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Earth Power United States

New Jersey Outshines Most Others In Solar Energy 240

Posted by timothy
from the cutting-through-the-haze dept.
An anonymous reader points out this CNBC story which says that "New Jersey—known more for its turnpike, shopping malls and industrial sprawl—has become a solar energy powerhouse, outshining sunnier states like Hawaii and Nevada. And it's largely because of incentives that make it cheaper for residents and businesses to buy and install solar power systems."
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New Jersey Outshines Most Others In Solar Energy

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  • Re:So it's cheap... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by afidel (530433) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:20AM (#29730913)
    Yeah, I'm kind of wondering what the payoff is. I know that living in one of the cities with the lowest average solar insolation that I would do way more good for the environment by buying one panel for someone in AZ then plastering my entire roof with panels. Of course like Jersey we DO have a large body of water with a significant amount of available wind energy, so why aren't they building large scale wind farms just offshore instead of subsidizing inefficient use of solar panels?
  • by benjamindees (441808) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:25AM (#29730951) Homepage

    You can buy photovoltaic cells on ebay fairly cheaply, for about $1/watt. You have to assemble them yourself, though.

  • Tax dollars (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:28AM (#29730987)

    The real question is:

    Would it make more sense to subsidize options like small scale solar in order to encourage homes/businesses to "go greener" and to take some load off the central grid?

    OR

    Does it make more sense to spend that money fixing the current rickety grid and then put all that green capacity in places that actually get a lot of sunlight all year?

  • Re:2% by 2012? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cryptolemur (1247988) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:45AM (#29731141)

    Because they do not understand it, and people are scared by things they do not understand.

    Or perhaps because they do understand it? Compared to wind energy, the initial cost are twice as much, operating costs thrice as much and fuel costs infinitely more. And that was 6 years ago, wind has come down since, while nuclear remains the energy of the future...
    Oh, and besides high costs and 8-12 years of construction time, nuclear energy has to deal with safety, waste and proliferation. Somehow it's just not what investors are looking for right now.

  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:27AM (#29731579) Homepage

    A portion of that money already came out of your pocket, and you've already paid for someone else's project.

    Right — the cow is already dead, so all you, silly vegetarians, may as well eat it!

    There's nothing wrong with applying for tax-subsidized funding if you're already a taxpayer.

    You are right, that there is nothing wrong with applying for the tax-subsidized funding.

    That's kind of the point.

    No, the GP's point was, that it is wrong to provide tax-subsidized funding for such things — or advocate such provision, as the GGP was doing: "would be nice if my state offered that!"

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:54AM (#29731969) Journal

    Slight problem. If I am paying to put a solar panel on your house, I am giving you reduced rates AND making the value of your house go up by a significant percentage of what I am giving you. There is very little benefit to the public as a whole.

    If you were talking about government subsidizing a solar power plant, that would be an entirely different scenario altogether. The public as a whole would be getting the benefit.

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:07AM (#29732173) Journal

    Howdy,

    When one is funding the roads, one is giving a direct benefit to the public as a whole.

    Corn farming should not be subsidized. It makes no sense when we have a surplus of food. Ethanol production seems like it is a lobbying group which managed to get ahold of enough congress critters.

    If we were talking about subsidizing a solar power plant, that would be one thing. In exchange, I'd want tight controls on the price we get charged for the power. If my money is being used to help build it, then that is the tradeoff that must get made.

    When we are talking about adding value to your personal home with me picking up most or all of the cost, then I get upset. The utility to me personally for this happening is minuscule. If it the preponderance of the benefit goes to one person, then that one person should pay for it.

  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:13AM (#29732245) Homepage

    You don't understand. It's free money. That's how it works. Free. Money. They print it on big printing presses and everything. You'd better get in line or you'll miss out.

    Right. And next time there are elections, be sure, your State backs the winner. Or else you'll miss out big time [myway.com]!

  • by careysub (976506) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:20AM (#29732321)

    Slight problem. If I am paying to put a solar panel on your house, I am giving you reduced rates AND making the value of your house go up by a significant percentage of what I am giving you. There is very little benefit to the public as a whole. If you were talking about government subsidizing a solar power plant, that would be an entirely different scenario altogether. The public as a whole would be getting the benefit.

    Bigger problem with your analysis. You are claiming that 4.5 KW of solar capacity added to a centralized power plant benefits the public, but the same 4.5 KW of capacity on top of a private residence does not? Can you explain how this is? Both capacity increments feed their power directly into the grid, and in both cases the private residence draws its power from the grid.I can't see how one is a public benefit yet the other is not on this basis.

    Is the claim then that the fact that a private individual owns the solar system rather than, say, a private company deprives the public of a benefit? Don't follow that logic either.

    And you do realize that a private household is kicking in most of the money to build the power system right? That the subsidy is mobilizing private capital to invest in power production, just as it would in the centralized power plant case? And that the space devoted to power production is not taking up any new land do so?

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:06PM (#29732921) Journal

    For those like me who don't normally read linked articles, here's a summary:

    Obama, Biden, and other executive officers have spent 75% of their time in states that put them into office. i.e. The blue states. AND these trips are publicly funded, according to this Associated Press article. They are solidifying their base in preparation for the next election. (Apparently the red states can go to hell as they get ignored.) Dubya Bush did the same thing, spending a lot of time in red and "purple" states.

    Quote: "The vice president has made five stimulus trips just to Pennsylvania, a must-win state in 2008 that never faded from Obama's political planning meetings. All told, administration officials have been to the Keystone state more than three dozen times since January."

  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:48PM (#29733447)

    You got it wrong. People making under $70k/yr can't afford that (note to self: get past $70k/yr sometime). What we should do is take $5000 from all households making $100k or more (and an additional $10,000 per $100k after that, that sounds fair) and give $2500 to households making $70k or less. We can use the other part of the *ahem* "fee" to pay for infrastructure like roads and bridges. And turtle crossings.

    No, of course this isn't redistribution of wealth! This is just being fair to people that don't make enough money and thus don't have that inalienable Right to Entertainment and a Well-Paying Job.

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:53PM (#29733511) Journal

    Sean,

    Yes, the two items are equivalent.

    If it is too big a chunk, you point out the solution. For my education, I did take out a loan. The homeowner can do the same thing with a home equity loan. Having the government tax me to provide a private benefit is ridiculous.

    In certain cases (like the Pell grant), I can see where this is necessary for lower income folks. However, someone who owns his own home should not get money from me for a home improvement that benefits him exclusively.

  • by astar (203020) <max.stalnaker@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:57PM (#29733577) Homepage

    I heard yesterday that M1, today, as compared to a year ago, has more then doubled. I call it Bernanke money. I wonder if the mass media will report this. Bloomberg? had a front page article yesterday with a title like Dollar at Red-Line. Relevantly, it reports that US Banks are dumping the dollar for Euros. I suspect the same banks that got bailed out.

    Still, while Bernanke money will screw us, it is best treated as an incompetent response to a disaster. For causes, look to the repeal of Glass-Steigel in 1988 and the legalization of derivatives in 1990. Both were in response to the 1987 crisis. Oh, for Bush lovers, the last was Bush Sr's bright idea.

    Actually, six factoids came in yesterday. Again, do not hold your breath to hear about them in the mass media. Together, they lead me to the conclusion that the economy is disintegrating faster than in the historical precedents. So I will venture a prediction: October is likely the end of the post-war era.

  • by careysub (976506) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @01:06PM (#29733689)

    ... But in New Jersey the individual only pays around 50% of the cost, so I would argue he is only entitled to half the generated electricity. The other 50% should be split off the solar panels and dumped directly to the publicly-owned wires for the benefit of other neighbors who paid the other half of the bill. That would be fair.

    Actually all of the electricity is dumped directly to the publicly-owned wires. The homeowner actually only gets an offset for the electricity that is consumed from those wires, down to $0. Any excess production is free electricity for the utility, and it turns out the utility is getting a good deal on the offset cost as well - all of the solar generated electricity is valuable peak power, but offsets one-for-one electricity use of which is only partly peak power. And then there is the savings on the capacity that would have had to be added at a central power plant instead (an expensive an inefficient peaking plant at that), the cost of which otherwise would be charged to all ratepayers.

    You need to look at the whole picture, not just part of it, before declaring what is "fair".

  • by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @03:17PM (#29735449)

    Reducing the amount of tax dollars at their disposal just increases the number of dollars at the disposal of Wall Street. Basically you trade an imperfect democracy for a veiled oligarchy.

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