I really like my new power plant

I hear that all the time, and I do remember telling myself that years ago, and then it dawned on me…… I had that feeling it was meeting my expectations, but compared to what?

I really hadn’t compared it to others in the field for fuel economy, power quality, or a darned thing.  How embarrassing, but how typical that is.. 

It reminds me of what many of us are taught as technicians, if you don’t have a clue what you are about to measure, maybe you better study up BEFORE you make that measurement. And the same goes for expectations, you best have some idea what’s available before you determine if something is good or bad.. compared to what? 

This thought should be applied to the new commercial CPV power plants the NREL has been pushing hard to fund. They advertise the efficiency of a tiny component of CPV, and ignore what many of us consider immense challenges/problems with the rest of the system.  

What are their expectations of the overall system? Power production numbers, life expectancy, maintenance costs? Will the REAL results be open for review, or will they hand over the public purse with no way for the public to learn of the result?  

  What have they committed us tax payers to fund?  We saw Amonix literally die in the news after the closure of the Amonicx 7700 tracker production plant, not even the Las Vegas Sun could do more than give a yawn on the topic of Amonix, were they broke, were they really busy tooling up for the 8800 tracker, a few blocks down the street?

Meanwhile the Amonix 7700 power plants are in service producing power,  and you can look at their output every day, every hour here.. but will it mean a thing to you? Will you rationalize whatever you see, how does it compare to proven and reliable mono crystalline flat solar PV? Maybe you’re one of those people who thinks we need 35MWs worth of test site?


If you’re one of those typical AE Solar PV bloggers, you might share what your expectations were? You didn’t have any? 

Today 6/12/12 at Hatch, no wind, no stow, best sunny hour of productions was  3.065MW. That’s 60% of the hyped NREL numbers isn’t it? I know, I know.. you wouldn’t dare blog less it sounded positive..






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3 Responses to I really like my new power plant

  1. bob g says:

    you sure give this old boy things to ponder George!

    yes it is true most folks really like their power plant, never knowing anything other than it seems to work? the little light is on isn’t it?

    i think as it turns out the same is true of media and their interest in checking out power plants… “it seems to be working?” ” the lights seem to be on aren’t they?”

    the problem comes down to both sorts of folks don’t know the difference between a “kilowatt” and a “kill-a-what?”

    maybe what it takes to investigate technical projects are technical people? much like the SAE taking over the oversight of the automotive industry, medical boards overseeing the medical industry, that sort of thing?

    perhaps its not reasonable to think that so called journalists are smart enough to understand the technology enough to ask even the simplest of questions?

    that is another option?

    add that to the other options i have related, everything from political to being bought off, to being just plain ignorant?

    hopefully they are just ignorant! that is the only way we have a chance, that is to get them to ask the questions someone needs to educate them to a level of understanding sufficient to ask a question in the first place.

    i keep scratching my head, thinking that with this being the problem that we diy’er types think it is, then why is it that no one in the media is asking any questions?

    we need to know the answer to one question at least,, that is “why isn’t anyone doing any investigative reporting on these projects?”

    why is it that we have to wait till there is a bankruptcy and then that is all we get to know?

    good luck George, press on my friend
    bob g

  2. Joe Solar says:

    I used the link to EPE’s resources and saw that the road runner power plant was putting out 91% rated power at 9:00 AM this morn compared to 59% for Next Era power plant.

    Maybe this is just a research project? Does the NREL help maintain it?

    • George B. says:

      That’s likely a question that will never be asked or answered…not within the GangGreen community anyway..why not make a call to NextEra, and report back here? One AE blogger told me this was new technology and might need a little tuning. My reply was.. a years worth of tuning?

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