LA turns to solar energy; why not Malaysia?

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“Why solar? L.A. enjoys 276 days of sunshine a year, according to the mayor’s office. Solar would also help cut down on the city’s notorious smog.”

Well, why don’t we seriously consider solar? If Los Angeles can move towards solar – the city is aiming for 35 per cent of its energy from renewables – there is no reason Malaysia can’t move in that direction now. If we start now, we can pre-empt any move towards nuclear power plants, which, knowing our maintenance culture, would be a disaster waiting to happen.

Okay, some of you might immediately react and say this won’t work here (but it can work in LA?) while extolling the benefits of nuclear energy(!). But if we don’t explore solar energy, we won’t know, will we? And as we carry out more research into it, what once seemed impossible will become possible. Turning to solar energy could create thousands of new jobs as well, as the LA mayor’s office anticipates.

Penang, for instance, could become a centre for solar energy research in Malaysia. And Sarawak won’t have to bother sending us their electricity from more than a dozen dams via expensive undersea cables – not that we need their electricity now with the country having more than a 40 per cent reserve margin.

Anyway, turning to solar would be one way to pre-empt the attempt to shunt us towards nuclear energy (a multibillion project in itself).

This story from Greentech Media:

Michael Kanellos
L.A. Trots Out Ambitious Solar Plan November 24, 2008 at 5:18 PM

Los Angeles Mayor Antonia Villaraigosa unveiled an ambitious solar plan today that seeks to get 1.3 gigawatts of L.A.’s power directly from the sun by the year 2020.

If the plan and other programs succeed, the city will get approximately 35 percent of its power from renewables. Right now, L.A. only gets around 10 percent from solar, biomass, wind and other renewable sources (not including large hydroelectric dams.). The 35 percent mark would even surpass the overall goal the state has set for itself.

The plan breaks down into three elements. One segment will revolve around homes. The city’s goal is to get consumers to put 380-MW worth of solar panels on their roofs by 2020. Homeowners that can’t afford their own panels will be able to buy shares of solar power plants.

To help encourage demand, the city will try to implement a feed-in tariff under which consumers could sell power to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). Right now, most consumers in California get credits from their utility for providing solar power. Feed-in tariffs, like those that have been implemented in Germany, are more lucrative and tend to stimulate demand. Under the program, consumers would likely be able to sell their solar systems to the city after five to eight years.

Additionally, the city will install 400 MW of photovoltaic panels on its own structures by 2014. LAWDP will also secure 500 MW of solar thermal capacity in the nearby deserts.

Why solar? L.A. enjoys 276 days of sunshine a year, according to the mayor’s office. Solar would also help cut down on the city’s notorious smog. In 2004, L.A. emitted 50 million tones of carbon dioxide, more than all of Sweden. Although a huge portion of that carbon dioxide comes from car tailpipes, power plants contribute mightily to the mix. 76 percent of L.A.’s electric power comes from coal or natural gas.

The mayor’s office also estimated that 200 to 400 jobs would be created for every 10 megawatts of solar installed. That might be a tad high — the complete program under those figures would come to 27,000 to 50,000 jobs. Still, installing solar systems remains a big construction job. Electricians, manufacturers and contractors will be some of the biggest beneficiaries of the greentech economy.

By the way, L.A. uses about 6.1 GWs on peak summer days and 5.1GW on an average summer day. Gross power consumption typically climbs annually, although in California per capita power consumption has stayed roughly level since the 1970s.

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Tan Keir Lai

Last month the world and humankind just witnessed Thailand’s launching of a commercially feasible 73 MW solar power plant at a price of USD 70 million or approx USD 1 per watt. Power is from about approx 2 square-kilometers quiet peaceful non polluting solar panels. This is sweetest news to humankind after man’s landing on the moon which pales in significance. This is truly a giant-Giant step for the ailing environment and humankind. We dont need more space costly explorations but the monies can be spent to expedite solar projects like this one to prove to the world, politicians, accountants… Read more »

Xteven

Dear All friend,

how we get pay when we install solar panel….. and malaysia do produce solar panel that invest by other company even like Q cell and Sunpower…

please help,.

mysolar

Why Penang, aren’t you folks rich enough. You guy’s already have a lot of technology centers, institutions and companies. There are other states in Malaysia that are still behind , some are 10 years behind. Solar technology could be their only hope to catch up..

andrew tank

I did a bit of research and found out that Malaysia although not fully focussed on alternative energy, there are some pretty major players here in our own

First solar – Sepang
Sunpower – Mallaca ” somewhere ”
Malaysian solar – Pahang ” somewhere ”
Sloartif – Terengganu

I think they are mostly for export at this time but i hope they will be supporting local sales when the time comes

peter tan

i noticed out of four company you mention only two are local owned manufacturer company.

1. Malaysian solar – kuantan
2. Solatif – terengganu

both in east coast and owned by Malaysian. Others are by FDI. I wonder how they can survive without govt. support. I found out that all the solar panel which import from china easily get tax exemption from our govt. I think govt. relavant authority should play roles about this to protect local industry.

olivia

In Sabah, I have done a lot of polycrystalline DIY and all the while what I get is 3 times cheaper than retail market price. Please believe me: Malaysia is so fortunate to be full of warmth => energy, plus loads of red hot sunlight. If you want to invest in solar energy in Malaysia, you should only go for DIY. If you are like my friends who has got lots of money, then go support OEM solar panels(e.g. china suntech 85w => RM2.3K, crazy!!!). Malaysia greatly need an abundance of solar panels for off-grid usages in interior oil palm… Read more »

Frank

How many watt and what is your cost? Where did you buy your material?

Thank you in advance

Maya

Sila tunjuk ajar

mr donno

create by your self. don’t wait the big shot to give you any rebate or help, coz it don’t make them any profit. look for our friends “youtube” and do your own electricity… just GO!!!

manjit singh

Plz be informed that the cost of the solar panel to import the malaysian govt has a huge tax on it. Malaysian govt dislike people to save money the govt want ppl to waste money thats the answer to the cost shooting up to 140k RM I am already using 12v solar panel and also 6v solar panel to do some of electric work

Nicholas

Yes initial cost is high, but going sun power is not about cost; its about 1. conserving natural resources, fossil fuels, coal, etc., 2. and most important: not to pollute the enviro any more than it already is;add to global warming?? you want the oceans to drown out civilization? to think of the future, your kids, your kids’ kids……… Why are we thinking about ROIs and money when civilization is fighting for SURVIVAL.NUCLEAR POWER NO WAY !!! We have seen what it brings about, I was 3 years old during Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Haven’t we learnt from Chernible and 3… Read more »

Ph

Hi,

I realize that the discussion on the benefit or no about going solar mainly remain on the $.

Just remember that one of the main reson for going solar is that it is great for the environment such as reducing pollutions. It is clean renewable energy in abundance.

Sadly, my experience here in the US is that it is not cheap to be ECO-Friendly to say the least. At times it is actually very expensive. So, I could only imagine it would be worst in Malaysia at the moment. 🙁

apxmc

i totally dont agree with this idea of solar power plant to the fact that the cost of installing is really expensive and the panel efficiency is soo low.. we once discussed about the idea of powering korea university with solar energy.. and from our calculation.. with the current technology here in korea we need 17 years then only its more beneficial compared with the rate of electric here.. and still we area larger than korea university itself.. and by 17 years i thnk we hv to change the panel already.. in my personal opinion.. i thnk its better to… Read more »

KM

People, if we go Solar or alternate source, who is going to feed those cronies (ie: IPP and TNB), think about it, everything is link to kase (in Tamil means money)

yewlengc

Hi Racheljansz n Vimal, Since TNB announced that it is doing a losing business and planned to review electricity charges next year, and the gravitation of Nuclear Energy, I scouted for solar panel installation quotations too! Below are some inputs that I gathered and cross-checked with 4 solar panel installers! 1. TNB does a buy-sell or ‘1 to 1 pass-it-on’ to other non-solar panel users without any production cost (setup/maintenance/machinery $) while able to expand its customer-base! This term is set up by the body MBIPV, under the patronage of Ministry of Energy, Water and Communication. 2. Currently Malaysia’s electricity… Read more »

Alfons Undan

We have been using Solar Energy, both PhotoVoltaics for electricity and Solar Thermal for hotwater since 1975 ( yes.. 1975 ! ) and it has contributed immensely to our understanding of nature and how much it means to adopt a more holistic lifestyle especially in our beautiful Malaysia where we have an abundance of solar energy available all year round. Malaysians need to know that instead of waiting for governments and other initiatives, we can all already begin to use this technology and incorporate what our forefathers have always been doing in the past.. They used the radiant energy of… Read more »

sabahan

Dear Anil, Its no question about Solar or Wind, even Natural Gas the policy maker or present bund of Idiot still does not want to use. They want to use the dirtiest and most expensive(today)fossil fuel, COAL. In Sabah which we produce large quantity of Natural Gas, SESB/TNB still insist to put up a coal fired power plant in Seguntor, Sandakan, 5km away from the world renowned Sipilok Orang Utan Rehabitation Centre and forest reserve.Its all about making money from these so call professional engineer. Imagine how much they can make just over billed the price of Coal, Say US$30/ton,… Read more »

matt

In Spain they also built solar panel in graveyard site. Malaysia can use solar power all year and this is an opportunity. Hope the material for solar affordable to all.

Racheljansz

Vimal, yup I too done some study on photovoltaic solar panel and found out there is ‘other’ stronger lobby than TNB.
Very typical of this selfish gomen to milk the Rakyat for her and her cronies gains.

The alternative to cheaper utility usage which I’m currently using are:-
1. solar heating panel for heated water.
2. Roof insulation.
3. Having less exterior walls facing the sun when choosing a home. You can do this when choosing a new home or like me can plant trees/shrubs to reduce the areas exposed to sun.

nkkhoo

I believe all Asean countries will oppose Malaysia installing nuclear power plant in their backyard judging from Bolehland’s third world maintenance culture. SunPower Inc., US solar panel manufacturer with a new plant in Melaka predicted that the cost of generating electricity with solar will going down to oil-based electricity by 2010. Malaysia is losing another opportunity to tap into green tech explosion in the following decades with little or no R&D on greentech. LGE shall work harder to bring in greentech companies to Penang. Building a solar concentration power plant costing much more than coal fired power plant. With incentives… Read more »

amoker

Because someone is the government is lobbying for nuclear energy. Have written a few posts on that. Quite obvious that they are asking the government to decide now in building nuclear complexes. We already have Bukum and many more dams. And want to spend more money on nuclear. No sense at all.

kukim

nah… most of the politician is stupid. always thinking about money

Palmdoc

I watched with interest Lloyd (from Xtremetech) featur his efforts to harvest solar energy and sell it back to the local utility company. Seems to have worked out well for him
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2326042,00.asp
I guess it is futuristic fantasy for us in Bolehland

Vimal

Hi Anil, I am glad that you think of alternate energy sources. Well, I was interested in solar energy for my house. I am using for my water heater for past 10 years and it is working well… touch wood. So made inquiry into fixing solar panels for my house’s electricity needs. But I decided not to proceed based on what I found out. Here is some of the research on solar energy: 1. Malaysian government has set a task force for alternative energy source. It is called Pusat Tenaga Malaysia. There is a comprehensive website, just google it. 2.… Read more »

Tan Keir Lai

Dear Bro, Many willing to buy a car that costs RM100k. In 15 years that car depreciated to near zero. In this case you pay RM 70K to solar power your home, get free power, assuming no selling to the TNB grid; for next 25 years or further (not sure lifespan of panels?) guess you has good chance of getting that ROI. But,not measurable in terms of money is, you are one of those heroes who believe that solar alternative is feasible, to tell all our friends or the world to join in this initiative that will see the economics… Read more »

mut

Interesting. Maybe the government can help by encouraging purchase of solar panels for home use. A tax break like the PC purchase ? It will help the government throught Petronas and TNB in the long run. No “officially appointed” solar panel installers please.

On the non-financial side, we could expect a cleaner environment too.