Total electicity generated is 3,600 kWh/a
    Total opex is $200/a

    Goalseeking NPV=0 gives an effective electricity cost of 72.7c/kWh

    By comparison he says the average US residential electricity price is 12c/kWh.
    So on these assumptions you’d be effectively paying 6 times the grid price if you put in the above system – which does have a battery admittedly. Otherwise you’d only be able to use electricity during the day.

    You can play with the assumptions to optimise the results but it’s not going ever beat that 12c/kWh simply due to the efficiencies of scale that centralised coal fired and nuclear power stations get.

    I do such project analyses for a living – a full plant business case spreadsheet is very large and very detailed, but the principles are similar.

  3. Bruce of Newcastle permalink
    April 14, 2017 11:49 pm

    Paul – I’ve posted a detailed comment with calculations and several links which may have gone to the spam collector.

  4. markl permalink
    April 15, 2017 12:28 am

    What a load of BS. Using bid prices as your cost basis is flat out lying. All someone has to do is get pricing for their home to leave the grid and they’ll see the real story. Without fossil fuel baseline power and subsidies there would be no rooftop PV in locations with a power grid.

  5. John F. Hultquist permalink
    April 15, 2017 3:57 am

    These simple minded articles never get past the fluff.
    Authors should learn arithmetic and do a few calculations.
    I need my refrigerator/freezer to work all the time.
    Wind and solar cannot do that without covering about half of Earth with towers and panels.
    So, how many is that, where do they go, and who pays?

    The solar folks want “fair tax treatment” and less “red tape” – Good for them. Let’s have a “level playing field.”
    That includes getting rid of the eco-nut protesters that have a religious zeal against anything with Carbon.

    • CheshireRed permalink
      April 15, 2017 7:21 am

      John, they don’t want to get past the fluff because the whole point of these puff pieces is to promote climate propaganda. Detrimental facts mean nothing to them. Romm is one deluded man.

  6. Athelstan permalink
    April 15, 2017 7:27 am

    Joe Romm, just proves you can’t put down a climastrologist zombie, they just keep getting back up but they always smell of the same old shi*7, to talk this sort of green BS and utter such deranged one eyed greenpus tosh, the fella must have fallen on some very hard times – what a bleeding shame it is, and where’s his bosom buddy and mate – have they fallen out again, oh dear.

  7. April 15, 2017 8:14 am

    There’s just that small problem that solar panels don’t work in the dark.

    • April 15, 2017 8:22 am

      Don’t forget that small problem of energy density. And that small problem of intermittency.

    • Nigel S permalink
      April 15, 2017 8:42 am

      They do in Spain! Well until the cops caught up with them anyway.

    • April 15, 2017 9:42 am

      Or at peak demand for half the year.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      April 20, 2017 4:58 pm

      “There’s just that small problem that solar panels don’t work in the dark.”

      The Spanish managed to overcome that problem.

      For a while…

  8. April 15, 2017 8:41 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  9. Dung permalink
    April 16, 2017 10:49 am

    Strange that without subsidies, the building of new solar has virtually stopped in the UK hmmmm…

  10. Dung permalink
    April 16, 2017 10:52 am

    They could not make solar break even in Death Valley so what hope for normal climates?

  11. April 16, 2017 10:31 pm

    Take Joe Romm s word for it and remove all the greenie subsidies and give UK citizens a break on their Taxes. Let them keep their hard earned money.

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