Scheer strikes back at Khosla…

If you read Vinod Khosla’s critique of German environmentalist Herman Scheer, then you’ll want to read this retort from the man himself. Scheer decided to respond to Khosla by writing a rebuttal for CNET’s News.com. In a nutshull, he calls Khosla’s viewpoint naive, contradictory and an example of established forces trying to perpetuate the centralized power infrastructure that has served and made profitable a handful of the world’s biggest power suppliers. Scheer makes some solid points here — it will be interesting to see how — and if — Khosla replies.

Before you read Scheer’s reply, I do want you do read the following comment that Khosla posted on this blog: “I love PV and am invested in PV but don’t believe it can replace 50-100 per cent of coal… we need something that can match the scale and ‘utility requirements’ of coal at the price of coal-based electricity.”

Until cheaper, reliable and large-scale storage is available, this won’t happen with solar PV. I’m surprised that Scheer didn’t address this point in his reply. I think the debate between these two is not solar thermal power versus solar PV, but rather solar PV as a majority of the world’s power versus solar PV as a restricted minority player.

N.A.’s biggest solar PV farm planned for Ontario

I have an article in today’s Toronto Star about a California startup called OptiSolar that has just received approval from the Ontario government to build a sprawling 40-megawatt solar farm in Sarnia. Hundreds of thousands of OptiSolar’s proprietary thin-film panels will be used to cover nearly 900 acres of farm and industrial lands — the equivalent of about 680 football fields (NFL football fields). The project will be build in four 10-megawatt phases and is expected to start in 2008 and finish in 2010. OptiSolar Farms Canada Inc., a subsidiary of the California company, has struck a 20-year contract with the Ontario Power Authority to sell the power from the farm into the provincial grid at 42-cents per kilowatt hour, the established rate for solar power under the province’s new standard offer program. OptiSolar said it chose Ontario for this enormous project because of the standard offer program, which is unique to North America. The Sarnia farm, when complete, is expected to be the largest PV farm in North America and one of the largest in the world, championing other projects underway in Germany and Spain.

Perhaps most interesting is that the power authority, in its 20-year power system forecast, only counted on 40 megawatts of solar power in total being added to the Ontario grid between now and 2025. We’ve already surpassed that goal after just a few months of the standard offer program being introduced, assuming of course these projects actually get built. Obviously, and I’ve pointed this out in previous columns and posts, the power authority low-balled the potential of solar power in Ontario.

N.A.’s biggest solar PV farm planned for Ontario

I have an article in today’s Toronto Star about a California startup called OptiSolar that has just received approval from the Ontario government to build a sprawling 40-megawatt solar farm in Sarnia. Hundreds of thousands of OptiSolar’s proprietary thin-film panels will be used to cover nearly 900 acres of farm and industrial lands — the equivalent of about 680 football fields (NFL football fields). The project will be build in four 10-megawatt phases and is expected to start in 2008 and finish in 2010. OptiSolar Farms Canada Inc., a subsidiary of the California company, has struck a 20-year contract with the Ontario Power Authority to sell the power from the farm into the provincial grid at 42-cents per kilowatt hour, the established rate for solar power under the province’s new standard offer program. OptiSolar said it chose Ontario for this enormous project because of the standard offer program, which is unique to North America. The Sarnia farm, when complete, is expected to be the largest PV farm in North America and one of the largest in the world, championing other projects underway in Germany and Spain.

Perhaps most interesting is that the power authority, in its 20-year power system forecast, only counted on 40 megawatts of solar power in total being added to the Ontario grid between now and 2025. We’ve already surpassed that goal after just a few months of the standard offer program being introduced, assuming of course these projects actually get built. Obviously, and I’ve pointed this out in previous columns and posts, the power authority low-balled the potential of solar power in Ontario.