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View Diary: Solar Report Stunner: Unsubsidized Global Solar Revolution (133 comments)

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  •  Our local utility company now forbids Net Metering (20+ / 0-)

    Nice huh?  

    The local Alternative Energy small businesses are complaining as it just took a very large percentage of their business away, but it only falls on deaf political ears.  And we're supposed to be "small business friendly" here in the good old US of A....  

    Not unless your name is "Duke Energy".

    Gee... I wonder how this "Co-op" utility company will fulfill its' mandate of supplying 18% of it's energy from "alternative sources"???

    ANSWER:  By "allowing" subscribes to install and bear the expense of solar arrays on their properties and having them go directly into the grid through the utility company's mandatory customer paid for meter ($20 per month) and then getting compensated mere pennies for their investment of power supplied on the open market.

    Oh yeah...I'm going to pony up 18K - 25K for a system that will not get an ROI for years...  I think not.

    Money talks...BS walks.  At least in Western North Carolina if your utility company's bill has written on top of it: "French Broad Electric Membership Corporation".

    I thought "co-ops" were run differently.....By, and for their subscribers???

    My bad.

    "The sun is shining........"

    by LamontCranston on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 10:48:55 AM PST

    •  There's an interesting company called Vivant solar (16+ / 0-)

      that has a different strategy.  Instead of selling solar panels to homeowners, they install solar systems on people's roofs, which they (Vivant) continues to own.  They then sell the power to the homeowners, cheaper than the local electrical utility rate, supplying about 80% of their power demand.

      The homeowner doesn't have any up-front investment to recoup, and isn't responsible for maintenance.

      Apparently, at their current rate of expansion, they will be the largest commercial power company in the country in a few years.  Not just the largest solar power company - they will be generating and selling more electricity to paying customers than Constellation, Excellon, or any of the other big power plant companies.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 11:31:34 AM PST

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      •  I can't tell if they are national but another (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, JeffW

        solar company that will lease you a system is Sungevity.

        It takes time to practice generosity, but being generous is the best use of our time. - Thich Nhat Hanh.

        by Frank In WA on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 02:38:49 PM PST

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        •  Lots of panel leasing in California (0+ / 0-)

          Ours are leased. But instead of "buying" power from Solar Coty, we just prepaid the entire lease, 20 years worth, for about $10,000.

          But we have net metering, so in the summer, we are selling energy to the utility.

          From what I heard, panel leasing has to be approved by whatever state or regional authorities regulate utilities, which is why the commenter said no net metering where s/he lives.  With the net metering and the lease instead of buy, we will pay for the panels in less than 5 years from energy savings.

        •  This isn't leasing. They sell you power. (0+ / 0-)

          They are a commercial power company, just like the owners of a coal-fired power plant.  You are still a customer, buying power by the kWh, which is generated by the company and sold at a profit to you.

          The difference is, they own many, many very small "power plants," and they hook directly into your house instead of going through the grid.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:41:27 AM PST

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    •  So... (6+ / 0-)

      FB doesn't allow feed-ins (where they have to buy your excess 'trons)? Duke has to, and I can't wait until we're in a position to knock 'em down on our outrageous electric bill. Reduction in the monthly bill still contributes to rate of return on investment without the additional expense of batteries. Besides, if we can manage the micro-hydro to get our water from the spring house to the cabin, it'll cut our 'tron usage in half right there.

      $250 a month is our average, and our cabin is 28 feet square - much, much smaller than most people's houses, log and timber frame (fine insulation) and we heat with wood. If we knock that electric bill back to $100 or less for an investment of $10,000 it's returning payments on the loan the moment we flip the switch. Well worth it.

    •  Out local power company (7+ / 0-)

      charges people with solar panels to connect those to the grid - something like $25/month to give them energy.  Because all homes are on a 'unified' grid, they charge people with panels (or any other external power source) to be connected to the grid.

      It's a ripoff, but allowed by the rules.  :(

      I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

      by trumpeter on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:47:15 PM PST

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    •  Complain to the utility commission (4+ / 0-)

      They should be able to take action

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:55:53 PM PST

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    •  Your "co-op" dollars at work. (6+ / 0-)

      "Co-op": Great River Energy.

      Function: Generates electricity for 28 distribution co-ops, who are Great River Energy's shareholders.

      Traditional form of executive transportation: Northwest and now Delta at perhaps up to $1,000 a round trip for a short-notice first class ticket for transporting executives from the Twin Cities (co-op's HQ) to Bismarck, ND (co-op's biggest electrical plant) and back.

      New form of executive transportation: Tie up $11 million in cash and credit line as well as several thousand dollars per hour in operating costs on a business jet to fly the execs to Bismarck out of a suburban reliever airport that's a few miles closer to Great River's GQ.

      Customer response: The board chairman of one of the distribution co-ops said, "If they use this kind of judgment spending other peoples' money, what else don't we know about?"

      Heartwarming anecdote that rationalizes the jet purchase: during last summer's heat wave, Great River apparently used the jet to shorten a power outage by a few hours by flying a broken part from Bismarck to the manuacturer in Milwaukee for repair.

      Customer cost: "less than half a penny per kilowatt", meaning almost 0.5 cents a kilowatt on the electric bills of one member co-op.  In Minnesota that's about six percent of your entire electric bill, on average.  And I'm making an assumption there that the member co-op in question is purchasing all their power from Great River.  If they're getting power from other sources as well, that would make the ratio even worse from the standpoint of everyone but the jet manufacturer.

      Economic value: You be the judge.  (And couldn't an air cargo firm or an express parcel service have flown in a spare part?)

      Executive perk value: Priceless!

    •  That stinks. (2+ / 0-)
      Our local utility company now forbids Net Metering
      But if enough subscribers agitate for having the corporation buy home-generated electricity at a reasonable price, they'd probably do it.  

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:18:49 PM PST

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