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Old 04-30-2010, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Trans-Pecos Texas
8,571 posts, read 11,819,108 times
Reputation: 4149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho_NM View Post
Some people do not trust the technology...

If I were buying a house right now for my family, there are too many other things I would be concerned with. Solar is not something I would want or pay for. I might assume that the house was overpriced while looking. Just my opinion. I could very well be wrong, but my lifestyle is different than others.
I very much agree with this. Solar is still problematic for some applications, according to what I have been told by some who have invested in it.

I don't consider it a must-have or a premium feature, either--not at this time.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque
343 posts, read 413,276 times
Reputation: 224
Energy is also 3 times more expensive in Hawaii and one out of four households already use solar water heaters.

You have to be much more careful about usage and waste on islands, we have the luxury of being wasteful and not immediately feeling the effects on our environment or wallet.


I think personal solar generation is going to be a major part of our future here in the southwest, but its some time away still. That said if you have the money go for it, it may or may not pay off but it helps fund the technology and increase the demand.
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque
5,553 posts, read 9,271,756 times
Reputation: 2454
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralthor
Energy is also 3 times more expensive in Hawaii.
There is also no energy available on the islands with the exception
of geothermal energy. All gasoline has to be brought in by ship.
All electricity has to be generated by fuels brought in from more
than 1,000 miles away.

If the climate wasn't so mild, I would also assume that most Hawaiian
houses were more energy efficient. I'll bet most Hawaiian's automobiles
get better mileage than the other 49 state average - by a lot.
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Abu Al-Qurq
2,804 posts, read 4,254,358 times
Reputation: 1637
Quote:
Originally Posted by aries63 View Post

Zoidberg: where do you get this information about the 3-6 month window of opportunity?
It's buried deep within PNM's website. REC is increasing to a ridiculous $0.26/kWh on top of net metering and on top of federal and state incentives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho_NM View Post
I do not consider solar panels to be an item that would add value to a house, I believe it could detract from the value...That is just my opinion based on my experience.
Some of us base our opinions on financial worksheets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mortimer

Note that in calculation of payback you have to account for
opportunity costs. What would you have made had you just
taken the capital investment and bought high-grade bonds?
Well, that's pretty simple. Based on your $135/mo for $30k invested, that's an APR of about 5.4%. 20%.. 5.4%.. which one is bigger?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mortimer
Putting in solar is like buying a Prius. It's also a statement. There
is nothing wrong with it, but most of why you do it is for personal
satisfaction. That's not a bad reason either.
Couldn't disagree more. A new Prius will cost you money in the long run. In a strictly financial sense, it's a bad move. A PNM solar electric installation will make you money in the long run. In a strictly financial sense, it's a smart move.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mortimer

Every time the price of oil goes up, people think; evil Exxon! when
Exxon has pretty much nothing to do with what we are paying.
We buy oil in dollars. Coal gas and oil are all international commodities.
The dollar is just the least crappy of all the crappy currencies in the world.

Once your solar panels are in place, you are insulated from a lot of that.
Not true either. Oil's price has almost nothing to do with your electric bills. Oil and electricity are very well insulated from each other at the moment. A wild swing for oil prices does very little to coal, gas, or other electricity sources, as evidenced by gas prices and your electric bill over the past 5 years. If oil shoots up again, no number of solar panels are going to save you from costlier fillups, unless you have an electric vehicle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho_NM
Some people do not trust the technology. I have known several people who will not go back to hot water solar heaters due to maintenance, costs etc. Heck, Miami Florida was using solar water heaters in the 30's. We once lived in a rural area where skylights were considered "gadgets". Swimming pools even refrigerated air conditioning is unpopular my some people.
Guess you could say the same about indoor plumbing, swamp coolers, etc. Doesn't mean that these people affect the housing market very much. I seriously doubt people like Poncho would ever even consider buying my house, solar panels or not; so worrying about what he might like or wouldn't like is pretty silly. I get the serious impression Poncho doesn't even know that a PV solar panel doesn't use pipes or liquids, and doesn't heat things.

Quote:
It is difficult to beat the efficiency of an inexpensive gas hot water heater.
Again, no factual or numeric basis. They're very efficient until the water leaves the heater and heats the rest of the crawlspace or slab, becoming cold in the process. Add a recirculation pump and you make it even less efficient, heating the crawlspace/slab on a continuous basis.

Point-of-use heating is far more efficient than inexpensive gas water heaters. So, I would say it's quite easy to beat the efficiency of a cheap gas water heater.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mortimer
There is also no energy available on the islands with the exception
of geothermal energy.
And surprisingly little of that (the populated areas have near none); Hawaiians demonstrate against Hawaiian geothermal worse than we demonstrate against new coal plants going in.

There is offshore wind capability, tidal capability, and of course solar capability in Hawaii, also.

----------------------------


Here's my reasoning behind the 20% APR:

One more bit of factual information: PNM will pay you based on what you generate and what you use, in excess (and if you do it right, far in excess) of your electric bill. So if you pay $50 a month in electricity, you can get your electric bill completely covered, and $150 a month in the form of a check from PNM. If you pay $200 a month in electricity, you can get that covered, plus $500 a month in the form of a check from PNM. All it takes is sizing the system correctly (and fitting it on your property if your house/lot is small).

But wait, it gets better. Put in a refrigerated air/heat pump and electric point-of-use water heaters (no more waiting or running out!) and drop your gas consumption to zero. (can't run the heater in a power outage anyway, so why have the gas in the first place?) That means you can up your free electricity to say, $300 or $400 a month, and your REC bonus check could go to approx. $1000/mo. from PNM. We're not far from the pay from a full time job at this point.

So, say you run $400/mo. electric bill (or can get yourself there) and want the $1000/mo. REC check.

That means you need about 4000 kWh per month, or about 21.5 kW of solar panels.

21.5kW grid-tie kit will cost about $41k, and professional installation may run around $30k (far less if you do some of it yourself).

$71k, get $21.3k back from the feds, $7.1k back from Santa Fe (and no sales tax), leaves you with a first-year cost of $42.6k. $1400/mo payback = $16.8k a year. So, maybe it'd be fairer to say the APR is 39%.

But hey, why invest in that when you could buy lottery tickets?
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Old 05-01-2010, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Nuevo México
1,810 posts, read 2,086,554 times
Reputation: 1752
I can't find the emoticon to represent the glazed-over expression I have after reading the posts and many of the links in this thread. But thanks for all the input.

So if I understand correctly, it only "pays" to go solar if I'm a big energy hog, and/or I build a giant solar substation for PNM on my roof/yard. I reviewed my PNM bills over the last year and found my average monthly bill was only $22. Average kwh usage was 209/mo. And I think there are ways I can even cut back from this much usage. I think my pie just fell out of the sky.

Are these checks from PNM for being a net producer of power subject to income tax?

Does PNM offer any guarantees that these payments will continue indefinitely and not diminish? What if they meet their percentage goal of renewable energy production... then I suppose people will not be getting paid as much for their contribution to the grid.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Abu Al-Qurq
2,804 posts, read 4,254,358 times
Reputation: 1637
Quote:
Originally Posted by aries63 View Post
So if I understand correctly, it only "pays" to go solar if I'm a big energy hog, and/or I build a giant solar substation for PNM on my roof/yard.
It pays more to do that. If you don't want to go as big as that, or can't, it still pays, just not as much.

Quote:
I reviewed my PNM bills over the last year and found my average monthly bill was only $22. Average kwh usage was 209/mo. And I think there are ways I can even cut back from this much usage. I think my pie just fell out of the sky.
At 209kWh/mo., your usage would be well matched with a much smaller 1.5kW array, which would only take up about 120 square feet of rooftop. You lose some of the economy of scale, but I'd wager it'd still handily outperform most bonds.

If your roof can support more PV, it would make financial sense to kill the gas water heater and put in instant-electric-hot-water units in your bathroom/kitchen/laundry areas.

Quote:
Are these checks from PNM for being a net producer of power subject to income tax?
Must stress that PNM will not pay you these prices for being a net producer. You only will need to produce about 30% of what you use to break even on the electric bill. In excess of that, you may be a net consumer of power but a net recipient of money (it is taxable last I checked, although ironically the tax credits from the feds and state would zero that out for some people).

Quote:
Does PNM offer any guarantees that these payments will continue indefinitely and not diminish?
Yup, it's in the contract they sign with you.

Quote:
What if they meet their percentage goal of renewable energy production... then I suppose people will not be getting paid as much for their contribution to the grid.
New people, yes. Existing providers get to lock in their rate.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque
5,553 posts, read 9,271,756 times
Reputation: 2454
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoidberg
Quote:
Originally Posted by mortimer
Putting in solar is like buying a Prius.
It's also a statement.
Couldn't disagree more.
Yet everything you wrote about a Prius says that you agree with me 100%.

< boggle >

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoidberg
Quote:
Originally Posted by mortimer
... price of oil goes up ...
Once your solar panels are in place,
you are insulated from a lot of that.
Not true either.
Yes it is.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoidberg
Oil's price has almost nothing
to do with your electric bills.....
Most peaking power is generated using oil or gas.
Long-term, there is a price correlation.

Even if there wasn't the price of coal will continue to go up due
to more strict safety regulations which, due to current events is
coming. There will be more strict environmental regulations.
After the coal is mined, the cost of generating electricity
will go up due to upcoming environmental regulations.

<Jeeze!> Even a statement I made that you should have
drooled over, you had to disagree ( wrongly ) with me.

< boggle >

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoidberg
I get the serious impression Poncho doesn't even know that a PV
solar panel doesn't use pipes or liquids, and doesn't heat things.
OH! OH! --- DOOODE!! I'll take that bet. How much you wanna bet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoidberg
... heats the rest of the crawlspace or slab,
becoming cold in the process.
Irrelevant.

Every house tends to heat the crawlspace/slab/ground under the
house over time via radiant heating. It's a great big heat storage
device. It's not very efficient, but it still works that way. Any
heat applied to the slab via the sun is heat that you don't have
to ad via natural gas or electricity.

The slab under my house is measureably warmer than my driveway
slab all winter long.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoidberg
Here's my reasoning behind the 20% APR:
Nothing you posted says anything about the cost required to obtain the
stream of income. Therefore, the 20% return, true or not, is just an assertion.

A person considering putting in a solar installation would want
to know how much it costs to achieve a $100/month average
return for the 12 months of the year.

You HAVE to put that in.

I'm looking at 14 lines of text with absolutely nothing that I can
use to verify the 20% number.

Note how in my post, I stated that you have to invest
x amount of dollars to get y amount of streaming income. You
correctly calculated my assumed ROI. This is because I was able
to give you all the facts and didn't withhold critical information.

Note that being able to sell the excess to PNM is totally irrelevant also.

Last edited by mortimer; 05-01-2010 at 09:04 PM..
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Old 05-01-2010, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Abu Al-Qurq
2,804 posts, read 4,254,358 times
Reputation: 1637
Quote:
Originally Posted by mortimer View Post
Yet everything you wrote about a Prius says that you agree with me 100%.

< boggle >
Maybe you should read my sentence again? Bad financial move, good financial move.. 0% agreement.

Quote:
Yes it is.
Well then, since you put it that way.. (I take it your supporting basis is in the following snippet)

Quote:
Most peaking power is generated using oil or gas.
Gas, not oil. Straw man one.

Quote:
Long-term, there is a price correlation.
Note that I said "almost no". It's long-term, and it's a weak correlation.

Quote:
Even if there wasn't the price of coal will continue to go up due
to more strict safety regulations which, due to current events is
coming. There will be more strict environmental regulations.
After the coal is mined, the cost of generating electricity
will go up due to upcoming environmental regulations.
Agreed.. but how does this support your argument that oil prices are linked to electricity prices? Surely you're not equivocating coal, oil, and gas? Straw man two.

Quote:
<Jeeze!> Even a statement I made that you should have
drooled over, you had to disagree ( wrongly ) with me.
Doesn't look wrong to me yet.

Quote:
OH! OH! --- DOOODE!! I'll take that bet. How much you wanna bet?
Not betting on it yet, just a hunch; we'll wait for a response first.

Quote:
Irrelevant.
Perhaps you missed the relevance; Poncho cited a heater he claimed was efficient; I pointed out a mode of energy loss from said heater that is often overlooked. How is that irrelevant?

Quote:
Every house tends to heat the crawlspace/slab/ground under the
house over time via radiant heating.
I think you missed the point. If I said every house loses heat out its windows, so you might as well not have insulating windows, would it make sense?

Quote:
Any
heat applied to the slab via the sun is heat that you don't have
to ad via natural gas or electricity.
You just quietly switched from an expensive, avoidable energy source to a free one in the same paragraph without warning anybody.. are you trying to confuse the rest of us?

Quote:
The slab under my house is measureably warmer than my driveway
slab all winter long.
That's because the driveway loses its heat to the air faster than the slab under the house does.. but the slab loses heat to the air nonetheless.

Quote:
Nothing you posted says anything about the cost required to obtain the
stream of income. Therefore, the 20% return, true or not, is just an assertion...(scolding)...
City-data has this weird thing about not approving of people who put in links to commercial service providers. PM me and I'll privately provide those, and you can feel free to vouch for (or disavow, I suppose) the numbers in this public setting.

Quote:
Note that being able to sell the excess to PNM is totally irrelevant also.
And why's that?
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Old 05-02-2010, 01:44 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
982 posts, read 1,266,801 times
Reputation: 864
I got a mailing the other day from a solar provider. They offer a 3.4kw system installed for about $20k. After tax incentives, the cost is reduced to around $12k.

In Las Cruces, a 3.4kw system can produce an average of 468kwh/month.
If the utility pays you $0.12 per kwh you generate, that's $56.16. You're also not paying for an additional 468 kwh at, say, $0.11, which is $51.48 in monthly savings (assuming you use all 468kw). So your yearly savings+income is $1291. $1291 / $12,000 = 10.75% rate of return. Of course, you might owe income taxes on the amount you get back from PNM. Multiply your tax rate by $673 in income. And the effective tax rate on your savings/income is probably going to be similar to or lower than the long term capital gains rate since you don't pay taxes on what you save. Say your tax rate is 30%, you pay your $201 in taxes and your net gain/savings is $1091, for a return of 9.1%.

That's not a bad return at all, and it assumes you're the one paying the utilities.
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque
5,553 posts, read 9,271,756 times
Reputation: 2454
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoidberg
Quote:
Originally Posted by mortimer
Yet everything you wrote about a Prius
says that you agree with me 100%.
Maybe you should read my sentence again?
Why?
I said a Prius wasn't a good investment. -- You followed by confirming it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoidberg
Quote:
Originally Posted by mortimer
Note that being able to sell the excess
to PNM is totally irrelevant also.
And why's that?
Because ROI only needs to know what the stream of income is. It doesn't matter if you
sell it or use it. As funkymonkey correctly pointed out, the value of selling is somewhat
different due to the 1099 that PNM will send you, but it's irrelevant if youi sell 90%
of your solar-generated electricity or if you use 90% of it. It's an income stream.

The income stream consists of:
[Savings] + [sellback to the utility] -
[taxes on the income from selling back to the utlity]
= [net income stream]

(Note that the income stream from the bond would also
be taxable in my example of a competing income stream.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by funkymonkey
... cost is reduced to around $12k. ...
See? This is a number I was looking for. What does it cost to
install a system? I don't know why you can't just say it. It's not like I'm
going to claim you are lying when your logic errors are such easy pickings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by funkymonkey
In Las Cruces, a 3.4kw system can
produce an average of 468kwh/month.

... utility pays you $0.12 per kwh you generate, that's $56.16.
You're also not paying for an additional 468 kwh at, say, $0.11,
which is $51.48 in monthly savings (assuming you use all 468kw).
So your yearly savings+income is $1291. ... for a return of 9.1%.

That's not a bad return at all, ...
It wouldn't be, but your math is faulty.

You added the 468 kWh twice.

You can either use it and save $51.48/mo.
-- << or >> --
you can sell it to the utility and earn a pre-tax income of $56.16/mo.
-- << or >> --
you can do a combination of both.

If the system generates 468 kWh/mo you
can't both use 468 kWh and sell 468 kWh.

Let's call that a return of 5% to be generous.

Last edited by mortimer; 05-02-2010 at 10:16 AM..
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