By Philip Dowd – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com
Here is a simple example that illustrates why current solar technology will be hard-pressed to replace existing carbon-fired power plants.
Let’s suppose that a power company is planning to scrap a coal-fired power plant and wants to replace it with a new plant. Furthermore, let’s assume that the old plant to be scrapped is in Arizona. The options for the new plant are natural gas and solar. The company wants a simple, ball-park analysis of the front-end cost to build each of these options.
1. Electricity demand on this facility is 4,800 MWh/day, about the demand for a community of 160,000 average households[i]
2. The “up time” of both plants must be equal. That is, both must be equally reliable and produce the demand for the same fraction of time over the course of one year.