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Solarizing Cities

Your local power agency loans you solar panels
  (+8, -1)
(+8, -1)
  [vote for,

Many power-producing agencies and companies have offered economic incentives to have solar panels installed in homes and businesses. These usually take the form of rebates on the price of materials. But solar panels are not cheap - even with a rebate, even a home-sized system can cost 10,000-25,000 USD.

So why not go all the way and purchase the solar systems for consumers on a long-term purchase contract (sort of like a mortgage), benefitting both the consumer and the agency?

How it would work is that the agency would pay for the entire cost of solar systems for a relatively small percentage of consumers each year - a mix of home, commercial, and industrial customers. Then, the agency would charge a fee each month of 75% of the projected yearly power generation divided by 12, until the entire cost of the system was paid off. Well, the entire cost plus a, oh, "installment plan cost" of 5% of the system or something. The fee, of course, would be attached to the meter, not to the consumer. If you got one of these systems installed and sold the house a year later, the payment would be transferred to the new owner.

The important part here is that your "loan" payment on your electrical bill would be less each month than the projected solar output of your system. If your system was projected to produce 75 dollars per month on average, your payment might be, say, 50 dollars per month. As a consumer, your bill would go down somewhat immediately, and quite a bit eventually, once the entire system (and the extra 5%) was paid off. I could even see houses with this system already installed having a slightly higher resale value, as the price of power at that house is already lower and will eventually be significantly lower.

Obviously, most agencies can't afford to do more than a small amount of these installations each year, although what with various "green power" initiatives they seem to have some. Still, if an agency was able to come up with only 10 million dollars per year for a program like this (a fairly small amount in the budgets of today's government agencies), it would add up to a lot of solar power.

Moreover, it would guarantee the agency a steady income (and small profit to plow back into the system) for years to come, and might very well help reduce reliance on other forms of energy.

Osomatic, Jan 26 2007

Baked - More or Less http://www.epa.gov/...uygp/solarpower.htm
[MechE, Oct 10 2012]

Less or More http://www.solarcit...al/solar-lease.aspx
[MechE, Oct 10 2012]


       ...//the entire cost of solar systems//...!   

       I'm not sure who owns them, but I'm sure they're not cheap...
theleopard, Jan 26 2007

       bun for the theoretical nicities . But i gotta say i doubt it, even if the governmenty funded an incentive such as this, it wouldnt get off the ground, do you know how much square meterage of solar panels you would need to completely run an average 3 bedroom home?   

       i aint sure but i do know we can buy all sorts of 240 volt shit these days.
Stork, Jan 26 2007

       I think the point is to decrease reliance, not eliminate it. If systems could be financed (hardly an invention, but) more people would be willing to have and use them, thus making them more popular. As solar housing would become more popular, people would aim even more to reduce their energy bills, since they know it would be possible to eventually reduce them to zero. It would basically snowball. Not to mention solar panels and such are becoming more efficient all the time.
Feba, Jan 26 2007

       Mix it with:   

       - a global interconnected dynamic p2p electrical power sharing network (for unused resources)   

       - a global interconnected dynamically charging batteries network (for unused resources, lowest priority)   

       - wifi ap's (the grid's comin !) on every installation
ethernode, Jan 26 2007


       I thought I read somewhere that even the best solar pannels are lifetime energy consumers ie say a solar cell that over it's useful life could produce 100 kwh of energy, would require >100kwh of energy to manufacture.   

       So, if this is true (little help...), photovoltaics do not form any useful part of an energy conserving solution.   

       really wish I could find that reference...
Custardguts, Jan 31 2007

       i've read that some cells can produce their equivalent manufacturing energy in <4 years, depending on location, but more typical is 8-10 years.   

       found this: "A commonly asked question about solar panels is "How long does it take to make back the energy used in the manufacture of the panel?" This energy (otherwise known as embodied energy) is produced by a Siemens panel in about 18 months. So that gives another 23.5 years of free electricity before the warranty even runs out! Other brands of solar panels would have similar amounts of embodied energy."   

       [Osomatic]: i posted an idea like this a number of years back, and it prompted a heated discussion, but was then was deleted since it wasn't actually a crazy invention - more of a "let's do this" kind of idea. glad to see it resurface in light of the latest global warming predictions! +
TIB, Jan 31 2007

       Okay, not quite baked per my links, as neither of them ends with the homeowner automatically owning the panels (although a purchase is usually possible).
MechE, Oct 10 2012

       I think the general point is that, with current technology, solar power is not a good idea on either environmental or economic grounds.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 10 2012


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