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Old 02-01-14, 05:39 PM   #191
jeff5may
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I'm in accord with the basic ideas you are stating. There are several things to mention about the specific example of regulated power utilities. Even though they supply a service to almost every single person in every developed country they still exist as profit centers for shareholders. This may have to change as solar develops, especially photo voltaic.
This will NEVER EVER change. There are a jillion reasons for this, but the most relevant is that electric power utilities will ALWAYS create their own needs, force market scares, and dictate our demands to us from WAAAAY ABOVE. Just like the telecom industry, they satisfy an addiction to way, way, way too many people and industries to ever be divided or controlled.

As we speak, big oil companies, such as Chevron, Shell and BP (not regulated power utilities) are playing on both sides of the fence. On the one hand, they continue to lobby the lawmakers for enormous oil subsidies while bashing solar subsidies. On the other, they are quietly buying into the "back office" of the solar industry. Without this massive capital stimulus, the sheer amount of PV panels installed probably would not measure in the gigawatts per year range today. Their motivations, like the regulated power companies, are both political and profit-based. But they play the game from a more flexible position.

The best thing we can do as individuals is to vote with our wallets. The more self sufficient and energy efficient we can be, the less power the powers that be will have to wield against us. Rooftop PV is cost effective, if you can afford it, as it stands today. Whether or not the average consumer believes it is another story.


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Old 02-01-14, 07:41 PM   #192
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Yeah, but then why doesn't some smart person in a traffic center in a major city collude to make all the traffic lights quit working. Or better yet, make the signals conflict to cause collisions between cars, like I saw on an episode of XFIles. It's true that there are a lot of very very stupid people, but even I knew that Enron was messing with us in California and causing a power shortage. I didn't know it was Enron at the time but I knew it was extremely fishy and I was mad.

Actually, a lot of people who are the worst offenders in any civilization make the excuses you are making, though I'm not saying you are one of them. As long as one can make people apathetic, like your comment encourages, then the public can be perfect marks. The point is to try to improve things before you leave the planet rather than join the crowd in taking advantage of others.
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Old 02-01-14, 09:47 PM   #193
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Raising the base charge concerns me greatly. This last time the our electric went up a certain percent but the base rate went up a much higher percentage.
Raising my base rate just makes off-grid look more attractive. While I certainly don't like the thought of having to maintain and replace batteries, the thought becomes less of an obstacle the higher my base rate goes. I have reached the point in my life where I recognize everything around me evolves from getting up and working. If it is more productive for me to get up and maintain batteries and set aside money to replace batteries than to get up and work for the shareholders of the utility, then I will get up and maintain batteries.

If my electric base rate was $40+ per month, as my water utility base rate is, that becomes equivalent to quite a bit of my time and energy over the course of 10 years.

A co-worker of mine is in the midst of permitting to connect his house to city water. The time and monthly expense of feeding his water softener, using electric to lift the water out of his well and other expenses associated with maintaining your own water source reached the tipping point for him... The ~$4k connection fee to hook up to city water was not inconsequential. He'd much rather be following in my footsteps making his utility bills smaller each month.
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Old 02-01-14, 09:52 PM   #194
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Since we have natural gas I would like to see fuel cells take off. I would more than happy to make my own power with a fuel cell and solar. It just needs to come down in price and get perfected.
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Old 02-02-14, 09:52 AM   #195
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You do realize even now the cow power company only allows for 1% – 3% solar on each line.
In HI some people can’t get solar power because most of houses around them have solar. With the rules in place the cow will always be fat and happy.
Is it that they can't install PV or is it that they can't sell through an intertie to the utilitity?

I think if the utilities wouldn't buy my power I'd run off grid during the daylight hours with a switching arrangement so that my batteries are used minimally during transition from shutting the grid on and off. At night I'd run wind or buy power when the costs is lower.

Right now I'm paying 10.7 cents a KWh and selling at 10.7 cents. The new interties get the 3 to 4 cents off which is what the utilities pay. So it's cheaper to have a set up where the grid is shut off when I'm making enough power to run the house.

This way I still maximize my investment and still use the utility for my benefit (my batteries last indefinitely and I use the grid to my advantage). The grid is stronger due to individual suppliers, like us, and the load on the grid is lower meaning they have to buy less power, so they get a benefit too.

What we have as individuals is flexibility which large companies don't have.

Also, it's good to note that grids aren't as stable as they would like us to believe. When there's a failure they switch over to another station, for example.

The other problem is as nuclear power plants age they become more costly to run, it's like the car with 200k miles and a bad engine. Do you spend for a new engine or do you get a new car? This is what's happening in France now and why they are buying power from Germany with PV and wind.

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Old 02-02-14, 10:28 AM   #196
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Yeah, but then why doesn't some smart person in a traffic center in a major city collude to make all the traffic lights quit working. Or better yet, make the signals conflict to cause collisions between cars, like I saw on an episode of XFIles. It's true that there are a lot of very very stupid people, but even I knew that Enron was messing with us in California and causing a power shortage. I didn't know it was Enron at the time but I knew it was extremely fishy and I was mad.

Actually, a lot of people who are the worst offenders in any civilization make the excuses you are making, though I'm not saying you are one of them. As long as one can make people apathetic, like your comment encourages, then the public can be perfect marks. The point is to try to improve things before you leave the planet rather than join the crowd in taking advantage of others.
The greatest detriment to a democracy is propaganda.

Look up a guy named Edward Bernays, he was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. His specialty was propaganda and when the corporations got a hold of him it was a marriage in heaven.
This is a true story:
The tobacco companies went to him, I think in the 20's, and said they were losing half their market because it was a taboo for women to smoke. Bernays had several prominent women all smoke in public during a major parade with the news papers present. He called the cigarettes "freedom sticks" and pronounced that women who smoked were expressing their independence. Bingo, women started smoking everywhere!

With that said, I still think the wild card here is technology. Once we get to the point where you can buy a home with PV in place that will supply all your power new homes will be expected to have those systems in place just like when we got running water and toilets in homes.

Right now Elon Musk from Tesla is making cars that people want. I just saw that Nissan has a lease for the Leaf at $199 a month, I'm thinking of getting it. I drive the car for three years with no concerns about batteries or being stuck with a car I can't sell because technology has surpassed the technology in the car I'm leasing.

The last thing anyone should think is that technology isn't going to far surpass what we have now. When I was building Sinclair computers back in the late sixties people thought it wasn't much more than an geek exercise. When Steve Jobs put the mouse on a computer everyone laughed. Don't underestimate technology. If I sell a new home with a system in place that saves on the rising costs of electricity, people are going to buy it. When you go into a HD or Amazon and buy a system that you plug into your wall that sells power back to the grid people will want it. Amazon sells something right now that does that. What do you think will happen when it improves? Module efficiencies aren't going down they're going up, their cost is going down. That's called free enterprise and when it's combined with new technology it's a powerful thing.


Rob

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Old 02-15-14, 10:53 PM   #197
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After a few snow days it is nice to see the sun come back. 72.6 KWH I was very pleased with this day. It is nice to see the panels getting 200 watts again. But I canít wait to see 225 watts again spring here we come.
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Old 02-16-14, 10:09 AM   #198
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After a few snow days it is nice to see the sun come back. 72.6 KWH I was very pleased with this day. It is nice to see the panels getting 200 watts again. But I canít wait to see 225 watts again spring here we come.
I just got done cleaning off my roof modules. I have so much snow there's a perimeter around them two feet high! My ground system is much better. We're praying to the spring God too!
The one good thing is that we do have some sun reflection off the snow. My front modules are rated for 4200 watts and the other day they were putting out over 4400 watts.

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Old 02-16-14, 12:39 PM   #199
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I just got done cleaning off my roof modules. I have so much snow there's a perimeter around them two feet high! My ground system is much better. We're praying to the spring God too!
The one good thing is that we do have some sun reflection off the snow. My front modules are rated for 4200 watts and the other day they were putting out over 4400 watts.

Rob
I was able to get on a ladder and clear eight panels. The top part is at enough angle that it sheds snow pretty well when it warms up. But it sheds it to the top row of the bottom set of panels.


4400 of a 4200 watt system that is very impressive. I will never see that my Enphase 215 microinverters stop at about 225 watts the system does not see this very often anyway.
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Old 02-16-14, 01:22 PM   #200
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4400W out of a 4200 watt system that is very impressive. I will never see that my Enphase 215 microinverters stop at about 225 watts the system does not see this very often anyway.
I'm enjoying the third straight day of spring skies. Friday, I had two clouds pass over, according to my enphase graph (only two dips in an otherwise smooth graph). Yesterday, I had a dozen clouds. Today, it's 1PM, and I haven't had a cloud yet. Highest output I saw Friday was 3.49kW from my 4.4kW system. I don't have any snow to remove, or to provide additional reflection, but I'll take all the cloudless sky I can get. 22.0kWh on Friday, 20.7kWh yesterday, and 11.6kWh already today.

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