Solar, and Thanks For All the Fish!

By Proof

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I am writing this primarily with the view of having liberal heads 'splode, so hopefully the rest of you will bear with me: I'm going solar. That's right! Another conservative who doesn't care a fig about the environment, according to liberals (who are wrong about most other things, too), is going to help save the planet by going green! Hmm. It's already starting to sound a little bit like thunder! Anyway, To borrow another one of their memes, I am taking money out of their pockets to pay for it, because I am receiving a (drum roll, please!) government subsidy!

At this point, a few liberals, smug in the warmth and comfort of their tiny little minds, might bleat that I am being "hypocritical" for accepting a "government handout". But the action I am taking is precisely that which this subsidy was designed to produce, i.e. producing more 'green' energy. Will they argue against that which helps save the planet? Argue against those subsidies they concocted and then pushed through the legislature?? Berate me for merely doing what they asked of me???

Besides, most of the "subsidies of corporations" and "tax cuts for the rich" of which they complain, are simply deductions that, allow a person or business to keep a little more of what they themselves make, if they do the things that government proscribes. Remember too, that most of the "loopholes" that demagoguing politicians rail against are those very deductions that they wrote into the law for themselves and their rich friends. We will pause here a moment to consider the dilemma of liberals trying in vain to balance this train of thought, nicely illustrated here:

Greenness, however, you may have guessed, was not the primary motivating purpose of the endeavor. Nor the fact that I am helping out a beleaguered utility company, forced to accept foolish, ever higher quotas for solar energy production by our notoriously wacky California legislature. With the invisible hand gloved in a subsidy, the proposal penciled out pretty well. My monthly payments will be approximately what I have paid for a combined bill of gas and electricity, averaged over the last 24 months. Yet, the solar array will produce a little over twice my annual consumption, or, in layman's terms, 1.21 jiggawatts.

Therefore, it will be visible from outer space.

Producing twice the energy I require (you are welcome, California!) should both offset my gas bill and generate a small profit from the remainder of the buyback. In addition, it is a hedge against the cost of inevitable energy increases for the foreseeable future. Also, I believe it will also add value to my home when it is eventually sold, though again, not in the foreseeable future. The solar company also provides you with a gizmo where you can monitor the output of the array, so I can sit like Scrooge McDuck on the bags of money in my vault, and actually watch the solar dollars roll in! Plus, it enables me to act upon my dislike of my utility company, (even though I am helping them out), and stop sending them a check every month.

 It's good to own your own power company. I'll keep you posted if that should ever change.

Cross posted at Proof Positive


  1. Can't argue with the the financial math behind your decision. Unfortunately, the math is made possible by an irrational pricing scheme where fixed infrastructure costs are recouped through rates rather than a fixed fee. Additionally, the capacity problem of the utilities is a "peak capacity" problem. Time of day pricing would alleviate that bottleneck. SDG&E is currently experimenting with time of day for select customers. I looked into solar and the ROI looked attractive on present conditions and trends. I am still on the fence, the potential for fixed grid connect fees and time-of-day pricing eating into my ROI is giving me pause.

    1. Solar is still not quite ready for prime time, hence the need for subsidies. But then, the utility companies are ham strung with regulations which many times drive up their costs, which they must pass along. California mandates prohibit utilities from buying the cheapest energy for their customers, in favor of expensive, less reliable "green" technology.

      PG&E has been installing "smart" meters which should accommodate time of day pricing. I believe they are offering it on a beta type program. I don't know how many quotes you've gotten on solar, but they can vary a lot from company to company. Some of the proposals I got I wouldn't touch with a ten ft. pole.

  2. I have a full solar set up at my house. I would, respectfully, disagree with Proof saying "it's not ready for prime time". If prices remain exactly where they are, and depending on the price of electricity where you are (as they vary wildly) it will take 10-30 years to pay off your investment (also depending on system)

    However, comma, prices have not remained what they are ... well, ever.

    I paid, over 2 phases, $40k for 21 panels and all that goes with it. What I have though is not just panels. I have a full battery bank that'll last me 2 days (& run my house, minus stove, washer&dryer, and dishwasher), a nice inverter that has a plug in for : my generator. Also a complete secondary panel to allow me to switch each circuit on or off to save electricity during a "grid down" situation (hench $40k for 21 panels).

    It is a 5.25kW system and I love it.

    If prices go where they have been trending it will pay for itself within 8 years.

    Also I highly recommend (and love) LEDs - which the wife and I paid (approx) $350 for - to include ones that replace the long flourenscent tubes (those are the expensive LEDs - approx $60 each) but the savings were made up for within 6-8 months.

    For instance - 1 chandilier was 5x60 watt bulbs = 300 watts. We changed them out with 5x8 watt bulbs (tier 1 LEDs, equiv to 60 watts) and so now it's 5x8: 40 watts - or 11% of what we had in just that one light fixture.

    Hope this was of some help.


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