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Floridian (and Southern) Governmental Regulations Are Unfriendly To Solar Power

timothy posted about a month and a half ago | from the texas-seems-ok-about-this dept.

Government 306

An anonymous reader writes with a link to a story in the LA Times: "Few places in the country are so warm and bright as Mary Wilkerson's property on the beach near St. Petersburg, Fla., a city once noted in the Guinness Book of World Records for a 768-day stretch of sunny days. But while Florida advertises itself as the Sunshine State, power company executives and regulators have worked successfully to keep most Floridians from using that sunshine to generate their own power. Wilkerson discovered the paradox when she set out to harness sunlight into electricity for the vintage cottages she rents out at Indian Rocks Beach. She would have had an easier time installing solar panels, she found, if she had put the homes on a flatbed and transported them to chilly Massachusetts. While the precise rules vary from state to state, one explanation is the same: opposition from utilities grown nervous by the rapid encroachment of solar firms on their business."

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Translated into English (3, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641657)

Not all states offer subsidies as generous as the solar industry thinks they deserve.

This isn't news, it's politics by other means.

Re: Translated into English (5, Informative)

LordLucless (582312) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641673)

While that's true for lots of the objections raised, it isn't true for all of them. This, for example:

When Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., installed solar panels a few years ago, for example, the local utility, Dominion Virginia Power, threatened legal action. The utility said that only it could sell electricity in its service area.

Government-created incumbent monopolies seem to be playing their part as well.

Re: Translated into English (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641739)

Protective if its grid is more like it. The power system is designed to be decentralized only at its highest levels. Pushing power backwards through a transformer creates variable voltage is for everyone else under that transformer.

The power company doesn't give a darn if you don't connect to their grid. Your neighbors might complain about the bright reflections from your panel but that is definitely a local community issue.

Re: Translated into English (4, Interesting)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642227)

When Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., installed solar panels a few years ago, for example, the local utility, Dominion Virginia Power, threatened legal action. The utility said that only it could sell electricity in its service area.

I wish they had sued. They would have lost as a matter of law, without risk of a jury trial.

I can just see the hearing now.

"Your honor, I'd like to enter into evidence Exhibit A: a solar powered calculator from Dollar General.
"Your honor, I'd like to enter into evidence Exhibit B: a solar powered yard light from Home Depot.
"Your honor, I'd like to enter into evidence Exhibit C: a gasoline generator from Harbor Freight.
"These products are legal in the state of Virginia, are they not? And they all generate electricity? So we're agreed that my client purchased equipment, and not electricity?"

"Yeah, case dismissed, with prejudice. Plaintiff to pay defendant's court costs and attorneys fees."

Re:Translated into English (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641685)

Didn't read the article, eh?

Maybe you can explain what outlawing leasing has to do with "subsidies as generous as the solar industry thinks they deserve".

Government in the U.S. is extremely corrupt. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641771)

Because getting elected costs millions of dollars, only those who make money from corruption get what they want.

Re:Government in the U.S. is extremely corrupt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642045)

Government elsewhere is even more corrupt, corporations have simply managed to make corruption cheaper by eliminating any kind of competition when buying off politicians. That's what all these laws intended to "get money out of politics" ultimately do: they simply concentrate corruption in the hands of fewer companies and therefore make it cheaper.

"We've already established what kind of woman you are, now we're just haggling over the price."

Re:Government in the U.S. is extremely corrupt. (2, Insightful)

Sigmon (323109) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642191)

I've been shouting this from the mountaintops on /. for years. Few people understand the concept and benefit of limited government. If government didn't have the power to regulate this or that, corporations wouldn't be buying it off. People seem to assume that political motivations are somehow natively nobler than that of business, but fail to realize they are often one and the same. Sadly I fear, even this clear example would not cure liberals of their stubbornness.

Re:Government in the U.S. is extremely corrupt. (5, Insightful)

mspohr (589790) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642151)

Corporations have "captured" the government. They have discovered that by "investing" a relatively small amount of money in politicians, they can gain a high return in getting laws and regulations passed with protect their monopolies, enabling them to charge high rent.
This takes place in most (?all) governments but the dollar amount of this return on investment in the US is probably the highest or any country in the world.

Re:Translated into English (-1)

Scareduck (177470) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641799)

No, I did read the article, AC. And this passage --

The business models that have made solar systems financially viable for millions of homeowners in California, New England and elsewhere around the country are largely illegal in Florida, Virginia, South Carolina and some other Southern states. Companies that pioneered the industry, such as SolarCity Corp. and Sunrun Inc., do not even attempt to do business there. ...

Along with tax breaks and other government incentives, the lease agreements have made solar installations increasingly affordable.

-- can very reasonably be interpreted as I did above.

Re:Translated into English (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641869)

That is because in Florida they prefer the the rest of the country use the flaming Bush as an alternative Energy source.

Re:Translated into English (3, Insightful)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641911)

> -- can very reasonably be interpreted as I did above.

Not without an obvious logical fallacy or moving goalposts. To whit:

"Along with tax breaks and other government incentives, the lease agreements have made solar installations increasingly affordable."

Which states, "affordability increases with tax breaks and other government incentives". It does not imply that the systems are not affordable without such. And as the link I provide below notes, PV is perfectly affordable in many situations without any subsidy at all.

More to the point, it says nothing whatsoever about what the "solar industry thinks they deserve". That's entirely made up by you.

Re:Translated into English (3, Insightful)

Legal.Troll (2002574) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642107)

If the systems were affordable without the special arrangements and tax breaks, this article wouldn't exist in the first place because the panels would be popping up all over Florida. While lecturing others on correct logical reasoning you've committed an obvious error in practical reasoning, which is based mostly on human nature and the predictable reactions of people to situations.

Re:Translated into English (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641835)

Because solar leases are pretty much a total rip-off that befits the solar company not the consumer. So maybe the state is trying to protect their citizens. But if you are driving a leased car and were enticed by that low monthly payment, you probably don't understand what I'm talking about.

Re:Translated into English (1)

mbone (558574) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641691)

All news is politics by other means.

Timothy'd into (English) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641695)

Be (sure) to sprinkle your (sentences) with unnecessary parentheses (because it) looks "cool" to (you)

(It) never "gets" (old), does it, ol' Timmyboy?

Re:Timothy'd into (English) (0)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641731)

You )know( what else is "cool" to do with )unnecessary parentheses(? To (make sure they( don)'t match to mess ar{oun(d with O)C(D re]ade(rs).

Re:Translated into English (0)

amiga3D (567632) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641705)

Some people think they should have free Solar Panels paid for by the utilities and government. The cost for 3 cottages was quoted as 106,000 dollars but I keep seeing where in California people are installing panels for a tiny fraction of that. I guess that shows just how much of the cost is being subsidized. Solar advocates keep touting how inexpensive it is but here we see the true cost. I wonder how long it'll take to recoup over 30 grand per installation?

Re:Translated into English (1, Troll)

dhanson865 (1134161) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641769)

Some people think they should have free Solar Panels paid for by the utilities and government. The cost for 3 cottages was quoted as 106,000 dollars but I keep seeing where in California people are installing panels for a tiny fraction of that. I guess that shows just how much of the cost is being subsidized. Solar advocates keep touting how inexpensive it is but here we see the true cost. I wonder how long it'll take to recoup over 30 grand per installation?

No the cost isn't just being subsidized. Florida gets half to one quarter the solar energy at the rooftop that California gets to for the same power usage you have to install twice to four times as many panels.

Another factor is hurricanes. In California you can use cheaper panels because they don't have to be rated to withstand hurricane force winds. Even if you use the same number of panels in an Florida installation you'll have to pay for more expensive panels and more expensive mounting brackets/rail systems. Everything has to be stronger in a state that is likely to see a hurricane every few years when the panels would otherwise last >30 years.

With no subsidy in either state you'd still spend more for solar PV to get the same power in Florida.

Re:Translated into English (3, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641913)

I just looked up St Petersburg and Los Angeles in the NREL Prospector [nrel.gov] and the average annual DNI for St Petersburg is 5.22 kWh/m2/day vs. 5.72 for Los angeles, so only 10% less.

(Lucky me, it is 7.54 here in Albuquerque. Now excuse me while I put on another layer of sunscreen.)

Re:Translated into English (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641927)

Considering that Solar panels only have a effective life span of 15 years, I'd be more concerned with the morons who put manufactured homes (trailers) in Florida under the pretense that "maybe god won't spank them this year."

Like if anyone really wanted to live in Florida and not sit on a timebomb, they would build their house with a concrete basement, if not entirely out of concrete.

Re:Translated into English (0)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642041)

Considering that Solar panels only have a effective life span of 15 years

FUD...

Re:Translated into English (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642161)

Like if anyone really wanted to live in Florida and not sit on a timebomb, they would build their house with a concrete basement

Yeah, and then add about $500/month in electricity to run all the pumps to keep the water out of it. There are very practical reasons why basements are rare in Florida.

Re:Translated into English (3, Informative)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642389)

Considering that Solar panels only have a effective life span of 15 years

"Many manufacturers currently give a double power warranty for their products, typically 90% of the initial maximum power after 10 years and 80% of the original maximum power after 25 years. Applying the same criteria (taking into account modules electrical performance only and assuming 25% measurement uncertainty of a testing lab) only 176% of modules failed (35 modules out of 204 tested). Remarkably even if we consider the initial warranty period i.e. 10% of Pmax after 10 years, more than 657% of modules exposed for 20 years exceed this criteria."

Thus nearly 2/3 of tested panels lost less than 10% of their output after 20 years. Your number for effective lifespan is way off.

Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com... [wiley.com]

Re:Translated into English (1)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642405)

Due to copy/paste error, the 176% should read as 17.6%, and 657% should read as 65.7%.

Re:Translated into English (-1, Offtopic)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641953)

Florida gets half to one quarter the solar energy at the rooftop that California gets

Well fuck, you solar nuts are now making up shit that isnt even halfway believable.... or should I say not even a quarter of the way believable...

Re:Translated into English (5, Informative)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641955)

> Florida gets half to one quarter the solar energy at the rooftop that California

Where did you POSSIBLY come up with that?!

Bakersfield gets 1461 kWh/kW/year
Tampa gets 1364 kWh/kW/year

Here, do it yourself if you don't believe me:

http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/calculators/pvwatts/version1/

Re:Translated into English (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642055)

Where did you POSSIBLY come up with that?!

My guess would be Fox News [youtube.com] , they are very knowledgeable when it comes to insolation.

Re:Translated into English (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642249)

Barrow Alaska gets 707 kWh/KW/year.

Minneapolis gets 1286 kWh/kW/Year.

The price of electricity from the grid at $0.08 / kWh in Minneapolis leaves PV in Minneapolis with 15 to 20-year payback periods assuming 5% increase in cost of grid electricty and 0% alternate return on the capital for the non-PV case. If you don't assume power prices rising and assume some rate of return on the capital, the payback stretches to 30-40 years. That's with the 30% federal tax credit, but with out the state credit ($0.08 / kWh generated, but they only fund with $5 million and that's usually gone before the first day of application period in most years in MN).

My roof would only support a system that would provide 1/2 my electricity. And including installation fees, it would cost $13,000 after the federal tax credit. That lowers my power bill by $35 / month, maybe $40. It's not yet worth it to me where I live. People who do it are not making the decision primarily on a financial basis. They're installing it to send a message.

Re:Translated into English (-1, Redundant)

rahvin112 (446269) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642065)

You aren't considering weather.

It rains a lot in Florida, Southern California on the other hand is a desert and it almost never rains. So even if Florida is slightly further south and gets a little bit more direct sunshine more of that sunshine likely reaches the ground in Southern California due to the lack of cloud cover.

Re:Translated into English (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642185)

How's the weather in Germany you fuck?

Re:Translated into English (3, Informative)

dhanson865 (1134161) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642109)

> Florida gets half to one quarter the solar energy at the rooftop that California

Where did you POSSIBLY come up with that?!

Bakersfield gets 1461 kWh/kW/year
Tampa gets 1364 kWh/kW/year

Here, do it yourself if you don't believe me:

http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/calculators/pvwatts/version1/

I got it from eyeballing http://www.trbimg.com/img-53e6... [trbimg.com] so why does that map show FL in green not yellow? Apparently whoever chose the color scale on that map made the yellow band way too narrow.

but yes, that was very very inaccurate rough math.

I'm sure Bakersfield is the entire state of California.

Now if you don't believe that Bakersfield fills the entire state you could look for areas with higher solar insolation.

For example

Victorville, CA Annual Avg. (kWh/m2/day): 8.15 vs
Tamp, FL Annual Avg. (kWh/m2/day): 4.98

Nope it isn't twice the solar insulation but it's getting up there.

So edit my erroneous statement to something more like:

No the cost isn't just being subsidized. Florida gets half to 3/4 the solar energy at the rooftop that California gets to for the same power usage you have to install more panels.

Another factor is hurricanes. In California you can use cheaper panels because they don't have to be rated to withstand hurricane force winds. Even if you use the same number of panels in an Florida installation you'll have to pay for more expensive panels and more expensive mounting brackets/rail systems. Everything has to be stronger in a state that is likely to see a hurricane every few years when the panels would otherwise last >30 years.

With no subsidy in either state you'd still spend more for solar PV to get the same power in Florida.

Re:Translated into English (1)

silfen (3720385) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642169)

The NREL data doesn't look right to me. Bakersfield has twice the number of sunny days as Tampa, and the difference should be greater, even accounting for the difference in latitude. (You also picked two non-representative cities when his statement was about states. Overall, California has the best locations for solar power in the country, while Florida really generally isn't that good for solar power generation.)

The NREL system has no description of its methodology, data sources, or other independently verifiable information; it does have a clear political and economic motivation behind it, namely to get people to buy solar cells; there is no reason to trust the NREL data.

Try finding a source that actually explains where its numbers come from and what they mean.

Re:Translated into English (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642143)

No the cost isn't just being subsidized. Florida gets half to one quarter the solar energy at the rooftop that California gets to for the same power usage you have to install twice to four times as many panels.

There is something like a map, or a globe.
It has nice funny lines on it, some are called latitude.
Perhaps you like to check on what latitude Florida is, and then follow this line to the *left* and see on what latitude California is ...
And after that I challenge you to meditate how those funny lines affect sun yield.

Free energy Market (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641825)

If you think we have a free market in energy in the USA, you are horribly misinformed.

Every energy company, utility oil/gas company has their hands in the government cookie jar.

Re: Translated into English (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641833)

Electric in florida is dirt cheap . Politicians in Florida are keen on keeping living costa in florida affordable for all people . A two working adult family working at walmart can afford to buy a house in many parts of Florida . Subsidized solar does not meet that goal . Having been born and raised in nyc and lived in Florida for many years , all the "programs " to help the poor and a the hypocritical progressive mumbo jumbo to prevent the "costs" of global warming has driven the cost of living beyond the ability for the average person to afford and in nyc all but the most skilled jobs have been driven out of town

Re:Translated into English (5, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641883)

The cost for 3 cottages was quoted as 106,000 dollars but I keep seeing where in California people are installing panels for a tiny fraction of that. I guess that shows just how much of the cost is being subsidized.

Nah, here [osceolaenergy.com] is what the prices are where I live - both before and after the credits. For my house (2 adults and 4 kids) we need the 3.3 kWh system which is $13.8K before credits, $8.3K after. That is parts + installation + 25 year warranty on inverter and panels. (This works out to a break-even of 7 years after the credits because it would offset $100/mo in electricity bills.)

I am left wondering how it could be $35K / cottage in Florida. Maybe it's to go off-grid altogether, thus requiring storage? I'm getting just enough to ensure I'll rarely produce a net excess in any single month. The rate at which the power company buys excess electricity isn't attractive so I don't want to over-produce long-term, but you can over-produce during the day and 'bank' it until night, and carry a little (up to $50 worth) over from one month to the next.

Hidden Subsidies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641985)

How much of that $13.8K is subsidized in ways you don't see? Other question, is your paybackk by selling dirty power to the grid at retail prices? I'm all for solar, but that's because I'm making money installing battery banks to recover phase stability from the amazingly rapid fluctuations in solar production.

Re:Translated into English (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642073)

I am left wondering how it could be $35K / cottage in Florida. Maybe it's to go off-grid altogether, thus requiring storage?

I'm not sure what a "cottage" is in Florida, but if I look at local prices (Central Europe), I see offers for off-grid PV installations (with storage) for cottages starting around $7k.

Re:Translated into English (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642277)

According to these guys, you'll only produce $483 / year with 3.3 Kw system in Albuquerque NM (guessing that's where you are because that's where the installer is). At that rate, $8,300 pays back in 17 years.

Re:Translated into English (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641937)

"The cost for 3 cottages was quoted as 106,000 dollars"

Yeah, I can't figure that out. You might, MIGHT, be able to fit 3 kW of panels on a "cottage". At $4/W, the going rate in the US right now, that would cost you 3 cottages x (3 x 1000) x $4 = $36,000.

I can only conclude that this is a typo in the article.

Re:Translated into English (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642033)

The cost for 3 cottages was quoted as 106,000 dollars but I keep seeing where in California people are installing panels for a tiny fraction of that. I guess that shows just how much of the cost is being subsidized.

It could simply mean that the higher price is a rip-off, not that the lower price is subsidized (or it could mean both).

Re:Translated into English (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641725)

If you had bothered to read the source instead of scoring your first post (congratulations) you would have known that it is not about denying subsidies, but about active opposition.
- extra taxes for solar installations.
- monopolies by state regulation for local power companies.
- prohibit financing constructions for solar that are otherwise common for everything else (specifically leasing)
This is clearly anti competitive behavior.

Re:Translated into English (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641775)

- prohibit financing constructions for solar that are otherwise common for everything else (specifically leasing)

This could come back to bite utilities in the ass. Equipment leasing and lease back arrangements are major tax shelters in the utility business. All one would need to do is to take the anti solar lease laws into court and show how they discriminate against one business in favor of another. And then ask the court to apply the leasing prohibitions against all businesses equally.

Re:Translated into English (1)

Scareduck (177470) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641817)

Yawn.

Along with tax breaks and other government incentives, the lease agreements have made solar installations increasingly affordable.

The real problem is and remains subsidy. The lease is pointless without the subsidy.

Re:Translated into English (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641865)

Then there is no need to make leasing illegal isn't it ? Just don't subsidize and the leasing goes away. Unless, of course, it serves another purpose as well.

Re:Translated into English (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641917)

Nowhere in the article does it specifically say they made leasing illegal. It implies something about provisions in the leases, which from the context suggests that the leases were written in a form that effectively makes them a subsidy. For example, the specific quote about the Dominion Power suit ("only they are licensed to sell power") implies that the leases were written to do more than just lease solar panels, but rather also require the lessee to sell unused power back, or something like that possibly without paying the same taxes that utility companies pay as a business for selling power. An article written to push a particular viewpoint, as this one seems to have been, might call requiring them to pay that tax "extra taxes for solar."

Yeah, whatever. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641781)

Not all states offer subsidies as generous as the solar industry thinks they deserve.

Its about long term thinking.

The fossil fuel industry has so many tax and environmental subsidies and costs that go ignored by most people. Duke power dumps a shit load of coal ash into a river and WE the taxpayer pays for it in more ways than money. And there''s the economic consequences - that cost Duke nothing.

Fossil fuels are old, polluting - MUCH more than the manufacture of solar cells and other green energy, and cause health problems that are paid down the line in increased healthcare costs and deaths.

When fossil fuels are drilled or mined is has environmental and health costs. When it transported and burned it has environmental and health costs.

When a solar cell is made, that's the end - all the environmental and health costs are over with. And nuclear? Pfft. The used fuel is nothing compared to the shit: mercury and other crop being spewed by fossil fuels.

Why we can't progress beyond 19th century energy sources?

Re:Yeah, whatever. (-1, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642027)

The fossil fuel industry has so many tax and environmental subsidies and costs that go ignored by most people. Duke power dumps a shit load of coal ash into a river and WE the taxpayer pays for it in more ways than money. And there''s the economic consequences - that cost Duke nothing.

Citation needed.

A) its illegal and environmental groups would be all over it

B) Duke is actually pretty good about trying to handle coal waste and keeping the environment clean. They've also tried to open a couple new nuclear plants over the past decade rather than increase coal usage, of course thats been shot down by NIMBYs but calling Duke out as being dirty is just bullshit.

Re:Yeah, whatever. (3, Interesting)

gtall (79522) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642077)

Citation: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03... [nytimes.com] (admittedly behind a paywall but they paid less than $100K in fines. They also promised to clean up the other 24 accidents waiting to happen that they own just in N. Carolina. And this is after they "defanged" the state regulatory board.

Re: Yeah, whatever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642113)

Are you dense or just purposely disingenuous? (You don't need to answer, industry shill is obvious).

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=duke+coal+ash+spill

Re:Yeah, whatever. (0)

bmo (77928) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642411)

There is a reason why you are "foed" here by me and others who have two brain cells to rub together:

You're dumb and a liar.

http://www.motherjones.com/blu... [motherjones.com]

Extract your Duke shilling head from your anus, you stupid fuck.

Sincerely,

Me.

Re:Translated into English (1)

alen (225700) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641785)

no, some states the utilities don't want to spend the money to buy the electricity from people and it's too much buying solar with a huge battery to store the electricity for later use.

and for reference, here in NYC the only solar panels i see are on some businesses like whole foods who can afford to spend the cash for the wiring to send excess electricity back to the utility. and as a residential customer the last thing i want to do is pay for the wiring for a few people to make money on their homes

Re:Translated into English (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641791)

I would say it's more that just politics. It's Yellow Journalism meant to paint a picture that Florida is blocking people from having solar panels. They simply aren't forcing neighbors to pay for a home owner's property improvement. That's scandelous??

As long as "business models" depend on robbing Peter to pay Paul, we might as well make horses on giant hampster wheels a "viable" source of energy.

Re: Translated into English (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642159)

Horses on hamster wheels is a viable source of energy, if you ignore the animal rights concerns. The biggest inefficiencies in the system are induced by the wheel's size and mass and the horse's brain. Given that such a system could be locally distributed, that could more than be compensated for by removing transmission-line loss.

Re:Translated into English (2)

fazig (2909523) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641801)

The article isn't about subsidies it is about the prevention from the common business models of leasing solar panels.
According to the article these lease agreements are illegal in Florida.
This does sound like distortion of the market, because a common practice, that makes it possible for home onwers to create their own electrical power and sell excess power to other people, is stifled by laws.

Re:Translated into English (1)

onepoint (301486) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642179)

yep, correct, the lease business model states that they sell at full consumer rates to the electric company, not at the producers rate ( which is cheaper )

so then I have to ask you...

I own 100K sqft of usable, full sunshine roofs
I lease that out and sell it at full market
I get YOU and everyone around me to buy at full market rate (via the power company)
I just profited off of you and the electric company
How happy are you going to be that I did not have to pay for
Maintenance of the line carrying my charge, the people that work for the power company
When the hurricanes hit, my house is lit not yours....

Problem is, the lease calls for selling back at consumer rates, not producer rates. That's what is unfair. That simple spread of maybe 3 cents, but those that don't self produce are paying your subsidy.

Re:Translated into English (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641813)

> subsidies as generous as the solar industry thinks they deserve

Subsidies are not for the ones who receive them. If it was that way, I'd like mine in ice cream, for instance.

Subsidies are of interest for the ones who give them. It's a good use of public funds to solve problems which pester governments.

Now, again, the Sun gives energy for free every day; there must be reasons for an individual no to profit from them, subsidies or not.

I just cannot think of a single one.

PS: Don't use nuclear, it's bad. But if you're gonna be dumb and use it anyway, what does it have to do with using solar at the same time? Since it's FREE as in gratis...
Did I mention that it doesn't cost a cent/penny, aside from low maintenance?(*)

(*) Provided you have sufficient scale to produce panels at a lower enough cost, which depends on not making it harder for people to acquire them. Because, you know, everyone wants FREE energy. E-v-e-r-y-o-n-e.

Re:Translated into English (1)

Legal.Troll (2002574) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642091)

This is the sort of comment that should be modded (+10, Authoritative), but isn't, due to the low-quality audience. As a further fitting tribute to the stupidity of the Slashdot modding/comment-hiding system, once I logged in, I had to fiddle with the display controls in order to get the site to display me the single best comment in the thread.

Re:Translated into English (0)

Arker (91948) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642259)

You got modded down but it's basically true.

There are two sides to it - some laws and agreements that are truly senseless - but a large part of it really is a complaint from rent-seekers about subsidies they feel entitled to.

The fact is solar PV is at present NOT very that cost effective, even in the markets where it works best.

Removing illogical obstacles to PV installation would be a good thing, but 'generous subsidies' paid for predominantly by the working poor, to help rich landowners install PV and cut their bills going forward, is not.

I would also suggest that Floridians worried about their sunlight going to waste investigate solar-thermal (hot water) rather than PV (photovoltaic) panels. Quite a bit less expensive and you dont need to generate electricity to displace some demand.

Bush is killing toddlers in Iraq (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641677)

Interestingly, when you look at liberals, many live their lives in a conservative manner. This is because they understand that being liberal in your personal life is a one-way ticket on the high-speed rail line to Failureville.

Do you think Barack Obama would let his two delightful kids fritter their lives away in a miasma of drugs, promiscuity and general sloth? Of course not; those kids are going to work hard and be expected to achieve. But Obama would never expect that of the millions of welfare-sucking losers his party depends on at election time.

No, he needs those Democrat serfs to stay right where they are: poor, trapped and readily exploitable. After all, if they were to live like he does and support themselves, they wouldn't need him. And the priority for any liberal (after being seen as enlightened) is forcing someone else to need him.

Re: Bush is killing toddlers in Iraq (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642069)

False equivalency followed by a strawman. Why not go for the hat trick?

Re: Bush is killing toddlers in Iraq (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642147)

Do many americans share this view?

You're a weird people. Perhaps some day the blinkers will drop away, and you'll realise a future in which humanity helps each other so that everyone can achieve happiness is preferable to the imbalanced lopsided winner-takes-all-fuck-the-rest-of-you dream so many of you think is a good thing.

Re: Bush is killing toddlers in Iraq (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642247)

The worst thing in America is that the "fucked" are the loudest proponents of the "fuck the rest" mentality. It's a triumph of social engineering.

Good Old Boy State (3, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641683)

In no place is crony capitalism so entrenched as in the former states of the Old Confederacy, and Florida is one of the worst. (And, note, I say that as a native of the South.)

Re:Good Old Boy State (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641839)

Hell, they elected Rick Scott as the governor. Whose company admitted bilking Medicare some hundreds of billions of dollars. To be fair, it was by less than 100,000 people. But still...electing him was the choice of over 2 million people.

We'll see if Charlie Christ will win though, he was actually the previous Republican governor, but ran for Senate as an independent before switching to the Democratic Party.

 

Re:Good Old Boy State (3)

ganjadude (952775) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641991)

clearly you dont live in NY, WAY worse than anywhere down south when it comes to crony capitalism. hell our governor is in some hot water now for starting a task force to curb corruption in politics....then canning the task force when they started investigating him... Fla is probably worse based on what I see in the news, but ill take north carolina or tenn politics over NY any day

Re: Good Old Boy State (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642245)

As an ex-Albany native with a very intimate view of the state government (1 senator, 1 chief of staff for 30+ years, acquaintance with Joe Bruno, worked in gaming for this very governor), there's one *huge* difference - NY corruption lines pockets, but things (historically) still get done, and done correctly.

It's pretty sad but at this point I'd take the classic NY 3-men-in-a-room oligarchy (Cuomo, Bruno, Silver) over nearly any elected executive nationally.

Re:Good Old Boy State (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642197)

Crony capitalism seems to be doing well in California. What do you think solar power subsidies are, other than handouts to the wealthy and to well connected "alternative energy" companies?

maybe it's the reality of the business (0)

onepoint (301486) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641797)

Note: I live in Florida
I am not aware that there is a law (federal, state or city) that states, Power companies have to provide Net-metering to an installation.
Electric companies need to make money, they need to service the power lines...

Florida (southern Florida FPL) does welcome net-metering, they credit on a 12 month basis, any overage is a gift to the electric company.
With the above stated, Power companies need to modify the tariff showing that if you want to generate power in excess, you have to pay for line service.

The leasing deals that the writer was talking about is a nifty trick to take advantage of the system, and it's a good trick. But at the end of the day, it's a subsidy that the power companies pay out.

here is a good write up about this issue http://articles.sun-sentinel.c... [sun-sentinel.com]

Re:maybe it's the reality of the business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641875)

Great.

Cite an editorial from a pocketed legislator as if it supports any factual statement.

If we relied on cr@p like that for information, we'd still be in the stone age.

Fantastic leaps of imagination in there: People who use solar power and deliver power back to the utilities are stealing money from the poor who can't afford to install their own solar panels and sell power back to the utilities.

Total BS. Anyone who buys that can afford this bridge I'm selling in Brooklyn...

Re:maybe it's the reality of the business (0)

onepoint (301486) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642023)

did you read it?
most likely not, but the source of information is valid,
and I happen not to like him.

I want cheap solar, and it makes lots of sense that the rich can have it, and full credit for it.

Republican "Free market" capitalism at work.. (5, Insightful)

romanval (556418) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641853)

...as long as their corporate/special interests "freedoms" take priority from the public's interests, everything will be peachy.
 
    Also see: Tesla vs. State auto dealership associations.

Re:Republican "Free market" capitalism at work.. (0)

silfen (3720385) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642269)

You are absolutely right: this is free market capitalism at work. Solar power subsidies or net metering force the poor to subsidize solar power for the affluent, and that's certainly not a free market.

You're also right that Republicans hate Tesla; that's because of the federal subsidies it receives, something we all should oppose.

The issue with car dealerships is not as clear cut as you seem to imply. Restrictions on direct car sales actually hurt big corporations and help small businesses (car dealers). It's corporate interests vs. special interests of small businesses. If you are against these laws, you align with the interests of big corporations over the interests of small businesses. (Personally, I'm against the dealership restrictions, but I'm also against the subsidies.)

There are problems (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641863)

I am a huge proponent of solar, but the "back to the grid" issue is real. solar, stepped up to normal 120v(ish) within the household is only useful over fairly short distances. all the transformers and transmission infrastructure that can put it feasibly back into the grid during moments of surplus means there still needs to be some type of payment going to the power company. Storage is a huge issue at present (come on battery tech!) too

No special breaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641877)

The source article talks about solar taxes. I wonder how much of that is just the regular taxes one would expect on home improvement such as increased property tax based on new assessed value or permitting and licencing for the modifications to the roof. A lot of this sounds like whining that they are not getting the special treatment that solar gets elsewhere. As for not allowing solar lease, by most accounts the solar lease is a complete rip-off. Those big companies like Sungevity and Solar-City don't push the solar lease/power purchase agreement so hard because it's good for the consumer. They push it because it's good for Solar-City.

Then they preach to the world about capitalism (3, Informative)

bogaboga (793279) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641899)

While the precise rules vary from state to state, one explanation is the same: opposition from utilities grown nervous by the rapid encroachment of solar firms on their business.

What troubles me is the fact that even while all this is going on, the US government preaches to the world about capitalism and free enterprise. What hypocrisy!

One definition of free enterprise that the US government conveniently chooses to ignore:

Business governed by the laws of supply and demand, not restrained by government interference, regulation or subsidy, also called free market.

Re:Then they preach to the world about capitalism (5, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642403)

That definition turns ugly repeatedly so often that the government has to get involved to stop the excesses (company stores, interlocking trusts, monopoly pricing, collusion, vertical market lock).

The bad thing here is that the government was subverted by business and is no longer acting as a check and balance.

A "free market" works for small businesses but not for large multi-national corporations and not even really for simply "large" corporations. It's sort of like how libertarianism can work under a strong government but fails badly when you have a weak government and very powerful people who use that power to abuse weaker people.

There's also a "moral" component which makes capitalism work and be beneficial and that's eroded a lot since 1980.

Does anyone blame them? (4, Interesting)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641905)

" While the precise rules vary from state to state, one explanation is the same: opposition from utilities grown nervous by the rapid encroachment of solar firms on their business."

Frankly, as someone that worked in the PV industry, I don't blame them for being nervous.

Commercial PV is now cheaper than nuclear and highly competitive with both coal and NG turbines. Rooftop systems are nowhere near as competitive, but as they are on the retail side of the meter, they don't have to be. So that's one thing that's scary.

And then there's the fact that PV, especially west and south-west mounted, provides power on-peak, precisely when the companies charge the most for their power. That's where they make almost all of their profit, so this is doubly super-scary.

Re:Does anyone blame them? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642001)

Commercial PV is now cheaper than nuclear and highly competitive with both coal and NG turbines.

maybe you should have read a little lower on the front page before making that claim..... http://tech.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

Re:Does anyone blame them? (3, Informative)

rahvin112 (446269) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642087)

He's correct and the article you point to doesn't say what you think it does.

Utility grade PV is cheaper than nuclear power without subsidy. With continued price drops that solar has been experiencing for the last 4 years Utility grade solar PV will be cheaper than coal by 2020.

Companies like First Solar have their entire production for the next 4 years already sold to utility scale power plants. A Utah power company just purchased all the power out of a solar plant being built nearby because it was the cheapest power available.

http://thinkprogress.org/clima... [thinkprogress.org]

This whole leasing angle thing (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641947)

Why aren't the power companies doing it? Profits also go up if they buy a little less coal.

Propaganda piece (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641969)

I live in St. Pete. I have looked into getting solar panels for my home, but it's just too darn expensive vs. what I pay for power, which is really something considering Duke is probably the most expensive electricity provider in the state. Some of my neighbors have them, usually to heat water/pools. The cost needs to be driven down by the market itself- subsidies will only keep the true cost higher longer. Personally, I don't see selling energy back as a big issue...especially if it impacts my bill. The focus should be on technologies that allow me to keep the power I generate.

Another aspect in this is that the beach communities here are full of NIMBYs and the local beach governments have passed a lot of laws restricting new construction and making the permit process a massive pain in the ass. There hasn't been any new construction by the beach in decades, and it shows.

handouts to the affluent (2, Interesting)

silfen (3720385) | about a month and a half ago | (#47641973)

States where solar thrives typically pay homeowners attractive rates for the excess power they generate and require utilities to get a considerable share of their power from renewable sources. That gives companies an incentive to promote use of solar.

Those "attractive rates" mean that the power companies pay retail for the power that you feed back to them, which automatically tells you that they are overpaying, since it doesn't include all of the expenses that power companies have. You know who pays for those "attractive rates"? Not the power companies, that's for sure; they pass the losses on to the rest of their customers. It's non-solar power users who subsidize solar power users.

Doesn't sound so bad: people who waste fossil fuels should pay for their sins, and we should reward people who use pristine power! Isn't that what we want? Until you realize that people who put in solar power systems into their homes are primarily affluent, and the money comes primarily from the poor and lower middle class.

Solar power incentives end up being a massive handout to the affluent, paid for by the less well off.

So you have this confluence of powerful, "environmentally conscious" affluent folks railing against carbon emissions, and lobbying for their expensive lifestyle gimmicks (electric cars, solar power, etc., you name it), combined with lobbying from the solar and electric car industry, and you get these junk laws pushed through. Then people pat themselves on their back about how great they are, while at the same time complaining about growing "inequality", which this policy (among many other "progressive" policies) actually contributes to.

Think again about Massachusetts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47641989)

In my town, which has its own electric light department, the advisory board recently recommended ending net metering and its recommended rates for PV solar panel owners: sell to the town at 6 per kWh and buy for 21 per kWh.

FWIW, I don't have PV panels, and my net rate on my most recent bill, including a $10.60 for the privilege of being a customer, is about 21 per kWh and the previous month was 22 when I used about 25% less electricity. If I'm reading my bill correctly, the town is paying about 9 per kWh for the electricity itself and another 9 per kWh in transmission charges.

Try a TRILLION DOLLARS, for starters. (1, Troll)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642009)

Aw C'mon, everybody's whining about the subsidies and 'net metering hardware' that needs to be installed and maintained at each point of presence -- aside from the purchase of the solar and wind units themselves... at the core of it are a few folks discovering that power utilities are not as eager as they like them to be.

For solar It's just a politics-entitlement issue because, frankly, the power these solar installations push back onto the grid is too tiny for the 'trouble' they cause. I am SO GLAD that my small midwest city has none of this DAMNED FOOLISHNESS going on. We can see what our electrical co-ops pay by the kilowatt for reliable grid power and we see the salaries of the fine people who maintain it, and it's pretty much in parity.

The power grid is a massive tuned circuit which uses frequency to regulate power flow. Several regions such as Oklahoma, Florida and the Northeast already contain enough intermittent energy sources to create real problems with distribution, today. Electrical Engineer Andrew Dodson lays out a few of these problems at this fascinating presentation at the recent Thorium Energy Conference in Chicago [youtube.com] , showing plots of dissonant waves hundreds of miles across caused by the onset and outset of wind surges. He describes the "single machine infinite bus" model that grid engineers design for and how it is being compromised in this followup interview [youtube.com] .

Here is someone who has devoted his career to grid stability, understands it completely -- and what is his own take?

A TRILLION DOLLARS to retrofit the grid to accommodate so-called renewables. That's without putting a single additional megawatt on the grid. He even advocates the build out of a parallel grid for variable sources to protect the essential 24/7 machinery of power generation, which can incur physical damage from these effects -- allowing us to concentrate new infrastructure for tuning reactive load to a few buffer points.

Sounds great down the road. We need reliable baseload power cheaper than coal first.

___
Please see Thorium Remix [youtube.com] and my own letters on energy,
To The Honorable James M. Inhofe, United States Senate [scribd.com]
To whom it may concern, Halliburton Corporate [scribd.com]
Also of interest, Faulkner [2005]: Electric Pipelines for North American Power Grid Efficiency Security [scribd.com]

Re:Try a TRILLION DOLLARS, for starters. (1)

onepoint (301486) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642115)

Very interesting overall...
I wonder if it's possible at all to just retrofit in a modular way.
for example, take 1 power line that goes down a few city blocks and touches 10 stepdown transformers
Could that entire line be taken down along with the transformers and replaced???

I can just see an entire roll out over 15 years and ton of employment if something like that was possible

Re:Try a TRILLION DOLLARS, for starters. (0)

rahvin112 (446269) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642125)

In about 6 years Solar PV will be cheaper than Coal.

It's funny that as Solar PV gains traction all the people jump out of the woodwork trying to tell everyone how horrible it will be. In 10 years Solar is going to totally dominate all new power generation (all the dirty coal generation is going to be decommissioning as fast as they can bring new solar plants online) and the challenges it's intermittent generation presents will long be solved by the market.

But people like you and the power company sock puppets run around screaming how the world is going to come to an end (the grid will fail, we'll have rolling blackouts, etc) and that the only solution is to use government regulations to stop Solar.

Re:Try a TRILLION DOLLARS, for starters. (1)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642309)

With a bit of find and replace
s/Solar{ PV|}/Natural Gas/g

Now your comment makes sense... even at night!

Natural gas is the new darling of base load generation. The only problem being that IF the present burdens of coal is shifted onto it and present coal infrastructure is decommissioned and abandoned, we'll have nothing to fall back on WHEN natural gas peaks and declines.

When considering the relative costs of things I try to factor in whether they will ultimately 'work' at all. Solar PV for base load energy will not work. Therefore it is too expensive, because extinction is expensive.

Durrr (1)

AlCapwn (1536173) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642121)

Industry players with tremendous capital not investing in what is likely to be the future of their own sectors deserve to die. Regulators are harming the free market.

Big deal (3, Informative)

Charcharodon (611187) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642133)

Big deal. Hook up the panels to something you find useful and tell the grid to take a hike.

I've got 4 100 watt panels that send power to my desk. All my devices and this computer are powered by what is stored in the battery that is in a box nearby.

My next 1000 watts will go to run the pool and all my backyard lighting. The power company can cry all it wants, but eventually my entire house will be off the grid.

Lifetime solar power in FL (1)

trout007 (975317) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642145)

Panels don't last as long in Florida when a storm comes and rips them off your roof every 20 years. Also our electricity is pretty cheap here.

Unfriendly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642157)

I should hope so, electricity already costs too much. Solar is the most expensive of the alternative energy sources. Go raise someone else's electric rates.

Florida Power runs solar - out of state (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642195)

Next Era Energy, the name of the holding company that FPL created when utilities started to deregulate -- loves solar and all of its subsidies -- read on at http://www.nexteraenergyresources.com/what/solar.shtml

They claim to be the largest Solar Energy Generation company in the country

The have not one solar panel in Florida, which is a state that they and Duke Progress, Teco and Southern Company completely control

Any electrical engineers out there? (2)

Catamaran (106796) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642199)

Several posts, mostly by ACs, suggest that solar panels are putting "dirty" power back into the grid. Is there any truth to that?
They also suggest that net metering requires some extra infrastructure on the part of the utility, which I know to be completely false.

Solar (0)

ledow (319597) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642279)

1) If something requires a government subsidy (which is the selling point of every solar installation in my country), then it's haemorrhaging money but someone, somewhere "wants" it to do that. (In the EU, that's normally governments doing it to meet their "green" obligations at whatever cost is cheaper than the "fine" for not doing so).

2) The electricity companies are not under any obligation that I know of to take your electricity. In the same way that you can't just turn on a generator and demand they let you sell the excess electricity back to them, you can't just slap a solar installation on your house and demand they take your excess. Certainly not "for free". Hell, you can be charged £10,000 to run a broadband cable to a town that isn't wired already, so I'm sure the cost of a "one-off" solar installation to feed back to the grid from wherever you are is MUCH more expensive.

3) If they are paying (or, more accurately, being forced to pay) retail price for your spare electricity, it's a con. They should be paying you no more than it costs for them to buy an equivalent amount of electricity to send that same wattage back to your house. Which, en masse, is literally pence. If they're paying you more than that, you have to wonder why, especially when they are private companies run by shareholders. Hint: Green credentials, government subsidies.

4) The cost of taking your crappy, varying pittance of power, cleansing it, transmitting it back to somewhere they can distribute it (even back to the end of your road, and probably on a separate cable to normal), and sending it on to another customer safely basically means that it's probably not worth their effort to even LOOK at it, unless they are forced.

5) Yes, there are countries/states that pay for your solar "overspill". There are countries that will pay YOU to install solar to save YOU money on your bills (does that not just set off alarm bells in your head about their current marketability / profitability?). It doesn't mean that it's anywhere near a sensible thing to do. And even with those subsidies and cost reduction, sometimes the maths STILL doesn't work out - certified electrical installation costs alone can obliterate a year's operational "profit".

Personally, every setup that someone has tried to sell me or my workplaces (private schools with large roofing surface area, large attached land ownership, desire for green credentials, high electrical demands, lots of spare cash, etc.) has been one that WOULD NOT give them profit even with all the incentives in the world.

Entire finance departments have sat and pored over the numbers in every school I work in. And then the one install I've personally seen, when I ask the bursar about it, there's lots of shifty eyes and "Yeah, I know, don't ask" when profitability of it is mentioned. They just aren't ever going to pay back the installation costs, let alone profit from the energy, but they have a pretty meter ticking up a "KWh" number that impresses visitors.

Like the petroleum industry in the US... complaining about your gas prices starting to catch up to the rest of the world. We set them that high to discourage you from using it, because it's a limited resource. We set solar prices to be profitable because we want YOU to buy them so we meet EU and other pollution obligations. But when we have to PAY YOU to make them work profitably, they are just a waste of plastic.

Re:Solar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642347)

No obligation to take your electricity? That presumes there's no reason for there to be a law requiring that. So how can a company be required to obey such a law? Do you think they acted entirely privately with their electrical lines? You'd be wrong, then. Go take a look around you and some electrical lines. You notice how they're going through people's property? Do you think the electric company negotiated all the rights individually? Nope. They got a franchise for the right-of-way from the government. Which in turn, can require terms of operation, including what? Taking people's excess solar power.

And no, it's not that costly to feed in power. If you're prepared for it. Which given that the electrical grid needs Smart adaptation anyway (the older cruder systems are way out out fate), is basically doing your roof right when you have to replace it anyway.

Plus the fact is, electrical companies are further protected by the state since the rest of the public can't sue them for polluting the air. Why does that exist? Probably because of what a burden it is to proof that specific harm. Sure, I can find coal debris in the air around any number of coal plants. But how do I PROVE where it came from?

Such a bother. Same with burning petroleum. I can prove the pollutants released from burning gasoline. I could especially prove that burning leaded gasoline released a LOT of pollutants. But can I prove that it's YOUR car doing it? No? Then what can we do?

Besides finance departments? Didn't you watch Transformers: Dark of the Moon? Accountants can spin the numbers however they want. Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.

Southerners are backward and corrupt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47642305)

You don't saaaaaaay.

Florida Is Crazy (4, Informative)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642333)

I have lived in Florida for 59 years and can tell you that at times the state is pretty much like an insane, psychopath who is loaded up on meth. So yes there is always corruption in play here. But when it comes to what seems to be over regulation keep in mind that most of Florida will have violent storms rather frequently. We build against a very real wind hazard. Some serious design challenges exist if one needs to safely mount solar collectors. Windmills would really have to be special as winds that gust at 200 mph will rip most things right out of the ground and your windmill may well become a missile that hits other homes. Our roofs have very little pitch to avoid being crushed by wind. They also tend to have very little overhang for the same reasons and our rafters must be far stronger than in other states. People in most states would be shocked if they understood the design differences require in our homes. Despite all of this we do have people going solar. It is just a bit more difficult here.

Poor and misleading summary (3, Informative)

mpercy (1085347) | about a month and a half ago | (#47642379)

A more correct interpretation is that some states have a strong Public Utilities Commission that narrowly interprets public utility laws in a way that negatively impacts *some* solar business models.

In particular the solar business model that installs panels for free or at some low lease cost, and then sells the electricity created to the homeowner (and excess to the grid). In this case, the PUC sees the situation that someone has chosen to build a small electric power plant and sell electricity to a other parties. The notion that the primary customer is a single homeowner or business is immaterial. A company that builds electric power plants for the purpose of selling electricity to other parties is to be regulated under the same laws as any other electric utility company.

If you want solar power for your house, you are free to buy panels and have them installed at your own expense and you can reap the benefits of your self-generated electricity. There may still be issues involving whether and how you can sell excess power back into the grid.

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