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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:06AM (#29730797)
    All that shine is coming from their hair gel.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:11AM (#29730829)
    Seriously, it would be nice if my state had something like this. The crazy high upfront costs are the only thing keeping me from installing solar panels myself.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by benjamindees (441808)

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

    • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:55AM (#29731249) Journal

      You realize that there is an upfront cost whether the state kicks in or not, right? Basically your argument is "this is not worthwhile for me to do, but it is worthwhile for other people to do it for me". If the overall cost of solar isn't worth it to you, then it is likely not an economically viable project.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Smidge204 (605297)

        You realize that if you live int he US, you're paying state and federal taxes too, right? A portion of that money already came out of your pocket, and you've already paid for someone else's project.

        There's nothing wrong with applying for tax-subsidized funding if you're already a taxpayer. That's kind of the point.
        =Smidge=

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by mi (197448)

          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

          • by benjamindees (441808) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:36AM (#29731707) 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.

            • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:08AM (#29732195) Journal

              >>>It's free money. They print it on big printing presses and everything

              No wonder the dollar is only worth half a euro - our saved wealth is rapidly disappearing as more-and-more paper is printed. Keep it up Americans and soon we'll have a healthy economy like Venezuela

              • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                by astar (203020)

                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

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by mi (197448)

              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 commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:06AM (#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."

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by mi (197448)

                  Dubya Bush did the same thing, spending a lot of time in red and "purple" states.

                  The article also alleges, that the States important to Democrats get substantially larger pieces of the "stimulus" money — an accusation, that can not be thrown at G.W. Bush if only because his stimulus consisted of tax-cuts and tax-rebates, that went to whoever paid small taxes (and some who didn't)...

                  But my point was non-partisan — whoever is in charge, they'll try to use everybody's tax dollars to reward their

          • by conureman (748753)

            As someone who votes, IMO my opinion carries some weight here, (if not in Sacramento or D.C.)(or Jersey) I feel that society benefits when some burden is shifted from our electrical grid. If it unfairly benefits property and homeowners, that precedent was already set by the utilities cor- persons.

        • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:43AM (#29731801) Journal

          This is the kind of thinking that has gotten this country in the mess it is in. Everyone from the poor to the rich looking for a way to take a swig from the trough and not worrying about putting it back in. Want a new car? Go to the government. Screwed up your bank? Go to the government.

          I think we have abstracted money (which in itself is an abstract concept) to the point that no one gets that resources are not infinite. If a project is not worth doing without government subsidy, then it is economically not viable. Sometimes, gov't should offer subsidies to kick start a program. But solar is far past that point.

          The bottom line is that practically everyone is looking to someone else to pay for their wants, needs and desires. That is no sustainable. I fear that my children will be the first generation to inherit a country that is in worse condition than the one I inherited.

          • by conureman (748753)

            In a quest for fairness, we should subsidise the homeowners as much as we do our private utilities companies.

            • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:59AM (#29732051) Journal

              Sounds great. Let's subsidize home owners. We will tax every family $5,000 to provide a $5,000 subsidy for everyone. Sounds great.

              Wait a minute, I think we will have some overhead in the program. Administration costs, etc... let's say maybe a 20% overhead. So, let's alter our plan. Every family get's taxed $5,000 so we give households a $4,000 subsidy.

              I love your idea.

              Alternatively, we might consider limiting subsidies altogether.

              • by CannonballHead (842625) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:48AM (#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.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  "Oh no Teller, I'm out of Pie!

                  "You have pie, however, so give me some of your pie.

                  "You see, Teller, we're not taking pie from you, we're giving pie to me. That's fair, right?"

                  Repeats until there is no more pie left, including for Teller

                  "Now we have no pie! I know, let's go find someone else who does have pie, and make them give both of us some of their pie!"

                  -- Penn Jillette, Penn & Teller's Bullshit!

                  Pardon my paraphrasing...

            • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:19AM (#29732305) Journal

              In a quest for fairness we should stop subsidizing. Period. After an initial period of government-promoted research and invention, devices should stand or sink on their own merits. Like the internet has done.

              The Cash for Clunkers is a good example. First off, cars are a mature technology and don't need subsidization. They should have received ZERO assistance.

              Second this was a FAILED program, because all it did was promote exchanging one pullutemobile for another pollutemobile that was a mere 1-2 points higher on the http://greenercars.org/ [greenercars.org] scorecard. BFD. Also it shifted future demand (people buying new cars circa 2015) to the present (2009). It didn't create any new demand, but it did put us a few billion deeper in debt to our Chinese landlords. Bloody stupid.

          • I think we have abstracted money (which in itself is an abstract concept) to the point that no one gets that resources are not infinite. If a project is not worth doing without government subsidy, then it is economically not viable. Sometimes, gov't should offer subsidies to kick start a program. But solar is far past that point.

            So are you in favor of public funding of highways? Or do you think that this subsidy for commuters and the freight industry means that they are not economically viable?

            How about c

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              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 th

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

                Oh? Are you sure about that? I used to take mass transit for everything when I live in the city. Any benefit I got was indirect. Furthermore, there is a massive downside to oversubsidization of roads and undersubsidization of mass transit... and those wo do not drive get to face part of the downside without direct benefit.

                When we are talking about adding value to your personal home with me picking up most or all of the

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by drinkypoo (153816)

                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.

                The utility to you if it happens once is basically nil. The utility to you if only homes not likely to wash away and which are grid-tied are attached to the system is enormous, so long as it is done over and over again, because that is building a solar power plant. It just happens to be a distributed one. So long as the sites are worth a damn, it should actually be more reliable than a monolithic solar plant, and produce more [constant] power on partly cloudy days, too. I don't have a problem with the peopl

            • It's obviously not economically viable, since it requires subsidization.

              So let's pay to have them grow it for inefficient corn ethanol or pay them not to farm it (while people starve in other countries)... that will help, I'm sure.

              Of course, it does help the farmer, but I'm not sure we should be taking taxes from the nation and giving it to farmers so that they are able to not do their chosen profession.

          • I tend to agree with you that most abuse the system, but do not ever fool yourself into thinking that the US is badly off, they talk a mean game saying they are in crisis and bla bla bla, yet if you knew how much money they REALLY have their coffers. They gave out about a trillion dollars to date for incentives to stimulate the economy without even a real guarantee they might make some money back,they did not even bat an eyelash, they have very smart accountants working for the gov.

            I think they might have n

          • by Chris Burke (6130)

            If a project is not worth doing without government subsidy, then it is economically not viable.

            No.

            If a project returns more than you invest, it is economically viable.

            That is not the same as it being "worth" doing for any particular individual at any particular point in time.

            It is the up-front cash outlay that the GP found prohibitive. They would almost certainly more than make up that investment in the long term since break-even times are well below warranted life times. However that doesn't mean it's "w

      • You realize that all states subsidize businesses and utilities already, right? Low interest loans, access to the bond market, tax deductions, heck, some companies get to keep all the sales tax they collect.

        These kinds of things make sense at a scale that most people can't (or won't) think about. You can get an infrastructure built for less if you are willing to commit to funding a larger system over building multiple small systems. Suppliers will lower prices on bulk orders or provide long-term price guar

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          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 careysub (976506) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:20AM (#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?

            • 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?

              Short answer: The subsidized person gets the benefit of the electricity production. He is not putting a public solar plant on his private residence. He controls the solar, and can use it for his own uses or sell it back to the grid. How can you possibly say that you get all

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                I don't think subsidies are the answer to all economic problems or anything, but there is another benefit to putting the panels on top of people's houses; we don't have to put them somewhere else. The homeowner is motivated to maintain the system, so no public utility has to bear the cost of maintenance. You also get any unused peak power, which is when we need it most. I'd like to see the subsidies restricted to installations which are estimated to produce more power than will be used.

            • The 4500 watt only benefits that ONE homeowner who is getting $0 or near-zero monthly bills while us poor slobs still pay $300 a month. I frankly don't see why I should have to pay higher taxes to fund the subsidy for your $0 a month privilege. Sorry if that sounds selfish but it's also honest.

              Whereas a 4500 watt installed at the central plant or other company-owned property benefits ALL the citizens with reduced bills.

              The latter example provides for the improvement of the general welfare... all benefit,

            • >>>Is the claim then that the fact that a private individual owns the solar system

              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.

              • by careysub (976506) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:06PM (#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 khallow (566160)

          This program is actually a "triple threat" scenario. It 1) stimulates the economy since in general every $1 spent on a project actually gets spent multiple times. 2) It is a Capital improvements that lower costs and 3) it benefits the overall environment by lowering hydrocarbon emissions from coal plants.

          1) is a bogus point. That money could have been spent some other way, without government involvement, and probably have a greater effect (since the initial spending would coincide better with the interests of the person with the money and there'd be less government overhead) as a result. As for point 2), I don't believe the current slightly lower ongoing costs of solar power systems justifies the high initial costs. Point 3) has dubious value since no one can seem to put a rational number on how much hydroc

      • You realize that there is an upfront cost whether the state kicks in or not, right? Basically your argument is "this is not worthwhile for me to do, but it is worthwhile for other people to do it for me". If the overall cost of solar isn't worth it to you, then it is likely not an economically viable project.

        "The upfront costs are too high" != "this project is not economically viable". There are plenty of activities (including solar power) that pay off in the long term, but are nonetheless too expensive to

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          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 JWSmythe (446288)

      Many states have some sort of incentive. Unfortunately, most of them disallow you doing it yourself.

      We had worked it out to be affordable, between state and federal incentives a good grid tied solar install could free. I had intended to set up a business to sell and install grid tied solar systems, where we would "finance" the cost until the incentives were paid. That way, everyone would win. People would get solar systems on their homes. They would help save the environme

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      New Jerseyan here.

      Just as much as you'd like your solar power incentives, I'd like your property taxes. Anywhere from $4,000 to upwards of $20,000 a year for a two floor, three bedroom home depending on where you live.

      Granted it's still cheaper than what it would cost to rent such a place, but when you hear about triple digit property taxes in some places it really hurts.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tmosley (996283)
      What are you talking about? You can get a full 2 kilowatt system with a 2.5 kW grid tie inverter for about $7,500 installed. That's pre tax credit. You get the cells here. [sunelec.com] These start as low as $2/watt, but the cheapest in stock right now is $2.40 ($4800). Add the grid tie inverter, available here [altersystems.com] on sale for $1825. That's $6625. You should have no problem finding someone to instal the whole thing for $1000. That ought to be enough of a system for most people, assuming they use gas or heating oil fo
      • You should have no problem finding someone to instal the whole thing for $1000.

        You're kidding, right? Around here, getting a contractor to install a asphalt shingle roof, with labor provided by illegal immigrants, costs $5000. I got two quotes for getting a 3 KW system installed on my roof and they both ran almost $30k. I appreciate the links to the low cost parts, can you provide a similar link for the installation?

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        I don't know where you live, but the last time I looked into it, a system installed here ran well over $20k. If there is a legitimate business that will install one for $7.5k, I'd love to hear about it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Turnpike? Shopping malls? Industrial Sprawl?

    Clearly the submitter hasn't been through the Pineland's or seen the beautiful farming communities in the southern part of the state.

    NJ != The Sopranos

  • So it's cheap... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by schmidt349 (690948) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:16AM (#29730873)

    And on the 4 days a year when the sun shines in my adoptive home state, you can help the environment!

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

      by afidel (530433) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:20AM (#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 NoYob (1630681) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:39AM (#29731093)
        Solar panels on roofs is an easier sell than big ugly windmills obscuring people's view of the ocean and lakes.

        Now, ask yourself, who are the people that live on the ocean and lakes? What kind of political power they have?

        Sounds absurd? See "Windmills Ocean Massachusetts Kennedy Martha's Vineyard"

        Big ugly industrial infrastructure that benefits society has a place: near poor people.

        • by afidel (530433)
          I don't think there are many people with beach houses near Newark. The best spots on the Great Lakes are actually on or over the horizon from shore so it shouldn't be an issue here either. Martha's Vineyard was probably a stupid place to try to spot one of the first offshore farms, next to the Hampton's it's probably got one of the highest concentrations of Billionaires and politicians on the east coast.
          • by Algan (20532)

            I don't think there are many people with beach houses near Newark.

            Maybe because Newark is nowhere near the shore.

        • by tmosley (996283)
          Those are weirdos. I always thought windmills were rather beautiful, so long as they aren't close enough for you to hear the *whoosh* *whoosh* *whoosh*.
        • Now, ask yourself, who are the people that live on the ocean and lakes?

          Spongebob Squarepants?

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        why aren't they building large scale wind farms just offshore instead of subsidizing inefficient use of solar panels?

        NIMBYs [wikipedia.org] and HOAs [wikipedia.org], my friend. NIMBYs and HOAs.

    • by tomhath (637240) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:39AM (#29731077)
      FTA:

      The savings is what got New Jerseyans Bob and Mary Keppel to install a 6-kilowatt solar system on the roof of their Cinnaminson, N.J. home this past summer.... The full price of the project, including installation, came to $48,000. Right away, the state sent a subsidy check for $10,500 that the Keppel’s signed over to the contractors to buy supplies. Using computer software, their contractor estimates that they will get a $11,250 federal tax credit this year. That would cut the total cost to $26,250, a 45-percent reduction.

      How do rebates "cut the total cost"? The system cost was $48,000 for a mere 6kw of capacity. It doesn't matter if the homeowners or the taxpayers foot the bill, it's still $48,000, that's not cheap by any measure.

      • From TFA:

        Considering all three sources of funding, their contractors estimate that it should take the couple a little under five years for the solar panels to pay for themselves.

        So, they'd pay for themselves in 10 years in gross.

  • 2% by 2012? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andy1307 (656570) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:27AM (#29730979)
    Seriously...WTF is wrong with people...why don't they consider nuclear power?
    • Re:2% by 2012? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by characterZer0 (138196) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:31AM (#29731013)

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

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

        by cryptolemur (1247988) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:45AM (#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 selven (1556643)

          Nuclear fuel is actually quite cheap, especially if you use a proper fast breeder reactor (which also solves the waste problem).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tweenk (1274968)

          Or perhaps because they do understand it? Compared to wind energy, the initial cost are twice as much

          But it works 3-5 times as often, regardless of weather, and can be built almost anywhere. The only required condition is geological and hydrological stability of the area. Oftentimes existing sites can be used to build extra capacity. Wind farms have an actual mean power output of about 20-30% their peak power output, and of course they are intermittent.

          I once saw an article saying that with a lot of intermittent sources the probability of all of them being out at the same time asymptotically approaches zer

    • by Bandman (86149) <bandman@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:39AM (#29731081) Homepage

      You know, very technically speaking, solar power IS nuclear power...

      • by rah1420 (234198)

        And me here with no mod points. Hah.

        Actually, if you take that argument reductio ad almost-absurdum, almost EVERYTHING (solar, oil, wind, etc.) is more or less nuclear.

        Maybe geothermal isn't. Unless you go far enough back up the energy "food chain," I suppose.

      • You know, very technically speaking, solar power IS nuclear power...

        And, as we all know, being technically correct is the very best kind of correct.
    • Re:2% by 2012? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Unoriginal Nick (620805) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:43AM (#29731119)
      New Jersey already gets 50% of its electricity from nuclear.
    • by DirkDaring (91233)

      How much would that have cost to put on his roof?

    • by vertinox (846076)

      Seriously...WTF is wrong with people...why don't they consider nuclear power?

      I don't see anything wrong with it, but Uncle Sam won't let me build a breeder reactor in my back yard and go off grid.

      I think the real benefit of solar power is that it removes you from the already over taxed grid which is more likely to still fail even if we have more nuclear power in place.

      If power is produced locally then you avoid having to use the grid and paying the power company in the first place.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Because you don't want your neighbor storing uranium in the same way mine stores coal ?
      Because you don't want people who still put old batteries in the trash to dispose of nuclear waste ?
      Nuclear has some advantages, solar has others. First of them, having your own generator at home.
    • The thing that pisses me off is people who think that there is only room for 1 energy solution. If we can get wind and solar up to 10% of the whole, we'll be doing very nicely, and there will still be plenty of room for nuclear power.

      Right now 50% of our power generation is fricking COAL. Coal plus petrolem, plus natural gas...that runs about 75%! Anything we can do to lower that will be a good thing.

    • You want to talk about subsidized power...
  • Tax dollars (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @08:28AM (#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?

  • Solar on my NJ house (Score:5, Informative)

    by mydots (1598073) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:51AM (#29731929)
    I live in NJ and have a 7.8kW solar system on my roof. I purchased it through Home Dept/BP Solar. The state rebate covered about 65% of the cost. I only had to pay the other 35% of the cost up front. I applied for the system in 2005 and about 6 months later in April 2006 I had a working system on my roof. I have been extremely happy with its performance especially since my roof faces pretty much directly south. Not only do I save in electricity, I also get Solar Renewable Energy Credits that I can sell to help pay for my cost of the system. An SREC is received for every 1000kWH of electricity generated. My system generates about 9 SREC's per solar year. The solar year begins in June and ends in May. After it was installed I immediately purchased RS485 communcation boards for the two inverters and an RS232 to RS485 converter for a PC and runs the SunnyData software that continuously monitors the system. It reads various data every 8 seconds and I use ssh/rsync to push it to a linux server every minute where I wrote some scripts to parse the data and create almost real time graphs of its performance. For anyone interested, I setup my own domain mysolarenergysystem.com where you can view all the details about the system. I also had the electric company replace my meter with a net meter, so each month on my bill I can see my exact in and out usage. The net meter has what looks like a phone jack that can be used for remote monitoring. I asked them about it because I wanted to connect it to my computer, but unfortunately they didn't give me much of an answer except that its not used, but would have been nice to monitor and graph daily statistics for that as well.
  • Right now, every solar-panel production facility on the planet is supply constrained. Therefore, what NJ is doing is paying extra money to ensure that solar panels are installed in NJ, rather than in, say, Arizona, where they actually make sense without massive incentives and produce three times as much power.

    Why does New Jersey hate polar bears?

    • Do you have any evidence whatsoever that all these solar panels being used up by NJ would actually be put to use in AZ? Given that AZ doesn't have these incentives and solar panels are therefore very costly there, I think it's far more likely that they would just go unused, and solar panel production would just stabilize at a lower level (and higher cost per KW).

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