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Old 09-10-2015, 05:17 PM
 
1,596 posts, read 1,411,943 times
Reputation: 1700

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Of course, solar power is particular relevant to Arizona - and there is a section of this article that specifically is about APS.

Power to the People
Why the rise of green energy makes utility companies nervous

By Bill McKibben
The New Yorker

(The price of solar panels has dropped ninety-nine per cent in the past four decades?!?!?!)


Solar Power for Everyone - The New Yorker
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Old 09-10-2015, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Payson, Az
109 posts, read 174,450 times
Reputation: 147
I am interested in this topic, but I work nights and I'm tired am about to try to get some sleep before work tonight, would you care to offer some cliff notes about what this article entails? If so, it would be very much appreciated!
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Old 09-11-2015, 01:53 PM
Status: "Comfortably numb" (set 25 days ago)
 
Location: Victory Mansions, Airstrip One
4,397 posts, read 2,714,396 times
Reputation: 5026
Hi BillyJack,

The article is mostly about regulated electric utilities, and how they are either trying to adapt to, or (mostly) trying protect themselves from "disruptive" technology like solar power.

Utilities will, of course, try to protect their own interests. A lot of their existence and profitability will depend on the local Commission that makes the rules, and there are many different Commissions across the country. So new technologies like solar will have a tough time changing the landscape, and least in a timely manner.

hikernut
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Old 09-11-2015, 08:45 PM
 
694 posts, read 684,608 times
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I was just reading in Discover one issue recently about a city in the Black Forest in Germany that has solar power. I've lived in Germany; and I can testify it's cloudy there a lot. But apparently not enough to block solar collection.
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Old 09-13-2015, 02:46 PM
 
345 posts, read 455,548 times
Reputation: 681
What I found most disturbing in the article was APS spending money (ostensibly "employee donations") to get anti-solar candidates elected and running anti-solar commercials that weren't based on fact!
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Old 09-13-2015, 04:25 PM
 
7,797 posts, read 5,172,779 times
Reputation: 7442
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsMac View Post
What I found most disturbing in the article was APS spending money (ostensibly "employee donations") to get anti-solar candidates elected and running anti-solar commercials that weren't based on fact!
Even worse they contributed two candidates (who of course had the most funding) to the ACC which is responsible for governing APS. Possibly to do this?

Quote:
Meanwhile, APS recently asked the commission to allow it to charge $21 a month to rooftop-solar customers, up from $5.
APS wishes for rate hikes and their preservation and monopoly over their grids. In order to do this they bought them some people to put R next to their name and throw some commercials up and because we're in AZ it worked (see Douglas). A whistleblower comes forward.
Quote:
For several months, they've been investigating a whistleblower's complaint that Pierce had 14 private lunch and dinner meetings with APS CEO Don Brandt or his predecessor -- seven of which occurred while APS was seeking a rate hike.

The whistleblower, a former aide to Pierce, also said that Pierce used him and other staffers to pressure commission employees into expediting incorporation paperwork for a campaign to defeat Commissioners Paul Newman and Sandra Kennedy in 2012. Newman and Kennedy, both Democrats, lost that year to Republicans Susan Bitter Smith, Bob Burns and Bob Stump.
Ironically, the AG can't investigate the issue because

Quote:
APS pitched in $425,000 to get Mark Brnovich elected last year. Brnovich has turned the investigation over to Conrad and to his Solicitor General, John Lopez.
AG's Office widens Arizona Corporation Commission investigation


Good ole' AZ Republican establishment at work being itself...
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Old 09-14-2015, 04:58 PM
Status: "Comfortably numb" (set 25 days ago)
 
Location: Victory Mansions, Airstrip One
4,397 posts, read 2,714,396 times
Reputation: 5026
My two cents...

Panel prices are reasonable today, and can be had for roughly $1 per peak watt. In Arizona that will generate roughly 2 kWh each year, so at 10 cents per kWh the panel pays itself off in five years. That's just for the panels however. Add in labor, permits, mounting hardware, and electronics... you've probably tripled the cost and the payback time. So 15 years payback, which is a bit much in my opinion. Tax credits can push that back to maybe 10 years (and I'm not in favor of tax breaks, by the way).

This all relies on being connected to the grid, however. So the solar folks will always be at the mercy of utility companies under this model. I hope some day it becomes practical to go completely off grid. It seems pretty far off to me, with the main impediment being storage. If some LARGE amount of progress can be made on batteries then it might become practical to disconnect. Of course, then the utilities will be lobbying for mandatory subscription (I think this may be true in some places already??)
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