Cleantech News

Published on January 30th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


Video Replay: Home Solar Hangout With 1BOG, Veterans United, & CleanTechnica

January 30th, 2013 by  

Here’s a video replay of today’s ‘Home Solar Hangout On Air’ hosted by Veterans United. Dave Llorens of 1BOG and I answered questions about solar power incentives, going solar, and more. Unfortunately, SolarCity couldn’t make it, but I think it was still a very useful chat for a lot of people. Check out the video replay here:

First, here’s a quick summary:

And the full video:

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is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • David Fuchs

    That was my first Hang Out on Air. i have a question, How badly did I tank it?

    Next time i write down my question so I do not stumble.

  • Otis11

    Huh… interesting. So if I understood this all correctly (and made the connections correctly) we could basically make solar panels cost effective in every state in 3-5 years by just saying “let’s do this.”

    If hard costs go down just a little, by just installing them we will be able to drop soft costs enough to take it below parity and then continue to growth the industry in a healthy way. If we wait until it is already at parity with the high soft costs, once we install we will drop the soft costs making it even more cost effective and have an avalanche effect. Because the industry is just starting in that particular area it won’t be able to keep up and will end up having higher margins to keep the cost high enough to allow the industry to keep up – and while the industry will grow quickly this way, it would be behind what it could have been AND be more expensive than it could have been in the first scenario above.

    Really, the more I look into this stuff the more I think the answer is a feed-in tariff for ROOFTOP solar projects. Or even easier (this might be a feed in tariff as well?) we could just mandate that the utilities must buy solar power from ROOFTOP systems at the current going rate of power at the time of production. (Not sure how to put this in words, but basically multiply the continuous power sent to grid by the continuous cost of power at those times and integrate to find the area under the curve.)

    That way it’s not a tariff, we’re not taxing anyone, we’re simply cutting off the most expensive power and allowing citizens to get a cut of that. I believe it would make solar cost effective in more areas and could even (potentially) lower the overall cost of power by shaving off the expensive peaks. It would also be completely self regulating because as you shave off the expensive peaks, the pay back is lowered, meaning people only get paid to grow their solar when it makes sense in their area to grow solar. Also encourages solar in the most efficient places rather than making x watts of pannels equal no matter where you put them. Can anyone find an argument against this?

    • Yep.

      And yeah, a broad feed-in tariff or a ‘value of solar’ tariff would be awesome. that would make the US a solar leader. have an article planned on the value of solar tariff.

      • Otis11

        Well, the main argument against a solar tariff as far as I can tell is that opponents claim it raises the price of electricity. It also has the detractor of being difficult to set and needing fairly constant adjustments to maximize it’s effectiveness – too low and it doesn’t make a difference, too high and it really can raise the cost of electricity (unless it’s government subsidized which is also easy to argue against with our current budget)

        But a “value of solar” guarantee (stay away from tariff – bad connotations for conservatives and libertarians alike) as stated would be self regulating – allowing for consistent, industry sustainable growth instead of boom and bust as we currently see with wind.

        Aside topic – would it be possible to get a forum section where people can brainstorm and ask questions on topics that are only tangentially related to articles? I know I for one would participate. Also makes for a more regular reader base if people feel personally involved… Just an idea.

        • Good points. I’m pretty into the value of solar idea.

          Forum: have thought about it before. have to look into the options.

        • David Fuchs

          Do what they are doing in Italy. Loans for solar panels that are guaranteed to be paid back through property taxes. This way it costs the state or county nothing except the cost of a yearly payment to the banks. There are a ton of ways this can be set up.

          PACE –

          • I didn’t realize (or forgot) Italy was using that policy. Great one.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I suspect a FiT would have brought the price of rooftop solar down a lot faster. It seems to have done so in Germany.

      If people were guaranteed a price of X cents per kWh for a number of years for the power they sent to the grid then they would likely work harder to get their system installed as cheaply as possible. That would maximize their profits.

      But I suspect we won’t go that way. We’re on track to see rooftop installed for under 10 cents per kWh in a couple/three years. From that point forward there will be no need for subsidies. At 10 cents it will make sense to install non-subsidized solar in all states where electricity is at or above the national average of 12 cents. Solar will continue to fall in price and the cheaper-electricity states threshold will be met over the following years.

      • and that’s another key benefit of a “value of solar” tariff — it’s not a subsidy, just a payment for what solar power ‘is worth’ — the homeowners receive that payment and then pay the same electricity rate as everyone else.

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