Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chris and I and the Meaning of Life

This cell has a face.
Great hike + Great conversation + Great weather was my day today.  Capped it with a few Imperial
pints at the Tap and Barrel. Ran into a Red Wings fan and we watched the Wings make the winning goal that put them in charge of their destiny as far as making the playoffs goes. Being in control of your destiny is a possibility in sport but life isn't controllable like sport. Life giveth and taketh from us randomly. Chris's wife lost a great friend 2 weeks ago. Deb was the Maid of Honor at their wedding. A fucking car accident took her. Chris told me about the memorial. It was part real and part fake. The real parts were gutwrenchingly real but the fake parts were dressy and cheap. I've only been to one big memorial and I would call it kinda the same way. Celebrating a death is a tricky show. There's stumbling involved.

I feel like I know about too much death in world right now and it's getting to me. I've decided to quit it cold turkey. I want to turn the world bullshit down and my life up. Is there a knob or button to do that? I think there is. Some buttons lead to a shitty google news story about shitty angry death. Don't press those buttons. Press the buttons that call your friend. Turn up the good songs. Life chess. Seize the day and play it.
Chris asked me my take on the meaning of life. My take is... Make life bigger. Build a fabulous story and add it to all the rest.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Movie Suggestion

Cashback - Funky story. Artsy but not gay artsy. Care was put into the making.

My Mom is a CSI Fan

Future KITT will have a solar boost. America Fuck Yeah!
I'm a fan of The Mentalist. I shouldn't admit to that but I am - seen every goddamn episode. My wife slays me for watching the show even though she watches the odd episode with me. Funny thing about The Mentalist though... Earlier this season they had an Elon Musk clone written in as the bad guy. That was awesome enough but recently they randomly mentioned Solar Power again. Hmmm. There's got to be someone in the show's chain of command with a hardon for solar. Period. Who is it? Don't know. Curious.
I'm also a fan of The Walking Dead. Aimee and I watch this show together - sigh... already miss it. In The Walking Dead they have (had) this Mayberry type town that has solar panels strewn around.

Hmmm... Two popular shows conspicuously featuring solar. 20 million viewers between shows. 20 million is a big number. Is solar stepping into the Zeitgeist? Goddamn I think it is.
In Mad Max the gold of the day is gas. I think the future Mad Max type movies (I hear they're doing a remake) will involve more and more solar - there will be Panel Raids and boobie-trapped panels and such. The future versions of the Book of Eli won't have the protagonist's Ipod batteries go dead. In the future versions of the future the character will get shot in his backpack which happens to have his solar power mat. The solar panels will be destroyed by the bullet but save Eli's life. Problem is now he has no power which means no music. Next thing you know he's off the path and into trouble. Point is... Our popular culture is steadily moving towards thinking of solar as the future in an explicit way. We're playing with it around the edges. That's my thought anyway. Who says you can't learn anything from television?

Mitch Hedberg: Do you think that when the guy came up with the idea to invent a bong a blacklight popped up over his head?

Me: Do you think that when the robot in 2087 comes up with the idea to invent a rust spray (aka:rain) to fend off the nanodestructobots a sun will pop up over his head?

Monday, April 22, 2013


"Decentralised solar power plants will play a decisive role in the future structure of the power market in Germany... At present, we have almost reached the power production cost level of onshore wind.”
Bernhard Beck - CEO BELECTRIC

More info on the 128 MW mega thin-film project
According to Belelectric the 200 million euro project is comprised of 1.5 million First Solar modules and was installed in 4 months.

This is a curious project. Curious because it doesn't appear to be profitable.

Cost: 1563 Euro/kWp
O&M: 10 Euro/kWp per year
Output: 938 kWh/kWp per year
FiT: 11.02 cent/kWh
Loan: 10 year at 4%
Depreciation: Declining Balance - 12.5%
Discount Rate: 5%

LCOE: 11.24 cent/kWh
NPV: -468 Euro/kW
IRR: -0.71%

I think my assumptions are reasonable but they lead to unreasonable results. There's obviously more to the story here. Perhaps there's a special "non-FiT" contract being used to sell the electricity. Maybe the costs are being reported incorrectly  and/or incompletely. Can't tell yet... Must dig deeper.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

92.2 TWh of Lights in Japan - LEDs are a Mighty Ally

Recommended Reading < it's linked!!!
A study in Japan has concluded that the country’s annual energy consumption could be slashed by 9 percent [92.2 TWh] if it were possible to replace all the fluorescent and incandescent lights used in Japan with LED lights.
The study referred to in the quote is from 2011 - mostly likely scrambled together post 311. Big Big Big picture... 92.2 TWh is a huge amount of electricity. Japan would need to install around 70 GW of photoelectrics to generate 92.2 TWh of electricty. It would take 5 to 10 years to install this much solar in Japan using very aggressive deployment assumptions. I'm not saying deploying solar this fast isn't possible - it certainly is... But LEDs will likely beat solar to the punch.

Consider the whole world. The screamers say utilities are scared of solar... In the near term I think LEDs are a bigger problem for Utilities. Utilities can argue against replacing lightbulbs with fantastical claims but I highly doubt their arguments will gain an audience.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mac Bandy

Whoa.. Wikipedia is Crazy.
Just got back from a LEED Platinum Bar. They use rainwater to flush the toilets. Had three Imperial Pints - will never drink Resistance Pints again.

Hail Caesar - follow your masters... become one... make and show and feel. Be ticklish.

Farmer to the Swine

Farmer: Feed Up. I'm not keeping you. I'm eating you.
Swine: I'm gon' eat it like I like Farmer.
Farmer: You gon' eat it just as fast as you can - Poof it's gone style. You're a pig pig.
Swine: Snort. Did you know meat tastes better when it's old?
Farmer: Don't make me laugh. We use a calendar.

Scram of Doors was inspired tonight. Best episode yet.

Ideas earn their audience.

We don't eat by edibility... We eat by eatabilty... Chew on that...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Recommended Reading

Goodbye fluorescent bulb? Philips says yes.

I looked up the amount of electricity used for lighing in the US - it's over 500 TWh. That's over 12% of the total electricity consumption in the United States. If the LED guys are right about LEDs taking over within 10 years it means that the electricity used for lighting will fall dramatically. Estimates vary but let's say the US could save 250 TWh per year by transitioning to LEDs.

You'd need about 200 GW of photoelecrics to produce this much electricity. Pretty crazy eh.

The Steady March

I don't care for the shiny happy interdigitated nano-ink solar power stories. The ones where efficiency is improved by 15% with fancy magic bean formulas smell like horseshit to me. I prefer steady march stories.

Fraunhofer research news: Embedding photovoltaic modules more quickly

My Opa Told me this Story

So I'm in WWII and we're chasing the Germans out of France. I'm in charge of forward scouting and choosing positions based on suitability. I totally fucked up one time. I chose this field by a mountain with a town on the side. There was sunshine and wine and women nearby. That spot was a taste of life. Those god damn Germans knew we'd set up shop there. They left behind a howitzer that had our camp in the cross hairs before we even camped. Once it got dark they started shelling us. They totally killed our kitchen. I was hiding and cursing myself. Goddammit… of course we'd camp here.

Within earshot of Opa.

Dean: Father, hallowed be your name. Your Kindom come. I pray to you. Deliver me into peace.
Jay: Me too god. Me too...

Mess was out.. No one died and the women were nice. Opa kept his job.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Ermahgerd Translator

A Rough Comparison of Current Average International Residential Photoelectric System Prices

Australia 2563
Austria 2793
Belgium 3216
Canada 4000
Denmark 2649
France          3836
Germany 2245
Italy 2933
Japan 4450
Malaysia 2800
South Korea 2636
Sweden 2500
Switzerland 3199
The Netherlands 2544
The Philippines 4500
UK 2628
US 5500

When I say rough I mean rough. Over half of the data is based on current prices but several data points are hip shot extrapolations. France, the US, Switzerland, Belgium and Austria clearly require more careful review. Prices are in USD per KW. Incentives have been striped out.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Economics of Photoelectricity - April 2013

Economics of Photoelectricity - April 2013

-I did a lot of work on the household electricity price tab - the numbers cover 99% of the planet with reasonably recent price points.
-Found some interesting module efficiency data that trends 2003 to the present. This is important info for those interested in trending efficiency forward.
-Added several more FiT Schedules.
-Found some great info that breaks down the average household price of electricity by utility in the US and maps out the price inflation of electricity between 1999 and 2011 (US, Res. Electricity Prices).
-Added heat pump statistics for Japan and Europe.
-Added Solarzoom price trending.

Kim Jong Un Rides into Battle

Monday, April 8, 2013


Deliveries In The First Two Months Of The Year Suggest More Assertive Solar Industry In 2013 
While the demand is around 35GW this year, the existing capacity levels in China for bankable module production are estimated at no more than 31GW. It appears this is not being noticed; nor is the fact that at the processing costs of $0.60 per watt and potential of ASP of $0.70, gross margins go back to 14%. Under this scenario, the first batch of Chinese can see profits in 2013.
Robert Dydo 

Thanks Sherlock - You're the Best

Science proves women like men with bigger penises

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Wave From the Past

Canary in Atoll Mine - Islands as Sentinels

Paradise - Jan Bruegel
There's been plenty of press about islands going solar. Hawaii is getting the most coverage but there are many locations tagging along - Bermuda, the Cook Islands, Guam and many others.

All of these island stories talk on about photoelectric systems providing competitive electricity. Great and all but it's occured to me these island deployents are also proving grounds for mainland deployments. Small grid... PV is relatively cheap... Lots of solar is coming in and the Grid Guys are figuring things out. The situation is a true fortune. I wish I was there. Not just for the weather but the job must be everyday interesting. What-fucking-now right?

Bermuda, Fiji and so ons will be bumping into high penetration situations shortly. How are they going to deal with integrating all the solar? How are consumer attitudes going to evolve? What will the equilibrium condition look like for the installation business? Will solar come from farms or roofs?

These islands are sentinels of the future just as canaries were sentinels in coal mines. It would be smart to direct money to places like Hawaii where diesel is the go to fuel. We can learn alot quickly. Results beat theory.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Public Opinion and Marijuana: Shifting Attitudes, Events and Laws

How Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage Is Changing, and What It Means


Great White Hope to Wait... Might... Nope...

Back in January Brightsource shelved their huge 500 MW Rio Mesa Projects. Here's some of the fun shit they were up against with that project.
Why the decision now to put the Rio Mesa projects to sleep? After more than a year of permitting review, "there remained a number of areas at the Rio Mesa site which required additional analysis," the spokesperson acknowledged. These included uncompleted geoarchaeological and archaeological studies, surveys of birds and bats and late-season botany, and clarification of project acreage and further impact assessment (e.g. on desert tortoise and water delineation). And last year Ice Age fossils were discovered under the project site, necessitating a paleontological resources study.
Paleontological Resource study? Ouch!

Today another five bite the dust. This time it's the Hidden Hills Twin Towers of Power project. You want to know why these projects are getting shelved? The project description gives you a good idea. The Luz Power Towers use 340,000 computerized mirrors that focus light on boilers perched atop 750-foot towers - these magnificent bastards would make Rube Goldberg blush.

Mac Bandy

Snoring can be hazardous to your health. So can not brushing your teeth, smoking, drinking, under exercising, eating enjoyously, sky diving and so on.

People should hold fund raisers to pick middle names for newborns. Your kid may have a weird name but at least you get a trip to Vegas out of the deal.

Hi... I'm Hunter Visa Patterson
Hello Hunter... I'm Brooklyn Hershey Murphy  

WTF is up with North Korea. Round file the Rodman lovin' kookbat and reunify already.

We're all blocks of time stacked together.

The difference between propaganda and advertising is remarkably similar to the difference between terrorists and freedom fighters.

Solar Park Bergen-Boll Bergersen

Can't help but think that Bergen-Boll Bergensen is Willy Wonka's law firm.

This 2 MW park has the interesting distinction of having modules installed in an east-west orientation rather than the traditional north-south alignment. This arrangement lowers the annual yield of the park but the output is flatter and more manageable with this configuration. This park is built with the idea of net system performance in mind. Amazing how low the big picture flies sometimes.


If utilities really wanted to eliminate the TPO competition why not offer more favorable rates and conditions than the TPO guys? Hold up their contract and say we'll beat this and we guarantee it.