Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

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Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby spinningmagnets » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:15 pm

In the last half year, solar PV panels have dropped in price to a point where they are competitive with gas, oil, and coal...without government subsidies or price influencing. Due to the current affordability of solar power, and China's desire to bolster their independence from global market fluctuations...China has now committed to a huge move into dramatically increasing their solar power usage. That single decision alone guarantees price and performance improvements will keep marching forward.

Early adopters put up with low performance (big panels with low output) and high prices because they felt it was the right thing to do, and also because they wanted to be a visible example. Now? its actually a smart financial move, without needing to argue that you will break even in 20 years, with free electricity in your retirement.

A few years ago, pro-green energy analysts were looking forward to 2020 as the tipping point, and the sharpness of the drop in prices over the last half of 2016 came as a surprise. I personally feel that that boom in solar panel purchases was driven by the ability to actually store the daytime energy to use later in the evening (time shifting). There are many factors (as there always are), but...the trigger for me was Tesla showing that the "powerwall" was a real product with an easy to install and easy-to-use purchase-ability. The Gigafactory built in the USA was another facet of the paradigm that gave "not green" citizens the confidence that this wasn't just another over hyped and under-performing vaporware gadget. If Panasonic is partnering on a multi billion dollar factory, then this is going to happen.

People who don't care about coal and global warming love their Tesla car. The look, the performance, the range is longer than they drive 98% of the time, and people who own a Tesla own several other cars, so range was never an issue for them. Its the same with the powerwall. Power outage? why buy a gasoline generator to buzz in the back yard, I have solar panels and a powerwall. Don't sell it as green for the planet, sell it as a status symbol which preserves a wealthy clients independence and comfort.

The US never had a "moon race" for alternative energy independence, and the last four presidents have been two Democrats and two Republicans. Rich people buying green toys have funded this last leap to the finish line in a race to the opening chapter of a new world of energy. Thank you Elon Musk.

https://electrek.co/2016/09/26/solar-power-cost-down-25-in-five-months-theres-no-reason-why-the-cost-of-solar-will-ever-increase-again/

The blue-collar Prius, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Volt are nice, but...add them together and they still don't even come close to the Tesla cars and the powerwall.
Last edited by spinningmagnets on Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:57 pm, edited 2 times in total. View post history.
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby craneplaneguy » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:57 pm

My last batch of quality 280 watt modules, bought in quantity from my long time established wholesaler, cost me $187.00 ea. This was last fall. A couple days ago I checked in with them, and now I can buy the same exact module for $148.00, and that's the buying one at a time price, buying the quantity I did before would bring the price down (probably) to around $140.00 each. So yeah....prices continue to drop, big time. Can't last forever, or can it? All I know for sure is when I mention that all my e bikes are solar powered it pretty much shuts the nay sayers up!
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby Hillhater » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:46 pm

spinningmagnets wrote:The blue-collar Prius, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Volt are nice, but...add them together and they still don't even come close to the Tesla cars and the powerwall.


I was with you up to that comment...thats just cheap "fan boy" type comment.!
You may as well say a Corrola doesnt come close to a Ferrari for performance etc.
....and why do people keep glossing over the Tesla defect/repair rate ?
..Also, being realistic, how many people have to live in rented accommodation, or units, flats, appartments, etc with no option to install Solar or any facility to park or charge an EV ?
Until Solar is installed during building construction, it will remain an option only for those existing property owners with the finacial resources and motivation to reap any benifits.
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby teslanv » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:54 pm

I think about starting a Solar Installation business frequently. If I was going to start any business, that would be it.
Ready to BOOM, this market is...
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby spinningmagnets » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:04 pm

I wasn't so much speaking to the way that Tesla's (so far) have been performance cars...compared to the prius, leaf, and Volt, which are more blue-collar economy cars. I meant that their level of success did not match the product volume of Tesla.

It is that "level of success" that has affected very large markets. Without the Tesla cars, there would not be as much of a boom in 18650 cells, and without that cell volume, there would not have been an affordable Powerwall. Without the Powerwall, I am very doubtful we would be experiencing the current boom in solar systems (IMHO)...
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby Hillhater » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:57 pm

.? Odd, i thought the popularity of 18650 cells was due to the vast volumes produced for laptops forcing the price downand quality up ?....also the reason why Tesla chose to use them ?
Better, powerful, cells were a result of the drive to more professional cordless power tools for industrial/trade use.
We Ebikers, are just a late coming flea on the back of those industries !
I also doubt the volume of Powerwalls sold has had much impact on the Solar industry revival, that is more driven by the huge increase in energy costs over the past few years.
Australia was one of the first markets to get the Powerwall, and i know there were only a few hundred sold here, many of which were discounted promotional installations.
Tesla's real contribution has most likely been the cleaver use and manipulation of the media ( on-line, social and mainstream) to promote the EV, and Solar industries generally.
Its all good in my book,...... but be careful with too much Coolade !
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby spinningmagnets » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:10 pm

You may be right, but...whatever the major influences are, I am very happy that solar has reached this price per watt, instead of needing to wait until 2020...
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby Hillhater » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:37 pm

There is a "floor" to solar prices ..at least in our part of the world..and that is dictated by the installation costs.
We have to have qualified installers, with certified test ing to hook up anything connected to the grid.
And there are a lot of dodgey solar sales/install outfits only too keen to throw some unknown panels on your roof for an extortionate price.
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby Izits » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:11 pm

I live on a "Time of Use" electricity program. In the summer till 7pm you live on just the amount of power your panels provide, which isn't enough to run all your air conditioning. Then in the winter time the power is like 4 cents/Kwh to run the heaters. Works out pretty well.

The only catch is the government arranges it so you aren't permitted to install enough panels to really meet your needs, which makes no sense at all.
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby e-beach » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:23 pm

Certified installers are a "thing" around here as well. Costs money for installation and having the "permit" signed "off" by the Dept. of Building and Safety. But that is not the biggest issue. The amount of roof you are allowed to use is a solar killer around here. We have a 3 foot edge setback that reduces the amount of cell area quite a bit. So even if you have a house with a south-west facing roof, like I have, the cost of the permit, cells and instillation, grid tie-in and the fact that it still takes almost 20 years to recope ones cost kills most instillation plans around here. Sunny Southern California not withstanding. When the cells themselves are 40% efficient then it will become common and destroy the local Dept. of Water and Power because it will become the Department of Water and less Powerful. :lol:

On the other hand, if one has a house that also has south and west facing exterior walls like I do, one could mount cheap panels on the walls where there is no setback restrictions and not worry about the roof setback...... :twisted:

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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby spinningmagnets » Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:53 pm

Just talked to an investment analyst today, knew he had been buying green stocks previously. He had an "auto-sell" order in place if they dipped below his set point. He owned stock in a very large solar panel company, which took a dip, and sold...he looked into why, and his analysis?...

Trump sounds pro-coal, and appointed former Exxon guy to his cabinet. Investors panicked, and started selling off green stocks to sandbag existing profits. Whenever there's a big selloff, the reason doesn't matter, stock prices go down. Here's the funny part...

Large and growing alt-energy companies have long-term growth projections and investments, a temporary dip doesn't make them want to file bankruptcy, they just need to stumble-through until things pick up a little. So how to keep the production line running at "some" capacity? Lower prices even more. Give up some short term profits for long-term survivability. Well...there have been some large entities that knew they were going to buy lots of solar panels in the near future, so...buy now? Or wait until prices go back up?

Some big solar PV producers have signed large long-term product contracts at today's low prices. In a twisted way, Trump sounding pro oil and pro coal has actually given solar a booster shot in the arm. My investor friend re-bought when the lowered stock prices stabilized, and now he is up 18% over just the last month.

Cheap solar is here to stay...
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby Hillhater » Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:24 pm

...And i still dont figure why Teslas stock price has shot up since the Trump effect seems to give oil stocks a boost ?
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby spinningmagnets » Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:28 pm

The more Tesla walls that are sold, the fewer generating stations the country has to build.

Their stock price also seems to be effected by the size of their backlog of buyers who have placed a deposit on a Tesla or powerwall. When more people place a deposit, their stock goes up. I'm not sure if there's a correlation between Trump and Tesla stock prices, but I'm sure it's possible?
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby Hillhater » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:39 pm

Well the stock didnt increase when all those folk made deposits on M3s...the biggest sales haul in their history ?
Some expert commentators do attribute the latest rally (Nov 16-Feb 17) to the "Trump effect". But it doesnt make sense really as the guy in control of Energy is now a ex Big Oil man with little enthusiasm for green options ?
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby spinningmagnets » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:03 pm

Sometimes, trends are counter-intuitive. Whenever there is a large military conflict in the world, currencies in several nations suffer fluctuations, often, fear of losses send investors to convert their currency holdings into gold, and sudden demand typically drives prices up. During the Carter administration, Russia had a military occupation to "help" Afghanistan. Gold should go up, right (as rich Afghanis convert paper money to any gold they can get their hands on)? It seems like it always did in the past....

As a result of Russia's action, Carter restricted trade with Russia as a UN sanction, and that year Russia really NEEDED to buy some American wheat...millions of tons. The Russian currency (Ruble) is not convertable to any other currency. So...what could they do? The Russians paid Argentina to buy american wheat, add their "handling fee", and then ship to Russia. But...Argentina doesn't take Rubles, so Russia paid them in gold....a LOT of gold. The Argentinians flooded the market to convert the gold into stuff they wanted.

So...Russia occupies Afghanistan, and the price gold went down.

Tesla stock is going up because investors are buying Tesla stock...who knows why they are buying? Why would Trump being in office make investors think Tesla will grow? It might be because solar panels coupled with Tesla Wall power-storage helps companies (and the military) have some additional independence from the grid.

If millions of people start buying Tesla Walls, they can initially be kept topped off by charging up at night (providing a buffer against a short temporary power outage), when electricity rates are typically at their lowest. But later, adding solar panels can really be a step towards electricity independence from the grid.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres- ... 2016-12-30

Tesla Motors Inc., fresh from its $2.6 billion merger with solar-power provider SolarCity Corp. in November, was named top stock-market pick for 2017 by Baird Equity Research
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby Hillhater » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:55 pm

....Why would Trump being in office make investors think Tesla will grow? It might be because solar panels coupled with Tesla Wall power-storage helps companies (and the military) have some additional independence from the grid.

..but as you said before, it didnt seem to work like that for other Solar power stocks, which have fallen dramatically in the past few months..First Solar and Sunpower are worth a fraction of their value last year this time ?...and they all have access to battery storage systems. ?
the financials numbers and professional analysists all agree that Tesla is overpriced , losing money on every sale, and must make a funding call soon for $1.5bn + ..which always hits the SP. So why is the SP so high ??
NOTE:.. i just saw the SP has pulled back $40 (15%) this week. ?
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby st35326 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:34 pm

There were solar panels and auxiliary battery backups on homes long before Tesla and Solar City.

Tesla has yet to produce a sub $50k car (which makes up the lion share of all vehicles sold today). For you to dismiss the Leaf, Volt and Bolt is just elitist bullshit. This is primarily a blue collar, home built bike website anyway, save it for the country club.

Ive built my own battery backup to fed from panels I put up myself so have others.

This setup blows anything Tesla will sell for a home away and it was completed before the Powerwall was even released.

https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads ... art.34531/

Side note about efficiency: 5kw gets me to 50mph on an ebike and only 11 mph in an electric car. :cry:
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby Cephalotus » Wed May 24, 2017 10:05 am

I'm not sure if the Powerwall is a Trigger.

The German market is quite significant (and quite competitve) and so far the Powerwall has a market share of around 1%.

Musk has high media coverage, this is why many People seem to believe that he invented something new with the Powerwall.

https://seekingalpha.com/instablog/1404 ... winning-it

It's a while since this article was written.

The new Sonnen hybrid Batterie will cost 5000 Euro in Germany and will offer 10kWh of Sony LFP cells with 10.000 cycles at 100% DOD.

And it's efficient, doesn't need a cooling System (okay, our climate is different).

I don't know the Powerwal II yet, but the Powerwall I (in its several versions) didn't perform so well, neither was it as cheap as promissed, nor are the warranty conditions very encouraging.

We will know more about Long term performnae in 10 years. My(!) bet would not be on a Powerwall I.

It's different in the electric car market, Tesla is one (the?) front runner, but in solar or home storage they may be well known in the US market, but struggle (so far) in more competive and demanding markets.
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby craneplaneguy » Tue May 30, 2017 9:51 pm

Yesterday I flew over the new (still installing)) PV power plant, in the next county. I won't bother posting a pic, but it's huge, maybe 200 acres? Not sure of the KW total. This same county also has two large wind farms, and the local farmers love them, they farm around them and get about 3 to 6 dollars a MONTH per machine, and many have multiple machines on their property. They are building new homes or adding on, buying new trucks, and new stuff in general, so the money is getting spread around. I got some doing crane work on the new homes. Anyway, this rural county, now with the wind turbines and the large PV site is named......wait for it, Power County! Aptly named.
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby Jon NCal » Tue May 30, 2017 10:59 pm

craneplaneguy wrote:Yesterday I flew over the new (still installing)) PV power plant, in the next county. I won't bother posting a pic, but it's huge, maybe 200 acres? Not sure of the KW total. This same county also has two large wind farms, and the local farmers love them, they farm around them and get about 3 to 6 dollars a MONTH per machine, and many have multiple machines on their property. They are building new homes or adding on, buying new trucks, and new stuff in general, so the money is getting spread around. I got some doing crane work on the new homes. Anyway, this rural county, now with the wind turbines and the large PV site is named......wait for it, Power County! Aptly named.

do you mean 3 to 6 thousand a month per tower?
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby parajared » Wed May 31, 2017 7:16 pm

The shingles on my house are starting to get old and fall apart. I wonder how much it would cost to re-shingle my house with some of that solar film.
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby Hillhater » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:59 am

Even though a 200 acre solar farm sounds huge, (and is !). it is not likely to be much more than 100MW peak capacity .
......if my quick mental calculations are close.
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby Hillhater » Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:55 pm

Are there any solid reliable sources for relative costs of electric power supply other than Wiki ?
I hear lots of claims that Solar is by far the cheapest source of power generation (grid scale) , but the numbers , $/MW, from sites like Wiki do not support those claims
Image
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of ... as_of_2015).png
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of ... _by_source
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Re: Tipping point, 2017 drop in price of solar PV

Postby Hillhater » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:49 am

This is a useful table of comparisons for capital and operating costs..
https://www.eia.gov/analysis/studies/po ... table1.xls
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