How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

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feature-0-1399556708289.png Over the next decade, solar electricity will let consumers get cheaper energy from their rooftop than from their utility. Among the upheaval in the electricity system, the coming of solar "grid parity" means re-thinking incentives for solar energy. The success of solar is remarkable, no less because the amount of federal subsidy in absolute terms h

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  • South AfricaSouth Africa Solar Expert Posts: 295 ✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    Then one read this: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/topoftheticket/la-na-tt-koch-brothers-and-solar-power-20140422-story.html

    Or worse, this gets traction worldwide: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-24272061
  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    Or worse, this gets traction worldwide: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-24272061

    You're all probably tired of me ranting about the Spanish case, but it really is monumentally absurd. In a nutshell, if you install your own grid tied PV and then use power from it, you have to pay a percentage of the kWh used to the utility, they call this a "backup fee" because you're relying on the utility to provide backup power when the sun doesn't shine. This is, of course in ADDITION to the existing standing charge for being connected to the grid.

    Using this same reasoning you can quickly see the absurdity:

    a) a solar thermal system that uses an immersion heater should also be subject to the same fee. When the sun shines you use less grid power, and when it doesn't you need more grid power, therefore this should be taxed too.
    b) drying clothes out in the sun means you use the dryer less, and hence less grid power. Tax that sucker.
    c) Insulating your home means less heating/cooling, so should also be taxed
    d) Growing your own vegetables means you're buying less veg from the supermarket, so they should charge you a "backup fee" for every vegetable you grow yourself
  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 1,360 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    Imagine two power systems:

    1) The entire system always uses about the same amount of power and the fluctuations are fairly predictable. (time of day, day of week, outdoor temperature).
    2) Every time some clouds roll in, usage goes way up in a matter of minutes.

    #2 is more expensive to build and run. Who should pay for these additional expenses?

    I am available for custom hardware/firmware development

  • solarixsolarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    "Who should pay for these additional expenses?"
    Society has a huge stake in making energy available to its people and businesses. That is why we greatly subsidize conventional energy sources despite their dirty and unrenewable nature. Should we not greatly encourage new, clean, renewable sources? If we have to wait till conventional sources become more expensive (despite being established with economy of scale) than new undeveloped sources, a crises will ensue as the new sources won't be ready. We need to have the foresight to encourage solar and solve the non-dispatchable problem it has, so that it can be scaled up and take over as the dominant long-term energy source. Don't get lulled into the coal industry's "its not fair" argument. Its not fair right now that they (we) are killing us with pollution.
  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 1,360 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    I agree, but fossil fuel subsidies is a separate issue and mixing issues just creates confusion.

    One can use solar power and not contribute to grid instability. For example, one could add batteries (and perhaps water/ice thermal storage) and then only use the grid on cloudy day nights. Such a system should not have to pay extra.

    Some grid-tie systems can actually contribute to grid stability through power factor correction and/or the timing of power injection (using batteries).

    I am available for custom hardware/firmware development

  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    Good points jonr. I agree that at some point the amount of unpredictable renewables connected to the grid will start to cause problems, but we're nowhere near that point yet.
    Another peculiarity of the current Spanish law is that there's no net metering in place, so any excess you produce that isn't consumed is basically gifted to the energy company. They can then sell your produced energy on to your neighbour at the full rate, and it didn't cost them anything to produce or transmit it. Nice business if you can get it.
  • pleppikpleppik Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    I wonder how the economics would work out if, instead of net metering, PV electricity could be sold to the utility at "market price." That is to say, the utility would pay the same rate for PV power as it was paying for the most expensive conventional power at that moment.

    The theory is that most of the time, the price the utility is paying to generate electricity is fairly low (maybe $0.03 to $0.06 per kWh), and so most of the time that's what PV producers would receive. But at peak times of the day, when the utility has to fire up more expensive generating capacity, it costs them more to generate that marginal kWh. But that also happens to be around the same time when PV generation is also at its peak, so it's only fair that PV generators get paid what it would have cost to generate the power from a more conventional source.

    At peak times, utilities' marginal cost to generate power can be above the retail price for electricity (they make up for the loss in off-peak hours). It's possible that such a scheme could actually pay more overall to PV producers than traditional net metering.

    Unfortunately, I don't know of any source of data for the marginal cost of generating power, so there's no way to see how this might work in practice.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,182 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    Quote "But that also happens to be around the same time when PV generation is also at its peak, so it's only fair that PV generators get paid what it would have cost to generate the power from a more conventional source."

    While I agree with the concept, FREE market economic theory with open competition, the utilities fought tooth and nail to NOT have to reimburse PV production and it has only been by the grace of government that there is net metering.

    IMHO if it were not for the legislation , where it exists due to Gov policy, there would be a Spanish type system here too...


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  • pleppikpleppik Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    westbranch wrote: »
    While I agree with the concept, FREE market economic theory with open competition, the utilities fought tooth and nail to NOT have to reimburse PV production and it has only been by the grace of government that there is net metering.

    I agree 100%. Rhetoric aside, incumbent utilities are not especially interested in a truly open market for power.

    Actually, no incumbent monopoly is ever interested in a free and open market for its products. That's capitalism 101 and part of the reason we will always need some level of regulation.

    The question isn't whether we need regulation to make sure the market works.

    The question is, what form should the market take to ensure that it promotes the general well-being of society and is fair to everyone.

    Net metering works for now, but it's basically a bit of a kludge. Requiring the monopoly to pay full retail for any power any homeowner generates is fine as long as only a small minority of homeowners participate (and it has the virtue of being simple to understand and implement). But the utilities are right in that it is a subsidy, and doesn't really represent the underlying costs and benefits.

    Minnesota's "Value of Solar" tariff is another interesting approach, especially since the state is including things that are normally not explicitly added to electric rates (like the avoided cost of pollution from fossil fuels). But now that it appears that the Value of Solar rate is likely to be higher than retail, no utility is going to use that instead of net metering.

    (and as an aside--the reason Value of Solar is higher than the retail electric rate is because when they calculated the effective cost of the pollution from coal plants, it turned out to be a lot of money. The power companies are being allowed to dump CO2 into the air for free leaving it for future generations to clean up the mess, which is the only reason coal looks cheap as a power source)

    So someday we will have to find a longer term approach than net metering. We might as well think about what that might be now, rather than waiting for someone else to pick how the system will work in the future.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,182 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    And, when (electrical) storage comes of its own economically, there will be even more reason for using a MN type 'valuation', as PV power can be 'time shifted' to come on line at the peak for the evening power feast, rather than only at the time of production...
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
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    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
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  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    westbranch wrote: »
    And, when (electrical) storage comes of its own economically, there will be even more reason for using a MN type 'valuation', as PV power can be 'time shifted' to come on line at the peak for the evening power feast, rather than only at the time of production...

    that day will also be a boon to those that are off grid.
  • verdigoverdigo Solar Expert Posts: 428 ✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    pleppik wrote: »
    (and as an aside--the reason Value of Solar is higher than the retail electric rate is because when they calculated the effective cost of the pollution from coal plants, it turned out to be a lot of money. The power companies are being allowed to dump CO2 into the air for free leaving it for future generations to clean up the mess, which is the only reason coal looks cheap as a power source)

    So someday we will have to find a longer term approach than net metering. We might as well think about what that might be now, rather than waiting for someone else to pick how the system will work in the future.

    How is CO2 a pollutant that has to be cleaned up by future generations? Answer. It is not a pollutant.
  • South AfricaSouth Africa Solar Expert Posts: 295 ✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    verdigo wrote: »
    How is CO2 a pollutant that has to be cleaned up by future generations? Answer. It is not a pollutant.

    Correct, plants need CO2. CO2 is not the problem.

    The problem is that we are on track to deforest the world as fast we can with more devastating storms around and droughts in other areas putting the CO2 absorption all over under strain. :-)

    It is all about balance.


    Solar in SA, in some areas, according to some experts, are cheaper than utility power since a year or so back. But, there is no subsidising for solar PV systems, there was rebates on solar water heaters, but they are being stopped now.

    The municipality will buy from the home owner at the same price per kw as they buy from the utilities company. I pay +-1.65 per kw, they buy at +-0.45c, so I can expect +-0.45c per kw, with a once of costs of replacing the meter plus a monthly connection fee to the grid (+-350.00) for 'maintaining' the grid connection to my PV plant.

    All good and well if one is interested in spending a lot of money to make some money, after you have jumped through a lot of hoops with even more T's and C's to deal with. The sums are tried and tested, but how many people can really afford that?

    But, the problem, as I see it, and as people whom have their own solar systems know, electricity is a cruel and very expensive mistress if you do not reduce your load to what you REALLY need.

    The same applies to a country, the world. If each and every person reduces their load, the utilities companies all over will be able to better manage, probably make more profits, so that they can then spend the effort on adding solar / wind / ocean generating capabilities because they can then stop building coal fired / nuclear power stations which is a short term, bulldozer approach to solve the demand now.

    Until we reduce our load / usage collectively, there is no fix in sight for this international problem ... until a solar flare hits earthy face on, then we can start fresh. :-)
  • pleppikpleppik Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    verdigo wrote: »
    How is CO2 a pollutant that has to be cleaned up by future generations? Answer. It is not a pollutant.

    As the old saw goes, "the dose makes the poison." Human activity has increased the CO2 levels in the atmosphere by a third in the past century. We will have to either deal with the consequences, or figure out a way to remove it.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    We have been increasing CO2 production to the point where it now layers in the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas; allowing light in which ultimately becomes heat energy but not allowing that heat energy to radiate off into space.

    Anything is a pollutant if there is more of it in a given space than is acceptable. In a technical sense the atmosphere can be polluted with CO2 (i.e. alters the composition of the air significantly enough to change its function).
  • verdigoverdigo Solar Expert Posts: 428 ✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    I believe I read that atmospheric CO2 levels have risen from 300 ppm to 500 ppm since 1700. Its hard to say what they were prior to this, though I am sure there is information from ice core studies and such. It is true that too much of anything can be bad. For instance oxygen is toxic above a certain level, but it does not hold heat like CO2, methane, or water vapor which I believe is the worst. We never hear of oxygen being referred to as a pollutant though.

    Deforestation as South Africa stated is a problem that needs a solution in a hurry. Not only for CO2/O2 conversion but just the shear number of spices that we are losing, the benefits of which we will never know. I am just not convinced that CO2 is the culprit it is made out to be.

    Studies have shown historically that higher CO2 levels did not precipitate periods of warming but that the reverse was found to be true. This makes sense in that it would be expected that there would be more forest fires in a warmer drier climate as the fires would produce more CO2, and at the same time reduce the capacity for CO2/O2 conversion. I am sure there are many other factors involved that are above my understanding, but I am almost as sure that the "experts" don't fully understand all of the implications either.

    This debate is far from over, and I think shutting down entire industries such as coal and other fossil fuels as clean cheap energy sources over whether or not there is man made global warming is a big mistake. I am sure that there is plenty of money to be made for a few and a lot of political capital, and control over we the masses if we all just wholesale accept this global warming schtick, and allow ourselves to be taxed to death over it via cap and trade or some other ploy based on CO2 being a pollutant.
  • pleppikpleppik Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    verdigo wrote: »
    I believe I read that atmospheric CO2 levels have risen from 300 ppm to 500 ppm since 1700. Its hard to say what they were prior to this, though I am sure there is information from ice core studies and such.

    There's actually quite a lot of research on atmospheric CO2 levels going back many thousands of years, and very good data. The levels today are substantially higher than at any time since the beginning of human civilization, and rising much faster than anything we can find in the past.
    It is true that too much of anything can be bad. For instance oxygen is toxic above a certain level, but it does not hold heat like CO2, methane, or water vapor which I believe is the worst. We never hear of oxygen being referred to as a pollutant though.

    True, because we aren't dumping billions of tons of oxygen into the atmosphere. If we were actually polluting with oxygen, then we would call it a pollutant.
    Deforestation as South Africa stated is a problem that needs a solution in a hurry. Not only for CO2/O2 conversion but just the shear number of spices that we are losing, the benefits of which we will never know. I am just not convinced that CO2 is the culprit it is made out to be.

    The world has many problems, true. I am curious, though, what is it about the science of climate change which leaves you unconvinced?
    Studies have shown historically that higher CO2 levels did not precipitate periods of warming but that the reverse was found to be true. This makes sense in that it would be expected that there would be more forest fires in a warmer drier climate as the fires would produce more CO2, and at the same time reduce the capacity for CO2/O2 conversion. I am sure there are many other factors involved that are above my understanding, but I am almost as sure that the "experts" don't fully understand all of the implications either.

    What studies are these? I would be curious to get a link, since the scientific consensus is firmly established that higher CO2 causes a warmer global climate.
    This debate is far from over, and I think shutting down entire industries such as coal and other fossil fuels as clean cheap energy sources over whether or not there is man made global warming is a big mistake. I am sure that there is plenty of money to be made for a few and a lot of political capital, and control over we the masses if we all just wholesale accept this global warming schtick, and allow ourselves to be taxed to death over it via cap and trade or some other ploy based on CO2 being a pollutant.

    Actually, the scientific debate has been over for a while. The debate going on right now is purely political.

    If you are worried that the solution will be politically unacceptable to you, I think it's much better to offer a positive solution to the problem which is acceptable, than to claim that there is no problem.

    There are many free market and/or small government proposals out there for reducing CO2 emissions. For example, a revenue-neutral carbon tax which would be used to reduce or eliminate other taxes. This has been endorsed by several right-wing economists, but is obviously unacceptable to the fossil fuel interests who have lobbied against it. I would be interested to hear your ideas.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    pleppik wrote: »
    There are many free market and/or small government proposals out there for reducing CO2 emissions. For example, a revenue-neutral carbon tax which would be used to reduce or eliminate other taxes. This has been endorsed by several right-wing economists, but is obviously unacceptable to the fossil fuel interests who have lobbied against it. I would be interested to hear your ideas.

    Ah, we have that so-called "revenue neutral" carbon tax here in BC. It is not revenue neutral because of the cost of administering it, and so far it hasn't change fuel usage one whit. When they first nailed the tax on at two cents per litre of gasoline the price was $1.40-ish and people screamed. Well the price went down, the tax went up, and people stopped screaming. Meanwhile the price has risen again and people are screaming again. What they are not doing is using less fuel and producing less emissions. At least not because of the carbon tax or obscene pricing or Air Care. All improvements have come about as a result of the inevitable replacement of older, more polluting vehicles with newer, less polluting designs.

    Taxes change nothing. They are simply a money-grab by government disguised as positive action. When you see them outlawing inefficiency then you will see improvements. In an ironic twist of fate another tax dance done here in BC has resulted in energy conservation materials that were formerly exempt from Provincial sales tax now being taxed. Another bureaucratic screw-up from the 'experts'.

    Carbon tax? It's just a form of three-card Monte. Try giving us some real incentive to use cleaner energy. All stick and no carrot doesn't get the job done.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    i don't know about you coot, but i'm getting tired of them using that same stick without the carrot to beat us with.:grr
  • verdigoverdigo Solar Expert Posts: 428 ✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    pleppik wrote: »
    There's actually quite a lot of research on atmospheric CO2 levels going back many thousands of years, and very good data. The levels today are substantially higher than at any time since the beginning of human civilization, and rising much faster than anything we can find in the past.

    Where would I be able to view this data?



    True, because we aren't dumping billions of tons of oxygen into the atmosphere. If we were actually polluting with oxygen, then we would call it a pollutant.

    What does a ton of CO2 look like?



    The world has many problems, true. I am curious, though, what is it about the science of climate change which leaves you unconvinced?

    For one the temperature has not risen in the past 10-15 years.



    What studies are these? I would be curious to get a link, since the scientific consensus is firmly established that higher CO2 causes a warmer global climate.

    I have heard arguments on both sides of this and they continue. The most convincing resource would be a documentary if you would watch it. It is called "An Inconsistent Truth" And yes it is a parody of Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth", there are plenty of references and interviews with climate scientists that do not agree with Al. Funny thing is Al would not agree to be interviewed to defend his own movie. There is actual footage of him avoiding of any questioning along those lines.



    Actually, the scientific debate has been over for a while. The debate going on right now is purely political.

    Once again check out the documentary.

    If you are worried that the solution will be politically unacceptable to you, I think it's much better to offer a positive solution to the problem which is acceptable, than to claim that there is no problem.

    I don't have a political stake in it.

    There are many free market and/or small government proposals out there for reducing CO2 emissions. For example, a revenue-neutral carbon tax which would be used to reduce or eliminate other taxes. This has been endorsed by several right-wing economists, but is obviously unacceptable to the fossil fuel interests who have lobbied against it. I would be interested to hear your ideas.

    I defer to Cariboocoot's comments on that. Good ole Al Gore wants to trade in carbon credits that allow for CO2 producers to buy so called carbon credits from his company so that he can profit and the CO2 "polluters" can continue to "pollute for a price. Surely you can see through this scam.

    Sorry I haven't figured out the multi-quote
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    verdigo wrote: »
    I defer to Cariboocoot's comments on that. Good ole Al Gore wants to trade in carbon credits that allow for CO2 producers to buy so called carbon credits from his company so that he can profit and the CO2 "polluters" can continue to "pollute for a price. Surely you can see through this scam.

    Sorry I haven't figured out the multi-quote

    I am unaware of Mr. Gore owning any company that will profit from the sale of carbon tax credits.
    This sounds very much like a baseless political POV and we frown on that around here.
    If you have an authoritative source to back up the claim, please provide it.
    Otherwise it's just a case of "I don't like your politician, I like mine."
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,058 admin
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    Actually, Mr. Gore is getting quite rich from his company that does carbon trading and other stuff:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/business/energy-environment/03gore.html?_r=0
    Mr. Gore has said he invested in partnerships and funds that try to identify and support companies that are advancing cutting-edge green technologies and are paving the way toward a low-carbon economy.
    He has a stake in the world’s pre-eminent carbon credit trading market and in an array of companies in bio-fuels, sustainable fish farming, electric vehicles and solar power.
    Capricorn holds a major stake in Falcon Waterfree Technologies, the world’s leading maker of waterless urinals. Generation has holdings in Ausra, a solar energy company based in California, and Camco, a British firm that develops carbon dioxide emissions reduction projects. Kleiner Perkins has a green ventures fund with nearly $1 billion invested in renewable energy and efficiency concerns.
    Mr. Gore also has substantial interests in technology, media and biotechnology ventures that have no direct tie to his environmental advocacy, an aide said.
    Mr. Gore is not a lobbyist, and he has never asked Congress or the administration for an earmark or policy decision that would directly benefit one of his investments. But he has been a tireless advocate for policies that would move the country away from the use of coal and oil, and he has begun a $300 million campaign to end the use of fossil fuels in electricity production in 10 years.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/11/03/blood-and-gore-making-a-killing-on-anti-carbon-investment-hype/
    Optimistic that a Democrat-controlled Congress would pass cap-and-trade legislation Gore lobbied for, GIM and David Blood’s old GSAM firm took big stakes in the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) for carbon trading. Accordingly, CCX was poised to make windfall profits selling CO2 offsets if and when cap-and-trade was passed. Speaking before a 2007 Joint House Hearing of the Energy Science Committee, Gore told members: “As soon as carbon has a price, you’re going to see a wave [of investment] in it…There will be unchained investment.”

    http://www.generationim.com/media/pdf-generation-final-launch-release-08-11-04.pdf
    GENERATION ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR NEW INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT FIRM A new investment management firm dedicated to the principles of long-term investing,
    integrated sustainability research, and client alignment
    Founding Partners include David Blood, ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management,
    and Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States

    You can search on Google for reports that Mr. Gore purchases his carbon offsets from this company (over the years, I am not sure about "lately"). Yea, you will find a lot of in the "right of center" media.

    Regarding CO2--The ice cores seem to show that CO2 lags warming by ~800 years or so...:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/co2-in-ice-cores/
    This is an issue that is often misunderstood in the public sphere and media, so it is worth spending some time to explain it and clarify it. At least three careful ice core studies have shown that CO2 starts to rise about 800 years (600-1000 years) after Antarctic temperature during glacial terminations. These terminations are pronounced warming periods that mark the ends of the ice ages that happen every 100,000 years or so. Does this prove that CO2 doesn’t cause global warming? The answer is no.
    The reason has to do with the fact that the warmings take about 5000 years to be complete. The lag is only 800 years. All that the lag shows is that CO2 did not cause the first 800 years of warming, out of the 5000 year trend. The other 4200 years of warming could in fact have been caused by CO2, as far as we can tell from this ice core data.

    The 4200 years of warming make up about 5/6 of the total warming. So CO2 could have caused the last 5/6 of the warming, but could not have caused the first 1/6 of the warming.

    So, the first ~800 years are not the result of CO2 levels rising, but the last 4,000 years are... Hmmm.

    You can find just about anything on the Internet to confirm your (or my) biases. Science has never been about "conscious"... It has been about proof. And one observation that disproves a theory:

    "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong." - Albert Einstein quotes

    Most of the CAGW argument has been based on computer models... Pretty much all of the present computer models have been "falsified" by observations over the periods that the supporters have given (10-15-xx years) (outside the range of error between forecast and observation).

    There has been warming since the last ice age (and last little ice age)--The part that (in my humble opinion) that has not been supported by the evidence is that the last XX years of "warming" has been the result of human activity.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    Interesting. It could just be that Mr. Gore set up this company so that there would be a means of trading credits, but profiting from it does seem a tad unethical. Especially when the practice does not actually help the environment (let's see someone prove it does).

    The only part I'm certain of is that playing around with taxes doesn't alter the situation; actually changing how much and what type of energy we use does.

    If the climate change is not due to humans then conservation and alternate sources will not have any effect. If it is, it will. In either case it won't hurt anything except some people's profits.

    There's always somebody going to make a profit, no matter what we do.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    Taxes (or tax credits) have seemed to help the solar industry immensely in the USA. It is about behavior modification with a financial incentive. Personally I would not have considered Solar without the tax incentives and utility rebates until the prices reached today's levels. The problem is without the incentives the prices would never had dropped this fast, all the production facilities probably wouldn't have expanded.

    The same is true for the EVs in America.

    Is it the right way to do it? I don't have a clue, but it worked for me.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    solar_dave wrote: »
    Taxes (or tax credits) have seemed to help the solar industry immensely in the USA. It is about behavior modification with a financial incentive. Personally I would not have considered Solar without the tax incentives and utility rebates until the prices reached today's levels. The problem is without the incentives the prices would never had dropped this fast, all the production facilities probably wouldn't have expanded.

    The same is true for the EVs in America.

    Is it the right way to do it? I don't have a clue, but it worked for me.

    I'm not sure we can call solar tax credits the same thing as carbon tax credits. We have carbon tax here, and no solar credits of any kind. Technically we can install GT solar, but there is zero incentive to do so: no tax credits and really cheap electric. Payback time: never. That's one of the things that irks me the most about our carbon tax; it just shifts the way the revenue is generated. It does not penalize a 'dirty' energy source in order to subsidize a 'clean' one. Hence no behaviour modification.

    A few years back we had a sales tax rebate for hybrid cars. Nice, but it was only on hybrids; not on other fuel-efficient vehicles including ones that did better on mileage than the hybrids. Does that make sense? I don't think so.

    Hey, politicians: comprehensive energy policy. Try it. We'll even help you plan it. There's more brains on this forum than in Washington and Ottawa combined.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,058 admin
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    A few years back we had a sales tax rebate for hybrid cars. Nice, but it was only on hybrids; not on other fuel-efficient vehicles including ones that did better on mileage than the hybrids. Does that make sense? I don't think so.

    Hey, politicians: comprehensive energy policy. Try it. We'll even help you plan it. There's more brains on this forum than in Washington and Ottawa combined.

    State gas tax could be replaced by mileage tax - USA Today

    A Mileage Tax Monitored By Big Brother For All N.J. Drivers?
    Will you have to pay a tax for every mile you travel? - CBS

    All along the lines of:
    Falling gas tax revenues from hybrids and other high-MPG cars ... a new hybrid or electric car in response to state and federal tax breaks ... pay a mileage tax based just on the average miles driven by a car owner in your state.

    It all comes down to control and money.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

    you're right bill as the politicians want to control everything including our money. the carbon tax was to basically be a penalty imposed on some business that were not utilizing energy or fossil fuels wisely. not sure if they wanted this to go to everyday residents too. this does nothing but feed more of our money to the respective branches of government collecting it. most people would look at it much like a rate increase for nat gas or electric or whatever over what it would've normally been and that may force a tad of conservation in some rare cases, but most will pay and just complain while continuing the same usage and abuses. it's just another rate increase to them and there's many taxes imposed on utilities now and they aren't causing any real conservation to be realized.

    tax incentives are much better for people see savings. it really is much like putting out a sale sign at a store saying, sale xx% off.
  • verdigoverdigo Solar Expert Posts: 428 ✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    I am unaware of Mr. Gore owning any company that will profit from the sale of carbon tax credits.
    This sounds very much like a baseless political POV and we frown on that around here.
    If you have an authoritative source to back up the claim, please provide it.
    Otherwise it's just a case of "I don't like your politician, I like mine."

    Sorry Mr. Cariboocoot. As a resident of Tennessee we have a certain amount of local flavor in our news and discussion. Especially where a native son is concerned such as Mr. Gore. I sometimes forget this is an internationally represented forum. Didn't mean to break any rules.

    I have the utmost respect for this forum, moderators, it's members, and NAWS for this wonderful resource. If it were not for you guys, me and YouTube would have probably burned down the house by now.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    verdigo wrote: »
    Sorry Mr. Cariboocoot. As a resident of Tennessee we have a certain amount of local flavor in our news and discussion. Especially where a native son is concerned such as Mr. Gore. I sometimes forget this is an internationally represented forum. Didn't mean to break any rules.

    I have the utmost respect for this forum, moderators, it's members, and NAWS for this wonderful resource. If it were not for you guys, me and YouTube would have probably burned down the house by now.

    Bill actually provided links that support your position regarding Mr. Gore's involvement with the tax credits.

    Sometimes it helps to have someone outside looking in, even if it's just a Canadian. :D
  • pleppikpleppik Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy
    verdigo wrote: »
    There's actually quite a lot of research on atmospheric CO2 levels going back many thousands of years, and very good data. The levels today are substantially higher than at any time since the beginning of human civilization, and rising much faster than anything we can find in the past.

    Where would I be able to view this data?

    If you google "history of co2 in atmosphere" you will find literally hundreds of sources. I recommend the Wikipedia page as a reasonable place to start if you're looking for general background on the science. That page also includes this graph of the history of carbon dioxide:
    Attachment not found.
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