Sunday, August 17, 2014

Spaniards Solve Solar Power Problem

How do you get solar power at night?  It's simple, just run diesel generators!

Over at Bishop Hill, there’s a story about an inquisition into the Spanish solar power industry, which was so heavily subsidized and the price being paid for solar power feed-in so much more than conventional power, that some unscrupulous opportunists decided to run solar power systems at night, with the help of a diesel generator:
After press reports, it was established during inspections that several solar power plants were generating current and feeding it into the net at night. To simulate a larger installation capacity, the operators connected diesel generators.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said one industry expert to the newspaper “El Mundo”, which brought the scandal to light. If solar systems apparently produce current in the dark, will be noticed sooner or later. However, if electricity generators were connected during daytime, the swindle would hardly be noticed.
Now, the results of the inquisition are published, and it’s just what you’d expect:
The chapter analysing the history of the industry in Spain is laugh-a-minute stuff, a tale of incompetent politicians and civil servants bumbling from one disaster to another and fraudulent investors cheating their way to a slice of public funds. We learn how the Spanish government decreed a feed-in-tariff system that guaranteed six times market rates to PV businesses, before a belated realisation that this was going to lead to astonishing surges of investment. They then put in place a series of only partially successful measures in an attempt to stop the expansion, as the whole farrago quickly became unaffordable and ultimately disastrous. We hear about the diesel generators generating “solar power” at night and that at one point the authorities estimated that half of new solar PV connections to the grid were fraudulent.
With solar power being guaranteed 6 times market rates for "solar power", it's almost cheating your investors not to take advantage of it.  But, it was pretty stupid to produce "solar" power after the sun set. I'm sure any fraud taking advantage of United States solar power would be careful enough to avoid such an amateur mistake.

No comments:

Post a Comment