Land requirements for renewable energy

jryoung

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I’ve always wondered why huge parking lots aren’t covered with solar panels. Protection from the elements for cars and drivers, and generating power from already developed space. But instead they put huge arrays in big open country negatively impacting habitats. 🤷‍♂️ I’m sure there’s some technical or financial reason.
EPC is far more expensive per watt the smaller the installation. Parking structures being the most expensive due to the amount of steel needed.
 
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Ben Lamb

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I agree wholeheartedly that it would be nice to have solar in place where development has already occurred but there are a lot of challenges that haven't yet been overcome with doing so. I don't think most folks understand how the grid works. It basically needs to generate what the demanded load is or you get blackouts. Existing distribution (not transmission) networks were not designed to have a bunch of additional uncontrolled solar generators backfeeding the grid. I know this became a real problem for the grid in some places like hawaii. Utility scale solar projects need to be compliant with stringent physical and digital security requirements of NERC. I'm not sure how that works when the entirety of your generation is easily accessed in thousands of little spots.

It's a hell of a lot more economical to set and wire up a million panels in one spot in an open area all going to one substation than to have hundreds or thousands of little installments, each with their own grid interface. I can't fathom how that it would even work without completely redoing how our grid operates.

I have been working in utility scale renewables since 2010.

Great post, I appreciate it.

SO is the idea of localized generation/home scale generation an issue of economics or engineering or both?
 

Ben Lamb

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Both. Figure out how to store your home scale generation for on demand use ECONOMICALLY and you will be able to cut ties with the grid and it will flourish.

Battery technology is getting there. Generac & Telsa both have some good, long life, home scale batteries, but that doesn't answer the broader grid availability issue without massive storage facilities, if I understand it correctly. Cost still needs t ocome down in order for it to be an installed feature like plumbing or such, though. Again, if I'm understanding it correctly.
 

BigHornRam

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Everything is more expensive today than it was 4 years ago.
1 year wait for install, and you need to buy Tesla solar panels to go with your powerwall. 1 powerwall stores half of a day's electricity needs for the average home. What happens when you get 2 days of cloudy weather?
I can prepay 10 years of my current annual electric and gas bill, with $12,000 dollars.
Without massive government subsidies, this tesla stuff is an overpriced underperforming farce. Maybe I need to smoke weed and it will start to make some sense?
 

Ben Lamb

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1 year wait for install, and you need to buy Tesla solar panels to go with your powerwall. 1 powerwall stores half of a day's electricity needs for the average home. What happens when you get 2 days of cloudy weather?
I can prepay 10 years of my current annual electric and gas bill, with $12,000 dollars.
Without massive government subsidies, this tesla stuff is an overpriced underperforming farce. Maybe I need to smoke weed and it will start to make some sense?

Ok, boomer.
 

hank4elk

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Need a National Grid. A new one. Need individual systems to work with said grid.

Know some well off folks who have supermodern systems with Tesla tech. I could buy 2 ranches with the $ spent. On the panels.
They live half the year on Maui. Think they made their green dough with something like Alexa or some other electric device,that no one needs. But their green.

Too many people with too many electronics an it gets worse every year.
None of the buy back plans have panned out. Power companies don't want them. It might cost $.

Just ask Alexa.
 

BigHornRam

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Getting powerwalls installed next week. I don't have solar as I have too much shade, but the ability for me to use my walls at peak and recharge off peak will pay for itself pretty quickly. My install is costing me $3,500 for two walls after SGIP rebate.
What is your peak rate vs off peak rate currently?
 

thebestusernamesaretaken

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I agree wholeheartedly that it would be nice to have solar in place where development has already occurred but there are a lot of challenges that haven't yet been overcome with doing so. I don't think most folks understand how the grid works. It basically needs to generate what the demanded load is or you get blackouts. Existing distribution (not transmission) networks were not designed to have a bunch of additional uncontrolled solar generators backfeeding the grid. I know this became a real problem for the grid in some places like hawaii. Utility scale solar projects need to be compliant with stringent physical and digital security requirements of NERC. I'm not sure how that works when the entirety of your generation is easily accessed in thousands of little spots.

It's a hell of a lot more economical to set and wire up a million panels in one spot in an open area all going to one substation than to have hundreds or thousands of little installments, each with their own grid interface. I can't fathom how that it would even work without completely redoing how our grid operates.

I have been working in utility scale renewables since 2010.
That's good information and a new perspective for me at least.
 

thebestusernamesaretaken

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Think of Tesla as a forerunner that has the wherewithal to experiment with various tech. His companies are a government contractor that take on different projects. He has the ability to do things that don't really make financial since for the average green energy company. He is trying to build the better battery, but it has high r&d costs which he passes on to the well healed consumer. The longest lasting battery tech power bank will likely come from their discoveries, but it will come down in costs as mainstream car manufactures produce them.

It's a little like the early 1900s electric and auto industry right now. There were all sorts of stuff being tried out; AC and DC power grids, electric cars, steam cars and internal combustion cars using all sorts of fuels. Customers tend to make the decision on what tech we universally use and those decisions are not usually based on what is the most efficient or productive. They tend to like what they like and what's heavily promoted. We've had the turbo charged technology for decades prior to you seeing it in a production vehicle. All sorts of tech is being vetted and placed in front of consumers right now, and you just don't know what's going to work the most efficient and what the general public is going to accept. Once the market speaks towards their preferences with actual buying behavior, the prices will come down because those products will go into general production.
 
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stevejfarms

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Well to be honest I thought that, that was a questionable source. There was no math involved as it was cited from the web. Normally, I like to have my stuff squared away, but I was looking that up fast as we were just having fun chatting (spit balling), about ideas of sustainability of green energy, land and water use. Unfortunately, I didn't cite the source properly. So, I looked up USDA crop acreage data report as of Jan 5, 2021 (see site bellow).

https://www.fsa.usda.gov/news-room/...requested-information/crop-acreage-data/index

This is different than the previous source - I wanted to put some extra effort into it. I'm not a farmer so perhaps I'm misinterpreting this or its due to not all acreage is reported. Perhaps this crop of soy was harvested and a new one of 180MM acres was planted, I don't know.

According to this USDA crop acreage data report, the US has 82MM acers under soybean as of Jan 5 of this year. Maybe this is based on crop acreage in a specific growing cycle? Are there two plus growing cycles for soybeans or turning fields with non-soy crops to soy to extend the production? The total acres are somewhat close to the 349 MM from the previous source.

View attachment 182378

Unfortunately, I couldn't attach the spreadsheet (as the forum doesn't support), so I provided a pdf for a quick preview if you wish. You could download the workbook from the USDA if you follow the link provided.

This data was provided by only those farmers who are receiving a subsidy so many farms may be omitted.

Farm Service Agency policy requires that producers participating in several programs submit an annual report regarding all cropland use on their farms. These programs include Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). Reporting also applies to those who receive marketing assistance loans or loan deficiency payments. Failure to file an accurate and timely acreage report for all crops and land uses can result in loss of program benefits. Producers are required to self report all cropland on each farm to FSA annually. FSA uses these data to determine payment eligibility (land must be in an eligible agricultural use to qualify for payments) and to calculate losses for various disaster programs. Data are reported in the following categories: planted; prevented planted; and failed. In addition, the National Agricultural Statistics Service uses FSA planted acreage data to complement their survey data. For more information, visit the NASS website at www.nass.usda.gov.

CNBC also did a very similar story to the previous one that I shared. It appears that there is a lot of venture capital money being bet on standardizing farming in environmentally controlled space.

Here is the source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/30/food-and-agriculture-start-ups-raised-record-22point3-billion-in-2020.html?&qsearchterm=farm report

"Kukutai said that drove interest in growing food in controlled environments, such as vertical farms, where yields are predictable. These indoor farms are often built closer to the urban centers where much of the produce they grow will be consumed.

Agtech companies raised around $5 billion across 416 deals in 2020. The top 10 largest deals in agriculture tech included four rounds for indoor farming businesses, ranging from a $140 million round for Plenty to a $203 million round for Revol Greens.

Venture capitalists haven’t always been attracted to “agrifood.” Funds historically saw these businesses as capital-intensive and unlikely to generate big returns, although there were rare exceptions, such as Trinity Ventures’ investment in Starbucks years before its IPO in 1992.


In 2011, just $3 million in venture funding went to companies in agriculture tech, across a scant 42 deals, and $1 million in venture funding went to companies in food tech across 22 deals."

That’s 2020, the final numbers won’t be in until the September report I belive. As of the March planting intentions corn was at 91.1 mil. and soy was 87.6, so so 178. (slightly less than 180) With commodity prices soaring I would wager that the final numbers come in closer to 187ish. The point being, we won’t be able to feed all the cows, pigs, and chickens with feed grains grown in greenhouses, and I seriously doubt we could meet a significant amount of fruit and vegetable demand. To get ag stats use USDA NASS numbers.
 

Ben Lamb

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TOGIE

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1 year wait for install, and you need to buy Tesla solar panels to go with your powerwall. 1 powerwall stores half of a day's electricity needs for the average home. What happens when you get 2 days of cloudy weather?
I can prepay 10 years of my current annual electric and gas bill, with $12,000 dollars.
Without massive government subsidies, this tesla stuff is an overpriced underperforming farce. Maybe I need to smoke weed and it will start to make some sense?

"My banker called on me to say: “Winton, I am disappointed in you.”

That riled me, but I held my temper as I asked, “What’s the matter with you?” He bellowed: “There’s nothing the matter with me. It’s you! You’re crazy if you think this fool contraption you’ve been wasting your time on will ever displace the horse.”

From my pocket I took a clipping from the New York World of November 17, 1895, and asked him to read it. He brushed it aside. I insisted. It was an interview with Thomas A. Edison: “Talking of horseless carriage suggests to my mind that the horse is doomed. The bicycle, which, 10 years ago, was a curiosity, is now a necessity. It is found everywhere. Ten years from now you will be able to buy a horseless vehicle for what you would pay today for a wagon and a pair of horses. The money spent in the keep of the horses will be saved and the danger to life will be much reduced.” "


don't be that guy BHR ;)
 

DouglasR

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My banker called on me to say: “Winton, I am disappointed in you.”

That riled me, but I held my temper as I asked, “What’s the matter with you?” He bellowed: “There’s nothing the matter with me. It’s you! You’re crazy if you think this fool contraption you’ve been wasting your time on will ever displace the horse.”

From my pocket I took a clipping from the New York World of November 17, 1895, and asked him to read it. He brushed it aside. I insisted. It was an interview with Thomas A. Edison: “Talking of horseless carriage suggests to my mind that the horse is doomed. The bicycle, which, 10 years ago, was a curiosity, is now a necessity. It is found everywhere. Ten years from now you will be able to buy a horseless vehicle for what you would pay today for a wagon and a pair of horses. The money spent in the keep of the horses will be saved and the danger to life will be much reduced.”


don't be that guy BHR ;)
This is more like comparing a horse to a donkey tho.
 

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