Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Solar Prices Dropped off a Cliff and Into the Ocean

Here's a great article in Clean Technica by   on the falling prices of solar (PV). The cost per watt is the key measure to follow. Basically a rule of thumb is that $3 per Watt installed should be profitable, before any tax credit considerations. In 2006 the cost was $3.50 per watt for the panels. Now prices have dropped below $0.50 and would be lower if there wasn't a trade tiff going on with China.  Even with $1 to $2 per watt installed, the prices are getting to be crazy low. The Investment Tax Credit dropped to 26% percent in 2020 and will drop to 22% in 2021, but the installed costs after tax benefits should be less than $2 per watt. That's a crazy profitable investment, especially for businesses. (See our discussion and  Solar Calculator on the residential and business PV investments.)

We've been wrong several times in the last couple years. We've said that the real breakthrough in the home solar system will be the battery technology. Well, that is true. But we have underestimated the cost curve drop with PV. True, it is not breakthrough technologies, it is learning curve of production and economies of scale.

When we talk about the drop of costs in PV we still think that the amount of power that can be squeezed out of a square inch of solar exposed roof is probably not going to significantly improve for several years. Don't delay your solar investment decision for a breakthrough.

At this point our assessment of batteries is that the technology and the prices are converging to make batteries a better investment. Depending on your need to be always powered, batteries are probably worth waiting. Probably 3 to 5 years. Maybe design the system with batteries in mind. Maybe design the system for expansion. Expect that you will charge your electric vehicles, for example. If you have extra roof space, expect that you will power your neighbors house.

Just a reminder, not all photovoltaic (PV) is created equal. Check the warranties and the depletion rates of your panels. 

#Solar #RE #RenewableEnergy #RE100 #SolarInvestCalc

SolarInvest2020 Profit Calc

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Mysteries of Methane Leak in Florida and Not-So-Clean Fossil Fuels

There’s a BIG NatGas leak (Methane) in Florida. The source of which is not being owned up to. There’s no oil/gas drilling in the area. And, until about a year ago, most such leaks might go totally unnoticed. Read the Bloomberg article No One is Owning Up to Releasing Cloud of Methane in Florida.
Oil Flaring at Night in North America (Bakken)

First Methane. The largest component of natural gas (NatGas) is methane (EIA). Various oil formations of fossil fuels are oil, mostly gas, or a combination. Even in coal formations there is methane, which has made coal mining especially dangerous for explosions and fires.
When you see the flame stacks burning above oil wells and refineries, this is natural gas being flared off. Flaring is far preferred then just releasing it, venting, because methane is a wicked greenhouse gas (GHG) at 82 times the global warming capacity as CO2 in the first 20 years (about 30 times as potent over 100 years).
Estimates by industry experts are that as much methane is flared (and vented) as used in the USA. If the US consumes about 22% of the world’s natural gas (0.8 trillion cubic meters per year of 3.9Tm3 worldwide) then it flares/vents the same amount again. The US accounts for twice as much NatGas consumption as the entire EU (or Russia). Texas and North Dakota (Permian & Bakken) account for 10 to 20 times as much flaring as any other state (Se EIA 2019 report on flaring).
NatGas is Cleaner than... Because of an abundance of NatGas in the US, and it burns massively cleaner than coal in terms of pollutants (air and ash), the US has made a major shift to NatGas for power generation. NatGas has taken the place of coal in many power plants to represent 38.4% of the the US electrical power generation while the other categories are almost on parity with coal (23.5%), nuclear (19.7%) and renewables (17.9%).  NatGas was believed to have only half the greenhouse gas impact as coal as well. But, when all things are considered, this big advantage of NatGas has evaporated into thin air (vented and flared)!. And methane has soared to all time highs, even during the pandemic slowdown. More people, and more people eating higher on the food chain (cows) is a massive methane producer as well. Now the arctic heat wave(s) are starting to thaw permafrost where huge amounts of methane are sequestered. Ouch! 
Here's a great visualization from NASA related to sources of methane and other greenhouse gasses. 
Value of NatGas? You ask the wise questions, “Isn’t NatGas valuable? Why would any sane person or company, flare it into thin air?” First answer is, No. NatGas is not valuable unless you can transport it easily to where it could be processes (remove impurities) and consumed. For NatGas, a gas pipeline is pretty much the only option. Once NatGas reaches a refinery it can be processed into a liquid form (LNG) and even into gasoline or diesel.  Oil is easier to transport via oil tankers (truck or train or barge) or via pipelines. So, in the cases of wet gas, the oil (and other particulates) can be pumped and profitably sold if the gas can be flared away. In this case, NatGas is a byproduct of oil production. In many cases it cost more to try to distribute and process the NatGas then the market value once it reaches a distribution center and can be sold.
The government, Federal and/or State,  could and should regulate flaring. In Texas, the railroad authority regulates flaring, and they have never refused a flaring request, even when a pipeline is readily available. In Russia and Nigeria, 95% of all NatGas has to be recovered, not flared. But the influence (and corruption) in the extractive industries results in a free pass for friends and family, and only selective enforcement.
From space, you can now get beautiful nighttime pictures of flaring around the world. Check out Geology.com. Wow! But couldn’t a company can simply vent the methane and, although far worse in every way, it might go undetected? Actually, not so much any more. Newer satellite imagery can detect the methane in the atmosphere and methane plumes from natural (swamps) and unnatural sources. This brings us back to Florida.
Bluefield Technologies Inc. analyzes data from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite. See image showing more than 300 metric tons of methane released near Gainesville and spreading through Jacksonville area. 
There are only a couple possibly leak sources of such a massive amount of methane (or NatGas). No one has owned up to it. No one seems to be busy trying to find the source. This might be a common practice for pipelines or power plants? Even if there are no fines, it would be good to know. Don’t ya know?
#CleanEnergy #NatGas #Flaring #Fracking #Methane

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Solar Investment is Crazy Profitable for Businesses and Good for Homeowners

SBP has done several detailed financial calculators for analyzing both residential and commercials solar projects. SustainZine has a main web page on Solar Profitability where we discuss examples from our Solar Profitability Calculators: https://www.sustainzine.com/p/solarinvest.html ... Here are articles – and YouTube videos – discussing both:
  1. Quick Take on  Residential SolarSolar Invest 2020: Do Good and Save Money Too … See the video related to Residential here: Solar Residential: Good Investment & Doing Good
  2. Full Financial AnalysisSolarInvest2020: Residential Solar is Good, but Commercial Solar can be Crazy Profitable! … See the video related to Commercial/Business here: Solar for a Business can be Crazy Profitable: Do Good by Doing Well

More about the two videos, Residential and Commercial, here:

YouTube Video on Residential: Solar Residential: Good Investment & Doing Good https://youtu.be/p0pqg4ZeTjY

Dr Elmer Hall talks about the doing good and making money at residential Solar. He discusses that subtilties of the financial analysis for a homeowner, and why it typically is a far better decision than a typical profit analysis would suggest. #SustainZine #Solar #RenewableEnergy #SBPLan

YouTube Video on Commercial Business: Solar for a Business can be Crazy Profitable: Do Good by Doing Well https://youtu.be/ulryBkhsKWg

Dr Elmer Hall talks about the doing good and making money by a business installing Solar. He discusses the financial analysis for a business and why it probably is such a great investment. The investment for businesses has huge tax savings. Plus, the money to pay for power to operate the business is already committed if the building is used. This is Part 2: See part 1 related to Residential as well. #SustainZine #Solar #RenewableEnergy #SBPLan #Profitability #CrazyProfitable 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Solar-Fit Radio Show: Gallagher and Hall Talk Home is Castle and Solar Fitness

Elmer Hall on Solar-Fit Radio
Solar-Fit Renewable Energy Radio Show. June 20, 2020, Live at 10am ET.
Bill Gallagher, President/CEO of Solar-Fit (and world renown talk-show host) is interviewing Dr Elmer Hall (Strategic Business Planning Company). We're talking about Perpetual Innovation(tm), Hall and Hinkelman's book series on intellectual property (Patents) Commercialization. Then talking about about the COVID abnormal (and new-abnormal). And lastly move on to talk about renewable energy as people spend more time in their Castle (living, working, safe-distancing). What does this movement to update and improve the castle mean for Solar???...

Listen to the archive of this show on Flagler Broadcasting: Dr Elmer Hall on Solar-Fit Rewanable Energy Show June 20 2020.

Note that SustainZine has pages devoted to the Financial Analysis of Solar System Purchases (both Residential and Commercial). Residential is a good investment; Commercial can be crazy profitable!

Here is a long SustainZine article from a May 2018 radio show related to Energy Efficiency and Telework.

(Remember that the Renewable Investment Tax Credit was 30%, then dropped down to 26% in 2020 and will continue with a very rapid phase out over the next couple years.)

#Solar-Fit #SustainZine #Solar #RenewableEnergy #EnergyEfficiency
Here is the Solar-Fit radio show station:Solar-Fit Renewable Energy Radio Show
(We'll let you know as soon as this show is archived for your redo, review, renew!)