Green power for more people

I'm not that into it yet (crap has to be cheap to compete with burning dead dinosaurs), but there's a Kickstarter that marries solar and wind in a relatively affordable device. There's been enough talk on here of batteries, inverters, solar, geothermal, and wind that I thought someone might find it useful.

What do you think? List price is $7000 right now with an inverter. The charts in the Kickstarter assume you'll be taking advantage of government subsidies in the US, so you might just want to use the list price in your calculations.

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But, in Nicaragua

To the best of my knowledge, there is no buy-back possible for any power you generate in Nicaragua. Yes, you can be off-grid but the big cost is batteries and a backup system. This needs to be changed. Note that in Guatemala there is legislated buy-back. You can't make a profit but you are only charged for net usage in any month. As electricity rates are graduated similar to the way it is done in Nicaragua, even generating a little energy can save you a lot.

And I can't see them agreeing to a buy back any time soon

Too many hogs at the renewable energy trough and that's just the big names we know about.

Just imagine who is behind the "Proxies"


I was really amazed when I found out about the law in Guatemala. Some people don't like that you cannot sell more than you produce but with the graduated rates, you get the most benefit by reducing your consumption to get into a lower cost bracket.

I have been told (buy a guy who has done hydro systems) that to get approved is a one-page form that is mostly about you and where the installation is and a quick inspection.

Guates sound reasonable

Some US areas require utilities to buyback at retail rates. This results in the utility eating the loss because they have to still supply all the infrastructure and protect their systems from any quirks in the mom and pop systems. Netnet, the other customers are subsidizing the solar customers when the utility has to pay more than wholesale for electricity.

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher

It would sound that way but ...

there are lots more pieces to the picture:

  1. Peak demand is generally when the sun is out and meeting peak demand requires additional generation capacity and additional grid capacity. Having something else help decreases infrastructure costs.
  2. What utilities use to meet peak demand tends to be the most expensive for them.
  3. What utilities use to meet peak demand tend to pollute more. (e.g., hydro for base load, coal or oil for peak).
  4. There are lots of societal costs related to electric generation (pollution is one but more dams is another) that utilities don't pay for.
  5. The mom and pop issues are very overrated. With today's "plug and play" synchronous inverters the problem is pretty close to non-existent.
  6. The more the grid can be used for synchronization and less as a way to deliver energy over long distances, will reduce grid losses.

Finally, the goal is to supply the electrical needs of people, not maximizing utility company (and petroleum company) profits. Clearly it is big complicated equation but it is far from a subsidy being paid to local producers.

Still Not Going

to really take off (solar) until the utility companies come on board. I mean, really take off.

Utilities would facilitate the mom & pop (and larger) generation if they made some serious money on it. Interesting environmental push back to large solar installations in the desert in So Cal: "How dare you cover that worthless desert with solar panels!"

Utility accounting is very complicated; different,, but kind of like the distribution of profits to Hollywood film investors: film's a blockbuster, little guy asks, "where's my money"?

Bottom line, if the utility companies were able to make serious money on home generation, solar panels would probably cover every roof, the square miles of mall parking in hot parts of the country,, and so on. I agree, the technology is there, and not that expensive. The idea of using the utility grid as a massive battery makes a lot of sense. NG generation units can be brought up very quickly, quietly, non-polluting, can be located almost next door.

Grid loss is substantial, I've seen estimates of as much as 40% over long distances, through transformers. Having the guy next door power your vacuum cleaner avoids that inefficiency.

The socialists (and communists, I personally don't see much difference between the two, the socialists just don't like the stink associated with "communist"),, never understand this, prefer to try cramming something down throats in the name of social justice rather than doing it the easy way with a profit motivator. Why NOT let the utilities make a buck? They do a lot better job of spending it than our government does. And, if they find an employee watching porn six hours/day, they can actually fire him:

Solar would take off if the utility companies made serious money on it.

It's a little like Obama's economic recovery, soon to be the slowest in our nation's history. No one is willing to invest unless he knows his profits-- (and maybe a piece of his capital now with the "let's confiscate their wealth too" thinking) -- are not going to be confiscated. Money goes into totally non-productive areas, like playing the stock market, instead of something that meets social needs.

So, we have food stamps in the US now instead of jobs. The druggies love the food stamps, more money to buy drugs, kids still go hungry. Feeding them at school is the only way to fill inner city bellies.

I think many would prefer a good job instead,, use their earnings to buy their own food. That's still two years away,, but it looks like the pain of the last six years is finally having an effect.

In the meantime, Nicaragua clicks on. Lassez-faire capitalism makes for some very sooty buses, but steady growth and at least,, a good local investment climate.

The new economics!

Submitted by KeyWestPirate - Bottom line, if the utility companies were able to make serious money on home generation, solar panels would probably cover every roof, the square miles of mall parking in hot parts of the country...
The idea of using the utility grid as a massive battery makes a lot of sense....
...Grid loss is substantial, I've seen estimates of as much as 40% over long distances, through transformers. Having the guy next door power your vacuum cleaner avoids that inefficiency.
Yep the most serious money would be if the utilities could buy all their electricity from the guys next door at retail.
Then resell it to different guys next door at retail, and make a bundle - No more line loss - No more low price wholesale electricity costs.
That would completely eliminate their generation infrastructure costs too - No more need for dirty oil burning generators, geothermal plants, & windmills.
The Clinton team will have a job for you in a couple of years.

The real objections to the proposed California solar plants come from the taxpayers - This is another loser project compared to NG generation costs just like the windmills we are still paying for. The only reason these projects are in work is that the utilities are mandated to produce 1/3 of their energy renewable by 2020.
They are allowed to increase their retail consumer prices to account for the higher wholesale prices.

One answer offers a proposal to address the "excess production" issue.

As for difference between socialism, communism, ... let me apply the electricity model.

  • Communism -- Everyone produces as much electricity as they can and people only use what they need.
  • Socialism -- The government makes sure everyone has what they want with no control of production.
  • US ???ism -- Companies are allowed to maximize their profit while the government subsidizes consumers who can't afford market rates but also rewards producers to no produce if there are excesses.

None of these approaches really works well in practice but on paper, Communism is the only one that makes sense.

How Do You

explain the endless shortages associated with communism and socialism?

In Cuba electricity is free, but you are prohibited from owning convenience appliances such as microwave or heater. There should be plenty of electricity for all.

TP shortage in Venezuela? I know it's being blamed on the US, but I find it hard to believe we're the culprit.

TP in the US, dozens (if not hundreds of choices, I prefer Charmin myself). everything else is in abundant supply. You could argue whether we really need all the stuff, but our capitalistic system makes it available, and without standing in hours' long lines.

The proof is simply in the pudding, and has been for as long as I've watched the various economic systems at work.

Electricity shortages happen in the US when various regulatory agencies slow development of new generation capacity. One of the comments on the EPA porn scandal that I found relevant was, "... if they ALL (meaning all the EPA) would just spend six hours/day watching porn, the country would run a lot better.

Putting Aside Communism

for a moment, let's address the socialism definition. Isn't the reason Venezuela is in the pickle it's in is , Hugo took over most of the major factories, and put his buddies in charge of running them? Isn't one of the major reasons for Petroleos' continuing production decline was capable managers were replaced with Chavez cronies, people with no experience ?

How does this fit your definition . .

I don't

I explained the difference between two economic systems because you don't seem to understand the difference, that's all.

Don`t doubt

that it is a complex issue, but forcing somebody to pay retail for something they normally pay wholesale for is a hidden tax. The public utilites (other than here) also have the burden of providing electricy all the time, not just when it is convenient.

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher

Didn't see that one

Didn't see that one but did you check out Solar Roadways on Kickstarter? They pave the road with replaceable octagon shaped pavers made of glass with solar cells in them. Power network and fibre network in the road, designed to power electric cars. Glass is more durable than you think. And the roads are heated in snow covered areas.