Some Potential Good News on Solar

This is terrific, if true.  My fear, of course, is they are getting subsidized through a back door somewhere, but if they really think they can make subsidy-free solar work financially, that's awesome:

Two German solar energy developers are planning to build photovoltaic plants in southern Spain that will earn a return without government subsidies.

Wuerth Solar GmbH & Co. intends to build a 287-megawatt plant in the Murcia area for 277 million euros ($363 million), according to the regional authority. Gehrlicher Solar AG said it plans to develop a 250-megawatt solar park in the Extremadura region for about 250 million euros.

The projects, about three times larger than any European solar plant, may be the first that don’t rely on feed-in tariffs and compete with wholesale power prices. All plants in the region so far depend on fixed premium rates for solar power, which can be several times higher than wholesale prices.

Spain suspended the tariffs on Jan. 27 as part of government austerity measures, threatening the survival of the industry. Tariffs for large-scale solar were set at 121 euros per megawatt-hour. Developers now look to build plants without this support, helped by falling equipment prices.


  1. me:

    I am not up in arms about these subsidies - they go alternative energies started and changed the mix in Germany; with subsidies getting cut, the industry now gets to figure out how to stand on its own feet.

    Compare to defense industry and financial industry subsidies in the US, the sum total is completely negligible.

  2. Brooks:

    Completely agree about the financial industry. The Fed and other central banks have given trillions to banks to nationalize the banks bad decisions and in many cases corrupt and immoral behavior...and I am a banker! That doesn't even include TARP, tarp pales in comparison to what just the Fed and ECB have done.

    But I must disagree about the defense industry. Sure, it is anticompetitive, bloated, wasteful, and lacks accountability. But fundamentally it provides services and equipment to the government which has a Constitutional mandate to protect the country. What we have is bad oversight, no free market, and a warmongering government but it is still an essential service that needs to exist.

    Compare that to green energy subsidies, which subsidizes the industry through the entire supply chain and which has no Constitutional basis. We (taxpayers) fund the research. We fund the start up capital. We fund the loans to build plants. We heavily tax fossil fuel competition and impose huge regulatory burdens and costs. All for the great benefit of being fleeced by mandated price controls in the opposite direction, making stuff more expensive!

    Oh, and don't forget that the benefit that justifies all this is exponential temperature positive feedback loop that only exists in a few scientists computers. As this blog has made abundantly clear on many occasions, it is not the direct effect of CO2 which is debated. The direct contribution to global temperatures is there but it is small and not catostrophic. It is all the positive temperature feedback that scientists put into their models that is baloney. Their models would have us believe that the climate is like an inverted pendulum in an unstable equilibrium, as soon as the smallest thing disturbs it it collapses to disaster. When in fact historical evidence shows that it is more like a right-side-up pendulum that oscillates around a stable equilibrium.

  3. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States:

    See this comment in this thread. Ditto.

    But it's their money. I predict absolute and total failure, or, alternately, on closer examination that it will turn out that it's getting some government backing from somewhere, just not there.

    Land-based solar can't work. Period. It's impossible to make it financially worthwhile as a matter of simple physics.

  4. Ted Rado:

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Solar power is terribly uneconomical. How the Germans plan to get aroung this fact remains to be seen. I suspect some sort of gimmick will show up, such as a promise to subsidize them.

  5. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States:

    You also miss, Brooks, that
    a) Solar panels are generally products of some of the worst toxic-waste creation systems in human activity. The byproducts are really, really nasty
    b) Solar panels require a considerable amount of energy to mine, refine, and fabricate. There is substantial evidence that, when one does a full-cycle energy audit (i.e., mining to destruction/recycling) the net energy production is negative.

    ...And this doesn't even deal with all the issues around the unreliability of solar at the times of greatest need or even in regards to ameliorating overall power production.

  6. obloodyhell:

    WARREN -- It's been over a year -- you should look into these companies again to see if they still exist.