The sun is setting on solar power, the money’s gone and nobody’s asking any questions.

The shape of things to come ...

If you keep an eye on the financial world, which I do, and especially the green sectors, which I also do, it’s been an interesting time of late. Within the last few weeks, Solar Trust of America (STA), owner of the world’s largest solar plant, filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, and nobody expects much of it, if anything, to emerge from it. STA joins a long list of companies in the solar energy sector, who’ve gone bankrupt, ducked into protection from their creditors, suspended production indefinitely or are simply circling the plughole.

Across the world, a few of the more prominent and expensive casualties are Solyndra, Solar Millennium AG, Energy Conversion Devices Inc, Q-Cells, Solon, Solar Millenium, Solarhybrid, Ener1, Range Fuels, Beacon Power Corp and there’s a whole lot of others. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s probably not a good idea to invest your hard-earned pennies in any company with “solar” in its name. It’s almost as bad a mistake as thinking you had some sort of long-term future employment with one of them.

Nearly all of these companies were the beneficiaries of huge government startup grants or loan guarantees. The products they made were effectively sold to consumers with a subsidy, to make them more attractive. The customers also had the benefit of some generous feed-in tariff schemes. All that money that was sunk into them has now gone and the specific green industry sector it was expected to create, is pretty much moribund.

In Germany, which gets the same amount of sunshine as the US state of Alaska and where inexplicably nearly half the solar power output of the world was installed, investment experts expect not a single solar cell company to be in business in five years time, since not one of them is currently showing an operating profit, nor is expected to do so in the foreseeable future. In Germany alone, the government have to date handed out about €100 billion in subsidies to renewable energy and even there, the most fervently green country in Europe, they’ve begun to have some serious doubts. It’s a money pit. The promised green jobs haven’t appeared and unemployment in the developed nations continues to rise. On a world-wide basis, the money wasted runs into the billions of dollars.

Billions and billions and we’ve ended up with pretty much nothing. Actually, that’s not quite correct. What we will have, within a decade or two, is a clear up job that’ll make Chernobyl look like a training day. As the vast arrays of panels age, they’ll crack and contaminate the topsoil with poisonous chemical particles. Take a careful look at the picture below, because that’s what we’ll have to pay to detoxify, and make no mistake, we’ll be the ones paying, despite a few of the companies installing these panels having given undertakings to dispose of the panels at the end of their service life. The hard-nosed investor in me reckons they’ll be safely bankrupt by the time any such expensive undertakings have to be honoured.

I wonder where we will store all that contaminated topsoil? Perhaps wherever we’d planned to store nuclear waste, before we decided not to build any more nuclear plants.

Why are they going bust? The usual reasons given are that there’s too many companies in the solar energy industry and that subsidies are being cut by the governments. Let’s take a hard financial look at these excuses.

Too many companies chasing the same buck. All of them were in receipt of government grants and loan guarantees. Solyndra alone cost the US government 500 million USD in loan guarantees and it looks like the blood-letting over STA could reach 2 billion USD. Even in the loony world of state funding of renewables, I would expect an application, with an attached business case, was submitted to the relevant department handing out the taxpayer’s money. At the time, it should have been blindingly obvious that there simply wasn’t enough business for them all. That’s the first basic question you ask when considering any development loan request from a company. It was the classic stampede of new startup companies rushing in to fill a new business sector, followed by the inevitable shakeout, the only difference being that it’s not the minnows going bust. Who exactly approved the applications? Why on earth did they? Has anyone gone back and reviewed the veracity of the statements made in the original applications? Is there anyone, anywhere, seriously looking into where the money went?

As far as I’m aware, in any substantial sense, the answer to all those questions is no.

Subsides being cut; that’s true but then, they were never supposed to last forever. They were part of larger stimulus packages, which were only supposed to get those businesses up and running. If the business proposals and revenue projections were correct, all those companies should have been running profitably by now. They patently weren’t, so pretty much the same questions arise and with the same answer – nobody is asking any questions.

The business case for the whole industry was supported by numerous studies by scientists, academia, so-called industry experts and advocates of renewable energy, all of whom said it was the clean and profitable future of energy production. Obviously, all those studies were seriously wrong and ended up costing governments billions. Has anyone got back to these “experts” and asked why the studies and their financial models were all so bad? Given how shoddy their expert advice has proven to be, is anyone asking for the money back, which we paid for this supposed expertise? In the light of how bad expert advice in this area has been, is anyone reviewing advice for similar green sectors, such as wind power? Anyone? Anywhere?

Never in the history of the world, has such an amount of money been wasted, without any trace of financial oversight or accountability. Not only has the money been squandered, but at a time of high unemployment, the fashionable rush to create illusory green jobs, has actually destroyed jobs in the real economy. A study in Spain concluded that for every green job created by their massive renewables investment, the real economy lost 2.2 real jobs and only one in ten of those green jobs created, will be permanent. The much touted transfer of jobs from the real economy to the green economy simply never occurred either. Similar studies in Britain, Canada and Scotland have come back with equally appalling numbers. Spain was one of the early ones to dive head first into the green clean energy dream and now has an unemployment rate of 21%.

President Obama pledged a 150 billion USD investment over the next decade, to create a promised 5 million green jobs but nearly half way through that period, the number of green jobs created is so pitiful, the numbers are already being “massaged.” Apparently, if you drive a hybrid powered bus, you’re officially classified as having a green job. Bart should tell that to Otto the next time he climbs on the school bus – I think Otto will be kinda pleased about that.

Energy produced from renewables, such as solar power, is at least ten times more expensive than conventional sources, so the only way it can be afforded, is if you heap on various direct and indirect stealth taxes on those conventional sources to subsidise it.

The macroeconomic impact of the resultant rise in energy prices is on enterprise. Once the cost of energy and regulation rises to a certain price point, it’s simply a no brainer to relocate the company to a more business friendly environment, either out-of-state or out-of-country. A classic case is California, where commercial electrical rates are already 50% higher than in any other state in the Union. Because of recently enacted state legislation and the upcoming “California Global Warming Solutions Act”, it’s estimated that an additional hike in energy prices of between 19% to 74%, dependent on your location in California, will occur in the next decade.

Companies have been relocating, in whole or in part, out of California. It’s a bit like the California gold rush of 1849, but in reverse; everyone is getting the hell out of the place. In the first quarter of last year alone, one business relocater counted 70 of these “disinvestment events”, as they’re euphemistically called, and that in a state with a 10.9% unemployment rate and some very severe budgetary problems.

Another effect of this rise in energy prices, is to push more and more ordinary people into what’s now called fuel poverty and as usual, it’s the poor and low wage earners, who are taking the pain. What hard statistics I can find on the number of people now priced into this situation, are quite simply appalling.

The only country, for which I can find official national statistics on fuel poverty, is the UK but whatever country you live in, I imagine the figures might be similar, dependant on your climate and how far your government has gone down the renewable’s rabbit hole.

The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) latest report in July 2011, which only gives figures up to 2009, estimated that 18% of UK households were then officially classified as being in fuel poverty. The UK Citizen’s Advice Bureau, again a guesstimate circa 2009, is concerned that 5.5 million people in UK face living in freezing conditions through Winter, because of self-rationing or disconnection. Given the steep jump in domestic power prices over the last three years, the figure must now be well over 25%. When it comes to any of DECC’s numbers, it’s interesting to note that they attribute the increase to several factors, but never once do they mention green taxes, which is why I view even the dire figures supplied by them with some suspicion, as being too conservative.

Mr. Cameron, here we are in the twenty-first century and in a quarter of households in the UK, the people you’re supposed to be responsible for, are having to make stark choices between food and heating as a result of your continuing policies and the policies of your predecessors. And that, in the teeth of the worst recession in living memory. I know with your background of Eton, Oxford, millionaire status and coming from a rich and privileged background, it’s perhaps difficult for you to appreciate the hardships that choices like that inflict on ordinary people.

You’ve never spent a Winter just being cold, so let me help you out and give you an idea of what it’s like. It’s pensioners, who spend most of Winter in bed for warmth, because they can no longer afford to heat their home, it’s families wearing overcoats indoors, it’s kids trying to do homework when their hands are freezing, it’s Dad’s overcoat thrown over the sleeping kids in an unheated bedroom as an extra blanket, it’s the sickly ones of all ages really suffering through Winter, it’s months of coughs and colds and chilblains, it’s the cold-related deaths that never should have happened and it’s just basically plain miserable. As usual, the biggest proportion of people in poverty, fuel or otherwise, are always the children. Are you starting to get some sort of idea of what it’s like outside the slick and well-heated political circles of London?

You could at least take your foot off the green taxation pedal and help them out but you won’t though, will you? Saving the planet is simply too important to ever contemplate doing anything like that. Quite frankly, as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, you’re a bloody disgrace.

Governments wasting vast amounts of taxpayer’s money on financially absurd projects is always bad but if the net effect of doing so, is to impoverish and harm their own most vulnerable citizens, then it’s unforgivable.

©Pointman

Related articles by Pointman:

Sleeping with the enemy.

There’s a killer in your house.

Climate Alarmism and The Prat Principle.

Click for a list of other articles.

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Comments
76 Responses to “The sun is setting on solar power, the money’s gone and nobody’s asking any questions.”
  1. NoIdea says:

    SOLAR LIES
     
    The green dream shadowed and spent
    The weed broken panels dirty and bent

    Under a cold grey sky of clouded doubt
    Increased debt they scream and shout

    Pointless get rich quick Ponzi schemes
    The elite get fatter, the poor get memes

    Agendas, purposes, clubs and bones
    Genocidal wishes writ on Georgian stones

    Titanic the lies that have been spoken
    Olympic and epic the promises broken

    The green Brown quits with billions
    Soon replaced by Crusty Millions

    NoIdea

  2. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    The point is that billions and billions of dollars have been lost in solar power projects, who is asking where the money went? Who is holding anyone accountable? Who is going to clean up this mess? And, who is going to help all the people who are having to forgo heat in the winter because energy has gotten so expensive?

  3. orkneylad says:

    Great article Pointman, think your right that the ‘players’ will be gone before the clean-up bill arrives.

  4. meltemian says:

    Another great posting Pointman, the politician’s involvement, lacking any sense of responsibility for their actions, made me think of this article I read this morning.
    http://mises.org/daily/6006/The-Great-Guano-Boom-160and-Bust

    • Bruce says:

      Fine article. Interesting that the US Federal Government is currently spending about twice as much as revenue also…

    • Blackswan says:

      Thanks Mel,

      A really interesting read.

      “Peruvian politicians were guided by cronyism rather than prices, and a veritable
      bacchanalia of high-time preference behavior ensued, inescapably leading to the economic crash. States, by their very nature, cannot and do not coordinate production and consumption. This leads them to inefficient utilization and wasteful, often unsustainable projects.”

      In a single paragraph, the entire Australian Green/Labor catastrophe has been encapsulated. I have seen similar reasons cited for the collapse of the Roman Empire.

      It seems everything changes and nothing has changed at all.

  5. meltemian says:

    …..meant to add “I knew it was a load of ‘guano’ “

  6. scott0317 says:

    The only green jobs Obama’s plans will produce will be the 5 million people on street corners selling apples.

  7. Lesley says:

    Agree 100% – and all the politicians should be ashamed of themselves.
    Thanks Pointman

  8. hillbilly33 says:

    Just two words to describe this one Pointman. Bloody Brilliant! Couldn’t have said it any better myself but wish I had! This one deserves to be spread round the world by whatever means possible. I wish I was more IT savvy but will do my bit by linking it on every blogsite I visit and would urge others to do the same. E-mail it to friends, tell people about it – whatever it takes by whatever means possible. .

    You will be surprised at how far and how fast it spreads as I found out when Jennifer Marohasy was kind enough to enable one of mine a few weeks ago. The number of sites that picked it up was truly astonishing.

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/2012/01/the-musselroe-wind-farm-travesty-keith-h

    I also linked an excellent associated articleTonyfromoz had kindly done titled Wind Power Australia – The Musselroe Wind Farm Travesty in Tasmania at

    http://papundits.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/wind-power-australia-the-musselroe-wind-farm-travesty-in-tasmania/

  9. uninformedLuddite says:

    So these perfectly serviceable panels are just going to be left to sit and decay? That is nearly as criminal as the fact that they these ‘power farms’ came into being in the first place.

    • Blackswan says:

      Those images say it all don’t they?

      The old newsreel footage of the bread-lines of the Great Depression in our parents’ generation left us with an idea of what really “hard times” were, and in the arrogance of our youth we assumed such a catasrophe could never befall us or our children.

      Yet here we are in the midst of another economic disaster – and most people can’t (or won’t) see it.

      Those smug smirks on the faces of the architects of our financial downfall contrast so starkly with the haunted looks in the eyes of their victims…. yet it is they who have been driven into penury who feel shame at their predicament while the bloated elite count their millions and congratulate each other on their success.

  10. TonyfromOz says:

    Pointman,
    great Post.

    This is what very few people realise when it comes to Solar Power, be it PV or CSP.

    Those panels and mirrors must be kept 100% pristine, and here I don’t mean just running a hose over them every so often, because for optimum performance they have to be highly polished.

    The slightest film of dust is similar to a cloud passing in front of the Sun. They immediately lose one third of their generating capacity or reflective capability, and it takes a further time for them to reach their maximum after that cloud passes.

    If it’s a film of dust, they are degraded as long as that dust is in place.

    Even so, these PV panels have a theoretical life span of barely 20 to 25 years at the outside best, and even kept pristine, their ability to generate power decreases with each year, so even at that 20 to 25 year mark, they may only manage 40 to 50% (at best) of their ‘New’ generating capacity.

    That’s why you have to laugh, and I mean laugh hysterically, when the proposed Moree Solar PV plant says in their proposal that they will only be washing the panels twice a year.

    You can baffle the unknowing public, and the odd thing is this. As soon as someone tries to explain the down sides of these forms of generating power, all of a sudden you find out that you’re being sponsored by ‘Big Oil’ or as I’ve experienced a couple of times now by ‘Big Tobacco???? (Where did that come from.)

    They’re also finding with CSP that mirror breakage is a significant factor, and these are speacially manufactured mirrors, not cheap, again degrading significantly the performance of a plant as a whole.

    And perish the thought of a large scale hail storm.

    Cleaning those panels and mirrors. Huh! That must be where all those new ‘Green jobs’ will be generated.

    It’s a farce, and until people are shown, and told the real truth, these monstrosities will end up like those two in the images above.

    Blots on the landscape with Operators long gone.

    Tony..

    • uninformedLuddite says:

      Living in the Adelaide Hills and being completely off the grid I must say that I am extremely happy with my solar system. There are places that are well suited to solar and most of those are simple stand alone systems supplying the needs of a small household or farm.
      It’s location, location, location.

      • Joe Stroud says:

        You are clearly, either a fool, or a liar! I will lay money down that you are NOT “off the grid.”

        That you are merely cost neutral, because you rely on govt. subsidies and credits for energy generated during the day, while you suckle on the “FILTHY COAL” during the night and cloudy days.

        Not to mention that 90+% of your energy demand is still being provided by your provider by burning coal. (Because it’s hard to predict when consumers like you will run back to the grid on cloudy days and peak loads.)

        Further deduct the Co2 generated in the manufacture of your personal power generation equipment, the loss of efficiency in transmission into the grid as a whole and you will be Co2 positive for many years of operation.

        In reality, your folly has failed to materially reduce Co2 levels and depending on how you utilise and maintain the the system, may actually be Co2 positive over the life deployment.

      • Rosco says:

        In 25 years your panels will need replacing. The batteries in little as a few years. These are the “hidden” costs.

        My sister had a $15,000 subsidized solar system – too far from the mains power.

        She can run a couple of lights, a TV, a kero fridge and gas stove, she washes by hand and relies on fine weather. Heating is by log fire.

        Sounds like the dark ages to me but she has no choice.

        She has left to return to the big smoke.

    • Pointman says:

      Hello and welcome to the blog Tony. I always enjoy your comments and your blog pieces.

      Pointman

      • TonyfromOz says:

        Pointman
        thanks for the welcome.

        I sometimes feel a little pushy breaking in at other blogs to leave a comment, but what I’m finding more often in the last 6 to 12 months is that people are beginning to enquire about some of these renewable power plants especially.

        There’s this false sense of security that we have been lulled into with respect to electrical power, which has now got to the point where it is virtually a staple of life, like access to water when you just turn on the tap, and the water is always there, and the same applies with electrical power. Flick the switch and there it is.

        That availability of power can only come from the sources that can actually make that power available on that 24/7/365 basis, something that renewables of the current flavour of the Month, Wind and Solar power, just cannot provide.

        People also associate electrical power right down to the personal level, thinking that if they cut back just a tiny bit on their personal use, this will somehow alleviate some manufactured problem, that of somehow dangerous levels of CO2 causing a fabricated Warming.

        However, what needs to be realised is that personal level is mostly associated with what you use at home, and that residential sector only consumes 38% of every watt being generated. Thos other two sectors, Commerce (37%) and Industrial (24%) are everything that you need in your everyday life.

        Of all the power being generated for consumption across most Western World Countries, almost two thirds of it is required absolutely for the full 24 hours of every day, and until that level of power with that availability actually can be found, then all we have are those current traditional sources, and they are coal fired power stations.

        People actually want to know things like that.

        Tony.

      • Pointman says:

        Tony, it’s not pushy. Anyone with relevant expertise and who knows how to express it in layman’s terms, is always welcome here.

        Pointman

  11. Blackswan says:

    Pointman,

    A really terrific post that drills down to the essence of Climate Fraud – untold billions in publicly owned wealth funnelled into these projects – completely unjustifiable claims for their viability and success, no questions asked, no accountability, and no responsibilty for remedial action when the damage is done.

    A great example of a culpable rat scurrying off a sinking ship is Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown. He announced his retirement/resignation yesterday. After 30 years of working to have his insane policies enshrined in law, who will hold him to account for the economic disaster about to befall our nation?

    His replacement, Christine Milne, stated at his press conference that “climate change is accelerating” and the “mining industry will collapse”. They have stated that their goal is to close down our coal industry altogether, not just the coal-fired power plants we depend upon for our economic viability.

    They are deluded, shameless …… and accountable to nobody.

    • Twodogs says:

      Oh, but they are accountable. They just don’t know it yet. If the SHTF, they will find out the hard way. They should be hoping for the metaphorical baseball bats at the next election, instead of the real ones.

  12. Peter Kovachev says:

    I know what fuel poverty is from when I was a kid in Prague in the 60s. Two coal stoves, no hot water and frequent coal shortages. The ancient electrical heater we had was of no use, because the coal shortages coincided with brownouts or full-blown, days-long blackouts. My dad would borrow my sled and wait an hour or two at the coal depot in blocks-long lineups and often he’d come home only with a single bag of the treasured black briquettes or with chunks of smelly “brown” coal, an inferior bitumen. When even that wasn’t available, he’d come home hours later, loaded up with swept-up coal dust and wood scraps which gave enough heat to quickly cook and eat something by the light of the kerosene lamps and dive under the covers for the night.

    It took the threat (and, eventually, an invasion) of the neighbouring Soviet army, a compliant communist government and a massive and dirty police force to prevent the angry population from hanging the greedy, incompetent tyrants and their lackies from the pretty, cast iron lamp posts of Prague. I’m in Canada now and visit the States from time to time. Things are a bit different here, I noticed. If the Greenies think that they can spring and impose such misery on North Americans and their children with mere propaganda, international agreements, judicial fiat, policies and regulations, I suspect they won’t live long enough to really regret their error.

  13. theduke says:

    Great post. Definitely a candidate for your “Greatest Hits” album.

    It illustrates why the Obama campaign is not talking about the environment or cap and trade or alternative energy and is reduced to dubious assertions and vacuous pronouncements on the “War on Women” and “Fairness.”

    If this stuff was going on in a GOP administration, you wouldn’t be reading about anything else in the blogs and news outlets. Let’s call it the “Invisible Scandal.”

  14. Maurice@TheMount says:

    Definition……

    California……..State of confusion, divorced from reality.

  15. Twodogs says:

    I wouldn’t imagine Otto’s old bus would be hybrid. Assuming that he needs a new one…

    Otto: “Hey, man! Check out the new hybrid bus, man! I now officially have a “green” job too, Bart dude!”

    Bart: “but it’s the same job, Otta man! It’s not like they created a new job, man”.

    Otto: “Whoa! Don’t go bedazzling me with your elementary school math, dude! Now I got a green job to go with my green recreational stuff, man! Now I got it totally made, dude!”

  16. Pointman says:

    The continuing woes of the solar panel businesses in Germany …

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,830188,00.html

    Pointman

  17. Pointman says:

    People may not be aware of it but in a panic reaction to Fukishima, Germany closed down all its nuclear generation plants. Their national grid authority said recently that they barely got through the winter without catastrophic power generation shortfalls. Next year will be worse unless something is done now.

    The first political casualty …

    http://notrickszone.com/2012/05/17/angela-merkel-sacks-her-environment-minister-german-face-of-renewable-energy-norbert-rottgen/

    Pointman

  18. Pointman says:

    Just to put the German situation in perspective. When they closed all their nuclear plants, renewables suddenly had to put up or shut up on all those marvelous promises. Guess what? They shut up …

    http://notrickszone.com/2012/05/11/germanys-federal-network-agency-power-grid-on-the-brink-thanks-to-renewable-energies/

    Pointman

  19. Pointman says:

    Electricity bills set to rise to pay for wind farm subsidies.

    “Household electricity bills will rise by as much as a quarter to pay for wind farms and other forms of renewable energy, according to a new report. ”

    More energy poverty. God help the poor, because the politicians aren’t. The Green nightmare …

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/renewableenergy/9276895/Electricity-bills-set-to-rise-to-pay-for-wind-farm-subsidies.html

    Pointman

  20. RayG says:

    Pointman, I think that you have solved the riddle of where all of the “Green Jobs” are. Cleaning up the solar farms detritus will result in large numbers of union jobs in 20 years or so.

  21. Pointman says:

    “EU Internal Strategy Paper Calls For An End To Subsidies For Green Energies”

    http://notrickszone.com/2012/05/22/eu-internal-strategy-paper-calls-for-an-end-to-subsidies-for-green-energies/

    When you’re broke like the EU, the extravagances of better times get the boot.

    Pointman

  22. Pointman says:

    “Spain Ejects Clean-Power Industry With Europe Precedent: Energy”

    “They destroyed the Spanish market overnight with the moratorium,” European Wind Energy Association Chief Executive Officer Christian Kjaer said in an interview. “The wider implication of this is that if Spanish politicians can do that, probably most European politicians can do that.”

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-05-29/spain-ejects-clean-power-industry-with-europe-precedent-energy

    So much for all those “green” jobs …

    Pointman

  23. Pointman says:

    “Solyndra Sequel No. 83 – Odersun Bites The Dust – Another 260 ‘Green Jobs-Of-The-Future’ Vaporize”

    http://notrickszone.com/2012/06/01/solyndra-sequel-no-83-odersun-bites-the-dust-another-260-green-jobs-of-the-future-vaporize/

    Another solar company goes down the tube, with 20 million Euros of public subsidies.

    Pointman

  24. Pointman says:

    “A Colorado-based solar panel maker that received a $400 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration said Thursday it will file for bankruptcy, the latest setback for an industry battered by the recession and stiff competition from companies in China.”

    http://thegwpf.org/energy-news/6078-solar-mass-extinction-continues.html

    Another costly crash.

    Pointman

  25. Pointman says:

    California’s Green Suicide.

    “New economic impact study on California’s Global Warming Solutions Act finds that the average California family will end up paying an additional $2,500 annually by 2020. In addition, the state is expected to lose an additional 262,000 jobs, 5.6 percent of the gross state product, and a whopping $7.4 billion through decreased annual state and local tax revenues as a result.”

    http://thegwpf.org/international-news/6112-californias-green-suicide.html

    What used to be the world’s fifth largest economy, is already slipping down the ladder.

    Pointman

    • kakatoa says:

      Pointman, I have been lurking at your blog recently- this is my first post. Thanks for the reference to the effect that AB 32 will have on my home state. I wasn’t able to tell if the report included the burden that electrical energy users in the state will have to pick up as part of the 33%RES we have in place. Do you happen to know if this mandate was included in the lost jobs, etc…..

    • Pointman says:

      Hello and welcome Kakatoa. The report doesn’t give a detailed breakdown of what’s included or excluded. It might be worth an email to its authors.

      Pointman

      • kakatoa says:

        Pointman-

        I found the full report http://cmta.net/pdfs/CMTA%20-%20AB%2032%20Report-Final.pdf The report includes the macro effects of the RES. Currently, for the residential electrical market, these added costs are absorbed primarily by Tier 3 and 4 usage customers. The actual costs for the RES are now being tracked and reported publicly by the ISO’s. You can find the costs in their “Rate Design Window Applications.” For example for PG&E they recently reported-
        “Rate Design Window 2012 Application”

        Page 2-7 Table 2-4 PG&E cumulative Impacts of the 33% RPS on NON-CARE residential rates- http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/published/proceedings/A1202020.htm

        “Year- 2015
        RPS Premium (1000s) = $1,159,000.
        Residential Share (1000s)= 486,000
        Cumulative Class Average Rate Increase= $.0.015
        Cumulative Tier 3/4 Rate Increase= $0.048″

        “Line 10 (page 1-14) “Absent any change in the residential rate design methodology, the differential between Tier 2 and Tier 4 rates, which was 18.9 centers per kWh in Jan 2012 (33.5 vs 14.6 cents per kWh), is forecasted to increase by 65 percent to 31.1 cents in 2022 (50.5 vs 19.4 kWh). The gap is already far in excess of what is equitable on a cost of service basis, and the failure to address this problem will rapidity worsen the situation.”

  26. Pointman says:

    “Another Blow To Germany’s Solar Industry: “Center For Solar Excellence” Bankrupt After Less Than 3 Years!”

    http://notrickszone.com/2013/01/26/another-blow-to-germanys-solar-industry-center-for-solar-expertise-bankrupt-after-less-than-3-years/

    Another 10 Million Euros down the renewables toilet …

    Pointman

  27. Pointman says:

    And not to be outdone, Bosch takes a one billion Euro hit on their solar business.

    http://www.bosch-presse.de/presseforum/details.htm?txtID=6072&tk_id=107&locale=en

    Pointman

  28. Pointman says:

    “Everyone has heard the pitch for solar energy, install solar cells on your roof and get free electricity from the Sun. Sure they cost a lot up front, but they will last 25-30 years—which just happens to be about the payback time given current electricity rates from coal, nuclear and natural gas. So when solar panels start failing in two or three years the economics of solar power collapses like a house of cards.

    That is exactly what is happening around the world.”

    http://theresilientearth.com/?q=content/solar-power-failing-world-wide

    Pointman

  29. Pointman says:

    “Germany’s Siemens completely winds down solar business.”

    http://www.dw.de/germanys-siemens-completely-winds-down-solar-business/a-16886900

    Another one bites the dust.

    Pointman

  30. Pointman says:

    Germany’s Solar Industry “Ends In A Debacle”, Resulting In 21 Billion Euros Of Destroyed Capital

    http://notrickszone.com/2013/06/18/germanys-solar-industry-ends-in-a-debacle-resulting-in-21-billion-euros-of-destroyed-capital/

    Pointman

  31. I had to drop a star as you didn’t really make the point that besides the little they produce tends to be in the summer during the day when you least need it, and even with batteries it won’t perform in the winter months when most needed, the average panel produces about enough for an hour’s TV a day. Try powering a hospital with that.

  32. Charles Perry says:

    I have had my south roof covered with 42 panels @9kw for 9 months now with not a single problem, dust and pollen are washed off by the rain, after showing a 10%reduction before the rain, and after 9 months, the system is making the predicted 22% return on my investment, a less has 5 year payback on 25 year warranted equipment. The 30% tax rebate helped, and I don’t agree with it, but did
    take it.

    • kakatoa says:

      Charles,
      I see the same loss of output on my 6.12Kw system (about 10%) when my panels get dirty. Interestingly I lose about the same amount when the wind sends the smoke from the Rim fire (about 100 miles away) into the sky overhead. The price to install a PV system certainly has dropped over the last seven years: down to about $4.00 Kw (before rebates and tax credits for 5 to 10 Kw systems in CA). My system cost me $7.2 Kw (Dc) back in 2006 before rebates and tax credits, with credits and rebates my cost dropped to $4.6 Kw..

      The 1020 kWh’s my system generated during July of this year dropped my PG&E bill (in concert with my net metering TOU rate structure with PG&E) to $96.- without the system and with a traditional rate structure (E-1) my bill would have been $503. When I put my system in place almost none of the utility scale PV farms were in place and leasing of solar into the residential market was only a wet dream for investors. Hence the utility companies and regulating bodies didn’t have to worry about who was benefiting by how much with self generation. The percentage of self generation in the residential market was close to zip and the major cost increases for meeting the RES hadn’t rolled up into the bills yet. The 20 to 25 year contracts that PG&E had to put in place to meet the RES are rather pricey- AVG cost of .13 kW for generation and with Time of Delivery Factors pushing peak time costs to PG&E for the output of those utility scale facilities to $.24 kWh, then they have to allocate the costs of new transmission lines put in place to deliver the utility scale PV to the grid to someone.

      The way CA has encouraged self generation over the years is becoming unsustainable (the number of leased PV residential systems are having a rather large impact on costs and benefits now). Our utilities have worried about who is going to pick up the tab for the investments they were forced to make to meet the RES, hence we are going to end up changing the system (hopefully before we end up like Spain and the problems of cost allocations becomes so great that the system completely falls apart) as discussed here:
      Greentech article-
      AB 327: From California Solar Killer to Net Metering Savior?
      UPDATED: Amendments to much-maligned bill could bring

      http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/ab-327-from-california-solar-killer-to-net-metering-savior?utm

      In any case I am glad to hear that your PV systems output is meeting your expectations! If you’re a CA resident I suggest planning for some additional costs to be allocated to your bill in the future. How the rate structures and new allocations will end up affecting the value of self generation is going to be difficult for an appraiser to figure out when it comes down selling our place….. I have loads of data on how many kWh I produce for any given day, month and year. What those kWh are worth on the other hand is going to be a bit had to determine in a few years. On the other hand the utility scale PV farms owners know exactly how much they are going to get for the next 20 to 25 years for their output.

      For reference I use the “Average Total Rate per kWh” that PG&E publishes in the rate tables to get an estimate of what they would have charged me for a kWh if I was to be allocated costs based on their total costs to provide service and my allocations towards public purpose programs (ie energy efficiency efforts and subsidizing the costs of those on the CARE program). As of May 2013 that cost was $.194 kWh for E-1 rate schedules. As the economy improves the number of PG&E customers on the CARE program should drop a bit (from the 26% it was a few years ago to something less then that) and that should help keep non CARE rates from going up as much as they have in the past. I figure that my costs for electrical energy will be increasing 5 to 10% per year for the next decade even with my PV system.

  33. Anyone remember Enron. To the MSM it was like spreading peanut butter on Bush. They loved to smear him with that scandal that they really could never pin on him.

    The Solargate has Obama written all over it since most turned around and gave him political contributions.

  34. Pointman says:

    Wave goodbye to $115 million in stimulus funds.

    http://freebeacon.com/ecotality-files-for-bankruptcy/

    Pointman

  35. I love the two photos you have on your blog’s front page — the weed-colonized solar panels and the apparently deteriorating, or degraded, solar panels. Can you tell me where they came from or point me toward the story be hind them?

    Best, Steve Miller

    • Pointman says:

      Hi Steve, try using Google Image and the terms broken/damaged/obscured/dirty “solar panels” or variations thereof. They’re mainly amateur photos. Nobody mainstream is writing any articles on the long-term downside of these things. There is very definitely a downstream story there beyond the financials.

      P

  36. Christine says:

    I’ve been tracking and asking since late 2009 over at The Green Corruption Files http://greencorruption.blogspot.com/2013/09/top-dc-lobbyist-mcbee-strategic.html#.UjpEXsu9KK3

  37. SunEdison which has in built Solar Farms in some of the silliest places is losing BILLIONS of dollars a year.
    Founder of SunEdison Jigar Shah is banging on about what a VISIONARY he is and tells us that all we need to do is BORROW MORE MONEY.

    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/to-hell-with-the-govt-shutdown-lets-create-some-cleantech-wealth

    I think the great visionary needs a new pair of glasses.
    He has severe myopia.

  38. M Simon says:

    I discussed “fuel poverty” with some e-mail friends. They were unmoved.

  39. M Simon says:

    Pointman,

    You are missing out on one of the greatest Green scams of all time The Smart Grid. You should look into it. Apply your understanding of IT and covert operations to the question. There is enough material out there – it is just not well known, lightly trafficked, or technical. Mostly technical. Crypto is not an easy subject for most. Too many numbers. And a lot of them binary at that.

    You can handle it well.

    What people fail to understand is that most breaks are inside jobs. And crypto is no good as a lock if you can’t control the keys.

    And the big secret is: you can’t control the keys. Affordably. And even if you can afford it. You can’t control the keys. Trust. It is almost always for sale in a big enough organization if the price is right.

  40. Pointman says:

    “Sharp pulls plug on UK PV line”

    http://renews.biz/56344/sharp-pulls-plug-on-uk-pv-factory/

    I wonder how much taxpayer money they received?

    Pointman

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