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Posted by JenPete on July 26, 2004, 6:52 am
As you may know, California has faced some power shortages in recent years. But
why? In one of hte sunnniest states in the nation, why don't more people have
solar on their homes and businesses. Solar power allows us to operate either
with backup from The Grid or completely separately from it.

Well, it costs a HELLUVA lot to retrofit for solar. (I've looked into it for
us, and we'd never recoup the cost...though we're still considering it as soon
as we've paid off our addition. We like the ideas of: electricity available for
our fridge and food whether or not the rest of the state is sweltering and
kicking on so many A/C units that our power goes off, too; freedom from The
Grid; giving back to our children and yours and THEIRS by creating CLEAN energy
rather than counting on other sources.)

But there's an Assembly Bill that would require builders of larger projects
(like tract homes, NOT Joe Blow building his own dream house or shed or
loveshack) to include solar on a small percentage of those homes. That
percentage increases over the years to expand the use of solar, thereby causing
no additional demand (by THOSE homes) on The Grid. Of course, the cost will be
passed on to buyers, but when built with the house and financed with the REST
of the mortage over the course of 30 years, it's really not even an issue.

Imagine - no NEW need for NEW power plants. No loss of employment for those at
CURRENT plants ('cause we'll STILL need them). NEW jobs generated by solar
power (manufacturing parts, sales, installation, maintenance - though there's
apparently little of that). MORE electricity for California without the MESS
and Political Mayhem!

Ask Governor Schwarzenegger to support solar power at the following web site
(you can also read more about the bill there, including links to the actual
bill text)-


Take action NOW. This item is HOT and could live or die by our decision to take
action today or just leave it to the "next guy."


Posted by Anthony Matonak on July 26, 2004, 7:51 am
JenPete wrote:

You've got two issues here. The first is "Why the power shortages?"
The simple answer is "because the power companies turned off the power".
They did this because they wanted to jack up the prices and it worked.
There was never any shortage of power plants or generation capacity.

The other issue is "Why don't more people have solar PV arrays?"
The answer to this is "Because it's too expensive". Simple economics.
It's less expensive to pay the power company than to produce the
power yourself. Only way to fix that is to make it less expensive.

How can it not be an issue? It costs, as you say, "a HELLUVA lot". It
will still cost that helluva lot even if you do roll it in to the 30
year mortgage. Forcing people to buy something that they don't want
isn't a good way of doing things. Having them pay a helluva lot for
something they don't want is even worse.

Sorry, doesn't work that easy. You are getting NEW power plants. You are
just forcing people to build them into their homes and pay for them, and
their upkeep, themselves. Perhaps it may generate more electricity,
which California has no shortage of, but it'll certainly come with a lot
of mess and political mayhem.

Nobody needs any new laws to force solar down the public collective
throat. The business it doing OK as it is and can not be improved with
this kind of heavy handed nonsense. At best, this kind of thing would
not harm the solar industry and at worst, it could set it back decades.


Posted by Bob Adkins on July 27, 2004, 2:38 am

You're just trying to confuse us with facts.

Hey, some day, maybe sooner than we think, power will become outrageously
high. When it gets expensive enough, and the PV manufacturers see a big
enough market, they will invest in research and big, efficient factories. A
40 year old person could possibly get free power from his investment within
his lifetime.


Posted by James Baber on July 28, 2004, 8:21 pm

Bob Adkins wrote:

I am a 67 year old emphysema patient that paid $4,000 after rebate and 1st
years income tax credit for my 10KW grid tied PV system. I am going to get my
free power in just 4 years and 5 months.
Do you know what I say about your someday?  I'll bet!

My system  has been in operation for 13 1/2 months and has actually generated
20,929 kWh between jun 11 (noon) 2003 and noon today. In that same time frame I
bought an additional 10,489 kWh from PG&E's grid, at a cost of $50.00.  For the
two years before we installed the PV system I saw several bills in excess of 700
a month, and averaged over 425 a month.

I figure the pay back will be in 5.5 years from startup considering the savings
of an actual 4,500.00 on the electrical bills annually and the additional annual
income tax deduction for both federal and state income taxes for those 5.5 years
of about $0,000.

I say additional since I refinanced our homes mortgage + 34,000(for PV system)
for 15 years.  I got a new fixed rate 15 yr. loan instead of keeping the old 30
yr. variable rate loan with its remaining 19 years.  Because of the early year's
higher income tax deductions and because of a drop of interest rate 6.5 to 4.87,
this netted an additional actual $0,000 reduction in our income taxes assuming
the income tax rates remains the same for 4 more years.  It also fixed our
payment's interest rate at a constant value.

One interesting sidelight, because of state law the property taxes CANNOT be
reappraised or taxed additionally because of the installation of such energy
saving / generation equipment.

Even considering the $50 a month increase in loan payment for the remaining 9.5
years of the new loan. (Also, don't forget to subtract the 56 months of payments
  I won't make on the remaining old 30 yr. loan.)

I may not be here to enjoy all of the pay back but I think I will be, and in any
case my family should benefit. You have your facts and I've got mine.


Jim Baber


1350 W Mesa Ave.
Fresno CA, 93711
(559) 435-9068
(559) 905-2204 cell

Email jim@NOJUNKbaber.org

Posted by Bob Adkins on July 29, 2004, 1:50 pm


Hey Jim.

Congratulations on designing a system with which you will get a reasonable
payback time. Just throwing up a system can easily result in a 25-35 year
payback time. When finessing all aspects of a system, including incentives,
you can get a reasonable payback if you are smart and lucky (or unlucky)
enough to live in the right place.

I installed a little system for ~$00 for PV panel, controller, batteries,
and inverter to electrify my barn out in the country. It paid me back
instantly.  My system cost less than half  of what the power company and
electrician would have charged to run power from the nearest pole, some 600
feet away at the road. In addition, I avoid the $0 monthly minimum the
power company charges by totally avoiding the grid. So payback and *nearly
free* power isn't just pie in the sky. As you have demonstrated so ably, it
can be done under the right circumstances.

Facts are just facts Jim. Just like photons, you or I can't lay claim to
them. ;)


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