Very tall turbines tend to improve capacity factor and project economics by tapping steadier winds found further away from the ground. For onshore projects, at least, that benefit is in tension with the more difficult transport and assembly logistics noted in this article.
Solar has the logistics edge in that all of the components for a solar farm are much smaller and weigh less. Even the largest individual solar modules are under 40 kilograms each. Racking systems are also assembled out of smaller pieces. No oversized loads need to be transported to the solar farm site. There are more truckloads of components for a 400 megawatt solar farm vs. a 400 kilowatt farm, but the individual components and trucks need be no larger.
The real surprise is how fast capacity has jumped. We went through a period of rapid size increase, then a decade plus plateau around the 2 MW mark, and now a very rapid rise to 4+ MW onshore.
It's true we get to better winds higher up, but we also see some significant cost advantages related to building fewer turbine foundations, needing to erect fewer individual units and having relatively fewer miles of site road and collection to achieve the same production.
It is an insanely awesomely large machine too. 66,000 volts! Wow, just wow.
And if you do make it here then please let me know and I'll be happy to buy you dinner.
Enercon wants a word with you:
And Vestas has an even larger one.
Building "on-site" is tough because the "sites" are by definition scattered around, often in the countrysite with little infrastructure. On one site you only have a handful of turbines to install.
Flying large objects is challenging.
There have been attempts to transport large cargo with zeppelins, but it's more of a failure story of German industry politics .
I don't know the chemistry behind it, but it's interesting to hear the counter argument that it will actually create more polution to build a solar panel relative to its lifetime. Would love to read more.
It sounds like a somewhat garbled retelling of this widely reported story from 2008 about unscrupulous Chinese manufacturers dumping silicon tetrachloride:
"Some Chinese “clean energy” companies produce a toxic hazard"
Facilities in South Korea, Japan, Germany, and the United States purify silicon by the same process and do not dump silicon tetrachloride. They recycle silicon tetrachloride into more trichlorosilane, or turn it into other salable silicon derivatives. Dumping silicon tetrachloride on the ground is no more the norm in the silicon industry than adding melamine to milk is the norm in the dairy industry.
EDIT: Here's a products page from Mitsubishi Polysilicon, which manufactures high purity silicon in the USA. They sell the purified silicon tetrachloride for making fiber optics:
They're a small company that uses a neat system to manufacture the towers onsite, cutting down the shipping for it.
(Disclosure -- they're friends of mine, but I have no direct experience with them)
Helicopter Installs Ski Lift Towers at a Private Ski Club:
so, average speaking the components are on the scale of 35t/each. The current helicopters top at about 20t payload, so could be used only for some smaller parts. That one https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mil_V-12 could have done more jobs here. Or it is a new and shiny market for airships (or some kind of hybrid with airship)
I wish you could magically get power out of a lump of radioactive metal that you found lying on the surface of the ground, in the real world you have to build infrastructure to harness it.
A comparison with nuclear is left as an exercise for the viewer. Perhaps it is made explicit in the full video.