Author Topic: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!  (Read 74773 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« on: November 07, 2014, 02:55:21 pm »
Dave yet again debunks Solar (Freaking) Roadways. This time the prototype SolaRoad solar cycleway path installed in Amsterdam in Netherlands.
Dave shows how to go about doing ballpark engineering feasibility calculations for such a project, calculates the expected payback period, and SPOILER, shows why Solar Roadways will never be a viable technology. This time using real measured data from the Netherlands cycleway prototype, and real measured solar insolation data for the Netherlands
 
Links:
1st Video:

http://www.solaroad.nl
Newsletter:
http://www.solaroad.nl/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Artikel-SolaRoad-BU2013.pdf

Solaroads press release:
http://www.solaroad.nl/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/PressReleaseSolaRoadOpened_21Oct.pdf

Road Construction Costs:
http://www.worldbank.org/transport/roads/c&m_docs/kmcosts.pdf

Road network lengths:
http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/sustainable/studies/doc/2008_road_infrastructure_costs_and_revenues.pdf

Average Household Energy Consumption:
http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/research/energy/downloads/countrypictures/cp_netherlands.pdf

Price Per Watt for solar panels:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_per_watt

PV System installation costs:
http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/56776.pdf

Solar Irradiance / Insolation data:
http://solarelectricityhandbook.com/solar-irradiance.html

Electricity prices for households:
http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/File:Electricity_prices_for_household_consumers,_first_half_2013_%281%29_%28EUR_per_kWh%29_YB14.png

Sunpower P18 solar panel:
http://hvce.com/admin/content/uploads/Sunpower230.pdf

 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2014, 03:05:57 pm »
real measured solar insolation data for the Netherlands

:-DD :-DD
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Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life? We can help.
 

Offline RobertoLG

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2014, 04:11:04 pm »
Quality stuff as always  :-+
 

Offline pickle9000

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2014, 04:39:20 pm »
EEVBlog the new comedy network. That was seriously funny, great job!  :-DD
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2014, 04:51:35 pm »
I wonder what the world would be like if all the people actually capable of creating real things in the real world using real facts stopped supporting the rest of the idiots who think things like solar roadways are a good idea in spite of all the evidence.  That sounds like a good premise for a book.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2014, 04:53:25 pm »
real measured solar insolation data for the Netherlands
:-DD :-DD

My apologies to Netherlandites(?) for implying the sun actually shines there   ;D
 

Offline mexakin

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2014, 07:13:41 pm »
There were Government Programs like 20 years ago calles something like 10.000 roof program, after that came 100.000 roof program :) and so on

For green enthusiasts and finance guys I think it wasalways a financial benefit to install a rooftop solar sytem for like at least 10m² ( just guessed that)

Also liek 10 years ago the government and the KfW did renew a deal for which you got a credit to be able to pay for a whole system on your roof ( like 20k€) and with the back then guranteed payment for each kWh you deliver into the power grid you got paid money, that was guranteed by government at the beginning ( guessed 0.30€/kWh ) So after say 15 years you will make plus overall and that was guranteed as well, you only had to do the math.

That is why a lot of people did actually get a solar system on their roof, just like my parents did. Then what happened now is, there are too many of those system, so govermnet has to pay too much money for the injected power, so they cut down on the guranteed :) money you get.
Solar power is not paying for itself either, big companies going bankrupt, since china is manufacturing way cheaper, and so on  simple capitalism :) but what stays are the solar systems on the roofs, which actually work pretty fine, no doubt about that, and gladly we still got some big solarinverter companies producing in germany as well like sma.

Thats the story behind it, from my memory, I am sure a lot of people have deeper inside and some of my figures are not right, but overall thats the impression :)
 

Offline Artlav

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2014, 08:05:06 pm »
No, Dave, you are wrong in saying no amount of progress can make this idea viable.

Just like rooftop panels are good for light shining from above, so road-mounted panels are good for light shining from below.
What sort of light or radiation shines from below onto a road, through the whole planet Earth, regardless of weather?
Solar neutrinos!

So, the invention needed to make solar roadways practical is a neutrino-absorbing solar panel.
Simple!
Hacking the universe since 2008
Having a life since 2013
 

Offline German_EE

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2014, 08:28:58 pm »
Dave, you forgot to factor one item into your calculations. It is Autumn here in Europe right now so all of those nice solar roadways are getting covered with wet leaves. Not good for efficiency which means that somebody has to come out and clean them once a day.
Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

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Offline LaurenceW

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2014, 09:01:37 pm »
Wait! it gets even WORSE. Dave,

You've not factored in shading from all those cars and pesky cyclists. You are only going to get close to your numbers, if you can figure out how to keep the users and their shadows off the roads and cycleways.

I know! Lets put the solar panels somewhere else, like, on the roof :palm:...?
If you don't measure, you don't get.
 

Offline womai

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2014, 09:04:35 pm »
I also wonder how the expect BYCICLES to drive on these glass roads. I bike to work every day in Germany, and even normal roads can get very slippery from rain, dirt and wet leaves. I would not want to try how much traction you get on glass under these conditions. You'd probably have a hard time just staying upright walking! Even if there should happen to be excellent non-slip coating - how long do they expect this coating to last with all the abrasive driving, gravel, etc.???

I agree, keep the solar panels on rooftops!
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2014, 09:20:23 pm »
You've not factored in shading from all those cars and pesky cyclists.

I'm a generous guy!
 

Offline max_torque

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2014, 11:26:25 pm »
As Dave touches on, the principal issue is nothing to do with any of the technology used for Solar panels.

We live in a Capitalist economy, fact.  No one, would chose to fund a project where they get a lower Rate Of Return (ROR) in comparison.

Think about it.  You give me $10 today.  I give you two options:

1) In a years time i will give you back $15
2) In a years time i will give you back $20


Which would you pick?  What i do with your $10 to make the return you simply don't care (assuming it's at least generally legal and ethical mostly!).


So, irrespective of the cost of solar panels, the cost of installation and maintenance, and even the commercial price of energy, no one will fund a solar roadways project.  They would always get a high ROR by putting solar panels on a roof.  End of.

 

Offline sunnyhighway

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2014, 12:35:47 am »
You've not factored in shading from all those cars and pesky cyclists.

I'm a generous guy!


What cars?
It's a dedicated cycling path separated from the road where the cars drive. Spotting a car on them would be as rare as spotting someone riding a bicycle on a 6 lane highway.
And with a measured average of about 2000 bicycles per day this is a moot argument, as this has a negative impact of far less than 1% on the total energy production.
 

Offline nixfu

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2014, 12:36:37 am »
Adding in the rooftop vs roadway comparison was very good.   

I wonder what happened to the idea of putting panels ABOVE the road like on the light poles, this would be much more cheaper, efficient(they could be angled), and they could actually payback.   It would be less dense, but might actually be more cost effective per km of roadway. 
 

Offline Manuel

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2014, 01:13:30 am »
Dave,

at the end of the video you are saying "there are quite okay for a cycle ways" as it is a niche, but you imply that it will not work out because then it is not mass production. Here you are a little bit wrong.
You should visit the Netherlands, because cycle ways means mass production there (which in my opinion is great).

Greetings from the border triangle Germany-Netherlands-Belgium,
   Manuel

 

Offline sunnyhighway

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2014, 01:33:24 am »
Adding in the rooftop vs roadway comparison was very good.   

I wonder what happened to the idea of putting panels ABOVE the road like on the light poles, this would be much more cheaper, efficient(they could be angled), and they could actually payback.   It would be less dense, but might actually be more cost effective per km of roadway.

You would have to replace the existing light poles with stronger ones. The force of the wind on these panels would be huge.

As a comparison, if you only want to hang some wires on them (tram or trolley bus wires for example), these poles need to be already twice as thick as normal light poles.
For solar panels above the road you would be looking at the sort of poles used for the big signs above the highway, ....... every couple of meters......
You would essentially be driving in some sort of tunnel where the walls are made out of steel poles, just to withstand the wind force. Just to make sure a truck cannot knock these poles down you would also need a crash barrier to prevent the whole structure coming down on you.

For solar panels above a cycling path you don't need those big ass poles you would need for a road where cars tend to drive, and it neither would require crash barriers.  But those poles still would need to be considerably thicker  as normal light posts.


Another issue is the horizon pollution these things would create.

Be honest, which type of solar panel would you choose for this cycling path?
 

Offline delmadord

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2014, 01:56:25 am »
I really like that remarkable facepalm before you click on Play button :D Also that red note at 8:40 was hilarious  :-+  :-DD

Also, Congratulations for your 100th Patron, Dave! :)
 

Offline Precipice

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2014, 02:09:52 am »
Be honest, which type of solar panel would you choose for this cycling path?

We've got little sparkly solar lamps on some rural bike paths round here, to give you a hint when it's dark. Might be handy to stop you blundering into the water...
http://realcycling.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/cambridge-milky-way-starlit-bike-path.html
Solar - tick. Bikepath - tick... But not overambitious and insane.

 

Offline m100

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2014, 02:50:43 am »
irrespective of the cost of solar panels, the cost of installation and maintenance, and even the commercial price of energy, no one will fund a solar roadways project.  They would always get a high ROR by putting solar panels on a roof.  End of.

Never, ever underestimate what 'funding' will be sanctioned by the EU.  Other peoples money is routinely spent regardless of any consideration whatsoever.    Even national governments are at it in the name of 'the environment' hence why the UK is littered with thousands of landscape destroying wind turbines earning a massive rate of return for the investors,  paid to generate, also paid not to generate at the wrong time, subsidised profits whisked offshore tax free,  all funded by the consumer who is not permitted to say no.  The only thing currently keeping their energy prices sane is the low cost of gas and coal coupled with a downturn in demand from industry and commmerce.  Meanwhile reliable, predictable and despatchable forms of generation (nuclear/coal/gas) are not being built or replaced because their operational economics are destroyed by the huge investment capital being poured into the wind and solar sector.  Existing power stations are rapidly being decommissioned way before their time due to EU directives and it is somehow deemed more economic to long term mothball a number of relatively clean. recently built gas fired power stations and then fire up many hundreds of filthy diesel generators to meet peak demand.   As such the margin of generation over demand is shrinking year on year to what some have deemed dangerously low levels and energy security is being eroded at an alarming rate due to the use of these intermittent sources that 'pay better'

The use of solar and wind in Germany and the displacement of nuclear has huge implications for the stability of the grid system across the whole of Europe, it looks good to some on paper, particularly to the green lobby, but sooner or later it will all come crashing around peoples ears, all it takes is a prolonged cold spell with a large static high pressure system, a shortage of gas from the East , a couple of overhead line failures and it's lights out for tens if not hundreds of millions. 

For an industrialised nation, energy security does not ever come with solar panels regardless of where they are fitted nor does it come with wind turbines.  The potential for storage in many countries is limited, the UK for instance has less than 3GW for just 6 hours, with a possible potential for another 5GW over 6 hours with an investment in tens of billions in the 15-20 year timescale.

At the end of the day these intermittent sources all need 100% backup for that windless dark winter evening peak.  Why would any rational sane person ever build two sources of energy when just one will do the job perfectly. 

« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 02:52:46 am by m100 »
 

Offline fusebit

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2014, 03:17:15 am »
Heard I correctly? You said Germany produces 50% of the electricity with solar cells?
There are a lot of wind parks producing the main amount of renewable energy and there also a lot of solar cells compared to other countries. The figures for 2012 are:

20% renewable energy for electricity
20.6% of the renewable energy is from solar power
-> about 4% solar energy

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erneuerbare_Energien

The payback (in Germany) is mainly given by pretty high feed-in compensation for renewable energy and special levies for all the others...
 
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 03:39:29 am by fusebit »
 

Offline zapta

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2014, 03:26:22 am »
Dave, any reference for the claim that 50% of Germany's electricity supply comes from solar?

As for the economic viability of this Dutch project, it doesn't really matter, for the global warming crowd it's a moral thing, not economical, and tax payers' money is free.
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline rolycat

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2014, 03:54:23 am »
Dave, any reference for the claim that 50% of Germany's electricity supply comes from solar?

There are loads of references for the fact that 50.6% of Germany's electricity supply came from solar during a one hour period on the 9th of June this year. It was an exceptional figure, since it was a very sunny day and a national holiday, with unusually low demand.

Journalists being journalists, there are plenty of headlines with more extravagant claims, and I guess Dave may have seen one of these.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 03:55:58 am by rolycat »
 

Offline fusebit

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2014, 04:03:00 am »
 :-DD This kind of 50%  :-DD

You may also know what Germany is doing with this grid overload. As an example, there is a small combined heat/electricity plant in the north which also supplies district heating. They installed big electric heaters into a water tank (a former oil tank before the plant was changed to natural gas) to preheat the water.

And they EARNING money with this installation  |O
During windy and sunny days there is a huge peak in the production and a low demand (it's warm and bright outside), so the electricity price goes to negative (yes, you're getting money for using energy!) on the spot market. During this periods they running the heater...

 

Offline Tandy

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2014, 04:10:09 am »
In typically hot countries wouldn't it be better to use ground source heat pumps the extract the heat from the road? This would have the beneficial side effect of reducing the expansion and softening of the road surface due to heat. It may be beneficial to reduce use of main grid electricity by upgrading lighting to high efficiency LED lighting powered from locally produced solar on the road surface. The more small steps taken like that the more we can reduce the amount of dirty energy we consume.
For more info on Tandy try these links Tandy History EEVBlog Thread & Official Tandy Website
 


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