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Old 09-16-2016, 04:05 PM   #141
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Some in Congress have some "concerns" about how the tax breaks have been used. The solar companies say all is well. From today's WSJ (subscription may be required):



It sounds like the issue is the transfer of tax credits from the solar companies to investors. Maybe not relevant to residential systems?
It's exactly the residential leases that are the issue. These companies place the panels on the roof of a residence, lease the panels to the property owner or sell the electricity to the owner, and get the tax credit.
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Old 09-16-2016, 04:14 PM   #142
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It's exactly the residential leases that are the issue. These companies place the panels on the roof of a residence, lease the panels to the property owner or sell the electricity to the owner, and get the tax credit.
Thanks. Well, the solar tax credit is supremely inefficient anyway, it matters little into which pocket the taxpayer's money is stuffed.
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Old 09-16-2016, 06:28 PM   #143
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It matters to me, I want it stuffed into my pocket -

I bought it, I payed for it and I want my credit!
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Old 09-17-2016, 06:37 AM   #144
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It will be interesting to see what gets past the PUC for the new net metering contract. In Arizona, APS and SRP all but shut down residential solar installations. SRP added a $30 monthly demand charge in 2014. APS and the Tucson utility have gone to the Arizona Corporations Commission for rate increases that will affect solar customers.

Oddly, APS is soliciting residential customers for rooftop installations. The customer gets a $30 a month credit for accepting the panels. In an area where summer electric bills are routinely $300 a month or more, that's not much incentive.
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Old 09-20-2016, 12:17 PM   #145
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I am online and have generated my first KWH of energy. I am using negative power on the smart meter and the KWH total is decreasing. All monitoring is working (computer and smart phone app) and all looks good. PTO came in today and when I flipped the 2 breakers everything worked. In under the wire, only 170 MW left now in PG&E NEM 1.0, and I'm on the E6 plan!

I did this with 1 bid and yes the cost seemed high at $16,906 for a 3.6 KW install but it is the latest Sunpower stuff with microinverters and I find that it really isn't that high. According to this from the state, I am under the average cost of $5.30/watt, only $4.70 -

Life is good!
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:43 PM   #146
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I was offered $3.69 a watt from another contractor for a 5.13 kW system with SolarWorld panels and microinverters plus Enphase equipment. I was past the cutoff for E-6 TOU when I inquired, but I probably would have taken the deal, except they would not guarantee a PTO by the time NEM 1.0 expired.

I expect NEM 2.0 to be unfavorable to the customer and likely there will be many fewer installations. Arizona installations have all but dried up with the introduction of various fees. The price will have to drop significantly to get my interest.
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:13 PM   #147
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Arizona installations have all but dried up with the introduction of various fees.
That's not quite true. While installations in SRP territory have dwindled since demand fees were instituted, the other major utility, APS, has not had their rate case heard so as long as you get installed before sometime likely in 2017, the existing net metering rules will apply for 20 years.
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:58 PM   #148
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The only way I would consider solar is when storage batteries come down enough to be able to be almost totally off grid.
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Old 09-20-2016, 03:13 PM   #149
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The only way I would consider solar is when storage batteries come down enough to be able to be almost totally off grid.
Why would you want to be off-grid? The grid provides an inexpensive buffer for solar panels.

The economics of solar are pretty questionable, even with most subsidies - batteries would need to be (nearly?) free to compete with the grid. And they need to be replaced in a few years.

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Old 09-20-2016, 04:12 PM   #150
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Why would you want to be off-grid? The grid provides an inexpensive buffer for solar panels.
Where there is a grid. But if off-grid electricity can be cheap and reliable, it would open up lots of potential new residential locations away from the power lines. Running AC to a remote property can be very expensive. Water (well), septic, and even cell-based data services are much more broadly available, and it's generally practical to truck-in propane or oil for heat. Often electric power is the only missing "essential."
So, I'd be in the same boat as Just Steve--because only a solar electric system with battery backup gives me something worth the cost--the ability to use a lower-cost, more rural site.
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Old 09-20-2016, 04:30 PM   #151
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Where there is a grid. But if off-grid electricity can be cheap and reliable, it would open up lots of potential new residential locations away from the power lines. Running AC to a remote property can be very expensive. Water (well), septic, and even cell-based data services are much more broadly available, and it's generally practical to truck-in propane or oil for heat. Often electric power is the only missing "essential."
So, I'd be in the same boat as Just Steve--because only a solar electric system with battery backup gives me something worth the cost--the ability to use a lower-cost, more rural site.
Agreed, but he said " to be able to be almost totally off grid. ". Implying he still had a grid connection. So I don't get it.

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Old 09-20-2016, 04:48 PM   #152
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Agreed, but he said " to be able to be almost totally off grid. ". Implying he still had a grid connection. So I don't get it.

-ERD50
To not be beholden to the extortionist power company.

Grid meaning power grid, not in the boonies type of grid.
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Old 09-20-2016, 04:59 PM   #153
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I need the grid, the AC will not work w/o it. With AC on and the rest of the house running I have seen demand of over 4 KW. It's running now and when I look I'm drawing 1.6 KW, so the solar is making 2.4.

Of course the AC is not even running half the time so when it's not I'm spinning the meter backward. It's really pretty cool -
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Old 09-20-2016, 06:25 PM   #154
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Image you got paid the price for electricity you put into the grid that the utility pays the big generator and transmission line company, not the retail price. That might be .05 to .07 per kwh. Essentially the issue is that if you draw for 1 min peak power the distribution system has to be sized to handle it. Thus the movement to more fixed charges or in some cases the model used in commercial power where there is a demand charge as well as an energy charges (Part of your bill is based upon the peak demand for electricity over say 15 mins, because that controls the investment needed in the distribution system.
Here is a link to a piece from a local electric coop which says where I live its a 15 to 24 year payout for solar: Renewable Energy | Central Texas Electric Cooperative

Note the piece also suggests that here solar systems don't generally have a net contribution to the grid over a year (they average over the year and true up once a year).
Note that today it was announced that utility scale solar in Dubai is down to .025/kwh and in Mexico .029/kwh. Austin Tx bought some at .04/kwh also. I suspect that rather than roof top solar, the trend might be utility scale solar. Given the economics cited above, the long pay out for roof top solar makes little sense without taxpayer subsidy (or ratepayer subsidy which is basically a tax).
Off grid living is doable, there are lots of TV shows on it, it does require different appliances (generally smaller), but of course led lights make it much more doable.
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Old 09-20-2016, 06:45 PM   #155
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Given the economics cited above, the long pay out for roof top solar makes little sense without taxpayer subsidy (or ratepayer subsidy which is basically a tax).
In the big picture, residential rooftop solar makes zero sense with or without subsidies. It's among the most expensive ways to produce solar electric power.
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Old 09-20-2016, 07:14 PM   #156
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To not be beholden to the extortionist power company.

Grid meaning power grid, not in the boonies type of grid.
How is it 'extortion'? You yourself said you can't do it cheaper yourself. To me, it sounds like they offer a great product at a great price.

I get all the kWh I need for ~ $0.10 per kWh, and it is very reliable (a few short outages per year maybe).

Now, if you did have a cheaper alternative, and were not allowed to disconnect from the grid and forced to buy their product, I might understand.

-ERD50
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Old 09-20-2016, 07:17 PM   #157
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I need the grid, the AC will not work w/o it. With AC on and the rest of the house running I have seen demand of over 4 KW. It's running now and when I look I'm drawing 1.6 KW, so the solar is making 2.4.

Of course the AC is not even running half the time so when it's not I'm spinning the meter backward. It's really pretty cool -
Actually the bigger problem is the starting inrush current needed when larger motors start. If you look for example at a fridge you typically need 2 to 3x the capacity in a generator that the fridge while running takes. Power needed during the start of an AC unit could be up to 10kw (for maybe 1/2 second)
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Old 09-20-2016, 07:27 PM   #158
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In the big picture, residential rooftop solar makes zero sense with or without subsidies. It's among the most expensive ways to produce solar electric power.
Perhaps the model the San Antonio city utility is using of it installing the rooftop solar and giving a reduction in the utility bill in the form of rent for using the roof. Although even in this program the subsidy decreases as more units are installed. It started out as a $1.20 per watt but has been decreasing. This model does not require any outlay from the homeowner, and the utility can choose where it wants to put the panels for grid stability purposes.

Note that currently this model pays .03/kwh generated.
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Old 09-20-2016, 07:48 PM   #159
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How is it 'extortion'? You yourself said you can't do it cheaper yourself. To me, it sounds like they offer a great product at a great price.

I get all the kWh I need for ~ $0.10 per kWh, and it is very reliable (a few short outages per year maybe).

Now, if you did have a cheaper alternative, and were not allowed to disconnect from the grid and forced to buy their product, I might understand.

-ERD50
OK, maybe a poor word choice. But I would be more than happy to generate my own power if I could.
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Old 09-20-2016, 08:06 PM   #160
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Perhaps the model the San Antonio city utility is using of it installing the rooftop solar and giving a reduction in the utility bill in the form of rent for using the roof. Although even in this program the subsidy decreases as more units are installed. It started out as a $1.20 per watt but has been decreasing. This model does not require any outlay from the homeowner, and the utility can choose where it wants to put the panels for grid stability purposes.

Note that currently this model pays .03/kwh generated.
No, the costly/inefficient part is putting these panels on SFH. The small size and unique siting aspects of each house will always make the per watt installation costs and any maintenance costs a lot higher than they should be. Any town with large footprint structures (warehouses, malls, large retail stores, factories, covered parking areas, etc) has locations were solar panels can be installed at lower costs, were they can be optimally inclined for best production, where they will not be shaded, where they are far less likely to be damaged, where they can be easily serviced, and where they can be economically replaced at the end of their service life. Sprinkling these panels around on residential rooftops a few at time is about the least efficient way to get this done (other than the "solar roads" idiocy)
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