Energy & Sustainability
Rebate rule chills sales of solar

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Wow, in California it might cost too much to go solar, any makers out there get hit with this?

California homeowners are rejecting new rebates for solar power equipment, saying the state has made installing the rooftop panels far more costly than expected.

As a result, Public Utilities Commission reports show a decline of 78% in rebate requests in the first three months of this year, compared with last year, and the solar installation industry says it is threatened with collapse across much of California.

Alfred Cellier had plans to install a $17,000 solar system at his Rancho Palos Verdes home until he penciled out the cost of the new state requirements and decided against it.

The retired electronics engineer said he was all for solar power “because it’s green and the right thing to do, but I don’t want to be treated unfairly.”

Embarrassed state officials are scrambling to fix the problem.

..”The fact that some customers may find themselves paying higher electricity bills if they decide to install solar … is unfortunate and indeed perverse,” California PUC President Michael R. Peevey said in a recent letter to legislators.

..”It’s sort of a screw-up,” said solar advocate V. John White, executive director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technology in Sacramento.

Rebate rule chills sales of solar – Los Angeles Times – Link.

Solar projects:

  • Create Teeny Tiny Solar Robots – Make: Video Podcast – Link.
  • Solar Robot Instructions – Make: PDFcast – Link.
  • HOW TO – Make a homemade solar water heater – Link.
  • Make a solar cell in your kitchen – Link.
  • $6 Solar fan – Link.
  • Building a solar generator – Link.
  • More solar projects – Link.

10 thoughts on “Rebate rule chills sales of solar

  1. If it really is “the right thing to do” it shouldn’t matter if you get a big tax break.

    Gee, I’d like to quit driving my hummer and get a high mileage car because it is the right thing to do, but gosh darn it, they just don’t put decent stereos in high mileage cars. Why should I have to give up good sound?

    Maybe it really isn’t “the right thing to do”.

    MR

  2. The article is more of an explanation of why Californians haven’t been applying for as many rebates as expected than why Californians haven’t been installing more solar systems.

    As a Californian who had a photovoltaic system installed on our home last year, with time-of-use and rebate and all that stuff, I can tell you the fundamental hurdle is that the systems still cost a lot. Hopefully, they’ll come down in price soon.

  3. mikelaursen: Hopefully, they’ll come down in price soon

    Sadly, we’ve been hoping that since I was a kid. Like Kubrick’s space station in “2001: A Space Odyssey” I’m convinced that photovoltaic won’t become reasonably priced in my lifetime.

    A while ago I did some research into thermoacoustics. I’m hopeful that thermoacoustics has the potential to be a technology a person could implement themselves using stuff found in a hardware store.

  4. I think the particular power company you use has a lot to do with it. We just installed a system on our house. Burbank Water & Power gave us a large rebate, and didn’t stick us with a different rate. It was expensive — about $20k, but we’re getting $8k back in tax refunds and rebates.
    -JP

  5. I’m in CA and am currently looking into putting a PV system in. The catch the way the rebates are set up up now is that you have to be sure to get a system big enough to meet all of your daytime usage or you’re gonna pay through the nose for power from the grid. That means more upfront costs (longer payback), and you have to have the physical (south facing) space for it. The way this works out is that if you undersize or oversize your system, the power cos get more money – go figure.

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