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The Solar Power Revolution


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This presentation was intended to convey the status of utility PV power generation, and the impact that affordable and abundant power from the Sun will have on society, the environment, and future opportunities.

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The Solar Power Revolution

  1. 1. Utility solar: and the next industrial revolution Sierra Club: San Carlos/Belmont Group, Sustainable Land Use Committee David F. Taggart, President/COO Belectric North America November 12, 2011
  2. 2. The next industrial revolution!• The greatest economic revolutions were born from energy revolutions• They mandated infrastructural and communicative changes, requiring industry and government collaboration• This new paradigm is based on free fuel available to all, and distributed power at costs below conventional• Integrated with the power of the internet, digital energy management, and clean transportation technologies, this revolution will profoundly change our world
  3. 3. PV generation is versatile
  4. 4. PV generation can be privately owned• 3MW net metered plant is the first private high voltage, actively controlled power factor plant in North America• First to utilize UL listed high voltage components/standards• Largest sports venue PV plant in the world
  5. 5. PV generation can be deployed quickly 30MW across 4 sites in 5 months Start 7/2011, COD 12/2011
  6. 6. PV generation is easily scaledintegrate system and component design… …while breaking the scale relationship1.25 25 125
  7. 7. How did we get here?
  8. 8. PV timeline • 1840-1900: first patents on “solar cells” • 1905-1922: Einstein publishes “photoelectric effect” and wins Nobel prize in 1922 • 1954-1980: Bell labs: photoelectric effect in silicon – NY Times declares: “limitless energy from the Sun” – Applications are small and specialized – 1980 annual production exceeds 1MW by Arco • 1990-2008: Government subsidies spur growth of solar power industry – Japan and Germany lead the way – California establishes US leadership – Massive investment in production • 2010: utility PV power industry forms, grows rapidly
  9. 9. What is behind the sudden growth ofutility PV power?• Economies of scale• Energy security concerns spurred investment• Investment climate has improved from 2008 crisis• Stable government incentive thru 2016: the ITC• RPS requirements encourage investments – 20% renewables by 2013 – 33% renewables by 2020• Rapid increase in production capacity of polysilicon coincided with reduction in European incentives and economic crisis• Installation of larger plants enables tremendous efficiencies
  10. 10. Global PV generation capacity Radical• 65% compound growth over 5 years Economy stalls price drop: panels @ resulting in $1.75/W Thin-film oversupply achieves of panels 19% Germany’s efficiency RESA FIT Global begins: investment panels @ in solar $5.40/W exceeds $100B German First Poly Si FIT 1990, Solar production Japan produces ramps up 70,000 TF Roofs modules 1994 Investment Tax Credit (ITC) extension
  11. 11. US PV generation capacity US Solar capacity Federal ITC increases by• 800% increase since 2006 extension in face of 69%, exceeds 3GW, costs economic drop 30% crisis CA $100M PV energy Global Self-Gen: capacity capacity >30kW doubles quadruples in 5 years CA CA CSI $3B $112M Federal incentive: ERP Investment <1MW <30kW Tax Credit 1998 (ITC)
  12. 12. Module price history• Prices drop by 18% for every doubling of production volume 1955: $1300/Wp 1965: $375/Wp Subsidies 1975: $80/Wp spread across Eurozone Poly Si Economy production stalls, ramps up oversupply 65% drop from 2009 Steady to 2011 improvement in production techniques, efficiency, and quality Today: $1.20/Wp
  13. 13. Global increase in PV power capacity• Top PV power generators
  14. 14. What do we do now that we are here?
  15. 15. Demonstrate “bankability” of utility PV• 25 year “revenue” lifetime certainty• Long term module performance warranties• Plant performance guarantees• Power purchase agreements• Sophisticated monitoring• Efficiency across the board
  16. 16. Demonstrate cost performance of utility PV• Utility PV can use orientation and tracking to mimic peak power needs• In a 2011 PUC filing, SCE asks for approval of 20 PV projects generating 567 GWh of electricity at prices less than natural gas fired generation• Projects were between 5 and 20MW in size, not large central style projects• To date, 4GW of PV plants contracted at prices below market price referent• Utility PV solar is a natural hedge against rising energy costs
  17. 17. Demonstrate cost performance: gas• Utility PV beats gas peaker
  18. 18. Demonstrate cost performance: nuclear• Utility PV beats new nuclear
  19. 19. Demonstrate cost performance: new coal• Utility PV beats new coal when it comes online in 6-8 years
  20. 20. Support and stabilize the grid• Distributed generation (DG) with its inherent ability to provide voltage support and stabilization, can dramatically reduce need for grid upgrades while improving costs and performance
  21. 21. Where do we go from here?
  22. 22. Everyone has equal access to the fuel• Each day: Earth is bathed in 89 petawatts from the Sun• Each day: all of humanity uses 15 terrawatts of power, or one six-thousandth as much• In 88 minutes: the sun provides as much energy as humanity consumes in a year• In 112 hours: the sun provides as much energy as is contained in all proven reserves of oil, coal, and natural gas on this planet• If we captured only one tenth of one percent of the solar energy striking the earth we would have access to 6 times as much energy as we consume in all forms today, with almost no greenhouse gas emissions There are no borders to the sun’s power
  23. 23. Democratize energy: free fuel Renewable values are annual Finite resources are in total
  24. 24. How much of the sun’s energy do we useto generate electricity today?• Global electricity production in 2010 PV: 0.008%
  25. 25. Make solar electricity available to everyone• Incorporate “internet” intelligence & agility into Grid – Enables active participation by consumers, able to see and manage the energy they use – Accommodates all generation sources and stability mechanisms including range of storage options – Optimizes assets and operational efficiency – Anticipates and responds to system disturbances – Resilience against physical and cyber attacks ,and natural disasters – Provides power quality required by today’s digital economy – Provides basis for the next industrial revolution impacting the environment, society, governments, the world
  26. 26. Integration of clean transportation• What is possible when we integrate transportation with the smart grid and abundant electricity from the sun? – More electric vehicles with truly zero emissions – Electric vehicles that provide grid storage – Locally produced hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles using electrolysis powered by PV
  27. 27. The next industrial revolution…• Many years of development, experimentation in subsidies, innovation, global production investments, and intense competition, has brought utility solar power to the point of supplanting conventional power• Combining clean power from the sun with the digital world and clean transportation, provides profound benefits to societies, governments, and the environment• Our passion is to make clean power from the sun available to everyone, and nurture the integration and availability of its manifold benefits
  28. 28. A Better Electric!