…New England Solar Madness…
A previous article praised the ISO-NE for pre-planning the use of oil to save the grid from blackouts during this January’s freeze.
Data from ISO-NE can also demonstrate the madness of trying to rely on solar energy at any time of the year in the northern US, but especially during the winter months.
To begin with, the amount of solar insolation during the winter months is not conducive to generating electricity.
Figure 1 shows insolation levels across the United States.
Clearly, the New England and New York areas are among the nations poorest locations for attempting to generate electricity using solar energy.
The insolation level for Boston in January is 1.66 kWh/meter squared/day.
(All future references to solar insolation levels use kWh/meter squared/day. Tables of insolation levels are readily available from the Internet.)
For comparison, the insolation level in Phoenix, AZ during January is 3.25.
During January in New England, an average insolation level of 1.66 is the best that can be expected, but it doesn’t reflect the denigrating effect of snow covering PV panels.
The additional degradation caused by snow and other winter precipitation can be seen from this chart from the ISO-NE report for front-of-the-meter energy produced by PV solar installations during January of this year.
The light-green graph in Figure 2 represents the anticipated power produced from PV installations in New England during the period from December 24 through January 9, 2018.
The darker blue graph shows the actual power generated during this period.
Snow cover is most likely an important contributor to this tremendous degradation.
On some days, e.g., December 25 and January 4, there was virtually zero electricity generated by the sun.
For most other days, the amount generated could best be described as anemic.
Figure 3, a chart for behind-the-meter installations, demonstrates essentially the same anemic results.
While the four summer months may provide better outcomes, the average year round insolation level for Boston is only 3.48.
These charts provide proof that solar is a bad method for generating electricity in most parts of the United States, especially in northern latitudes.
The facts are:
- Solar is very expensive, especially when coupled with storage
- Solar is unreliable, and is not available after the sun sets
The sole justification for using solar is to cut CO2 emissions.
Climate change hysteria is forcing very bad economic decisions on Americans.
. . .