Originally posted by humy
But I'm not sure [for Germany] that it's cost effective.
I think it is probably cost effective because each solar panel would pay for themselves within a few years.
I tried to get specific statistics on this to confirm this but couldn't get any specific to Germany but solar panels typically more than fully pay for themselves before their ...[text shortened]... fetime is up and need to be replaced thus, usually, within a few years, they are cost effective.
Repaying for themselves doesn't necessarily imply cost effective.
If [as an example] a 1 MW solar plant pays for itself in 20 years,
and a 1 MW Wind turbine pays for itself in 10 years,
Then the Wind Plant is more cost effective than the solar plant despite
the fact that both made their money back.
Solar efficiency increases the more and stronger sunlight you receive.
The fact that Germany can use solar power any way effectively demonstrates
the practicality for places which get much much more sunlight [like many places
in the USA for example].
But it doesn't mean that it was a cost effective solution for Germany if Germany
has other more economic energy sources it could tap.
The UK does a lot of wind power generation [with lots more to come] because
wind is much more cost effective for us than solar power is. Because wind is
much more abundant than sunlight.
That's not to say that we don't [or shouldn't] generate any solar power, I think
most new build housing/factories should have solar power/thermal generation
But it makes much more economic sense for us to build wind turbines than solar
panels for the bulk of our renewable energy generation.
As for their high production cost, I guess that doesn't matter in the long run if you more than get your money back, right?
It does matter because solar panels don't last for ever, so the manufacturing cost needs to be factored
in to the running cost because every 20~30 years [or whatever the ave lifespan is] you have to replace
Also, if you have big upfront costs you [usually] need to take out a loan to finance the construction.
That loan will accrue interest, and the longer it takes to pay it off the more expensive the loan is
and thus the greater the price of the electricity.