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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.
Why the F would anyone do that???

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.
Where did you get THAT???

Never mind, I know. Apparently there is now a thing called a "Culture War" because some people have a big problem with America being a United States. I suspect this is greatly inflamed by foreign adversary nations, whose interests would be obvious: seeking to weaken America generally, make people question the value of freedom, make us unwilling to stand up for what we all know is right, and seeing our Great Experiment fail.

"You have a democracy. If you can keep it!" Democracy is hard.

Anyway, a major talking point of anti-progress types is that new tech will be worse than old. This is designed to resonate with older messaging that liberals are trying to drag us all back to the caves and make us pound chests and drag women around by the hair, or some crap.

The very notion is ridiculous. We do not suck at technology, and buyers don't buy junk that doesn't work. You can keep running your old "on or off only" 10 SEER air conditioner as long as they keep making freon substitutes, but if you do, you really should not go around saying our tech is worse.

Remember when smog laws happened and everyone said cars will be ruined? And then slowly, they changed from "won't start worth a darn in the rain, easy to flood, 120k miles to an engine rebuild" to 300k to rebuild, twice the MPG, 3 times the horsepower, and starts every damn time. And when you look at why, it's all that smog crap you swore would be the end of cars.

Humans are smart, Americans are smarter, and naysayers are wrong.
 

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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.



Almost $4/watt??? That's the solar "biz" pumping up prices as a direct result of the government handouts.



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.



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.



Well, that's the whole point of the solar "biz". To make you make a costly contractual commitment without having enough information.
F'n Excellent...
 

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HARP... Honestly I was hoping to read your knowledge/opinion in regard to my previous inquiry as below.

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"???

TIA

Peter
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 · (Edited)
HARP... Honestly I was hoping to read your knowledge/opinion in regard to my previous inquiry as below.

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"???

TIA

Peter
Unfortunately Solar been the buzz word of our society, save the planet, stop global warming, has attracted too many useless blood suckers (middle man). They all want to make money, and we pay the bill.The true naked Solar cost is at least 50% less than what is on the market.

Marketing deceptive strategies to.

For example "You get goverment to pay for it. It is a LAY. Government will not write you check. IRS will forgive you taxes you owe them, but first you must owe $10,000 in Taxes.

2- get solar with ZERO down, they do not say they added that already to the price.
 

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Njuneer
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I couldn't make it through all the tangents in this thread, so I will just get to the point. It is 100% ignorance to install solar with the intent to "make money" from the POCO selling power to them at 2c/KWH. I could go on and on why that won't pencil out.

What I inform clients is my intent is to buffer or cancel the majority of your usage and at times you are mostly using or needing it. Very commonly I get people raving about their system making 20kw. Yeah, at noon, and lasting for 3hrs. NOT helpful! I would rather have someone generating 10kw but for 12hrs in a day! In many ways, this can be pretty difficult with roof mount solar!

But if you can get to a net metering arrangement where they assess total used vs total supplied, that would largely work in your favor because that 20kw deal might be your best play.

But in any single way you want to dice it, solar design should focus on covering your loads NOT making money on the excess power. I have run calcs for an entire solar farm at those discount rates and it will never pencil out!
 

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My brother in law spent $25K plus all the government solar welfare available on a big ground mounted solar array. It took months for the installer to get it to work. Then a lightning strike took out a bunch of electronics and the manufacturer was out of business. Another expense of thousands of dollars. In the winter he has to clean snow from the panels every day or they produce zero for 3-4 months. A few panels have failed and needed replacing, of course, at the installer’s convenience. He spent more so far than I spent buying electricity for the last 20 years, and as the system gets older it will not get cheaper. I am not anti solar, I prefer to let the companies that make electricity as their business find the most cost efficient method of production, then sell me some. If it is wind or solar, so be it, why would I care? I don’t grow my own food, but I could. I don’t weave my own clothing, but I could. I don’t make my own electricity, either.
 

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Edit: I want to add to this.

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. ??????
Beans, yes! I couldn't agree more! You win 3 ways:

1. As you say, economies of scale. On top of which you're not putting holes in perfectly good roofs.
2. It places the solar panels in an area with a great deal more solarization, so you are getting way more electricity for the same capital cost.
3. From a "smog" (HC/CO/NOx/SO2) perspective, trees and foliage eat smog, so desert regions have a much worse problem with regional smog. Moving solar there reduces need for fuel generators there. Somewhat.

What they need is a mechanism for average Joe Citizen to "buy an equivalent share" of such facilities, without undue business risk.

Now there's a huge missing piece to the puzzle, which is energy storage, which can be done thermally (water heaters, well-sealed holes like that video I always link), or with gravity.

On that last bit, the LA water district was well aware it would cost billions of dollars of electricity to pump aqueduct water all over the American west, so everywhere that was possible they built pairs of reservoirs and kitted them out for hydro + backpumping/pumped storage. The whole rig was to reduce their pumping costs to that of cheap midnight power, but also, allow them to buy low sell high. The droughts have been compromising their ability to do that, at least at the top reservoirs like Oroville that have the most storage capacity.


If so....why is this country (our government) promoting (ie subsidizing) private generation.??
Well, when rooftop solar started, there wasn't a lot of corporate interest in doing the roofs of malls or laying out solar arrays. However citizens wanted to "help make things better", they just needed help because solar was prohibitive back then.

Edit: And like I say, there isn't really a sensible mechanism for Joe Citizen to invest in "shares of" offsite facilities and also insulate Joe from business risks beyond what they have putting them on their own home. If a co-op goes bust, who even owns the panels? I do a fair bit with corporate structures... I suppose you could set up a nonprofit, but that gets really weird when you compete head-on with in a market that is dominated by for-profit companies. Government could help with that, but it's simply a more complex (and thus, idly frightening) structure than "at your home solar with a finance agreement" which everyone recognizes as something they've seen before and understand.

A much lower factor: just inertia. June 1945 they were still launching new Essex class carriers even though the naval war was over. 2016 they were still subsidizing CFLs. Contracts and laws get written for time periods, even when facts change the contract continues because too many parties will get litigious if they don't (and may have real costs, like the ship builder commits a drydock on the premise of building eight Essex's, what happens to the business if 7 are canceled?)

If not... what am I missing....(sure seems to me to be a simple issue of "economies of scale"???
I don't get it myself. Seems like we're putting a lot of holes in a lot of roofs for no good reason.
 

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My brother in law spent $25K plus all the government solar welfare available on a big ground mounted solar array. It took months for the installer to get it to work. Then a lightning strike took out a bunch of electronics and the manufacturer was out of business. Another expense of thousands of dollars. In the winter he has to clean snow from the panels every day or they produce zero for 3-4 months. A few panels have failed and needed replacing, of course, at the installer’s convenience. He spent more so far than I spent buying electricity for the last 20 years, and as the system gets older it will not get cheaper. I am not anti solar, I prefer to let the companies that make electricity as their business find the most cost efficient method of production, then sell me some. If it is wind or solar, so be it, why would I care? I don’t grow my own food, but I could. I don’t weave my own clothing, but I could. I don’t make my own electricity, either.
So OLDT.... Do you tend to think that regulated monopolistic solar generation is more efficient for our society as a whole... in the macro sense.
 

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Edit: I want to add to this.



Beans, yes! I couldn't agree more! You win 3 ways:

1. As you say, economies of scale. On top of which you're not putting holes in perfectly good roofs.
2. It places the solar panels in an area with a great deal more solarization, so you are getting way more electricity for the same capital cost.
3. From a "smog" (HC/CO/NOx/SO2) perspective, trees and foliage eat smog, so desert regions have a much worse problem with regional smog. Moving solar there reduces need for fuel generators there. Somewhat.

What they need is a mechanism for average Joe Citizen to "buy an equivalent share" of such facilities, without undue business risk.

Now there's a huge missing piece to the puzzle, which is energy storage, which can be done thermally (water heaters, well-sealed holes like that video I always link), or with gravity.

On that last bit, the LA water district was well aware it would cost billions of dollars of electricity to pump aqueduct water all over the American west, so everywhere that was possible they built pairs of reservoirs and kitted them out for hydro + backpumping/pumped storage. The whole rig was to reduce their pumping costs to that of cheap midnight power, but also, allow them to buy low sell high. The droughts have been compromising their ability to do that, at least at the top reservoirs like Oroville that have the most storage capacity.




Well, when rooftop solar started, there wasn't a lot of corporate interest in doing the roofs of malls or laying out solar arrays. However citizens wanted to "help make things better", they just needed help because solar was prohibitive back then.

Edit: And like I say, there isn't really a sensible mechanism for Joe Citizen to invest in "shares of" offsite facilities and also insulate Joe from business risks beyond what they have putting them on their own home. If a co-op goes bust, who even owns the panels? I do a fair bit with corporate structures... I suppose you could set up a nonprofit, but that gets really weird when you compete head-on with in a market that is dominated by for-profit companies. Government could help with that, but it's simply a more complex (and thus, idly frightening) structure than "at your home solar with a finance agreement" which everyone recognizes as something they've seen before and understand.

A much lower factor: just inertia. June 1945 they were still launching new Essex class carriers even though the naval war was over. 2016 they were still subsidizing CFLs. Contracts and laws get written for time periods, even when facts change the contract continues because too many parties will get litigious if they don't (and may have real costs, like the ship builder commits a drydock on the premise of building eight Essex's, what happens to the business if 7 are canceled?)
I don't get it myself. Seems like we're putting a lot of holes in a lot of roofs for no good reason.
I agree with your thoughts, and you have expanded my thoughts/considerations also. Thanks Harp

And I think I sure do realize the myriad of potential (oh phuck 100% probable) problems/ issues of financing centralized sola/wind generation (either privately, outright government subsidized and/or government regulated monopoly circumstances. )

And what I call reliability, or others may call storage, remains today a lacking but a very necessary condition.

I was really asking just in the hypothetical/theoretical perspective.

IDK...I can outlive it all... just really hope my kids and grandkids and futures can.

Take care..Bubba...Best /Peter
 

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No, I don’t think solar is a good choice for the whole country. I think whatever works in your climate area is a good choice. If you have large swaths of unusable desert, sun almost every day and little to no snow, solar might be a good choice. If you are on Nantucket, where the wind always blows, wind might be good. If you are in snow country near natural gas reserves, gas might be the best choice. Maybe you are near a hydro site, then use hydro power. One size fits all doesn’t work. Open up the options to use whatever works at the lowest cost in your climate. If it is fossil fuel, so be it. Cheap energy built the US into the wealthiest country ever. Using expensive energy while our competitors use cheap energy is and will push down our standard of living and cost jobs and wealth. As options get affordable, they will get used.
 

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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.
So, a conservative $25K, at 5%, over 15 years comes to a total cost of $35,585.71.
That divided by the monthly savings of $150 comes out to 237 months.
That's a hair shy of 20 years just to break even.
 

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So, a conservative $25K, at 5%, over 15 years comes to a total cost of $35,585.71.
That divided by the monthly savings of $150 comes out to 237 months.
That's a hair shy of 20 years just to break even.
Obviously any cost/benefit analysis is a function of estimates/projections..... and I think maintenance costs may often be understated, of course dependent on the installation.

I just note that my neighbor is realizing some of those costs.

He's having to use a professional window washer about twice a year to clean his roof panels...IDK the actual cost...it would be embarrassing to ask him....

He may likely have rather significant roof repairs in the future...as our underlayment of the tile roofing is deteriorating in our extreem temperatures...

I believe his inverter is expected to last only 11-15 years...

And while not a direct cost, he now has created a pigion coop next door with the pigions nesting under the panels...and crapping all over...he to date has not paid the 2K to add the bird spikes around his 24K system...

and I guess if one panel gets damaged, apparently they are in series, and has to be repaired as all become impaired.
 

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Njuneer
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The above graph is pretty damn accurate on a typical house where the residents leave the home for work. There are a lot of factors in solar that determines whether it really makes any sense. Amount of sun in a given season, panel placement, angle, usage schedule in the home, etc.

But let's do some really basic math. Usually around 50kwh/day is a reasonable average for home usage. Let's say panels alone cost about $.50/watt, 400W panels cost $200 each.

A reasonable goal would be to harvest 50kwh/day. If we assume we can get reasonable performance for 10hrs in a day, we would need about 5kw of solar panels. That would be 13 panels or $2600. Then need a little inverter for that so figure $2000 for that. With some hardware and such, let's just say this budget build is $5000.

We will also say that grid power costs $.14/kwh. So lets assume the solar array can actually curb all grid power costs so you are making back $210/mo off of the solar array. That is a 24mo ROI! So if you figure in some install costs, that 5kw system might cost $10k. Now you are at 48mo ROI.

I do solar work, but I cut through the crap to explain to people that installing 500kw of solar will NEVER pay itself off! Congrats, you just bought many years of electric up front.

I think solar makes the most sense when the owner is doing most, if not all of the install, and they accept a level of DIY maintenance on that system. Very few of the components in these systems will actually live out their full life expectancy. Inverters are being made cheaper and cheaper, using cheap components. Then if you are lucky enough to get a lightning strike or similar, you have repairs to do. Solar panels are loaded up with diodes and one of the easiest ways to kill a diode is a transient voltage spike. poof!

If you pencil out a system, you usually find that a smaller system has the best ROI unless you plan to only run loads when you have sunshine!

I do mostly off grid stuff where the expense to get electric is part of the justification though! If it will cost $10k to get hooked to the grid, that is 10K worth of reasoning with solar. I do solar water pump stuff and that just makes solid sense! Imagine a pump in the middle of nowhere. I can usually get that system built for about what the wire would cost to get to it. But you are still ultimately limited by the sun!

I think the biggest issue with solar today is the massive amount of bullshi& being shared by scam artists. Their math is not right, their install costs are high, and the system doesn't deliver. One of the very first things to look at regarding solar is YOUR BILL!!! Not only the kwh cost, but demand, peak time rates, etc. If you are lucky enough to have extremely expensive grid power, that certainly promotes solar.

But if you do it right, solar can be quite helpful! I have a small off grid, semi temporary system I set up. I probably have $600 in it. It has been in operation over 2yrs, and I have not had a single day down. In weather extremes, the neighbors let me know their power is out. My solar system? Nope, all good. But I also know if I have a failure, I am the only guy who can fix it, and I have signed on as the maintenance guy for the lifetime of that system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
The above graph is pretty damn accurate on a typical house where the residents leave the home for work. There are a lot of factors in solar that determines whether it really makes any sense. Amount of sun in a given season, panel placement, angle, usage schedule in the home, etc.

But let's do some really basic math. Usually around 50kwh/day is a reasonable average for home usage. Let's say panels alone cost about $.50/watt, 400W panels cost $200 each.

A reasonable goal would be to harvest 50kwh/day. If we assume we can get reasonable performance for 10hrs in a day, we would need about 5kw of solar panels. That would be 13 panels or $2600. Then need a little inverter for that so figure $2000 for that. With some hardware and such, let's just say this budget build is $5000.

We will also say that grid power costs $.14/kwh. So lets assume the solar array can actually curb all grid power costs so you are making back $210/mo off of the solar array. That is a 24mo ROI! So if you figure in some install costs, that 5kw system might cost $10k. Now you are at 48mo ROI.

I do solar work, but I cut through the crap to explain to people that installing 500kw of solar will NEVER pay itself off! Congrats, you just bought many years of electric up front.

I think solar makes the most sense when the owner is doing most, if not all of the install, and they accept a level of DIY maintenance on that system. Very few of the components in these systems will actually live out their full life expectancy. Inverters are being made cheaper and cheaper, using cheap components. Then if you are lucky enough to get a lightning strike or similar, you have repairs to do. Solar panels are loaded up with diodes and one of the easiest ways to kill a diode is a transient voltage spike. poof!

If you pencil out a system, you usually find that a smaller system has the best ROI unless you plan to only run loads when you have sunshine!

I do mostly off grid stuff where the expense to get electric is part of the justification though! If it will cost $10k to get hooked to the grid, that is 10K worth of reasoning with solar. I do solar water pump stuff and that just makes solid sense! Imagine a pump in the middle of nowhere. I can usually get that system built for about what the wire would cost to get to it. But you are still ultimately limited by the sun!

I think the biggest issue with solar today is the massive amount of bullshi& being shared by scam artists. Their math is not right, their install costs are high, and the system doesn't deliver. One of the very first things to look at regarding solar is YOUR BILL!!! Not only the kwh cost, but demand, peak time rates, etc. If you are lucky enough to have extremely expensive grid power, that certainly promotes solar.

But if you do it right, solar can be quite helpful! I have a small off grid, semi temporary system I set up. I probably have $600 in it. It has been in operation over 2yrs, and I have not had a single day down. In weather extremes, the neighbors let me know their power is out. My solar system? Nope, all good. But I also know if I have a failure, I am the only guy who can fix it, and I have signed on as the maintenance guy for the lifetime of that system.
Let's start with first obviously wrong assumption.
Solar newer delivers 100% of your consumption.
At best it delivers 50% of it, since it only works during the day, while your consumption is higher at night, (as the chart shows) unless you live like a chicken from sun set to sun up.
Unless you invest $10,000 in back up battery.

Second problem, most people do not have the skills to go on the roof and install solar panels. So forget the DIY savings.
 

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Njuneer
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Let's start with first obviously wrong assumption.
Solar newer delivers 100% of your consumption.
At best it delivers 50% of it, since it only works during the day, while your consumption is higher at night, (as the chart shows) unless you live like a chicken from sun set to sun up.
Unless you invest $10,000 in back up battery.

Second problem, most people do not have the skills to go on the roof and install solar panels. So forget the DIY savings.
I probably don't need any education in solar anything. I was giving hypotheticals that you took as factual. I don't think you actually grasp the point of my post.
 
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