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Earth Power United States

New Jersey Outshines Most Others In Solar Energy 240

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 @09:14AM (#29730851)

    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

  • Re:2% by 2012? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Unoriginal Nick ( 620805 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:43AM (#29731119)
    New Jersey already gets 50% of its electricity from nuclear.
  • Re:2% by 2012? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Unoriginal Nick ( 620805 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:00AM (#29731299)
    Replying to myself because I was still looking for this when I posted. Year-to-date (to June), there have been 16,920 [] thousand megawatthours of electricity from nuclear out of 29,244 [] - almost 58%.
  • Solar on my NJ house (Score:5, Informative)

    by mydots ( 1598073 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:51AM (#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 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.
  • by tmosley ( 996283 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:58AM (#29732025)
    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. [] 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 [] 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 for heat in the winter. You should build up a high enough balance over the year to run A/C in the summer without difficulty.

    I'm going to be setting up such a system within a year or so, once I move into my new house.
  • by Foolicious ( 895952 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:11AM (#29732225)

    And yet others obviously don't see how long it would actually take to actually break even on it -- especially if you're financing the cost of putting it up with borrowed money, your own or somebody else's.

    If you want to make it about cost savings, put 27000 USD into your favorite low-risk savings vehicle. Then wait the estimated amount of time it would take for you to break even on the 27000 you spent for the 6kW solar rig. Compare your cost savings from the solar rig vs. the investment. If you put your dough, for example, in a 10 year CD at 3.25%, you'd come away with ~10000. Then subtract what you (supposedly, by estimate) would have saved with the solar setup. Or...what if you invested half of that 27000, and spent the other half weatherproofing your home (also tax benefits there)?

    A local guy put a 2kW rig on his roof. He was proud of his work, which is fine, but admitted it would take him 53 years to break even on the cost of the materials and install. I don't know how much maintenance is involved in solar configurations.

    It wasn't about cost savings. That's fine if you have money to spend on the cause du jour. I just don't have that kind of money and my state doesn't either (Michigan). Truth be told, my country doesn't either.

  • Hmm.. $48k at 6% interest is $2800/year or $240/month. That's a pretty good electric bill in a lot of places. Now whether it's sufficient to get rid of their electric bill altogether, I can't say.

    And of course, once you pay off the loan (5 years?) you're ahead of the game.

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:38AM (#29732547)
    There is always an interest cost on an investment. You pay it or you sacrifice the opportunity to earn it. [] And please stop trying to use subsidized costs (after rebate, after tax incentive, low interest loans, etc); those don't change the cost, they only shift the burden of paying it to someone else. How about if the Federal government subsidized 100% of the cost of a nuclear reactor, would that make the electricity it generates free?
  • To put it into prospective, I have 80KW 3 Phase Natural Gas generator that at full load takes about 200 cubic feet of Natural Gas an hour.

    Current rates for residential Natural Gas are ~14.20 dollars per thousand cubic feet. At full load producing 80KW it costs about 68.20 dollars to run for a day producing enough electricity to power the neighborhood. So, we have an 80KW generator for $10K, another $10K for installation, the remaining $28K can run it for another 400 days.

    There aren't any economics of scale for this pricing either. residential rates are about 2x that than commercial rates for gas and efficiencies power generation increase with larger scale.

    So yes, a mere 6kw of theoretic peak power creation for 48k. That doesn't include the maintainence required for the installation, nor the reduced winter power nor the diminished output over the life of the system.

  • by AshtangiMan ( 684031 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @02:20PM (#29734757)
    You're forgetting the cost of the utility. In the investment case you have a recurring monthly cost (the electric bill) that offsets the investment income. In the solar case, the whole point is that you are (hopefully, if you sized the system correctly) ending up with a $0 per month electric bill. If you include that as part of the financial analysis it comes up a bit differently, though it is still an expensive endeavor and one that takes 15-30 years to payback. There are other incentives for the solar case. My electric company will pay me $.13/ kWh of electricity produced (that is whether or not I use it) and will also run my meter back for excess production. Factor that in and installing the system results in a net cash flow immediately, and takes the payback (for my case and a 3kW system) to about 8 years.
  • by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @01:14AM (#29741297) Homepage

    Although a few big cities have gotten big projects (such as boston, where the Big Dig was, in fact sorely needed), the condition of the roads and infrastructure in these areas tends to be absolutely horrible.

    New York, in particular suffered from extreme neglect after the end of Robert Moses' tenure until part way through Giuliani's tenure. (Even still, New Yorkers foot most of their own taxes, receiving an insultingly low return on their state and federal taxes. The current mayor, Mike Bloomberg has actually threatened to secede from the state because of the tax situation)

    Much of New York's massive metro/subway system was constructed between 1900 and 1930 by a private company. The remainder was constructed at the city's expense to keep the place actually inhabitable. The Lexington Avenue Subway line (4/5/6 on Manhattan) carries more traffic every day than the entire population of Boston. The city's roads simply couldn't handle that type of traffic. Arkansas doesn't have the population density necessary to make such a system effective.

    Very few urban museums are funded using significant amounts of federal funds (the Smithsonian being the prime exception). I'm only directly familiar with New York's museums, although virtually all of them are self-funded.

    Stadiums are an irritating by-product of our obsession with (watching) sports. I agree that they shouldn't be funded by tax money.

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato