Solar is too cheap, and we need to build as much as we can, more than we can use together.
This surprising statement was proposed by Marc Perez in 2014, when he was a student studying a doctorate in engineering at Columbia University; Perez has spent a lot of effort designing the world’s cheapest grid. Based on satellite data collected over a decade, he proposed a grid system capable of producing the largest amount of energy at the cheapest cost.
Iberdrola’s solar farm is headquartered in Spain.
The surplus energy is not a big problem, said Perez. Unlike power plants that run on fossil fuels, renewable fuels (such as sunlight or wind) are readily available. Turning a solar panel on and off is much simpler than shutting down a wind turbine, and wasting renewable energy doesn’t have much of a consequence.
In his doctoral dissertation, Perez outlined the solution: building as many solar facilities as possible, putting that surplus electricity into the common grid would be cheaper than building more storage facilities. Theoretically, electricity prices could be reduced by 75%.
“The solution with the lowest cost is always to build excess energy production facilities“, Said Richard Perez, father of Marc, a successful senior researcher at the University of Albany and also a co-author of the study. “We will always need storage facilities to provide electricity at night. But we will need less than before“.
Accepting that we will produce more clean energy than we consume may sound too wasteful, especially for establishments that are too accustomed to optimizing by reducing costs as low as possible. Every dollar poured into coal, gas or nuclear fuel are burdens that tilt the cost-performance balance.
Solar energy is a newly emerging variable that disrupts the long-standing electricity production inequality. According to the energy research firm Wood Mackenzie, the price of equipment to assemble solar systems has dropped by as much as 90% in the past decade. Meanwhile, the cost of building a traditional energy plant increased by 11%.
Compare it like this: a solar facility is a nuclear plant for which the most expensive to keep running is land rent.
Villanueva solar farm in Mexico.
The calculation of the cost of energy production is variable, the solar base is cheaper than ever before, even without selling electricity for a profit. The lower cost of installing solar systems means that the solar energy economy will continue to prosper.
Last year, the Perez family co-produced a new scientific report (published in the prestigious journal Solar Energy) showing that the United States is capable of operating a solar-powered grid with production. The amount is abundant, in constant supply and at a cheaper price than currently, even when using the limited resources of wind and sunlight.
Three times the size of the system, they will optimize the system even at night and quiet winds.
Why is this way of producing energy not popular yet?
“Way of thinking“, Mr. Perez said. “Up until two years ago, no one had thought extensively … but if it were two years later, how this application would become obvious.“.
The clean energy project developers have been realizing what is true in the judgment of the father and son Perez. Solar farms are scaling up, producing more energy than they can store. When the fuel is free and the cost of assembling the system is cheap, the efficiency that the solar panel brings will compensate the loss quickly. That is the statement of Ravi Manghani, head of research at Wood Mackenzie.
Solar energy is too cheap to measure accurately“, Expert Manghani said. “Costs come down so fast, and will fall so deep over the next decade that clean energy producers continue to scale up their systems.“.
However, the surplus energy will not be wasted forever. Storage technology is evolving, batteries are getting cheaper. Even the liquid hydrogen energy production industry will take advantage of the excess value to turn it into profit.
Currently, despite the developments of other industries, we just “swing the current trend”: there is a high possibility that the cost of installing the system will no longer be a major barrier in calculating and expanding the scale of the farm. amount of the sun.
Refer to Quartz