Posts Tagged ‘LCOE’

LCOE – LCOE – LCOE – What is it?

April 21, 2015

1) Levelized Cost of Energy
2) Levelized Cost of Electricity
3) Levelized Cost of Everything

It is actually #1. By definition the LCOE is the total cost of installing and operating a project expressed in dollars per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated by the system over its life. I personally like the one I made up, #3 as the idiots definition that I can understand. It balls everything into one for me, regardless if it is the cost to produce the source of energy, the electricity or of the total enterprise. It is the cost from what I remember Dr. Jabbour saying 6 years ago and it stuck with me, the cost from cradle to grave. Their goal was to be the lowest in the solar market. It appears they are still working on it and are about to enter the competition in the market if I read the tea leaves correctly that Art scattered in his response to the article on LinkedIn More than 1,000 GW of solar in India? [#1]. If they truly are on the cusp of LCOE in the solar industry then that is a massive breakthrough in a massive market. How big is massive? Consider that 130GW of installed solar only accounts for 2 per cent of the 6,000GW, or $2 trillion annual electricity market, that’s massive. So how will they do it? By reversing what the silicon market did for the display industry. As an example look at cell phones, quantum physics based silicon was used to convert energy to light, starting from a few iPhones, to 2 billion smartphones in 7 years, trillions of dollars worth as an industry. By the way, Quantum Materials Corp. (QMC) will benefit in that market as well with the next generation Quantum Dot (QD) semiconductor for the display screens. Similarly in the reverse direction, instead of converting energy to light, converting light to energy will be worth trillions, only instead of silicon Solterra Renewable Technologies, Inc. will be using QMC Quantum Dots to make it a reality. That will be accomplished by:
1) QUANTUM DOT SOLAR CELL FACTORIES at a fraction of the current silicon PV factories.
2) Utility scale electricity generating plants capitalizing on economies/efficiencies of scale.

What’s the best market to enter, residential or utility? The latest US Solar Market Insight report (from Q3 2014) put the price at $0.70/watt for residential solar panels and that does not include “soft costs”. The bulk of the price of going solar is now the “soft costs” (installation, permitting, etc.) rather than the solar panel cost. Again referencing the latest US Solar Market Insight report, the average installed cost of a residential solar panel system was $4.72/watt. Way too high to be competitive with the utilities. The residential market initially is not where they will invest their time or their money, not yet anyways.

For one piece of the LCOE puzzle we need to know what it costs for the solar cell factories currently to produce and what one of their factories cost. Costs have come down to $.20 per watt for tier 1 solar photovoltaic polysilicon and wafers together so that means $.50/watt for the cell and panel. The manufacturing sequence is: purified Si -> Si wafers -> Si PV cells -> Si PV panels. That would be four steps to the manufacturing of solar photovoltaic panels. The third generation quantum dot solar cell panel will have only three manufacturing steps. Quantum dots -> QD printed cells -> QDPV panels. Environmentally friendly to boot, as silicon manufacturing is an energy hog (electric arc furnaces for extreme heat) and a pollutant. I don’t see where the ecological cost is factored into the LCOE equation either.

So how much does a silicon PV factory cost to put the advantages of QD solar into perspective? 175 Million for a 100 Megawatt solar plant per Twin Creeks Technology and that’s cheap! $225 Million for a 200 Megawatt plant in NY, So the cost for a solar plant is between $1.1 and $1.75 million per megawatt. Lets not forget that didn’t include the cost of the purified SI plant to make the silicon boule.

In contrast to the silicon are the quantum dots (QD). The QD plant will run less than a couple million v.s. billions for the pure silicon cell plants. The Taiwan government to build a new factory for 450mm wafers, with the total cost of the project expected to be between $8-10 billion.[#2] The LCOE capital cost (CAPEX) takes a huge hit in favor of quantum dots as a source material and again in contrast, the QD solar cell plant will run a fraction of the cost of the tier 1 or 2 PV plants. I see Solterra coming in 1/3 to 1/5th of conventional PV plants. In line with Arts statement, “The comparable cost of starting such a factory is roughly one-fifth the cost of a silicon panel factory the same size and payback is quicker..” Why can QMC/Solterra be so low? They don’t need so much of the specialized equipment to make their flexible cells and panels. See the typical manufacturing equipment used for the silicon solar process and you’ll understand the complexity: Then imagine printing solar cells as fast as you can print newspaper. Comparing the two manufacturing processes, speed and far less specialized equipment is the game winner in favor of a lower LCOE for quantum dot solar.

What’s the pair of ACE’s IN THE HOLE Solterra has? QMC’s economical Tetrapod Quantum Dots and Scalability!!! Big time! How? For starters and this is a no brainer, they could double output by running two shifts or three shifts to triple output, increasing the process output speed from 100m/m to 600+m/m would allow them to scale up further, then by continually improving efficiencies up to the theoretical 65% for the Quantum Dot Solar Cells. That’s a significant increase from today’s numbers. So it is not unrealistic to see that a regular 100Mw plant today could be producing 1Gw of solar cell material in a few years at little to no extra cost. You see, they aren’t making conventional solar cell panels as we know them today. They are manufacturing a continuous wide flexible solar cell panel that if they go bi-facial with it, it in my opinion will blow away the competition and make their solar material a commodity faster. It will be specifically tailored for utility scale projects requiring ease of construction, low maintenance and LOW COST. The utilities are getting serious and nervous that as much as half their customer base could go off grid in the northeast alone.[#3] That’s a significant amount of revenue stream to loose! They know they have to embrace third generation solar or it will be the demise of them.

Another cost reduction in the LCOE for Solterra will be what is called the “Learning Rate”. As they work through each project they will learn and become more efficient in the future projects. Per the U.S. Energy Information Administration, AEO 2012 Electricity Market Module Assumptions Document, Table 8.3. Generally, overnight costs for technologies and associated components decline at a specific rate based on a doubling of new capacity. The cost decline is fastest for revolutionary technologies i.e. 3rd generation solar and slower for evolutionary i.e. 1st & 2nd generation solar and mature technologies. Thus the company money tree will bear more fruit as time and costs reduce with increased economies of scale.

When will solar be at parity with current generation sources? Below is the LCOE calculator. Plug in some numbers and you’ll be surprised how quick it can change. Remember those Capital Cost numbers are based on the current 1st and 2nd generation solar costs. No wonder the utilities are worried about renewables, particularly the next generation of solar from QMC/Solterra.


Company OTCQB ticker symbol: QTMM

How to avoid being misled or ripped off by Solar Marketers

April 24, 2011
  • Every day we are being misled or getting ripped off by some unscrupulous sales man trying to make his commission, bonus or quota. Being caught in  the “Close” is about the salesman using the technique effectively. The Solar industry is continuously  mis-representing efficiency to you,  the customer about to spend 5, 10, 20, 40 thousand for a system. How? By telling you their efficiency is the best. But what you don’t know is it may be for a short 1-2 hour period or even minutes at the PEAK efficiency. The rest of the time it’s not so good. So your overall efficiency levelized over 24 hours is, well pretty dismal.

That’s right they don’t want “off peak” to make a levelized playing field for EFFICIENCY over a 24 hour period. Makes sense to some degree. The sun doesn’t shine at night, unless you count reflecting moon beams. It’s awfully dark on a cloudy night, not to mention some hellatious thunderstorms have turned day into night, it’s that dark. And overcast days don’t help with enriching that tan you managed to acquire baking in the sun. But I do remember getting burnt on cloudy days at the beach. Must have been my imagination, a wind burn, that is what it was, a wind burn. Or was it something else? I remember some one mentioning UV. I can’t see it or feel it like the sun rays, so that couldn’t be it, or could it?
We are entering a new phase, a paradigm shift for the energy industry. Customizing your longitude and latitude characteristics to the generation facility for your power. UV, IR, and VL all come into play some time during the day and night. Visible light (VL) is pretty obvious as well as the Ultra Violet (UV) , that ‘s why we wear our sunglasses to protect our eyes from UV, not because we look good in them. And then the IR, what is infrared (IR)? It’s complicated to explain as you will see from the Wikipedia definition: “Infrared Technology is based upon (IR) light that has electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength longer than that of visible light, measured from the nominal edge of visible red light at 0.7 micrometres, and extending conventionally to 300 micrometres. These wavelengths correspond to a frequency range of approximately 430 to 1 THz,[1] and include most of the thermal radiation emitted by objects near room temperature. Microscopically, IR light is typically emitted or absorbed by molecules when they change their rotational-vibrational movements. “ Got that? Well to put it more in the terms of how it is used in solar applications they go on to say:
Sunlight at zenith (climax or high point) provides an irradiance of just over 1 kilowatt per square meter at sea level. Of this energy, 527 watts is infrared radiation, 445 watts is visible light, and 32 watts is ultraviolet radiation.[2]”. The wafer type solar cells available today can only process visible light. That leaves out over half of the energy available from IR and the remainder in the UV. 56% of the available energy to be converted to electricity is LOST using today’s solar cells. Tomorrow using the Solterra Renewable Technology flexible solar cell you will be able to capture that lost energy in the IR and UV region. And what is really exciting about this new Nanotechnology with Tetrapod Quantum Dots  is it’s absorption capability 24 hours a day! Like enhanced night vision goggles the IR at night is enough to continue generation of power around the clock. So when someone tries to sell you on their solar cell being the most efficient, ask them to tell you the 24 hr energy absorption and overall efficiency rating for the panel. That will stop them dead in their tracks and ask them what is their LCOE?
LCOE is the Levelized Cost of Electricity over the life of the power generating facility. Starts from construction costs and runs to disposal, a “cradle to grave” cost in which to compare overall generating cost. The lower the LCOE the better you are. Now you have something tangible to compare.

24/7/365 Solterra Renewable Technologies – Solars Phoenix

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