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They're trying to slow the adoption of solar energy through lawmakers

Utility companies around the U.S. fear that solar companies and renewable energy incentives will replace traditional electricity.

According to a report from The New York Times, utility companies view rooftop solar energy as a threat to their traditional business model of providing electricity maintaining the grid.

In fact, some utilities have said that they should've fought the solar "disrupt" and are currently working to push back against government incentives for the renewable energy. 

The utility companies' worries may seem a little ridiculous at present, considering rooftop solar energy alone accounts for less than a quarter of 1 percent of the nation’s power generation. 

However, incentives around the country aim to expand the use of solar power in a big way. For instance, California has a system called net metering, which pays both commercial and residential customers for their excess renewable energy that they sell back to utilities. California pays customers very well through this credit system because the payments are bound to daytime retail rates that customers pay for electricity -- such as utility costs to maintain the grid. 

NYT reports that from 2010 to 2012, the amount of solar installed each year has increased by 160 percent.

At present, 43 states, the District of Columbia and four territories offer incentives for renewable energy in some form or another. 

Solar proponents add that solar customers deserve payment and incentives for their efforts because making more power closer to where it is used (when resold to local utility companies) can alleviate stress on the grid -- making it reliable. It also helps utilities by relieving them from having to build infrastructure and sizable generators. 

However, utility companies feel differently. Their argument is that solar customers, at some point, may stop paying for electricity, which means they also stop paying for the grid. This shifts the costs to other non-solar customers. 

According to California's three major utility companies, they could lose as much as $1.4 billion in annual revenue to solar customers when the state's subsidy program fills up to full capacity. This means that about 7.6 million non-soalr customers would have to make up for that, paying as much as $185 per year each. 

This leads to something utility companies call the "death spiral." This refers to the costs being shifted to non-solar customers, and because of this burden, they switch to solar-powered rooftops -- making utility companies' troubles even worse. 

For that reason, utilities have requested that lawmakers limit those who can participate in such programs, including net metering. 

Some utility companies are adding rooftop solar to their services, such as Dominion in Virginia. But not all are willing to adapt, and while solar still only amounts to a small percentage of power generation in the U.S., it seems utilities are looking to prevent the renewable energy emergence from spreading. 

Source: The New York Times





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Survival of the Fittest
By Raiders12 on 7/31/2013 4:43:50 PM , Rating: 5
Adapt your business methods to the growing technological improvements, adjust costs, and offer a more competitive product. Otherwise, their cries fall on deaf ears.




RE: Survival of the Fittest
By wise2u on 7/31/2013 5:05:14 PM , Rating: 4
Agreed.

"California has a system called net metering, which pays both commercial and residential customers for their excess renewable energy that they sell back to utilities. California pays customers very well through this credit system..."

If solar gets so large that it impacts grid maintenance, they could just reduce this incentive and divert those funds to the utility companies.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By FaaR on 7/31/2013 5:28:20 PM , Rating: 3
No need to limit credits or incentives, you just separate the cost of electricity and that of building and maintaining the grid on the bills sent out to consumers.

That way, even if you produce excess electricity (fat chance for most regular people really, unless you got half an acre of solar cells squirreled away somewhere), you still contribute towards grid upkeep.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By 91TTZ on 7/31/2013 5:37:06 PM , Rating: 3
But what if you don't need the grid? Should you be forced to help pay for a private company's infrastructure upkeep? They're going to need that cost subsidized somehow. If it's not subsidized, then people who can't afford solar panels will pay exorbitant costs for electricity because all the grid maintenance will be wrapped up into their bills.

In my opinion, it sucks for them but people who don't even use the grid shouldn't have to pay for its upkeep.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By jimbojimbo on 7/31/2013 5:49:52 PM , Rating: 3
People who don't use the grid can have themselves completely cut off. However, that also means they'll have to have batteries sufficient enough to last them through the night as well as wind turbines since solar alone won't be able to keep it up.
The best top is to have the solar and wind turbine with some battery backups, in case of outages, but still have a grid to fall back on in case the batteries get drained.
Really we already pay for the service then pay per amount used so maybe in the future they will just raise the base service cost.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By Spuke on 7/31/2013 6:43:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but still have a grid to fall back on in case the batteries get drained
Off grid setups use generators as backups. You can charge batteries and run the hose at the same time. And home generators don't cost much either. I'd love to go off grid energy-wise but it's very expensive to do so. If you're a certified electrician it can be done pretty cheap. 10 235W solar panels can be had for $1500.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By jimbojimbo on 8/1/2013 11:03:58 AM , Rating: 2
True. I guess it also depends on where you live since during the winter months pulling from the grid is still significantly cheaper than running a generator.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By Spuke on 8/1/2013 12:47:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I guess it also depends on where you live since during the winter months pulling from the grid is still significantly cheaper than running a generator.
If you're going to go grid-tie than you don't need a big whopping solar setup IMO. Here in CA all you need is enough to put you in the lowest tier where the cheapest per kWh electricity rates are. A bit OT but the wife and I are currently looking at wind generators and a 10kW one would would take care of almost two houses (with our usage). We don't need something that big (and expensive). 4-5kW would work just fine.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By ammaross on 8/1/2013 5:32:07 PM , Rating: 2
You'll also want to figure out the true output of your panels vs the rated wattage. We have an array of 24 240W panels here at my office and I can watch the power generation over a day, month, etc. Early morning (10am) on a clear day, each panel provides barely over 100W. They do peak up to ~180-230 by 2pm, then back down to 80W by 6pm. Point? You won't run at "235W" from sun-up to sun-down, thus any solar panel system you plan to build needs produce enough power over the daylight hours to fulfill your peak 24hr period (or as much as your willing if you don't plan to have batteries or grid backup).


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By Spuke on 8/1/2013 6:47:09 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, I already know that. I have some small solar setups on my RV and my barn.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By JediJeb on 8/1/2013 3:54:53 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
But what if you don't need the grid? Should you be forced to help pay for a private company's infrastructure upkeep? They're going to need that cost subsidized somehow. If it's not subsidized, then people who can't afford solar panels will pay exorbitant costs for electricity because all the grid maintenance will be wrapped up into their bills. In my opinion, it sucks for them but people who don't even use the grid shouldn't have to pay for its upkeep.


I don't think anyone who is completely off the grid should have to pay upkeep. But if they are putting their excess power back into the grid then they must be connected to it and should be contributing to the upkeep as whether you are drawing from, or pushing power to the grid, you still rely on the grid to be maintained.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By Shadowself on 7/31/2013 6:32:18 PM , Rating: 5
Already done is some areas.

A friend of mine finished his new "solar powered" house about a year or so ago. He even now owns two Leaf cars. On a good day he powers everything from heating/air-conditioning to hot water to appliances to his cars plus sells back to the grid all from his rooftop solar systems.

He's connected to the grid too.

When it rains for a long period or is extremely cloudy for a very long period he pulls off the grid. When it was a nice, sunny fall or spring day he was pumping power back into the grid at extreme rates.

His bill is broken into multiple parts: base fee for the connection to the grid, off peak rate and peak rate(s).

He averaged, over the past year, zero energy bought from his local utility. He was so proud of his first year results he had to drag a large number of his friends through the design details and power billings.

However, he still had to pay a base rate every month in order to maintain the connection and convenience of being able to connect to the grid and pull from it when necessary. That base fee is effectively the cost to maintain the grid even if he does not draw from it. If that base rate were to even be five times what it is today, he'd still be OK with paying it for the convenience and assurance of having that backup, nearly infinite reserve energy source --- and according to him, his total energy purchase costs would still be less than before he tore down the original house and rebuilt it. Plus he has no solar panels on his garage giving an area for future growth.

Would most of us want to live in such an optimized design? Probably not. The house looks a bit odd as the roof lines and windows (and even the huge wall filled with phase change material to stabilize indoor temperatures) are a bit beyond the aesthetics most of us can support. But it works from him, and it will likely work for many others in the future.

The bottom line is that no matter how much power he makes he still has to pay the base fee just to connect to the grid.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By RU482 on 8/2/2013 5:39:41 PM , Rating: 2
did he every say how much his system cost, before and after incentives?


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By Shadowself on 7/31/13, Rating: 0
RE: Survival of the Fittest
By Samus on 7/31/2013 8:55:32 PM , Rating: 3
I love how electric companies are all for incentives and credits for EV's, but are against incentives for renewable energy. A little hippocratic, especially when you consider these same utilities long lobbied for deregulation under the condition they "weren't in the electricity sales business, but the electricity delivery business." Well if that were true, why do you care about solar power? 99% of people with solar panels will still be hooked up to the grid, likely selling you back some power here and there. So all the sudden they do care about more than maintaining the connection to the grid...


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By Ammohunt on 7/31/2013 5:22:56 PM , Rating: 2
Electricity is a for profit business duh! margins that go to Operating costs of the electric companies don't change when demand goes down they just go out of business or they raise prices to stay afloat. Its smart business for them to hinder the competition as long as its legal.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By jeepga on 7/31/2013 5:40:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Adapt your business methods to the growing technological improvements, adjust costs, and offer a more competitive product. Otherwise, their cries fall on deaf ears.

That's only true when the deck isn't stacked. The government incentives seem to be the big issue here.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By augiem on 7/31/2013 8:31:03 PM , Rating: 2
Bingo! If survival of the fittest includes "cheats" like government subsidies, it also includes lobbying and fighting to get those subsidies taken off the playing field. So they're doing exactly what you (the OP) are asking of them.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By room200 on 8/1/2013 7:31:03 PM , Rating: 3
That would include removing subsidies from fossil fuels too.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By Spookster on 7/31/2013 6:26:48 PM , Rating: 2
If only that's how it worked. In reality they will "donate" large amounts of money to key political figures who will then make sure alternative energy sources don't affect their bottom line.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By FITCamaro on 7/31/2013 8:03:24 PM , Rating: 2
How is it a fair marketplace? Customers are getting tax dollars to pay for their power installations while utility companies cannot write off the costs of maintaining or upgrading their electrical grid.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By Paj on 8/2/2013 8:49:33 AM , Rating: 2
Fossil fuel companies get subsidies too. Why aren't you complaining about those?


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By Fritzr on 8/3/2013 10:53:16 PM , Rating: 2
"Public" utility rates are set by a state board. The utility company may be a 'private' corporation, but the state tells them what they can charge based on their costs.

The cost of delivery, the cost of production, the cost of maintenance and a guaranteed profit are all a part of the rate set by the state rate setting authority. If the utility company feels they are not earning enough profit, then they simply file a rate change request. When the state thinks the utility is earning too much profit, the utility is notified that a rate change request is being filed for them.

The great thing about being in the public utility business is that the government guarantees your profits. It is possible to set up a totally private utility, but the laws make it extremely difficult to avoid the PUC's (Public Utility Commission) regulations that are designed to "protect" the utility customers and guarantee public utility company profits.

If everybody starts generating their power at home, the utility company will simply bill for maintaining the grid and likely get a law passed requiring all properties to pay regardless of power usage or connection to the grid. After all the public power grid is an essential community service.

Some places this is already done with one corporation generating power, one 'distributing' power and another maintaining and renting out the physical grid. (Enron was in the electricity distribution business when they went under due to fraud and market manipulation)


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By marvdmartian on 8/1/2013 9:22:09 AM , Rating: 1
Not the (modern) American way. Easier to throw money at sketchy politicians, who will vote against adoption of whatever it is you don't want adopted. Highest bidder wins!!

Personally, rooftop solar wouldn't pay off for me, as I'm in an area where we can pick & choose our providers, and get electricity at a much better rate than we might otherwise. While "old school" companies, like TXU or Reliant will sell electricity at higher rates (usually to people with more credit problems), like ~$0.13/KWh, I've gone with a company that charges me $0.09/KWh, with that rate locked in for 24 months.
Comparitively speaking, the quotes I received for solar leases (or outright purchases) for my house, which has a good southern exposure roof top, came out to the same monthly payment as I'm currently averaging with my electric (summer and winter) and natural gas (winter) bills. The ONLY thing that I'd likely get for a benefit, from installing solar, would be a warm, fuzzy feeling.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By Spuke on 8/1/2013 6:51:09 PM , Rating: 1
Solar for our house doesn't make sense for us either as our usage is fairly low and our bill maxes out at $120 a month in July/August. The rest of the year it's under $100 and as low as $50 (cheap for CA). Looking at wind power and an electric furnace to rid ourselves of the $300-$400 a month in propane costs in the late fall/winter.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By mike8675309 on 8/1/2013 2:12:22 PM , Rating: 2
So they spent years trying to get us to be more energy efficient but it turns out they really don't want us too energy efficient. Just enough to prevent them from having to build a new power plant but not so much we only need them when it is cloudy

Obviously the model for pricing of electricity distribution is going to need to change. My natural gas company currently has a minimum charge. I use gas only to fire the furnace, so in the summer my usage is zero but I still get a bill.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By Spuke on 8/1/2013 3:02:22 PM , Rating: 2
I'm on propane which is very expensive but I only pay when I need to fill the tank. From late spring to mid fall, I pay nothing.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By wushuktl on 8/1/2013 2:59:02 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, Why don't they start selling the solar panels to their customers?


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By Spuke on 8/1/2013 3:03:38 PM , Rating: 2
Because someone will complain that they're trying to put smaller companies out of business.


RE: Survival of the Fittest
By CaedenV on 8/1/2013 3:13:26 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Power companies will still be very needed in the future, but their focus is going to be on distribution and storage rather than generation. Charge everyone on the grid a connection fee to cover the costs of grid maintenance(like gas companies already do), and then slowly convert the focus from power generation to power storage to fill the gaps at night.

Those who have solar will have most or all of their connection charge covered by selling back to the grid, and people who cannot get solar will have a largely fixed utility bill for the connection charge, but the actual power usage bill will lower over time as solar gets cheaper.


It's about preserving an investment
By chunkymonster on 8/1/2013 1:52:17 PM , Rating: 2
Blaming the utility companies for high energy costs is like blaming the grocery store for the high cost of milk.

One thing seemingly missed by many of the posters here is that many utility companies own the infrastructure and have invested BILLIONS of dollars, hundreds of millions of man-hours, and TENS of THOUSANDS of jobs building an infrastructure to provide cheap reliable electricity to their customers. Many utility companies and their shareholders simply expect a return on that investment and continued investment to maintain and upgrade that infrastructure.

Many utility companies are also regulated by State regulatory commissions which dictate that their infrastructure must be regularly updated to ensure reliability and cost effective operations. These same regulatory commissions also limit the Return on Investment utility companies can make from owning and maintaining that infrastructure. These same regulatory commissions also prevent the utility companies from creating subsidiary companies that offer customers alternative energy solutions.

So, while it easy to sit back and complain about the cost of energy and blame the utility companies for it, the utility companies are like any other business that is offering a product and/or service to customers who want it. The real blame lies with the GOVERNMENT and REGULATORY COMMISSIONS who ties the hands of utility companies and prevents them from changing their business models to keep up with changes in the industry as a whole.

Look at America's energy policy. There is no long term national energy policy, at all. Let alone an energy policy that enables existing utility companies and energy providers the flexibility to change with the products and services customers want. All the incentives and tax subsidies have been diverted to tertiary start up companies to create a market for alternative energy. The alternative energy market is being created by government through providing incentives and tax subsidies (paid for by our tax dollars) to force alternative energy into the existing energy marketplace which is effectively creating a false energy market and false energy competition.

Don't get me wrong, alternative energy has a place as part of an overall energy plan. To reduce our reliance on foreign energy sources it is imperative that domestic alternative energy sources be developed and made available to the consumer. However, the alternative energy market needs to happen over time and allowed to develop as a result of consumer demand and driven by market forces. Also, there needs to be legislation necessary for existing utility companies and energy providers to compete with new alternative energy companies that have been created as a result of consumer demand and market forces.




RE: It's about preserving an investment
By bsd228 on 8/1/2013 5:11:06 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Many utility companies are also regulated by State regulatory commissions which dictate that their infrastructure must be regularly updated to ensure reliability and cost effective operations. These same regulatory commissions also limit the Return on Investment utility companies can make from owning and maintaining that infrastructure. These same regulatory commissions also prevent the utility companies from creating subsidiary companies that offer customers alternative energy solutions.


everyone start playing those 2" violins right now.

PG&E was happy to collect money from rate payers for maintenance, NOT do the maintenance, watch gas line blow up and kill people, and then get the rate payers to pay for the costs of this negligence.

California has seen very little investment in power generation in a long while, which is part of the problem for the state. Given the costs of a new plant, it works out much better for the People (if not Edison or PG&E) to encourage as much solar adoption as possible, as well as funding incentives to remove inefficient appliances from use.


By chunkymonster on 8/2/2013 9:34:44 AM , Rating: 2
I am not apologizing for utility companies, especially one like PG&E, but simply offering a a reminder to the utility company bashers that they are like any other business that has invested in an infrastructure, provides a service, and expects a return on that investment. Contrary to what some people believe, electric and gas is NOT a societal benefit, it is a commodity to be bought and sold between a company and consumer. Also contrary to what some believe, you DO NOT have to purchase electric and gas, you can choose to live without it, people willingly connect to the electric and gas grid because it makes life more convenient. Somehow human beings managed to live and thrive without being connected to the electric and gas grid for HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of years (prior to the late 1800's) without it.

After the San Bruno explosion, PG&E was found extremely negligent across many facets of their operations from poor GIS data, failure to follow maintenance procedures, and misappropriating funds intended for safety programs. As of July 2013, the penalties still stands at $2.25 Billion and the California PUC has maintained the costs related to the explosion should be paid for by the shareholders and not the rate payers; which is the way it should be.

However, all the PUC is doing here is covering their backside for all the slip-shod regulatory work for not performing the proper due diligence to verify and confirm that PG&E was doing what they were supposed to in the first place. The sole purpose and function of rate payer and tax payer dollars to fund the PUC is for the PUC to determine, confirm, and verify that utility companies are following all state mandated activities and also following their own operational procedures. So, while the San Bruno explosion was an egregious and tragic event, it most likely would have never happened if BOTH the PUC and PG&E had been doing their jobs and following PUC mandated activities and operational procedures.

The fact that California has seen very little power generation can also be taken back to the State government and environmental regulations preventing new generating stations from being built. This is also part and parcel of the complete lack of a Federal energy policy to ensure the legislation is in place that enables utility companies and energy providers from building new coal plants, nuclear plants, gas fired plants, etc.


Compare it to landline telephone
By ubcz on 8/1/2013 8:03:43 AM , Rating: 2
No doubt that there is a threat to the business model. Compare it to landline telephone. Before mobile phones, every household was connected to the telephone grid, which is expensive to maintain but the costs were shared by each household. More homes in the future will generate their own electricity. At some point a combination of solar, wind, fuel cell, etc. will allow homes to be completely off the traditional electricity grid.




By JediJeb on 8/1/2013 4:05:12 PM , Rating: 2
People used to say travel by train would never be outdated, then came the automobile and plane. Books and newspapers would never go away, then came eBooks and the internet. Digital cameras have replaced film and even Kodak is about out of business.

Everything changes over time, but no body ever wants to accept it easily.


Problems and solutions
By Motoman on 8/1/2013 10:52:57 AM , Rating: 2
The nation's electrical grid is obviously one of our most important social/civil assets - granted that it's in need of a massive overhaul anyway.

There are similarities and differences to other issues that some people see as being the same thing - I've heard people assert that it's like people buying EVs as opposed to ICE cars.

Putting solar panels up does get you incentives, just like buying an EV...which winds up increasing the burden on people who don't buy solar panels/EVs. So that's a very similar concern.

Having solar though (or wind, for that matter) means that at peak generation you can sell your extra energy back to the utility...can't do any such thing with an EV. So...not the same.

What's hilarious with EVs is watching those people justify getting their tax incentives while at the same time screaming bloody murder about plans to tax EVs to collect the tax funds that aren't gotten via fuel taxes. Which supports keeping our roads and bridges in functional condition. EV people want to shift tax burden to non-EV people via their tax incentive, *and* also don't want to pay their fair share of taxes to support our road infrastructure. THAT might not really correlate to solar/wind power homeowners that balk at paying grid support fees.

Why? Well...in virtually all cases, if you put up wind/solar at your place, you're going to be pulling from the grid at certain times. The only way you could avoid that would be to put in place generators or something else to ensure you have power during darkness/no-wind times. Also, when you're selling your excess power generation back onto the grid...you're using the grid. To make a profit. So...you should be paying to keep the grid together.

The only case in which a solar/wind person could justify not paying any grid support fees at all would be if they were well and truly disconnected from the grid. Which is by no means impossible...it's just highly unlikely. Being disconnected from the grid means that you have either all the power storage/generation capacity you need to keep yourself independently in power at all times, or that maybe you're OK with having no power on a regular basis. In that case I could see someone with a valid complaint against having to pay grid fees.

There's no way that there's an analog there for EV owners though who think they're magically entitled to pay no road-use taxes. One doesn't buy an EV to simply store in the garage. You're going to drive your EV. On the road. And you're going to cause wear and tear on that road just like every other vehicle on the planet. Therefore, unless you can somehow describe and certify how you're going to own an EV and *never* drive it on publicly-funded roads, you have no right to complain about any road-use tax that comes up for EV owners. Not the same as solar/wind.




RE: Problems and solutions
By bsd228 on 8/1/2013 8:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Putting solar panels up does get you incentives, just like buying an EV...which winds up increasing the burden on people who don't buy solar panels/EVs. So that's a very similar concern.


If enough people install solar panels to avoid the billion dollar expenses of new power plants, that's a pretty big burden removed for "everyone else." Day time is still peak power draw by far and plant capacity has to be able to meet it, even though that's only for 8-10 hours of the day. It's also nearly the same as peak generation for solar panels, so the two go together very well. EV vehicles may shift the balance, or they may just take up the slack capacity in the middle of the night, esp via the smart chargers that know when to run.

quote:
There's no way that there's an analog there for EV owners though who think they're magically entitled to pay no road-use taxes. One doesn't buy an EV to simply store in the garage. You're going to drive your EV. On the road. And you're going to cause wear and tear on that road just like every other vehicle on the planet.


Wear and tear is a function of weight. Lightweight EVs don't cause much at all. Regular 3-4000lb ones are just like every other sedan - still minimal. SUVs of any time do much more. Commercial trucks do the lion's share.

Many of the proposals to tax EVs were too stupid to even make it to proposal stage. Anything relying on mileage counters to collect 40-100/year would just waste most of the money on the collection effort. So a flat amount appended to car registration makes the most sense, but the values I've seen proposed presume that person is driving 12000 miles (or more per year), which seems to overtax the EV side.

And of course, let's not forget that gas taxes are a tiny portion of the money spent on road infrastructure.


Nope
By Spuke on 7/31/2013 5:27:08 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Their argument is that solar customers, at some point, may stop paying for electricity, which means they also stop paying for the grid.
I disagree. Going off-grid is really expensive. It typically requires 3 or more times the amount of PV than grid-tie and a substantial battery bank to store excess energy for days when the sun doesn't shine (and at night). Also, few off grid types have just one energy generation source. Most have wind, PV, and generators.




BS
By btc909 on 8/1/2013 12:13:08 AM , Rating: 1
Your local electric utility company wants a tax per KW to cover day to day costs. The demand on "the grid" is dropping year after year. Also be aware your local electric company probably also signed up (especially in Kalifornia) the same braindead "death spiral" pension plans so many cities & counties signed up for as well. Somebody has to pay for those lifetime salaries err umm I mean Pensions and that would be you. In the future when panels are gone and replaced with solar roof tiles at a reasonable cost along with a few wind generators you'll have a flywheel buried on your property along with capacitors with no connection to "the grid". Fast charging batteries in your EV will be charged quickly via a massive dump from your capacitors.




RE: BS
By FITCamaro on 8/1/2013 8:20:55 AM , Rating: 2
In what world do you live in that electrical demand is dropping every year?


By 91TTZ on 7/31/2013 5:20:13 PM , Rating: 2
That would be a great thing if we were all self-sufficient and generated enough electricity with our roof top units. But you know what will happen. The companies, still loaded with cash, will lobby politicians to pass the costs off to taxpayers in the form of taxes. They'll market the idea as "the responsible thing to do to contribute to society". They'll use Obamacare as a precedent to show that it is acceptable to pass off the price of a private product to the general public as a tax, with the reasoning that it helps society and is for the common good of the public.

Of course it'll stifle competition and innovation, and the power companies and politicians know this. But you can't let a little reality get in the way of a perfectly good bribe, I mean lobbying effort.

Imagine if this mentality was around during the turn of the century (1900s). You'd have the government blocking the widespread use of automobiles by adding a tax to help funnel money to farriers and other horse-related occupations. They'd say that while cars are an interesting novelty, they're just not worth the economic costs to society in the form of putting farriers, horse vets, horse feed suppliers, and the rest of that supporting industry out of work.




The law.
By Monkey's Uncle on 7/31/2013 7:38:46 PM , Rating: 2
Where I live there is no animosity over folks generating their own power. Even if you are totally self sufficient in generating your own power, you are required by law to provide your excess power to the power grid. You are also financially responsible for acquiring the necessary grid connection equipment and paying to have it installed by the utility supplier.

If you do not, you are slapped with really hefty fines.

The good side is that any you get paid for any power you send toward the utility - though I very much doubt it will be anywhere near what you pay for buying and installing that grid feed connection.




threat or opportunity
By w8gaming on 8/1/2013 9:01:22 AM , Rating: 2
The dumb will always see threat everywhere. The smart one will invest into solar panel productions and reap the rewards.




Solar power illegal in Spain
By Nyu on 8/1/2013 6:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
Google it, storing power coming from solar arrays is now illegal and fined with several million euros.




Here's an idea...
By shaidorsai on 8/3/2013 6:30:22 AM , Rating: 2
...how about power companies get on the front end of the solar switch and start offering packages on their own at a reduced cost and then the "extra" energy would be theirs to put back in the grid and sell to other customers. As long as power companies stand by and let things happen to them they deserve whatever fate they get. If, on the other hand, they were to embrace alternative energy as a long term solution and become a provider alongside their existing business model they would see the profit in funding a customers solar installation. The monthly customer payment for the solar install along with the additional savings of cheap grid power without the required investment and pollution associated with a full blown power station would be win win for a utility.




incorrect article
By KOOLTIME on 8/5/2013 11:01:21 AM , Rating: 2
Adding cheaper( solar ) power to the grid = more grid power with less cost. Means less power use on the grid so less chance of the so called Brown outs, and less drain in over all use. As we have seen more often in recent times.

The power companies don't tell you,

The average home power use increase over last couple decades = 475% rise in cost.




Grid instability is a problem
By NaperJ on 8/6/2013 12:48:10 PM , Rating: 2
Hawaii also has a problem renewable energy. With so many distributed generators, but all correlated by clouds/sunrise/sunset, it's very hard for the grid to maintain normal voltage and frequency on such a small grid. Search for hawaii grid instability renewable.




Corporatism versus Capitalism
By talikarni on 8/1/2013 3:03:40 PM , Rating: 1
This is a perfect example of how Corporatism (companies working with or paying off government for their own benefit) is taking over world wide. They already have a massive grip in Europe, they have been the real power behind Russia since the wall fell, and now they're expanding their grasp in previously untouchable US... all thanks to a money hungry socialist president who loves pitting both sides against each other, then walks away laughing as he takes off for another round of golf.

Yet in a proper Capitalist system that we used to have, the utility companies would adjust their system and start working their way into what the people are buying, not prevent them from buying it. Or they would research and find something bigger and better for the people to buy.

If they really wanted to work within the Capitalist system, they would hire people and offer solar or wind installation (depending on the location), and just have the customer pay them some formula that combines the average usages over the past year or two and the cost of installation. In my area (on my 2000 sq ft house in north FL) it could work out to around $150 per month for 6-8 years (after which they pay only for what they use from the grid). If they play their card right, they could set the agreement so when a customer gives more to the grid than they take, they pay or are paid $0. If they take more from the grid than they make, then they get a monthly bill. They could likely also add the option that for $50 per month, the power company can maintain the solar system.

This way when there is excess, it is used in the grid, and when the house needs more, it is taken from the grid. In the end they are getting miles and miles of essentially free power and the people are more or less just paying for the solar panel system itself on a payment plan.




earn cash
By marie3124 on 8/1/13, Rating: 0
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997













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