The Apple Pips

Inside All Apple Products

Tag: cost (Page 1 of 2)

Solar now costs 6¢ per kilowatt-hour, beating government goal by 3 years

Enlarge / From the Department of Energy: "This photo shows the construction phase of a 16.5 MW DC solar farm built in Oxford, MA. This 130-acre property was previously known as the largest piggery in Massachusetts." (credit: Lucas Faria/ US Department of Energy)

On Tuesday, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that utility-grade solar panels have hit cost targets set for 2020, three years ahead of schedule. Those targets reflect around $1 per watt and 6¢ per kilowatt-hour in Kansas City, the department’s mid-range yardstick for solar panel cost per unit of energy produced (New York is considered the high-cost end, and Phoenix, Arizona, which has much more sunlight than most other major cities in the country, reflects the low-cost end).

Those prices don’t include an Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which makes solar panels even cheaper. The Energy Department said that the cost per watt was assessed in terms of total installed system costs for developers. That means the number is based on "the sales price paid to the installer; therefore, it includes profit in the cost of the hardware," according to a department presentation (PDF).

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a DOE-funded lab that assesses solar panel cost, wrote that, compared to the first quarter in 2016, the first quarter in 2017 saw a 29-percent decline in installed cost for utility-scale solar, which was attributed to lower photovoltaic module and inverter prices, better panel efficiency, and reduced labor costs. Despite the plummeting costs for utility-scale solar, costs for commercial and residential solar panels have not fallen quite as quickly—just 15 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Apple to remove signature Fifth Avenue glass cube at cost of up to $2M

Article Image

In the process of renovating its flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York City, Apple will have to dismantle the famous glass cube that sits over top, according to recently published building permits.

Hulu’s live TV service may cost $40 per month, with full cloud DVR functions extra

Article Image

Hulu's incoming live TV service is rumored start at $39.99 per month, but cord-cutters wanting access to all features including a fully-functional cloud DVR will probably have to pay extra.

NASA chief: Apollo engineers who criticize SLS don’t grok modern rocketry

Charles Bolden flew on the space shuttle four times. (credit: NASA)

It was nearing the end of a two-hour Appropriations subcommittee hearing in the US House of Representatives when Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) asked NASA Administrator Charles Bolden an interesting question. The question referred to comments Chris Kraft made a few years ago in an interview with the Houston Chronicle, in which he said that the operating costs of NASA's large Space Launch System rocket "will eat NASA alive."

Kraft, the agency's original flight director, and the man for whom NASA's mission control is named, is skeptical of the plan to build a very large rocket with a similar capability to the Saturn V used by Apollo program. He and a number of Apollo engineers are concerned that NASA can't afford to fly the expensive rocket more than once every other year and that a lack of missions will have dangerous consequences for the rocket's reliability. Some, like Kraft, have argued that NASA should cede rocket-building to private companies like the United Launch Alliance and SpaceX, which have demonstrated an ability to do so safely and at a lower cost.

After summarizing this idea, Honda asked Bolden, "How do you respond to these sorts of concerns about the Space Launch System, and what is NASA doing to work with industry and government partners to develop a spectrum of missions beyond EM-1 and EM-2 to fully utilize this enormous national asset?"

The administrator's response began by praising Kraft as a role model and a mentor. "He was my center director when I was first became an astronaut and went to the Johnson Space Center," Bolden said while showing emotion. "He is an incredible human being." However, Bolden added that Kraft's criticisms were premised on misinformation. "His statement about SLS, I think, and I cannot speak for Dr. Kraft, I think a lot of people's statements like that are based on how we operated when they were in charge, or around. That's a long time ago. The SLS represents the best technology that we have today to leave the planet."

Although the SLS rocket does indeed use modern manufacturing processes and sophisticated computer simulations, it is in many ways based on technology from the 1970s. For its initial boost, the SLS will use solid-rocket boosters based on those that performed the same function for the shuttle. The rocket will be powered by four space shuttle main engines, which NASA began developing as far back as 1969.

Bolden then reiterated that Kraft knew more than him about rockets, but he again qualified this praise: "I have the advantage of a team around me that he didn't have," he said. "You have to remember. Most of us forget. I have a very mature leadership team. When Dr. Kraft was in mission control, and when he led the Johnson Space Center, we went to the Moon. Most of the people were 20 years old. They didn't know anything."

This was a somewhat curious statement about a generation that knew enough to get humans to the Moon. Kraft and other early leaders of the Mercury Program, who wrote flight rules in the late 1950s and early 1960s, were making it up as they went along. They helped to create human spaceflight. But by the time of the Apollo program, Kraft and his flight directors were mostly in their late 20s and 30s. Kraft himself was 45 years old when the Apollo 11 mission landed on the Moon. Later, Kraft directed the Johnson Space Center from 1972 to 1982, when the shuttle was developed and initially flown.

During his long career at NASA, Kraft was deeply involved in every rocket NASA developed to put humans into space: the Redstone and Atlas rockets used in Mercury, the Titan II rockets used during the Gemini program, the Saturn V used during the Apollo program, and the space shuttle. While Bolden may certainly have a mature leadership team at NASA, it does not seem plausible to argue that any of its members have more experience with human launch vehicles than Kraft or many others of the Apollo generation.

Honda, however, was apparently satisfied with Bolden's answer. "I just needed to ask the question to clear out some of the questions I had," he said. The explanation, he indicated, was good.

Read on Ars Technica | Comments

Square files for IPO, says a single client cost it $5.7 million due to fraud

Square’s new EMV reader.

On Wednesday, mobile payments processing company Square filed for an initial public offering (IPO), although it kept how much money it plans to raise and how many shares it plans to offer confidential.

The filing, however, offers an inside look at the financials of the increasingly popular point-of-sale (POS) company, which has gained a foothold in a traditionally slow-moving market by making customers out of coffee shops and boutique stores that might normally only accept cash.

Under the “Risk Factors” section of the form that Square is required to fill out for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company noted a number of concerns that potential investors might have, but one risk factor that stuck out involved how Square addresses fraud.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén