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Monday Message Board

August 11th, 2008

It’s time, again, for the Monday Message Board. Comments on any topic, civilised discussion, no coarse language please.

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  1. SJ
    August 13th, 2008 at 22:54 | #1

    Ian, what’s your source for the $2.5m price? I couldn’t see that number in the Ergon brochure. I’m not saying it’s not there, just that if it is, I’ve missed it.

    If that really is the price, though, wilful is right. It’s just a spectacular waste of money.

  2. SJ
    August 13th, 2008 at 23:03 | #2

    It’s OK, I found the price, which Ergon does indeed state as $2.5m.

    …$2.5 million Windorah Solar Project…

  3. SJ
    August 13th, 2008 at 23:24 | #3

    Wilful’s $50,000 per household figure might be a bit low. The Windorah thing will produce 175 kW peak, which would mean 7 kW per household. At current prices for conventional off-the-shelf roof mounted technology, that would cost more like $60,000 per household, for a total of $1.5m, which is still well under the $2.5m that Ergon is proposing to pay.

  4. SJ
    August 13th, 2008 at 23:33 | #4

    Cite for current prices. $8,355/kW.

    7 x $8,355 = $58,485, ~ $60,000.

  5. Ian Gould
    August 13th, 2008 at 23:39 | #5

    Solar Systems apparently likes to argue that the higher price of their systems is justified by the longer operating life and the fact that they’re upgradeable relatively cheaply if more efficient cells become available.

  6. spangled drongo
    August 14th, 2008 at 08:15 | #6

    5 mirrors the size of 6 storey buildings that have to be washed before dawn every morning with R/O purified water to make them work costing $4 million plus who knows how much to run and maintain needing a full back-up diesel system.
    If it was your money, real money, that you had to pay interest on, make a profit on, amortise over a very short space of time, what do you think you would have to charge each householder? $80-100,000 a year?

  7. Ian Gould
    August 14th, 2008 at 10:50 | #7

    Well let’s see – $4 million capital cost (I’ve seen both $2.5 million and $4 million quoted let’s go with the higher number)

    Assume a 20 year operational life, straight line depreciation and a 10% fixed interest rate. (I’m feeling lazy today.)

    That’s 15% of $4,000,000 or $600,000.

    Assume $100,000 per year for maintenance costs (which strikes me as excessive).

    Then deduct the $170-190,000 or so in diesel savings.

    Comes to just over $500,000 or $5,000 per person.

    That’s all based on pessimistic assumptions.

  8. spangled drongo
    August 14th, 2008 at 17:15 | #8

    Check some venture capital prices. You’re way under.
    If it’s a fizzer it’s a write off.
    It could last 5 years, maybe longer but because it’s such a potential white elephant it’s going to have a short life.
    But it is a venture.
    100,000 litres is what they now use. Do the sums.
    They ain’t gonna save much of that.
    The real world price is about 4 times yours.

  9. Ian Gould
    August 14th, 2008 at 17:23 | #9

    Even if your revised claim is correct and I don’t think it is, your original claim was wildly inflated.

    Incidentally, smaller Solar Systems plants have been operating for the last couple of years in other otuback communities so its hardly the wild leap into the unkown you apparently think it is.

  10. spangled drongo
    August 14th, 2008 at 18:00 | #10

    My first claim was 100 times.
    $20,000 per head or $80,000 per household is close to that.

  11. Ian Gould
    August 14th, 2008 at 19:33 | #11

    You know hwat, seeing as we can’t agree about the price of the project to the nearest million dollars and you’re trying to claim a four year life fro the soalr panels I suggest we suspend this discussion and see if the system is still in operation foru years from now.

  12. wilful
    August 15th, 2008 at 13:17 | #12

    Ian Gould: $5,000 per person
    spangled drongo: $20,000 per head

    100 times indeed.

  13. Ken
    August 16th, 2008 at 07:50 | #13

    Not sure of the specifics of this one particular project but I’m not prepared to consider it typical or as a basis for projections of the costs for other solar projects. In one sense we need to have real life testing of various types of systems and if Windorah shows this particular approach is too expensive and or unreliable, then that’s a worthwhile lesson – in the process of replacing the worlds dirty energy production it’s small change. What is typical is a big energy company investing small change in renewables for greenwashing purposes whilst investing vastly more keeping the dirty stuff growing strong. No real attempts to begin large scale conversion to clean energy from Ergon.

  14. spangled drongo
    August 16th, 2008 at 17:30 | #14

    You don’t think that seeing as they had to keep the old system anyway and it wasn’t their money, that it might have been a reasonable proposition to have only built one 6 storey mirror to test it out in the dust first?

  15. Ian Gould
    August 16th, 2008 at 18:30 | #15

    That depends, how dusty is Windorah compared to Hermannsburg; Yuendumu and Lajamanu?

    Because Solar Systems has been operating concentrating PV systems in those three locations since 2005. (Meaning according to your estimate of their life expectance they should be about to fall apart.)


  16. spangled drongo
    August 16th, 2008 at 20:37 | #16

    They may not get sandblasted into non-functionality or fall apart but being coated daily in fine dust reduces performance to possible uselessness.
    Cooper floods will reduce this [and they had one not so long back] but it is always on.

  17. flooreitilk
    August 22nd, 2008 at 23:06 | #17

    As newly joined user i only wanted to say hi to everybody, even though i know that noone really gives a damn :-)

  18. BockCiffClock
    August 24th, 2008 at 01:41 | #18

    George Bush is my IDOL! :)

  19. August 24th, 2008 at 19:12 | #19

    Given the urgency, the following article by myself may be of interest:

    NSW electricity privatisation can be stopped!

    NSW Premier Morris Iemma has seized upon a limited and deficient Auditor-General’s report (pdf, 354K) as grounds to proceed with electricity privatisation and plans to rush through the legislation next week.

    However, the sale has been consistently and overwhelmingly opposed by the NSW
    public and unions, and can be stopped. 

  20. August 25th, 2008 at 00:13 | #20

    (linkspam deleted)

  21. August 25th, 2008 at 03:16 | #21

    Just a quick suggestion – it cleaned up most of the spam going into ozrisk at one fell swoop. Put anything that refers to a .ru domain into auto-moderation – or just straight to spam.

  22. August 25th, 2008 at 03:31 | #22

    (linkspam deleted)

  23. August 25th, 2008 at 05:17 | #23

    (linkspam deleted)

  24. August 25th, 2008 at 14:14 | #24

    (linkspam deleted)

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