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Solar Power Faces Uncertain Future in the U.S.

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by AB4EJ, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. AB4EJ

    AB4EJ Member

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  2. trils0n

    trils0n 2013 P85

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    The solar ITC is one of the most important pieces of renewable energy legislation. I hope it is extended at current levels. If not it will set back solar adoption years, and many solar employees will lose their jobs.
     
  3. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    The ITC obviously helps... but people were buying solar PV systems 3 years ago when costs were ~50% higher than they are today... pretty sure people will keep buying them in 2017... even if the ITC expires PV systems will STILL be significantly cheaper in 2017 w/o the ITC than they were in 2012 with the ITC.

    Subsidies and incentives did their job. Solar PV made it though 'The Valley of Death'... nothing can stop it now.
     
  4. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    I would like to see the ITC set on a smooth, downward path. E.g., lower it from 30% today by 5% each year. Technology costs are falling fast enough that such a slope will not kill the industry. To the contrary, having a clearly defined decay could inspire people to get installations done sooner.
     
  5. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    There are still areas of the country where you need incentives if you want to continue adoption of solar. At 5-7 cents per kWh for nuclear+coal here, creating a payback period - even if you use annuity models on growth of electric prices - can be difficult. As a result, we're very much where California was a decade ago -- very few installers, ones that are pricing primarily based upon the incentives ($4/W is the best price you can find).

    I think a good chunk of the edges of the country (CA, AZ, FL, etc.) have done their jobs, but there's a good chunk of the country that still needs the incentives, IMO.
     
  6. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Yes. That should really have been built into it from the start, with a fairly aggressive beginning year, which can be delayed with legislative action.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Once a good chunk of the country doesn't need incentives, you should already have a stable market that will continue to see improvements that will gradually bring other areas in. Similar to what cars like Model 3, Volt 2 (maybe), Leaf 2, and Bolt will do.
     
  7. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    That's probably true for the equipment (now that the cost of the equipment is significantly down), but it doesn't seem to be driving the market for the labor of installation.
     
  8. cpa

    cpa Member

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    Yes, I agree with you. We installed 2.6 kW of PV panels in 2011 and a second helping of 1.9 kW one year ago after we bought our Tesla. The material costs dropped (off the top of my head) about 15%, but labor costs increased roughly 10%.
     
  9. Bangor Bob

    Bangor Bob Member

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    #9 Bangor Bob, Jul 13, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
    I've seen analysis that sunsetting of the ITC would set US solar installations back between 9-12 months, due purely to the rate of price declines. Unable to find the link at the moment.

    Recent US PPA's have been setting price records. A few weeks ago Austin, TX received 20 year PPA bids as low as $0.042/kWh ($0.0571 without ITC), and now a Nevada utility has reportedly accepted a $0.0387/kWh PPA bid ($0.0533/kWh ex ITC).

    If you're not familiar with the market, only onshore wind is cheaper than this (with some projects bidding under $0.02/kWh these days). Coal can't compete against these prices.

    Lazard-wind-energy2.png

    Austin bids: Worlds Cheapest Solar Power Lands In Austin, Texas -- Under 4¢/kWh! (Sort Of) | CleanTechnica
    NV deal: Price of Solar Hits Record Low Again! | CleanTechnica
     

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  10. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    Definitely good news for the utilities, whose profit margins will be fatter than ever. :) Perhaps the PUC's can use that to drive different rate behaviors in places where rates are nearly 10x that of other areas of the country where cheap power is plentiful.
     
  11. weijing3333

    weijing3333 New Member

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