It’s not necessary, is it?

If solar power is insanely cheap then poor nations don’t need aid to install solar power, do they?

8 thoughts on “It’s not necessary, is it?”

  1. It’s not that cheap, though. Mrs aaa wants us to get solar panels. The marketing material promised a payback on investment period of 15-18 years, for panels that have an expected life of about 25 years.

    Fuck that. I’ll get it when the payback period is 5 years. Before that, if the government wants me to get it, it can pay for it.

  2. @aaa Of course it’s lousy economics. If you buy solar panels at retail prices and sell electricity at wholesale prices you’re gonna get screwed. It’s a different story for electricity companies, although it is still unreliable.

  3. Depends how poor they are, of course.

    If a country is poor enough, then they might not be able to afford electricity at all, even if solar is the cheapest option.

  4. It also depends _where_ you are. In the UK we’re approx 54 degrees North, so solar is not going to be amazingly effective. Miraculously, almost all poor countries are roughly between 30N and 30S where they are a lot more efficient. Utility scale exists in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, much of it without subsidies. Not so much in North Dakota and Montana…

  5. What we could do is
    – not close down our coal/etc power stations ahead of end of useful life (wastes resources)
    – rather than gift cash, go and build the renewables in the poor countries (as they would otherwise build new coal power)
    – not build renewables in our country (who has more sun?)
    – no risk of looting of cash
    – globally more efficient use of resources (same number of coal plants working, less scrapping of useful resources)
    – nice big physical object to point at to claim some goodwill

    Green, anti-corruption, all sorts of reasons why this would be smarter than handing over wodges of cash.

  6. @Matt

    +1. It’s been argued that PV installed above 45°N (or below 45°S) will not generate sufficient energy during its useful life to recoup that which was ‘invested’ in its construction – if it does wash its own face, it only just manages to do so.

    And in AZ, NM and TX, peak solar output roughly coincides with peak (domestic) demand for A/C, whereas in N Europe peak demand is during the evening/night.

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