Thursday, December 4, 2014

At least it looks impressive

I'm a bit of a skeptic concerning the current economic viability of alternative and renewable energy sources in terms of existing technology, although I believe they're essential in the long term.  Nevertheless, the just-completed Topaz Solar Farm in California is pretty impressive.  It covers about 4,700 acres and uses 9 million solar panels to produce about 550 megawatts of electricity at full output - enough to power 180,000 homes.

Here it is while still under construction earlier this year.  Watch the video in full-screen mode for the best impression.

Even though I don't think this particular exercise in renewable energy will prove self-supporting, financially speaking, I've got to admit . . . at least it looks impressive.



Pascal Fervor said...

"Looks impressive" is also how I'm sure it was sold to the more gullible members of the govt investment agency, agents who undoubtedly were chosen to be on the panel because of their ingenuousness.

I invite you Peter to simply google _bird kills solar power_ to better add to your knowledge involving this story.

This last January I drove Og to Las Vega and passed this thing for the first time. Approaching it from the west it appeared at first to be a big artificial lake with, above it, 3 glowing suns surrounded by mists.

After we passed it we realized what it was as the first few miles were thin high tension wires, then stepped down to thicker mid-tension wires on lower poles, then stepped down again onto more common utility poles.

Seemed pretty impressive at the time.

But since then the reports of bird deaths and inefficiencies due to "lower than expected sunlight" (smells like more govt eye wash cya) has the plants using "greater than expected natural gas" to make up for the shortfalls.

It's one thing for private investors to be hornswaggled into buying into something that promises to act almost like a perpetual motion machine, or buy a goose that lays golden eggs, or even the brooklyn bridge. And their is ostensibly a govt agency to provide the suckers some justice.

But to whom do we taxpayers turn to when our govt is neck deep into selling ideology rather than sound and proven tech?

It wasn't always so, but today, given what has happened in the name of "science," any skeptics in such agencies are vetted out the door leaving naifs and scoundrels. Good luck getting the good results that might have come were this properly funded.

One more thing. Last month I flew to California and saw what looked like an artificial sun on the north horizon and knew instantly what it was. That thing has got to be also a hazard to navigation for all winged things, even those that don't feed on insects attracted to the heat and light.

Sam Hall said...

This plant is not good for the environment, nor for the power grid, nor for the taxpayer that funded it. However, the developer made out big time.

born01930 said...

how many minutes a day could the plant theoretically produce the 550MW? Probably only a few maybe an hour and that would be off peak. 4700 1100MW nuke can produce twice as much power 24/7 and take up maybe 20 acres. Now that is impressive

Bob said...

Not so impressive is the fact that this whole damned thing is useless as tits on a boar hog all night long, when those 180,000 homes need electricity for lights. etc.

Give me twenty of those panels, a converter and some storage batteries and I'll power up my home from now on, no transmission lines, no distribution centers, no dead birds, no backup gas plant.

That's the way solar should work.

Brian said...

They have also asked for a gov't grant to pay off their gov't loan.

Anonymous said...

Where do they get the water to wash the panels and keep them dust free for peak electricity production?


Borepatch said...

The workers at these plants call birds "smokers" because they give off smoke when they fly over

Anonymous said...

Re: Streamers,

The Topaz plant is a PV installation, not a solar concentrator installation. As such it does not use mirrors to concentrate sunlight which inevitably scorches birds. That would be the Ivanpah Solar Plant in the Mojave desert.