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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 elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:11AM (#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.
  • So it's cheap... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by schmidt349 ( 690948 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:16AM (#29730873)

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

  • 2% by 2012? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andy1307 ( 656570 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:27AM (#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 @09:31AM (#29731013)

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

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:39AM (#29731077)

    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.

  • by NoYob ( 1630681 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:39AM (#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 MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:55AM (#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.

  • by NewWorldDan ( 899800 ) <dan@gen-tracker.com> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @09:58AM (#29731281) Homepage Journal
    No, this is absolutely retarded. They're not "incentivizing" solar power, they're subsidizing it. Heavily. You and I are paying for it. That's money that could be doing a lot of actual good if put to better use. We've been waiting 30 years for the solar industry to develop an economical product and it hasn't happened yet.
  • by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:04AM (#29731325) Journal

    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.

  • by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:43AM (#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.

  • Re:2% by 2012? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tweenk ( 1274968 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:55AM (#29731987)

    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 zero, but that would be true only if the works/doesn't work state of the sources was uncorrelated. Unfortunately it is to a very large extent (e.g. there are significant periods of time when 100% of the area of US is not insolated at all, and for smaller countries the situation is even worse).

    operating costs thrice as much

    See above. Moreover this cost could be brought down a lot (probably 2- or 3-fold) by creating a few standardised designs, or better yet a single modular design of nuclear plants, that would be used nationwide for all new deployments.

    and fuel costs infinitely more.

    That doesn't mean they are high. Actually they are less than 1% of operating costs.

    nuclear remains the energy of the future...

    Nuclear power still generates more energy than wind power in the US.

    There some people that say otherwise, but it's a myth; they talk in terms of peak power output, which wind farms cannot realistically achieve for any sustained periods of time. On the other hand, nuclear plants are entirely capable of consistently running at 100% of their rated capacity, sometimes even more (power uprates).

    Finally, there is no country in the world that gets more than 10% of its electricity from wind farms. On the other hand, there are several countries which get more than 30% of their electricity from nuclear plants, and at least 3 (France, Belgium and Slovakia) that get more than half.

    nuclear energy has to deal with safety, waste and proliferation

    Safety: No civilian killed in nuclear power operations since 1986.
    Waste: The idiots from environmental groups keep saying it's a big problem, and at the same time keep attacking all the reasonable solutions that could be implemented to solve it (underground burial, reprocessing, breeder reactors, etc).
    Proliferation: Nuclear fuel in conventional reactors is only slightly enriched and not suitable for making nuclear weapons. There are breeder reactor designs that make extracting plutonium from them highly impractical.

  • by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @10:59AM (#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 commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:08AM (#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

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:19AM (#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.

  • NJ nicknames (Score:3, Insightful)

    by becker ( 190314 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:43AM (#29732623)

    I think that some people do not know why NJ is called "the armpit of America". It's not just the smell of its refineries and chemical plants along the coast. Look at its position on the map.

    Most visitors just see the part of NJ along I95, missing the sections further inland which gave it the name "The Garden State".

  • 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 own supporters. There is no reliable stopping this, other than to reduce the amount of tax dollars at their disposal.

    This is where I turn into a raging Libertarian and the audience loses interest...

    The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. Thomas Jefferson

  • by sean.peters ( 568334 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:34PM (#29733259) Homepage

    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?

  • 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 people who live under the pieces of the solar plant getting free power.

  • Re:Financing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @01:03PM (#29733651) Homepage Journal

    Good luck with that; the housing market in America is going to keep falling until most of the baby boomers are dead. The crash should crescendo around 2025, although various factors could kill them off earlier I suppose.

  • Re:2% by 2012? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HanClinto ( 621615 ) <hanclinto&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @01:21PM (#29733903)

    Yes, you are wrong.

    The only reason we are tied to Uranium-235 is because of restrictions that make it illegal to recycle (reprocess) nuclear fuel in this country, hence we have a surplus of "waste" (that can still be used in a breeder reactor -- we're just legally prevented from doing so) that we either bury (stupid) or sell to France (who isn't so ignorant when it comes to nukes).

    In short, there is plenty of nuclear fuel -- we're just not allowed to use it because Carter thought that recycling nuclear fuel could lead to proliferation of arms-grade plutonium -- we of course have long since now known that it doesn't, but that hasn't done anything to remove these laws outlawing nuclear fuel recycling.

    Here is a link for further reading [argee.net].

  • by OverZealous.com ( 721745 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @03:27PM (#29735613) Homepage

    "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...

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson