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Just flat out purchasing enormous quantities of panels and then hireing people to put them up would have been much more economically efficient

No, that would eliminate competition between producers and thus development and thus limit economic efficiency. Also, it would be in a higher danger of a future government undoing it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jun 23rd, 2012 at 05:41:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the serious overcapacity at PV solar producers, I think that that is unlikely.

Also, there are a number of variations here that could have been used that would limit this even more.  

While PV isn't competitive with other sources in terms of generation costs, its generation costs are competitive for self consumption because this type of production avoids the distribution charge.  Noting this, why not focus on that strength as the basis for a campaign.  For example, installing solar street lights not only saves cities the cost of generation+distribution charges, they limit the need for building and maintaining infrastructure for this purpose. Again because self-supply evades the distribution charge, another good policy might would be to cover the roofs government buildings, schools, etc with panels to limit the amount of power they draw from the grid.  The focus has to be on the margin.

The costs of distribution + infrastructure construction/upkeep mean that for isolated communities taking them off the grid might actually make economic sense because dropping these areas where the marginal costs of distribution are particularly high can lower distribution costs throughout the rest of the grid.  While it may seem to be a step backwards to take rural areas off the electrical grid, it could very well be that because the marginal costs of delivering electricity to these areas is so high that it would actually save utilities money to remove them from the grid while maintaining a duty of service, albeit through local systems.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Jun 24th, 2012 at 02:16:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is unlikely and is limited even more?

PV can be competitive with other sources in terms of generation costs during daily peaks, just when it gives most (the market effect currently observed in Germany), but good point about saving the distribution charge with self-consumption. On one hand, self-consumption can be enhanced by focusing on rooftop solar (both rsidential and industrial), though the Japanese feed-in law doesn't focus on that. On the other hand, if surplus cannot be fed into the grid, then generated electricity will be wasted or needs storage, and in both cases real generation costs will increase, so grid connection is a key. I have nothing against solar streetlights, but they are beans compared to total consumption, hardly something to be the main focus.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jun 24th, 2012 at 05:08:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aging battery packs from electric vehicles could provide useful service as storage for daytime peak loads of home solar systems - provided there were adequate safety measures taken.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 24th, 2012 at 09:30:39 AM EST
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