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Author Topic: Cheap PV and storage in the US  (Read 260 times)
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« on: June 12, 2018, 07:28:08 AM »

Incredibly cheap PV contract in the US, but of more interest (to me) is how little the extra cost of storage would be, though to be fair, we don't know how many hours (per day) that represents.

New PPA In Arizona Locks In Lowest Solar Prices In US As Demise Of Navajo Station Looms

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2.49 cents per kWh is the lowest price for solar power in the US to date. PTM reports there is a deal pending in Austin, Texas at 2.1 cents per kWh, but details of that contract have not yet been made public.

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Tesla is bidding on a plan by Colorado’s Xcel Energy to add grid-scale battery storage to an upcoming solar project in that state. The cost of electricity in that proposal from various preliminary bidders ranges from 2.3 to 2.7 cents per kWh. What is really interesting is that adding battery storage only increases those numbers between 0.5 and 0.8 cents per kWh — still less than the wholesale cost of electricity from the Navajo Generating Station. The age of electricity from burning fossil fuels is really coming to an end at long last.


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Just call me Mart.     Cardiff: 5.58kWp PV - (3.58kWp SE3500 + 2kWp SE2200 WNW)
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2018, 08:18:24 AM »

And more on the Xcel Energy bids from last year.

World’s largest li-ion battery and 707 MW of solar power in Colorado proposal

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Xcel Energy’s 120-day report to Colorado regulators includes an additional 1.1 GW of wind at 1.1-1.8¢/kWh. Solar power bids have come in at 2.2-2.7¢/kWh, and solar+storage at 3.0-3.2¢/kWh.

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Even more eye popping was the wind power pricing that ranged from 1.1-1.8¢/kWh.
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Just call me Mart.     Cardiff: 5.58kWp PV - (3.58kWp SE3500 + 2kWp SE2200 WNW)
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2018, 09:52:05 AM »

It's worth noting that in the southern US demand is heavily dominated by air conditioning, so the daytime peak is much more pronounced than in the UK and will scale much more closely with the amount of sun out there. That means building a hell of a lot of PV is much easier to absorb than in say Germany, and that the storage requirements are relatively modest as night-time demand might only be 30% of daytime demand. It also means that the fossil fuel plant is relatively expensive - combustion plant (and particularly steam-cycle coal plant) really doesn't like being cycled up and down. Things break and so the running cost goes up a lot.

So at least in the southern US coal is only being kept alive on political life-support or because they haven't quite got around to killing it yet. Given the US aversion to governmental interference in the market, this is only a passing phase and before long the coal plants will be dead and buried. Just don't assume that we can do the same thing here - it can happen to an extent, but a limited one since our peak demand is when there is minimum sun, not maximum and the storage problem is an order of magnitude harder.
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M
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2018, 10:09:22 AM »

It's worth noting that in the southern US demand is heavily dominated by air conditioning, so the daytime peak is much more pronounced than in the UK and will scale much more closely with the amount of sun out there. That means building a hell of a lot of PV is much easier to absorb than in say Germany, and that the storage requirements are relatively modest as night-time demand might only be 30% of daytime demand. It also means that the fossil fuel plant is relatively expensive - combustion plant (and particularly steam-cycle coal plant) really doesn't like being cycled up and down. Things break and so the running cost goes up a lot.

So at least in the southern US coal is only being kept alive on political life-support or because they haven't quite got around to killing it yet. Given the US aversion to governmental interference in the market, this is only a passing phase and before long the coal plants will be dead and buried. Just don't assume that we can do the same thing here - it can happen to an extent, but a limited one since our peak demand is when there is minimum sun, not maximum and the storage problem is an order of magnitude harder.

I thought that was a myth, with demand rising in the morning, staying relatively high all day before peaking in the early evening, just like the UK, which explains the US issue of the 'duck curve' causing problems as demand from the supply side falls due to PV generation during the day. Demand or supply side storage is very important in the US in order to time shift PV generation too.

Ten Years of Analyzing the Duck Chart

Regardless, if the deals involve 2-4hrs (I think some are 10hrs), then that's enough for the UK to cover the evening peak, so assuming the storage cost remains the same, we can double perhaps triple) the PV generation costs, add on the storage cost, and still have an excellent UK price for PV and storage. I assume wind and storage costs will be closer to the US potential.
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Just call me Mart.     Cardiff: 5.58kWp PV - (3.58kWp SE3500 + 2kWp SE2200 WNW)
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2018, 03:21:27 PM »

Compare the seasonality though - the US peak in those graphs is in the summer (about twice the winter peak), the UK figures are reversed. You are left with an evening spike, but I'm not convinced that it's that big a problem - the spike is still smaller than the daytime peak demand otherwise would be, and the ramp rates feasible for a gas plant are about 50% higher than for a coal plant. It's changing the way the fossil fuel operators are used to working, but not dramatically - PV is fairly easy to stop generating, so they can just pay the PV farms to turn down generation a bit at the end of the day to balance the demand curve a bit better.
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2018, 06:01:00 PM »

Compare the seasonality though - the US peak in those graphs is in the summer (about twice the winter peak), the UK figures are reversed. You are left with an evening spike, but I'm not convinced that it's that big a problem - the spike is still smaller than the daytime peak demand otherwise would be, and the ramp rates feasible for a gas plant are about 50% higher than for a coal plant. It's changing the way the fossil fuel operators are used to working, but not dramatically - PV is fairly easy to stop generating, so they can just pay the PV farms to turn down generation a bit at the end of the day to balance the demand curve a bit better.

But cheap PV and storage in the US ........................ is good news though, yes?  facepalm
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Just call me Mart.     Cardiff: 5.58kWp PV - (3.58kWp SE3500 + 2kWp SE2200 WNW)
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