Originally Posted by rogo
The electricity rates in the U.S. are, in fact, among the lowest in the developed world. And "eco commie" nonsense is helping, not hurting. Let's get more of that, ASAP. More eco commies who want to generate their own power = cheaper than grid solar power in about 30 states. Terrible!
Not to go too far OT, but without subsidies, how viable is solar really? I mean generation by panels on peoples' rooftops. Sure, it's useful in many situations where you're off the grid.
Now, the following may be outdated, but 10 years ago my wife (science teacher) obtained a tour of the Solarex plant in Frederick, MD, and asked me to tag along. (BTW, I think Solarex was bought out, but dunno by whom. The plant is closed.) It was just us and one of the engineers.
Anyway, we got quite the tour. From the area where they tested longevity and output (which decreases over time) of the solar panels, all the way through to shipping.
Here's my point: When we were at the crucible (powered by electricity generated by nasty fossil fuels), I saw several large cubes of silicon on pallets. (Poly-crystalline silicon, IIRC). I asked the engineer how many panels they could get out of each cube of silicon, taking into account the wastage. And how much power would be generated from those panels over their lifetime. (I forget his answer now). Then I asked how much electricity it took to make each one of those cubes. He looked at me sidelong and said something like: "I know what you're getting at". But I didn't get a clear answer; he talked instead about falling costs per watt of output. I confess that at the time I thought there must be a dirty little secret there.