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Calculations of Domestic Solar Concentrator efficiency

In response to Michael Moore’s allegation that the Renewable Energy sector cannot deliver.


Michael Moore's movie is naturally an interesting little movie, and I guess it has potential to stir the waters. 


Renewables fake?

Let me reveal some factual figures which may leave your jaws hanging down on the table, as you are currently wasting your money paying for Grid-based energy

I am, as I write these lines here, spearheading a Climate Change project, development of a heat generating solar concentrator for domestic use (from 6 square meter reflectors up to some 60 square meters (the latter for homes in Denmark, sized 400 square meter and above)), which, based on prototype cost pricing, delivers heat energy from the sun at a cost, 119 times lower - let me repeat such that we do not swallow the breakfast with the wind pipe - hundred and nineteen times lower - cost per kiloWattHour delivered, than hitherto known pricing.

If you still did not get it - because some asks us severally: Yes, you will be SAVING 99.16% in your heat energy bill. 

This is based on Danish pricing of kWh - which is - in Danish Kroner - DKK 2.26 per kWh delivered to the house/building. This Danish cost would resemble some USD 0.33 or thereabout per kWh delivered to your home in the USA. USA pricing is different, so do your math. Maybe if you pay USD 0.166 for the kWh delivered to your homes in USA, your savings are only 59.5 times. Well - worth going for, I would presume?

What is the CARBON FOOTPRINT of this solar concentrator monster?

The carbon footprint of the biggest system - a 60,000 Watt solar concentrator - resembles 244 liter of petrol. The energy equivalent of 244 liter of petrol resembles pretty accurately 10 times more in kWh - namely 2443 kWh. This system of 60,000 Watt solar concentrator would, in some of the least solar influxed regions (1200 kWh per square meter per year) produce a whopping 72,000 kWh in a year.

Saving 99.16% on your heat energy budget

Thereby, the net savings in CO2 (if one calculates that angle) - resembles that after operation in 2443 / 72000 * 52 weeks  = 1.8 weeks time, the CO2 has been balanced out. The remaining 49 years and 50 weeks, the CO2 savings are of a similar level - 244 * 2.68 =  653.92 kilogram of CO2 ever 1.8 weeks. this resembles that the net savings of CO2 over the life span of the solar concentrator of 60,000 Watt, resembles 244 * 2.68 / 1.8 * 52 * (49 + 50/52) = 943824 kilogram of CO2, or, net saving 943.824 TON of CO2.

The system itself pays for itself after a maximum of 2 years (this is including the cost of maintenance for 50 years).. 


Why 50+ years?

The system life span is estimated to be some 50+ years (It is made by stainless steel throughout, and particular plastic polymers with 50+ outdoor life span).

The CO2 waste from producing the solar concentrator has been saved after 1.8 week of use - or - 12 days of use. The remaining 49 years, 50 weeks and 2 days - it saves 944 Ton CO2...

Even so, we have designed it with 100% return to base of all materials and components, either due to repair, maintenance or end-of-life. Due to that we do not glue even 2 components together, the only thing we have not yet solved the return of, is the microcomputer, which is 6 x 8 centimeter in measurement (a typical printed circuit).


The last 1 centimeter to Cradle-to-Cradle?

We are working on that one too - such that we, without failure, can promise a 100.0% return of all goods - and not only that - we can promise an environment friendly reuse of all components, or end-of-life service leaving no environment footprint. 

We are then - subsequent to that - going to go backwards, up the supply chain, to ensure that when we grow bigger - we safeguard the production facilities who deliver to us the spareparts.

So, to be a bit particular - we can provide energi for something like USD 0,0028 per kWh - at the prototype stage. We expect that the cost will come down when local production of this system comes up on a license, in every country between 65th Northern latitude and 60th Southern latitude in this world. 

Therefore, Mr. Michael Moore - while I indeed admire your initiative, to keep the renewable energy sectors on their toes - which is indeed commendable (!), there ARE indeed providers of such renewable energy, where no other known form of energy can get any foothold in competition. 

Blue energy? 

Maybe not - but surely - Blue Ocean Business...

Please, Mr. Moore - challenge me on this. Any and ALL calculations are laid bare above. Only thing missing is you to pick the figures apart, and confront us if we have made any errors or ask questions if anything is not clear. This can maybe serve also as a documentation for how you, yourself, can do similar calculations on your solar panels etc. 

I have not bothered you with the lookup of facts - if you want to verify the above you would have to lookup those facts anyway, yourself - ie. 1 kilogram of fuel contains 45 MegaJoule of energy, which resembles 12.5 kWh. That 1 kilogram of fuel produces 2.68 kilogram of CO2. And so it goes. Feel welcome to ask any and all questions at any time also not necessarily related to this article in terms of calculations, I will be happy to help. 

Michael Moore has a serious point, though - that the Global Energy-mafia will hold on to the distributed energy with arms, legs, bics and claws, because - if it is truly possible to produce energy much cheaper - then surely there is a margin to harvest for those who convinces or armtwists people to join the central energy production with their ubiquitous distribution nets.


David T. Svarrer


David Svarrer's picture

Thank David for the Post!

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 4, 2019 8:52 pm GMT

Thanks for sharing, David. I'd be curious if you could do similar calculations for the utility-scale side of things. It seems like the real conversation is on utilities and their renewable vs. non-renewable generation-- does the same hold, in your opinion, when you scale up?

David Svarrer's picture
David Svarrer on Sep 5, 2019 2:47 pm GMT

Dear Matt, 

Thanks for your comments. Most appreciated.

Let me do my best to respond to your question in regards to scaled up systems.

In many cases, the CO2 produced by creating/producing a certain renewable energy source, is much much less than the CO2 saved. 

Michael Moore's movie represents the same misconstrued fake news, as the marketers made use of in the 1990's and 2000's, when the suppliers of fossil fuel energy systems pushed the "MegaWatt measurement agenda" to be used as  TCO benchmark instead of "MWh produced".

There is a huge difference, which even many seasoned engineers have still up till todays date not gotten. Comparing Megawatt production capacity (ie. a 10 MegaWatt coal powered powerstation) - with a 10 MegaWatt wind system will often see that the coal fired powerstation is cheaper than the wind mill.

So. If one uses this TCO comparison - we end up with problems arguing for the Windmill. 

If we instead use the MWh produced over its life span, and add all maintenance costs, and all feed costs (ie. Coal for the coal fired power plant), then we get a level playing field, where one can compare apples with apples and bananas with bananas.

If we mix these two indiscriminately - then we get stories like Michael Moore's story to roam around :-) .. 

So - while YES - a Windmill producing 10 MegaWatt, is more expensive to buy than a coal powered equivalent - the Windmill will save CO2 by 100ths of factors, over time.

I hope this was to some extent a response to if this is also the case when scaling up?

I believe, that we need both central energy systems and distributed energy systems.

I will leave it to the experts in the central energy systems to do the similar calculations on the central systems and their way of doing it, where they setup the usual high voltage lines, transformers etc. We can compare notes. 

My article was an attempt to correct the grave mistake and "Fake News" from Michael Moore, that "Renewable Energy systems produce more CO2 than they save in their life span" (according to the reference to the same in Energy Central).

If you have particular questions to my calculations, or corrections to the same, feel welcome. I know that even for serious power people (with the exception of the 5% who are engineers) - these calculations can seem tough.

I have aimed to solely make use of mathematics and physics from late secondary school, due to that this is the common ground for the administrative (white collar) staff and the engineering (blue collar) staff. Therefore the aim is to enable those in the power industry to verify that Michael Moore's calculations are not true. 

Questions and comments are welcome


David Svarrer


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