Rossi Opines on Solar

When asked about how the E-Cat stands up against other power sources, he usually says something along the lines of “all energy sources must be integrated”, and doesn’t get into a comparison between his technology and other energy sources. Today, he has made something of an exception to the rule, in responding to a JONP reader’s comment who suggested that in a few years all the US energy needs could be met by solar power.

Rossi responded:

Answer: you must make a distinction between power and energy. A solar power plant depends on the solar energy it actually receives to convert, as well as wind mills ( wind is anyway produced by solar energy, so indirectly also wind mills are solar plants). You can have a solar plant with a power of 1 MW, but actually it can produce at most 100 kWh/h of energy as an average, due to the fact that the solar energy that it is able to convert is the 10% of the solar energy it would need to produce energy at full power. This reduces to 3% the theoretical percentage of energy that solar plant are able to really produce respect the energy needs of the Country. To this you must add another factor, which is the cost of the solar energy, that is much higher than the cost of the energy produced by the classic sources. This high cost is paid by the taxpayer. Therefore the real situation of solar is not as much shining as it appears to be.
Warm Regards,

I am not sure about his assertion that the high cost of solar energy is paid by the taxpayer, but certainly there are many subsidies available in the US and elsewhere that provide incentives for solar use.

I suppose that Rossi could add here that a 1 MW E-Cat plant can provide 1 MW of power if there is no downtime, thus delivering a much higher percentage of energy if it was converted into electricity (Rossi is making an assumption above that Solar is 30 per cent efficient. If E-Cat plants use the Carnot Cycle to create electricity, 30 percent efficiency is comparable to solar — plus the opportunity for co- or tri-generation to make use of heat.

Then you have to compare the cost of a solar plant to an E-Cat plant, an we don’t know what that will be yet. As for government subsidies — I wonder if there will be any for the E-Cat in the future. Following the same logic for subsidizing solar and wind, the E-Cat could be seen as a technology worth incentivizing if it drops the price of energy and produces no emissions. There may well be political debates on this issue if and when E-Cats hit the market.

  • mcloki

    The e-Cat or solar don’t have to be cheaper than the lowest electricity generation, they have to be lower than the highest cost electricity generation. Once they establish that they can replace those high cost electricity sources they can work on lowering the cost and replacing the cheaper alternatives, in turn.

    • Carl Wilson

      Highest cost is peaking. Not likely this will be first use of LENR.

      • Rene

        Indeed, and this is where solar shines. Peaking plants tend to run when the sun is up. It’s best to think of PV power generation as peaking power. The e-cat advantage is that it can theoretically run 24/7 and presumably do it inexpensively. Solar generates power 5-10 hours a day if placed in ideal spots. Because of that periodicity, next to solar plants need to be some form of power storage: batteries, molten salts, VRB, whatever, and adds to the cost.
        I am presently on off-grid PV, happy I did it and looking forward to the next gen fire.

      • mcloki

        On a cost basis it becomes the easiest to justify.

  • Ged

    Not completely, by any means at all–especially not wind. This is a handy little guide if just a primer

    More on how unreliable wind is

    Solar is also an “unreliable” class of power, and natual gas is the usual backup.

    So sadly, at this time, your claim of “completely forcastable and therefore easy to deal with” is utterly and patently false.

  • Albert D. Kallal

    Well, the term paid by taxpayer does not necessary mean that taxes are used to build the solar plant (but in most cases heavy subsidies do exist).

    The term taxpayer simply means someone working and paying taxes. This in no way limits the conversation and suggests that the solar system was paid for by the government.

    The simple fact is if ANYONE consumes that expensive power then YES they are paying for that power. This is the correct way of reasoning on Rossi part. So the taxpayer HAS to carry the burden of that INCREASED energy cost. The fact that you taxed the person to pay for the plant, or you increase the cost they pay for the energy amounts to the SAME THING!

    Really at the end of the day, such semantics DOES NOT matter – (in other words the point has ZERO to do if the government paid for the plant or not) – what matters is society is paying MORE for this resource.

    So the taxpayer pays for this resource – there is no hint or restricting the discussion nor even a suggesting that such plants are run by the government or not. However either way it amounts to the same thing and that is the taxpayer has to pay for this increased cost.

    The result is THUS a REDUCED standard of living.

    And that just means wide spread poverty.

    Solar cannot compete, and thus simply results in a lower standing of living and reduced job creating.

    The best example of wide spread poverty as a result of spending money on STUPID solar is Spain. Spain went on a HUGE green and solar spending spree. They spent billions and billions and billions on solar – as if they were going to show the rest of the world how do things! We are going green and let’s IGNORE the increased cost of doing so!

    And just like blowing all your money on booze, wine and women? Well then you did not repair your car, or house or spend money on things that actually create wealth and things that NEED attention.

    So blowing money on wine, women or solar plants amounts to the same thing! You become poor! The green cost is too high, and the result is a lower standard of living.

    In fact poverty spreads when you spend money so foolish!

    So now unemployment in Spain? Well after years of spending billions on these crazy green solar scams? systems?). Runs that OVER 50% for the youth. (Read that number an again: 56%). And their children have even LESS hope!

    You now have common 3 generations of a family living in small apartments suitable for a young single couple – not 3 generations of a family.

    And going to school does not help, but ONLY creates more debut load for the family since no jobs exist after you graduate!

    And no jobs exist because they spent billion on stupid solar plants that simply results in RAISING the cost of running your society. Thus the stupid solar system sucked more wealth out of the economy then such systems create..

    The result is a lower standard of living for those taxpayers.

    Remember, a policemen or even a teacher is not a taxpayer (they are paid by the tax system – they don’t contribute to the tax funds that the government uses for such payrolls).

    So it is important to realize that anyone receiving positive cash flow from the government are NOT paying into the tax system – they are not taxpayers, but in fact tax consumers).

    When the ratio of people working in an economy drops below the ability of the PRIVATE sector and those taxpayers who actually contribute to the government funds, then you get a case like Spain.

    So if the government flushes too money down the toilet on stupid solar projects that raises the cost of living then widespread poverty results like what we see in Spain. Even better example is that of Greece.

    And many parts of California are like Spain. Few people can now afford the electricity rates (they can peak at 80 cent Kw/h. That means to turn your air conditioning on for part of a hot day, it will cost you about $8 per hour – 10 hours = $80 dollars. So no one can now afford air conditioning! (you live like those in a 3rd world country).

    And with such astronomical electricity rates California then SO FEW can afford to own their home anymore. They have a HUGE homeless problem now in California.

    Worse is with LESS taxpayers, then tax rates have SOARED! In some places you find the taxes on a relative SMALL condo will cost you $11,000 PER year! No wonder such a massive homeless problem exists in California – no one can afford to live there!

    And yet, California is talking about mandating electric cars! With such high electricity rates, then you are paying FAR MORE then the cost of gasoline! The result will be even MORE poverty.

    So all Rossi is saying is that solar will make everyone poor, and it not cost competitive.

    However a society can adopt solar and pour money into such projects – the result is then you can live with 3 generations of your family in some dumpster.

    So adopting solar simply means everyone becomes very poor and large portions of such societies means many of their people will have to live in a dumpster.

    Albert D. Kallal
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada
    [email protected]

    • LilyLover

      Anti-Solar is anti-human.
      Your mathematics, economics and purpose of life are totally anti-moral.

      Anti-Solar is anti-human. Ponder upon it.

      • Omega Z

        Food production is extremely energy intensive.
        Quadruple the cost of energy & Quadruple the cost of food.
        Maybe the starving should have some input on this.
        The cost of food was a major contributor to the Arab spring. Shall we bring that to a world scale.

  • I recently purchased a photovoltaic powered guitar tuner, a TASCAM TC-1S for $5.99. It is a proper and reasonable use of photovoltaic technology. You can call it “solar powered,” but it will actually mainly be recharged via interior lighting.

    I also have a CASIO light powered hand-held calculator. No one subsidized my purchase of these two items, and no one mandated I buy them. They are correct uses of a technology that sells itself. Use the right tool for the right job. If you use the wrong tool for the wrong job, you can subsidize them and mandate them, but you still will not do the world any good.

    • Alain Samoun

      By the same token,if you buy a PV panel you will produce clean and renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

      • To such a tiny degree that it could not possibly have any effect on our climate according to the federal government’s own National Research Council. The positive effects of the solar fad are immeasurably tiny. The negative effects are tremendous, such as higher costs for food and energy, more unemployment, and a bigger trade deficit because solar cells are now made in China almost exclusively. Solar is a victory of symbolism over substance. You cannot eat impotent symbolic gestures or pay your rent with good intentions. It’s all political hype, not a solution to anything.

        • Alain Samoun

          As I said below,you did not read this report correctly:

          “The models indicate that the provisions subsidizing renewable electricity reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while those for ethanol and other biofuels may have slightly increased greenhouse gas emissions.”

          I agree with it: Solar and wind make electricity and reduce greenhouse gas,but subsidies to agro business for ethanol and biofuels have the exact opposite effect.

          But of course you don’t believe in the effect of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change,what the use to continue this discussion with you if you are so happy with the energy from fossil fuels I don’t see your interest in the LENR and renewable energies development, except to be the mouth piece of the people who want to kill it.

          • Omega Z

            I think your misreading Christopher. My interpretation is you can dress up a pig to look pretty, but it’s still a pig. Christopher calls it as he sees it. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have concerns about the environment. Some of his past posts supports this.

            Solar panels cradle to grave produce 50% as much CO2 as a Coal plant. By the same token- Natural Gas also produces 50% as much CO2 as a Coal plant. TPTB don’t tell the whole story. Just ask the Chinese about the real environmental cost of Solar.

            It is also foolish to think LENR is a true green energy. It will also have an environmental impact. Just to a much smaller degree & hopefully a degree that is manageable & sustainable. Is society intelligent enough for the task?

            Note there are people who want to save the planet at all costs & our extinction is not excluded from that cost. Silly people. It is not the planet that needs saving. It isn’t going anywhere very soon tho 1 day the Sun will envelope it.
            The world will change with or without humanity. It has been a block of ice at times & molten hot at others long before we were here. It will happen again. That is why people like Stephen Hawking are so adamant that we get off this rock if humanity wants to survive.

            Note CO2 levels have been at historic lows for a long time. Had it dropped just a little, Life as we know it probably would not exist. At today’s levels, had the comet not caused the dinosaurs extinction, They would still be extinct today. Tho there is a long lag period, there is a direct symbiotic correlation between CO2 & Oxygen levels in the atmosphere. A mere 3% drop in oxygen levels would make fire near impossible.

          • Alain Samoun

            ” misreading Christopher”
            Don’t think so – See his youtube movie, further below,wanting to stop wind energy because it kills birds – Like we should stop making cars as they kill animals on the road and,by the same token, let’s stop bringing oil tankers as they kill birds too when they sink.
            His criticism of PV don’t make more sens. If you say “Solar panels cradle to grave produce 50% as much CO2 as a Coal plant” I say let’s replace all coal plants with PV,like we are doing it in California,we will save 50% energy cost, clean the air and fight the climate change.

            I don’t know if ” LENR will be a true green energy” Depend what you call true but so far, for me, it is in the category of clean renewable energy.

            When people say that they want to save the planet,what they mean is to keep the planet as a place for humans and all life to survive and evolve. We all know that the planet will be extinct one day that’s no reason to make it unfit for life quicker.

            As said Martin Luther-King “We must learn to live together, if not we will all die together like idiots,”

          • Omega Z

            ” misreading Christopher” I meant he does care about the environment.

            As to Fossil fuels, They are just a step in progression of society. Without them, most technologies today would not have come about. We do need to move on & those fossil sources will be needed long after LENR or whatever replaces them for other uses. But without them, Solar & wind would be more primitive then it is today.

            Both wind & solar will have both known & unknown detrimental effects. It’s already known that wind turbines can change wind currents. Just as forests, hills & mountains. They can change rainfall patterns that can turn productive land into deserts. Like Christopher, I’m skeptical that these are the answer. Society has a history of making things worse when we rush to make things better.

            People bring up coal as killing people. How many did it save. Life is about trade offs. Vaccines will have detrimental effects to X number of people out of every 100K. But how many did it save from the disease it eradicates. We need to keep things in perspective. This isn’t an argument to continue using coal, but it helped advance society. Possibly LENR will take us to the next step.

          • Alain Samoun

            You said:
            “wind turbines can change wind currents…(they) can turn productive land into deserts”

            That’s a new one omega! You should add it to the movie of your friend Calder – You must have the same source of (des) information that him …

  • Omega Z

    ONE of the problem with Solar Cells is that Sunlight comes in many different spectrum’s & require different variations of technology for conversion of these spectrum’s to electricity. Thus all manufactures focus on the largest spectrum’s for there specific panels each having various efficiency success.

    I have often wondered if some adaptation of Blue Ray technology could be employed at a nano level. It uses multiple substrate layers that reacts to laser light of different colors or allows it to pass through to the next layer.

    Anyway, Other issues are sunlight availability & cost will always be a factor. Alleviating Solar energies deficiencies adds additional layers of cost. All the hype on costs dropping are for the most part just that. Hype. Materials will increase in costs as demand increases & labor cost in China is on the rise. If the largest PV manufacturer plant in the world located in China can’t avoid bankruptcy with $2 an hour labor & massive Government subsidies, costs will & must go up or manufacturing will cease

    Frank: “I am not sure about his assertion that the high cost of solar energy is paid by the taxpayer.”

    I am certain Frank. It is done with subsidies & (Slight of Hand) cost shifting. Charging other customers more for the cheaper Fossil generated energy to offset the higher cost PV/Wind energy.

    Energy companies also don’t have to absorb energy not used, but still have sweetheart Government deals(Pay for it anyway) that throw these costs back on other consumers. Then comes battery storage costs that will also come back to these people who can’t afford the installation of Solar. Robin hood in reverse.

    As to Subsidies for the E-Cat. I don’t see that nor think it is even necessary. Subsidies are usually reserved for things with negative implications. E-cat’s if what claimed to be provide their own incentives. Demand will outstrip supply for a long while.

    What one might see is Government involvement in promoting & funding tech school programs. There is presently a 10 year waiting list for new power plant construction. There is a large shortage of skilled tradesmen in the world. OK. The track record says maybe not in the U.S., But I’m sure other countries will see the void & take actions to fill it.

    • Alain Samoun

      “Materials will increase in costs as demand increases & labor cost in China is on the rise”

      Hum… Anyway,what the Chinese announced lately is their focus on automation to replace labor. Other countries will do the same and cost will go down like the computers and all electronics these days.

      As to Subsidies for Ecat, this would make sens to reduce quickly greenhouse gases and lower the dependency to oil producing countries,especially for Europe and partly for USA. E-Cat and all renewable enrgies are the fossil energy killers

      • Omega Z

        You still have the constraints of skilled labor. I believe your speaking of Foxconn/Apple. And Even robotics have an hourly cost. From $2 to $5 dollars an hour depending on complexity. Note also, solar panel manufacturers are already state of the art out of necessity. The slightest contamination can mess up your whole day & more.

        China has stated that they plan to constrain production of rare earth materials & within 10 years stopping all exports of raw material. It is their aim to raise prices.

        “As the only U.S. lithium producer, Rockwood Holdings operates a continental brine production facility in the Silver Peak, Nevada area”

        Now you know why Musk located his Mega factory where he did. It will cost more but he hopes transport cost will offset some of that. Another potential site straddles the Nevada/Oregon border and I believe there is a rush to reopen a mine in Oregon. A new mine can take 15/20 years to open for production.

        Note all rare earth materials are commodities & are subject to market pressure. Increased demand usually results in price rise. Also, Rare doesn’t mean rare, but sparsely scattered & requires tons of material to obtain ounces or a few pounds.

        They estimate 250 billion tons of lithium in the oceans. Time to filter these things out at the desal plants. A great way to offset water costs.

  • Omega Z

    LENR power could directly replace current power plants with the primary difference being fuel costs & fuel transport(Rail/Pipelines) no longer needed. This also allows for local distribution(Power plants at cities edge) rather then the highly centralized systems of today. Being much smaller in scale, they also don’t need vast amounts of cooling water & the waste heat being local can be utilized by local industry.

  • Omega Z

    According to the DOE, 35% will be wind/solar by 2050 if investment is greatly increased. It also requires 10 trillion$ in smart grid upgrades not including storage capacity.

    Don’t worry. It will be 35%, but demand will be drastically reduced from today’s energy use. Proposed is thermostats set to 65`F in the winter & 90`F for summer cooling all controlled by the smart grid. They also show a graph with 50 cent per Kwh costs. That alone will make people disconnect anything not essential.

    I have a better Idea. Build an Underground home & reduce energy needs by about 80%. They are cheaper to build then stick houses, cheaper property tax, cheaper insurance, less maintenance & many other advantages. You build partly below ground while berming the upper portion. Thus no concern of hillsides facing certain directions or the lack of. They have the technology to literally pipe-in sunlight. Suedo windows using low wattage LED’s that double as TV-Entertainment center powered only when in the room. Your energy needs would be so low that you could easily be completely off grid & tell TPTB to take a hike…

    • EEStorFanFibb

      yes building (at least partially) underground is a great idea. “the average temperature of the earth once below the frost line is between 55 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 14 degrees Celsius). ”

      or at least use a heat pump that can draw from under ground sources.

      • Omega Z

        Yes, Properly designed, you could probably get by with a Geothermal heat pump that use 200 watts in total for heat & AC. Best get a design engineer started on that. They don’t make them that small.

        Basically, You only need to heat the incoming fresh air flow & with a heat exchanger, very little at that. For cooling, you could probably get by with a modified dehumidifier.

        We have pretty harsh winters where I live. There is a couple just out side of town with an underground. There heating bill was $50 using propane which, you know, costs double natural gas. Did I mention- That was their bill for the entire heating season.

        As to the picture. Not quite what I had in mind, but you have the basic idea.
        Many people don’t like the idea, but I’ve been in a couple where you don’t really realize it’s underground. I think many would change their mind if exposed to one.

        It’s not what they think. It’s not a cold dark cave. I’ve been in 1 of those also. So dark, you can’t see the light from the flashlight. It’s Eerie.

  • Omega Z

    I don’t think the term work is at issue. The verdict of Can it be harnessed to be of benefit is still out. Given a little time, I could make a list of things that work, but are of no real use or benefit…

  • Omega Z

    “Many droughts in 2010 were exacerbated by climate change”

    There is no compelling evidence of that. It is simple opinions.
    What CO2 has done is increased food production. There is both correlation & evidence of that. The drought that hit the Midwest was partly mitigated by the fact that plants need much less water with higher CO2 levels. This was not an unprecedented drought. Just a normal periodic drought. You can set your calender by it.

    CO2 is responsible for the greening around desert fringes without an increase in moisture. It is considered possible that these greening areas will increase the rainfall in these areas. Thus shrinking the deserts.

    Southern Cali is just entering it’s normal state. It is a desert that has been artificially greened for decades during an abnormal wet period. They were warned. They just didn’t want to hear it.

    I lived in a place like that for a while. Had a discussion with a Geological Engineer. He told of the arguments he had with the developers & city managers that the wet period was near it’s end. They didn’t care. They planned on moving on before then. It would be somebody else’s problem.

    This is how many water shortages tend to happen. A developer comes in to a place with a normal water supply capable of supplying a population of 3 million of which is already there. Land is cheap. 20 years latter, they have built 8 million new homes. Oh my. We have a water shortage. Oh, It must be climate change.

    Oh well. Just pay less attention to what TPTB say & more to what they do & approve.
    Boeing estimates 50K more aircraft in the next 30 years. That’s a lot of CO2. They will be more efficient, but that’s demand from the market. Fuel is the main expense after purchase.
    The UN approved & signed off on 800 more coal fired plants to be built in the next 10 years. They did add the caveat that they all need to have scrubbers installed(For appearances sake-Seriously they said that.). That has no effect on CO2. Just particulate release.

    If CO2 was really the boogeyman they say it is, Don’t you think they would claim some type of emanate domain & take over Rossi’s, Mills & others research and rush it forward. If their concern was real they would. Not going to happen. However, If they should do that. I will concede I was wrong.

    • EEStorFanFibb

      now we are into climate denier territory and Frank hates that.

      you can hand wave away all you want. I am not going to engage you in a pointless battle.

  • Omega Z

    Yes Fibb,
    Tho we disagree on some things, We do agree we need to replace Fossil fuels. Even if they were perfectly clean & green, they have other valuable purposes & when there gone. There gone. Something we may come to regret.

    We know in time we can obtain nickel from elsewhere besides earth. Oil? Nowhere I’m aware of in this solar system & my Galactic passport hasn’t been approved..

    • LilyLover

      I grant you the realization or the moral authority to lack the need for an “approved” “passport” for intergalactic travel. Like the birds on Earth travel freely as they please, I approve your eligibility with the insistence of any such approval being an immorally artificial construct and thereby needless, yet if you must seek approval, I approve it.


  • EEStorFanFibb

    A very good article about not where solar power is at the moment but where it’s going. Naysayers like to poo poo solar based on current pricing or worse 3 year old numbers which are so wrong it’s laughable.

    What they miss is where the prices are heading. That’s the real story.

    “we have reached the point where low costs are driving installations higher, which in turn drives costs lower, which in turn drives installations higher. The virtuous circle seems to be locked in and based on history, we can expect further 20 percent cost reductions with each doubling of capacity, with no inherent limit to cost reductions over time.

    Under this trend, we can expect by 2020, under a 30 percent global rate of growth, to see total solar costs for utility-scale systems at around $0.84 per watt, based on GTM Research’s projected $1.10 per watt for 2017. By 2025, the cost drops to about $0.54 per watt, and by 2030 it will be a practically free cost of $0.34 per watt. By 2040, we can expect under these trends to see costs at about 14 cents per watt. A 5-kilowatt home-size system would cost only $700.

    That counts as free in my book, because that system will provide power for about 25 years at almost no cost above the initial installation cost. Twenty-five years of production for $700 equates to about 2.8 cents per kilowatt-hour. For comparison, the average retail cost of power in California today is about 15 cents per kilowatt-hour, so this future cost of solar power will be less than one-fifth the cost of today’s power. And this analysis leaves out inflation. If we include inflation, the comparison is even more favorable.”

    A well written article with conservative assumptions.

    more articles by the same author…