In a realistic appraisal of the CVSR we should note the following:
· An investment of $1.6 billion 250 MW breaks down to an extravagant $6,400,000 per megawatt.
· The Solar Ranch covers 1,500 acres.
· The CVSR is projected to produce 482,000 MWh per year, implying an operating capacity factor of around 22%.
· Given a reasonable appraisal of the value of 482,000 MWh per year, it is not possible that the solar panels will be able to provide a return sufficient to pay back the $1.6 billion investment within their functional life (not even close), even when ignoring annual operating and maintenance costs. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be lost (see Updated CSVR Cash Flow).
A much more viable alternative to a solar generation facility, although not the only one, is a plant using natural gas. A natural gas combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) facility capable of 250 MW would have required less than one-fourth the capital investment, would be capable of making four times the electricity per year at 88% capacity factor, and would fit on
a singleten acres.
Also, a CCGT facility could have been located closer to the point(s) of actual use of the electricity, and could provide dispatchable energy which could be increased or decreased as demand fluctuates; something the solar facility is incapable of providing.
That is talking about new construction. Now running those numbers and after we convert that cost factor to GW (Gigawatts) since to talk about what we need to talk about we either use GigaWatts as the unit of measurement or the numbers get too big. So at those prices and efficiencies One Gigawatt (installed capacity/ solar power) is $6.4 billion dollars for solar.
The scary bugaboo of this administration is coal, as in coal fired power plants. So that is the end goal of all this subsidized Wind and Solar power, replace Coal. (First. Gas and Petroleum later) Most Coal plants are of a size over one Gigawatt in capacity. Total (currently installed) capacity of coal fired plants in the USA today is…(ta-daa!) 1,733,430 Gigawatts. Or over 1.7 Tera-watt. Coal fired power plants also have a higher degree of utilization (time on-line generating power) that is three to four times that of solar power plants. If Solar plants were as reliable as Coal (utilization) that would still cost 11 trillion dollars to replace just existing coal plants, 33 trillion dollars to match their performance.
What do you suppose the impact on your tax bill would be to fund the necessary Federal Subsidies to pay for that? And by the way, there still has to be substantial non-solar, non-wind power plants to provide power for those times that the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine.
Finally, all investment in solar power should be immediately suspended as the futile and dead-end effort it is. Since as all the world must know, in 2017, at the end of Barack Obama’s presidential term, all the light goes out of the world.