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What they don't tell you about solar is that the "spot market" price for electricity is extremely dynamic. At midnight they're practically giving away electricity for as little as a penny a KWH, because it cannot be stored very easily - so if it's not sold it's wasted. Whereas on a hot summer day, they're spinning up the "peaker" plants that only run a few hundred hours a year, which cost a fortune per KWH. The spot market can be 50 cents of even a buck a KWH.

So in the afternoons while your solar is still cranking, they are paying you a penny or two for that power, and reselling it for nearly a buck.

The suits are just taking advantage of us.

But even so, if you can keep the solar-biz scheisters away, do your own entitlements and install your own system yourself... it's a different game altogether because raw panels are so ridiculously cheap. Now you're putting up clearance 50 cent a watt solar panels, and say even with mounting and wires your all-in cost is $2 a watt. Even at "chump prices" of 2 cents a KWH, payback is 100 frickin' hours.
 

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Just as a hypothetical discussion on costs:

Given, this country desires more (or extensive) solar generation of electricity... ..(.issues of reliability aside.)

From a macro perspective (net cost to our society)...

Would not centralized generation (maybe huge solar fields in the deserts of Arizona/Texas etc) be less costly as opposed to privatized (home by home) generation. ??????

If so....why is this country (our government) promoting (ie subsidizing) private generation.??

If not... what am I missing....(sure seems to me to be a simple issue of "economies of scale"???
 
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It's just politics, corruption and money interests. China interest is to sell lots of panels to US and buy instead real estate and food processing plants.

Also, solar panels in desert are not that great of an idea. Sand gets deposited on them... and now you need water to clean them. Wind carries sand and erodes the glass, making it matte and loses efficiency.
You need to put transmission transformers in the desert, and they don't like the heat. You also need substations that require preventative maintenance (or repairs) and sending people in desert to do that is expensive.
 

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It's just politics, corruption and money interests. China interest is to sell lots of panels to US and buy instead real estate and food processing plants.

Also, solar panels in desert are not that great of an idea. Sand gets deposited on them... and now you need water to clean them. Wind carries sand and erodes the glass, making it matte and loses efficiency.
You need to put transmission transformers in the desert, and they don't like the heat. You also need substations that require preventative maintenance (or repairs) and sending people in desert to do that is expensive.
SONIC...... Basically you are saying that we do not have a good option for "centralized" solar generation. ..thus we are dependent on privatizing it home by home.
 

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Because their batteries are offline.

Their first battery is - you know how you're hearing that dams are so low they can't do hydroelectric anymore? You think "So what? They shouldn't be wasting water making hydro anyway"? Actually, most of those dams are rigged up for Pumped Storage, so the hydro really means moving the water down and up again. When they are too low to run, they can't do pumped storage anymore.

Second, the state is full of modern, tight homes built in the last 20 years in hot desertine areas. They don't have the technology to do this type of battery. Well, the hardware and networking is in place, but they don't have the social awareness.


But the state will certainly get up to speed on that.



Anyway, that explains PG&E's time-of-day rates, which give midnight pricing all the way to 3 in the afternoon.

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Because their batteries are offline.
Because they don't have batteries for mass storage.
Or water to reverse pump in the dams. Where they will take the water to fill Hoover Dam????
midnight pricing all the way to 3 in the afternoon.
That's when everybody comes back home from work. And charge their cars for next day, turn the AC lower, take a hot shower, microwave food, wash and dry clothes...
Also, 24 cents/kWh is "cheap" there? 56 cents/kWh peak? Holly froholy, no wonder you talk about payback times like 10 years!
Here is like 30+ years.

Dominion Power rates
Summer rates (more expensive):
6.58 cents/kWh for the first 800kWh
7.47 cents/kWh for over 800kWh
Add a flat service charge of $6.58
I guess it pays to have a nuclear power plant in a 20 mile radius?
Other types of rates (including off-peak type): Residential Rates | Virginia | Dominion Energy

LE: Water for California is dwindling. And bodies start to show up...
 

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Would not centralized generation (maybe huge solar fields in the deserts of Arizona/Texas etc) be less costly as opposed to privatized (home by home) generation. ??????
Centralized generation is a hangover from steam plants. Because the plants require many auxiliary systems, it’s cheaper to build big plants. The draw back to building such big plants is that new ones (in new locations) can require a switch yard, many miles of high voltage lines, and possibly a new substation were the new line intersects the existing lines.
a second plant at that new location will be cheaper because you do not need the new transmission facilities.

Decentralization has been happening for quite some time. Peaking units (usually NG turbines) do not have all the in-plant aux systems the steam plants do. You build them much closer to the need, and much closer to your existing transmission/distribution facilities.

Another thing is plant outages, especially unplanned ones. When you lose plants that are 750MW to 1200MW, that’s a heck of a lot of power you have to make up. Outages on smaller plants are easier. The smaller the plant, the easier it is to generate or find replacement power on the spot market, to make up the shortfall.

It is not a question of centralized vs distributed generation. The best and most efficient systems will have both. But since centralized generation had many years of lead on the decentralized generation, we hear a lot more about the decentralized.
The big plants are for the most part, already here.

As far as giant solar plants, they are being built. We have them in Calif. Nevada has them, both for in-state and to sell power to SoCal. But, there is a limit to how far you can transmit power before the combination of transmission losses and possibly wheeling fees make your power un-economic. And if you have to add new transmission facilities to do so, even less economic.
 

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Lol guys, all smart meters can do 15-minute windows and upload that data via powerline signaling. That's been a thing for like 20 years. If you sign up for such a plan, they do not change your meter unless you have one of the spinny disc ones.

That weird PG&E plan was for EV charging, they give you bargain rates off peak (yeah, bargain) in exchange for steeper rates on peak.

When I said "batteries" I meant both backpumping and thermal storage using houses, like that video described. That poor guy in the video has to finish air conditioning by 7am! If you can wait til 3pm before cutting off the A/C, there'd be no problem pre-cooling the house to coast on through the evening.

If I owned a house with yard in CA, solar is 50 cents a watt anymore. lithium is under 20 cents a watt-hour. I'd build an all electric home and not even tie it to the grid. Why touch it? When you have freak weather, conserve or fetch some diesel fuel. Of course the town will be there with a "grid power availability fee" I have to pay.
 

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A neighbor had solar panels put on his house perhaps six moths ago.

He is selling the excess to the power company.

We had some pretty good storms blow through, which knocked out the power in the neighborhoods around us.

The neighbor was without power just like everyone else.

Apparently having his solar system connected to the power grid prevents him from using the system as emergency power in his own home.

He has no battery storage, so that would make sense, but he was told he cannot install a battery system for emergency use.

Anyone with any insight?

As an electrician I know there are certain types of equipment that would be required to keep everyone safe.

,
 

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We had some pretty good storms blow through, which knocked out the power in the neighborhoods around us.

The neighbor was without power just like everyone else.
That's SOP for your basic grid-tie system. It's there to sell power to the utility, and it only knows the one trick.

Making it do off-grid used to be had, but after SuperStorm Sandy, a whole bunch of people in the northeast got an eye-opener about this subtlety of solar, and so the kit was invented to fix that.

It is extra-cost.

Apparently having his solar system connected to the power grid prevents him from using the system as emergency power in his own home.
NO. There's no technical problem there. The equipment to do that job is readily available. There are 2 different ways it is done depending on whether the roof panels are DC or microinverter, but both are viable.

The only problem is that everyone wants to do it without a battery and that ain't gonna work. The battery doesn't have to be HUGE, but it does need one.

He has no battery storage, so that would make sense, but he was told he cannot install a battery system for emergency use.

Anyone with any insight?
I'm sure it has everything to do with the incompetence of the solar "business".

E.G. your buddy doesn't actually own his solar panels, either he's renting his roof to the solar company, or it's tied up in a finance agreement that prohibits alteration. And/or the contact says all alterations must be done by the original company and their price is insane.

Or, with the boom, they're scraping the bottom of the barrel for sales people, and this guy knew how to manipulate people, but didn't know much technical stuff so he's afraid of complications that would come between him and getting paid.

SMH if that's the case I would just build a second solar array specifically for the off-grid/battery backup. Plain solar panels are cheap, what costs is "the solar business", everybody's gotta get paid.
 

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I get my power from SRP in greater Phoenix. I have a four year history of usage by 15 minute intervals since then. I have a 4600 sq. foot house 12.5 tons of heat pump/cooling. No gas, all electrical appliances. In spring and fall I pay perhaps $170/mo for electricity. More in winter. July, August, Sept. are around $500+/mo. I've seen peak usage on the meter of about 17.5 kW, but it could have been higher at other times.

SRP has a calculator to see if solar makes sense for you. An installed 26 panel system with 6.7 kW power would cost just under $24k. In August it might supply 25% of the power I need - in April perhaps 75%.

If I paid cash for the system, it would pay off in 18 years. I was surprised by how long it would take. I'm 69 so that does not look like a bargain to me.

If I put in a 40 panel system they could not calculate the payoff years because they only go out to 20.
 

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I consume $1500-$1800 electricity per year.

Live in full sun exposure all year long.

My power company charges me 0.12 cents per kW.
I believe they offer 0.02 cents per kW for me delivering to them.
The maximum solar size I can have is 8 kW.

Will solar save me money and how ?

How many years it takes to see the savings after the investment.

I know about Federal Tax CREDIT, but it is only credited if you owe taxes otherwise (I do not owe $7000 in Taxes). It is not a blank check issued by government, it is Tax forgiveness.
You don't provide enough information. What does the system cost? And, I assume it'll be a loan. What's the interest rate? How many years?

"I consume $1500-$1800 electricity per year." Is that the actual electricity charge? If you're looking at your bill amount, there's a bunch of other fees in there, like grid connection fees you'll still have to pay.

If you want or need to sell your home, you'll have to convince the buyer to assume the loan, or or pay it off yourself.

As someone else mentioned, how much will it cost you to remove & reinstall the system when you need a new roof?

How do they hold up to hail (if you're in a hail area)?

What are the times that you're generating electricity? I don't imagine you're getting much production for a couple hours after sunrise, and a couple hours before sundown, when the sun is low in the sky. That doesn't leave a lot of time in the winter.
 

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In spring and fall I pay perhaps $170/mo for electricity. More in winter. July, August, Sept. are around $500+/mo.
The alternative power field has an endless parade of naysayers who toss out simplistic rationalizations. Stock and trade is taking an old thing that was never designed with efficiency in mind, and say "show me how this new technology will power my ratty old tech exactly the way it is now, or you are wrong". Which is a bunk argument - it's like saying that alternative fuels are impossible unless there is an exact pour-in replacement for gasoline in your old guzzler, which of course there is not. Meanwhile, GM did E85 and Tesla is proving everyone wrong about electric, so there are all sorts of approaches if you actually want to succeed... whereas naysayers want to fail.

The first rule of alternative power is conservation before generation. That $500/month electric bill would be addressed before any contemplation of off-grid power. So right off the bat, a serious look at insulation, and then the efficiency of the heat pump. If it is some 10 SEER albatross it's time for that to go to the A/C museum.

6.7 kW power would cost just under $24k.
Almost $4/watt??? That's the solar "biz" pumping up prices as a direct result of the government handouts.

In August it might supply 25% of the power I need - in April perhaps 75%.
That's not how grid-tie solar works. With grid-tie solar you are simply a miniature electric company, it is a business and you are selling power to the utility with one hand, and buying power from the utility with the other. How those interact (if at all) depends on your tariff.

If I paid cash for the system, it would pay off in 18 years.
Why the F would you pay that much? The whole point of paying $4/watt is to qualify for the government hand-outs. If you're not taking the loot, then DIY for closer to a buck a watt. Start by not putting it on your roof lol.

You don't provide enough information
Well, that's the whole point of the solar "biz". To make you make a costly contractual commitment without having enough information.
 

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It took generations of research and development to allow us to have comfortable convenient lives through energy use. I am not opposed to alternative energy sources but don’t expect me to accept a step backward in comfort or convenience to make it work. If that is what you mean by old tech, you are mistaken. If downgrading your comfort, convenience and standard of living is acceptable to you, you give up your convenience and comfort and leave me alone. I like the standard of living I have with “old fashioned” energy and consumption patterns. Go ahead, live in the Stone Age. Not me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
You don't provide enough information. What does the system cost? And, I assume it'll be a loan. What's the interest rate? How many years?

"I consume $1500-$1800 electricity per year." Is that the actual electricity charge? If you're looking at your bill amount, there's a bunch of other fees in there, like grid connection fees you'll still have to pay.

If you want or need to sell your home, you'll have to convince the buyer to assume the loan, or or pay it off yourself.

As someone else mentioned, how much will it cost you to remove & reinstall the system when you need a new roof?

How do they hold up to hail (if you're in a hail area)?

What are the times that you're generating electricity? I don't imagine you're getting much production for a couple hours after sunrise, and a couple hours before sundown, when the sun is low in the sky. That doesn't leave a lot of time in the winter.
YOU POINTED All good arguments not to have SOLAR.

Average cost for solar (installed) is 30,000 to $40,000 with at least one battery. If you pay it back in 15 Years, it would be $220 per month.

Lets say you have a 80% system or even 100% solar replacing your electricity.

From the $1,800 consumption per year it will save you $150 per month.

However the solar system cost you $220 per month. You save nothing for 15 Years.
 
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