Batteries Gigafactory goals

Published on November 10th, 2015 | by Kyle Field

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Gigafactory Renewable Energy Plans Slip Out

November 10th, 2015 by  

We recently covered a talk that JB Straubel gave at the University of Nevada — Reno. He gave the typical overview of Tesla, with updates on many of the projects it has going on, including the Gigafactory, which is just up the road from the university.

2014-08-28-Aerial-Perspective-Retouched

One piece of the factory that we have not seen many details on is related to the plan for on-site renewable energy production. All of the Tesla visualizations look similar to the one above… with a roof covered in what looks like photovoltaic solar panels and a hillside speckled with wind turbines. While that’s a nice picture, with the factory under construction, we would expect to see more details starting to come out… and they are.

Friend of CleanTechnica and Google+ user Renaud Janson flagged a key part of JB Straubel’s talk that touches on this critical detail. It was not a part of the main body of the message, instead tucked away in the Q&A as a response to a query from an environmental engineering major, Mackenzie Kohler, asking about Tesla’s efforts to manufacture its vehicles in an environmentally responsible way. JB Straubel lays out the next level of detail about the company’s plans.

“The Gigafactory is maybe the best example we can talk about with this. You know, from the get-go, from the first concept of this factory, we wanted to make it a net-zero facility. So, you know, the most visible thing we are doing is covering the entire site with solar power. The whole roof of the Gigafactory was designed from the beginning with solar in mind. We kept all of the mechanical equipment off the roof. We didn’t put extra, sorta, penetrations through the roof that we didn’t need to and it’s a very, very clean surface that we can completely cover in solar. But that’s not enough solar, though. So we have also gone to the surrounding hillsides that we can’t use for other functions and we’re adding solar to those.

The other interesting thing is we wanted to manage the emissions from the Gigafactory. Solar power can do some of that, but we took kind of a radical move in the beginning and said we are not going to burn any fossil fuels in the factory. You know, zero emissions. We are going to build a zero-emissions factory — just like the car. So, instead of kind of fighting this battle in hindsight, we just said we are not even going to have a natural gas pipeline coming to the factory, so we didn’t even build it. And it kind of forced the issue. When you don’t have natural gas, you know, none of the engineers can say, “Oh, but it will be more efficient, let me use just a little bit.” Sorry, we don’t even have it.

So it’s kind of been a fun activity and just, a lot of challenges that come up. But in every single step of the process, we have been able to reinvent and come up with solutions. There’s a heat pump technology that actually ends up way more efficient than just burning natural gas for steam. And then, we have a facility that has basically no emissions. The only emissions are related to the vehicles that might go there that aren’t electric or things like that. But we’ll try to attack that one piece at a time.”

The updated Gigafactory graphic that JB shared also includes fun details about the overall production capacity of the Gigafactory (50 GWh of batteries!):

Gigafactory goals

I especially love their purist approach to using natural gas — Nope! Don’t even run a pipe over to us… we’ll find a way. That sounds familiar and is no surprise coming from the guy who wants to take us to Mars, power the earth with solar panels, and use that electricity to power the masses of previously unheard of super EVs that Tesla will be producing using the batteries from the Gigafactory.

I wouldn’t call myself a fanboy of Tesla, but I am constantly inspired by and in awe of its bold approach to things we used to accept as givens in transportation, energy, and now, manufacturing.

Images by Tesla

 
 
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About the Author

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need.



  • winfield100

    if you use a 310 watt panel from sun elec that is about 1.9sq meters, 6.5 hrs sunlight (really sunny there) 464,187 sq m for size room, you get 215,000 panels * 6.5hrs * 310watts = ~432 megawatt Hours/day. this is just a rough number (~158 gigawatt hours/yr) there may be more hours of sunlight tho

    • Leonard Schopenhouer

      Oh my. This is a considerable departure, in first principles terms, of how the process actually works.

  • Carl Raymond S

    Imagine working for GM, or BMW or Nissan right now – racing to produce a product in time to compete with the Model 3 in 2017.

    Then you look around and go: Oops! We forgot to build a super charger network.

    Then quietly, Tesla adds The cleanest car, from the cleanest manufacturer to its marketing.

    Dang.. we forgot to power all our factories with renewable energy. Double dang.. all the other cars we produce have tailpipes.

    I read a prediction the other day that only two majors will survive the next decade – Tesla and Apple. I’m starting to believe it.

  • Michael B

    Agree 90+% with what you say, but it’s ‘by *and* large’… Sorry, I can’t help myself! LOL

    • Tim

      Quite right you are. I don’t believe I consciously made that mistake. I’m gonna go with “sleepy keyboard.”

  • Rob Kay

    This is smart business: tesla will be able to gain hugely from the lessons learned in this project in terms of kudos and street cred, and unless they go broke, companies all round the world will be queuing up to share the insights.

  • Peter Egan

    The biggest surprise for me in JB’s talk was that powerwall production had already commenced at the factory. Also, the hundreds of Tesla Energy employees on site in temporary accommodation. The next surprise was the underground lithium brine deposit a couple of hundred miles to the south. Lithium from brine is the cheap source. Tesla must have contracted to buy enough Lithium Oxide/Carbonate for the mine to get financing. Tesla no doubt got a discount from the market price.

    • Mike Shurtleff

      “Tesla no doubt got a discount from the market price.”
      They were definitely researching ways to reduce even their raw material costs earlier. Can’t remember who at Tesla was quoted on that. Straubel?

    • Bob_Wallace

      Apparently a new highway is being built to shorten the path from the lithium mine to the P/T factory.

      I’m hoping Tesla springs some battery powered trucks to do the hauling.

  • Peter Egan

    Tesla has to manage its capital closely. It “uses” cash every quarter. Much of this is due to leasing cars. While it meets production targets, its bankers and shareholders (new capital raisings) will stay the course. We should expect the solar, wind and battery energy storage to be installed slowly until the gigafactory production facilities are complete. We should expect some solar to go on the roof early as it is high profile. Tesla needs to spend its money meeting production targets. Apparently, powerwall production has already commenced there – perhaps in the temporary facilities. The Gigafactory surely belongs to Tesla Energy. It is going to supply fully complete battery packs to vehicle factory. I suspect it will be supplying the packs before cell production has reached appropriate quality standards and can be included in the packs. We should expect Tesla Energy to be cash positive before a serious attack is made on solar, wind and energy storage for the factory.

  • dogphlap dogphlap

    What strikes me as strange is Tesla’s re-furbished NUMMI plant in California, with its massive flat roof areas does not appear to have one solar panel.

    • Steven F

      If you look at the roof in satellite photos you will see a lot of equipment on the roof. In some places on the roof they can install solar. But it would not be as much as could be installed on the gigafactory. However their priority for the plant has be to refurbish and expand production.

      • dogphlap dogphlap

        I have looked at the roofs in drone flyover footage (there’s a noun that makes no sense since we said goodbye to cine film but I guess you get my meaning) and while the various white painted buildings do indeed have more roof furniture than the purpose built (with solar energy very much in mind) GigaFactory most of that roof space appears to be usable. I meant no criticism of Tesla or Musk, my comment was motivated purely by curiosity.

  • Graphite Gus

    I think they should change the “cap and trade” model so that a net zero factory like GF can get some hard $$ benefit from doing all this extra work.
    Can they calculate the emissions from a normally powered factory, and then Telsa can trade those emissions for dollars?

    • Mike

      Just employ a carbon tax (based on a realistic discount rate of between 0% and 1.5%) across the board. Use Article XX (“b” and “g”) of the GATT to allow you to collect a carbon tax on products being imported from a place where no carbon tax exists……the market reaction will provide the “hard $$ benefit” you are looking for.

  • serge delinois

    Sometimes a bold person has to show the path and then people will follow. I imagine other companies will follow suit when this proves to be successful.

    • sjc_1

      Considering the billions of cells that must be produced each year for millions of cars, statistical process control is important. We will see how all of this works out.

      • Bob_Wallace

        If you consider all the unique bits and pieces of an ICE and its fuel, cooling, and exhaust system, the multiply that number by the different engines manufactured by all the different car companies the number of bits and pieces is immense. We build 90 million car engines each year.

        Battery cells – one type per EV. Shared across multiple manufacturers. Simplicity.

      • http://www.moneytalks.net weekly radio show mentions that the best used ICE car deals in Canada are being bought up and sent to the US and with the projected fall of the dollar to 55 cents, I would say many ICE vehicles will then move there.
        We will be forced to buy electric cars to replace them. D
        Also, Toyota threatening to close down any Canadian dealer selling a new Toyota for export to the US because of de-valued dollar.
        The opposite was happening when the Canadian dollar was higher than the US dollar.

        • djr417

          a 55cent dollar? thats just doomsday predictions. did you work for the Harper administration?

          • No, I was a slave under his local representative MP, one Colonel Mayonnaise for two terms of office, when a dollar was only worth a quarter in this town.
            I am now a free man, under our new PM, Captain Kid.

      • Mike Shurtleff

        ….and this is different from other large scale, high tech manufacturing how? They’re making more of what they are already selling. They are already sold out for some time and they haven’t finished the factory yet …to an expanding market in EVs and grid power storage (both ends of grid). They’re only real risk is some other battery tech/production contender. Seems like good bet to me. Musk hasn’t made many bad calls yet.

    • Frank

      Tesla is swinging for the fences, throwing for the end zone, all in. It’s not safe, but when the timing is right, and the rocket lights right when you are sitting on top of it, you can really get somewhere. If battery prices continue to drop, the EV market will take off, like a rocket.

  • Marion Meads

    Excellent approach. No one can complain that it takes FF to manufacture them batteries. Here’s my estimate of average energy generated
    Assumptions:

    Roof size: 464,187 sq meter

    Average Solar Radiation: 6.80 kW/m2/day

    Average Panel Efficiency: 21%
    Net Covered area: 90%
    Conversion efficiency: 90%

    Average Energy production: 536,916 kWh/day.

    Half a Gigawatt hour per day from the roof alone.

    • Richard Foster

      Your 2nd to last line has an error – shouldn’t that be MWh/day?

      • Marion Meads

        If you want, then it can be rounded to 537 MWh/day. My units are perfect, and Bob can attest that!

        • Richard Foster

          No sorry you are correct. I had mistaken the comma for a decimal point.

          My error! I apologise.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’m sorry. I’ve never examined your units.

          • Marion Meads

            I was hoping you’d inspect them Bob!

          • Kyle Field

            Get a room.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            I was going to say that but decided not to…

          • Kyle Field

            Oh.my.

          • Benjamin Nead

            There is so much that can be said in the “examine my units” discourse. Too funny.

        • Kyle Field

          My only critique is that the average panel efficiency you stated is much closer to the highest production panel efficiency. Average is still around 16-18%

          • Ivor O’Connor

            I’m sure they’ll be using the new panels from the plant in NY they claim will be more efficient than any other panels currently made in production.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            Elon Musk started and is still on the board of SolarCity, which purchased Silevo. They are over 22% for their panels:
            http://www.pv-tech.org/news/solarcity_producing_pv_module_with_industry_record_22.04_efficiency_from_pi – October 2015
            “SolarCity producing PV module with industry record 22.04% efficiency from pilot line”

            Why would Tesla use 16-18% efficient panels?

            Marion might be undershooting it a little.

          • Kyle Field

            Elon is a chairman for solar city but he did not found it – it was his cousins Peter and Lyndon Rive.
            I agree it makes sense to use their panels…the only reason I was thinking it might not make sense is due to cost. They have not shared the cost / watt for their panels (that I’m aware of), just that they are building a “gigafactory” of their own to mass produce them. It won’t change the world either way but higher efficiency is better if they are cost competitive.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            Thank you for the correction.
            I have not seen the projected cost of their panels either. There are other sources of higher efficiency panels, but the point is a small one. Just balancing out your 16-18% comment. No reason to assume they will shoot this low. Marion is probably close in her calcs.

          • Kenneth Beck

            They did release their cost estimates, but the panels arent in production at their new facility yet so it is just estimates as of now but it will be on par with the prices of the cheapest chinese solar panel companies right now on a per watt basis. Quite an exciting time with the battery and solar advances coming out right now at price points that blow away the fossil fuel competition.

          • Kyle Field

            That’s good to hear. Is that price per watt per the panel rating or price per watt of expected output based on the higher efficiencies? I would expect it’s at the panel level but with the panels having 30% higher output, they would actually be quite a bit cheaper (I think?)

          • Kenneth Beck

            Rated output is the pricing they go by. It will be one of the cheapest per watt, but the part that makes it stand out is the amount of watts per panel which will save on installation costs and shipping costs as less panels will produce the same amount of power. So even if the price per watt was the same as a chinese panel, the efficiency is about double those panels which run from 9-12%. So almost half the panels will produce the same amount of power. I like the way they attacked the issue, by producing the best panels as cheap as possible instead of just producing the same panels as cheap as possible. If you think about it, it is easier to drop the price of a 400watt panel to $200 than a 200watt panel to $100.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “chinese panel, the efficiency is about double those panels which run from 9-12%”

            That’s just wrong.

            http://www.solar-facts.com/panels/panel-manufacturers.php

          • Kenneth Beck

            No, “up to” does not equal their best price per watt. So sorry, I am not giving wrong information. You need to quote actual market prices which I watch very closely. Sweet spot pricing is in the 9-12% efficient panels which cost around $0.40/watt. The higher percentages you are talking about jump up to $0.60/watt and all the way up to $2.00/watt which is dumb prices to pay just to save some space. I’d rather pay $0.50/watt for ~20% panel.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If you’re talking 40 cents then you’re referencing large quantity wholesale prices?

            Best retail prices I can find run twice as much and the Chinese panels being sold (at some of the lowest prices) are 15% and 16% panels.

            http://www.ecobusinesslinks.com/surveys/free-solar-panel-price-survey/

          • Kenneth Beck

            Look up the prices on sunelec directly (sun electronics). They sell panels directly imported for ~$0.40/watt which is usually 9-12% efficient panels. The numbers you are looking at are outdated by at least a year or 2. They sell by the pallet on most panels, but then again, what company doesnt?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I know about Sunelec. I earlier posted that some of their least expensive panels are Chinese and have about 15% efficiency ratings.

          • Kenneth Beck

            Im not counting their B grade panels. Im basing the comparison using the cheapest panels available from the factory. The fact of the matter is that it will be a large jump in efficiency AND one of the lowest prices per watt in the industry. Even if lets say the cheapest panels were 15%, the efficiency claims that solar city are providing would be about 1.5x that said example. No matter how it is put, it is plain better in all aspects compared to what is available for purchase in the market right now.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Kenneth, you claimed that the Chinese panels were low efficiency. I went to the Sunelec site and picked the least expensive Grade A panels made in China. Top Point, IIRC, was their name. About 15%.

            Yes, if SolarCity produces 21% panels that would be a bit less than 1.5x more efficient, but that is not what you were claiming. And, as far as I know, we have no retail price for SC panels, nor do we know if they will be sold to the public.

          • Kyle Field

            I agree – their approach was great and will ultimately help the overall panel market move to a new higher efficiency level a lot sooner than otherwise.
            About efficiencies, to be fair, current average efficiency is 15-16% easy for residential panels. Not so sure about utility scale but residential, that’s about what everything seems to be rated except sunpower who is in the 21% range

          • Kenneth Beck

            The main panels you see advertised are in the mid teens in percentage, but the price point I am talking about is the thin film and other low end efficiency panels that are 9-12% that sell for the $0.40/watt range. This is the price point at which solar makes a quick return in investment.

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            Looks to me like the panels won’t track the sun so even if they use 22% panels they will only be at 22% for an hour or less each day.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            OK, good point there. Marion, you might need to adjust your calcs a little.

            They can still add free standing Solar PV and are planning to add Wind on the surrounding hills, so doesn’t really effect the over-all point they will be running on their own RE power …with a planned 20% surplus to be sold to the grid in the area.

            Maybe they’ll be short on battery storage? 😉

          • Marion Meads

            Solar City Boasted about its record breaking high production average, so I used it!

          • Leonard Schopenhouer

            Article said that most likely SCTY will continue to use 13-14% efficiency panels due to cost model challenges (see Q3), and Rive made a statement that they do not guarantee the source of any panels. The facility in new York claiming this “breakthrough” has yet to be build or the output validated.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Now add in the ground mounted panels and the wind turbines.

      • sault

        Yeah, I’m sure Tesla’s Reno employees will appreciate shady carports covered in solar modules to keep the harsh Nevada sun off their cars.

        • Mike Shurtleff

          In Nevada? Yes, please. Good call. Had forgotten about that!

    • Marion Meads

      I got roof dimensions from here: http://cleantechnica.com/2014/09/12/tesla-gigafactory-huge-2-graphics-add-perspective/

      The Average Solar Radiation was based on actual weather data collected by a weather station nearest the gigafactory, factoring in the cloudy days as well, and it was downloaded from NREL, and I ran a 12 month average with 30-year historical data.

      The other assumptions you can adjust, as it depends on the actual panels and peripheral equipments used, such as particular types of inverters if they used them.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        Thanks Marion.

      • Leonard Schopenhouer

        Good point. challenges with inverters has been at the top of pareto analysis for system failures over the last 3 years. They are $spending to try and improve this, but may be too little too late given bottom fall with expiration of tax credits.

    • I’d like to offer a competing calculation.

      I use the Desert Sunlight project (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_Sunlight_Solar_Farm), as a benchmark. The total area of that farm is 16 km2. Production in 2014 was a little over 1 TWh, so a chunk of that farm the size of the GF would generate ~30 GWh, or 80 MWh/day.

      Now, the Desert Sunlight has CdTe panels that have considerably lower effiicency than what will be installed on top of the GF. And the roof of the GF will be used more efficiently (The 16 km2 is not fully used due to access roads, etc).

      My best bet is that the GF roof will produce at ~200 MWh/day.

      • Now we’re cooking…..without gas.

      • Leonard Schopenhouer

        I came up with 180MWh/day from the above resource…. We must be close. For sure way under what the plant will need to operate.

    • Kenneth Beck

      But the big question is how much power will this plant consume? Do you or anyone else have any estimates we can compare that would give some kind of idea how much power would be needed total? Tesla must be requiring more than just roof space power as they said there would be more than just the roof solar panels.

  • Doreen Gaydoon

    Covering the entire factory in solar panels is “not nearly enough”, so they need to cover the surrounding hillsides in panels. And as of this writing, and the efficiency of panels, those hills need to reach into Utah to power the factory. Apparently the factory will only run a few hours per day, as to charge up some batteries for the night-time requires panels stretching down to Arizona. All for one factory.

    • Bob_Wallace

      You’re math-challenged, eh, Doreen?

      • Doreen Gaydoon

        Run the power consumption of the factory (can read across from available Panasonic and LG), drop into the reno green field. I do know enough math to see this is a sunsetting Ponzi scam, and as an investor, I’ve (as you can read here) profited enormously in the declines of ecobabble energy. Tesla may have a scam or two left, but it is going down over the next year.

        • Bob_Wallace

          We don’t allow people to post FUD on this site. If you’d like to continue to post then you need to prove your comments are not false.

          You show us the numbers for how much solar and wind would be required to run the Gigafactory and how much area those panels and turbines would consume.

          Please post no more comments until you demonstrate that you know what you are talking about.

          (You certainly don’t know what a Ponzi scheme is as demonstrated by your misuse in this comment.)

          • Doreen Gaydoon

            Those were actually the declarations of the Wall Street Journal. Today again SCTY made moves to subprime territory in order to further securitize the debt associated with these projects. Cross flow of Musk, specifically funds from SpaceX to Solar city being the specific example they cited.

    • Richard Foster

      eh? This makes no sense.

      It seems to be RE bashing with little knowledge and no evidence? What’s the efficiency of the panels that will need to “reach to Utah”? Where’s the source of info for that?

      • Doreen Gaydoon

        At 17-22 %. Look at the chart of cell efficiencies stretching all the way back to the early 70s. You see it flattening out, and the cells used on ISS still not below 10k/unit. Only the bottom junk 15-22% have had the prices lowered. WE should have spent these funds on getting 50% conversion efficiency materials developed and to market, rather than running this scam.

    • JP

      If you want anyone to take you seriously, you need to present some kind of evidence. Perform research, come up with all the necessary assumptions, then perform calculations. When all of that is finished, present all of your research, assumptions, and calculations, followed by your conclusion.

      • Doreen Gaydoon

        GovCo sites a plenty. I can’t help you if you missed a meeting.

    • Termin8r

      Hi Doreen,

      I’ve taken the liberty of looking at your profile and past postings and I noticed you’re very good at brandishing bold – mostly negative – statements, straight from the gut. But you never seem to back them up with facts or valid arguments.

      May I invite you to make something of an effort in this regard? So far, it’s really hard to take you seriously, you know. Thanks.

      • Jim Seko

        I wouldn’t be surprised if Doreen is not his real name.

        • Steven F

          Are you sure? According to the discuss profile Doreen has commented 1328 times with 2727 up votes. that dwarfs me and probably most people on this forum. Many smart people use a faulse name to hid there identity (sometimes for very good reasons. Doreen’s comments tell the the opposite may be true. Besides google came up with a number of interesting result for “DoreenGraydon”.

          • Jim Seko

            Yes, I’m sure I would not be surprised.

      • Doreen Gaydoon

        Disagreement is not negative, its just that you are not getting your way. What I have said, is that this round of ecobabble is yet another Enron style scam. Solar companies are down now 60 to 80% with BKs on the horizon. Solar City today wants to go into fully sub-prime lending to keep the Ponzi scam going…. as Jim C correctly pointed out. We’ve less than a year before this has run its course. What humors is that Solar City sales people themselves acknowledged that SCTY would no longer exist after 2016. Lights out.

        • So you short stocks and then make things up to try to profit?

          • Doreen Gaydoon

            Hey, all public information, you just need to connect the dots. Is Jim Chamos an evil person?

        • Steven F

          “Covering the entire factory in solar panels is “not nearly enough”, Apparently the factory will only run a few hours per day, as to charge up some batteries for the night-time requires panels stretching down to Arizona. All for one factory.”

          So you say all of Nevada must be covered in solar panels to power one factory. A number of people have calculated the land are needed to power the world with 20% efficient panels. Its 191817 square miles Nevada has 110662 square miles of land. Nevada has 57% of the land needed too power the world with just solar. That said the world has a lot of hydro, geothermal, wind and some tidal power, all are growing in output. that combined with all of Nevada covered in solar.

          In short Nevada could supply the power needs of North and South America with enough excess to power much of the Pacific basin. You might want to check your math.

          http://landartgenerator.org/blagi/archives/127

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nevada

          • Doreen Gaydoon

            Public school eh? With all the fluff, solar sitting at less than 1%. Dirty converted DC power at that.

        • Termin8r

          Again: bold and sweeping statements. I’m sure you can easily back them up with sources. Right?

          Otherwise, the word ‘troll’ comes to mind.

        • Garn

          @Doreen

          Do you know what exhausts all of us “fan bozy”, it’s constantly having to come out here and disprove comments from people like the likes of you instead of being able to have a constructive conversation about our future.

          It’s the folks like you that derail progress because instead of us all pulling together to further an idea we end up spending our time responding to the post of people like you so the people that are new to the conversation are not mislead by your comments.

          Your “disagreements” are welcome, your “Ponzi scam” comments are neither welcome nor productive. If you do not care for Tesla, Solarcity or Elon himself, then go along your marry way and stop following their/his progress. And do NOT even go on the nut case about how someone needs to stop the rip off of the tax payers from companies like these. It has been shown MANY of times that these incentives are no worse, or even as bad, as other business have received, and continue to do so, for around 100 years already.

          I think Nicholas may have put it best when he said “So you short stocks and then make things up to try to profit?”.

          Please stop Doreen… Move on and follow something that inspires you rather than something that disgusts you.
          Your time, and ours, could be better spent in so many ways.

    • Mike Shurtleff

      Solar PV on the roof. Wind turbines on the hills near by.

      The surface area you describe is probably enough to supply all of the worlds energy, although I’m checking that assertion just like you did …just a hip shot.

      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/db/Solar_land_area.png

      • Mike Shurtleff
      • Mike Shurtleff
      • Doreen Gaydoon

        Oops. By that ratio, the giga factory with planned 22 % conversion efficiency would only need 1 square centimeter. But of course that is not true. How did you miss that? Ever see a completely solar powered car with $$$$ 33% conversion efficiency cells? Why is THE WHOLE CAR COVERED? Because you have been drinking your bath water. Meanwhile, us folks shorting the industry are cleaning up, and that is the objective.

        • Shorting is really negative and opportunistic.

          • Doreen Gaydoon

            When all stocks are level/neutral, you can not see of which concern there will be spawned a story…. a collection of lies. But once that lie has been told, and the unicorn is out there stomping around, it becomes easy to see the opportunities. Watch how the fall time is <1/4 the rise time of the lie. There does seem to be something to that theory. Why not profit from it? Look even at Wall Mart. VW. Netflix…..

        • Mike Shurtleff

          1. What are you talking about? Forget to take your medication and/or trolling?
          2. I could’ve done the same shorting coal. Solar PV, Wind, Storage, and EVs are all still growing …rapidly. Some companies are not doing well and some will fail. Same as happened during rapid growth of the computer industry. Not disruptive just to the incumbents in the energy industry, also disruptive competition between new players.
          The next Microsoft will not be found in the fossil fuel industries. Troll away.

          • Doreen Gaydoon

            Sun Edison now down 90%. Solar city down 75%. And the profits just keep on truckin’ What we learn from history, is that we don’t learn from history. The last round of ecobabble failed just as badly. A new generation now can’t remember, or chooses not to. All one can do is profit from the crash.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Let’s put some numbers on the table. Most likely solar will produce about 40% of our electricity (wind 40% and other renewables the other 20%).

          40% Solar

          2014 Electricity Consumption 4,092,935 Million kWh

          Average Daily Consumption 11,214 Million kWh

          Plus 3% Transmission Loss 11,550 Million kWh

          Total panel kilowatts needed (4.5 average solar hours) 2,567 Million kW

          Total panel watts required 2,566,650,258,752 Watts

          Number 345 watt panels 7,439,565,967

          Panel area (sq ft per panel) 17.6

          Total area for panels (sq ft) 130,692,508,586

          Total area in acres (43,560 sq ft per acre) 3,000,287

          Total area in sq miles (640 acres in sq mi) 4,688

          Plus 20% for room between racks 5,626 square miles

          The US could produce 40% of electricity now used with panels covering less than 6,000 square miles. There are approximately 3,806,000 square miles in the US, solar would cover less than 0.16%.

          Were we to produce 100% of our current electricity consumption with solar it would require covering only 0.5% of the land area with panels. That’s about what is shown in the graphic above.

          BTW, 0.16% is easily found on existing rooftops, over parking lots, on low value land and on the 23,400 square miles of brownfields that the EPA reports. There’s about 4x the needed area on brownfields alone.

          • Doreen Gaydoon

            Your calculations are off by orders of magnitude on both consumption and supply sides. Just on the basic house the usable area for panels can not generate more than a few hours worth of power…. and excluding running heating plants… or air conditioning.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, Doreen, you just lied your way to the exit.

            Consumption data is from the DOE.

          • John Leonard

            We have had solar panels on a very small section of our house (an attached garage/workshop) for three full years in the Boston area with lots of snow and poor weather for solar and our array has a year round average of producing 4660 kWh/year or 114% of our annual power consumption. We have 16 230 Watt Sun Power panels rated at 18.5 efficiency that cover only 235 square feet of roof. This is a “basic house” with TVs, an electric range, and an electric dryer. Try to argue with these facts.

    • Jim Seko

      Sounds like something Ben Carson would say

      • Benjamin Nead

        Perfect response.

        • Mike Shurtleff

          Yes, especially the “only run a few hours per day” part. What orifice did that get pulled out of? How is it possible to not know this factory is going to be building grid storage units in addition to EV batteries? Selective absorption of information or just…? Let’s leave it at that.

    • Who said there was going to be a night shift?

      • Jim Seko

        Did you read the part about what is being manufactured at this plant? It’s batteries… gigaWatt-hours of batteries which will be used for grid energy storage.

      • Mike Shurtleff

        Who said there wasn’t?

        • A factory running on pen light batteries. LOL

    • Tim

      Hey there Doreen, next time you go after a whole bottle of Pinot all by yourself, chase it with a couple of handfuls of sleeping pills and put yourself out of our misery.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Unnecessarily harsh.

        Now saying he/she hasn’t earned a bucket of bad wishes….

    • Al_Loo_Minium

      Dorreen; the only reason you live is to post stupid ignorant comments and irritate people, isn’t it?!

      • Bob_Wallace

        Doreen has left the building.

      • Bob_Wallace

        He took the troll exit door.

    • Garn

      Do you know what exhausts all of us “fan bozy”, it’s constantly having to come out here and disprove comments from people like the likes of you instead of being able to have a constructive conversation about our future.

      It’s the folks like you that derail progress because instead of us all pulling together to further an idea we end up spending our time responding to the post of people like you so the people that are new to the conversation are not mislead by your comments.

      Your “disagreements” are welcome, your “Ponzi scam” comments are neither welcome nor productive. If you do not care for Tesla, Solarcity or Elon himself, then go along your marry way and stop following their/his progress. And do NOT even go on the nut case about how someone needs to stop the rip off of the tax payers from companies like these. It has been shown MANY of times that these incentives are no worse, or even as bad, as other business have received, and continue to do so, for around 100 years already.

      I think Nicholas may have put it best when he said “So you short stocks and then make things up to try to profit?”.

      Please stop Doreen… Move on and follow something that inspires you rather than something that disgusts you.
      Your time, and ours, could be better spent in so many ways.

  • Zorba

    I’m sure we’ve all familiar with those comments along the lines of “making batteries is energy intensive” and “solar pv panels are produced with power from fossil fuels”. So it’s great to see initiatives like this and the recent article on silicon processing taking place in Iceland using geothermal power.

    Sure, mining and other parts of the chain may still require some fossil fuels but these are significant steps in the right direction.

    • Mike Shurtleff

      Mining operations are often remote from grid power. Electricity is used to drive power tools under ground because fuel combustion would foul the air and poison diggers. Diesel generators are often used to generate the electricity and this is an expensive way to go …especially when you include transport of oil in barrels to many remote mining sites. A new trend is to use Solar PV to supply some of the electricity and save on fuel costs. Happening now in Australia and Chile mining operations. …so no, please don’t assume mining does not use renewables.
      Low-cost storage will make Solar PV useful 24/7 for mining in Atacama desert of Chile and in Australia desert. …and at a significant savings in energy cost.
      “Still require some fossil fuels”, Yes, but starting to change and will be done different in many cases in the future.

      • Frank

        I googled for a insolation map a few days ago, and found one for south america. Chile is the suniest part of the continent. They should be using solar for a lot more than just mining.

        • onesecond

          They are. Fossil fuels were not even competitive in their most recent electrical capacity supply auction.

        • Mike Shurtleff

          They certainly are. They’re grid prices are higher than ours too. They are converting to Solar PV more and more rapidly. More Wind too. Want a few links?

          • Frank

            Yes, I would actually. I did see the clean technica article where solar PV came in much cheaper than the fossil alternatives. I’m interested in wind too.

  • Richard Foster

    It is inspiring and very good news. But we need to get to the stage where having zero FF is not described as a challenge – it should be easily implementable!

    I know, baby steps!….

    • Kyle Field

      I’m with you. We need more companies like Tesla that challenge the way things have always been done and swim against the current. Daunting but the way I look at it is that it starts with you…and me…and us. Challenge each decision that doesn’t make sense and act on it.

      • John Q. Smith

        Take a look at what Apple is doing throughout their global organization. They aren’t perfect by any stretch but it’s great to see one of the largest and most influential companies in the world moving rapidly to address their footprint now and in the future. I am confident others will follow. I love the statement from Apple’s 2015 Environmental Responsibility Report, which I hope other corporations adopt, “We don’t want to debate climate change. We want to stop it.”

        • Kyle Field

          I agree – love this statement.

          • John Q. Smith

            Also, just saw this morning that Apple pledged to fund ocean energy research. “Today the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) announced a Memorandum of Understanding with Apple to promote the development of ocean energy in Ireland. Apple has committed a €1 million fund that will help developers who receive an SEAI grant to test their ocean energy prototypes in the Galway Bay Ocean Energy Test Site.”

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