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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-18-2007, 01:19 PM   #21
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

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Originally Posted by Sam
One last question: Would you have done it if there were no tax break/credit?
Heck yeah. The equipment life outlasts the capex payback time, and that assumes that the price per KWHr stays constant for the next couple decades.

Think of it as an investment-- our PV array is paying at least a 5% dividend.

The tax credits just bring the profits faster, even more quickly than energy inflation...
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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-18-2007, 02:07 PM   #22
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

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One last question: Would you have done it if there were no tax break/credit?
Maybe. Rebates and tax breaks cut the capital cost by almost 50%. The decision without those breaks would have been more from a technogeek and environmental perspective, without my LBYM side adding "Go ahead, it makes solid economic sense too!" In that case a PenFed CD and a monthly PG&E bill would have made more strict economic sense, probably.
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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-18-2007, 03:14 PM   #23
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

How much did you spend to get a 10 year payback This is both the cost of the system and your utility bills

I ask because I just don't see it.... OR I am looking at a bigger system than I need..

My total cost for electricity last year was $1,350. They suggest a system that costs as 'low' as $20,000 up to $35,000. Well, 5% of $20,000 is $1,000... so unless my cost of electricity goes below $350 I break even... NO payback.. and if I get to pay nothing... then taking $350 off the $20K is going to take a LONG time to pay back...
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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-18-2007, 03:26 PM   #24
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

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My total cost for electricity last year was $1,350. They suggest a system that costs as 'low' as $20,000 up to $35,000. Well, 5% of $20,000 is $1,000... so unless my cost of electricity goes below $350 I break even... NO payback.. and if I get to pay nothing... then taking $350 off the $20K is going to take a LONG time to pay back...
Payback is usually calculated with no return on investment (your 5%). So if your electricity bill went to zero, you'd get a 15 year payback on $20,000. So yeah, without a rebate or tax credits, your ROI would be less than 5%, assuming a low inflation rate for power costs. But if rebates and tax credits cut your upfront costs in half, then you'd have a nice looking project.
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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-18-2007, 03:31 PM   #25
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud
How much did you spend to get a 10 year payback This is both the cost of the system and your utility bills
I ask because I just don't see it.... OR I am looking at a bigger system than I need..
Well, for starters we're paying 21 cents/KWHr on Oahu.

http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...8978#msg138978

When you finish reading that link, remember-- you asked.
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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-20-2007, 03:41 PM   #26
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

I've been considering the option of setting up a solar system and understand I can use a non battery system and just sell electricity to the power company to offset my usage. I was wondering if this is really viable for the power companies or do they have to do this because the goverment mandates this option A consisderation since long term who nows what deregulation and goverment policy will bring.
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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-20-2007, 04:49 PM   #27
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

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I was wondering if this is really viable for the power companies or do they have to do this because the goverment mandates this option A consisderation since long term who nows what deregulation and goverment policy will bring.
I think California has had plenty of experience with "deregulation"...

The power companies are delighted to have customers providing peak backup power for them. Every KW on someone's rooftop helps the utility delay the design, permits, and construction of another power plant for a few more minutes.

The state & federal subsidies make solar a better deal than ever.
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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-20-2007, 05:43 PM   #28
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

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I think California has had plenty of experience with "deregulation"...
Mmmm...YEAH! We got to pay a lot more for electricity for several years, with no clear or obvious benefits. Any 'competition' or 'options' pretty much dried up in short order. Now we're almost back to where we used to be on the price curve.
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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-20-2007, 10:52 PM   #29
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

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Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Mmmm...YEAH! We got to pay a lot more for electricity for several years, with no clear or obvious benefits. Any 'competition' or 'options' pretty much dried up in short order. Now we're almost back to where we used to be on the price curve.
I only followed the issues a bit in the news a few years ago, it is coming closer to home now in IL.

Wasn't the problem in CA that they partially deregulated? Didn't they limit what companies could sell KWH for, but made them pay on the open market? So, when cost exceeded the limit on the selling price, they just shut down? That was my understanding, but I could be way off.

We pay about $.08 KWH in IL. They say rates will go up in 2007 and following years. I am OK with reasonable rate increases if it helps to ensure a steady supply of power. I am afraid our state gov is going to try to cap prices to 'protect' the voters, only to expose them to the risk of having their power shut off.

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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-21-2007, 12:40 AM   #30
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

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Wasn't the problem in CA that they partially deregulated?
The way I understand it, the problem was that the deregulation process set up market conditions that were too easy to manipulate. The spot market was set up kind of like a Dutch auction, where the highest winning bid at any given time period was the price paid to everyone. When demand approached supply, the price of power skyrocketed since it was the last bit of very expensive power that controlled everyone's price. So if a company pulled one of their units out of service at a time of peak demand, they could really drive the price of spot power through the roof. And that's what they did, since the market controls were too immature to foresee all the ways that it could be accomplished in a complexly interconnected power grid.

Think of all the abuses that have slowly been eliminated from other industries over the past century through regulation of markets (monopolistic practices, labor abuses, book-cooking, etc). Well, the deregulated power industry was in its infancy, and they didn't get the market conditions right to avoid abuses in California. Once they get the ground rules right, a deregulated power market will probably work.
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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-21-2007, 09:15 AM   #31
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

In a nutshell, californias state legislature passed bill 1890, which was laden with faulty assumptions. The state partially implemented the bill, which resulted in the utilities divesting about half of their production capabilities to a state operated independent operator entity. Over the next few years, no significant new capacity was added since nobody wanted to put the money into it while things were in flux. Then we got hit with the hottest summer in roughly a century and ran out of juice. Enron kicked in to help out by creating artificial brown/blackouts to drive up the demand and spot prices. The state caved and backed off the plan as it became aware of the massive faults in the plan and realized that continuing down this path was suicidal.

So actually california never fully deregulated. Just hopped into the middle of the power production process, $#%^'ed it up, then hopped out.

For a short time you could choose from a variety of power producers, all plugged into "the grid" and pay different rates for the pleasure...all of them higher than buying from the grid operator itself. A very small # of people started buying from 'renewable'/'clean' sourced power for 1.5-2x the cost, but it wasnt many.
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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-21-2007, 04:55 PM   #32
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

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Originally Posted by scrinch
Think of all the abuses that have slowly been eliminated from other industries over the past century through regulation of markets (monopolistic practices, labor abuses, book-cooking, etc). Well, the deregulated power industry was in its infancy, and they didn't get the market conditions right to avoid abuses in California. Once they get the ground rules right, a deregulated power market will probably work.
Lowenstein's Enron book detailed all the ways those guys gamed the market. They sat down with the legislation, spend weeks parsing it, and even asked the authorities for clarification. Then they proceeded to clean up.

They should've put Enron in charge of the system. Sorta like putting Joe Kennedy, one of Wall Street's worst criminals, in charge of the SEC.
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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-22-2007, 11:25 AM   #33
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

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Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny

So actually california never fully deregulated. Just hopped into the middle of the power production process, $#%^'ed it up, then hopped out.
Thanks for the summary. I'll need to read up on the details here in IL. Off hand, they might have learned a little from CA.

As I understand it, they run a reverse auction. They state the total KWH they want to contract for the year (or whatever time frame they use), then, they start at the low end and ask for companies to submit the amount of KWH that they will provide at that price. At each step, if 100% of their need is not filled, they raise the bid offer until they get commitments for the total energy they need. The consumer will be charged based on the total average cost.

Sounds reasonable, but, as always, the devil is in the details.

-ERD50
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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-22-2007, 09:28 PM   #34
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

Having sat in my living room with the temps running around 112 while watching the news reports of rolling brownouts and blackouts, and hoping to god the lights and AC would stay on...I'm fine with paying a little extra for my electricity and making it a 'sure thing'.

Cuz it doesnt cool off much here at night, and attempting to sleep in 100 degree weather is high on my list of "stuff that sucks".

Having lived in New England most of my life, I'd say the folks up that way would feel the same way about the heat in january/february.
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Re: off the grid with solar energy
Old 01-26-2007, 11:56 PM   #35
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Re: off the grid with solar energy

with all of the advances in solar technology getting closer to the market place I'm going to wait a few more years.
check out http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...arplastic.html

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