Another Disrupter…

On the horizon… all-weather solar cells.

What will that do to the economics of the electric grid — and will we be prepared for it?

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3 responses to “Another Disrupter…

  1. well.. I’ll become a real believer when solar generates electricity from stars and wind – and all weather night and day – also!

    😉

    but I’m not sure that whether or not Dominion incentivizes Solar or not that it will, over the longer term, affect people buying solar, if in doing so – it saves them money anyhow. All the incentives would do at that point would accelerate adoption. It would be like whether people would buy LED lights with or without incentives.

    And that, in turn, as more and more do install solar – will affect the grid – and complicate Dominion’s job – anyhow or so it might seem.

    It becomes a game of whether or not Dominion will seek some kind of “relief” from the GA – or not and my guess is that one of the reasons Dominion now supports the CPP is that they see the building of the gas plants – supported by the EPA, as how they’d deal with more and more solar.

    And the beauty of it is – from their point of view – that all ratepayers will pay for the capital costs of these plants as well as the cost of the gas to run them – rather than having to deal with individual installed solar arrangements.

    Over time as more and more solar is installed, Dominion will just “adjust” those gas burners to compensate… a much easier job logistically than having to buy and re-reroute power from PJM.

    And a bonus – they can sell power to PJM from their nifty new gas plants AND at a premium price since it’s not coal-powered!

    I’d still be curious to hear from the Va GA GOP as to what they’d do if not CPP – but what I suspect is that after some obligatory political posturing for their base – they’ll just sit down and shut up or heckfire, maybe some of them will get on board with this “disruptor” stuff!

  2. Larry, I think you’ve wised up to Dominion’s basic plan for dealing with the CPP and the future of electric generation.

    But as for that “solar panel that generates in the rain” crud that Jim posted: hey, nobody’s repealed the basic laws of physics, including the one about not getting energy from nothing. No, you won’t get solar power when the sun don’t shine!

    What the article does say is, there is a small electric potential that can be derived from the salt ions present in rainwater pooling on a solar collector, in addition to the electric current that can be generated from sunlight. A SMALL potential (“hundreds of millivolts” where 100 millivolts = 0.1 volt). Derived through what is currently the huge expense of using graphene instead of silicon for PV cell construction. I’m not going to recommend you stay awake worrying about it.

  3. Acbar – I saw the rain deal the same way – virtually zero real potential at a practical level.

    However – I still look around at all the places – fallow fields, weed and brush overgrown lots, highway medians, powerline and pipeline corridors where ordinary conventional solar could be installed to generate when there IS sun.

    I see these school speed limit signs running off solar and wonder why all street signs and lighting – including LED traffic signals (with fail-safe backup) can’t be powered that way.

    So many available and unused places that maybe some day – utilities like Dominion will become largely night-time power generators – and the “rhythm” of the grid will become the twice daily transition from grid-to-solar and vice-versa with other days for rain and cloud cover.

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