Here's the deal in a nutshell. We want you to...
Compare Solar & Thermal to Photo-Voltaic on any basis you want, but it comes down
to these 3 issues.
Conversion of sunlight to electricity, the rest is waste heat.
STS ~15-20%(up to 30%) v. PV ~10-15%
STS = $3.00/Watt v. PV = $8+/Watt.
Capital Cost of energy over 20 years:
STS = $86/MW*Hr v. PV = $210/MW*Hr
STS: Everything 100% covered, FOREVER! If *ANYTHING* goes wrong, we'll repair or replace it. Period.
PV: Panels against defects and "excessive" drop in output. Inverter 1yr, BOS as indicated.
There are three ways* to design solar power systems.
Choose your criterion, and then see how much system you can get. These are the options:
- Power -- You want X kilowatts, we figure out the area you need under panels, and the price.
- Area -- You have X square feet of roof or land, we compute the ratings for the system, and the price.
- Capital -- Your budget is X thousand dollars, we compute the area you need, and the ratings for the
This applies equally to STS and PV systems. The only difference is the price & efficiency factors
as outlined above. First, ignore the wiggle room on the price of a system, because the cost of the system
is very strongly determined by the cost of the parts. PV is already way overpriced, the demand is so low
because the price is so high, the PV folks just don't have the luxury of high markups.
The reason that we've broken it down into single choices, is because there is usually a single factor that
will limit the size of the system you can accommodate. Let's make it obvious. Remember those little
"Fotomat" drive-up kiosks? Well, imagine that the owner of one of those wanted to install a 5kW
system on his roof, to power his Kodak Royalprint 417 processor. Let's assume a southern exposure, 15' x
6'. His roof might intercept 6kW peak, a fantastic PV system might net him 1200W, and and STS at this size
might even do 2kW... the moral of the story, is he can't have a 5kW system on his building. Why is this
scenario here, because it's similar to a RFQ we received a while back.
So, regardless of what you want, the choices will invariably come down to whatever you have the least
of. And since STS is both cheaper and more efficient than PV, you might run out of something other than
$$$ when you order an STS system. Without shame or embarrassment, we can add that whatever your limiting
option, when you choose STS over PV, you will get significantly more benefit.
*We've all heard the old bromide about how to get a project done...
You have 3 options. You may choose any two.
And the analysis: You can have it X, but it won't be Y
- Fast + Cheap, it won't be done Well
- Fast + Good, it won't be done Cheap
- Cheap + Well, it won't be done Fast.
- (there's always an "outside the box" option)
- Solar & Thermal: Rugged & Inexpensive... We're waiting for you to order your installation...
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