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Colorado Solar Firms Anxiously Await Trade Commission, Trump Moves On Imports

"Rebecca Cantwell of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association said they’ve never seen anything like this, with a few U.S. solar panel manufacturers now pitted against the remainder of the industry. Domestic panel makers want imports to cost more, providing protection for their products. That could hurt the rest of the industry which has grown because of — and grown accustomed to — cheaper goods manufactured in South Korea, Malaysia and Mexico. One Oregon company supports the trade case and wants import taxes to level its playing field. Tim Brightbill, who represents SolarWorld, said a surge of foreign panels has put more than 30 U.S. solar cell and module manufacturers out of business in the last five years." “These remedies would help strengthen the industry not only bring it back to where it was, but make it a world leader for decades to come,” Brightbill said.

"So why is most of the American solar industry taking a stand against the trade case (The two U.S. firms that initiated the case are subsidiaries of foreign-based companies), the tariffs on imported panels and other companies like SolarWorld? It’s because the bulk of the domestic solar industry focuses on everything but making black shiny slabs of solar cells. They make the wires, electrical equipment and racking. They install large systems for municipalities or utility companies and smaller systems on household roofs. "It’s those large-scale projects that stand to lose the most right now. John Hereford at Oak Leaf Energy Partners said he hasn’t closed many deals on projects past December — just when a tariff decision could kick up prices."

First solar farm may come to Guilderland

While I've always thought roof top-solar pared to a household's or building's commercial load makes a lot of sense, I'm very cynical about utility-scale solar. Selling back excess power to grid is better then solar-controllers discarding it (as off grid houses do).

I think utility scale solar is mostly a nuisance to utility operators, putting mostly low-value power into the grid that is offset by running fossil power plants at a less efficient, lower speed. Even at peak times, utility solar has to be backed up by fossil-fired spinning reserve.

But my views are changing slightly on utility solar. Here's why. Solar farms have a practical lifespan of 20-30 years, and while they may be ugly, they are a light use of the land. Solar panels can crushed and hauled off to the landfill at end of their lifespan, with the aluminum frames, copper wire, and steel frames recovered as scrap. Once solar panels removed to the land, the parcels can be rededicated for purposes of agriculture or wildlife conservation.

In other words, utility solar conserves large parcels of lands for future generations, by only lightly developing the land. So it's not totally terrible idea. But a better investment is in roof-top solar, where solar can offset actual load on the grid, rather then feeding in low-value power into the grid.

Massive Solar Farm Planned For Selkirk.

The 2002 750 MW Bethlehem Energy Center which replaced the 1952 Albany Stream Station in Glenmont sits on 83 acres of previously industrial land along the river.

A clean burning natural gas and fuel oil plant, it operates 24-7. It produces 94% less SO2, 90% less NOx and 36% less CO2 compared to Albany Steam Station.

In contrast, this industrial solar project will be placed on 42-acres farm land and generate a theoretical 8 MW peak when its particularly sunny out. Most of the time it will produce much less then 8 MW peak output.

Assuming solar worked 24-7, they would need nearly 4,000 acres of land to produce as much nameplate power as the Bethlehem Energy Center produces.

Large solar farms are a taxpayer-funded scam. While roof-top solar helps offset energy use, and is quite desirable source of clean renewable energy, large solar farms should be disallowed and prohibited by law as just another form of sprawl.

Google Maps: Orth America Land Data Assimilation System Daily Sunlight 1979-2011

The North America Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) Daily Sunlight data available on CDC WONDER are county-level daily sunlight (insolation or solar radiation) observations spanning the years 1979-2011. Reported measures are the average daily insolation, reported in kilojoules per square meter (KJ/m2), the number of observations, and the range for the daily insolation values. Data are available by place (combined 48 contiguous states plus the District of Columbia, region, division, state, county), time (year, month, day) and specified daily sunlight value.

That Fancy New Solar Bike Path In Amsterdam Is Utter Bullshit

Solar power makes a lot of sense on roof tops -- it helps shade and cool buildings, and puts the solar cells in a better angle for unobstructed sun. Solar roadways, in contrast, have all the disadvantages.

Solar panels are very sensitive to shade and angle to the sun -- in my personal experience with my solar panel. To say nothing of heat. I can't understand why anybody would have proposed the solar roadway idea in the first place. It just doesn't make much sense.