solar walmart

I just read the post on the solar / wind powered walmart. Wouldn't it be more of a story if walmart actualy stocked solar products?(solar powered garden gnomes don't count!)It seems to me that the real breakthrough in PV will be when a system costs less than my house!!!!! (or even my car.)I have been pondering this issue today since I read an article in HOME POWER MAGAZINE on solar shingles . I wanted to hear more about these so I searched out Daystar and Unisolar on the net. MY GOD THESE ARE EXPENSIVE!!!!!!!Don't these companies realise that at $12 per watt only NASA can aford their products? PV is good technology, it is not new,it is not untested, and for practical purposes it dose not exist! I have been researching this subject in depth for a year now and still dont understand why PV is not more wide spread.I am also baffled by the appathy of the manufacturers in this industry.So here is my question . How long will it be before I can buy 2K of PV panels with all necesary hardware for a grid intertie at Home depot or(gasp) Walmart?????????????????????????

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,608 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    Technically, I purchased my 3 kW peak (400 kWhr / month using BP 4175 panels and Xantrex GT 3.0 Grid Tied Inverter) solar system from my local Home Depot last year just South of San Francisco California (really, it was a turnkey install by BP Solar through Home Depot--at the tables you sometimes see setup at HD selling central air, roofing, etc.).

    The panels themselves are probably running ~$5.00 (if you can find them). Installed system was about $10/peak watt less a $3.50 per watt California rebates and tax credits. Perhaps in 1-2 years, when Europe drops their subsidies, the panels will drop to $4.00 per Watt or slightly less (no crystal ball here--just a guess).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    Your lucky enough to live in a state with rebates. Home depot dosent bother in kentucky.Here if it dont run on coal it just aint rigt!(it has been a frustrating journey)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,608 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    And our electrical rates (and other energy costs), historically, have probably been about 50% higher in California than other states... Those rebates came from somewhere... :|

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    exactly, i am forever infuriated by the small "renewable energy" charge on my electric bill.
    im not talking about the clean energy choice i can make but the imposed small charge that is imposed by the electric company to fund who knows what: probably to pay the lobbiest in washington to say how much they love the earth or something.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    I think the time is nearing. I read or heard somewhere the US escapade in Iraq is currently costing about a billion $ per week? Factor the cost into the "cheap" prices at the gas pump, and you can see in reality we are paying dearly, without even counting the pain and anquish of maimed and lost lives. As gas prices climb steadily, the "expensive" alternatives will begin to align in overall cost with conventional energy sources. Even now, if the government was subsidizing the solar industry like it does oil, we would probably see solar and wind systems at Home Depot. It is popular among naysayers to point out that it takes a lot of non-renewable resources to make the high-tech components for modern wind/hydro/solar electricity generation. I like to point out that the same can be said for a coal/natural gas/nuclear power station, but for the working life of that alternative source, the environmental impact drops drastically as soon as it is built, whereas the "conventional" power station impact significantly increases. Perhaps blades flying off a collapsing wind generator could kill someone in its path as certainly as would a radiation leak, but at least you can see it coming!

    ;^]

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,608 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    I purchased my 3 kWatt peak (STC) Grid Tied system through Home Depot...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: solar walmart
    Kristofer wrote:
    Even now, if the government was subsidizing the solar industry like it does oil.....

    Actually, right now solar has the highest subsidy of any energy source, followed closely by ethanol.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: solar walmart
    BB wrote:
    I purchased my 3 kWatt peak (STC) Grid Tied system through Home Depot...

    -Bill

    Out of curiousity, how much did it cost per watt going that way.

    I have heard that Home Depot takes about $1.50 per watt as their fee, but nobody can confirm it.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,608 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    My pleasure,

    It was installed in the beginning of September 2005 and was about $29,275, quoted in June of 2006 (most of that was waiting for the state rebate confirmation and shortage of UV wire) for a 3.5 kW (20x BP 4175 panels, Xantrex 3.0 GT, permits, installation, taxes, etc., complete). CA State rebate was $8,179 (based on 2,933 PTC system rating). Installed flat on 2nd story roof (asphalt shingle). Easy site access and not much extra wiring between roof, inverter, and fuse box/disconnect switch.

    Home Depot offered 1 year intrest free loan too (via their credit card). I am just south of San Francisco, CA.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    how do you figure? granted im not a big news reader, but i do read most things that catch my eye on this topic and have never read anything positive about government subsidies of renewable energy.
    wind-s2 wrote:
    Kristofer wrote:
    Even now, if the government was subsidizing the solar industry like it does oil.....

    Actually, right now solar has the highest subsidy of any energy source, followed closely by ethanol.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,608 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    Well, from reading about Europe--Solar (like in California) has about 1/3 to 1/2 credits... Plus, in California there is no property taxes on my solar installation.

    Gasoline (petrol) "costs" roughly $1-$2 to get it from the well to the pump, and costs around $4-$6 per gallon because of European taxes.

    In the US, it costs something like $2-$2.50 per gallon to produce ethanol from corn, and they (seem) to be waving road taxes to get it to the consumer plus, ethanol has much less heat than gasoline (~27% drop in milage when running E85 in one test).

    One can argue that "green" fuels are better for the planet and that fossil fuels need to be taxed to represent their "true costs" to the planet... Myself, I believe that government taxes and subsidies tend to distort the market for ill effects more than they actually have the intended positive influences.

    One of my arguments was that Europe could not afford everyone switching from fossil to solar/electric cars as they would go broke from loss of vehicle/fuel/road taxes and massive outpouring of subsidies.

    In the US, we can have electric vehicles without road taxes because our fuel taxed are (currently) relatively small... However, that does not stop places like Oregon and California trying to co-develop GPS based taxing infrestructure. Some of our government officials have already complained that the Prius and other high mileage vehicles are not "paying their fair share" of road taxes and that they need the GPS system to insure that the Hummers and the Hybrids pay equal road taxes (--by the way, I don't agree with the GPS/High road taxes for hybrids either).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: solar walmart
    wind-s2 wrote:
    Actually, right now solar has the highest subsidy of any energy source, followed closely by ethanol.

    That's good news. At what level? R&D? Industry? Consumer? All of the above? I suppose "subsidized" falls short of the mark when discussing the oil market, it is ubiquitous. Let's put it another way. If the government was as concerned with the health and vitality of the alternative energy market as it is with the "heavy hitters", air and road transportation, perhaps we might see an aisle dedicated to these products at the local home center. But upon thinking about it, I doubt it for other reasons. I knew several people who ran out and bought SUV's a couple years ago when the tax break was made available. They weren't too happy with the $3.00+ per gallon gas prices that ate up a lot of their "savings" in hindsight. Witness the past bailouts of privately held airline and automobile companies, with our tax money. Is the alternative energy field really being supported to the same extent? Is the "trickle down" really enough to encourage the changes that need to take place within political and corporate arenas increasingly distant from public issues and concern for the commonwealth? Perhaps it will take tens or hundreds of thousands of Americans dying around us to foment such change, we already know that the thousands dying from the Katrina debacle were not collectively enough, but there must be some level at which it becomes obvious that "we the people" are being systematically disenfranchised. Politics will not provide an answer, the players in that arena are so corrupted and compromised by the time they achieve national recognition that they are unable to inspire anything other than fear. Couple that with the advanced state of public apathy and the sophistication of our entertainment industry, and there is simply no incentive to change until it is too late to avoid the crash. What this means in relation to the topic of this thread is that the economic implications behind the existence of a "solar Wal-mart" would clash with the autonomy that alternative energy represents. And at the rate Congress is caving in to the "madness of King George", by 2008 going solar could be tanatamount to sabotage, and anyone doing so would instantly become an "enemy combatant" subject to immediate incarceration without any recourse. Assuming, of course, that you'll be able to afford the price of a roll of copper wire...

    ;^]

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,608 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    I can give examples of where government subsides have hurt us too...

    Solar panels are 25%, or more, costly now than they were a couple of years ago because of very high European subsidies and shortages in silicon blanks. No company in its right mind is going to invest in a billion dollar wafer plant if they think the subsidy market changes with the wave of a pen (yesterday and today CA had a 50% subsidy for solar panels, tomorrow zero?).

    I know that this is not a political discussion board--but so far I have not seen any "...by 2008 going solar could be tanatamount to sabotage, and anyone doing so would instantly become an "enemy combatant" subject to immediate incarceration without any recourse..." by our current government...

    [kill the rest--just a rant on taxes, subsidies--not for this board-BB]

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,571 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar walmart
    BB wrote:
    (yesterday and today CA had a 50% subsidy for solar panels, tomorrow zero?).

    Wow 50% ??? was this a figure of speach, or did I miss something ??


    Mike
    too late for me: http://www.naturalstudies.org/~solar/MikesSolarInstall.html
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    sorry to say you mnissed something bigtime. BUT, you have a good sized system!! looks cool too ;)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,608 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    From:

    http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/erprebate/program.html

    Solar Electric PV rebate is $2.60 per watt (assuming that panels are around $5.20 per watt, that is 50% rebate)... If you install them yourself, it is 15% less rebate per watt.

    But that was chicken feed--the government gave grants to itself of:

    http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/school/solar-school.html
    The one-time rebate incentive of $6.40/watt - twice the amount of the ERP rebate level at the time - was offered to public and charter schools meeting program eligibility requirements.

    Hmmm, Government giving grants/subsidies to itself--got to love that.

    -Bill

    PS: Matt--I believe you received the same rebate too... I played a little with the wording in that I assigned the "value" to the panels to themselves, and did not include inverter, racks, wiring, etc... Also, I did not include the addition 10% Federal Tax Credit on the rebated price (was around $2,100 over plus the state rebate of $8,200)...

    The California program was all over the map in terms of declining rebates (start high, decline over 6 months or a year, eventually to zero, then get refunded and start again)... The rebates were supposed to be gone in 2006, but seem to be back again at $2.60 per watt.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: solar walmart
    BB wrote:
    PS: Matt--I believe you received the same rebate too... I played a little with the wording in that I assigned the "value" to the panels to themselves, and did not include inverter, racks, wiring, etc... Also, I did not include the addition 10% Federal Tax Credit on the rebated price (was around $2,100 over the state rebate of $8,200)...

    I did not get the fed rebate (install was prior to that new tax credit), i did get state tax credit and a 20 year DEFERRED property tax exemption.
    my rebate was for 40% of the entire installed cost. it was higher the year before. $ came from massachusetts technology collaborative. im not sure if its state or fed $, maybe both. they have been lowering the rebate amount each year not throughout the season as yours is described.
    i also signed a contract selling my green tags for 3 yrs to mass energy alliance i think it is. (which reminds me i have to look into that havent received a dime yet, i am expecting thousands of dollars from this. kidding).

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,608 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    Matt--

    I guess I am a bit confused, your link points to a home/conversation in California and it mentioned 2006.

    But, I guess that was not your installation.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    um. no that was the other guy who has a CA home. now im consfused.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,608 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    Whoopse.... Yep, that was Mike, not Matt... Sorry. -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • arcandsparkarcandspark Solar Expert Posts: 63 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar walmart

    Why do you think Shell Oil purchased the Seimens Solar Panel division, and British Petroleum purchased Solex Solar Panel division. Do you really think the oil companies want to sell you cheap solar panels so you can help reduce the need for oil demand around the world??? I live in Texas and TXU Electric Company is building 11 new Coal burning plants state wide. The acid rain will be coming soon to my town. The truely unfair thing is that TXU charges everyone in Texas a higher rate for natural gas when they are really using more Coal as fuel, less than 15% of the fuel used for generating electrical energy in Texas is from natrual gas. Over 60% fuel used is from Coal generating plants, but you get charged the higher rate as if all generating plants were using natural gas. That's what is wrong with this country, wallet terrorist that are in government office, and allow these fat pocket companies to openly rob the people of this once a long time ago great country, and there is not a darn thing you can do about it. Hanging is not allowed in Texas anymore. AcrandSpark
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar walmart

    I am trying to be optimistic so I am hoping that Shell bought Siemens and BP bought Solarex because they know the decline of oil is in sight and want to still be in the energy market when that time arrives and instead of trying to play catch up once the cost of solar becomes financially comparable to other generation means.

    I know it could be twisted the other way (and maybe that is really the case) and that they are grabbing up all the companies so they continue to have a near monopoly, but either way they have to see a change coming and are doing something about it right or wrong. I don't own stock in any of them, but if I were a share holder it looks like a wise move, I can't blame them for that.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: solar walmart

    Shell bought Siemens Solar.

    Then Shell sold it to SolarWorld.

    Shell no longer has much going in solar.

    BP is the only major oil company now with any significant solar activities.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    didnt GE buy somebody last year i recall? i thought it was a ny company.. cant recall maybe they soldf it again, thats old news i guess

    ge has everything
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,608 admin
    Re: solar walmart

    http://www.electricityforum.com/news/mar04/gesolar.html From ~March 2004
    A federal bankruptcy court judge in Delaware recently approved G.E.'s plan to buy the bulk of AstroPower for $15 million in cash and an estimated $3.5 million in debt, along with other liabilities to be settled when the deal closes at the end of the month. It would be the most decisive step yet by G.E. into the so-far unprofitable business of generating electricity from sunlight, a technology that G.E. researchers have dabbled in for nearly half a century.

    http://www.gepower.com/prod_serv/products/solar/en/index.htm seems to be still in solar business

    -Bill

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