[p2p-research] Earth's carrying capacity and Catton

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Sun Aug 16 22:55:19 CEST 2009

Ryan Lanham wrote:
 > Paul Fernhout wrote:
>> Are you saying all these people are either stupid or lying?
> Others here have brought up nanosolar claims.  So far they are hype.  No
> science, no product.  If they produce something that comes in at a wide
> scale implementation cost under 0.25 USD, I'll start to listen.  For now, it
> is lots of industrial waste, short-term burn out, and a lot of marketing
> hype.

So, this press release from 2007 is a lie?
"Nanosolar said Tuesday it has begun production at its San Jose, Calif., 
facility and has shipped its commercial thin-film panels to its first 
customer, Beck Energy."

And they lie on their web site about shipping products?
# Nanosolar Utility Panel™.
Specifically designed for utility-scale power plants, Nanosolar Utility 
Panel™ is the industry-best solution for MW-sized PV systems.
A high-power, high-current panel, the Nanosolar Utility Panel™ features 
proprietary cell and panel design innovations that enable our panel product 
to have an entire factor more power and to carry 5-10 times more current 
than typical thin-film panels.
Available wholesale to select system integrators and electric utilities.
# Nanosolar SolarPly™.
Light-weight solar-electric cell foil which can be cut to any size. 
Non-fragile. No soldering required for electrical contact.
Available wholesale to strategic partners.

And the people who just invested US$300 million dollars in them (beyond an 
earlier US$200 million) just now are just complete gullible idiots?
"As part of a strategic $300 million equity financing, Nanosolar has added 
new capital and brought its total amount of funding to date to just below 
half a billion U.S. dollars. ... Last December, we introduced the Nanosolar 
Utility Panel(TM) to enable solar utility power — i.e. giving utility-scale 
power producers the solar panel technology to build and operate cost 
efficient solar power plants. The tremendous demand for our unique product 
was matched by the desire to support us in scaling its availability even 
more rapidly and ambitiously. ... The new capital will allow us to 
accelerate production expansion for our 430MW San Jose factory and our 620MW 
Berlin factory. (Earlier, Nanosolar secured a 50% capex subsidy on its 
Germany based factory.)"

OK, a lot of investors are sometimes idiots, I'll agree. :-)

But then are the twenty jobs listed here perhaps just for show?

So, let's say Nanosolar is just hype. Lots of companies have raise hundreds 
of millions or even billions on hype, sure, though generally in the dot com 
bubble. Lots of companies have shipped product that later were defective or 
that did not perform as expected. Anybody can put up a web site that says 
anything, especially a private company. OK, so for the sake of argument, 
let's say it is just hype.

And let's say that the Google billionaires who funded Nansolar are unable to 
do any sort of due diligence like from using a search engine or hiring 
someone to do it for them. Billionaires invest in all sorts of nutty things 
like "Cheap Access to Space (CATS)" instead of "Design of Great Settlements 
(DOGS)". :-) And investing in green energy is, admittedly, great PR for 
Google. So, maybe it is just that.

So, now that we have dismissed Nanosolar as hype, :-) consider what this 
publicly traded company (First Solar) is saying:
"By enabling clean, renewable electricity at lower costs, First Solar is 
providing a sustainable alternative to conventional energy sources. This 
goal has driven First Solar to become one of the fastest growing 
manufacturers of solar modules in the world. First Solar FS Series 2 PV 
Modules represent the latest advancements in solar module technology, and 
are rapidly driving the cost of solar electricity to rates comparable with 
traditional fossil fuel-based energy sources."

Sure, some weasel words there "comparable" and "rapidly". Could be twice as 
much in fifty years, right?

Or pundits:
"The quest for inexpensive solar panels continues, with cadmium telluride 
generating enthusiasm among investors and hopeful followers of the advance 
of alternative energy technologies. Over at IEEE Spectrum, Richard Stevenson 
speculates that First Solar might beat over 80 competitors to achieve 
manufacturing costs low enough to market solar panels at less than $1 per 
Watt, the target considered necessary for solar to compete with coal-burning 
electricity on the grid."

And they have 84 jobs listed here in our job-meltdown economy:

Is that because everyone is leaving First Solar too because of hype? :-)

And while you are at it, you might as well edit their Wikipedia page to 
reflect whatever you know to be the correct figures for this part:
The manufacturing cost per watt reached $1.23 in 2007 and $1.08 in 2008. On 
February 24, 2009, the cost / watt broke the $1 barrier with .98 cents a 
watt. First Solar is contractually bound to reduce price per watt by 6.5% 
per year and plans to be competitive on an unsubsidized basis with retail 
electricity by 2010. [13]

 From the referenced SEC document:
"Our objective is to become, by 2010, the first solar module manufacturer to 
offer a solar electricity solution that generates electricity on a 
non-subsidized basis at a price equal to the price of retail electricity in 
key markets in North America, Europe and Asia."

So, are you are basically saying, all this is "Lies, ALL LIES", as Frau 
Farbissina did in Austin Powers? :-)

If so, maybe you should go to the SEC with your misgivings about First 
Solar? :-)

I know, they did not listen to several people about the Bernard Madoff 
Pyramid scheme either, so why bother, right? :-)

And I know, we saw it all before in the 1980s with the failure (sabotage?) 
of Chronar, right? I literally was in a laundry room in some grad student 
housing at Princteton when someone who worked there told me about "short 
I still have one of their small panels for car battery trickle charging.
"September 17, 1990 PRINCETON, N.J. - Without an immediate injection of 
cash, Chronar Corp. may be forced to suspend its operations and seek 
protection under federal bankruptcy laws. ..."

People really seem determined to fight abundance to the end. :-(

Fossil fuels have been a physically dirty business for a long time, but they 
have also been an economically dirty business for a long time. Why should 
now, at the end, be any different?

--Paul Fernhout

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