Mayor spends £0.5m to save 5k per annum

Join in these discussions today! Log in or register.
Pages:  1 2 Next
Current: 1 of 2
Saturday 8 March 2008 5.51pm
http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view/3176

50,000kW hours per annum saved by Mayor's solar panels.

If we pay 10p per unit then that's saving 5k per annum. It's probaby less.

And they cost 500k to put in. That gives a payback period of 100 years.

But it's worse than that as assuming a financing cost of 6% pa, They're costing us 30k per annum... and are saving 5k per annum.

I await the greens who say it's worth paying the extra money to save the earth, but no it's not, as the half million cost compared to the electricity cost broadly reflects the carbon footprint of the solar panels compared to that of producing the electricity in a power station.

Related news & features

Saturday 8 March 2008 9.35pm
The Mapmaker wrote:
the half million cost compared to the electricity cost broadly reflects the carbon footprint of the solar panels compared to that of producing the electricity in a power station.
How precisely is that "broadly" defined? Surely if that was actually true (or even in the right ballpark) there would be little or no demand or support for solar panels in the UK under current conditions / technology. (I know next to nothing about the technology which is why I ask.)
Sunday 9 March 2008 2.18am
It strikes me that they'd save an awful lot more money by switching the b****y lights off when they go home.
Sunday 9 March 2008 8.32am
To be fair to Ken and City Hall, it is probably the best office in London at switching its lights off, and unfortunately if other offices are to be encouraged to do anything green then the public servants have to be seen to be setting the example otherwise in this day and age its called hypocrisy. Therefore, perhaps the potential benefits of the spend of 0.5m should be looked at in wider terms than simply the amount of energy produced.

If the effect of this and other such actions - such as turning lights off - begins to have an impact on other wasteful organisations then perhaps there is something to be said for it.

I only said perhaps, before someone bites my head off for being some reactionary socialist green.
Sunday 9 March 2008 9.55am
From the LDA press release:

Quote:
Grant Brooker, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners, said:
'The installation of photovoltaic cells on the roof of City Hall completes the building as originally designed. This would not have been possible without the direct help and support that we have enjoyed from the Mayor and the Greater London Authority, planners at Southwark, the LCCA and our clients at More London. The installation is the most apparent and physical manifestation of the building's sustainable design agenda. We totally support the Mayor in his goals and we hope that City Hall will act as an inspiration to others designing sustainable buildings in our capital.'

So does this mean
(i) that More London - the developers/owners of City Hall - cut the solar panels from the original spec as a cost saving measure and they have now been expensively retrofitted at the taxpayers's expense?

(ii) Or that Fosters designed the building with something that wasn't technically deliverable at the time of construction.

Edited to add:

In the first year or two of its occupation, the lights blazed in City Hall on most evenings. I couldn't find anything on the GLA website more recent than this 2004 report to the Environment Committee:

Quote:
In June 2003 Facilities Management (FM) commissioned a report into energy management usage throughout City Hall. The main findings were that although good practice was found throughout City Hall a large base load of electricity was present. This base load was made up of lighting and a large number of personal computers/photocopiers left on. Since this report FM have also altered a vast number of the lighting settings in consultation with the chair of the Environment committee to reduce as far as practicable the lighting times of City Hall.
Since taking occupation of City Hall, Facilities Management (FM) have recorded the utility consumption on a manual basis. Electronic and automated recording was not provided within the original build and investigations into the cost of retro fitting this capability has proved prohibitive. The FM contractor responsible for Infrastructure duties takes the readings once a day Monday to Friday and records these on a schedule.
http://www.london.gov.uk/assembly/envmtgs/2004/envapr01/envapr01item04.pdf
Sunday 9 March 2008 2.02pm
Neil wrote:
The Mapmaker wrote:
the half million cost compared to the electricity cost broadly reflects the carbon footprint of the solar panels compared to that of producing the electricity in a power station.
How precisely is that "broadly" defined? Surely if that was actually true (or even in the right ballpark) there would be little or no demand or support for solar panels in the UK under current conditions / technology. (I know next to nothing about the technology which is why I ask.)

There is no precision at all, it is a finger-in-the-air approach. Things that cost money to create generate carbon as they are being created, and there is, broadly, a direct correlation between money spent and carbon emitted.

There is little or no demand or support for solar panels in the UK under current conditions/technology, save for from politicians who want to be seen to be doing something.

Why do you think set-aside farmland isn't covered with solar panels if it's such a good idea economically? Not even in Arizona - and remember the US is short of electricity-generating capacity.

For 5k savings per annum, financial break even assuming a 20 year life perhaps limits the spend to 50-75k. It costs ten times too much to be economically viable.
Sunday 9 March 2008 3.47pm
The Mapmaker wrote:
Neil wrote:
The Mapmaker wrote:
the half million cost compared to the electricity cost broadly reflects the carbon footprint of the solar panels compared to that of producing the electricity in a power station.
How precisely is that "broadly" defined?)

There is no precision at all, it is a finger-in-the-air approach. Things that cost money to create generate carbon as they are being created, and there is, broadly, a direct correlation between money spent and carbon emitted.

Balderdash, Mapmaker.

No one should be drawing broad conclusions about the economic viability of photovoltaic cells on the basis of this vanity project. IMHO, this was far more about Ken Livingstone and Darren Johnson vying for good publicity on the GLA's environmental agenda.

The horrific cost meant that the project failed the cost-benefit tests for grant support from central Government not once but twice. (I suspect that the final decision of BERR to fund some 20% of the cost was a political deal.)

But this cost is not down to the intrinsic cost of making solar panels. As the press release makes clear, the panels on City Hall have practically had to be hand crafted. It appears that no two are the same because of the geometry of the roof, and they additionally had to have a high degree of translucence so that enough light could still filter into the rooflights of "London's Living Room" on the top floor of City Hall.

So a large proportion of the costs will have been for labour and for the inefficiencies of retooling to produce short batches of each component.

Why weren't the GLA able to do a deal with their landlords and find a level bit of roofspace somewhere else on the More London estate to construct a rectilinear array of solar panels, at a fraction of the cost?

Or had Foster's designs for all the other buildings been similarly dumbed-down by the developer's cost engineers, so that there is no flexibilty to accommodate this sort of thing?
Sunday 9 March 2008 5.25pm
Piffle and bunkum, Lang Rabbie.

Whilst I absolutely accept that City Hall is a poor place to start for drawing conclusions as to the viability of solar energy, the UK is a poor place to start.

I was wrong however, for Arizona does have prototype plants. Even there however they are subsidised by the government.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/03/07/eanevada107.xml

Unfortunately, although The Telegraph claims that
Quote:
it is capable of producing enough electricity to light up 14,000 homes,
this rather ignores the requirement for it to be dark when you need to light your home...
Monday 10 March 2008 11.17am
The Arizona plants are not photovoltaics. As it clearly says in the article -

"Unlike solar power from photovoltaic panels attached to roofs, the desert mirrors focus the sun's rays on to black pipes containing a synthetic oil which is used to boil water until it becomes steam. The steam is then used to drive a turbine that generates electricity."

This is also being done in Spain and is an ostensibly sensible technology.

The photovoltaics at City Hall, like any photovoltaics, will not last for 100 years. So they will never pay back economically and are unlikelyy to "repay" the carbon dioxide and oil emissions generated by their manufacturer and transport. They cannot even claim that the panels save them the equivalent amount of glass because they had a glass roof there before. Plus the heavy metals contained in each panel and which prevent any of the unit from being safely recycled.

Bad idea all round!
Monday 10 March 2008 1.23pm
Come on folks. It's amazing how much bad science (BS) can appear when people's emotions get the better of them. The organisation I work for is the proud owner of several PV arrays, on roofs, walls and windows. We know only too well how much greenwash exists out there and how important it is to make sure the truth is heard - good and bad - about green measures. I have given warts-and-all lectures in a number of places on our experience of running our real green buildings. Some of our PVs perform very well but were only affordable with grant assistance. Once the market is more mature (if that happens) this may well change.

PVs on wiki

Whist Wikipedia is not immune from some BS itself, this page is actually pretty good and demonstrates that in energy (not cost) terms, PVs pay back in between 1-5 years.

The key thing to remember is that we can't adopt a 'do nothing' approach - someone has to kick start these markets. Cynicism is a dead end. I am a naturally sceptical person and challenge green technologies with the same fervour as some of the posters above but I hope I try and get my facts right before posting.
Pages:  1 2 Next
Current: 1 of 2

To post a message, please log in or register..

Keep up with SE1 news

We have three email newsletters for you to choose from: