Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cost of solar power (29)

For the past several months, I’ve been working on simulations of air-blown thermal storage, and how it can be integrated with power generation from solar energy collected passively under a transparent insulated canopy.  The simulations have gone well, and I have just finished a draft of a paper* I plan to present at the 2012 AuSES Conference in December.

To give a sneak preview of the results:  if the thermal energy from the canopy is stored and then reclaimed at night, the total power generated is reduced by only 12% compared to the output that would be obtained directly during the day.  If the size of the canopy is doubled (solar multiple of 2) and power is generated both during daytime directly and at night from storage, my coarse economic evaluations show that the Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) is reduced by 27% compared to what it would be with daytime generation only.

More details on that work on another occasion …

As a result of all those simulations, I haven’t been actively seeking to analyse the LCOE for other installations.  However, a suitable project for analysis was announced yesterday, and this will give a useful datum for future reference.  So here goes …

The City of Sydney yesterday announced that a number of city buildings are being fitted with PV panels from Solgen Energy.  The total peak output is 1.25 MW PV, and the press release goes on to mention that the cost of the project is AUD 6 million, the annual output is expected to be 2.0 GWhr and the CO2 emissions avoided would be 2,100 t/yr.

I now evaluate the Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) using my customary assumptions
          there is no inflation,
          taxation implications are neglected,
          projects are funded entirely by debt,
          all projects have the same interest rate (8%) and payback period (25 years), which means that the required rate of capital return is 9.4%,
          all projects have the same annual maintenance and operating costs (2% of the total project cost), and
          government subsidies are neglected.

For further commentary on my LCOE methodology, see posts on Real cost of coal-fired power, LEC – the accountant’s view, Cost of solar power (10) and (especially) Yet more on LEC.  Note that I am now using annual maintenance costs of 2% rather than 3% as in posts during 2011.

The results are as follows:

Cost per peak Watt              AUD 4.80/Wp
LCOE                                     AUD 342/MWhr

The components of the LCOE are:
Capital           {0.094 × AUD 6×10^6}/{2000 MWhr} = AUD 282/MWhr
O&M              {0.020 × AUD 6×10^6}/{2000 MWhr} = AUD 60/MWhr

The cost of CO2 abatement is (0.094+0.02)×6×10^6/2100 = AUD 326/t CO2.

The Capacity Factor is 2×10^6/(1250×24×3650 = 0.183, which is about what I’d expect for sloping roof installations in Sydney.

By way of comparison, LCOE figures (in appropriate currency per MWhr) for all projects I’ve investigated are given below.  The number in brackets is the reference to the blog post, all of which appear in my index of posts with the title “Cost of solar power ([number])”:

(2)        AUD 183 (Nyngan, Australia, PV)
(3)        EUR 503 (Olmedilla, Spain, PV, 2008)
(3)        EUR 188 (Andasol I, Spain, trough, 2009)
(4)        AUD 236 (Greenough, Australia, PV)
(5)        AUD 397 (Solar Oasis, Australia, dish, 2014?)
(6)        USD 163 (Lazio, Italy, PV)
(7)        AUD 271 (Kogan Creek, Australia, CLFR pre-heat, 2012?)
(8)        USD 228 (New Mexico, CdTe thin film PV, 2011)
(9)        EUR 200 (Ibersol, Spain, trough, 2011)
(10)      USD 231 (Ivanpah, California, tower, 2013?)
(11)      CAD 409 (Stardale, Canada, PV, 2012)
(12)      USD 290 (Blythe, California, trough, 2012?)
(13)      AUD 285 (Solar Dawn, Australia, CLFR, 2013?)
(14)      AUD 263 (Moree Solar Farm, Australia, single-axis PV, 2013?)
(15)      EUR 350 (Lieberose, Germany, thin-film PV, 2009)
(16)      EUR 300 (Gemasolar, Spain, tower, 2011)
(17)      EUR 228 (Meuro, Germany, crystalline PV, 2012)
(18)      USD 204 (Crescent Dunes, USA, tower, 2013)
(19)      AUD 316 (University of Queensland, fixed PV, 2011)
(20)      EUR 241 (Ait Baha, Morocco, 1-axis solar thermal, 2012)
(21)      EUR 227 (Shivajinagar Sakri, India, PV, 2012)
(22)      JPY 36,076 (Kagoshima, Kyushu, Japan, PV, start July 2012)
(23)      AUD 249 (NEXTDC, Port Melbourne, PV, Q2 2012)
(24)      USD 319 (Maryland Solar Farm, thin-film PV, Q4 2012)
(25)      EUR 207 (GERO Solarpark, Germany, PV, May 2012)
(26)      AUD 259 (Kamberra Winery, Australia, PV, June 2012)
(27)      EUR 105 (Calera y Chozas, PV, Q4 2012)
(28)      AUD 245 (Nyngan and Broken Hill, thin film PV, end 2014?)
(29)      AUD 342 (City of Sydney, multiple sites, PV, 2012)


The LCOE for this project is high compared to other projects I’ve analysed recently.  Perhaps that’s not surprising since the project involves lots of installation sites sprinkled around the city, and some of these are presumably old buildings for which installation might be difficult.

I do, however, commend the City of Sydney for their enthusiasm for cutting CO2 emissions associated with their buildings.

* N G Barton, “Passive solar power generation with air-blown thermal storage”, in preparation for 2012 AuSES Conference, Melbourne.

1 comment:

  1. For the past several months, cost and climate have prevented using solar power on a large scale. But as solar panels are in great focus on the need for green energy. Cost of solar panels is increases little bit. It will be better if prices reduce by little.

    Solar Panel Melbourne