Author Topic: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED  (Read 19823 times)

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Offline Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2017, 01:02:47 pm »
3) What are you going to do with 580MW in the middle of the southern desert?   Las Vegas2 anyone??  ;-)  Otherwise you've got to get that power to someone who needs it, and that isn't going to be cheap!

Sell it to Mexico, obviously.

That way there's a tiny number on the budget that says "Electricity sales to Mexico" and the politicians can spin it into a huge win for the USA: "Look, Mexico is paying for this!"

 

Offline Cliff Matthews

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2017, 05:12:46 pm »
OK, selling electricity to Mexico makes more sense then. Vandalizing it from the other side is against their own interests.
So why not build a strong wall north, and some meters south a weaker wall with panels and motion detection between?I still think anything like this is prone to fail, since borders can become hostile, wrecking infra$tructure.
 

Online Kjelt

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #27 on: June 24, 2017, 06:59:10 pm »
So solarpanels are busted.  :-+
Here in holland and probably else in the world there is this alternative, rooftiles that transfer the solar heat to water that runs in small heat pipes in the rooftiles. The water is heated and can be used to run a turbine. No idea what the efficiency is.
How about a ten meter high four meter thick stone wall with these things?  :-//
 

Online nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #28 on: June 24, 2017, 07:09:14 pm »
So solarpanels are busted.  :-+
Here in holland and probably else in the world there is this alternative, rooftiles that transfer the solar heat to water that runs in small heat pipes in the rooftiles. The water is heated and can be used to run a turbine. No idea what the efficiency is.
How about a ten meter high four meter thick stone wall with these things?  :-//
I doubt they need heat in the desert!
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Offline djacobow

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2017, 08:05:19 pm »
First, let the record show that I loathe Trump, think he's a lying snake, and "the wall" is a particularly stupid idea.

However, Dave's analysis does show something interesting: that, GIVEN that you are building the wall, adding solar could be in the ballpark of being able to defray the costs slightly.

I spotted two issues with Dave's analysis. First, and less important, he used TMY data from a coastal location, so I suspect that will show lower insolation overall and probably lower peak temps than a more inland reference. Since those impacts confound each other, it'd be hard to say which dominates without digging into am or detailed analysis, but I'd wager a real system would be a bit better.

Much more serious, The $1.50/W is for utility scale systems which are almost ALWAYS ground-mounted and generally layed out "compactly" to reduce the amount of wiring and the distance to inverters. Of course, a wall-based system would be spread out over 2000 km, which means inverters every 1/2 km or so, and appropriate DC wiring AND AC wiring to  what would likely have to be multiple transmission interconnections. Oh, and those would be interconnections to transmission that does not exist yet. The NREL numbers for a commercial (not utility) system are probably more realistic for this type of installation, plus the cost of transmission, which is generally not part of a commercial system's price.  I would not be surprised if such a system was 3-4 times as expensive as a state-of-the-art ground-based utility system.

That, I think, blows the PV economics out of the water. It is not viable in its own right, even if the wall were not counted.

So:

Wall: stupid
Wall + PV: even more stupid

Sad.

« Last Edit: June 24, 2017, 08:09:11 pm by djacobow »
 
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Offline Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #30 on: June 24, 2017, 08:38:56 pm »
However, Dave's analysis does show something interesting: that, GIVEN that you are building the wall, adding solar could be in the ballpark of being able to defray the costs slightly.

Solar panel installations have a known payback time, eg. 10 years. That figure is true no matter how many panels you install. They also have a lifetime before they need replacement, eg. 20 years.

Trump's plan has extra costs:
a) Building a very long thin solar farm needs an awful lot of extra cabling and stuff than a square/round one. This could double the cost.
b) It's in a place a long way from where the electricity might be needed, it will cost a lot to transport.

The extra cost of (a) and (b) means the payback time approaches the "tear it out an put a new on in" time, ie. it may never pay for itself.
 

Offline kd4ttc

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #31 on: June 24, 2017, 09:10:35 pm »
It wouldn't pay for construction costs but it would be enough for operational costs, A/C for the security staff, nighttime lighting, and other uses. Having power on the wall would also mitigate the costs of getting power to the wall, otherwise.
 

Offline ErikTheNorwegian

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #32 on: June 24, 2017, 10:45:49 pm »
Standing a stone trow away the boarder on the mexican side... and i bet the mexicans will just do that!
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #33 on: June 24, 2017, 11:18:52 pm »
... nighttime lighting ...

Hmmm.... that sparks a thought ....

Methinks you might find Elon Musk stepping up to this challenge - the ultimate Tesla Power Wall!!   :-DD
 

Offline ziggyfish

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #34 on: June 24, 2017, 11:51:31 pm »
Will Trump's Mexican border solar powered wall pay for itself?
Dave runs the numbers to find out what the solar payback is.

Considering the system will cost $870M, and the ROI is around $90M. So it would take 10 years to pay for the costs of the system itself (let's ignore the cost of the wall for the time being). We haven't even looked at the energy transportation infrastructure here yet.

This begs the question then, isn't this the sums that should be valid for any solar installation?

If so considering the US consumes 3,913,000,000,000 kWh a year (2014 figures), or

(3.913*1015 Wh)/8760 hours in a year = 446,689,497,716.894977169 Wh.
446,689,497,716.894977169 * $1.5 = $670,034,246,575.34 or $670B.

446,689,497,716kW * 0.11 (price energy companies charge) = $49,135,844,748.85.

It would take 670/50 = 13.4 years to see any return on investment. Just to meet the demand of 2014. As you know batteries would increase the costs per watt and increase the number of solar panels needed as batteries are not 100% efficient.

So the question I have to ask is solar a viable energy source currently, or is it more feasible to build coal and nuclear power up until the price per watt of a solar panel goes down?
« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 12:04:11 am by ziggyfish »
 

Offline cpuerror

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2017, 03:17:20 am »
I have an engineering degree from Trump University so let me chime in. For those of you worrying about cables and transmission, Trump was talking about putting in wireless solar panels, using ubeam technology to move the power around. The ubeams could also be redirected to power self filling water bottles for thirsty border travelers, powering a 5000km hyperloop etc. The possibilities are endless.
 
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Offline Bud

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #36 on: June 25, 2017, 04:18:44 am »
Did your brain just experienced one of those events represented in your nickname?  :-//
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #37 on: June 25, 2017, 12:27:35 pm »
Watching a man from another nation insult the president of my country makes me feel unwelcome here, and I guess I am. I thought EEVblog was about electronics, not politics.

Irony overload :palm:
 
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Online Kjelt

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2017, 12:45:39 pm »
Do I get this right, are you now blaming Dave just to point out that that someone else (who happens to be your president but that is not relevant or to the point at all) is talking nonsense ?
I thought the USA was the land of free speech, and that discussion would always be possible esp. to debunk scientific nonsense.
 

Offline b_force

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2017, 12:48:59 pm »
Ones again, this subject is purely about facts, science and engineering. If it wasn't Trump, but someone else, Dave would also have posted something similar. So if people see this as a political rant, maybe you should think twice (and learn how to divide what is important to the useless little details).

On top of that, I personally don't understand why people get so sensitive about it (in general). I think it's totally wrong to walk away from the truth. So if my "favourite" political party is selling BS, I would also debunk their stupid ideas as much as I can.
The point is that people, groups or parties with to much power are even allowed to sell this kind of BS.
In my opinion they should be fined with every idea they sell that's proven incorrect or something.

Anyway, can we now go back ontopic pls?
(on the other hand, there is not much to add to Daves video)
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Roy Batty

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #40 on: June 25, 2017, 01:06:00 pm »
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 03:23:52 pm by Roy Batty »
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #41 on: June 25, 2017, 01:14:18 pm »
Watching a man from another nation insult the president of my country makes me feel unwelcome here, and I guess I am. I thought EEVblog was about electronics, not politics.

Irony overload :palm:

Perhaps you could explain that, since it looks like you don't care if people like me leave your forum. Have I pushed my negative views of Australian politicians here? I don't even know who they are, but maybe I have forgotten something I wrote in the past.

We'll happily leave the insulting of your president to you and your countrymen - but this video is about assessing the idea and calling it out for what it is.

In simple engineering terms - it's a bad idea ... and that is all that is being said.

If you then want to take a moral "high ground" and use that to mount an attack on the credibility of Dave, based on your interpretation of it being a personal insult upon your president, then you are missing the point entirely.  It also shows that you have no grounds to challenge Dave's conclusions on any engineering principles.  (We would welcome anybody offering engineering that supports the idea.)

As such, if you want to wave the Trump banner, then go right ahead.  We won't stop you.  But understand that the Mexican border solar wall idea is technically questionable and certainly not good economics.....

...... no matter who suggested it.


Let me suggest that it is possible and preferable to debunk bad ideas without the obvious hostility toward a world leader. The explanation of the ins and outs of solar energy is interesting, but do I really have to be exposed to Dave's rancor toward Trump in order to get it?

Take out Trump's name if you want - but the idea deserves the incredulity that Dave expresses.

It's a stupendously crazy idea - and just because it came from your president, we have to bow down and sing its praises???

I have seen that happen between staff and upper management with teams out of the USA, but that does not happen with Aussies.  Here, we call dumb ideas dumb - no matter who it comes from.


Quote
People who don't live in America do not understand the wave of anti-Trump hysteria we are going through. Conservatives and people who simply look like they might have voted for Trump are being beaten in public places. Their property is being vandalized. Entertainers joke about murdering the president; look up Johnny Depp and Kathy Griffin. We just had a nutcase try to kill a group of conservative congressmen with a rifle at a baseball field, and he succeeded in blowing one congressman's pelvis apart. It would be nice to be able to escape the rage on forums unrelated to politics.

We get to see what happens on the news ... and I know that is not like living it by any stretch of the imagination.

However, the point still remains ... this is NOT an attack on Trump.  It's an attack on the dumb idea - which he just happened to utter.

This is a big differentiation.  However, I do accept that there is a LOT of tension surrounding the Trump administration and this sort of differentiation gets lost in the frenzy.


It is important for you to understand - that this differentiation is VERY MUCH necessary for an objective discussion... as difficult as it may well be.

Edit: Broke up second quote into two parts.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 01:24:55 pm by Brumby »
 

Offline b_force

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #42 on: June 25, 2017, 01:20:54 pm »
Nobody has the rights to use violence for political reasons (or any reason for that matter). But you can't expect that other people aren't allowed to vent their feelings and opinions.
That's simply the right they have (luckily).

And to be very honest. The fundamentals of science and engineering are completely based on critisism and critique but only if you can prove them with valid arguments. Over the years I know Dave good enough that he thinks the same about this.

This subject is about the fact that a person x in a certain position is letting people believe something that's extremely doubtful from a scientific point of view (understatement). You can't simply ignore that.
And with all the respect and no hard felings, but if people can't handle this scientific approach to these subjects, I don't think this forum is the place to be for them.
"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

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Offline b_force

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #43 on: June 25, 2017, 02:06:18 pm »
Ones again. Dave has been debunking things all the time.
The fact that this involves a political leader is irrilevant. Absolutely un important for the discussion. Otherwise, where do you draw the wall, ehm line?
Or you have to say that he has to completely stop debunking stuff (gear and tools included).

Anyhow it doesn't matter, it's Daves youtube channel and Daves forum. As I said before, if that's not you thing, this is clearly not the place to be.
"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

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Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #44 on: June 25, 2017, 03:06:47 pm »
Watching a man from another nation insult the president of my country makes me feel unwelcome here, and I guess I am. I thought EEVblog was about electronics, not politics.

Irony overload :palm:

Perhaps you could explain that

It seems that I must, because you clearly don't get it.
I make a technical video about debunking a solar wall idea.
You get triggered because I "insulted" the person who made the claim, which happens to be your president.
Personally I don't give a rats arse who made the claim, but it seems you do.
Ergo, you complain my video was about politics instead of technical, and you ironically bring politics into the forum, the very same politics you are complaining about.

Quote
, since it looks like you don't care if people like me leave your forum.

I don't care who comes or goes, as long as you talk technical, but if you want to bring politics into the forum then you will not be welcome here.

Quote
Have I pushed my negative views of Australian politicians here?

You are the one who bought up politics here, not me.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 03:16:24 pm by EEVblog »
 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #45 on: June 25, 2017, 03:15:39 pm »
Ones again, this subject is purely about facts, science and engineering. If it wasn't Trump, but someone else, Dave would also have posted something similar.

This.
The claim was a very public one and made all the news, and many people ask me to take a look at the numbers. It seemed topical, and because I had done similar ones before, seemed relevant. I took a look at the numbers without any agenda.
In fact, I didn't even know what the numbers would turn out to be until I started doing the video and did the calcs as I went along.
It turned out to be not as bad as people thought it would, at least the best case ballpark number.
I could have completely spun the video to demolish Trump or his policies or whatever if I really had an "agenda", but I simply presented the ballpark result and had a laugh in a quick video done without any thought or hidden intention whatsoever.

Quote
On top of that, I personally don't understand why people get so sensitive about it (in general).

BTW I noticed a similar "triggered" reaction when I "dared" to run the numbers on Musk's solar rooftop. Some Musk supporters made similar claims that I was attacking and insulting their idol or something like that. Some Trump supporters have taken it to a new level, but it's eerily similar.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #46 on: June 25, 2017, 03:18:02 pm »
Let me suggest that it is possible and preferable to debunk bad ideas without the obvious hostility toward a world leader. The explanation of the ins and outs of solar energy is interesting, but do I really have to be exposed to Dave's rancor toward Trump in order to get it?
People who don't live in America do not understand the wave of anti-Trump hysteria we are going through.

No one cares.
The politics ends here, got it?
 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #47 on: June 25, 2017, 03:24:09 pm »
Solar panel installations have a known payback time, eg. 10 years. That figure is true no matter how many panels you install. They also have a lifetime before they need replacement, eg. 20 years.

Trump's plan has extra costs:
a) Building a very long thin solar farm needs an awful lot of extra cabling and stuff than a square/round one. This could double the cost.
b) It's in a place a long way from where the electricity might be needed, it will cost a lot to transport.
The extra cost of (a) and (b) means the payback time approaches the "tear it out an put a new on in" time, ie. it may never pay for itself.

c) The maintenance will be much higher.
d) The efficiency will be lower because tracking is much harder if not possible in many cases.

The whole thing is a technically stupid idea. Not nearly as bad as solar roadways, but starting to have a similar set of issues that are being added for no real gain. They are just trying to do it that way because it's cool or meets some agenda etc.
We already have well established solar solutions that provide the best efficiency, lowest cost, and have the shortest payback. Trying to do it any other way better have a damn good and compelling reason to do so.
 

Offline djacobow

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #48 on: June 25, 2017, 03:25:02 pm »
However, Dave's analysis does show something interesting: that, GIVEN that you are building the wall, adding solar could be in the ballpark of being able to defray the costs slightly.

Solar panel installations have a known payback time, eg. 10 years. That figure is true no matter how many panels you install. They also have a lifetime before they need replacement, eg. 20 years.


Though I will agree that for a given situation there is probably one optimal system configuration, it is not the same configuration in every situation. In utility-scale installations, there are important considerations that affect the orientation of the panels, the ratio of inverter capacity to panel capacity, etc. For example, typical utility tariffs have a time-varying component, and that component varies depending on the correlation between the solar output curve and the utility's load curve. Depending on how you get paid you may want to be able to generate more during hour X even if that means dumping power during Y because energy during X earns you more $$. The time-of-use periods can very substantially, so this is a strong consideration. Similarly, if there is limited transmission capacity at a location, you might install more panels than the link can carry at peak times, but you will get better utilization of the link at off peak times.

Panels are typically warrantied for 20 years, but they do tend to last longer, with some degradation. On the other hand, the cost-of-capital models used by solar project developers tend to heavily discount the out years, so the production in years 20-50 or whatever doesn't matter all that much anyway. Inverters, by the way, do not last nearly as long.


Trump's plan has extra costs:
a) Building a very long thin solar farm needs an awful lot of extra cabling and stuff than a square/round one. This could double the cost.
b) It's in a place a long way from where the electricity might be needed, it will cost a lot to transport.

The extra cost of (a) and (b) means the payback time approaches the "tear it out an put a new on in" time, ie. it may never pay for itself.

Which is exactly what the latter part of my post said.

Another nit Dave used an average of $0.11/kWh for tariff. That's very generous for a utility scale project in North America today. People are bidding in projects on the order of $0.06-$0.08/kWh these days.

I think we can all agree that Dave is right, he is right more than he thought he was right. My point about "ballpark" was only that this was not a orders-of-magnitude type of situation, but less than one order of magnitude.


I've been in the utility scale solar business for about 10 years.

« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 03:30:44 pm by djacobow »
 

Roy Batty

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Re: EEVblog #1002 - Trumps Solar Freakin Wall DEBUNKED
« Reply #49 on: June 25, 2017, 03:25:50 pm »
No one cares.
The politics ends here, got it?

My participation in your forum ends here, got it?
 


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