First, sure, for the usual renewables,
need either storage or transmission lines
across continents and/or oceans. So,
assume renewables need storage.
=== Home Batteries?
For residential electric power,
why have home batteries instead of
grid batteries? Likely grid batteries
will be cheaper due to economy of
scale and also, due to parallelism
and better engineering and maintenance,
=== Wholesale Electric Prices
We need to keep in mind, for someone in
the US paying their local electric utility
12 cents per KWh, that the wholesale price
on the grid is surprisingly low. E.g., at
can see that the wholesale price is often,
depending on geographic location and time,
ballpark 1-2 cents per KWh.
That's a current reference, but as I
recall not so many years ago the wholesale
price was commonly 0.5 cents per KWh.
Lesson: In the US, electric power, the
actual power itself, as generated, at the
plant, and ready to put on the grid, is
surprisingly cheap. So, talking about
something cheaper has some challenges.
So where does the rest of the 12 cents go?
Sure, to running the grid.
=== Charging for a Grid Connection
So, basically, assuming the wholesale
price of 2 cents per KWh, for an electric
bill of $100 at 12 cents per KWh,
(10/12) * 100 = 83.33
So, if you tell your electric company that
you want to use their power only when
there is two feet of snow on your roof,
then they will have their public utility
commission let them tell you that, fine,
and now, the good news, your cost of
electricity is reduced from 12 cents per
KWh to 2 cents per KWh but, the bad news,
there is now a flat fee of $83.33 per
month for just the grid connection itself.
Else, ballpark, the electric company loses
money, and the public utility commission
doesn't much like that.
=== Rugged Rooftop Solar
Roof-top solar will need to be more
reliable than asphalt shingles or will
need to be replaced, say, each 10 years
due just to wind and weather.
Just the labor cost for the replacement
will be significant even if the panels are
just dirt cheap. If they are cheaper than
asphalt shingles -- terrific! Somehow I
doubt that rooftop solar panels will be
cheaper per square foot than shingles; ask
the shingle guys -- I doubt that they are
Gotta keep those solar panels in good
shape. So, ballpark need a new roof each,
maybe, 10 years.
=== Off the Grid!
Suppose want to have no grid connection at
all. Four issues:
(1) If want electric cars, then need one
heck of a slug of electric power and the
grid again. Else get to drive for
groceries maybe once a month. Look up the
arithmetic -- e.g., for charging stations,
we're talking megawatts.
(2) I'm skeptical that rooftop solar can
drive whole house A/C in warm climates.
Then, what about the standard summer
afternoon thunder storms -- the A/C will
be pulling one heck of a load out of the
Uh, a lot of the load on A/C is not to
cool the air but just to condense the
humidity as the air cools and keep the
humidity nicely below 100%. So, even if
the thunder storms cool the air, the A/C
still has to remove humidity.
Sure, a totally sealed up house, no air
leaks at all, an air to air heat
exchanger, special windows, fantastic
insulation, etc. can work wonders (if you
are not over a radon source), but only a
tiny fraction of houses were built that
(3) How to heat the house in the winter,
say, the snow last winter in Boston? No
sunlight to the solar panels for days.
So, no electric power even to drive the
pump for burning fuel oil.
(4) If want electric heat in the winter
(and I believe we should hope for that),
then will need the grid again, at least
when have two feet of snow on the solar
panels. Then for the grid, will be back
to that $83.33 a month fixed charge for
the grid connection.
=== Cover the US SW
So. sure, cover the US SW with solar
panels. Also put wind turbines on the
Rockies, all over Kansas, etc.
Assume all this is for free, both capex
Now, what will the batteries cost?
And the conversions between DC and AC?
Net, we need to hear about not just cheap
solar panels but about a lot of really
Also we're talking paying for those
batteries -- capex plus opex -- with
ballpark 1 cent per KWh, maybe less, in
wholesale electric prices.
To me, the OP fails both the sniff test
and the giggle test.
=== The Hidden Agenda
So, what's really going on?
I smell carbon taxes and, net, higher
electric bills. No thanks.
=== High Speed Trains
Japan has high speed trains. So do the
Chinese. So does France. Just get on
board and zip to your destination --
clean, modern, quiet, smooth, comfortable,
fast, safe. Right?
Wouldn't you really like to see lots of
high speed trains, a nice grid, connecting
all the important US cities? Pride of the
US! Great for the US infrastructure!
Benefits beyond ability to count! Changes
everything! Why have we waited so long?
If China can build high speed trains, then
surely US engineering can also. Is there
something wrong with US engineering; does
it need to catch up with China? Do we
need to wake up US engineering? Why does
the US want to fall behind China?
What to do with the carbon taxes? Sure,
high speed trains, general revenues, etc.
=== Cost/Benefit Analysis
Of course, there are problems with the US
Federal Government building high speed
trains: About 100 years ago a lot of
people saw that could build big water
resource projects and make the desert
So, smart real estate entrepreneurs, buy
up some cheap desert land, have the Feds
build a big water resource project, make
the desert bloom and that land valuable,
sell the land, and retire rich, all from
the generosity of the US taxpayers.
Well, that situation, I didn't actually
call it a scam, was the case a few times
too often, and then a law was passed about
"cost/benefit analysis". Before such a
project, had to add up all the costs and
all the benefits "to whomsoever they may
accrue" and have the benefits bigger than
Presto. Bingo. Right away that little
ratio killed off nearly all the Fed funded
water resource projects.
For high speed trains? In the US, nearly
all projects for public transportation of
people lose buckets of money and would get
a grade of flat F on any reasonable
cost/benefit analysis. Indeed, in a
course I took, the optimal decision for
the Baltimore subway, already built and
ready to roll, was just to brick up the
entrances and f'get about it because, even
counting the capex as $0.00, the project
failed cost/benefit just from the opex.
States and cities can fund high speed
trains, but the Feds can't.
The OP is not about solar panels. Instead
it's about something it never mentions --
Watch your wallet.