TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC
Start a Discussionhttps://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/tags/

What's In Your Best Interest?

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by TheTalkingMule, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,532
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Was thinking today about how confusing the march to decentralized energy has been for me. The idea that rooftop solar is now so cheap and yet people are hesitant to adopt is leaving my brain in tatters. Freedom from half the most annoying facts of life is within reach, people are essentially being PAID to take these first steps to that freedom, and yet the wider public resists.

    The technology of the Information Age gave us the ability to act in personal/local/state/national self-interest on energy while still advancing the interests of the whole. At the same time it's given entrenched interests an equally powerful tool to confuse the masses as to what's actually in their best interest. We've been so deeply programmed to believe anything in the interest of broader society will come at a personal cost that we can't see simple truths in front of us.

    People who post on here seem to have a decent idea of our energy future, but I don't think we fully appreciate there's never been a time in human history where pushing for energy/resource policy in your own interest has also almost universally benefited the whole. Pretty amazing to think we've just passed that point in the last few years.

    Coming together on American renewable energy policy will end up being the lever that gets us out of this 40-50 year post-WWII self-centered rut. That's pretty exciting.

    I hope we can all find clarity around what's in our self-interest before we blow ourselves up in the transition.
     
    • Like x 3
  2. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Messages:
    3,621
    Location:
    florida.
    this is a major flaw in the rant. installing solar is NOT cheap for everyone or everywhere like you claim it is. I can't speak for everywhere but here in NE FLA installing solar is not cost effective nor will it generate more than about 2/3 of my needs. the numbers given to me broke out to a 15 year pay out until beginning to break even.
     
    • Like x 2
  3. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,532
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Pardon my wording.....solar tech is cheap everywhere, it's nowhere near cheap to install everywhere.

    I really shouldn't say the public is "resisting" solar, it's more like consensus has been manipulated into assuming it's less than logical. These are early days in the Information Age, a lot of insane things are being passed off as perfectly normal.
     
  4. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Messages:
    3,621
    Location:
    florida.
    unless the costs of installation are factored it is a specious argument.
    without dramatic decrease in hardware costs and some tax incentives, solar power for the home will remain a tough sale.
     
  5. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    Messages:
    2,362
    Location:
    Sonoma, California
    It really depends on if you are all electric or not and how much electricity you consume, I do look at the ROI but not the major factor for me. I detest paying the company that provides me with power because they are the only game in town and the PUC in California is in bed with them. Their marketing is not truthful and I will not support this kind of monopolistic business. So in the end I will spend what I need to to become more independent from them, I can never go off grid but can limit the check I have to write to them every month.
     
    • Like x 2
  6. BerTX

    BerTX Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,695
    Location:
    Texas/Washington
    I had no installation cost for the system I installed in 2012. Due to changes in policy by my utility, I would NOT install solar today. My payback, even at the relatively low cost of my self-installed system, went from 8 years to 40 years in the swipe of some executive's pen.

    I personally would not, from an economic perspective, recommend installing solar for anyone. From every other aspect it is the right thing to do, but economically, no. Even if your utility has a favorable policy at the current time, they can change at any time. True, some locations have more restrictions on utilities, but governments change, bureaucrats change, special interests get involved, and suddenly your great investment becomes a boat anchor.
     
    • Like x 1
  7. Petra

    Petra Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Messages:
    461
    Location:
    Palmdale, CA USA
    As I recall, your rate of return is largely dependent on the rate schedules offered by your local utility and how your state's public utilities commission regulates the power companies. In my case combining a time of use rate schedule, that includes a super off-peak period for EV charging, with net metering resulted in a $15k PV system in 2013 (net cost after federal credit, small local rebate, and including installation) having a ~5 year break even point and all I pay the power company each month is a small service charge.
     
    • Like x 1
  8. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Messages:
    3,621
    Location:
    florida.
    so it works for you, but that is not a universal fact. many of us are all electric, my rates are .11 a kwh and the ROI just doesn't work for me and many others.
    most people are not as altruistic as you are and like I said, the upfront costs need to come down more in order to see massive adoption of solar.
     
  9. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Messages:
    3,621
    Location:
    florida.
    that may be how it calcs out for you but not everyone lives in your corner of the world.
     
  10. Petra

    Petra Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Messages:
    461
    Location:
    Palmdale, CA USA
    Right, hence the first sentence of my post...
     
  11. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    1,853
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    It's not cheap. If it was cheap, I would have done it already. It might pay itself back eventually, but it will never be cheap. Cheap is just buying the power service from the power company. But since they won't do the right thing and build renewable power, we have to do their jobs for them and built it ourselves, which isn't cheap. Then they still whine and complain that "oh no, now we might still have do to half our job and balance the power". So now we might have to consider installing our own grid storage. At which point the centralized power starts to become pointless, because we are doing it all ourselves. Hello decentralized power, not because I wanted it that way, but because they won't do their jobs.

    That's my take on it.
     
    • Like x 1
  12. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    Messages:
    2,362
    Location:
    Sonoma, California
    Yes, I understand our lowest rate off peak is .14kWh and it goes up from there. I one of many reasons for owning two Tesla's is so I do not have to buy gas for the same reasons as above.
     
  13. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Messages:
    3,621
    Location:
    florida.
    I understand that, my comment was aimed at the OP who doesn't understand why solar is not the no brainer that he thinks it is.
     
  14. Petra

    Petra Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Messages:
    461
    Location:
    Palmdale, CA USA
    Got it--sorry for misunderstanding your post.:)
     
  15. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,532
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Certainly the major changes will come in spite of the utilities, not because of their foresight. Nothing wrong with that, I don't expect a corporate entity to facilitate it's own demise.

    I'm in an immature solar market and my rates are rock bottom like a lot of the people here(we're a tax-free fracking state), but the math still seems to work if the price is right. Granted we have net metering up to 100%, but even the 8 cent payback over 100% is enough to make it work if they drop all payback down to that.

    I have an installer who will get me to around 100% solar for $2.85/W and I'm working on getting him toward $2.55/W. If I can get to that price point, solar is cheap. We have zero state incentives, but the 30% ITC makes my out-of-pocket $16.4k and my $140 electric bill goes to $8. That payback is 10 years, but the panels are guaranteed for 25.

    It's tough to make it work without state incentive, but there's no physical reason people shouldn't be able to install at $2.35/W tomorrow and save tons of cash in any market with semi-rational regulations. Prohibitive payback rules are dropping like flies.
     
  16. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,932
    Location:
    United States
    That's part of the problem. Utilities are a natural monopoly in most cases there is no competition by law. Electric utilities are one of the clearest examples where there's a significant conflict of interest between private profit and public service. The ideal solution for efficiency and reliability is distributed generation, demand response and storage but this is strongly at odds with the desire of private utilities to be paid for expanding costly infrastructure like transmission lines and nuclear power plants.

    The problem is that the current business model is broken and the only viable replacement (treating power lines like roads) isn't nearly as profitable....

    If you sub-contract you might be able to get to $2/w. BOS materials cost is now easily <$1/w. Find some roofers to install the racking... hire and electrician to do the wiring. PM me if you have any technical questions :)

    Most solar pricing is ridiculous.... for some reason electricians think they need to quadruple their rates if they hear the word 'solar' :mad:
     
    • Like x 2
  17. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,532
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    That was my immediate reaction when I got my first $4/W estimate a couple years ago. I'm in a flat-roof rowhome and could easily do the whole install myself then hire an electrician for inter-connection. But that's not in the master plan.

    We all benefit if there's a healthy installation marketplace providing services at a reasonable markup. That should be our goal. Things are going to get more complex, so a combination of professional local and regional outfits are a necessity.

    $2.50/W should be accessible to nearly anyone. It's an attainable goal.
     
    • Like x 1
  18. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    605
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Not for anyone?
    Just as it's not economical for EVERYone, I'm not sure you can say that it's not economical for ANYone.
    My marginal electric rate would be $0.40/kWh without solar. Could that change tomorrow to be $0.11/kWh? I suppose, but will it happen? absolutely not. The rate has been quite steady for years.
    My solar panels have generated 46MWh in 6 years and they cost me $15k. So in 6 years they've already saved noticeably more than they cost, and over the next 14 years. It might not be a risk-free investment, but it's a low-risk investment with an incredible return, and is clearly a financial win for me.

    While my electricity usage is high, I'm far from unique. Pretty much everyone in my neighborhood would be financially better off with solar.
     
  19. BerTX

    BerTX Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,695
    Location:
    Texas/Washington
    Certainly there are people for whom solar is advantageous, I know because I was one of those people up until about 10 months ago. My point is that they can change the rules at any point, and your advantage goes up in smoke. I have been lied to and cheated, and my case is not the worst by far. There are providers that are forcing the customer with solar installations to install separate meters on their solar and charging the customer f the power they produce.

    My point was not that it can't be to your advantage, but that the utility companies don't have to be fair, don't have to do what is right, and can change the rules at any time. That's why I can't recommend an investment FOR ECONOMIC REASONS. I recommend it because it's the right thing to do.
     
  20. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,532
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    If you live in a state where the legacy energy interests are picking the governor you might have these issues(TX, OK, ND, etc). They can stack the utility commissions with whomever they like and create rules to steal from solar owners. But even in backward places like Nevada, that only lasts for so long.

    There are far more "safe" markets than ones where the utility is allowed to sabotage residential solar. Pennsylvania has net metering and could soon end up grandfathering. If you can lock in your repayment schedule with the utility(even for just 5-10 years), you can pay off a cheaply sourced array in about 10 years.
     

Share This Page