Você está na página 1de 2


app JWBS027-Lieberman April 24, 2010 21:12 Printer Name: Yet to Come


Solar Power Potential

I gathered the following data from one of my students (an operator at the Total-Elf
refinery in Holland):

r Unit size: twenty 11-ft2 solar panels

r Rated capacity: 3000 W
r Location: Holland
r Cost (as installed by contractor, including battery storage, inverter, and insur-
ance): 20,000 euros ($28,000)
r Installed: May 2007
r Total metered electricity generated after one year of operation: 3540 kWh
r Average hourly power generation: 405 W

Note that the actual generation rate is only 13 12 % of the rated capacity, due to
darkness, clouds, the angle of the sun, and the panels being less than 100% clean.
Lets assume that this is a project with a 10-year capital recapture. This means that
the cost of the power will be about $1.30 per kilowatt. The maintenance costs are
covered by the insurance policy, which was included in the installation.
In comparison, I am paying 10 cents/kW in New Orleans for power generated
from natural gas and nuclear energy. Of course, this comparison excludes the effects

Process Engineering for a Small Planet: How to Reuse, Re-Purpose, and Retrofit Existing
Process Equipment, By Norman P. Lieberman
C 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

app JWBS027-Lieberman April 24, 2010 21:12 Printer Name: Yet to Come


of government subsidies, which is why my friend from Holland installed his solar
panels. Also, the figure of 10 cents reflects natural gas costs of $6.00 per million Btu.
I have purchased and installed several solar panels myself as an experiment.

r Rated capacity: 120 W (total)

r Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
r Cost: $1000 for panels, inverter, and battery storage
r Unit size: eight 1 ft 3 ft panels

On a bright day, if I move the panels to face directly into the sun, they do generate
120 W of power at 12 V. However, by the time I convert this from the 12 12 V storage
battery to 115 V and dont bother to reposition my panels for the suns movement
in the sky, I have found over a two-week period in September that I only generated
about 20 W of usable power on average.
So, renewable energy is practical, but without taking into account environmental
effects, it seems very expensive to me. But its this environmental effect thats prob-
ably what I should include in my economic analysis of solar power. You all know:
like the cost of scrubbing the CO2 out of the flue gas from the gas-fired power station
down by the west bank of the Mississippi River in St. Charles Parish.