Home editor's blog on going solar

Musings on going solar

solar panels with head shot of SCD editor superimposed on themIn the Editor’s “On Going Solar” blog section, I’ll write about experiences I have with going solar. While many of the entries will involve a description of the process of going solar, some will also be general musings on going solar. The entries about my, really, our – my wife and family are also part of the whole experience -- going solar experience will be more informal and more current than the articles about my solar-charged driving experience and my general experience going solar I’ve posted to the “SCD primer” and “Going solar” sections. I hope some of you find at least some of my musings on "going solar" interesting, potentially useful, and, ideally, thought-provoking.

Grid parity won't grow rooftop solar very much


Consumers being used to paying for electricity on a monthly, rather than on an upfront basis, is the single biggest factor undermining potential homeowner adoption of rooftop solar in the United States.

editors-blog-entry3If you follow solar energy closely, and even if you do not, chances are, you've heard that solar will soon be reaching, or already has reached, "grid parity" in multiple places in the United States and around the world.

Basically, "grid parity" means solar-generated electricity costs the same, or less, than natural gas generated electricity, coal-generated electricity, nuclear power generated electricity, etc.

The solar industry -- and solar lovers/proponents -- think grid parity is a big deal.

It is.

But, at least in terms of rooftop solar and the individual American household and interest/desire and, most important, follow-through on actually going solar, grid parity is nowhere near as important as many advocates make it out to be.

Read more...


Battling against utilities' war on rooftop solar

editors-blog-entry3I've written widely on Big Utilities' War on Rooftop Solar, and on the ways in which Big Utilities seriously constrain individual consumer choice and freedom. Indeed, vertically integrated (meaning utilities control the electricity production AND the distribution network for that electricity) utility monopolies are among the most anti-American, anti-free-market entities we have in the United States.

But as good as my blog critiques have been, ;-), they're not as good as this video (see above). It's definitely worth a view, and four minutes of your time.

Go ahead, I know you'll enjoy it -- and there's even a cat playing piano clip at the end, in case animal, rather than solar rights, videos are what float your boat ;-)


Home solar more expensive than 5 years ago


This 5.59 kW solar system, for which I paid $8,000 out of pocket in 2010, would cost me more than two times as much, out of pocket, today. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]

editors-blog-entry3I hope the headline for this blog entry attracts some attention -- because I'm frustrated about all the headlines on how solar is coming down in price.

Solar is coming down in price -- BUT solar rebates are dropping, typically faster than the price of solar itself. That's what's happened here in Colorado in Xcel Energy territory.

Read more...


3 reasons home solar still rocks after 3 years


Our 5.59 kW home solar system has produced nearly 26,000 kWh of clean electricity since being installed by REC Solar three years ago. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]

editors-blog-entry3Yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted something new to SolarChargedDriving. It’s not easy holding down a full-time job, being a full-time father of two young girls, and doing all the things that need to get done for an upcoming year-long adventure in Germany, which will see us jet off to Hamburg exactly three weeks from today.

Meanwhile, we’ll have tenants leasing our Aurora, Colo. home who plan to lease a Ford C-Max Energi plug-in and who, ironically, will beat us to having a solar-charged EV in our solar-covered Aurora, Colo. home! Go figure ;-)

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Are squirrels a serious threat to a solar system?


[Flickr.Com Creative Commons Photo By Kenny (Zoompict) Teo]

editors-blog-entry3So, what do a home solar system, squirrel/critter guard (more commonly known as chicken wire) and way too much yard work have to do with one another?

In my case, quite a lot, unfortunately.

Three years ago, when REC Solar installed our 5.59 kW home solar system (which has been working great, having pumped out about 25,000 kWh of electricity), I had no idea that squirrels represent a threat to a PV system (think gnaw, gnaw, gnaw on your panel wires), or that squirrel guard was an option to prevent squirrel disaster.

No one at REC Solar talked to me about squirrels and squirrel/critter guard.

Read more...

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