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  #101  
Old 08-11-2011, 11:16 PM
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Solar panels are great, but to be truly responsible, it would make sense to look at that payoff time WITHOUT the incentives (still around 8-9 years I think) - y'know, to keep us taxpayers from footing your electric bill.. :-)
I don't feel irresponsible at all -- after all, us taxpayers working at home help foot the highway bills for the rest of you.

On a more serious side, taxpayers helped foot my electric bill before I added solar, but they probably didn't know it. We taxpayers subsidize most forms of energy, probably much more so than most people think. I took a quick look at one site to find that the SolarPowerRocks site has a list of 2007 subsidies (and a link to the article they took the info from), right below a Colbert Report video about hydraulic fracking. They also have this older entry about subsidies. A quick Google search on federal energy subsidies resulted in quite a few articles, some focusing only on the cost per unit of energy (low for established fuels that don't seem to even need subsidies) and some showing both the cost per unit and the total dollars spent (high for established fuels that don't need subsidies in order to be profitable). So, I really don't feel bad about solar incentives, which are less than petroleum subsidies.

- Andy
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  #102  
Old 08-12-2011, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opus4 View Post
I don't feel irresponsible at all -- after all, us taxpayers working at home help foot the highway bills for the rest of you.

On a more serious side, taxpayers helped foot my electric bill before I added solar, but they probably didn't know it. We taxpayers subsidize most forms of energy, probably much more so than most people think. I took a quick look at one site to find that the SolarPowerRocks site has a list of 2007 subsidies (and a link to the article they took the info from), right below a Colbert Report video about hydraulic fracking. They also have this older entry about subsidies. A quick Google search on federal energy subsidies resulted in quite a few articles, some focusing only on the cost per unit of energy (low for established fuels that don't seem to even need subsidies) and some showing both the cost per unit and the total dollars spent (high for established fuels that don't need subsidies in order to be profitable). So, I really don't feel bad about solar incentives, which are less than petroleum subsidies.

- Andy
I wasn't debating about whether taxpayers subsidies should be available or not, or whether they've been around before solar. I just mean to consider if solar is really as great as it seems (in comparison to other energy sources), the evaluation should be without subsidy considerations. For instance, here in so cal, it would probably payoff in a quicker time if I installed a natural gas generator for my daytime peak loads, than it would with solar. It is this small savings difference that cause the solar companies to lobby for the subsidies.
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  #103  
Old 08-12-2011, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Fuzzy View Post
I wasn't debating about whether taxpayers subsidies should be available or not, or whether they've been around before solar. I just mean to consider if solar is really as great as it seems (in comparison to other energy sources), the evaluation should be without subsidy considerations. For instance, here in so cal, it would probably payoff in a quicker time if I installed a natural gas generator for my daytime peak loads, than it would with solar. It is this small savings difference that cause the solar companies to lobby for the subsidies.
But, it is hard to do that completely non-subsidized comparison because the other energy sources are subsidized too, though most of the older fuel types are subsidized at fewer $ per energy unit, even though they get more total $. However, if you want to discount the entire solar incentive program here in NJ, then it doesn't seem financially worthwhile at all. After getting rid of the 30% federal income tax credit (paid for via taxes) and the SREC program (paid by utility companies by charging higher electric rates), then pay back is probably in the 20+/- year range taking into account rising electric rates & financing costs. I have no idea how much shorter that time period would be if there were also no forms of subsidies for all other energy sources.

The SRECs are the biggest factor and delay the payback period if SREC prices fall dramatically (which is possible, so this isn't risk free). If you remove SRECs entirely, payback adds 10+ years; if you remove the federal tax credit while leaving SRECs, payback only takes another couple years.

- Andy
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  #104  
Old 08-12-2011, 09:13 AM
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And that's exactly my point. Solar doesn't really pay for itself if the payback for the panels is near the lifetime of the panels. It ends up being a wash, and the only true benefit is the environmental impact. Ultimately, it may help out in 20-30 years if it leads to a lighter electrical grid (resulting in a lower overall distribution cost), but for that to have and real effect, it would require a MUCH larger percentage of the grid to be distributed from solar.

If we are going to commit taxpayer dollars to energy subsidies, I believe we'd gain much more in subsidizing smarter energy use, than distributed energy distribution. How much savings could be made through neighborhood level district cooling plants? They could be built cheaply, and run so much more efficiently than small residential cooling systems. Implementing stratified chilled water storage tanks would shift the load to off-peak hours. A system like this could be easily packaged and easily installed, replacing the in-home evaporator coil with a chilled water coil and control valve. Billing to the shared neighborhood account would be based on BTU's used, aggregated, and be a weighted distribution of the operating costs of the plant.
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  #105  
Old 08-12-2011, 09:24 AM
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I forgot to say that the payback time in CA is probably shorter, since I think the electric rates are much higher than in NJ. As fuel costs go up, I expect electric rates to go up here. Solar costs are coming down and are currently more than $1 less per watt than when when I first looked at it last fall.

- Andy
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  #106  
Old 08-20-2011, 12:47 PM
darjeeling darjeeling is offline
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I've been a long time lurker on the forums since I got my HD-200 back in 2008. It'd be great to keep in contact with the community after the recent SageTV acquisition.

Add me:

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  #107  
Old 10-02-2011, 06:19 PM
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A little late to the party, but...

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  #108  
Old 10-04-2011, 08:08 AM
rrhorer rrhorer is offline
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Originally Posted by Opus4 View Post
We taxpayers subsidize most forms of energy, probably much more so than most people think. I took a quick look at one site to find that the SolarPowerRocks site has a list of 2007 subsidies (and a link to the article they took the info from), right below a Colbert Report video about hydraulic fracking. ...
So, I really don't feel bad about solar incentives, which are less than petroleum subsidies.

- Andy
I couldn't find the article you referenced; but I've worked in the power industry for 42 years, including 30 years as a consultant for clients around the country. I've been involved in project feasibility, siting, financing, etc. for every type of fuel, including wind energy and large-scale solar. The subsidies for wind and solar (renewable energy credits or RECs and production tax credits) are quite substantial. The renewables would not make it otherwise. However, whatever info you are relying on for your assessment of other fuels is clearly misleading. Sure, there are the petroleum subsidies to find more oil. These subsidies are so insignificant by any rational comparison, that it would be funny if it weren't so critical to the security threats caused by our dependence on foreign sources of energy. At the power utitlity level, NO subsidies were available until the carbon tax types in California and elsewhere bought in to cap-and-trade. This was done to get buy-in for its implementation. The utilties are subsidized what the carbon offset will cost them so they won't mind dumping their coal generation. The taxpayer gets stuck with the cost of carbon offset subsidies (these are not fuel subsidies). In Texas, which has developed by far the most wind energy, the wind generators frequently have to pay millions to generate energy. This occurs because they only get subsidized for energy that is actually produced (Google "ERCOT wind energy negative pricing"). Finally, with its new 33% RPS (renewable portfolio standard), California is heading for its second major politically-caused energy fiasco. A high percentage of renewables may sound great to the lay person; but the technical issues (particularly, the lack of practical storage solutions) will kick in well before 33% is acheived; and California may fin itself needing power resources once again.

Sorry for the rant; but you hit an exposed nerve.
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  #109  
Old 10-04-2011, 09:08 AM
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tmiranda tmiranda is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrhorer View Post
I couldn't find the article you referenced; but I've worked in the power industry for 42 years, including 30 years as a consultant for clients around the country. I've been involved in project feasibility, siting, financing, etc. for every type of fuel, including wind energy and large-scale solar. The subsidies for wind and solar (renewable energy credits or RECs and production tax credits) are quite substantial. The renewables would not make it otherwise. However, whatever info you are relying on for your assessment of other fuels is clearly misleading. Sure, there are the petroleum subsidies to find more oil. These subsidies are so insignificant by any rational comparison, that it would be funny if it weren't so critical to the security threats caused by our dependence on foreign sources of energy. At the power utitlity level, NO subsidies were available until the carbon tax types in California and elsewhere bought in to cap-and-trade. This was done to get buy-in for its implementation. The utilties are subsidized what the carbon offset will cost them so they won't mind dumping their coal generation. The taxpayer gets stuck with the cost of carbon offset subsidies (these are not fuel subsidies). In Texas, which has developed by far the most wind energy, the wind generators frequently have to pay millions to generate energy. This occurs because they only get subsidized for energy that is actually produced (Google "ERCOT wind energy negative pricing"). Finally, with its new 33% RPS (renewable portfolio standard), California is heading for its second major politically-caused energy fiasco. A high percentage of renewables may sound great to the lay person; but the technical issues (particularly, the lack of practical storage solutions) will kick in well before 33% is acheived; and California may fin itself needing power resources once again.

Sorry for the rant; but you hit an exposed nerve.
Always good to hear a voice of reason.
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  #110  
Old 10-05-2011, 09:38 AM
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G+ rocks !!

please circle me: http://gplus.to/FrederikFuchs

greetings from sw-germany
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  #111  
Old 10-27-2011, 11:44 PM
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FYI:

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Google apps now can access google plus.
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  #112  
Old 11-12-2011, 11:44 PM
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please include me in the circle: http://gplus.to/guho. Thanks!
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  #113  
Old 11-14-2011, 08:33 AM
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very late, but I'm here :

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  #114  
Old 11-14-2011, 11:37 AM
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Are any Sage'rs actually using G+? I don't mean "have an account", I mean "actively posting".

Perhaps i'm just not in peoples circles, but me & a few other non Sage'rs are pretty active, but out of 11 people I have from SageTV, I had to go back to October 8th to find a post by someone other than Brent.
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  #115  
Old 11-14-2011, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by IVB View Post
Are any Sage'rs actually using G+? I don't mean "have an account", I mean "actively posting".

Perhaps i'm just not in peoples circles, but me & a few other non Sage'rs are pretty active, but out of 11 people I have from SageTV, I had to go back to October 8th to find a post by someone other than Brent.
I am very active
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  #116  
Old 11-14-2011, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by IVB View Post
Are any Sage'rs actually using G+? I don't mean "have an account", I mean "actively posting".

Perhaps i'm just not in peoples circles, but me & a few other non Sage'rs are pretty active, but out of 11 people I have from SageTV, I had to go back to October 8th to find a post by someone other than Brent.
My Sage circle has 111 people in it. You might need to add some
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  #117  
Old 11-14-2011, 12:04 PM
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My Sage circle has 111 people in it. You might need to add some
Wow, you know 111 people just for Sage?

http://gplus.to/MrVivekB is me.
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  #118  
Old 11-14-2011, 01:39 PM
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I got lazy....rarely open either Facebook or Circles... :/
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  #119  
Old 11-15-2011, 07:29 AM
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Yeah-I check it but don't post much.

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  #120  
Old 11-17-2011, 09:37 AM
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I can't figure out this G+ thing, but I'm interested.

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