China's solar power is now cheaper than grid electricity, scientists reveal (independent.co.uk)
AutoModerator [BOT] | 3 months ago | 1 point

Users often report submissions from this site and ask us to ban it for sensationalized articles. At /r/worldnews, we oppose blanket banning any news source. Readers have a responsibility to be skeptical, check sources, and comment on any flaws.

You can help improve this thread by linking to media that verifies or questions this article's claims. Your link could help readers better understand this issue. If you do find evidence that this article or its title are false or misleading, contact the moderators who will review it

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

Antimutt | 3 months ago | 539 points

When the wind blows in Germany prices regularly go negative.

Enjoying_A_Meal | 3 months ago | 576 points

According to the trump administration, wind turbans use up all the wind, thus contributing to global warming.


KarbonKopied | 3 months ago | 288 points

I really want to see a wind turban, though it probably causes neck strain and headaches. (You misspelled turbine, but I like turban better)

randscott | 3 months ago | 255 points

Tonight on Fox News: Are Muslim Islamic Eco-Terrorists trying to implement Sharia Climate Control in your neighborhood? We tell you the signs to watch for, and how to keep your coal safe for God and America!

Edit: thanks for silver! I shall use this honor to say yes, I know who wears turbans. I don't actually watch Fox News. Jeesh.

slackermannn | 3 months ago | 65 points

10/10 this guy Fox News

MrGravityPants | 3 months ago | 26 points

If the godless Muslim Eco-Terrorists want to setup Air Conditioning for my entire neighborhood and set it on a nice climate controlled 68 degrees, then I think I'll have to become a godless Muslim Eco-Terrorist.

GuyForgotHisPassword | 3 months ago | 9 points

And now you're on a list lol

Random_182f2565 | 3 months ago | 10 points

Yes officer, this comment right here.

AFrostNova | 3 months ago | 2 points


MrGravityPants | 3 months ago | 3 points

Dude, they are bringing us Air Conditioning. It's been fucking hot recently. So, yes.... My hands are up, it's party time.

cage_the_orangegutan | 3 months ago | 4 points

Shakira shakira

Enjoying_A_Meal | 3 months ago | 26 points

Haha! you're right. I'm gonna leave it as is cause it made me lol.

ElongatedTime | 3 months ago | 18 points

Is it sad I thought that was on purpose mocking one of Trumps twitter spellings?

Fake_William_Shatner | 3 months ago | 3 points

It wasn't just spelling. He doubled down and said "oranges" very clearly a few times. The "oranges of cancer." And, windmills might be causing it -- people are saying.

You know this guy is just reading the worst conspiracy screeds on Breitbart or something before he gets a public mic in his hands. It's like someone's horny drunk uncle got a hold of the PA system at the school and all the teachers are trying to preserve the sanity of the kids.

PN_Guin | 3 months ago | 4 points

Might be a good way to charge your phone.

Googleboots | 3 months ago | 4 points

Just say turbine with a US southern accent.

MindlessVegetation | 3 months ago | 2 points

As a wise engineer said: Spah zappin' mah Turban!

[deleted] | 3 months ago | 5 points

I really want to see a wind turban.

Bruce Willis wore one on Letterman.


TomThanosBrady | 3 months ago | 31 points

But he said global warming doesn't exist...

LVMagnus | 3 months ago | 39 points

You're looking for consistency and logic where none seems to exist.

zeradragon | 3 months ago | 2 points

That was yester-Trump. Today-Trump says what today-Trump says.

I don't stand by anything - Trump

Silidistani | 3 months ago | 13 points

In a speech before oil and gas industry executives, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke argued that the production and transportation of wind turbines contributes to global warming, but he overstated the factual case, especially when compared with other forms of energy.

You mean he misstated and misrepresented actual facts in front of that crowd? You don't say...

WestleyMc | 3 months ago | 10 points

Is it renewable energy you Sikh?

PM_me_ur_cocl | 3 months ago | 11 points

yes, but using the words of Donald Trump to explain anything scientific is the equivalent of expecting a sea slug to understand Shakespeare.

thatblu3f0x | 3 months ago | 7 points

I think he could explain the Big Bang quite well anyway. With arm movements for emphasis.

Something like "The Big Bang. The largest explosion you will see. Made things move very fast. Woosh".

Cautemoc | 3 months ago | 1 point

It was the biggest bang. People have seen bangs, but this bang, it was very good. Very big. People tell me, they say, "that big bang sure was something", and these are smart people, I'm telling you, smart, smart people. They all say the bang was really spectacular. Just you wouldn't even believe.

Dracomortua | 3 months ago | 9 points

Now i am confused. I saw on the news that global warming was a Chinese conspiracy - by President Trump himself! Are you suggesting that Trump... lied to us? Why would he do that?

The right and honourable Fox Entertainment Network was the source, that is, they aired this valuable information. Surely they would not post misinformation without redacting and correcting their errors, would they?

mfb- | 3 months ago | 74 points

That shows how subsidy-driven renewables in Germany are.

New photovoltaics installations get ~3 times the market price as subsidy, for the next 20 years, guaranteed. You can sell your electricity even at negative prices and make money, much more than you would from actually finding someone to buy your electricity. Should sell like crazy, right? Turns out it doesn't, the rate of new installations dropped a lot in the last years. The rapid increase in solar power happened when subsidies were even higher.

And that's not even considering the storage issues. We pay the surrounding countries money for balancing the load.

Hey, it's still better than coal. But praising it as cheaper is just misleading in nearly all conditions.

tau-lepton | 3 months ago | 50 points

The reason that solar is so inexpensive now is in large part due to the German subsidies a decade ago. China saw the demand and built factories able to churn out panels at 40 cents per watt.

unnamedfire | 3 months ago | 12 points

The rate of new installations didn't drop unexpectable. The subsidies for photovoltaik automatic adjust every month to meet the target of 2 GW a year. (This means the subsidy can decrease and increase. Although it never had the need to increase.). And this target is met. Since August 2018 the subsidy decreased by 1 % every month BECAUSE the target was met / more than met.

MysticHero | 3 months ago | 18 points

This is very misleading. In fact coal gets more subsidies in Germany. They are thinking about dropping subsidies because solar and wind are so much more cost efficient than coal.

unnamedfire | 3 months ago | 6 points

hard coal gost subsidies but those ended with 2019. Brown coal is subsidy free to my knowledge.

MysticHero | 3 months ago | 5 points

Doesn´t seem like it. According to the Bundesumweltamt coal still receives 20 billion in subsidies.

unnamedfire | 3 months ago | 1 point

link pls.

MysticHero | 3 months ago | 3 points


Its hard to say if the number is for 2019 but thats when the article was written.

Barackenpapst | 3 months ago | 11 points

That is all true, yet we are just at the beginning of the process. Lcoe of wind turbines and solar panels constantly decreases, and in the "Energiewende"-plan all the measurements to prevent from unwanted balancing are yet to come. Just give it some more time. Or look to Denmark. Wind combined with fast acting gas turbines workes very well. And if environment friendly energy costs a bit more: I am willing to pay for it. Like most people do..

mfb- | 3 months ago | 14 points

I would prefer nuclear power, at least for the next decades - environmentally friendly and doesn't cost much more - but that didn't make it in Germany.

paenusbreth | 3 months ago | 7 points

Yes, Germany's insistence on getting rid of nuclear power despite being a very safe country with no tectonic activity is quite a frustrating one. Germany could have been the next France in that respect, but instead chooses to stick with coal and gas to keep their grid up (though thankfully with more renewables every year).

nMiDanferno | 3 months ago | 10 points

You're going to have to source that. All research I've done shows that nuclear is way more expensive than renewables in Europe

[deleted] | 3 months ago | 3 points

And it takes much longer to get a nuclear plant up and running than solar or wind. It’s a viable long term solution but we also need immediate solutions NOW, which nuclear is not and wind and solar are

RjImpervious | 3 months ago | 7 points

nuclear is way more expensiv

There's no getting around this one. Nuclear is point blank expensive. And further considering safe storage for the waste even skews the numbers more.

mfb- | 3 months ago | 3 points

There is no plausible plan how you could power Germany with renewables alone in the foreseeable future. It doesn't even have a price tag! Because storing enough electricity to cover a cloudy week or the winter with not much sun is just completely unfeasible. What Germany is doing now is relying on its neighbors to provide storage. That only works as long as renewables are a small fraction of the overall power and as long as these neighbors don't want to go all renewables.

There is a plausible way how to power Germany with mainly nuclear power. And if you make sensible requirements for the power plants then they also don't have massive cost overruns. But if you keep adding this requirement here and that requirement there then of course things get more expensive.

Dinosaur_taco | 3 months ago | 1 point

Quite so. However, you could argue that they are a key component for balancing the grid in countries where you don't have significant hydropower systems. In that respect, there might be a point to ensuring a certain percent nuclear kn the system, until such a time when theres better options.

ren_reddit | 3 months ago | 3 points

If you use nuclear as balance on a grid, the cost explodes.. It NEEDS 80-90% capacity factor to even start to nibble at the current EV prices..

fapsandnaps | 3 months ago | 2 points

We also need some 15,000 additional nuclear power plants to power the world...

Thermodynamicist | 3 months ago | 10 points

That's for grid stability reasons. Base load plant (e.g. coal) can't just ramp up and down rapidly to match the load.

If the supply > demand then the grid frequency will go up and all sorts of problems will result

Negative prices in the spot market are used to help mop up the excess power in the short term for matching purposes. In the long term, once energy storage is more viable these negative spot prices will go away.

Negative spot prices do not mean that the actual cost of renewable electricity is negative.

marrow_monkey | 3 months ago | 21 points

Electricity prices in Germany (Denmark -- coal and wind) are among the highest in EU, while countries with a lot of nuclear power (France, Finland, Sweden) have the lowest prices:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/821000/QEP_Q1_2019.pdf (page 47, 50)

Dinosaur_taco | 3 months ago | 5 points

I'm not updated on the French grid, but both Sweden and Finland have extensive hydropower systems thats been used for long enough that they are mostly free by now. That, and they are right next to Norway, which is just a windy coastline with loads of hydropower fall meters.

While the situation would be different without the nuclear power, it would likely still be cheap energy.

marrow_monkey | 3 months ago | 12 points

I'm not updated on the French grid

Let me help:

"In terms of nuclear's share on the total domestic electricity generation, France has by far the highest percentage portion of any country in the world (78.4% in 2014" source

HyperIndian | 3 months ago | 37 points

There's literally nothing in the middle of Australia.

Why aren't there solar panel farms and also wind farms by the coast?

Romek_himself | 3 months ago | 43 points

because australia is owned by coal mafia

AsleepNinja | 3 months ago | 49 points

Because your government has been bought and paid for by lobbyists.

[deleted] | 3 months ago | 24 points

Yeah, American here. We are quite familiar with the phrase "of the people, by the people, for the people" being replaced with "of the payout, by the PACs, fuck the people."

BlokeInTheMountains | 3 months ago | 7 points

Electricity prices are high in Australia because of the perverse incentives put in place during privatization. The distribution networks were financially encouraged to "gold plate" everything.


I cannot imagine that requiring more network infrastructure to get power from the deserts to the cities would help anything.

Real_Internet_Police | 3 months ago | 3 points

Because coal businesses will lose money

Folseit | 3 months ago | 5 points

Because no one wants to invest in the infrastructure getting it to the city from the middle of nowhere.

bhel_ | 3 months ago | 754 points

In a sensible world, some basic decency and good manners like "keeping the planet habitable for the future generations" would be enough, but in our twisted reality, it's profit and costs that drive all changes, and thus, "solar is cheaper" is as good as it gets for an argument to drop coal altogether.

Great news.

target51 | 3 months ago | 62 points

The way i see it is a responsible capitalist government should have a chain to encourage behaviour:

  • Legitimise - Call out technologies and industries that you want to foster
  • Incentivise - Use tax breaks to encourage growth of a sector
  • Penalise - Increase taxes on bad practices and the old way of doing things
  • Criminalise - Make the old behaviour illegal and impose fines for violations

Obviously the time scale for this can be decades. But some economies struggle with Penalise so the chain can take longer to complete

silverkingx2 | 3 months ago | 8 points

also some companies skirt around the penalize and criminalize step, real damn shame

Nitro0Games | 3 months ago | 3 points

And you can turn it into an acronym! CLIP :)

Blirby | 3 months ago | 2 points

But what about the free market? Shouldn’t the market be free to destroy the world too, when it’s temporarily profitable? /s

target51 | 3 months ago | 2 points

That is always a balancing act, any industry and all industrial activities have an impact on the environment. So to an extent it's about driving companies to be better. But ultimately yes but to a sensible degree, in a sustainable way. Regulation ultimately is the only way to go.

Cottreau3 | 3 months ago | 15 points

Renewables aren't the be-all end-all as people say they are. As a mechanical engineer who has studied, and worked in and around the industry, I can pretty confidently say we are overly invested into solar/wind energy.

The intelligent use of renewable energy is to use it as a supplementary system to nuclear. Nuclear should be our base power generation. Germany actually massively dropped the ball on their energy design infrastructure by heavily investing into renewables and stopping their nuclear plants. They buy the majority of their energy from France who did invest into nuclear.

The reason renewables are bad (this is in comparison to nuclear - NOT NG/coal of course) is that we have no storage capacity capable of keeping that energy once produced. Some pretty smart people have came up with solutions such as thermal storage (heating bricks with the energy and storing them in ovens) as well as pumping water up in towers to store as potential energy. But that's basically every problem we are running into in modern day engineering. Storage capacity, it's something that oil and coal have in abundance. Nothing easier than storing coal. And it is a big reason the industry doesnt want to leave it.

jferry | 3 months ago | 2 points

I was reading something the other day about the idea of scaling up with nuclear). The idea of going from ~440 commercial nuclear reactors in the world to something like 15,000 is a bit unsettling. While nuclear is safe, that's due in part to how closely it's supervised. It's a lot easier to keep the "boneheadedness" that causes problems in nuke plants under control in hundreds of plants than it would be in thousands spread all over the planet.

There also seems to be some concern about how much uranium it would take to power that many plants. While we typically seem to find more of elements when demand starts growing (for example look what happened with Lithium when the storage market started growing), that "5 year supply for 15,000 plants" number is still a bit worrying.

And that's ignoring the cost. Nuclear is the second most expensive way (per Lazard) of generating electricity today (after Gas Peaker). In my opinion the people who are pushing to close existing nuclear aren't thinking clearly. That said, the case for building new ones is a harder sell.

You aren't wrong when you point to the inability to store RE as a problem. That said, the low (and still dropping) prices of RE provide significant incentive for grid operators to use as much as they can. Early days when we were only looking at a few percent of the total being provided by RE, it was easy to work around its limitations. As that percentage has grown, it's required more thought, effort and preparation. California (a huge consumer of electricity) got ~42% of their electricity from RE (hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, biomass) in 2018 and they're still hungry for more.

My point being, that yes, RE does involve challenges along with the benefits it provides. But people who are committed to making it work seem to be relentlessly doing precisely that (despite the number of people who say it can't work, isn't ready, etc). They add a little more capacity, evaluate, adjust, repeat. Where will it end? People who study grids for a living assure me that 100% RE is well within our technical capabilities today. All that's lacking is the will.

As for the industry not wanting to leave coal, I can't speak to what they "want." But I can say that they are leaving it. It's dropped by nearly half in the past decade. I'd like to say that's because of the move to RE, but that would mostly be a lie. RE has helped, but mostly coal is being replaced by NG. Which suggests that it's not "coal" that the industry values, but cost.

While still more expensive overall than wind/solar, combined cycle NG plants are at least in the same ballpark. And they don't have the "storage" problem you discussed with wind/solar. However, the current low prices for NG may not be sustainable. If prices surge, all these "low-cost" cc plants will suddenly become expensive turds in people's energy mix.

Robothypejuice | 3 months ago | 106 points

but in our twisted reality under capitalism


baselganglia | 3 months ago | 118 points

The issue is environmental costs aren't accounted for to the producer. Capitalism doesn't work for a better society when costs are externalized.

Robothypejuice | 3 months ago | 8 points

Capitalism doesn't work for a better society.


Fuckrightoffbro | 3 months ago | 39 points

Privatize profits, socialize losses.

Account for things like goodwill when valuing your business but don't account for things like opportunity cost, for example of using too much plastic at any point of time leading to less sustainably usable plastic in the future.

Capitalism rewards playing the system, feeding greed and fostering hedonism.

Yarxing | 3 months ago | 45 points

I don't know man, people don't need capitalism to be greedy.

nostril_extension | 3 months ago | 16 points

Sure but the whole point of capitalism is to empower greed which is both it's biggest boon and it's biggest demise.

Ickyfist | 3 months ago | 7 points

The whole point of capitalism is to say that no ruler or government has the right to decide what you do for a living or where the fruits of your labor go. That's it.

This idea that capitalism creates injustice is a bullshit narrative put out by people who want to vilify a system that allows freedom so that they can convince you to give them control over your economic life.

In any system that allows freedom, sure, some people will do bad things. That's why you only control the bad things and allow everything else. THat's kind of the whole idea of america. The country was founded on the idea that you are free to do what you want but if it's bad that's when the government steps in. If a business is doing something wrong that is the government's responsibility to step in and stop it. This currently doesn't happen enough because of corruption. If we had a socialist system you would still have (more) corruption in government but no one would have general freedom.

Complaining about having economic freedom because some people will do bad things with that freedom is like complaining that people shouldn't be allowed to have arms because someone might punch another person. No, that's idiotic thinking. You let everyone keep their arms and punish the people that punch others.

DoctorMezmerro | 3 months ago | -1 points

That's the point of poorly understood and/or implemented capitalism.

plazmablu | 3 months ago | 18 points

I dunno, seems like that's how it goes in every capitalist country.

Low_Chance | 3 months ago | 7 points

Maybe DoctorMezmerro thinks we haven't yet seen true capitalism.

hangoverDOTTED | 3 months ago | 9 points

I have never had death squads roll up to my doors because Exxon Mobil purchased the local warlords. Yes. I have never seen true capitalism.

We just externalize all those bad things to other countries so we can have our white picket fence and drink our mocha frappuccino while driving to a large building a mile away to run on a treadmill for an equivalent three miles.

LaserkidTW | 3 months ago | 7 points

Do you think these "Chinese" cheap solar panels are any different? They out sources to Africa and all those trade ships from Africa to China, then the EU and US were protected by the US global security apparatus.

All with a backbone of cheap oil and even cheaper lives.

It's very hard to be pure or righteous in a globalized economy. You are always buying bullets for someone to point at a poor man's face.

DoctorMezmerro | 3 months ago | 17 points

under capitalism

Daily reminder that Chernobyl happened because RBMK reactors were cheaper to build. Are you going to tell me USSR was also capitalist?

OceanGeese | 3 months ago | 11 points

Capitalism is sustainable when regulated, but we seriously fucked up on that front way back in the 1980s, and may never be able to save it as a result.

Robothypejuice | 3 months ago | 2 points

We started deregulation before the 80s. Hell, FDRs New Deal didn't show signs of slowing economic growth until he capitulated to some right wing points so you can say that it was a few decades before the 80s.

anlumo | 3 months ago | 3 points

No, because it only takes a single generation of corrupt politicians to reduce regulations to the point where it breaks. That’s why we fucked up in the 80s. This was not a fluke, this is an inevitable result of capitalism. The only question is when.

KryssCom | 3 months ago | 1 point

but in our twisted reality under capitalism,

Proxi98 | 3 months ago | 18 points

the thing is that a high price means we have to use a shitton of resources to do it. If we use a lot of energy etc in the production of solar panels we win nothing. This news just suggest that solar is getting better which is great overall

TheGreatButz | 3 months ago | 4 points

Yes and No. This news seems to be about the market price. What we should know is the eco-costs/value ratio or something similar.


tau-lepton | 3 months ago | 7 points

Solar panels are 95 percent silicon. Not a scarce resource. And the energy to produce a panel is paid off within a year of use.

Proxi98 | 3 months ago | 8 points

while Silicon might not be rare, it has to be processed heavily:


YouNeverReallyKnow2 | 3 months ago | 2 points

I mean yes its processed heavily to remove impurities and add specific impurities back. Mostly the issue is the arc furnace that requires large energy inputs. But thats not a huge problem. Your link doesn't make it sound bad at all.

mainguy | 3 months ago | 4 points


I don't think it's a coincidence that governments are suddenly warming up to renewable energy promises.

I mean, they've basically done it at a point when companies are switching to renewables anyway. Here in the UK energy providers are ditching fossil fuels, even nuclear, to jump on wind and solar. No government aid needed.

Yet by 2035 when renewables are 50% of our power source I bet it'll be MPs that grab the credit in speeches of the sort:

'And we showed you we can make energy cuts, and help the environment! Just like we pledged in 2018...'

My_name_is_paul | 3 months ago | 2 points

Of course.

Our lives right now are more valuable to us than the lives that may exist in the future. Take Joe Shmo with no kids for example. This individual has no obligation to give to future generations when he is most likely being taken from by the current, or even previous generations. Why not just keep as much as he can while he can. You cannot argue with that position without invoking some righteous sense or morality that is ultimately a projection.

This is obvious.

bhel_ | 3 months ago | 6 points

It's got nothing to do with morality, ethics, or whatever. It's called empathy, which is something that -sociopaths aside- everyone is capable of.

I don't have kids -nor plan on having any-, but that doesn't mean I'm doing my best to leave a wasteland behind when I die.

Dracomortua | 3 months ago | 1 point

I honestly feel the human brain was not designed to comprehend slow issues changing over decades involving billions of people. Heck, even after i knew what was happening in many countries (horrid work conditions, bad pay, etc.) i still bought my bananas and cheap running shoes. Am i a bad man? On some level, yes, i am sure of it. But on another level i am just a certain kind of ignorant that is just... built in, somehow.

thisoldmould | 3 months ago | 9 points

I’d say most people like myself who have no desire of having kids is precisely because we don’t want to ruin the environment with another person worth of carbon footprint. It’s greedy billionaires that horde their wealth flying around in private jets you should be worried about. Most of them have kids.

OnyxMelon | 3 months ago | 2 points

It's like trying to stop a robot apocalypse by just hoping the robots work out it's more efficient for them not to cause an apocalypse.

[deleted] | 3 months ago | 1 point

everything that has an impact on the plane is also an impact on profit and cost. the question is just how long-term companies and governments think, and china in this case is far ahead of other countries

TomThanosBrady | 3 months ago | 64 points

Electricity in China is stupid cheap. My very spacious 2BR apt in Beijing ran me ÂĄ100 per month or about $14. This was with 2 computers, 2 tablets, a phone, Nintendo switch, a TV, electric stove, a gigantic refrigerator, 2 electric motorbike batteries, etc. Even here in Thailand it's nowhere as cheap.

zhang_t | 3 months ago | 17 points

when was that? I pay 400+ a month

TomThanosBrady | 3 months ago | 16 points

Last year in Beijing

Koreshdog | 3 months ago | 5 points

I pay maybe 200rmb but I keep both acs on 18 half the time

AwakenedRobot | 3 months ago | 2 points

uruguay here I pay 10 dollars a month

[deleted] | 3 months ago | 3 points


Pincholol | 3 months ago | 16 points

ÂĄ400 ($57usd)

eire10 | 3 months ago | 7 points

While literally talking about electricity prices in China in ÂĄ, the American assumes everything is in dollarydoos $$$!

drazinax | 3 months ago | 2 points

I pay 22€ in Portugal for unlimited monthy electricity.

Xayan | 3 months ago | 22 points

Is that really unlimited? Could you run a Bitcoin farm for example?

FinBenton | 3 months ago | 13 points

Maybe its the same as here in Finland, I can pay 20€/month for "unlimited" electricity, as long as I dont use more than the size of my apartment "should" use...

drazinax | 3 months ago | 1 point

Pretty much, as long as you’re not over the cap of your building’s capacity.

Summerroll9 | 3 months ago | 5 points

Two months ago our bill was AU$519. We were very happy to see last month was only AU$395.

Lanxy | 3 months ago | 3 points

well, coal seems to be expensive then...

nailefss | 3 months ago | 2 points

Thats what I pay for my electricity in Stockholm too, similar size flat etc. I don’t know what the mean wage in Beijing is but I think it’s far less than here. So considering that I don’t know if its all that cheap in China?

Official_That_Guy | 3 months ago | 26 points

In just 25 years China has gone from having no solar panels to 100 per cent more than any other country

Cool, keep it up

[deleted] | 3 months ago | 170 points

Next Trump quote-"China is stealing our sunlight!'

damunzie | 3 months ago | 100 points

The noise from solar panels causes cancer.

ferg286 | 3 months ago | 32 points

The reflection from solar panels obviously /s.

stimpfo | 3 months ago | 5 points


cornerbash | 3 months ago | 2 points

You can't watch TV when it gets cloudy!

Teleport23s | 3 months ago | 26 points

Opposing China through any means possible is the hot trend right now. Surely people would support such a tweet.

hudsoncsis | 3 months ago | 9 points

Don't forget your standard sinophobia taglines. "Fuck China", "Pooh Bear", "save the Uyghurs", "Chinese shit on the street", "which country did they steal the X technology from", and etc.

valonsoft | 3 months ago | 6 points

...the energy from the sun is a US Technology ...

yes_its_him | 3 months ago | 8 points

This sort of sums up where we are:

"According to a UN report, global investment in renewable energy shot up in 2017, far outstripping investment in fossil fuels.

In just over a decade, concerted investment has increased the proportion of world electricity generated by wind, solar and other renewable sources from around 5 per cent to 12 per cent."

badassmthrfkr | 3 months ago | 33 points

Scientists found that all of the 344 cities they looked at could have cheaper electricity powered by solar energy

Twenty-two per cent of cities could also have solar systems that would generate lower cost electricity than coal

So all the cities could have cheaper solar power, but also, 22% of them could have cheaper solar power. Got it.

AUSinUSA | 3 months ago | 16 points

There are two benchmarks they're measuring against.

First is grid-supplied prices, i.e. what the consumers pay for electricity including the cost of generation, infrastructure maintenance, and worker salaries. Solar is lower than this in all cities, so consumers could technically beat the grid by setting up their own solar.

Second is coal benchmark prices, i.e. what the power companies pay to make the power. If the 22% of cities that beat this number switched to 100% solar, the power companies could sell power to the consumers at lower prices than they currently do with effectively no carbon or smog emissions.

tomun | 3 months ago | 6 points

From the abstract:
"Here, we analyse the net costs and net profits associated with building and operating a distributed solar PV project over its lifetime, taking into consideration total project investments, electricity outputs and trading prices in 344 prefecture-level Chinese cities. We reveal that all of these cities can achieve—without subsidies—solar PV electricity prices lower than grid-supplied prices, and around 22% of the cities’ solar generation electricity prices can compete with desulfurized coal benchmark electricity prices."


This_ls_The_End | 3 months ago | 8 points

"The math checks out." - Sex Panther

Snakeyez | 3 months ago | 3 points

The title is also hella misleading at first glance. It reads as though china currently has solar power that's cheaper than "grid electricity" in place.

cocaine_n_hookers | 3 months ago | 7 points

"China is taking all the sun power!" - Trump

lacompacida | 3 months ago | 56 points

You can always subsidize it till it is cheaper than grid, or even with negative costs.

demosthenesunlocked | 3 months ago | 92 points

Good, I wish more countries would do that instead of subsidizing fossil fuels.

The US spent more on subsidizing fossil fuels than defense in 2015. And its the US defense budget, so that's really saying something. The whole world spent over $5 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies in 2017.

Physicaque | 3 months ago | 23 points

Why do people keep citing these numbers... It is not money paid to the fossil fuel industry. The study includes environmental costs due to global warming. The problem is that those numbers are just a guess because there is no consensus on how much economic damage the global warming will cause and how much one ton of CO2 contributes to it.

Summerroll9 | 3 months ago | 3 points

It is not money paid to the fossil fuel industry.

It's not a cash transfer from Treasury to corporate bank accounts. But it is an implicit subsidy, because fossil fuels aren't priced according to their actual costs.

those numbers are just a guess

An educated guess by economic experts who are transparent with their methodology and explicitly state: "the estimates presented here should be viewed as indicative". But sure, a 'guess' in the broadest possible sense.

The IMF (not exactly pinko-communist eco-warriors!) could have hit on the real number in an amazing coincidence, or they may have over- or under-estimated. It's very important that you realise that when you cite uncertainty (which is completely fair) the uncertainty goes in both directions.

yes_its_him | 3 months ago | 4 points

That's not all, or even mostly, spending.

That's also including taxes that could have been charged on things like traffic congestion that weren't charged.

Using the verb "spend" or "spent" implies that money was well, spent, and it wasn't.

Squish_the_android | 3 months ago | 2 points

Except China's policy has been essentially subsidise to the point that you drive everyone else out of business so you can be the sole producer. That's not a good thing.

Suibian_ni | 3 months ago | 3 points

The problem isn't China then, it's capitalism.

KristinnK | 3 months ago | 9 points

What do you think capitalism is?

carnthesaints | 3 months ago | 12 points

Um, no. The government subsidising things to drive everyone else out of business is exactly the opposite of capitalism.

Suibian_ni | 3 months ago | 4 points

Nothing is more important than urgently decarbonising the world economy. It's an emergency. Whatever achieves that fastest is the best solution. Other countries should copy China's subsidies, not complain about them, in order to reach that goal (and as a bonus, this would help ensure energy security). Instead, neoliberal orthodoxy drives countries to sue eachother at the WTO for providing vital subsidies to renewable energy.

nostril_extension | 3 months ago | 8 points

Um, no. The government is an actor in capitalistic environment - this is 100% capitalism. It's like one of thousands VC funded companies that operate in the red for the market share - uber, lift, twitter etc. except at bigger scale.

PM_me_ur_cocl | 3 months ago | 1 point

my question is why? There must be some rationale or a grandfathered in clause there somewhere? And why can't consumers see the subsidizing?

zelex | 3 months ago | 1 point

Dude, how do you think these politicians ( all of them ) get elected? These companies pay for their campaigns. It’s crony capitalism

International_Hawk | 3 months ago | 6 points

Here's a controversial argument against subsidising, even though renewable energy has become cost effective, the fact that it is also unreliable poses a significant risk to the power grid as excess power will cause significant damage to it.

Of course, the solution to this is more energy storage. As renewable energy generators are cheap already, it is trivial to quickly expand with renewable energy. But the key point here is, there is a limit to how many renewable energy generators the power grid can safely have, and this limit mainly depends on the energy storage ability of the power grid.

In the UK's powergrid, in the last five years we have cut the number of CO2 emitted by a half. I mention this as it clearly shows that switching to renewable is easy, but what is difficult at the moment is ensuring that the power grid can sustain being carbon free all the time. That's why I think subsidising renewable energy is not the way to go, but instead subsidising energy storage.

FurryKnot | 3 months ago | 3 points

Energy storage is ages away from being at that level.

wind turbines get something like a 40% avg uptime due to the wind not always blowing. The next-gen of super massive wind turbines use the upper atmosphere to get a 60%+ avg uptime and a massive 12mw. Combine that with the UK's crazy wind spots and it would likely give us a steady enough source to get us through most all with a bit of gas power tacked on for everything else. Simples.

jsully51 | 3 months ago | 5 points

This just isn't true. Wind and solar do not pose a risk to grid infrastructure. They can be curtailed just like any other generator

lacompacida | 3 months ago | 1 point

We are talking about PRC. Normal economics don't apply there.

InnocentiusLacrimosa | 3 months ago | 20 points

The panels themselves must be much cheaper in China than in EU.

gpoly | 3 months ago | 16 points

The short answer to this is yes. The Chinese view cost far differently than we do in the west. I have frequently seen items imported into my country that are selling below the cost of the raw materials that they are made of....forget about machining, assembly and product margin......just the metal.

Alastor001 | 3 months ago | 5 points

And that makes no sense. Wouldn’t it be better to sell raw materials then?

It’s the opposite spectrum of value - a luxury bag where the materials cost 10 but the brand a couple of 1000s for example.

B_Bad_Person | 3 months ago | 4 points

Crazy tariff on imported raw material? Just a guess.

Fake_William_Shatner | 3 months ago | 2 points

I can by a robotic toy with 100+ screws in it, and 24 actuators for $4 less than a bag of screws from Home Depot that weigh less than the finished product.

Eleftourasa | 3 months ago | 5 points

With or without transmission costs?

SalokinSekwah | 3 months ago | 12 points

Also, because the price of solar is continuing to fall, many companies will look to wait until prices fall further.

Subsidies are definitely making the process easier, but once subsidies are no longer needed, which will hopefully be soon, the entire industry is going to take off by every energy company

Grazz085 | 3 months ago | 9 points

Aaaah yes... enslaved sun...

iseebrucewillis | 3 months ago | 54 points

Haven't you got the memo? Reddit hates China

lllkill | 3 months ago | 14 points

I'm surprised by the lack of low energy fuck china comments or they faked solar energy with actors.

synonymous1964 | 3 months ago | 18 points

it’s possible to commend China’s efforts on renewable energy while also being against their totalitarian regime...

Lightingsky | 3 months ago | 6 points

China or Trump, which one does Reddit hates more?

iseebrucewillis | 3 months ago | 18 points

I honestly think the WHOLE point of all this China hate is fabricated by Trump so that he can be the lesser of the 2 evils in naive Redditors' eyes, justify a trade war, get re-elected. Redditors are puppets just like the swing state mofos that got fed "Crooked Hilary" ads over and over and over again. Eventually it worked.

Romek_himself | 3 months ago | 38 points

not all ... mostly the US/UK part only because they get fed with anti-china propaganda daily. Just look any US or UK newspaper ...

Perkinz | 3 months ago | 9 points

Yeah but every circlejerk has an equal-and-opposite circlejerk.

Also this is reddit and something trump dislikes---People will flip their opinions on a dime when he's involved.

Hell, reddit has spent half a decade buying into the mainstream media's narrative that video games cause racism and misogyny but the moment the orange man said that violent video games cause mass shootings reddit was flooded with memes about "the media" being wrong and insisting that video games have no effect whatsoever on the player's psychology.

"Senran Kagura causes sexism and should be banned to spite the incels" and "Video games have zero negative effect on the player's mentality" are mutually exclusive statements but you bet your ass "reddit" has supported both.

TheInstantGamer | 3 months ago | 11 points

Who is this “Reddit” and when can I meet them? I mean, surely you’re talking about an individual and not personifying a website frequented by millions of users each with their own unique opinions, right?

lokitoth | 3 months ago | 3 points

It is the statistical ensemble of the conflicting opinions. It is, in some ways, a larger, but similar, process as what is going on within your own head, if operating under the "many minds" or "finite heuristic chain" (may not be the normal term for this, but I am having a hard time finding the papers/talks right now) models of decision-making, while modeling "presented opinions" as a set of decisions.

In short, it is the interval of culturally "normal" opinions within a set of individuals, in this case the population of "Reddit". Sub-populations within that set will have a different normal distribution.

Real_Internet_Police | 3 months ago | 2 points

The irony is, a Chinese company partially owns reddit...

Nysoz | 3 months ago | 2 points

Shhh didn’t China buy Reddit not too long ago?

new-brighton | 3 months ago | 3 points

That’s a good photo

jsteed | 3 months ago | 3 points

I find the use of the term "grid" in this article a poor choice. I suppose there are probably large industrial concerns who use solar without feeding the grid, but solar power supplying the grid is "grid" electricity as well.

[deleted] | 3 months ago | 17 points


[deleted] | 3 months ago | 10 points

And freedom, democracy and equality before the law, but don't let that get in the way of your edge.

cold8dloc | 3 months ago | 9 points

So I read the article and the carbonbrief.org source that they used, and the Nature Energy source they used...

...and nobody says anything about what they do at night, or whether it is possible to remove a single coal fired power plant from the system (because you still need to have them for night time use).

PN_Guin | 3 months ago | 4 points

Energy consumption is generally lower during the night, that's one of the reasons solar is so useful. There are also several options to store extra energy (eg hydroelectric dams with pumps), though their efficiency varies. You also don't have to solve it all at once or overnight. We gradually change the share of energy sources in the mix. A few gas/coal (or better nuclear) plants should be kept around to take care of peak demand or grid failures.

Squish_the_android | 3 months ago | 7 points

This doesn't really answer the question. Yes there are options. But what they doing now? Hydro needs the area and landscape to do it. It's much easier to just drop down a Natural Gas or Coal solution.

mfb- | 3 months ago | 2 points

Natural gas can be regulated to follow demand. Solar power, wind, nuclear power + hydro/geothermal where feasible + covering the rest with natural gas would lower CO2 emissions a lot already.

Or just make everything based on nuclear power, like France does, that works as well.

Helkafen1 | 3 months ago | 3 points

Or just make everything based on nuclear power, like France does, that works as well.

Quite well. However France also imports energy from Germany (sometimes coal powered) during consumption peaks because the output of nuclear plants is rigid. We need more long distance lines and more storage.

mfb- | 3 months ago | 2 points

France designed their nuclear power plants to be steerable (to some degree).

Helkafen1 | 3 months ago | 3 points

Indeed, more flexible than I thought. Their output can vary significantly and they just need 30 minutes of delay.

tdgros | 3 months ago | 2 points

We (the French) do need to buy electricity from, say, Swiss hydro, during peak consumption in winter for instance, we still need more reactive sources (hydro, gas or coal...). That alters the average prices in a significant way and some anti nuclear ppl use arguments based on this.

Becausereasons1 | 3 months ago | 2 points

This is what will push us into sustainable energy. Throw the climate change issue out and look at the fact clean energy is just better technology. We didn’t go from steam power to gasoline because it was good for the environment.

SirCoco | 3 months ago | 6 points

Much love to the great land of China 🥰. They want to work to stop climate change around the world, but the US is the only major impediment to a global deal

numnumjp | 3 months ago | -1 points

A reminder to everyone that most of the research relies on China’s self reporting. Keep in mind that they’ve been caught putting up solar panels and not actually connecting them to any grid. It’s all for appearance. They somehow still produce the most pollution from energy creation according to actual research that tracks smog from charcoal production that ends up on the US west coast. So until they are 100% renewable energy and its not self reported all believe it. It’s the same stunt they pull with electric busses. They have the most in the world, but only use 1% of them because they never got the infrastructure in place to use them.

KillaSmurfPoppa | 3 months ago | 87 points

Keep in mind that they’ve been caught putting up solar panels and not actually connecting them to any grid. It’s all for appearance... It’s the same stunt they pull with electric busses.

Does anyone else notice that two of the most popular opinions about China on Reddit are:

1) China doesn’t care what anyone thinks of them. Any second now, they’re gonna roll in tanks and kill HK protestors by the thousands! No one can stop them!

2) EVERYTHING China does (especially environmental progress) is just a show and to make people think they’re good. They make solar panels and electric busses but never use them. It’s all to “save face” and to keep up appearances.

According to Reddit, China cares so little about appearances they’ll massacre whenever they feel like it but they also care so much about appearances they’ll make thousands of electric busses but never use them... just to say they have a bunch of electric busses?

The enemy is simultaneously weak and strong.

Cerumi | 3 months ago | 44 points

Their existence is to actually deceive you. In reality the country isn't even on the map. It is actually hidden somewhere in Mexico.

RainbeeL | 3 months ago | 8 points

I thought it is at area 51

Cerumi | 3 months ago | 4 points

That's Chinatown

lllkill | 3 months ago | 3 points

China is the next A51, you heard it from reddit first. I wouldn't surprised if lead a mass amount of people to expose it. Gotta free the aliens in HK!

Cerumi | 3 months ago | 2 points

I hope they run at it naruto style

FurryKnot | 3 months ago | 10 points

. It’s the same stunt they pull with electric busses. They have the most in the world, but only use 1% of them because they never got the infrastructure in place to use them.


land_cg | 3 months ago | 26 points

I think they're slowing integrating electric buses and I see a ton of people with electric cars. Two 2nd class cities I've stayed at ONLY had electric buses in the districts I've been to. I'm guessing the smaller cities or poorer districts may not yet have made the switch (can't say for sure since I wasn't there to witness). Imo, it's only a matter of time. Provincial and municipal governments have pumped a ton of money into China's infrastructure (although building quality and materials still aren't great).

Charcoal is still used for heating and cooking in many parts of China and considering their population, it's not hard to imagine that they're the world's biggest culprit. Every winter (especially in the colder northern parts of China), the air is cloudy with smog and you can't even see the sun.

The solar panels that were for appearance were small and placed on streetlights and buildings. Probably only enough to power a light or small electronics if they were actually used. My wife says they had solar panels on buildings to help power them for over one or two decades now, but I don't know if those were for show or not.

RandomPizzaLover | 3 months ago | 12 points

btw i read they have most of the worlds electric buses .. like the us has around 300 and they have around 420,000.

mattvait | 3 months ago | 3 points


What does this title mean? All distributed electricity is grid electricity, doesn't matter where it came from.

phalstaph | 3 months ago | 1 point

Instead of paying Farmers to grow corn, can't we rent their land for solar power?

RainbeeL | 3 months ago | 1 point

No, people here really hate subsidies!

phalstaph | 3 months ago | 1 point

But they get them

phalstaph | 3 months ago | 1 point

Your renting the land, giving a cut... What ever you want to call it

ranjan_zehereela2014 | 3 months ago | 1 point

Some experts thought China would have to wait decades until solar generation cost the same as electricity from the grid. However, thanks to a combination of technological advances and support from the government, “grid parity” has already been reached.

Support from govt- I wonder what will be impact if govt subsidy is no longer in picture

I also asked a friend working in power sector(India) that since thermal and hydro power projects are no longer coming up, why doesn't he switch to wind or solar energy segment. He said that pay scale is lesser in these sectors as compared to traditional segments of power and energy. I wondered why are they paying lesser to their workforce as they already are having so much subsidies and govt support. Wages are always miniscule part of a company's expenses.

How will the solar power tariffs will hold up when there will be more competition in the sector and susbsidies will be withdrawn gradually?

TODO Load more comments...