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Fri Apr 3, 2020, 09:11 PM

Trump's War on Solar

Solar power’s great leap forward over the past decade has been stunning. Solar energy can now supply nearly 14 million homes in the U.S., up from fewer than 800,000 in 2010, and the price for solar generation has plunged by 90 percent. Over the same time, our solar workforce — primarily installers — has more than doubled, to nearly 250,000. Southern states like Florida, South Carolina, and Texas are starting to realize their solar potential, ranking behind only California in new installed capacity last year, when solar accounted for nearly 40 percent of new electrical production nationwide. “Today, solar is cheaper than pretty much any other power technology you can install,” says Jigar Shah, the founder of Sun-Edison, who now helms the green-investment firm Generate Capital.

Solar’s growth is now endangered by the economic slowdown posed by the coronavirus. But the industry faced headwinds from the White House even before the crisis hit. President Trump has used the powers of his presidency to champion fossil fuels — his latest budget request includes $500 million for clean-coal research — while mocking climate change and pulling America out of the Paris Agreement. When it comes to renewables, Trump habitually blasts “ugly” windmills, which he falsely claimed cause cancer. And he’s used high tariffs and his budget authority to slow the deployment of solar. The administration has created “speed bumps,” says Abigail Ross Hopper, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). California’s energy commissioner prefers a different metaphor: “It’s a great example,” says David Hochschild, “of us shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Trump’s hobbling of solar is particularly grievous because it has the rare ability to bypass partisan fights about global warming. Americans across the political spectrum have embraced rooftop solar as a way to lower their electrical bills and survive blackouts and superstorms. For many conservatives, solar-energy autonomy is appealing. “Solar provides some choice from being tethered to these government-created monopolies,” says Debbie Dooley, who leads the Green Tea Coalition, an offshoot of the Tea Party. “Solar equals freedom.” In a rare mark of political unity, the federal tax credit that offsets the costs of installing solar panels enjoys support from 89 percent of Americans — including 83 percent of Republicans.

If we have any hope of significantly confronting the climate crisis, solar is a linchpin technology. In the U.S. alone, solar deployment has already reduced carbon output by the equivalent of planting 1.3 billion trees. Mark Jacobson, a professor of engineering at Stanford University, has modeled how America can reach zero emissions by 2050 with massive deployment of existing solar and wind technologies. Following his road map, America would need to install 2,000 gigawatts of solar by 2050 — a huge leap from our current 75 gigawatts of U.S. capacity.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/trumps-war-on-solar-power-968511/

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Arrow 3 replies Author Time Post
Reply Trump's War on Solar (Original post)
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Apr 2020 OP
Finishline42 Apr 4 #1
NNadir Apr 5 #2
Finishline42 Apr 6 #3

Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sat Apr 4, 2020, 11:00 AM

1. Agree

My local utility company (which has been bought 3 times in last 20 years) is now owned by PPL. Their have increase the monthly service charge for electricity (actually now charged daily) well over 250% in the last 12 years.

$5.00 - July 2008
$10.75 - Nov 2015
$12.25 - Sept 2017
$13.69 - June 2019 (.45 per day x 365 / 12)

They requested higher but were turned down PSC.

The point is by increasing the service charge vs increasing what they charge per kWh it decreases the value of a home PV system.

LG&E and others lobbied the KY State Legislature to change our net metering law. As a result I had a PV system installed in Dec last year to make sure that I would qualify. New regs have not been approved but LG&E wants to buy my excess at wholesale and sell it back to me at retail, obviously increasing the payback time. Still it probably will take a long time to pay off but I justified it based on:

Solar PV vs home improvement - you don't get dollar for dollar for any home improvement. For instance a kitchen redo, but part of the value is your enjoyment of the new kitchen. It might also help sell a house.

To some degree (maybe about 10%) it will decrease AC usage as it will shield the roof from the sun.

Solar is a long term investment. Warranty is the key - mine is 80% of rated output after 25 years.

Your are locking in your cost of electricity for the life of the panels - so if you buy quality you could be talking in excess of 40 or 50 years. Not a good deal if nat gas goes down but a good deal if a bunch of fracking companies go Chapter like the biggest one in the Bakken field just did and the price of nat gas goes up.

At any rate, it's a done deal but I absolutely enjoy the pennies as they add up when the sun is shinning

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sun Apr 5, 2020, 06:24 PM

2. It won't make any more difference than this great solar victory did.

We set a new record for carbon dioxide concentrations this week, 415.75 ppm at Mauna Loa.

In this century, the entire solar and wind industry, after an expenditure of trillions of dollars, amounts to 1/5 the amount by which coal energy grew this century,

If you get your "data" from Rollingstone, you deserve it.

I get mine from the IEA, with input from people called "scientists" and "engineers."

In this century, world energy demand grew by 179.15 exajoules to 599.34 exajoules.

In this century, world gas demand grew by 50.33 exajoules to 137.03 exajoules.

In this century, the use of petroleum grew by 34.79 exajoules to 188.45 exajoules.

In this century, the use of coal grew by 63.22 exajoules to 159.98 exajoules.

In this century, the solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal energy on which people so cheerfully have bet the entire planetary atmosphere, stealing the future from all future generations, grew by 9.76 exajoules to 12.27 exajoules.

12.27 exajoules is slightly over 2% of the world energy demand.

2019 Edition of the World Energy Outlook Table 1.1 Page 38] (I have converted MTOE in the original table to the SI unit exajoules in this text.)

Personally, Trump putting children in cages in a time of plague seems far more criminal to me than pissing on people's fantasies about the solar miracle that didn't work, isn't working and won't work.

All this winning by solar I've been hearing about while the environment deteriorates at an ever accelerating rate rather reminds me of all this winning by Trump.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 6, 2020, 10:46 AM

3. Well if we set a record for CO2 this week then something we don't understand is going on

Auto travel, building heating and cooling, airplanes, factories, etc are , I'm guessing, 50% of what they were before Covid-19. So where is it coming from?

You have always had a penchant for counting things in a way to maximize your point of view but not necessarily what's most important.

So you don't consider Rolling Stone to be reliable? I would agree that their point of view is usually left of center (LOL) I have always found their serious articles well sourced. Something about a book and it's cover..

OK, I'll try to find something from the IEA...

Oh, how about this?

Renewable power capacity is forecast to increase by 50% between 2019 and 2024, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Monday.

snip

The IEA said that distributed solar PV – systems installed on commercial buildings, homes and in industry – would make up nearly half of the increase in the solar PV market.

Overall, renewables’ share in worldwide power generation is seen growing from 26% now to 30% in 2024.


snip

Renewables are already the world’s second largest source of electricity, but their deployment still needs to accelerate if we are to achieve long-term climate, air quality and energy access goals,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said in a statement issued Monday.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/21/renewable-capacity-set-for-50percent-growth-over-next-few-years-iea-says.html

Not sure what 2% of the world energy demand has to with what is being generated.

I do know that the solar system installed on my roof will reduce the need for anybody to dig up the ground and burn old dinosaurs for over 50 years.

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