NICE PIECE on the Examiner today – yeah, I’m biased – about solar panels from Subhankar Kundu. The semiconductor companies are cheesed off with the Indian government not helping them enough.
We had a chat about this. A fab costs $2 billion at least to build. Orders are falling, falling, falling. This is the first time the clearly cyclical semi business has experienced this. TSMC is at 40% capacity. So will the fabs shift to producing polysilicon for the solar panel business? It’s not so easy. All it will take is for photovoltaic panels to become cheap and the famous Moore’s Law will kick in. And countries like India which have heaps of sun will benefit.
Will it happen? Probably not for a good while. It’s a crying shame. ♦
HERE ARE the results of a whole year garnering electricity from 15 Sanyo solar panels on top of a terraced house in North London. The panels were first installed in March 2007, so this is the first full year of results available.
This table below shows an estimate of what the panels have delivered since installation, together with a rough idea of the money they’ve generated.
For more on the system installed, check here, and here, and here. As well as on this bog, here and here. ♥
NOVEMBER 2008 was not the sunniest of Novembers we’ve had, but the 15 Sanyo panels on the roof continue to deliver bijli (‘lectricity) to the house and to the UK’s National Grid.
Here’s a screen grab of what happened in November 2008, and because the system has run for not too far short of two years now, we can contrast this with November 2007. Was the 30th of November so dull that no light shone from the south? Surely not.
Hang on – according to the November 2007 screengrab below, there wasn’t a 30th of November last year either. Perhaps there is a bug in the Fronius software?
Anyway, facts are facts. Since the system first started, we have been in credit with our electricity supplier – it owes money. And the National Grid scheme pays cash for the contribution the panels make. It is a daft idea installing panels unless you really go for it – it’s obvious that you have to place them in the right place, and polysilicon is at a premium right now, so they still remain expensive.
Perhaps with the panic in the semiconductor market, there will be more polysilicon available. Undercapacity fabrication plants (fabs) are very expensive to run. It’s a crying shame folk in places not on our latitude but which see the photonics more can’t have more of these panels on their roofs – futile green gestures are not nearly enough to make a difference. ♥
IT MUST BE an Indian summer, because suddenly the skies cleared and we had the finest day of the whole year today – yeah, I know it’s the 19th of September.
I was away for most of August, and the old solar panel display shows that the eighth month of the year was sheer misery. It rained so much that a connection failed and that’s why the last few days of the month are missing. The nice chaps sorted it out in a jiffy.
Apparently, according to the nice installers, our UK government has put the kybosh on grants installing 15 solar panels and if you get a grant for one or two, you’ll be lucky. We’d suggest they open up the old DEC fab near Edinburgh, but suspect that wouldn’t go down a storm with the Broons of this world.
Luckily, the solar panel installer tells us that despite the parsimonious nature of the Broon towards householders, there are still grants for organisations. So after he’d fixed our faulty connection, Richard W went off to install about 30 Sanyo panels in Hornsey, or somewhere. Despite the atrocious British weather, we can report that our 3.1KW system means we still haven’t paid one electricity bill since it was installed, and our supplier owes us money.
So ask your member of parliament why the subsidy on solar panels in the UK is so poor. And also ask why it can’t crank up silicon volume. ♣
APRIL 2007 was unusual for the UK. The whole month was dead hot, and then the rains set in. The swifts looked unhappy, two months of rain after the first of May doesn’t give them much chance to feed their little chicks.
But this April is far more like a regular English April. We append below a pic of how the Sanyo solar panels have done so far this month. Of course, fuel prices have gone up since we took advantage of the Department of Trade and Industry’s “generous” 50 per cent grant.
A WHOLE YEAR of solar panels on the top of what used to be INQ Central, and these charts below give you an idea of the output of the 15 Sanyo solar panels on our roof.
The money we got back is slightly less than the £309 on this page below, but on the other hand we’re in credit with the electricity supplier and haven’t paid an electricity bill during all this time.
The amortisation rate is still, as we’ve said in the INQ before, about eight years. In early April we did have snow and I’m not climbing on the roof to sweep it off, so for practically a whole day the blanket of crystals delivered not particularly brilliant solar results, except back to the clear blue sky.
On the other bright side, the pigeons couldn’t poo on our arrayed panels and went skiing instead. ♥