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November 12, 2008


Derek D

Kit P

An apology, I should not have refered to the cost of transmission but rather the price. My arguments do not stand up from a cost standpoint as the utility will surely get more electricity for less money and from fewer but better located panels. However from a price standpoint distributed PV is getting very close to breakeven with delivered grid pricing. You are also correct about needing a lot of rich people. But as these things scale up and the upfront price comes down we just need a lot of middle class people. Again, sorry about the semantics, that's the reason I preach to my kids that the ability to communicate well is the only real skill you need. It allows you to learn all the other skills.

Kit P


Is effectively communicating wrong information a skill you want your kids to emulate?

Derek has yet to present a good reason to install PV.

Both wind turbines and solar panels are limited resources until more manufacturing facilitates are built.

One of the reason wind and solar has failed to insignificant perpetrate the market is that political reason rather that engineering have prevailed. The PTC may promote better uses of limited resources. Time will tell.

If you look at some of the links provided in this tread, in general putting PV on the roof of homeowners is a scam and will not do very much in the way of producing electricity. Something a kin to buying an expensive sports when who went to the dealer to buy an pickup you needed for work.

Derek D


Contrary to the responses you have elicited in the past you do have a soul! You're worried that we will waste precious wind and solar resources, I'm touched.

Wind turbines and solar panels are not actually limited resources although I'm glad to hear you want us to use them efficiently. The amount of wind turbines and solar panels being produced is determined by supply and demand. Politics certainly have a large effect as tax credits (recently renewed) effectively move the demand curve higher by reducing the price of these energy sources. Demand is also affected by state governments telling utilities "you must use x% of renewable energy by 20xx". As the price of solar and/or wind gets close to grid parity expect to find a very steep slope on the demand curve. On the other side, if politicians can't put these credits in place for more than a couple years at a time, the supply curve may stay rather flat as investors do not want to spend two years building a plant that will only be profitable for two or three years. However we have several different demand curves as utilities view the the cost of producing energy differently than consumers who see the price of having energy delivered and the price of delivered energy is much greater in some places than others.

I may "have not yet presented a good reason to install PV" (and I assume you are speaking of distributed PV not utility) but I am trying to point out that there are two different definitions of economically practical here. One is by the cost and the second is by the price and the two are not the same. Fossil fuels are priced much below their actual cost as they do not account for their environmental costs while nuclear is priced far above it's actual cost as the public demands irrational safeguards.

I will defer to you on the engineering aspects but I personally am happy to see the price of solar (and wind) moving closer to that steep section of the demand curve and will encourage anything that gets more factories built.

PS Does communicating wrong information include things like "failed to insignificant perpetrate the market"? Or did you mean "failed to significantly penetrate the market"? Barely intelligible is not the goal I have for my kids.

Cyril R.

Hmm, 'barely intelligible perpetrator' would not be an unfitting description for Kit P.

Kit P has had his head so far up in his ass for so long that he cannot even smell his own stench anymore. Sometimes he has useful comments but you often need to wade through miles of bullshit to get to it, it's hardly a productive use of your time. Better search for the information yourself.

Kit P

Derek you present theory about the future as if it is a fact. Presently, abilities to add wind and solar capacity is limited by a number of factors. If you want that to change encourage you kids to become engineers instead of proof readers.

David J Phillips

First Solar may no longer need the additional manufacturing capacity--as speculation mounts that inventory is piling up in warehouses!


Christopher Smith

While thin film solar is a critical advancement in the technology, there is another innovation in solar worth the mention: mobile applications. Portable diesel generators spew a toxic stew into the atmosphere from construction sites, movie sets, outdoor events, farms (used to pump water on the back 40) and during emergencies/disasters.

Read a few of the chemicals here:http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/dieselexhaust/chemical.html

The clear alternative is mobile solar. No emissions, no noise, no fuel - - check here: www.purepowerd.com

Cyril R.

Capacity to add wind and solar is limited right now, but both are continuing to grow exponentially, without clear signs of stopping.

Bob Wallace

"First Solar has made it to grid parity, according to at least one analyst.

A 12.6-megawatt system installed by First Solar (NSDQ: FSLR) for Sempra Generation showed that the system can produce electricity at below the price of conventional power in the United States, said Mark Bachman, an equity analyst at Pacific Crest, in a research note Tuesday.

The solar power plant, located in the Nevada desert, costs $0.075 per kilowatt hour to install without any subsidies, Bachman wrote. Conventional power fed into the grid costs $0.09 per kilowatt hour."


He might be pushing the price a bit in the favor of solar, but discount his analysis a bit and you still have to say that solar is getting close.

And that's with solar produced from $0.75 (Malaysian plants) to $1.08 (US plants). NanoSolar says that they can hit $0.30 per watt with their process.

Kit P

Bogus analysis! There are several ways to make money making electricity. IPP make money by producing electricity at a lower price than they sell it for. This is a very time dependent. On nice spring days, off peak electricity is worth is $15/MWh. This is when coal plant do maintenance because replacement power is cheap.

On this cold winter night (right now), the same rule applies. However, the peak rates apply which is about $150 -200/MWe.

So how make does it cost to make electricity at night with coal and with solar PV?

Bob Wallace

Kit you're a stupid idiot!

(Sorry folks. I can't bring myself to respond to Kit unless I insult him first. It's something that he taught me.)

The solar day is from about 9AM EST to 7PM EST once we hook the south part of the country together with HVDC lines.

I think we'll find use for cheap solar, especially during those hot summer days when ACs are running full out.

After 7PM thermal solar with storage comes into its own. Wind, well it kicks up later in the day. That's how we'll get to midnight, west coast.

Now, please quit being an intentional fool and make some helpful posts.

(It's no wonder that your company keeps sending you off to remote operations. I totally understand wanting to get you and your attitude out of the office.)


David J Phillips,
Think this is yellow journalism. First Solar has reached grid parity for installed costs. Maybe Nevada analysis is flawed, but they are actually below grid parity in S. California and Hawaii at a minimum. S. California alone is a huge market. Notice the articles don't say the panels aren't selling. It says they can't install them fast enough. Their end install infrastructure is not big enough and needs to grow. Also, note that First Solar prices are considerably cheaper per Wp than prices for most Si or aSi PV panels and none of these companies are having trouble selling panels yet.
Nope, this is only a supply pipeline glitch. Demand continues to greatly exceed supply for PV. Average panel prices on the open market continue to be much higher than production prices: $4.85/Wp on www.solarbuzz.com


First Solar can beat grid prices in Hawaii, S. California, Carribean Islands, Japan, and probably some other places with good solar resources and high electricity costs. These places have electricity prices more than twice the those in Nevada. Even if the Nevada analysis is flawed (I think it might be over optimistic) First Solar has still reached past grid parity in these other areas.

Also, most of these areas have peak power demands during the day, so power storage is not an issue. At least not until all the peak demand has been met. Even when the peak demand is met, solar PV will still be used for daytime power generation if it is the cheapest during the day. That's capitalism. Natural gas or solar storage can take care of night time power.

This is why billions of dollars are still being invested in solar PV development and production. It is why the volume of PV production continues to grow and may even accelerate in the near term.

I agree with what Bob Wallace has posted:
"And that's with solar produced from $0.75 (Malaysian plants) to $1.08 (US plants). NanoSolar says that they can hit $0.30 per watt with their process."
Below grid parity ($1.08), farther below ($0.75), and farthest below ($0.30).
"The PV revolution is not coming soon. It is here now."
KP is increasingly out of touch.

Kit P


Let see if you can stick to the subject just a little.

“The solar day is from about 9AM EST to 7PM EST once we hook the south part of the country together with HVDC lines.”

Let me know what the cost is solar is when the cost HVDC is included. California peak is after 4 pm in the summer and at 9pm in the winter. So unless you are planning to put solar panels out in the ocean, solar generated electricity is just not available when it is needed.

“I think we'll find use for cheap solar ...”

What cheap solar? Cheap is a relative term. If solar is always more expensive than other generating sources, it is not cheap.

“After 7PM thermal solar with storage comes into its own.” Of course we are not talking about soalr thermal. The cost of solar thermal has been discussed before.


Again solar has not reached grid parity and grid parity is a bogus parameter.

“Also, most of these areas have peak power demands during the day, so power storage is not an issue.”

Speaking of out of touch, I have never seen a load demand curve that supports this claim. Look closely MDS.

“It says they can't install them fast enough.”

Of course this is the real issue. Good thing too. What do we learn from every single solar project every time? Solar is very expensive and does not work very well if making electricity.

There are many many PVs project to learn from. What is learned from each one, every time is not to do it again. There are very few repeat buyers of solar PV.


Yellow journalism, mds? I found it interesting that both articles, the negative one and the positive one, were written by the same person, Ucillia Wang.
The blame for not being able to install fast enough was not put on end install infrastructure, but the economy.
"Moreover, we don't expect these modules to move out soon, given weakening economics, lower natural gas prices, higher interest rates, and tougher underwriting requirements"

I'm a bit disappointed (but not really surprised) that I can't find these research notes that Ucillia references, as even a buy-the-research-report-here type thing.


The grid-parity article references a 12.6 MW system, which is a utility-scale system, so wholesale prices would be the thing to compare. But when they say conventional power costs $0.09/kWh, that really sounds like retail prices. It's the average retail price of electricity in the US according to the EIA. For grid parity, I think it would have to get as low as the average US wholesale rate of around $0.05/kWh. If I'm reading page 5 of this presentation correctly, the average wholesale cost of electricity in California has been under $0.06/kWh since 2003. Still, I'm encouraged that the alleged $0.75/kWh is cheaper than the California Market Price Referent for new power plants.


er, $0.075/kWh


"The blame for not being able to install fast enough was not put on end install infrastructure, but the economy."
Yes, this is why I was calling it yellow journalism. I don't think this is the case.
From the same article:
"A ThinkEquity research note on Friday estimated that six key First Solar (NSDQ: FSLR) customers aren't able to install the solar panels quick enough."
In other words, they have more customer volue than they can handle. That is the problem.
You might expect the economy to be the cause because of all the other economic fallout we're seeing. It's not the case though. As others have pointed out, more expensive Si PV will suffer, before First Solar's lower cost CdTe PV sees much effect.


Sorry that should read:
...they have more customer demand than they can handle.


So who is the yellow journalist, the person who also wrote how First Solar may have reached grid parity? Or the ThinkEquity analyst who was quoted, and whose job is not to sell journals, but to provide excellent investing advice?

Kit P

The basic problem with journalism these days is there is little fact checking and journalists do not understand technologies they are writing about.

Fact checking is very easy these days. Did some yesterday.

First, natural gas prices for making electricity are about the same as this time last year.


An interesting thing is happening in the market. Dual fuel power plants are filling up on oil. There are not very many of those so it should not affect the market. Any how the US is ready for winter. My count on bad things that will affect the price of NG is at one. When California was having the rolling blackouts in the summer of 200o, my count was at 6.

Second, I checked PJM, Midwest, and CAL ISO. Load curves do not match solar generation curves. Based on frequent observation of Spingerville.

Third, just happened to be reading an article about state policies to support PV in Renewable Energy World. Production costs (cents/kwh):

PV – 13.0 – 32.0
Biomass – 6.3 – 11.0
Landfill gas – 2.4 – 6.3
Wind – 3.0 – 6.5

Forth, checked NEI market reports. There were only a few days any place in the US where PV would have offset a higher cost source of electricity.

My conclusion is that state RPS are driving solar demand and PV will never be a god technical and therefore a good economic choice.


Yes, "the person who also wrote how First Solar may have reached grid parity". OK, so it's accidental yellow journalism. They've drawn an incorrect conclusion that many will jump on and perpetuate. That's not good with me.
Actually, their writing about First Solar is also inaccurate and not helpful. They could have shown where First Solar is meeting grid parity, instead of using the Nevada example. First Solar production economics will work for better than grid parity in some of the areas I've already mentioned. In total, they are doing more harm than good by blowing smoke in both directions.
Sorry. No offense intended. I just don't agree with them and I think false conclusions about PV market saturation imply the market is already slowing down. It ain't true. To say so is like bringing up "peak lithium". It's nonsense and can lead those who are poorly informed otherwise to withdraw their political or economic support. They are wrong and should get it right. Just calling it as I see it.


So is this 12.6 MW system built by First Solar for Sempra Generation in Nevada the same facility as the 10 MW plant that First Solar just announced they completed? (Which appears to the the same 10 MW plant that Jim mentioned in this post.) What happened to the other 2.6 MW, or is a figment of an analysts imagination?

I take it that it's the same plant that PG&E just announced they are buying 10 MW of power from. So it doesn't have to compete with wholesale prices Nevada pays, they make money by selling it to California.


I stand corrected. This link is a little better:
“Massive 168% photovoltaic module overcapacity to cause pricing collapse in 2009” - December 2008
We really are seeing and over supply of PV panels. I'm sorry.

Still, this is not the reason for concern the authors imply. Rather, it is the first re-adjustment of a disruptive growth scenario.
My take on this same information is:
7.7 GW for 2008 represents 102% increase in PV production from 3.8 GW in 2007.
11.1 GW predicted for 2009 represents a further 44% increase in PV production.
…coupled with a decrease in price-per-Wp for PV panels of 40% to 34% (from $4.20 drop to $2.50 to $2.75) and an increase in demand for installers, i.e. more job opportunities.
This is the classic pattern of an industry experiencing disruptive growth. mds

Note 1: First Solar has their CdTe PV production cost down to $1.08/Wp and would still be making a 131% profit at a sale price of $2.50/Wp. The $1.08 is actually an average of production costs at several locations. Cost of product in Malaysia is $0.75/Wp so it would be a 233% profit at $2.50 sale price in Malysia. Not too shabby.

Note 2: NanoSolar can sell their CIGS PV at $1.00/Wp with a profit. They would still be making an additional profit of more than 150% at a sale price of $2.50. We don’t really know what their total profit would be because they have not fully revealed their production cost/Wp.


Here’s the problem: They are quoting “$0.09 per kilowatt-hour” as the cost of power supplied TO the grid. This site http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/esr/table4.xls puts the average power sold FROM the grid in Nevada at $0.963/kWh. The power supplied TO the grid is usually about half the cost of the power sold to end users FROM the grid. The extra cost pays for utility line maintenance, i.e. for the electric grid used to deliver the power. I think they are using power costs at the wrong end of the grid in Nevada. They probably need to be closer to $0.05 to achieve grid parity as a source of power input TO the grid in NV.
Average power sold FROM the grid in CA is $0.1282/kWh. So average power sold TO the grid should be close to $0.064/kWh. This is guess at an average with probably some standard deviation and with increased peak power pricing. The installation in Nevada is close to, or already within, grid parity pricing range as a source of wholesale power TO the grid in California.
Now consider the retail cost of electricity FROM the grid in CA, listed as $0.1433/kWh. So if you can purchase your PV panel for $1.00/Wp, install it for $2.00/Wp ($3.00/Wp installed total), and get similar financing, then your power costs will also be $0.075/kWh at the end of the grid. This is close to half the cost. Consider that First Solar can already produce PV panels for $1.08/Wp and Nanosolar can already sell them for $0.99/Wp. Also consider that increasing production scales will bring down the cost of inverters and other Balance of System (BOS) costs for home installations. Increasing numbers of installations and use of BIPV will bring down the cost of labor for home installations. We’re starting into the first PV industry shake-out now. PV panel prices are predicted to drop to $2.50/Wp retail by the end of 2009. We should see end-of-grid price parity, or retail price parity, in CA not long after and the prices will continue to drop. Before the end of this decade we’ll see retail prices for installed PV reach half of current CA retail prices.
This train has left the station. It may slow down a few times but it won’t be stopping any time soon.
What matters for end-of-grid power is undercutting utility delivered, or retail, rates. At that point, it becomes economical for home owners to install PV systems. Peak power requirements and storage for night time power is not something home owners need to be concerned with, unless they want to go completely off the grid. These are problems the utility has to deal with, not the end user.
The real news relating to prices for production of PV panels getting down to $1.00/Wp is end-of-grid price parity is coming soon for home owners. Disruptive growth is already evident and will continue.

Kit P

Why? I always wonder why anyone would make their own electricity.

When someone comes to your door selling magazines or solar panels, their motivation is obvious. They want to make money by taking it out of your pocket without regard for the value of the product they are selling to the buyer.

These peddlers will have convoluted logic like MDS. So MDS thinks if enough bad choices are made, putting solar panels in the hands of homeowners will become a good idea.

Here we have a 10 MWe solar being built next to a 480 MWe to sell electricity to a different state. That is a ratio of 48:1. According to MDS “11.1 GW predicted for 2009” for solar so there should be a lot more stories of building PV next to fossil plants.

Of course a picture of the PV will be provided without any data on actual production and actual cost.

Paul Appleton

" My point is rather that PV will become one of the larger contributors and it will happen faster than most can believe. "
I agree with you, however if we assert politicians take this issue like Manhattan project...we needed a bomb to save our civilization...obama's stated goal of being free of foreign oil in 10 years could be cut in 1/2.

Cyril R.
Note 1: First Solar has their CdTe PV production cost down to $1.08/Wp and would still be making a 131% profit at a sale price of $2.50/Wp. The $1.08 is actually an average of production costs at several location

That would be 131% company margin. Profit depends on a lot of other factors such as taxes and company overhead. For a startup like First Solar, overhead costs are high. As sales volume increases, overhead costs go down, and profit goes up for a given company margin.

This is interesting, because it means First Solar is likely to be able to compete in the future even with much lower margins. It's all about continuing exponential growth, exploiting learning curve effects.

A favorable tax policy for all solar installations will be a great help in achieving this. The 8 year extension of the investment tax credit has been a good first step. A similar extension of the solar production tax credit will be even more useful.

So if you can purchase your PV panel for $1.00/Wp, install it for $2.00/Wp ($3.00/Wp installed total), and get similar financing, then your power costs will also be $0.075/kWh at the end of the grid

That's very favorable financing. Using my method I calculate 12 cents/kWh for 25% capacity factor $3/Wp system. Maybe you can get lower discounting with a solar loan guarantee program, though.


15 cents per kwh with installation and inversion/grid connection? That's at southwestern US solar insolation levels and durations?

Add in cogeneration of heat in residential use and that cuts down cost. Then install these thin film PV cells in concentrating collectors and double kwh output adding $1/watt in installation, and it comes in under 10 cents per kwh.

Furthermore concentration can get the same output in cloudier climates by maximizing solar insolation actually hitting the PV cells. And it can triple the efficiency of PV cells using only 10 sun concentration.

And take a fraction of the cell area, cutting away at the base PV cell cost of $1 per watt.

The final cost would vary from 10 cents per kwh on down depending on location, but even in cloudier areas, 10 cents per kwh is feasible with concentrating solar PV/heat cogeneration.

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lets keep solar business stay strong. it is definitely the future.

forex forum strategy

portable solar battery charger

Interesting solution... I found an awesome portable device that anyone can use when travelling.
Solio charger is a compact portable device, which will power most cellular, smart, pda and mp3 devices on the fly. Some models will even store energy for use at night.


film solar is an exciting technology of solar. I think in the near futher, more film solar tech will be applied.

ECO Dennis

I totally agree that we need to continue building windfarms and solarfarms. This way we can something about the environment and not heavenly depend on coal and other sources from the earth!!


The main reason why solar isn't number one on energy efficient technologies is because most people have no clue how it works or where to begin purchasing it. As a retailer/marketer in the solar field, I hope to spread the word and educate the world on the solar movement and give them a place to start. It's all about guiding people to the product and letting them see the benefits themselves.

David Andersen

Anyone have any idea what the price range for these guys will be? I'd love to get a couple and create a smallish home solar array.


Please be aware that First Solar modules are not sold through traditional channels such as wholesalers, distributors, dealers or installers. First Solar works with a select group of independent power project developers and system integrators

penis enlargement

First Solar announced on October 29 groundbreaking for the expansion of its Perrysburg, Ohio facility which will increase the annual capacity at the facility to approximately 192 megawatts. Plant construction is expected to be complete by the first half of 2009, with full volume production expected by the second quarter of 2010.

I am eagerly waiting for this.


Yes, solar power is a good resource, but we are not to the point where it is affordable for mass production. We need to use the resources that we have available now until solar power becomes a better, more efficient, cheaper, and more reliable source of energy.
View my blog:

facts about solar energy

This is the way to go,
But the company always advertise facts about solar energy but when it have to work they always explain that they have to improve the system and now they receive less energy therefore they need more help (rebate) from the government.
But if more companies will keep investing in new technology we will really have affordable solar power. Now I am skeptic

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Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!

Residential Solar Panels

I've never heard of producer of Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) PV modules before. This is something new to me.

john cena

i am john and have to say very very thanks you
for providing a deep knowledge about functionality of solar cell.

Thanks and regard
john cena


This time all word are very serious concern on global warming and using this kind of more solar system project we save energy .This is very nice step

Sheer curtain

The reason to put PV on individual houses is to avoid transmission costs. I pay about 11 cents per kWhour in Michigan of which only 5.3 cent is for actual electricity. Also our grid has a maximum capacity, PV on homes uses no transmission capacity if the system is sized for the house where it is located.

Ultrasonic humidifier

This is interesting, because it means First Solar is likely to be able to compete in the future even with much lower margins. It's all about continuing exponential growth, exploiting learning curve effects.

Energy writers

Our modern technology of thin film modules are the rapid manufacturing scale-up, progress toward grid parity, and that we have experienced.


The potential to improve our environment and expanding the use of clean, affordable solar energy.

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I am very excited to see the ability what thin film solar can do. Just imagine all of the great possibilities that exist from this. Excellent article, I learned a lot. Thanks a bunch Rick L.

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