Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Quick re-frame on subsidies enjoyed by different energy platforms

Hello Reader!

Yes I use the singular becaue
1) The chances of a choral reading being don of this or any other post (or blog for that matter) is SLIM.
2) I think most of the hits are robots indexing the content... Sad little robots without so much as a gear or actuator to call its' own. Just some navigation algorithms and n appetite for new URLs...

OK in my inbox was a link comparing the outcomes of subsidies for different fuel types in term of how much the resulting energy costs. Sobering in a good way.

Check it out

I know Obama got teased for saying his energy plan was an "All of the Above." But it seems we are all acting that way already. If you have a grid connected home, even with solar panels you dip into the coal/gas/nuke/hydro grid sources and then drive a car or accept foods delivered closer to your home by trucks, cook it up with natural gas or electricity, keep it cool with electricity and then read over by the window for some direct solar but aim your chilly toes at the fireplace or tuck them under the dog. So the question becomes not if but to what extent we partake in these different sources and then what we get from each in return. No?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Market Research - A great way to procastinate

So the DOE turns out to have about half its money tied up in keeping our nukes going and safe(ish.) Yikes. They get raked over the coals (oh see what I did there? :^) ) about being green cheerleaders and a great deal of their freedom to move is hemmed in by all that incumbent energy. OK off the soap box.

And on to the thrilling subject of Soft Costs in PV installations. YAY market studies! YAY NREL!

From a very fresh  study of Soft Costs of PV installations carried out in 2010 by NREL:

Including assumed permitting fees, in 2010 the average soft costs benchmarked in this analysis total $1.50/W for residential systems (ranging from $0.66/W to $1.66/W between the 20th and 80th percentiles). For commercial systems, the median 2010 benchmarked soft costs (including assumed permitting fees) are $0.99/W for systems smaller than 250 kW (ranging from $0.51/W to $1.45/W between the 20th and 80th percentiles) and $0.25/W for systems larger than 250 kW (ranging from $0.17/W to $0.78/W between the 20th and 80th percentiles). Additional soft costs not benchmarked in the present analysis (e.g., installer profit, overhead, financing, and contracting) are significant and would add to these figures. The survey results provide a benchmark for measuring—and helping to accelerate—progress over the next decade toward achieving the DOE SunShot Initiative’s soft-cost-reduction targets.
We conclude that the selected non-hardware business processes add considerable cost to U.S. PV systems, constituting 23% of residential PV system price, 17% of small commercial system price, and 5% of large commercial system price (in 2010). These processes present significant opportunities for further cost reductions and labor-productivity gains.

Further on:

"Average installer expenditures on customer-acquisition activities totaled $0.67/W for a typical 5 kW residential PV installation: $0.11/W for system design, $0.33/W for marketing and advertising, and $0.23/W for all other customer-acquisition costs."

Our takeaway? Every one has got to think about ways to speed up the process. Permitting. Customer education. Finance prep. Project management. The whole thing.  Even negotiating the rebates and incentives imparts a cost. Lots of these are figured on a per kW basis (and segmented Residential/Commercial) but I'm still digging for which costs are better understood as a per project basis.

These numbers are a test of your glass half empty vs half full sense.  Seems like there are plenty of places for smart people. Take a look and see what you make of these two studies from NREL:

Photovoltaic (PV) Pricing Trends: Historical, Recent, and Near-Term Projections
Benchmarking Non-Hardware Balance of System (Soft) Costs for U.S. Photovoltaic Systems Using a Data-Driven Analysis from PV Installer Survey Results