Author Topic: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!  (Read 78764 times)

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Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2014, 05:12:05 pm »
You would have to replace the existing light poles with stronger ones. The force of the wind on these panels would be huge.

Here is a local installation of solar panels, in an intersection. So far, after a few years they are still working, and have survived a few dozen vehicle accidents. As well they have survived wind and storm damage free, which is pretty good as here we do get tropical storms regularly, that the US calls hurricanes. Here they are just regular summer storms. the batteries are stored in massive concrete vaults, mostly to keep them from being stolen by thieves, the same for the electronics, and the copper cabling is in steel conduit cast into the support beams.

http://www.durban.gov.za/Resource_Centre/quotations/September%202013/Design,%20Supply,%20Delivery%20and%20Installation%20of%20Web%20Based%20Photovoltaic%20Monitoring%20System%20for%20Solar%20Traffic%20Lights.pdf

It is located about 500m away from me at work, and I drive through the intersection every day to work.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2014, 05:29:11 pm »
:-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...

From what I read solar electricity in Germany is highly subsidized and electricity cost  is the second highest in Europe. Looks like they are having a second thought, just as they did in Australia.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-27/german-lawmakers-back-new-clean-energy-law-to-reduce-subsidies.html

It's an entire industry that lives of tax payers' money and kudos for Dave for calling this project BS.
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline magetoo

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2014, 06:13:16 pm »
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.

I had no idea that was even a thing.  I guess in a sense consumers get paid to load balance the grid then?
 

Offline zapta

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2014, 06:24:10 pm »
I had no idea that was even a thing.  I guess in a sense consumers get paid to load balance the grid then?

Like that 5 ohm resistor that you need to connect to a ATX PSU to work.
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline RadoK

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2014, 06:36:58 pm »
Hi Dave,
I think we should not calculate how long it takes until solar road pays itself back but how long it takes until it pays price difference between solar and standard road.

Imagine your calculation for standard roads. Standard road produces nothing. But anyway these roads are everywhere. So we have to consider these money that nobody expects to be payed back for solar roads too. The calculation is much more complex. We build roads because we simply need them. They save time = money. To people, to industry.

And because solar road purpose is not just to produce electricity but also to have all benefits that standard road has it makes absolute cost/benefits calculation at white board quite impossible. You need to know road purpose, number of cars, if the road is free...
Therefore it is way simplier to calculate standard vs solar roads cost difference.

If standard roads are much cheaper then ok, we can forget about solar roads.
If the difference is reasonably small then we have to consider difference in maintenance cost for the two road types. And maybe then we can consider income from produced electricity. I expect this will be smallest figure here.

Anyway, I expect same results at the end :-)

Rado
 

Offline fusebit

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2014, 06:57:35 pm »
I had no idea that was even a thing.  I guess in a sense consumers get paid to load balance the grid then?

Yes, but there a not too many paid load balancer. Usually it's like this: You ordered a specific amount of energy and if you don't take it you have to pay more for not using it.
I faced that a couple of times when our plant tripped  and we went of the grid. No electricity consumption, but doubled electricity costs! Thanks to the German "Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz" (Renewable Energies Act)...

Btw. I love solar energy! But I grew up in northern Germany, it's often cloudy and foggy over there and you won't believe how many solar panels are installed over there. This makes no sense from an engineering point of view, but it's economic due to subsidies. Now I'm in central Canada, pretty sunny over here, but gas is cheap and the oil sands are near by -> no solar energy. It would be great over here. With all these single family homes and the available roof area...
 

Online NANDBlog

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2014, 07:05:19 pm »
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.

It peaked 50% there are multiple sources. But that is hardly the total demand.

We need underwater, and underground solar panels. And double sided solar panels. And solar panels integrated into wind turbines. And lightbulbs with built in solar panels.

The problem is there isnt really a competition in the gov. funded R&D. They could have spend this money to give away 50 tesla s, and have a bigger impact.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2014, 07:37:51 pm by NANDBlog »
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #32 on: November 07, 2014, 07:11:20 pm »
I would rather compare the differential to a resurface as against the solar roadway, as that is the typical application to existing roads. Makes it worse.

As to the 50% mark, it is the best possible with the best weather and a minimum load on the grid. Otherwise they import electricity from France as needed, and to stabilise the grid at times they pay the wind farms not to feed in, as the wind spikes and generation plant does not react well to step changes in load of more than a few percent per hour. They tend to average out the spikes by spreading it out over many single users that use at slightly different times.

Simplest way to fix that is to use the smart meters and give the greens power from a specified wind plant, or group, and cut them off when it is not feeding in enough power, or when it is out for maintenance.
 

Offline rolycat

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #33 on: November 07, 2014, 07:33:00 pm »
We need ... double sided solar panels.
You may have thought you were being satirical, but these are real.

LG produce a panel called the MonoX NeON. According to the datasheet: "The module can evenly apply incident light from both the front and back of the cell." This increases power per panel from 250W to 300W.
 

Offline frvisser

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2014, 09:09:18 pm »
Funny! I commute here by train every day! It's right next to the railroad. But I didn't know this was going on, until saw this video! I will go there tomorrow and take some photos and videos. And surely take my tape measure with me too.

I did saw some funny looking traffic warden running about the other week. The bicycle path was inaccessible but there weren't any construction works going. Guess they didn't wanted any people obstructing their solar panels and spoil there measurements.  :bullshit:

Don't know why they made this road, but surely they really want to try this out before saying it can't be done. Mainly because the company behind this is TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, a highly respected research company. So I assume they know what the are doing. But I smell some politics interfering in this story....  :blah:
 

Offline adam1213

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2014, 10:28:50 pm »
Dave: Thank you for taking the time to produce this video.

There appears to be a minor mistake in the calculations. It doesn't change the result given its a ballpark figure. However it makes it slightly harder to follow as to where the numbers are coming from.

12:05 "practical  = 1.75m wide x 100 m = 175m" (100m is based on aim)
15:05 "Test results  = 100kwh/122m^2 / week"

Where does 122m^2 come from. From what I can gather the data measured so far is based on 70m having been installed. Given the width of 1.75m this gives 122.5m^2 e.g. 123m^2 NOT 122m^2.
 

Offline peufeu

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2014, 10:53:19 pm »
Since a Wh not consumed is even more economical than a Wh produced, let's do a more interesting ballpark calculation.

Let's consider an average 100-150m2 house, built in the 1960's or before, without thermal insulation. We have plenty of those here in France. It would burn about 40000 kWh/year for heating (about 4000€ heating oil). It would cost about 30k€ to install modern insulation, nothing super fancy, it's not that hard to save 75% on heating when you start with no insulation. So, for 30k€ we save 30000 kWh/year, this gives us a nice round price of 1€/kWh/year, and with heating oil around 10c/kWh, 10 years payback.

It is already a much better investment than solar panels, not to mention solar roadways... the return on investment is high, it pays back for itself rather quickly, needs no maintenance, and works 24/7 even at night.

Unfortunately the money that taxpayers could have used to do that was taken from them and used to subsidize stuff that doesn't work. Bummer.

For example the 3M€ that were "invested" in that solar bike path bullshit would have yielded 3M kWh/year, yes 3GWh/year, energy savings if invested in insulation panels. Anyone equipped with a calculator and a brain can compare that to the solar roadway figures.

PS : Kind regards to the guy who is willing to test bicycle braking performance on wet gass. I will send you stickers to put on your plaster. Please gopro the event and upload it on youtube from the hospital.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2014, 10:56:36 pm by peufeu »
 

Offline mxmarek

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2014, 11:03:54 pm »
The calculator under the whiteboard is right with it's display :D
 

Offline Porto

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2014, 01:32:52 am »

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

Netherlandites?? What kind of race is that, Dave? ;)

The ppl in there are called the Dutch, and no, we DON'T speak german, we speak Dutch!
It's kinda a different language altogether!

And yes, unfortunately, I live in the Netherlands and have to deal with quite alot of idiots over here.
 

Offline Co6aka

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2014, 03:52:49 am »
I live in the Netherlands and have to deal with quite alot of idiots over here.

Since when has NL had more politicians than USA??? :-//  Anyway...

Dave, you forgot to include the shyster-factor in overall economic calculations, at least for countries like USA: Inevitably, on the roadway/pathway some bloke will try to occupy the same physical space as some other bloke, at which point at least two shyster-blokes (associates of firms with names like "Dewey, Cheatham & Howe") will become involved, plus an endless stream of "expert" witnesses... and eventually there will be a massive legal expense burden placed upon the roadway installer, owner, maintainer, etcetera, plus anyone/everyone even remotely associated with the project, which could very well exceed the engineering and construction cost of the project.

Heck, I might even volunteer to be first slip-n-fall victim! :-DD  ("Help me! I've fallen and I can't get up!"  -- I'm practicing already!)

Co6aka says, "BARK! and you have no idea how humans will respond."
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2014, 07:37:45 am »
Hi Dave,
I think we should not calculate how long it takes until solar road pays itself back but how long it takes until it pays price difference between solar and standard road.

That's not how it works. Not many new roads are built from scratch, most are old ones maintained.
Maintenance of existing roads is very cheap (order of magnitude less than rehab).
Rehab of existing roads into solar is very expensive, and I have effectively done that differential calculation to an order of magnitude.

But its all moot anyway because glass roadways will never work. But that's another video...
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2014, 07:40:34 am »
Where does 122m^2 come from. From what I can gather the data measured so far is based on 70m having been installed. Given the width of 1.75m this gives 122.5m^2 e.g. 123m^2 NOT 122m^2.

You are quibbling over rounding down?
 

Offline hans

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #42 on: November 08, 2014, 09:11:45 am »

Therefore it is way simplier to calculate standard vs solar roads cost difference.

If standard roads are much cheaper then ok, we can forget about solar roads.
If the difference is reasonably small then we have to consider difference in maintenance cost for the two road types. And maybe then we can consider income from produced electricity. I expect this will be smallest figure here.

Anyway, I expect same results at the end :-)

Didn't Dave already do that?

The solar panels cost X amount of money. The "extra installation costs" (to make it a 'road') for the panel add X euro.
The solar panel earns X euro per year. Divide the cost over earnings and you get payback time over the initial investment, that excludes maintenance. The table shown for reworking existing roads may also get thrown off completely. What happens if a solar tile breaks down? Do you replace it instantly? Do 5 tiles <100m need to be broken? What if the glass is damaged you can't drive over it? You would need instant repairs then, but for 1 panel that may become costly.

Also, the 20cts per kWh is not correct (as also mentoined on the wordpress blog in a comment). That is the price for consumer homes, which is 6ct for the electricity and 14ct tax.
If you install solar energy on your own home you can reduce your "net consumption" with 20cts/kWh. When your net consumption becomes negative, i.e. you're overproducing (produced kWh > consumed kWh) you don't get tax paid out. The tax is something the government wants from consumers; we're dirty for using electricity at all! You only get the '6ct + a small fee' from your energy company:
http://www.energieleveranciers.nl/zonnepanelen/terugleververgoeding-zonnepanelen
Eon: 7 ct/kWh
Essent: <10MWh/year: 8ct/kWh. >10MWh: 4ct/kWh
NUON: 7ct/kWh
Qurrent: 10ct/kWh

In addition, to be eligible for reducing your energy bill ("salderen") you need to be connected to a standard home 3x 80A connection. As a road is owned by the government, they obviously will not carry those installations.

What this basically means that the earnings are roughly 3 times less as Dave predicted, and as it's the only source of income the payback time will be 3 times longer.
300 euro's investment with ~3,33 euro/year -> 90 years! :-DD I think most solar panel installations are only rated for 30 years of operation, making it a completely unfeasible idea. Any improvements in solar panel will also help the roof installations.
To make the concept of solar roadways catch up with roof installations, all efficiency improvements and cost reductions need to be made in the roadway installation itself. I am not sure if massive mass production will reduce Dave's figures even more than is required.

The only way remaining for it to work is the cost of electricity to increase by an order of magnitude; but that would help roof installations as well. Moreover, the energy market is quite complex (it's a trade stock in the Netherlands, actually), and comes from multiple parties and sources. So that is not very likely to happen short to mid term I think.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 09:17:03 am by hans »
 

Offline Hole

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #43 on: November 08, 2014, 10:35:03 am »
im curious, what did germany did right? to cover so much with so much solar power?

It's not only solar, and it is far away from 50%.... power from coal is at about 45%, nuclear power at 15%, regenerative power at about 22% (wind: 8%, bio mass: 7%, solar: 7%)1

Main reasons for the fast rise of wind power are a mix of things: no power taxes, really cheap credits for building a power plant, fixed prices that must be paid when feed into the grid (by the grid company). So every farmer with a meadow build his own small wind plant.

After Fukushima Germany government suddenly realized that atomic power is somehow dangerous. They changed direction from "let them run until the break apart" to "its all over now, tomorrow is shut-down-day".

Solar power in private households is rising, mainly (I think) due to raising costs of oil/gas, falling costs for panels and the overall addiction of Germans to be good.

Government is enforcing this by having about 50% taxes on the electric power price. Make your own power and pay less taxes. With atomic power shutdown came additional taxes to pay the shutdown and attract more solar power.

Technically there is a raise of "plug and play"-solar panels. Just plug them into an outlet, they feed into that part of the house grid (and perhaps into the big grid, but that would be illegal by law) enough energy to supply the low level demands (radio, chargers, a fridge). Repays after about 8 years. Even if it never repays, combined with the German attitude it is on the raise...

Major problems in Germany are a weak grid, the distance between energy producing (north of Germany) and energy consumption (south of Germany) and the lack of storage capacity. Building grid lines takes ages (because we all want green energy but please not a grid line through my garden!) and that locations for storage don't exist.

This all leads to strange situations. Negative prices on the spot market for energy. Or exporting green power for almost nothing over the day and buying (atomic) power later in the evening.

1: http://www.ag-energiebilanzen.de/index.php?article_id=29&fileName=20140207_brd_stromerzeugung1990-2013.pdf
 

Offline quarros

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #44 on: November 08, 2014, 11:04:21 am »
Hi Dave.

I don't want to contradict you but I think you're a bit too hostile of the possible viability of solar roadways (I quote: "never ever going be viable").
First let me state I agree with you on your conclusions! Currently it is not viable and also not in the closely foreseeable future.
But in the future it may or may not be. Why? Because of several factors:

-1 Humanity energy requirements have always increased over time overall on the global scale. (therefore an ever increasing quantity of energy to produce)
-2 The scarcity of attainable energy producing materials. (therefore the ever increasing cost of energy)
-3 There are only so much area on earth where you can collect solar energy without compromising environmental balance. (okay that's a bit sketchy but i think you know what I meant)

But to be honest I also think the efficiency of the panels have to increase otherwise even with increased energy prices it may prove to be futile.

Also one thing... I did not check when did they measured it but if it was now in autumn than it showed the very best that those panel can ever provide. Because now the average temperature relatively low (around 10-13C) and that aids the panels efficiency greatly.
 

Offline emcarro

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #45 on: November 08, 2014, 01:38:43 pm »
Hello

I think the problem with this kind of installations, is that they require more power to be built than the power they are going to generate in their whole life. And of they need some maintinence its goin to be even worse.
 

Offline eV1Te

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #46 on: November 08, 2014, 02:16:06 pm »
Don't know if someone mentioned this already, but the fastest growing electric energy source in Germany the last couple of years has been Coal power (since they had to fill the gap with something when they closed down their nuclear power plants).

Sure if the solar panels continue to decrease in price then it would be viable to use it to power homes in warmer countries. like Dave is doing now. But the fundamental flaw is that you will always need other power sources to fill the gaps since you use the least amount of electricity when you have the most sun.

When it is not sunny or if its winter then you need to warm your house and probably cook food at home since you do not want to go out, and also use more lamps since there is less light coming through the window.

 

Offline TheWelly888

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #47 on: November 08, 2014, 03:16:47 pm »
I noticed that that length of solar cycle path (100m) is expected to provide electricity to 3 homes - this appears to suggest that each 100m of solar cycle path will have only 3 houses alongside it? Surely even in a big country such as US and Australia, that ultra low density of housing is very atypical.

So if all the footpaths and cyclepaths in a typical Western housing estate are converted to solar paths then the solar paths still cannot produce enough electricity to power all of the houses in that area!
You can do anything with the right attitude and a hammer.
 

Offline frvisser

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #48 on: November 08, 2014, 05:02:51 pm »
So i have been there today and made a video reply of it. http://youtu.be/_nW-J18mfAI  ;)


PB080019 by FRVisser, on Flickr

I was impressed by the structure of the glass. It is like a rough tarmac structure, not slippery at all! But the ability for letting solar energy trough it's not good at all. It's getting really dirty, really fast:

PB080021 by FRVisser, on Flickr

And there are manufacturing faults in it as well:

PB080016 by FRVisser, on Flickr

There are 27 tiles of solar panel with the dimensions of 170X270 cm. In total a 124 square meters.

PB080045 by FRVisser, on Flickr

PB080050 by FRVisser, on Flickr

For more pictures see my flickr page.
https://flic.kr/s/aHsk2sKaxf
 

Offline DutchGert

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Re: EEVblog #681 - More Solar Roadways BULLSHIT!
« Reply #49 on: November 08, 2014, 07:48:06 pm »
So i have been there today and made a video reply of it. http://youtu.be/_nW-J18mfAI  ;)


PB080019 by FRVisser, on Flickr

I was impressed by the structure of the glass. It is like a rough tarmac structure, not slippery at all! But the ability for letting solar energy trough it's not good at all. It's getting really dirty, really fast:

PB080021 by FRVisser, on Flickr

And there are manufacturing faults in it as well:

PB080016 by FRVisser, on Flickr

There are 27 tiles of solar panel with the dimensions of 170X270 cm. In total a 124 square meters.

PB080045 by FRVisser, on Flickr

PB080050 by FRVisser, on Flickr

For more pictures see my flickr page.
https://flic.kr/s/aHsk2sKaxf

Lol
 


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