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Council approves 2GW mega solar project plan in Queensland

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A staged plan to build what would be the largest solar PV plant in Australia – and possibly the largest yet proposed in the world – has been granted planning approval in Queensland.

Solar Choice, which manages commercial solar power tenders and has been working on building a pipeline of major solar projects, has been working on the Bulli Creek Solar Farm in southern Queensland, a few kilometres from Powerlink’s 330kV substation near Millmerran, for the past 18 months.

On Monday, the Bulli Creek project received approval from the Toowoomba Regional Council for a total footprint of up to 2 gigawatts (2,000MW) over the next eight years across 13,000 acres of cleared, flat cattle grazing land. It has the option of building out the site in manageable stages of 100MW to 500MW or more per stage.

rsz_bulli_creek_solar_farm_indicative_footprint

The connection process for an initial 550MW is underway with Powerlink. Preliminary studies from transmission engineers Digsilent indicate a total potential capacity at the Bulli Creek substation of well over 1GW, and perhaps over 2GW.

Bulli Creek Solar Farm from Solar Choice on Vimeo.

The uncertainty of Australia’s clean energy policy still presents a significant hurdle, but Solar Choice says the Bulli Creek project is attracting attention from a range of global investors prepared to take a medium- and long-term view.

It remains open to a large-scale investor, willing to move ahead of competitors by adding a “pipeline ready” project to their portfolio.

Managing Director of Solar Choice, Angus Gemmell, says the Bulli Creek Solar Farm is one of a very small and select number of mega-scale solar projects that Solar Choice has strategically located at transmission nodes on broad-acre lands with high solar irradiation, west of the Great Dividing Range.

These include a 1GW solar project currently being progressed through the Whitsundays Regional Council , directly adjoining Powerlink’s 275kV Strathmore Substation at Collinsville. Another 300MW project, the Gannawarra Solar Farm in north-western Victoria, is already planning approved on the 220kV transmission lines between Swan Hill and Kerang.

“We believe that large-scale solar is on the right side of history – it’s not a matter of if these projects will be built, but when,” Gemmell told RenewEconomy in an interview.

That will not be anytime soon, unless the federal government recommits to the Renewable Energy Target. Its attempts to cut or abolish the target has brought investment in large-scale wind – and emerging solar projects – to a complete halt, apart from companies such as Solar Choice that are prepared to go up-stream and take on development risk towards “pipeline ready” status.

A lot of the Coalition’s problems with the RET appear to be built around its distaste of wind farms. But many, including Bloomberg New Energy Finance, suggest that large-scale solar projects will account for up to half of the approx 8GW of new projects required to meet Australia’s current 41,000GWh target.

That’s because solar costs are falling faster than wind energy costs, and their daytime production means that, in theory at least, their output is more valuable for peak pricing on the National Electricity Market.

However, recent pricing trends that show falls in the midday hours – courtesy of rooftop solar – may challenge those assumptions or perhaps just make the use of trackers for large-scale PV projects more appealing to access the morning and afternoon peaks. Horizontal single axis trackers are now a matter of course for many 100MW plus projects globally.

Still, Gemmell says a few very large-scale solar projects would perhaps enjoy more public support in regional Australia than wind energy. Just a few of those projects could meet one-third or more of new capacity requirements under the current RET.

Gemmell says that the Bulli Creek Solar Farm would be unlikely to start construction before 2016, but building it incrementally in modular stages would allow for storage to be added as the costs of that technology came down. Council’s planning approval allows for numerous battery storage warehouses across the site in due course.

“Once the first one or two stages are in the ground, subsequent stages will be all the more bankable,” he says.

Despite Australia having the longest contiguous grid in the world, vast space, modern infrastructure and one of the best solar resources globally, it has only a handful of large-scale solar projects currently under construction, including the 102MW Nyngan and 53MW Broken Hill projects, and the 57MW Moree solar project (with tracking). But all three have been heavily dependent on government grants.

One smaller 20MW project at Royalla in the ACT has been built with the help of 25-year power purchase agreements auctioned under the ACT government’s ground-breaking reverse auction tenders. Two others have been awarded as part of the ACT’s plan to source 90 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable energy by 2020. Additionally Solar Choice has its own 2.3MW Mount Majura Solar Farm in ACT that is moving into construction this year.

Gemmell says there are three avenues to market – the traditional PPA route with large energy retailers – which would likely only happen with a binding RET or once aging coal generators are eventually taken off-line.

The second option is a “pass-through” PPA, which is one that is designed to match the generation capacity with the demand needs of a bankable customer, or customers, most likely large industrial or manufacturing loads.

The third option – though one that is likely some way into the future, and dependent on getting costs down to the levels of the US and Middle East where solar plants cost less than $100/MWh – is to sell the output into the wholesale market. This is already happening in Chile.

If the January 2015 award in Dubai of a 260MW PV project at $US 0.0585c per kWh is any yardstick, the latter prospect may not be so far away as many think.

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  • Robert Johnston

    ….and there we have everything that is wrong with this industry and some people within it. Has anyone looked at the export of 2GW of generation from that location? I have and its not going to happen without enormous cost to upgrade electricity transmission. Why go so big? Just to annoy the community perhaps?

    • Chris W

      Would love to known your rationale for believing they’ll need massive upgrades… it’s right next to the 1GW+ feeder to NSW and has two multiple circuit 330kV lines headed into Queensland…. and it’ll be quite a while before it will get to 2GW (The size of a coal fired power station). Can’t think of a much better place to put it unless they were going to knock down a coal fired power station.

      • Blind Freddy of Cairns

        Yes that is a rooky mistake, just because there is a line running past does not mean you can connect. The line and sub would be built to accomodate current and foreseeable capacity, otherwise if there is significant excess capacity it would mean goldplatting. They would need at least a new dedicated line and, for the level mentioned, probably a new sub or significantly upgraded. So yes very expensive.

        • Chris Drongers

          All the solar plant has to do is underbid the alternative (coal/gas) generators using the line and drive them off. Load on the line stays the same.

          • Blind Freddy of Cairns

            What about for the other 19 odd hours of the day? I know there is a lot of sunshine in QLD but not 24/7.

          • Chris Drongers

            The line owners presumably care little about who puts the power on the line, only the price at which they do.
            Solar has zero fuel cost and so can underbid every other generator during the day.
            Other short run generators, or large coal plants cycled up and down, can bid into the evening at rates to cover their own costs and profit requirements. If their bids get too high, the solar guys will mount batteries or other storage (there are some modest hills around the site for some pumped hydro storage) and underbid them at night.
            If a coal plant can’t match solar’s short run cost daily, or maintenance and depreciation in the longer term they will drop off the bidder list and stimulate the scrap metal market. How many new coal plants would be built at this afternoons power price of $40Mhr?
            Capitalism at work.
            (likes Giles article on Judith Sloan’s opinion piece)

          • http://www.reneweconomy.com Giles

            There’s a lot more than 5 hours of sunshine a day. Beauty of gas plants is that they dispatch able, so when sun shines, there is just a lot less gas being burned. And because of the way the market operates, probably a lot less coal too.

          • Ronald Brakels

            At least Freddie is living up to his name if he lives in Cairns and thinks there are only 5 hours of sunlight in a day.

      • Robert Johnston

        pick up a constraint diagram from Powelink

    • Chris Drongers

      A bit like cattle feedlots. Smelly, dusty, unsightly, resource intensive, traffic generating, possible inhumane in some aspects.
      Or sorghum paddocks cleared fence-to-fence and ready to relocate via the local creek at the next heavy rain.

      • Ronald Brakels

        Yes, I know my solar panels are always taking the car out to buy cattle feed.

  • Chris Drongers

    Someone is going to have a big veggie farm as well; the panels on that farm will divert about 10 GL of rainwater a year. Halve that for local infiltration, washing panels and etc and 5 GL of water could be captured for irrigation (or Toowoomba water supply). There will have to be large on-site water storage anyway as the panels and hardened tracking between rows of panels will be very ‘flashy’ and pose a major flash flood hazard.

    • Ronald Brakels

      That is bizzare, Chris Drongers. Do you know anyone who cleans their solar panels? No one is going to clean those panels, if they get built. The rain will simply clean them as it does to the panels of almost every rooftop solar system in Australia.

      • Peter Thomson

        Commercial installations do indeed wash their panels to keep the efficiency up, especially as large-scale plant is often built in arid or semi-arid regions where there is little rainfall but plenty of dust.

        There are plenty of panel cleaning services and systems out there for all sizes from domestic to multi-megawatt farms; such as;

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej0TcLi7smw

        • Ronald Brakels

          Cleaning is really unlikely to happen in this location, particularly since solar panels are going to be even cheaper in the future at the time this solar farm gets built, if it gets built. It makes much more sense to just make the facility a couple of percent bigger than to pay for cleaning. And unless one’s circumstances are quite different from the norm in Australia it really doesn’t make sense to clean domestic solar. One cleaning price off the internet is $90 for a 5 kilowatt system. That’s more than 1% the average cost of a 5 kilowatt system in Australia. The cost of about two cleans would cover the cost of making the system larger to eliminate the need for cleaning.

          Yes, some people’s circumstances differ from the norm.

          Yes, large decreases in cleaning costs could change the economics of cleaning.

          No, the above two points don’t change the fact that currently getting your solar panels cleaned in Australia is almost always as nutty as a lumpy chocolate bar. At best it’s a hold over from the ancient days when mobile phone buttons used to be actual physical buttons instead of images on screen.

  • Roger Brown

    Less Dirty coal powered energy is always going to be healthier , cleaner and cheaper and use very little water compared to Dirty coal power station and the mining of the coal . Less coal mines means more clean water for farmers and the environment .I let the rain clean my panels on my roof .

    • The Green Lantern

      Definitely hope this project won’t be blocked by the coming Labor state govt in Qld, as state and federal govts under both major parties have been blocking or otherwise intentionally hindering major renewable energy projects during the last decade.

      For example, a big wind power project in NSW previously that didn’t go ahead because of NSW Labor. Obviously a bunch of wind power projects stymied by the Libs in Victoria, and plans for Australia’s first baseload solar power plant in Whyalla were effectively stymied by the Gillard govt refusing to provide the necessary investment, amongst other examples.

  • Blind Freddy of Cairns

    Giles did you also tell them their dreamin! Why not just run some basic project numbers on the feasibility of this, especially given that their is currently a massive surplus of generation capacity. Who would buy the energy and at what price? The local council I am sure has only approved it subject to all state and federal approvals including EIS, which for such a massive project could even fall foul of the strategic cropping legislation. There are plenty of other more worthy projects out there. This is just pie in the sky mularky.

    • Jon

      I agree entirely! Giles I can’t believe you print this stuff without an ounce of investigation as to how such a project might attract investment. This is CBD Energy all over again. Can you imagine the impact of 3000MW dumped into the QLD market at exactly the same time every day?….the market will tank and as a result so will the projects!

      • http://www.reneweconomy.com Giles

        Crikey. So, we’ve reported that council has approved a Very Big Project, but pointed out that it will be built in stages, IF it get policy certainty, and IF it gets financial backing, and it has not yet got connection approval, but expects to. Yeah, really sticking our neck out on that one. I actually quite like people who have a little vision and ambition. We are not saying this 2GW will be built.
        And what’s wrong with a lot of solar in Qld anyway? Right now there are a bunch of gas plants working at 1.7GW capacity,- look at our widget on front page. I’d lay a bet than in a few years solar will be cheaper than gas, as it is getting that way in US.

        • Stuart Paterson Evans

          Now now Giles, you should have said -” there IS a bunch of gas plants”. This kind of sloppiness just ruins your whole argument!

          • Ronald Brakels

            Stuart Paterson Evans, would you be so kind as to tell us what Giles’ arguement is for the benefit of the rest of us?

    • John Saint-Smith

      And if someone had told you five years ago that Queensland’s puny 9Mw of installed PV would explode by a factor of 100 times by 2015, you’d have told them they were smoking funny cigarettes.

      • Jon

        Yes but connecting GWs of solar behind the meter at 30c/kWh is a completely different proposition to connecting to the wholesale market and getting 3c/kWh!

  • Rob G

    Nice to Queensland figuring in the large scale Renewable mix. And nice to see companies prepared to back the technology despite the RET uncertainty. They and the public will be the winners in the end. Abbott will be gone soon and any further resistance will be seen as getting offside with the public. We all know the tale of Newman….

  • Geoffrey Cann

    Newman is gone and already things are looking up :)

  • Stuart Paterson Evans

    So what about this? Put in the big solar generator plus batteries. The local power lines should have some spare capacity at night. Export power along these lines at night to someone else’s batteries. Surely this can’t be ruled out straight away.

  • Evan A

    There’s been a rapid expansion of solar into agricultural land in Japan since the FIT tariffs were changed post Fukushima daiichi. Some smart farmers have worked out that you can actually decrease irrigation and increase some crop yields with partial shading from the PV panels (apparently there’s an upper limit to useful sunlight for plant growth). It would be nice to see this line of multi-pronged thinking with these projects.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Interesting. Got a link?

      Based on how plants (and weeds) grow under my panels I’ve suspected this to be the case. This is an unwatered area. Plants grow thicker/taller and stay greener much longer into the dry season.

      • Peter Thomson

        I think this is a very interesting area for ecological study – what happens to the local ecology when you build a really big PV solar power plant? The panels shade large areas of ground and convert around 3-4% of the incident solar radiation to electricity, reducing the solar heating in the region. Not a big problem for a few hundred square meters of plant, but what happens when you cover tens or hundreds of square kilometers?

        Cooler air over the plant could lead to changes in local wind and weather patterns. Cooler, wetter, air could, ironically, lead to increased cloud formation over the solar farm, reducing efficiency. Cooler, moister soils could encourage colonisation by plant and then animal species that could not otherwise survive in the region.

        Whether it is viewed as positive or negative, there will undoubtedly be some impact on the environment round the solar farm, which needs to be understood.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’m all for learning what the impact would be, but that’s because I support almost all research. Learning stuff is good.

          But worrying that solar farms might have some meaningful impact on the environment? We change the environments on a scale hundreds of times greater with farming, building and road construction.

          • Peter Thomson

            Hi Bob, I’m hugely in favour of large-scale solar farms, we need to harvest renewable energy on a massive scale right across the globe in order to eliminate fossil fuels from the energy supply. To do that we need to install thousands of square kilometers of solar farms into desert and semi-desert areas, so we don’t impact on farming land.
            Up until now we haven’t touched desert and semi-desert regions all that much, so it is important that we study the impacts of doing so, to avoid screwing things up either economically or ecologically. That’s all I’m saying.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What I’d like to see happen is a plan that made the roofs of most houses carry the maximum possible solar panels. Then go on to parking lots and brownfields/industrially damaged land. Add in landfills. And burned out agricultural land.

            But I don’t see that happening anytime in the near future. And I see climate change that we must combat, even if it means breaking some eggs.

            The desert we cover with large scale solar won’t be permanently damaged. We will take care to not wipe out any species. Climate change can easily do both.

            I’m for going ahead with carefully sited solar farms. I suspect a decade from now we will have much higher efficiency solar panels and it may make a lot more sense to install where we live rather than ship in from more remote areas.

          • David

            Bob, I am now worried I am agreeing with you – I have been saying to industry they are missing a great opportunity in reducing power costs – for example in my time in industry I worked at one logistic site that had 50% under roof over 18 acres of Warehouse buildings. Most of the roofing running east west so lets say 9 acres available for solar. Most of the power usage at the facility was during the daylight hours so a win win for all. I also have worked at many manufacturing plants all with similar situations of available roof and similar day time high power use – but I am not seeing any promotion (Federal, State/Local) of usage of this prime space within most cities suburbs (some close to CBD also) – an added bonus by removing the high electricity loss which occurs when running power lines over long distances as they are available in all parts of the suburban network therefor any excess goes into the grid where it is needed and is not lost in transmission. The other bonus no compromising scenic views, flora and fauna these are already existing buildings being under utilised.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We could use some fresh thinking in the utility business.

            What about utility companies leasing private building roofs long term and installing solar roofs? Come in during construction and do the entire installation including a separate run to their lines, bypassing the building meter.

            No transmission costs. No ‘security guard’ costs (fences, staff, etc.) Wide distribution which means more constant feed. No NIMBY problems and environmental permitting costs.

            Building owner avoids the cost of the roof and gets at least a modest lease payment.

      • nakedChimp

        I second Bob, can we have some link please. Would love to read it!

      • Clee

        Here’s a couple of links

        http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Japanese_Farmers_Producing_Crops_and_Solar_Energy.php

        http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20140614/358541/
        “World’s Largest Solar/agriculture Project Underway in Japan”

        • Bob_Wallace

          Thanks! The first one is a great source.

      • Evan A
      • Evan A

        I have seen many arrays low to the ground at about 0.5 – 1m height (sourced with my eyeballs) over sweet potato farms, which is gonna be cheaper and sturdier than what’s in the link.

  • Raahul Kumar

    I’d hope for 10 more projects like these, that would be enough to totally switch QLD from coal to solar. The Beyond Zero Emissions plan seems a like a solid way to proceed.

  • Ian

    Solar is fantastic for many reasons. 1. Renewable, pollution free.2. Scalable, 3. Democratic returning economic power to citizens. 4. Generated at point of use. 5. Generated at peak time of use. Unfortunately this scheme only provides 1/2 of my first point- renewable , and that’s it. It’s not pollution free in fact it covers 13000 hectares of land, that’s a lot of Koala’s, Kangaroos and birds homes. It’s scalable, but so overwhelmingly so that the market will not cope. It’s not democratic, foreign investment is invisioned – like we need more corporate, and foreign ownership of our assets. The setting is way out near Toowoomba, far from any point of usage. Point 5 and point 2 house hold solar has apparently shifted peak load to the twilight and night time hours. This proposal will be one huge competitor for home solar. Other renewable and complimentary technologies are needed, wind, tide, pumped storage, hydro, biomass, solar thermal with heat storage, , batteries and the like. There are 50 thousand houses and 11 thousand businesses in Toowoomba, that is potentially 60 000 x 5KW = 300MW of solar power to be disposed of during daylight hours. Battery storage to solar farms is like carbon capture to coal power stations, it’s just not going to happen, a furphy to justify the technology!

  • Tim George

    This project is located at a strong point of the transmission system precisely because no new costly transmission is required. Anybody who knows anything about power system analysis will confirm that the devil is in the detail but from a line rating perspective, the capacity of around 2 GW can be demonstrated using load flow studies. The transmission network is (still) open access and incumbent generators do not have access rights. So a solar plant, with a short run marginal cost of near $0 will be dispatched ahead of, say, gas plant, and is unlikely to be constrained off. The NEM is a 30 GW power system and should easily absorb 2 GW of (intermittent) generation. It has done this in South Australia where there is 2 GW of wind and a weaker transmission connection to the rest of the NEM. Finally, this is a merchant project – stages will only be built if financially viable. Long-life, stable revenue projects are attractive to some investors, as has been seen with renewable projects overseas. It would be unwise to assume that this project has not been put together with plenty of care, analysis and attention to detail.

  • jo

    Does EVERYTHING need to calculated to the last part of a cent?

    What about the question of doing what is just plain right?… for the future of the country and planet.. for the future of generations to come?

    Isn’t it the government’s DUTY to manage affairs for the WELFARE of its citizens? Shouldn’t a government be at least TRYING to leave the country in a better place for a better, happier, healthier future for society?

    A 3 yr old will understand that creating energy from the sun, which leaves no pollution in this already severely polluted world, is OBVIOUS! So WHY are these so called leaders giving trouble in pushing renewable, green energy as a priority? I can only think of one reason (as surely they aren’t stupider than a 3 yr old!)

  • David

    Coal exports are Australia’s second-largest source of export income,
    after iron ore exports. In 2011, coal exports were worth 47 billion
    Australian dollars. What will replace this annual income if we close the coal mines?
    Not only that current coal reserves show 1300 years of resources available for Australia power generation – the average solar panel lasts less than 25 years and has to be replaced – whats the environmental damage on that?
    On top of that there is an act for coal mines to repatriate the land after mining – wheres the act for this industry to do the same?? – The area of devastation is going to be much larger per GW than any open cut!!

    • Bob_Wallace

      I’m not sure where you get the ” average solar panel lasts less than 25 years”. We’ve got 40 year old panels that were still producing at around 96% of new at age 35. There are several 30 year old panels still going strong.

      Perhaps you’ve been mislead by warranty life?

      As for AU’s economy, better start looking for replacements for coal. China seems to have peaked and is likely to not be one of your customers. And from what I’ve read you can probably count India out as well.

      • David

        Bob

        Point 1. I’m also aware of fully functioning solar panels from the 70’s but I am also aware of fully dysfunctional ones at 10 years of age. That being said if I went to my local bank or industry capital provider with a business case stating those examples I know what the response would be to my request for funding. I used the warranty period as an example of average industry confidence in the product.
        Point 2. Australia has a population of 23 million in an area the size approx of the US there are not many opportunities that are not already being utilised since our manufacturing was stripped from our nation to a measly 8-10% of GDP (used to be nearly 50% 60 years ago) People are quick to say “better start looking” but not offer practical solutions.
        Incidentally China and India are 4th and 5th on our coal export chart so no issue there particularly as Japan Korea and Taiwan are 1,2 & 3. and if we include 6th Europe they represents 75% of our Market which I would say is fairly stable part.
        I notice you steer away wisely from points re environmental costs of panels and land repatriation still your not on your own there so does most of the left leaning comrades in their zeal to cripple western economies.

        • Bob_Wallace

          David

          You made a specific claim. ” the average solar panel lasts less than 25 years”

          You had no data to support that claim. We call that spreading FUD.

          The environmental costs of solar panels? Some glass and aluminum which will stay in use for decades and then be recycled. Coal, on the other hand, has to be dug up and hauled to the furnace every day.

          This phrase – “land repatriation still your not on your own” – seems to be a word salad.

          There is no desire on the left to cripple western economies. Are you still quaking over the Commie under your bed?

          What many on both the left and right desire is to move off fossil fuels and establish sustainable economies based on renewable energy.

          • David

            Hi Bob
            Your obviously unable to access information on the internet so I will provide it for you. “”The roughly 20-year life of a solar panel, said Dustin Mulvaney, a San Jose State University environmental studies
            professor who conducts carbon footprint analyses of solar, biofuel and
            natural gas production””. (I was being generous to the industry with 25year).
            Interesting you omit manufacturing the solar panel from your “soft waste glass/aluminum equation”. “” toxic sludge is created when metals and other toxins are removed from water used in the manufacturing process”” and that has to be transported to other locations for treatment or storage in most cases “millions pounds of waste by heavy-duty tractor-trailer from Fremont,
            Calif., in the San Francisco Bay area, to a site 1,800 miles away or in other cases to nine other states: Arkansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona” So California can remain “clean”. I would share the manufacturing environmental cost in China – but its a bit hard to see and access!!
            http://www.businessinsider.com.au/solar-panel-makers-grappling-with-waste-2013-2
            At least with coal it may pollute the immediate area but when closed the site and area is repatriated and useful to the community once again – I have enclosed a link to a pdf of a successful Australian example.
            http://www.dmp.wa.gov.au/documents/mine_rehab.pdf
            It doesn’t have any word salad in it…..
            I expect my students to develop knowledge through reading peer reviewed material not from people who can only use one sentence grabs from Al Gore’s site etc.
            You really are living in dream world if you think the left isn’t about crippling success but there again you probably think Cuba is a shining example of utopia.
            All the activity around my bed is on top of it and the only thing underneath is the bedpan which I know the commies are used to spending a lot of their time with its contents.
            Last but not least your left/right comment is way off the mark – currently only 2% of the worlds energy is generated by renewable sources and its took 50 years to get there by my reckoning all those with a desire for 100% will be long under the ground as will be their 10 generations of offspring and it still won’t happen (Over the years the left/right people and governments of all nations have failed dismally in the RE area) You probably won’t have got this far but I won’t be responding any further you obviously don’t do any research for your comments and don’t provide sources.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Thank you, David. I’ve put Dustin on my list of people who should be ignored.

            Now, the following may not read very well. I’m just doing a note drop on you. I’m not willing to spend time polishing it up.

            BTW, please pass on my sympathy to your students. Hopefully their time under your tutelage will end soon.

            Here’s where you can find information on the oldest installed solar array.

            University of Oldenburg

            3,88% total loss over first 35 years. 0.1% per year loss.

            http://www.presse.uni-oldenburg.de/einblicke/54/files/assets/downloads/page0009.pdf

            Here’s some more info for you…

            Kyocera is also one of the few makers of solar modules on the market to possess such long-term studies of its products under real-life conditions. A similar test system is located just outside of Tokyo, Japan and has been in operation for almost 30 years. The most recent measurements, taken five years ago, revealed a degradation of just 9.6 percent. With such real-world data to stand on, Kyocera is confident in offering its customers a 25-year guarantee of 80 percent of nominal output.

            http://global.kyocera.com/news/2014/0201_komi.html

            Here’s info on a satellite solar panel in operation since 1978

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GOES_3

            Here’s info on a single panel Manufactured in 1972 and rated at 37W. Tested in 2012 it produced 30W. A 19% loss in 40 years. 0.5% per year loss. (They had only one panel.)

            After 20 years of operation, the degradation in most cases is between 5% and 8%

            The facility used for testing is still fine after 29 years of operation

            http://elfuturoeselectrico.blogspot.com/2012/09/que-tiempo-de-vida-tiene-una-placa-solar.html

            No Significant Change in 27 Years

            Two aspects of major importance for any solar module are energy conversion efficiency and product life. As a pioneer in multicrystalline silicon solar cell manufacturing technology with one of the highest conversion efficiency rates in the industry, and with a longer track record than the vast majority of market players, Kyocera points to a number of case studies from around the world which demonstrate its modules’ long product life and quality.

            1. In 1984, Sweden’s first grid-connected photovoltaic system was built in Stockholm. Since its installation, the façade-mounted 2.1kW system has been continuously and reliably providing the residents of an apartment building with environmentally-friendly electricity. The modules’ average annual power generation performance is still reliable — with no significant change since the system was installed 27 years ago.

            2. Also in 1984, Kyocera established its Sakura Solar Energy Center just outside of Tokyo. At the time, the Center was equipped with a 43kW solar power generating system which to this day continues to generate a stable amount of power for the facility.

            3. In 1985, Kyocera made a donation of a 10kW solar power generation system to a small farming village with no electrical infrastructure located at an elevation of 2,600m (8,500ft) in Gansu Province, China. In 1993, the area received electrical infrastructure, and the solar modules were moved to a regional research facility for clean energy, where after more than 25 years, they are still producing consistent levels of electricity.

            http://www.kyocerasolar.com/about-kyocera/kyocera-solar/news/?id=131

            Thirty Year Old Panels 0.025% to 0.04% Loss

            One of the questions that arise who are considering the possibility of a PV system is the lifetime of photovoltaic modules (or solar panels, to understand). Currently, many manufacturers to ensure that your modules are delivered to least 80% of the rated output thereof after 20 years of operation. The question is not always easy to find photovoltaic installations with sufficient seniority to verify these figures. ‘s why I found this video particularly interesting: Some engineering students, embarked on an ambitious solar project that perhaps discuss another time, test a photovoltaic module with 40 years old.

  • GlennTamblyn

    The denier politicians are just going to be left behind, with lots of egg on their faces. The markets are moving…