How do we get more people into Solar?

24

Comments

  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    Amazing!!! Just about leave you speechless!


    T
  • SolarJohn
    SolarJohn Solar Expert Posts: 202 ✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    This is more of George W's "War on Technology". You can bet that big $$$$$ from the oil or coal industry has something to do with this.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,412 admin
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    No--this is more bureaucracy's war on the people...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    carefull guys as we can't just blame it all on the government though they have some blame for sure. if they gave away pvs systems i could just imagine the numbers of idiots that would not want to use them. be it from ignorance or lazyness there would be millions that wouldn't put them to use. how can i say such a thing? easy as i can look at my wife (though unfair to say her because she's under my roof), relatives, and neighbors and i know who would or would not do it. stretching that out to a % i'd guess 35-45% would use them. it would be interesting if my statement here were put to the test.
    this brings us back to the thread topic of how do we get more people into solar and i contend that most will not want to because they don't care where their power comes from as they have no more time or interest in solar pvs than they do coal or nuclear generators though those of the latter aren't for personnal use for one's home. they just want to flip that switch and b*tch about the bill. even some of us are guilty of such when it comes to some things though i believe many here to be in a better class of doers.
  • 12vman
    12vman Solar Expert Posts: 25 ✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    "How do we get more people into solar?"

    IMO..
    As spoiled as the typical citizen is with the ease of being on the grid.. Have Fun!

    Society has been ruined by the ease of getting power from the grid and only having to pay a bill once a month for an everlasting flow of electricity. All you gotta do is pay a bill and Va-la! No responsibility for anything except paying a bill..

    All of a sudden, Average Joe read something somewhere that sends him into a pipe dream of becoming "Green" and reducing his "Carbon Footprint" and all of this kinda stuff. He does his research, looks at the costs and what he has to change and says.. NO WAY! Too much money and too complicated..

    Niel said it the best in his last sentence..

    "they just want to flip that switch and b*tch about the bill. even some of us are guilty of such when it comes to some things though i believe many here to be in a better class of doers."

    Until the pain of change is less than being in the present situation, it isn't going to be easy to convince ANYONE to go for it. Doing it for environmental reasons or for any similar reason isn't going to be enough UNTIL it affects them directly in one form or another. Rising costs isn't enough either until there isn't enough money handy to pay the bill.. Then it could be too late..

    Average Joe sees power as a given luxury. Until Average Joe sees the advantages for making a change and looking at it as an investment, good luck..

    It's hard to be humble.. Most folks have no interest to downsize in any way to reduce the costs of a system. This is the demise of the thought..

    Kudos to all of the "Doers" here. Hopefully someday we'll all be seen as someone who made a good decision instead of some "Nut Job" with a lot of money to spend.. :)

    Respectively posted on a great site, BTW..
    ~Don
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    On a more positive note,,, to lead by example. Show people that you can still live just as well using less. CFL's are a good example. When the first generation of CFL's came out, they were expensive, cold and ugly! People got the misconception that that was the only way CFL's came and still don't know that there are hundreds of configurations of efficient CFL's that more than mimic similar incandescent bulbs.

    Same with Hi-ef appliances. When you see that you can use 1/4 the energy with a new generation fridge and still have all the features people "get it"

    Everything we do has an impact. By leading by example, perhaps we can change peoples consumption habits around the margins, and as such, have a significant impact on the "energy/Co2" problem.

    As is stated on this forum many times, the cheapest RE dollar is that spent on conservation. Getting people "into Solar" is far less important than getting people to reduce their consumption en masse so that with every decrease in consumption, getting "into solar" becomes more cost effective.

    We are here on this forum, and involved in Solar for a variety of reasons, (need, we like to tinker, we want to push the envelope, we are early adopters, we want to save the planet,,,,etc) But I think we all share a concern that over time most of these reasons have come together to make us believe it is "the right thing to do". We have learned to make better use of the energy we use, and to help educate others similarly.

    Keep up the good work, and don't be afraid to spread the word.


    Tony
  • Mangas
    Mangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    While I was able to spend enough to maintain grid conveniences, all off grid, my reasons were driven by other factors. Could I have lived with much less, sure.

    But looking back just three years the system delivers a high degree of convenience at an investment level equal to bringing the grid to my remote ranch.

    I never considered bringing in the grid because its presence would have seriously jeprodized my passion for ranching traditions, wildlife and landscape conservation. Subdividing the land was unthinkable.

    I look at it as a conservation investment. I hope future generations will see it that way.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,412 admin
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    A tiny bit more information on the Shutdown of new Solar projects on Federal (US) Lands:
    The Bureau of Land Management quietly decided in May that the development of solar plants in 119 million sun-soaked, federally owned acres in the western states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah would have to wait at least two years while bureaucrats sorted out their environmental impact.

    For decades environmental groups have been pushing the government and private sector to develop more alternative sources of energy. But that campaign is beginning to look like a sham to cover the groups' BANANA — Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything — activism.

    To be fair, it appears the BLM acted without being forced by an environmentalist-filed lawsuit or activist pressure. And so far, the media are reporting that only a single group — the Wilderness Society — has expressed support for the moratorium.

    Make no mistake, though. The environmental groups are the reason the BLM made its decision. Had they not spent the past 30 years rabidly crusading against development, reflexively defending wildlife habitats from minor and imaginary threats and demonizing economic progress, the solar projects would not have been interrupted.

    Washington has become so overly sensitive to the possibility of vocal opposition on anything that has an environmental impact that it feels it must inoculate itself from the radicals — even when the project is one they should support without reservation.
    ...
    What's more, we don't like to see business opportunities shut down by government decree. There are companies that have sunk capital into solar power projects on federal land that will now have to wait at least two years, perhaps more, before they can begin to recoup their investments. Turning a profit will take even longer.

    The moratorium conceivably could kill businesses and the jobs that go with them. It will have the same economic effect as the Kyoto Treaty on global warming but on a smaller scale.
    ...
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    I'm back.

    After reading a little bit more, searching and what not. A couple of things in this thread stand out to me.

    Yes its hard for the average consumer to change habits, look at gasoline prices, some people havent changes their driving habits at all (through sheer laziness or simply because they can't)

    Changing their light bulbs to cfl is easy and a few other things could be easily done. But I'm of the belief that we we don't need to change our habits (greatly). Like I said before if every home produced the max power they could we could have sufficient power for all. (plus it would be nice if the grid was truly a grid) The biggest factor of why people haven't changed is $, plain and simple. Then add to the fact that if "Joe" were to produce more he would get "zilch", even though he would put up the original $$ to set up.

    Billling for electricity should be very simple - screw the rate plans and such - Use x amount, get charge x amount, period. Yes some people have an advantage in producing because of where the live, like desert areas and such, but remember, they'll have more usage in cooling bills and not to mention water issues

    Now how about this 'pie in the sky idea' - New building codes; all new structures have to have solar roofs period. What ever they produce should help a great deal in offsetting their use.

    Like I said, I'm new to this and forgive if I'm stating things that have been allready said.

    I guess I'm trying to solve all issues athe same time :roll:


    Oh I saw this site that mentioned creating something called solar in a box. Basically something your average consumer can buy at 'walmart' and plug in I'll post the link when I find it again. pretty neat idea.

    gotta go
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    Time of day metering does have significant advantages. It allows consumers to change their use to reduce peak loads for the generator(s) It also allows consumers to shift loads to off peak, and way off peak times, so that the idling, spinning capacity is better utilized. The idling capacity is far and away the most wasteful energy out there. Imagine your car stuck in traffic. You have to keep it running to move forward the next 10', but most of it's energy is just plain waste! (Thanks Prius!)

    Every building wouldn't have to generate it's own. It would be great to have that option, but if you look at the huge amount of waste in N.America, cutting consumption is really quite easy,,it just takes the mindset an the will.

    Look at any urban or suburban landscape at night, and realize how many mw's are being burned in lighting that no one is using, how many beer fridges in the garage to keep a few cold, how many water heaters set too high? And on and on and on. These are all changes around the margins, but as we always say on this forum, our cheapest solar dollar is conservation! There is a ton of waste out there.

    Icarus
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    "Yes some people have an advantage in producing because of where the live, like desert areas and such, but remember, they'll have more usage in cooling bills and not to mention water issues."

    i hope it isn't the hot areas you interpret as being more adept to solar. though desert areas get lots of sun the higher heat is a detriment although not by alot. there may be an area less than a hundred miles away from the hot spot that gets the same intensity, but with a lower ambient temp. in fact if it were a mountain top adjacent to the mojave, the desert location will has less power. just making sure you understand heat doesn't equal power.
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    I keep forgetting about the idle spin capicity thingy - that is a lot of wasted energy - might as well have all the the wasted lighting at night, - the generator is still "spining"; we might as well use that power. Also, why is keeping one's beer cold a waste. true they are conveniences but isn't that why we have modern conveniences. I do beleive that if we generate more some, if not many, will just use more - we do need to conserve. But i like to see it as we are wasting a lot of energy in not producing it (solar roof tops alone)

    I was not equating heat with power, but in generalities - ie seattle vs palm springs - not as much sun in seattle but sure a hell of lot of water. Also, generally speaking, the more sun shine the warmer the area. (And technically, a desert (heat) is more capable a utilizing a solar water heater)
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?
    BigFatRatt wrote: »
    I keep forgetting about the idle spin capicity thingy - that is a lot of wasted energy - might as well have all the the wasted lighting at night, - the generator is still "spining"; we might as well use that power. Also, why is keeping one's beer cold a waste. true they are conveniences but isn't that why we have modern conveniences. I do beleive that if we generate more some, if not many, will just use more - we do need to conserve. But i like to see it as we are wasting a lot of energy in not producing it (solar roof tops alone)

    I was not equating heat with power, but in generalities - ie seattle vs palm springs - not as much sun in seattle but sure a hell of lot of water. Also, generally speaking, the more sun shine the warmer the area. (And technically, a desert (heat) is more capable a utilizing a solar water heater)


    You are forgetting a couple of other things. If all the lights were off, or turned when they weren't needed, (and replaced with efficient lamps) then the idling spinning capacity could be reduced. I don't have leave my generator on all night, just to power lights I don't need. I have sized my system to take that into account.


    The second, there is nothing wrong with keeping the beer cold, but and it is a big but, if you are running a separate fridge in the garage only for a few beers a day or week or whatever two things happen. The first is the chances our using an older, inefficient fridge is great. Second, you are likely not keeping the fridge full, and adding to the inefficiency. Third you probably keep more beer cold than you drink in a timely manner. You would be better off keeping your stash in the cool cellar, and then put a day or twos supply i the main fridge every day, keeping it fuller as well.

    The bottom line, is as I said earlier, is that conservation is not only our cheapest solar dollar, but it doesn't have to be that painful,,,just smart.

    Tony

    PS A new energy star fridge will use ~25% the energy of a fridge that is ~15 years old. How many of these energy hogs are sitting empty (mostly) in peoples garages, needlessly consuming energy? Most people don't put a new fridge in the garage.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,412 admin
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    Another update on the stopping of solar projects on Federal lands...

    U.S. Lifts Moratorium on New Solar Projects
    DENVER — Under increasing public pressure over its decision to temporarily halt all new solar development on public land, the Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday that it was lifting the freeze, barely a month after it was put into effect.

    The bureau had announced on May 29 that it was no longer processing new applications to build solar power plants on land it oversees in six Western states after federal officials said they needed first to study the environmental effects of solar energy, a process that would take two years.

    But amid concerns from the solar power industry, members of Congress and the general public that the freeze would stymie solar development during a particularly critical time for energy policy, the bureau abruptly reconsidered.

    “We heard the concerns expressed during the scoping period about waiting to consider new applications, and we are taking action,” the bureau’s director, James Caswell, said in a statement. “By continuing to accept and process new applications for solar energy projects, we will aggressively help meet growing interest in renewable energy sources, while ensuring environmental protections.”

    In the meantime, the bureau will continue with its plans to conduct a sweeping study on the environmental impacts of large-scale solar development on public land in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, said a spokeswoman, Celia Boddington.

    Since 2005, the bureau has received more than 130 applications from private companies to build plants in those states, where large amounts of sun-scorched land make for prime solar real estate. Those proposals cover more than a million acres and have the potential to power 20 million homes.
    The bureau will process all of the applications it received before the freeze, and now, as a result of Wednesday’s decision, will continue to accept new ones, studying the environmental effects of each proposed plant individually, Ms. Boddington said....

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    I've written to Governor Schwarzeneggar and Senator Feinstein and Boxer. I've asked them to implement mandates to tell all new homebuilders who "offer granite and cherry cupboards" to also offer a solar option. Of course the builders can contract this out, but they must offer it. They must also give the buyer the breakdown of the price of panels depending on their projected energy consumption, how much their mortgage would increase monthly if built into their loan, and to compare that to the monthly cost of what their bill would be with a projection on how much their bill will increase as energy costs increases. Accessible information which affects your bottom line is the best solution.
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    www.solarcity.com has a plan that lets you lease a solar electric system. I'm seriously thinking about it. I live in Phoenix and solar just makes sense.
  • lamplight
    lamplight Solar Expert Posts: 368 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    I got a knock on my door the other day and it was an music acquaintance who actually is back to school. he knocked on my door not knowing it was my house as a neighbor sent him to me because of our solar panels. he's back in school and doing his masters thesis on the topic of why more people dont go solar. hes hoping to use it to spread the word as it were. as we all mostly know its a no brainer cost wise investment that pays for itself, NEVER MIND the other advantages. he feels part of the problem is lack of knowledge and i agree. our governor just approved a bunch more $ for the grants ive been taking advantage of. if nothing else, people need to be educated that its a feasible ECONOMIC choice. most people just dont know
    SolarJohn wrote: »
    Quote: Do any of you know any other new ways we might be able to get people to use solar?

    Lead by example. Install solar equipment on your property and pretty soon your neighbors will be asking questions.

    As the price of gasoline, heating fuel, and electricity increases, solar solutions are looking better all the time.

    John
  • Windsun
    Windsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?
    icarus wrote: »
    The second, there is nothing wrong with keeping the beer cold, but and it is a big but, if you are running a separate fridge in the garage only for a few beers a day or week or whatever two things happen. The first is the chances our using an older, inefficient fridge is great.
    Tony

    A few years ago one of the Scandinavian countries decided to give the equal of about a $600 subsidy/rebate to people that upgraded to new energy efficient refrigerators.

    And energy usage went up, not down.

    What happened is that most people kept their old unit and ran both of them.

    If we really want to reduce energy usage, then conservation is the first step, and very few people are actually prepared to take the steps needed. Solar won't help if energy use keeps rising faster than it can be installed, which is what has been happening for the past several years.
  • Mangas
    Mangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?
    Windsun wrote: »
    If we really want to reduce energy usage, then conservation is the first step, and very few people are actually prepared to take the steps needed. Solar won't help if energy use keeps rising faster than it can be installed, which is what has been happening for the past several years.

    My opinion also.

    Conservation easements to protect deeded lands from subdividing as well as public land acquisitions are part of the solution too.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • SolarJohn
    SolarJohn Solar Expert Posts: 202 ✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    Getting more people into solar is not as important as getting people to stop using more electricity than they need, and to stop driving cars that are bigger than they need. IMHO
  • lamplight
    lamplight Solar Expert Posts: 368 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    those 2 things upset me as well. it is absolutely shocking how large some small family electric bills are. if i could convince my wife she doesnt need to use a blow drier id vbe very happy, not going to happen anytime soon though
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    "Unfortunately it is a political topic that is used for support of liberal causes so there is an equal and opposite reaction from conservatives. Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House and Regan tore them down. Shameful."

    Actually, the explanation I read recently was that the installation has badly done causing serious roof leaks and subsequent damage and the hardware was not properly functioning and a maintenance headache as well. It was a solar water heating system, OBTW.

    Regardless, a new PV system is in place since 2002. OBTW GWB has a very state of the art renewable energy system at his ranch in Crawford. His heating and cooling system is also one of those Geo heat sink contraptions (or whatever the devil they call them).Despite the rap, he actually leans a lot greener than most in his personal life.

    Regards mike
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,412 admin
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    I did not realize it--but apparently "his" place is a full off-grid system...

    -Bill

    PS: Found a 1 hour video on Goolge by Les Stroud (Survivor Man on Discovery/OLN) about he and his family's life, on and off grid... I have only just watched the first few minutes--but it appears to be a nice presentation.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • paulstamser
    paulstamser Solar Expert Posts: 86 ✭✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    GM should offer a garage-roof PV system array kit to go with the new Chevy VOLT and the govt. should give a big rebate or $$$ incentive for it.

    Once the payback time on the PV system comes and you stay within the VOLT's range, you could drive for FREE!

    The promise of FREE driving could draw MILLIONS of people into using PV solar power on a daily basis! It's a no brainer. In fact, GM should go into the PV manf. end of things too. There should be PV factories on every corner! What are we waiting for?
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,412 admin
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    I have said the before--My tin foil hat thoughts are that the government does not want electric/solar powered vehicles until "they" have perfected the GPS based tax system.

    In the US, it is already against the law to run untaxed fuels (un-dyed diesel for farm use, bio-fuels, etc.) in a motor vehicle.

    If, all at once, a huge number of electric cars and solar panels where sold and placed into operation--the road tax funds would take a huge dip--and, as we know, the government does not like any drop in revenues.

    The US is really better able to make a financial case for electric vehicles--our gasoline taxes are relatively low (much less than 1/3rd the cost of fuel) and directed (mostly) to road and public transportation funding (and the occasional "Bridge to Nowhere" congressional pork-barrel project)--so the lost of funds to the government is less...

    Vs Europe where the probably 2/3rds of the price of gasoline is taxes--if their subjects converted to electric vehicles, there would be a tremendous loss in general fund revenues.

    Oregon has already been working hard at a GPS based taxing system (California has been reportedly funding this program too).
    Two professors were cruising around the campus of Oregon State University here in a Ford Explorer. A wireless black box, mounted on the dashboard, tracked the miles in a test of a per-mile fee system that state officials said might one day replace the state's 24-cents-per-gallon gas tax.

    The professors drove to the edge of campus, a laboratory with an old gas pump. The mock service station was equipped with computers that read the black box and calculated how many miles the professors had clocked, broken into categories — in-state, out of state and during rush hours — and levied a tax based on the miles driven rather than gallons burned.
    ....
    Reduced consumption would undoubtedly result in a huge hit to the tax dollars collected by many states, which rely on gas taxes to pay for most highway costs — particularly states on the West and East Coasts. In Oregon, for example, 80 percent of the state highway money comes from its gas tax.

    States on the coasts have also been the most aggressive in pursuing ways to reduce gasoline consumption, and consumers have been more apt to buy the fuel-efficient vehicles, including hybrids.
    And there are many people that have had various government agencies trying to get the government's fair share of fuel taxes:
    Wetzel told the committee how revenue agents visited his home one morning, telling him he had to pay fuel tax on each gallon of vegetable oil he used. He was later told he had to apply for a supplier's license and post a bond, or he would be charged with a Class 3 felony. Wetzel declined to apply because he did not fit the revenue department's definition of a supplier, which includes storage capacity of at least 30,000 gallons.

    "I have no problem paying the taxes, but somehow they've got to make it easy," Wetzel said.

    Three other men who have converted their vehicles to run on vegetable oil also attended the hearing.

    David Ogden of Shelbyville, owner-operator of a vegetable oil-propelled semitruck, told the senators he was also threatened by the department of revenue with Class 3 felony charges. Class 3 felonies are punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

    In an interview, Ogden said an agent once stopped him on the highway, telling him to stop immediately, because he did not have a supplier's license. However, he had that supplier's license.
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    To defend "Taxes" for a moment. I know the argument is that "the guvment wastes all our money", but the simple fact is that taxes are a needed price to pay to live in a civilized society. (We can argue amongst ourselves to what degee, etc) but someone needs to build the roads, run the schools, deliver the water, get rid of the sewage etc. If we move to more tax free energy some one will have to make up the difference. I am all in favor of user fees, toll roads etc. Gas/energy taxes are a (reasonably) fair way to asses these costs. Use more, pay more, use less pay less.

    Utility taxes CAN go for public benefit, REA etc. As always, the devil is in the details.

    Tony
  • Telco
    Telco Solar Expert Posts: 201 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    It's easy enough to do, and not require a GPS system which I'll fight tooth and nail. It's easy enough to do an odometer read, or a scale based on work to home distance, to get enough tax money regardless of actual use or fuel used. Yes, it's possible to live right next to work yet drive 100,000 miles and it's possible to tamper with the odometer, but it's rare that someone can live next to work and odometer tampering is very difficult to do. 99.9 percent or the population wouldn't be able to tamper with the odometer of their cars, and it would be a lot harder for car lots to tamper if the mileage were registered once a year. No need to do a cent per mile tax either, just do a bulk rate. Travel less than 10K miles in a vehicle that weighs X number of pounds, pay this much. Go 10-12K miles, pay that much. A sliding scale, with enough slop that it really doesn't matter if a little tampering takes place, would more than pay for the roads. Make it a federal thing too, with all the money going to the feds to distribute to the states. Each state is guaranteed a certain amount by allowing the states to keep a percentage, with the remainder used for federal highway purposes. This is the most fair way to tax road usage without providing a means to track individual drivers.

    Everyone else better be right in there with me on fighting a GPS tracking system for tax purposes, because it would be TOO easy to pervert this to other uses, like tracking your wherabouts, automatic speeding tickets with no warning or recourse, ect. It doesn't even need to be a government need, a hacker could get into the system and track when you aren't home, or track certain makes of vehicles for theft (all it takes to disable a GPS is eliminate the antenna) or other nefarious purposes, or even an eventual portal that allows a business to buy your tracking information for whatever purpose they determine. And don't think this can't happen, if man can think it, man can make it happen.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,412 admin
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    Road funding with alternative fuels is going to be a nightmare--no matter what...

    If you don't want GPS--then what. We already have toll sensors on bridges and now, CalTrans uses the same toll tags to track cars to give speed and time estimates on the freeways.

    So, you are back to tracking--but just another form... And, as you have guessed, this transponder data has been used in civil and criminal cases in the US.

    And, what happens when one state uses gas taxes, and another uses GPS/Transponder for road taxes--people who drive between states, for whatever reason, are going to be in a mess--and what does Oregon do--supply a temporary GPS tax unit for out of state visitors? Does California supply toll transponders? And lots of cameras taking pictures of license tags to compare against various data bases to figure out where to send the bills and whom to prosecute for speeding (distance between cameras / time between cameras = ticket)?

    This is going to be a bit of "Brave New World" for all of us...

    And, I agree, the road infrastructure needs to be funded--but how...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • paulstamser
    paulstamser Solar Expert Posts: 86 ✭✭✭
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    You guys are right about the govt. taxing PV generated FREE miles in the plug-in hybrid. (Guy here was busted for using french fry oil and not paying state motor fuel tax). But turn that around. Knowing you are getting tax free road miles could help transform the transporation sector towards electric much faster. Road taxes could be hiked on those who still burn gas and by other means. People using PV generated miles would get a break which could be a very powerful incentive. Ease into the tax issue down the line, but in the beginning give the PV rider a break.

    When the mass-produced Chevy VOLT plug-in hybrid (and others) hits the market, there will be a wonderful business opportunity for a company to offer roof-top PV chargers. These wouldn't even be hooked up to your house but only to your car. The lure of FREE road miles would convince a lot of people to spend money up front so they could give the middle finger salute to gas stations as they whiz past. It will be a Brave New World, at least within that 40 mile driving range which is plenty for BILLIONS of road miles!

    That's my gut feeling anyway. I sure would want a PV charger for my VOLT. It's the other half of the equation.

    I wonder if GM will take this PV accessory idea up; if not, somebody else certainly will.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,412 admin
    Re: How do we get more people into Solar?

    A car roof-top charger--at best a couple miles per day--just not enough room.

    A Solar Charger on your homes/garage roof dedicated to charging your car? Turns out, for several reasons it is actually not a good way to go... If the car is not parked there--it cannot charge. If the car is parked there more than a few days--the batteries are full, and you loose the extra power from the panels. If you want to collect power when the car is not there, then you would need an extra battery pack--then recharge the car from the storage bank--more expenses and conversion losses.

    The best bet (for a home connected to utility power) is Grid Tied solar and charge your car from the Grid at night...

    You have all of the advantages of GT (cheapest $$$ per watt, up to one year of "storage" -- 1 year net metering, and if you have Time Of Use metering--you get "paid" at $0.30 per kWhr to store power "in the grid" during the day, and you "buyback" the power at $0.09 per kWhr from the grid at night--basically giving you 3x as much power from your solar panels (not really quite as much--TOU is generally in the afternoon--and only on weekdays--so the average is less than 3x).

    You could do this with an off-grid system--but it would be quite a bit more expensive to implement because of additional conversion losses--and off-grid power is generally more expensive to "generate" than grid tied power.

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