What’s wrong with solar power?

Every now and then a newspaper headline causes a double take.  The following quote appeared  on page 1 of today’s  Orlando Sentinel directing the reader to an article in the business section.

Florida Power and Light’s solar plant in Martin County hasn’t met expectations, but officials blame cloudy weather.

I’m speechless.

Perhaps one of you can fill in the rest of this post.


28 replies
  1. bien-pensant
    bien-pensant says:

    There is nothing wrong with the sun. It’s just that the dems haven’t figured out how to make money off of it without a subsidy.
    Leftist environmentalist wackos have decreed that solar is pure and harmless while something like oil is dirty and foul, too be rejected totally. Sunlight is free and waiting to be exploited; it is the alchemists dream to turn common elements into gold. So it is to turn sunlight into gobs of money. So, what is wrong with that?
    The technology is incomplete: issues of storage, collection and transmission, etc, are still in development. It works fairly well in sunny locales in small applications. There’s the rub. The post-hippy left, always ready to deny reality, hasn’t figured out how to deal with a cloudy day. Until technologies are perfected to store solar power and utilize that capacity when the sun isn’t shining, they might as well go back to trying to extract sunbeams from a cucumber (Gulliver’s Travels, Chapter Five).
    Then there is the solar politics of the left . . .

      • sammy22
        sammy22 says:

        Your statement, b-p, that “The technology is incomplete:…..” seems out of synch w/ the long list of current installations and more to come. As for sunny places, I thought that FL is not only a sunny place, but also heaven on earth. Meanwhile ricbee, is still hung up on the” glitch” that there is such a thing as night.

      • bien-pensant
        bien-pensant says:

        Incomplete. Statement stands. Your list is for world-wide solar projects, a lot of which are not in the US. How does that help us?
        Have you ever been to Florida? It is not blazing sunshine every day. And, they do experience darkness every night. Bet on it.
        Again, what is your point?

      • Dimsdale
        Dimsdale says:

        Do you have numbers for how much of the fossil fuel powered plants (particularly coal) that are going offline can be reliably be offset or replaced by solar (or wind etc.)?
        Similarly, will the eco-proponents ignore the acreage coverage and potentially detrimental environmental effects (and food growing areas) of solar farms as they have wind turbines?
        And for the record, I don’t have a problem with solar as a supplement.  It is just that there are those that think it can replace oil/hydroelectric/nuclear.

      • sammy22
        sammy22 says:

        I’d say you changed the subject, Dims. So I’ll change the subject too: I am in favor of nuclear power. How about you?

      • Lynn
        Lynn says:

        Just for the record, I don’t think Dims changed the subject. Also, I am for nuclear power. I am all for keeping the grid in tact. As for solar power, I agree with Dims again, as a supplement. Many marinas have saved lots of money with solar power. Also, long distance sailors use solar power, it is very efficient. Now if some entrepreneur could just make some batteries, woohoo. 

      • Dimsdale
        Dimsdale says:

        Lynn is correct: I did not change the subject.  I was merely informing you that I was not dead set against solar/wind/nuclear.
        The first two questions stand.

    • Aaron0084
      Aaron0084 says:

      I’m all for Solar power and support anybody’s decision to use solar power.  What I am not for are the subsidies that you an I must pay out of our own pockets to keep this industry solvent.  The solar power industry could never sustain itself at the current level if it had to compete one on one with other more reliable energy sources.  Do a little research on home solar power systems… homeowners can get subsidies for a large percentage of the cost of installing a system on their homes.  That is you and me paying our money with out our consent to install photovoltaics on private homes.  All of the major commercial solar power installation in this country have also received large subidies.  Those are subisdies for private industry favoring one over another.  You and I get to pay twice; once for the subsidy and again for the higher cost of the power they produce.

  2. just sayin
    just sayin says:

    They got it wrong.  The correct statement should be, “Florida Power and Light’s solar plant in Martin County hasn’t met expectations, but officials blame Bush for the cloudy weather.”  Ha-ha.

  3. Forest
    Forest says:

    I was at a clients house recently and he had recently taken down a large tree on the south side of the house to install solar panels on the roof. In the course of conversation he mentioned that he never had to run his air conditioning because his house stayed cool in the summer. I pointed out  the likelihood that would change this year due to the loss of the shade tree. I could tell from his reaction that he hadn’t considered that before…. Oh well, at least he’ll have solar power to help pay for the air conditioning…… wait….. what?

  4. kateinmaine
    kateinmaine says:

    lessee–fpl spent $398 mil to install a ‘system’ covering 80 football fields worth of land (roughly 104 acres) to produce energy to power 11,000 homes.  that’s slightly over $36k per home.  however, 3 yrs in, it’s only functioning in the range of half it’s envisioned capacity due to–wait for it–weather (aka climate change).  that’s rich. 
    this ‘installation’ was undertaken to stem gov’t ‘pressure’ to move away from coal-fired plants.  once again, the gov’t ‘solution’ is an unqualified ‘success’ AND tremendous benefit to ‘the people’.
    the same 104 acres, tree-planted and harvested responsibly would have them cash and energy positive in less time than it will take to amortize this system. . .

  5. ted0224
    ted0224 says:

    The way the world works…
    “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, only darkness, every day…”

  6. bien-pensant
    bien-pensant says:

    From the TCPalm.com:
    “The hybrid solar-thermal plant’s first full year of operation, 2011, was marred by the release of about 45,000 gallons of “heat transfer fluid,” [Dowtherm], a hazardous chemical that prompted an around-the-clock cleanup that lasted weeks.
    Instead of generating the hoped-for 155,000 megawatt hours of power that year (2011), the plant generated 30,000.” The demonstration plant produced 89,000 megawatt hours of power in 2012, only 42% of its expected output. Not only is the $398 million project not meeting projections, it is continuing to cost more due to recurring spills. All to replace a natural gas fired plant.
    Hmmmmm. Sounds like incomplete technology being rushed to replace a non-existing problem. Sounds like more green-energy crony-capitalism from the regime. Anybody want to wager how much was kicked back to the democrats, the DNC, on that project?

  7. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    And of course, you would have to consider that the statists would have to replace that sweet fossil fuel tax income with something else, perhaps a sun tax??

  8. bien-pensant
    bien-pensant says:

    Not sure it matters what fuels the power grid, the meters will still spin and the state bureaucracy will still exact an ever increasing tax for the convenience of electricity.
    It is fun to think putting a few solar panels or thermal collectors on the roof will net a check from CL&P (Connecticut Loot and Plunder). That may work in sunnier climes, but here in NE and all of the SnowBelt states, we are going to rely on more traditional methods of electrical generation. Good old oil and gas, with some hydro thrown in, is here to stay until the technologies of solar mature.

    • Aaron0084
      Aaron0084 says:

      Not only will you get a check from CL&P (well, you won’t because the system won’t produce enough electricity),  but you will also get a subisdy from the state and feds which will cover more then half the cost of the installation.  From my pocket to your home.
      I have grown increasingly interested in the Tesla generator which extracts electicity from the air (actually from the electromagnetic radiation which occures natually)Check this out….it really works:

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