Where does solar/renewables go from here? What will happen with President elect Trump?

PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,202 ✭✭✭✭
I understand that Trump has said very discouraging things about the Solar Tax credit and the EPA.

He's also recently said he wants to promote US energy including coal.

I know some of the republicans will not be much help, and that there is a likelihood of a largely deadlocked administration with nothing getting done, even with Republican House, Senate and President. I would guess that the current "in place" legislation won't change. Current Tax credits would stay in place for the current duration.

I am genuinely curious, if we can keep this on topic I would appreciate it. Bill I couldn't figure out where to put this, if you feel we need to move it please feel free.
Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
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Comments

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    More than half of my Offgrid clients do not use the credit. I send them IRS form 5695 and they still do not use it even though they qualify. Many just are so happy to be far away from the grid and the stress of the burbs and the big city or they do not want to complicate their returns with another possibility of an audit.

    I think the industry needs to develope without anymore stimulus and sometimes too much of a good thing ends up being counterproductive. The credit may last but if you are counting on them you better get moving. No Guarantees on this guy!
    Probably that is a big reason he was elected.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
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  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 4,827 ✭✭✭✭
    Doe that legislation not have a sunset clause? IIRC the current Administration had extended it a few times, or so it sounded to a Canuck reader...
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
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  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    I have moved this to the "in the weeds" open forum discussions.

    Keep it friendly and it will stay open.

    Yes, Westbranch, you are correct, most all of these subsidy/tax credit bills have limited time provisions. Plus, no congress can pass a law that prevents a future congress from changing it (need a constitutional amendment to do that--But, of course, a future amendment can change the law--See Prohibition).

    Subsidies have a "long life":

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohair
    US subsidies for mohair production
    During World War II, U.S. soldiers wore uniforms made of wool. Worried that domestic producers could not supply enough for future wars, Congress enacted loan and price support programs for wool and mohair in the National Wool Act of 1954 as part of the 1954 Farm Bill.[11] Despite these subsidies, wool and mohair production declined. The strategic importance declined as well; the US military adopted uniforms made of synthetic fibers, such as dacron, and officially removed wool from the list of strategic materials in 1960.[12] Nevertheless, the U.S. government continued to provide subsidies to mohair producers until 1995, when the subsidies were "eliminated effective with the marketing year ending December 31, 1995".[11] In The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad[13] Fareed Zakaria points out that the subsidies were reinstated a few years later, due in large part to the lobbying on behalf of the special interests of the subsidy recipients. By 2000, Congress had appropriated US$20 million for goat and sheep producers.[14] As of 2002, mohair producers were still able to receive special assistance loans from the U.S. government, after an amendment to eliminate the subsidy was defeated.[15]
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    Right there are no guarentees that the congress will continue the solar credit, probably good for next tax year.
    I think that is the big lesson that the Affordable Care Act will once again remind people of.
    Also the hope that the next guy will pass legislation that is approved on both sides of the isle to allow the congress to pass legislation that won't just get overturned by the next President. What a concept......No wonder we have such a disdain for politicians.

    Ethenol and Mohair anyone?  

    The other thing we hardly hear about is that the last time a party won 3 terms in a row was Ronald Reagan.
    The odds were very low that a change of party was not going to happen last night if you went to Las Vegas very often.

    The last thing I have on this is John Zogby a pro at polling voters said last Sunday before the election that the metrics used these days for polling are not accurate for 2016. He sure was right about that!  I want his crystal ball for a short term loan :)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
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  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 845 ✭✭✭✭
    I predict that net metering will become increasing less attractive.   Large water tanks should be considered for thermal storage.  Timers for some appliances.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭

    Trump insider: New administration won't attack renewable energy

    The president-elect will not move to revoke wind and solar subsidies, according to a major Trump financial contributor who said he is a member of the transition team.

    PUBLISHED
    Nov. 11, 2016

    There has been a lot of angst in the renewable power sector over what the Trump presidency will mean, but according to a Trump insider, renewable energy will not be in the new president’s sights when he takes office in January.

    The day after the election, shares of solar power companies like SolarCity, SunPower and Vivint Solar cratered, as did wind turbine maker Vestas, while shares of coal company Peabody Energy jumped more than 50%. But those drastic movements may not prove to be an accurate reflection of the realities the energy sector will face under Trump’s presidency.

    “Energy is not one of the top five agenda items” on Trump’s to-do list when he takes office in January, according to a major Trump financial contributor who said he is a member of the transition team and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    The top issues on that agenda are tax reform, immigration, reforming health care (Obamacare), infrastructure, and trade.

    “Everything with renewables continues; the credits will remain in place,” he said.

    During his bid for the White House, Trump criticized solar power programs such as the Department of Energy’s loan to Solyndra and his presidential transition website includes no details on wind and solar policy. 

    But despite the campaign rhetoric, the momentum of power sector deal flow, which has come largely from renewable energy deals, is likely to continue, say market participants.

    There have been two main drivers of renewable energy deals, says Dan Reicher, executive director of the Streyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford Law School. On the federal side, there are tax credits and accelerated depreciation. At the state level there are renewable portfolio standards.

    Even with Congress in Republican hands after the election, it is unlikely there would be a move to repeal the production tax credit (PTC) for wind power or the investment tax credit (ITC) for solar power, Reicher said.

    There is also a limited incentive to repeal either the PTC or the ITC as both were renewed in December on a stepped down basis with definitive expiration dates. The PTC is expiring by 2020 and the ITC will drop to 10% in 2021.

    So, in addition to the benefit remaining in place, the step-down schedule is likely to provide an incentive for developers of wind projects in particular to push to close financing on their projects sooner rather than later. At the beginning of 2017, for instance, the PTC drops to 80%.

    The most likely scenario from a finance perspective will be “business as usual,” said a partner in a fossil fuel development company, who believes the Trump Administration will be “energy friendly” and could eliminate some regulations that could aid the development of gas-fired generation.

    Under Trump’s presidency he sees fewer roadblocks for the continued development of hydraulic fracturing and for new pipelines to get the fracked gas to consumers, such as new gas-fired generators, which would be a positive for development. But in terms of financing, that is “based on economics and doesn’t have anything to do with what administration is in power,” the developer said.

    Among the economic factors that the Trump Administration could influence, though, are the tax credits. Some commentators have pointed out that the Trump Administration would not even have to engage in the heavy legislative lift required repeal the tax credits, instead the administration could work through the Internal Revenue Service to revise some of the rules that govern the credits, such as the definition of construction start, which is one of the eligibility milestones.

    That could be possible in some draconian scenario, said the Trump insider, but “it is not going to happen.” The PTC cuts across party lines with Republican states such as Iowa reaping benefits from wind power development.

    Tax reform, in fact, could have the largest near-term effect on financing power projects, particularly legislation that would broaden the scope of entities that can participate in master limited partnerships (MLPs).

    Before yieldcos – Wall Streetese for yield company – became popular in the sector, financiers were exploring MLPs as a way to bring down renewable finance costs by broadening the investor base for renewable investments. By law, MLPs are restricted to oil and gas assets.

    But there already is legislation, the Master Limited Partnerships Act, backed by Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, that would extend the legislation to include renewable resources, as well as energy storage and carbon capture and storage technologies.

    The Trump insider gives MLP reform an even chance of legislative success because it could be revenue negative. “There are only so many costs” that can be borne as part of a wider tax reform package, he said.

    Part of that tax package could include doing away with the carried interest provisions that shield income from private equity and hedge funds.

    Private equity is one of the largest sources of funding for power sector deals, so that particular Trump campaign promise could be seen as a negative for power sector deal flow, but in seen in the context of wider tax reforms that concern could evaporate if the top tax rate under Trump is 25%.

    During his campaign Trump also promised bring back coal jobs. That could be a tougher task. Even the Trump insider admitted that the candidate might have “oversold what he can do” concerning coal jobs. The closure of coal-fired power plants and the decline in domestically consumed coal has more to do with low natural gas prices than it does with the Environmental Protection Agency, he said.

    In fact, if Trump follows through with his pledge to spur $1 trillion in private sector infrastructure spending with $140 billion in tax credits that could further erode coal’s place in the nation’s generation mix by removing regulatory hurdles to the fracking of natural gas from tight shale formations. That, in turn, could lead to more pipeline infrastructure and more natural gas-fired power plants, especially if climate change regulations, such as the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, are challenged, which appears to be likely.

    Trump’s emphasis on infrastructure, while most likely focused on public works such as roads and bridges, could also extend to transmission lines, especially in the western parts of the nation where many power lines are under more direct federal control.

    Even if business as usual prevails for much of the power sector — there could even be an uptick in the financing pipeline or transmission deals — there could still be some pain. There will be “enormous casualties among climate change activities,” the Trump insider said. But, he added, “Trump doesn’t want to turn his back on climate change.”

    Trump likes nuclear power, and he may push the zero emission attributes of nuclear plants, but, the insider said, there is little that can be done to reverse the economic challenges that nuclear power faces which, like coal-fired generation, are largely the result of low priced natural gas, which has driven down wholesale power prices.

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    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
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  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,202 ✭✭✭✭
    Thank you Dave.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 4,827 ✭✭✭✭
    Wow, a very detailed 'can of beans'.  Thanks Dave
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge, Hughes1100 Sat Modem
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,498 ✭✭✭✭
    Solar tax credits are far too complicated in my opinion. I use TurboTax and do my own. Didn't even try to get credit for my solar array after looking at the tax forms. I already generate over 60 pages of forms. Still have some PTSD from doing my taxes a few weeks ago.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,202 ✭✭✭✭
    softdown said:
    Solar tax credits are far too complicated in my opinion. I use TurboTax and do my own. Didn't even try to get credit for my solar array after looking at the tax forms. I already generate over 60 pages of forms. Still have some PTSD from doing my taxes a few weeks ago.

    I use Turbo Tax too, it does it all for you. No problems!

    A $300 credit off your liability for every $1000 you've spent and used is well worth the hour or so of finding receipts and plugging in the numbers.

    I'm a bit curious, since I've allowed my self to take the fall and winter off, so don't have a huge tax liability, and some other deductions. I'm about a flip of the switch away from taking a credit on my 3rd Classic lite CC, purchased 2 years ago. I suspect I'll go ahead and take it. I believe they roll over if I don't have enough tax liability. The panels wee purchased used so no credit there...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,498 ✭✭✭✭
    2015 Turbo Tax failed to find 2014 Turbo Tax on the same computer. So I had to literally start over again. There are a lot of numbers involving rental units.

    Turbo Tax is great...in theory. Until something goes wrong. Seems that nothing, tax related, is easy when one lives in two places. Having a business with quarterly taxes to be paid is challenging enough...tax wise.

    Why give tax credit for installing Chinese panels but not for used panels? The idea is to provide incentives for going solar.

    I remain unconvinced that sound ideas require government intervention. Intervention often means loop holes for those who can afford tax attorneys. Loop holes that the rest are forced to pay for.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • MarkCMarkC Solar Expert Posts: 150 ✭✭✭
    Bill - very informative posts from the usual, reasonable, informed forum users.  I have a Nissan Leaf - that I plan on eventually tapping into for energy storage and transportation (both), so I am on the My Nissan Leaf Forum.  A similar topic started immediately after the election and immediately got very nasty and partisan.  Being a Chem Engr that has designed, built and started up heavy industry facilities for decades - what I see on this forum is thoughtful opinions and actual research rather than (majority) rhetoric.

    IMHO, the more any administration makes decisions based on free market drivers rather than "lining pockets", the more the US can move back to making things rather than servicing things.  That likely includes solar panels.  Will they be cheaper than Chinese/other imports - likely not, but will they stimulate our economy via the usual increased money velocity? - likely.  Will they be built with less environmental impact in the US?  Maybe not if the only consideration is the US, but globally, very likely.  I know that this is true for any refined products (fuels), plastics, chemicals and specialty chemicals because the US sets the gold standards for environmental (and safety by the way) in just about every heavy industry sector.  

    As for incentives/subsidies - I fervently hope that the Trump admin will be smart enough and have enough business savvy to separate the "chaff".  As an example, from a thermodynamicist's perspective,  subsidizing the hydrogen based automotive industry is simply ridiculous.  However, budgeting the Navy to design a hydrogen fuel cell aircraft carrier to complete with nuclear may be worthwhile (I really don't know the answer, but if I headed up "energy strategies" for the US, I'd sure be looking into it!)  However, incentives for electric vehicles (needed battery technology), time shifting energy equipment (e.g.Tesla's powerwall 2), solar roofs, high efficiency inverters that are EMP proof (actually ANY pragmatic EMP proofing equipment), etc, etc, - I am all in.  I like individual ability to obtain incentives better than industries ability to lobby, but that's just my opinion.

    Bottom line to me is that Solyndra type decisions will typically hurt needed industries rather than help - and the renewable industry is absolutely needed if we want to be sustainable for our great-great-great grandchildren.  

    3850 watts - 14 - 275SW SolarWorld Panels, 4000 TL-US SMA Sunny Boy Grid tied inverter.  2760 Watts - 8 - 345XL Solar World Panels, 3000 TL-US SMA Sunny Boy GT inverter.   3000 watts SMA/SPS power.  PV "switchable" to MidNite Classic 250ks based charging of Golf cart + spare battery array of 8 - 155 AH 12V Trojans with an  APC SMT3000 - 48 volt DC=>120 Volt AC inverter for emergency off-grid.   Also, "PriUPS" backup generator with APC SURT6000/SURT003  => 192 volt DC/240 volt split phase AC inverter.  
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,498 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2016 #14
    MarkC said:
    Bill - very informative posts from the usual, reasonable, informed forum users.  I have a Nissan Leaf - that I plan on eventually tapping into for energy storage and transportation (both), so I am on the My Nissan Leaf Forum.  A similar topic started immediately after the election and immediately got very nasty and partisan.  Being a Chem Engr that has designed, built and started up heavy industry facilities for decades - what I see on this forum is thoughtful opinions and actual research rather than (majority) rhetoric.

    IMHO, the more any administration makes decisions based on free market drivers rather than "lining pockets", the more the US can move back to making things rather than servicing things.  That likely includes solar panels.  Will they be cheaper than Chinese/other imports - likely not, but will they stimulate our economy via the usual increased money velocity? - likely.  Will they be built with less environmental impact in the US?  Maybe not if the only consideration is the US, but globally, very likely.  I know that this is true for any refined products (fuels), plastics, chemicals and specialty chemicals because the US sets the gold standards for environmental (and safety by the way) in just about every heavy industry sector.  

    As for incentives/subsidies - I fervently hope that the Trump admin will be smart enough and have enough business savvy to separate the "chaff".  As an example, from a thermodynamicist's perspective,  subsidizing the hydrogen based automotive industry is simply ridiculous.  However, budgeting the Navy to design a hydrogen fuel cell aircraft carrier to complete with nuclear may be worthwhile (I really don't know the answer, but if I headed up "energy strategies" for the US, I'd sure be looking into it!)  However, incentives for electric vehicles (needed battery technology), time shifting energy equipment (e.g.Tesla's powerwall 2), solar roofs, high efficiency inverters that are EMP proof (actually ANY pragmatic EMP proofing equipment), etc, etc, - I am all in.  I like individual ability to obtain incentives better than industries ability to lobby, but that's just my opinion.

    Bottom line to me is that Solyndra type decisions will typically hurt needed industries rather than help - and the renewable industry is absolutely needed if we want to be sustainable for our great-great-great grandchildren.  

    We have so many people living with a siphon hose plugged into the Eviltown DC money machine that it has reached critical mass. With a degree in Economics, save the foreign language requirement, I am more tuned into sound fiscal responsibility than most. We may have elected a pro-business and manufacturing administration in time to save the republic but I doubt it.

    Medicare had unfunded liabilities of 36 trillion in 2013. Enter national health care and consequent runaway health care costs. Then we have social security unfunded liabilities in the trillions of dollars plus the burgeoning 20 trillion dollar debt. Our debt/unfunded liabilites is well over 75 trillion dollars. We are toast.

    Buckle up the seat belts and prepare for a bumpy ride. I may also suggest the purchase of necessary consumables with good shelf life. Anything could happen.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭

    The Pinocchio Test

    Coburn’s general point about potential unfunded liabilities is worth noting, but just because a number is large does not mean it is worth quoting.

    In general, we would hope for a little more rigor from lawmakers than simply citing a Web site with fuzzy sourcing. Throwing out figures such as $128 trillion without context (percentage of GDP) or explanation (this is over an infinite horizon) does a disservice to listeners.  In any case, there are little data available that give much credence to this particular figure.

    Update: In a statement to the Powerline blog, a Coburn spokesman gave this column “Three Pinocchios,” citing in part a letter by economists that pegged the gap at $222 trillion.

    But a better way to express these numbers is as a percentage of the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the U.S. economy. That $23 trillion turns out to be 1.4 percent of GDP, or 4 percent of taxable payroll.

    Depending on which economist you consult, this is either manageable or a potential problem. There is certainly a gap, and either payroll taxes or federal individual and corporate income taxes would need to be raised, possibly significantly, in order to close it.


    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 4,827 ✭✭✭✭
    MarkC, Dave A, Softdown and others...

    Mark good analysis, thanks.
    Dave, good numbers for comparison to GDP... that is a separate topic though.

    This morning I watched a regular , weekly, offering on Canadian Politics from one of our 3 National TV networks...so of course the entire show is now about the Pres. Elect and what will the impacts to us be... NAFTA came up...

    Discussion moved to the current results of the NAFTA agreement, in effect Jan 1,1994:
     
    One of the presenters was the Deputy Prime Minister for a part of 1993 while the final touches were being made.
    It was recalled that our Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, the principal architect of the 1994 NAFTA  in Canada, PROUDLY boasted that the welfare of All Canadians will be lifted (ie wages would rise) and be the result of increased bilateral/trilateral trade...http://www.cbj.ca/nafta/

    Well from a global perspective it is a success, GDP has increased, but when looked at locally there have be 'job displacements' and 'plant closures' in both Canada and the US and increased use of lower cost labour in Mexico...
    so what happened?

    Businesses over the last 20+ years in our countries and the expectation of a company staying put and continuing to operate in a given country ... this as most of us are aware of has NOT happened

    I remember one of the first axioms our economics our Prof said in  Economics 101:  Money 'FLOWS' to the point that will generate the maximum return.

    That surely has happened and I am thinking that your Pres. Elect may also know that fact...

    The circus will continue, at least, for the next 2 months IMHO...

     


     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge, Hughes1100 Sat Modem
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,202 ✭✭✭✭
    Well from a global perspective it is a success, GDP has increased, but when looked at locally there have be 'job displacements' and 'plant closures' in both Canada and the US and increased use of lower cost labour in Mexico...
    so what happened?

    ~~~~~~~

    I remember one of the first axioms our economics our Prof said in  Economics 101:  Money 'FLOWS' to the point that will generate the maximum return.
    I guess I always understood that NAFTA was a good idea to bolster the Mexican economy. I thought this would lead to better jobs and wages in Mexico and perhaps a more thriving economy. It appears it has lead more to a greater separation of rich and poor. I never thought NAFTA would be advantageous to the US, but I think more globally any way and was happy with the plan.
    ~~~~~~
    Yes, it's basic economics, that money flows to the greatest return. This worries me more than anything and is the very reason I started this discussion. I worry that making our economy 'thrive' will come at the cost of the environment. Removing EPA, restriction on coal fired plants and such will not bode well. Though Pence might be worse than Trump! under his 'leadership' Indiana has had a bad record in pollution/coal.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 4,827 ✭✭✭✭
    I have (guarded) hopes for Trump, particularly when he says he will uses taxes as a deterrent to company exodus' from high labour costs to low cost ones.  I think he is ...... and then it was reported  that he may also cut corporate taxes across the board as a stimulus...
    I believe climate change is here but not the anthropogenic stuff, and I agree with Marks thoughts about using tax incentives to 'realize' benefits from a chosen item like Hydrogen cells for industrial applications , if there is a long term  research time line that is needed to bring a product to market. 
    There has been a similar incentive done by our Provincial Gov. to promote Hydrogen  as a fuel for transit buses, been going on for > 20 years  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballard_Power_Systems
    moost of the subsidies came through BC HYDRO and its bus/ transit arm.


     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge, Hughes1100 Sat Modem
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    Being the leader and actually doing anything requires alot of other people to go along with their votes.

    My favorite from Henry Ford,
    "It's not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money.
    It's the customer who pays the wages."

    The coal industry probably will die on it's own, I am hoping this happens and the workers will have some more time to get ready for it.
    The EPA has middle ground they can work to and get things they want without forcing overnight panic.

    LA smog looked pretty good the last time I was there. It is the bad air coming across the Pacific that I hope the western technology can influence environmental change.

    The pendulum swings and another quote from Otto von Bismarck...

    "people never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election"

    Pretty decent moon tonight at 3:22 am PST.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • MarkCMarkC Solar Expert Posts: 150 ✭✭✭
    Photowhit said:
    Yes, it's basic economics, that money flows to the greatest return. This worries me more than anything and is the very reason I started this discussion. I worry that making our economy 'thrive' will come at the cost of the environment. Removing EPA, restriction on coal fired plants and such will not bode well. 
    Being retired, I have lots of time to ponder such..  I've spent 50 years immersed in hydrocarbons technologies and to some extent power plant/coal technologies.  Some of my conclusions (IMHO only!) and some of my hopes;

    -  If "clean" coal can compete - let it compete -  To "compete" might include carbon capture and certainly include upgrading older plants to modern, efficient designs that meet the existing stringent pollution requirements.  I believe the deciding factor will eventually be some form of "carbon penalty".  Note that accurate life-cycle analyses of "carbon footprints" is not easy and often give surprising results, i.e., coal might actually compete - especially existing/modernized plants.
    -  I suspect there is a significant untapped potential in our existing electrical energy production and distribution systems that we can tap into by leveling energy usage via energy storage.  Most of our power plants use about as much "fuel" when running at 50% as when running at peak efficiency.  Some plants have "peaking" plants that shutdown and restart - not very efficient either.  I believe Elon Musk has started somewhat of an energy revolution with his remarkable EVs and his "Powerwalls".  As this matures , two major things are possible - 1. use of traditional hydrocarbon fuels could be greatly reduced, especially for the "commuter", and 2.  our existing electrical systems will find new levels of efficiency - reducing the amount of new plants required.
    -  Hopefully the new power plants that are needed to "fuel" these EVs will be as sustainable/renewable as possible (and by the way EMP resistant - another subject).
    -  A continual move to "renewable" forms of energy is needed if nothing more than to conserve our valuable natural resources of crude oil, natural gases and condensates for our future needs of chemicals and polymers.
    -  To make such a transition would surely create many jobs!
    3850 watts - 14 - 275SW SolarWorld Panels, 4000 TL-US SMA Sunny Boy Grid tied inverter.  2760 Watts - 8 - 345XL Solar World Panels, 3000 TL-US SMA Sunny Boy GT inverter.   3000 watts SMA/SPS power.  PV "switchable" to MidNite Classic 250ks based charging of Golf cart + spare battery array of 8 - 155 AH 12V Trojans with an  APC SMT3000 - 48 volt DC=>120 Volt AC inverter for emergency off-grid.   Also, "PriUPS" backup generator with APC SURT6000/SURT003  => 192 volt DC/240 volt split phase AC inverter.  
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    Definately agree! let coal compete!  Going to be very hard to do but give it some more time!

    The big one I hope gets solved is the 35% increase in 2016 of the deficit here by 580 billion. This can't go on for much longer and the corporate tax rate here of 35% is the highest in the world. We need to attract business instead of sending them away.
    What a no brainer!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,498 ✭✭✭✭
    People love to look at the magical unicorn of the electric car and think it will solve so many problems. The electricity to charge the battery is largely created by.....burning coal. Plus there are losses, losses, losses in getting the energy through the grid and into the car battery.

    So many modern gadgets are a house of cards. The biggest part of our GDP is financial services....pushing money back and forth across the table and .....wala..... magical GDP!

    We mostly make food/fast food, weapons, plastic, petrochemicals/pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. We enjoy disproportionate numbers in the "service industries" of incarceration and surveillance.  We are leaders of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    By the way, Tesla can't make it without huge government subsidies. Hopefully this will change.

    Think I went off the grid for the fun of it?


    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 4,827 ✭✭✭✭
    a year or 2 back there was a link for a 'Home Power System' that envisioned every house having a Power Block in the back yard IIRC.... great idea but costly... but NOW with Aquion and PowerWalls available, if I had Elon's gazillion$$ I would be on it like a dirty shirt!  In theory it should end the current need to upgrade the failing Grid as your 2 or 3 day supply is now in the back yard, recharged with low cost tier power rather than peak rate power...
    Oh , the 'system' was remotely controlled , by whom,???
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge, Hughes1100 Sat Modem
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,202 ✭✭✭✭
    ... failing Grid as your 2 or 3 day supply is now in the back yard, recharged with low cost tier power rather than peak rate power...
    Oh , the 'system' was remotely controlled , by whom,???
    We already have the power company controlling some loads within the house. That's been quite a while now. I think they were doing a pilot program on water heaters over 20 years ago in North Florida.

    The advantage of electric car and central energy production is that the polluting can be somewhat controller/monitored. Car are a bit notorious polluters. Of course recycling lead acid batteries has become somewhat efficient. Many of the new storage batteries are not yet economical to recycle, though rebuilding/replacing individual cells has give some of them very long life. No golden battery yet, though some are looking better.

    I live in Missouri where a large part of the population drive trucks and complain about gas prices, though they don't need the features of a truck 98% of the time.  I do think it has gotten a bit better, likely due to higher gas prices. Maybe higher utility prices will drive people to alternative energy....

    ...naa, that's just a pipe dream, crossing the Mississippi 2x! 
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,498 ✭✭✭✭
    Photowhit said:
    ... failing Grid as your 2 or 3 day supply is now in the back yard, recharged with low cost tier power rather than peak rate power...
    Oh , the 'system' was remotely controlled , by whom,???
    We already have the power company controlling some loads within the house. That's been quite a while now. I think they were doing a pilot program on water heaters over 20 years ago in North Florida.

    The advantage of electric car and central energy production is that the polluting can be somewhat controller/monitored. Car are a bit notorious polluters. Of course recycling lead acid batteries has become somewhat efficient. Many of the new storage batteries are not yet economical to recycle, though rebuilding/replacing individual cells has give some of them very long life. No golden battery yet, though some are looking better.

    I live in Missouri where a large part of the population drive trucks and complain about gas prices, though they don't need the features of a truck 98% of the time.  I do think it has gotten a bit better, likely due to higher gas prices. Maybe higher utility prices will drive people to alternative energy....

    ...naa, that's just a pipe dream, crossing the Mississippi 2x! 
    Can I get some of whatever you are smoking?
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,202 ✭✭✭✭
    You don't understand that higher gas price would reduce people driving inefficient trucks?
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • MarkCMarkC Solar Expert Posts: 150 ✭✭✭
    Some questions from a Chem Engineer who probably should have been an Electrical Engineer (my Son saw the light!) to this obviously knowledgeable group.  BTW, no denigration of the genius electronics guys with no degree - RESPECT! 

    1.  What do you predict the efficiency of solar panels to be in 10-20 years?
    2.  What do you predict the efficiency of battery energy usage to be in 10-20 years?
    3.  With matching high voltage MPPT charge controllers (affordable "DC" quick charging at home), what will be the "round trip" efficiency of EV's mile per KWH - specifically the "commuter" style vehicle.
    4.  What do you predict the energy density of batteries to be in 10-20 years? (just curious on this one).
    5.  With an EV range of 300 miles and a 20 minute quick charge network (at work also), what % of commuters will opt for an EV vrs an ICE vehicle? - OK, this is the tough one!
    6.  Using that %, what will be the reduction in hydrocarbon fuel usage - due to "commuter" usage alone in the US?
    7.  With a 300 mile range, and a 100 mile commute every day, what amount of energy is available (with "smart" logic) for "energy shifting", charging late at night and using the excess during "peak".  For some that have learned to actually CONSERVE - go off grid! 
    8.  What will be the result in utilization of our existing generation/grid - can high efficiency PV generation plants (or nuclear, methane based, other low carbons) be built to make up for the new loads in such a short period of 10-20 years?
    9.  How many jobs will this create and how much reduction in tons of carbon/year?
    10.  Do you have better options? Seriously asking.

    I did the hydrocarbon fuels reduction calc several years ago from (OMG) government data - quite astounding. Back then, the future did not look nearly as "bright" (LED costs, powerwall, 300 mile EVs, etc, etc) - amazing technology shifts very quickly.  If there was a limit, it appeared to be ability to design and construct all the needed production facilities (ignoring the "big oil" component!).  

    Believe me, not trying to be a smart-ass, but looking toward a future that assumes nothing more than improvements on existing technologies.  I'd sure like to see others "predictions".  



    3850 watts - 14 - 275SW SolarWorld Panels, 4000 TL-US SMA Sunny Boy Grid tied inverter.  2760 Watts - 8 - 345XL Solar World Panels, 3000 TL-US SMA Sunny Boy GT inverter.   3000 watts SMA/SPS power.  PV "switchable" to MidNite Classic 250ks based charging of Golf cart + spare battery array of 8 - 155 AH 12V Trojans with an  APC SMT3000 - 48 volt DC=>120 Volt AC inverter for emergency off-grid.   Also, "PriUPS" backup generator with APC SURT6000/SURT003  => 192 volt DC/240 volt split phase AC inverter.  
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,498 ✭✭✭✭
    Photowhit said:
    You don't understand that higher gas price would reduce people driving inefficient trucks?
    You don't understand that gas prices have been much, much lower for quite some time?
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,202 ✭✭✭✭
    softdown said:
    Photowhit said:
    You don't understand that higher gas price would reduce people driving inefficient trucks?
    You don't understand that gas prices have been much, much lower for quite some time?

    I guess we have different definitions of "time" gas was $2.70-2.80 summer of 2015. It takes time for people to change their ideas and opinions and choices of what they will spend money on... I don't consider that quite some time.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,498 ✭✭✭✭
    We paid about $4/gallon for years. I have been paying about $2/gallon for over a year. We need to let this thread get back on track.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    I will take a stab at some of the questions:

    1.  What do you predict the efficiency of solar panels to be in 10-20 years?
    • Solar panels are ~15-18% efficient for crystalline panels. For most people, economics of an installation apply rather than pure efficiency. You can get solar panels now that are 40% or so efficient, but those cost 100x as much (SWAG) and are usually shot into space where weight and size are critical parameters (right now, SpaceX is aiming to cost less than $1,000 per lb to orbit). For folks that already have sunny roofs/yard space, sq ft space of a GT array does not seem to be a limitation. For utility scale operations, they can use (and have used) thin film panels (cheaper $$$/Watt) but about 1/2 the efficiency (less than 10%?) of crystalline panels.
    • When you look at economics ($$$/Watt of solar panels)--The cost of glass, aluminum, labor, and shipping costs, as well as installation+racking costs, become driving factors. In theory, the cost of solar panels seem to have dropped below the cost of shipping, racking, and labor to install now (and add cost of GT inverters).
    • Lastly--What has driven solar installations to date (outside of the off grid community) has been government subsidies. Economically, solar is not cheaper than Nuclear/natural gas/coal power. Engineering wise, solar power is not desirable--Solar cannot be turned on and off to support customer loads (want power at night, no storage, no power. Want to have 10x more panels for afternoon standby power for summer A/C--Not economically viable (no power used, no money coming into pay the bills/bonds).
    2.  What do you predict the efficiency of battery energy usage to be in 10-20 years?
    • You can already get upwards of 90-98% efficiency with batteries today (AGM and Flooded Cell Lead Acid). The present downside is scaling and costs. Today, (retail) batteries cost >$0.15 to $0.30+ per kWH to cycle. Utilities need better cycling life and overall costs. Utility power (from the generator site) costs $0.06 per kWH or less. There are times when the price paid for generated power go "negative" (generator pays utility to take power, and a few utilities have even paid customers to take power). Wind turbines are notorious for "going negative" (they still make money with government subsidies of $0.15 a kWH or more--So paying the utility, they still make money).
    • Another issue is scaling... A Telsa has many hundreds of laptop computer Li Ion cells for their bank. A utility scale solution is not going to be able to use such a system.
    • Utility scale energy storage may be Liquid Sulfur-Sodium, Compressed air, more pumped water (if they stop taking out dams), etc.
    • The efficiency equation I use for planing off grid systems is 0.81 solar panel derating * 0.95 MPPT charger eff * 0.80 flooded cell or 0.90 AGM eff * 0.85 AC inverter eff = ~0.52  to 0.61 end to end system "efficiency" (based on solar panel STC numbers).
    • Battery efficiency is not a limitation today--There are other battery chemistries such as Nickle-Iron with 65% efficiency that can make economic sense today (long term operational costs).
    3.  With matching high voltage MPPT charge controllers (affordable "DC" quick charging at home), what will be the "round trip" efficiency of EV's mile per KWH - specifically the "commuter" style vehicle.
    • A Tesla will get around 2.5 to 3 miles per kWH when driven conservatively.
    • Charging an EV purely from solar panels may not make a lot of sense... If you want to drive during the day and charge at night, you will need to charge to battery bank (or feed power back to your utility). Also, if you want quick charge--You would need a huge solar array to charge the car in less than a few hours (and have sun between 9am and 3pm).
    • Efficiency wise, see my 0.52 to 0.61 typcial off grid system efficiency (from solar panel name plate). If you have grid tied solar, use ~0.77 for system efficiency.
    4.  What do you predict the energy density of batteries to be in 10-20 years? (just curious on this one).
    • Look at the periodic table (ChemE) and you can see the potentials and density. No nuclear magic here.
    • Batteries are already getting as dense as they can for energy storage (Li Ion, etc.). The problem is to support 100's to 10,000's discharge/recharge cycles without catching fire/exploding/having internal failures.
    5.  With an EV range of 300 miles and a 20 minute quick charge network (at work also), what % of commuters will opt for an EV vrs an ICE vehicle? - OK, this is the tough one!
    • A Tesla has a 60 to 90 kWH battery bank. The average home uses around 20 kWH per day. To charge 90 kWH car in 20 minutes--You will be taking the amount of (average) power from:
    • 90 kWH charge per day * 24 hour per day * 3 charging periods per hour * 1/20 kWH per day average home = 324 Homes of average load per charging car.
    • If you are a utility supplying power (no local storage), you would need about 324x more generator capacity for 20 minute recharge than they supply to the average home today.
    • Do you see us increasing our present generation and power distribution system by 100x in the near future (assuming ~1/3rd of today's electrical power goes to homes).
    6.  Using that %, what will be the reduction in hydrocarbon fuel usage - due to "commuter" usage alone in the US?
    • Today--Not much. A modern high efficiency generation plant (base power) is about 50% efficiency. Add another almost 50% efficient distribution system (all numbers are SWAGs, but close enough for our back of the envelope calculations). A Prius, overall is probably more fuel efficient vs a Tesla in a state that uses coal for baseline power generation when you take "everything" into account.
    7.  With a 300 mile range, and a 100 mile commute every day, what amount of energy is available (with "smart" logic) for "energy shifting", charging late at night and using the excess during "peak".  For some that have learned to actually CONSERVE - go off grid!
    • About 1/2 of the price of road fuel today is taxes. If you have "tax free" solar charging your car--The states/governments will have to raise taxes elsewhere ($400 per car road tax fee, GPS based taxes, etc.--Today being sought by California and Oregon).
    • Electric cars tend to be heavier than other cars. Road wear is worse--So infrastructure and taxes will be impacted.
    • And, the country's utiltiy infrastructure will have to be dramatically upgraded to support significant numbers of electric vehicles with quick or slow charging.
    8.  What will be the result in utilization of our existing generation/grid - can high efficiency PV generation plants (or nuclear, methane based, other low carbons) be built to make up for the new loads in such a short period of 10-20 years?
    • Today, methane and hydrogen are not "fuel sources" in themselves. For the most part, they are, presently, derived from Natural Gas (which is mostly methane). See Germany and Gasification and synthetic fuels for how to convert your (war time) economy to other fuels.
    • Fuels like hydrogen have their own issues. Hydrogen causes hydrogen embrittlement (causes many metals to absorb hydrogen gas and become brittle). Hydrogen leaks to the atmosphere will be significant (10% or more?). Then you have the choice of very high pressure or liquefaction to store enough fuel (battery energy density problem). And you now have to store/deliver the "fuel" which is much less energy dense than today's hydrocarbon fuels.
    • Personally, I do not believe that CO2 is a "green house" gas that will affect our climate very much (if at all). And, if it did help keep the world "warm"--That would be a good thing as we are "scheduled for another ice age... People do not do well living on several miles of ice.
    • Also, CO2 is "plant food"--Can reduce the needs of chemical fertilizers (which are usually derived from natural gas or other fossil fuels).
    9.  How many jobs will this create and how much reduction in tons of carbon/year?
    • In Spain, they found that for every 1 solar/clean energy job created, it killed ~3 other jobs in the private economy. Most green jobs are the results of government subsides. If you assume that, overall, the average job is taxed at ~33%, it takes ~3 non-government jobs to pay for one subsidized job.
    • In general, cheap energy has allowed for today's lifestyle. Increase energy costs, see (real) wages/employment drop.





    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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