Pagliaro's Newsletter, 26 July 2012:
From Sicily to Quebéc, Cost Competitive PV Now
Immense and sun-drenched Quebéc is ready for
entering the solar era.
- To the memory of Alphonse
Solar: An industry in its infancy
by the leading
publication in the solar industry in late 2011 why, if PV was
cost-competitive, there was an oversupply of modules, a leading
industry practitioner had this to say:
- Who knows?
Let us try to expand on this question and try to imagine what you would
do if you were, say, a Quebéc resident wishing to integrate
modules on your home`s roof – especially upon reading on the
final pages of the above mentioned magazine
that the price of quality
solar modules is now 1.0 $/W; while a large surplus exists,
with global demand sitting at 24 GW per year and production
now exceeding 40 GW.
There are no shops exhibiting solar modules. Nor there
are educated sales persons capable to explain how the technology
What happens to the electricity now produced by my roof? How will my
How many years (or months?) will the solar modules last? What happens
And when it rains, will my «solar» house
exposed to the danger of lightning?
- Who knows?
Let us then search an answer to these (and other) questions over the
General lack of information, or plenty of technical jargon;
solar thermal technology mistaken for PV; very few companies
specializing in PV; no solar shops where PV modules can be seen and
On the other hand, if you wish to buy another silicon-based
electronic technology – one of those expensive smartphones
– then plenty of advertising would refer you to the closest
The costly smartphone will last 2-3 years and will cost you on average
300 $ per year. Your home's solar panels, instead, will last 30 years and will benefit
your family with 800 $ per year.
These two facts -- the lack of a decent commercial infrastructure
and of updated knowledge
on solar energy -- explains
why today`s low cost PV is not massively spreading in wealthy regions
like most States and Provinces in North America where (with the Ontario
exception) no feed-in-tariffs exist; but where it is already possible
-- and convenient -- to connect the roof`s solar plant to the grid, and
benefit from net-metering.
Why wonder, then, if there is such a large oversupply?
Entering the Helionimics Era
Too bad, because Quebéc insolation
levels are higher than those of Germany, just 27% lower
than those of Sicily
(Québec Ville, the Province capital, has a production
potential of 1,134 vs. 1,438 kWh/kW of Palermo), the Mediterranean
island that last June was hit for several days by a heat wave from
Now the 5 million
solar modules hosted in the island smoothly covered
the excess peak demand of massive air conditioning and no blackout was
recorded. On June 2007, no solar modules were installed in Sicily and
during the usual, prolonged heat wave the grid failed, and the blackout
lasted up to 24 hours hitting some 400,000 persons.
The same phenomenon occurred, on a much larger, scale in Germany last
when the Government's decision to shut down 8 of the 16
nuclear power plants did not cause any
blackout as the country`s 28 GW installed PV power delivered
clean, peak electricity that even resulted in an increase
(from 4 to 5
GWh) in the amount of energy exported to France.
Quebéc educated managers and entrepreneurs will
shortly learn that the large, flat roofs of their commercial and
industrial buildings can be rapidly and conveniently integrated with
nice, safe solar modules instead than continuining to bake during
summer and freeze during winter time.
This will considerably reduce pressure
on the country's exceptional high-voltage grid carrying hydroelectric
power, allowing to increase export of clean energy to confining States
and Provinces, and thus decreasing their reliance on fossil fuels.
Similarly, the residentail owners of the typical
Quebéc homes, will start demand how to integrate their
typical canvas roofs. After all, if the Pope did the same
turning the roof of Vatican's "Paul
VI" hall into the world's most beatiful PV plant, why
should Quebéc's Mayors continue to restrict solar
Quebéc, like North America, is now ready for entering the
solar economy era.
Le Seminaire L’énergie
solaire au Québec, une énergie maintenant
rentable? le 30 juillet 2012 au Centre
d’Optique Photonique et
Laser de l'Université Laval.
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