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How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

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  • How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

    Interesting take by Barclay's on the future of traditional utility companies.

    The second reason is the advent of cheap storage. For the past few years, homeowners have addressed renewables' intermittency problem — the wind isn't always blowing, the sun doesn't always shine — by making a deal with their utility: They'll continue to buy electric power, but they get to keep their solar panels running when they're not home and sell any excess power they generate back onto the grid. This is called net metering.

    Net metering has been a boon for incentivizing rooftop solar adoption. But what if you could truly power up your home through a solar-charged battery and only have to buy utility electricity in an emergency?

    As recently as 2009, the all-in costs for such batteries would have been as much as $17,000. But with the expansion of electric vehicles, Barclays says the cost of storage has been falling rapidly and now stands at about $3,700.


    http://www.businessinsider.com/barcl...-threat-2014-5
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  • #2
    Re: How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

    Those cheap $3700 batteries apparently stop working well after a few short years, if the cheap late model hybrid cars on Craigslist are any indication.

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    • #3
      Re: How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

      Maybe I'll just fill my yard with solar panels and collect a paycheck each month from the utility company.
      "First we finish the game, then we’ll deal with the Armada!"

      Sir Frances Drake

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      • #4
        Re: How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

        And I believe the electric industry destroyed the whale oil industry.

        There may have been a couple of intermediate technologies but you pretty much do not see whale oil lamps in the stores anymore.
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        • #5
          Re: How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

          Don't hold your breath.

          Anything you can DIY at home, the power company can do much cheaper. And without the ugly crap on your roof. The cost of batteries is irrelevant. Whatever the price, you'll be paying retail and the poco will pay well below wholesale. And the poco needs much less storage per kwh produced, as they have inherent load leveling because of the diverse customer base.

          So no, I'm not worried that John and Jane Doe can produce electricity cheaper than Edison can sell it to them. I'll see if I can get that yahoo from Barclay's interested in a little wager :)

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          • #6
            Re: How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

            Originally posted by johnny watt View Post
            Those cheap $3700 batteries apparently stop working well after a few short years, if the cheap late model hybrid cars on Craigslist are any indication.
            Just like all things I think technology will continue to improve battery storage and drive prices down. I am seeing increased interest by some of my buyers for solar, although high-end custom clients typically are not that interested in energy savings. But the decreased cost of systems are making them a viable option to consider, a 10KW system for $24,000 makes economic sense.
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            • #7
              Re: How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

              someone mentioned ugly crap on the roof. I think that will change as we see more and more of them being installed. When the dish TV receivers began to fist be installed I thought who would want that on the roof? Now it seems that you notice the roofs that don't have them and think they look odd.
              I can think of several things that used to look odd to me that are now not so bothersome. Liscense plates on both front and back of cars, certain front ends on cars or the tail light assembly on cars, avacado green fridges, no chimneys on houses, ceilings with smooth finishes versus the popcorn finish.

              Allan, I was wondering if some of your folks would consider solar. It seems to me that on some of your houses you could maybe design a wing on the back of the house and install the stuff where it is not seen as much as other locations.

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              • #8
                Re: How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

                Originally posted by m beezo View Post
                som
                Allan, I was wondering if some of your folks would consider solar. It seems to me that on some of your houses you could maybe design a wing on the back of the house and install the stuff where it is not seen as much as other locations.
                Beez:

                A few have expressed interest but honestly more might if they were truly educated on the cost and return on investment. I haven't promoted them that much but in one my blog articles I wrote I do offer to install them on my homes at cost, I do not add my typical builder markup. That seems to have peeked some interest. If you can have a builder install them at his cost, and cost is already very affordable, that seems like a good deal to me.
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                • #9
                  Re: How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

                  Like most topics you have to look behind it find out what a proponents real agenda is. Solar energy is a topic which is full of hype, misinformation,misunderstanding and plain old BS.

                  Solar energy is not a one size fits all power solution. Solar energy is an alternate and supplementary power source and will never take over from major power generation plants. Only power generation plants can supply electricity 24/7/365 in all weather situations.There are two distinct parts to provide electric power, there is the power generation and there is the power distribution (poles and wires). If we were really serious about providing cheap power generation then it would be all nuclear and no fossil fuel.

                  I put a solar feed in tariff system on my property 2years ago this coming July. Before I did I did a fair amount of research before I installed it. It was not to make money but to maintain my current expenditure on power and to minimise the continued increases in power costs.The payback of the capital cost will be just under 4years.
                  Chippy


                  The Internet, a source for Information, and misinformation

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                  • #10
                    Re: How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

                    Originally posted by Chippy View Post
                    I put a solar feed in tariff system
                    Can you describe what that is or translate to American English?

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                    • #11
                      Re: How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

                      New homes are status driven, putting something that makes one look cheap on an expensive new home is contradictory to the intent when building one. This is the reason for the success around here of the Tesla, a person can buy an electric car and "save the planet" without appearing cheap, so they are a status symbol, the "Look how Green I am" thing.

                      I was sitting in a sidewalk cafe eating lunch and a guy with a Tesla drove up, I asked him about it and he said it runs his utility bill up about $300 a month, I asked him how much he drove it and he said his wife drove it mostly but he thinks about 12,000 miles a year. I've read that the battery pack replacements are currently $40,000 for the large ones and $30,000 for the small ones, Musk currently has a plan to charge $12,000 more when one buys the car for a battery warranty, he's banking on getting the cost down considerably before he has to replace the batteries with his "Gigafactory", plus the investment income of the upfront money. I'm also hearing that many of the Priim are now running around on their gas engines as their batteries are depleted, some are now running full time on their gas engines with completely depleted batteries.
                      You will ask what goal the U.S. is pursuing? .... their external debt is huge, and ruining other countries is their customary method. Even ownership of the global 'printing press' is no longer helping. Nor is full control over NATO, None of that if enough for the 21st century colonizers. They don't just need to preserve the dollar as the only global currency but also to get their hands on the economic wealth of other large powers and regions. - Sergei Naryshkin

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                      • #12
                        Re: How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

                        You make a good point Dick. If multi million dollar customers wanted to save money, they could buy their doors and windows from Home Depot and drive a Camry.

                        There is more to it then comparing the interest rate to the payback. There are opportunity costs. Even if you assume a client has access to limitless capital, just the time and effort put into evaluating if the solar makes sense, is time and effort that could spent manipulating the markets, sending jobs overseas, listening to Jim Croce, playing darts or whatever it is you rich white people do.

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                        • #13
                          Re: How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

                          Originally posted by dgbldr View Post
                          Can you describe what that is or translate to American English?
                          Our standard power system is 240 volt single phase and 415 volt three phase.

                          The system is hooked in to the power grid and any surplus is returned to the power supply company. The solar produced power is used first and any surplus is returned to the power grid for which we are paid for. When the solar is not producing power, e.g. night time we draw from the grid.The size of the solar system and the power usage dictates the benefits.

                          The cost and power usage becomes a credit and debit system and any surplus power generated is paid for by the power company annually. That surplus is paying for the original capital cost for the system.
                          Chippy


                          The Internet, a source for Information, and misinformation

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                          • #14
                            Re: How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

                            Thanks Chippy, that's no different than here. What I didn't get was the expression "feed in tariff system". Here "tariff" means a form of tax.

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                            • #15
                              Re: How Solar Will Destroy America's Electric Utilities

                              Originally posted by dgbldr View Post
                              Here "tariff" means a form of tax.
                              Thank god that, here, a word (or words) carry but one meaning, eh? I mean it would be tariffing if they had two or more.
                              “I find the curiosity of our men with respect to this animal is pretty much satisfied.”
                              ~ Meriwether Lewis

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