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Now a new report called Going Solar in America, prepared by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center with the support of the U.S. New York and Boston topped the list, in large part because the cost of electricity from the grid is very expensive there.
Additionally, the study found that 9.1 million single-family homeowners in the 50 cities live in a place where buying a solar system outright would cost less than their current utility bill over the life of the system, and 21 million would pay less if low-cost financing were available. Factors that play into the increasing affordability of going solar include a steep drop in the price of hardware and electricity costs that are likely to climb by as much as 83 percent over the next 25 years. The cost of generating home electricity through a solar system is also impacted by government policies such as renewable energy standards, net metering and the federal Investment Tax Credit, which are harder to predict. The authors said that their study was intended to help dispel the idea that solar energy was out of reach for the average energy consumer. Net metering is one such policy that allows customer with solar PV systems to use the power that their system generates and receive a bill credit for unused excess power that is sent into the grid for other nearby customers to use.
An alternative policy that also allows solar PV owners to enter the market and receive a payment for the power they produce is a “value of solar” tariff. Also, of extreme importance, make sure your solar contractor and all employees are fully insured and that you and your family are protected from accidents and deaths that may occure from your rooftop solar installation. While incentives may disappear, it’s unlikely GTI installs with net metering will be halted. There is a kind of rush right now to install solar, new people are getting into the business every day. Like it or not frack gas, coal mining and nuclear power are done in the US and employ US tax payers. Actually a study was just published that stated solar installs add about the install cost as a premium to the sale price. Solar is cheaper in every state if you can get your neighbor to pay 50% of the cost, and get a guarantee the utility will buy all your excess at premium. If solar makes sense, then the utilities would be installing PV generation at higher rate since their hard and soft costs are much lower. Over the past few years, California electric utilities have installed at least a dozen solar panel farms, while they commissioned absolutely zero new coal plants. Mentioning coal is a RED HERRING since CA has a legal requirement to grow renewables to 33% in short order.
Brian is making perfectly correct statements, Summer AC is peak load in Florida, not winter loads of any kind.
First, Florida utilities peak in the winter because of the resistive heat used to heat most of Florida homes. I am not sure why you continue to argue points when you never provide a bit of data to backup your statements. Add charging of ecars with a bonus for during peak solar and half the total ENERGY needs can be covered by solar with no storage. Do you even know what agency the DOE was formed from, and what 90% of their business still is?
Most electric utilities buy back at cost, and then stop paying when the meter nets out to zero.
No it’s not bullshit, energy from the grid means producing costs, transportation costs and taxes. If you believe fracking hasn’t already peaked and destroy our water, and the Saudis will raise the prices , then I have this great bridge to sell you.
Read carefully when someone says the pole ice extent is increasing, they are trying to trick you.
The Institute for Energy Research is a not-for-profit organization that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets.
The Energy Information Administration produces forecasts of energy supply & demand using the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS). The Energy Information Administration (EIA) produces forecasts of energy supply and demand for the next 20 years using the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS)[1].
In the NEMS model, the EIA represents existing generating plants, retires those that have come to the end of their economic life, and builds additional plants to meet projected demand from the residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors.
To determine the most economic technology for the type of demand (base, intermediate, or peaking load) for which new capacity is needed, NEMS compares the technologies using their levelized costs as one measure of competitiveness. The first table below provides the average national levelized costs for the generating technologies represented in the AEO2015 reference case.[3] The values shown in the table are given with and without the federal financial incentives, which impact the cost and the competitiveness of the technology. Due to the regional differences in the cost of labor, fuel, and other factors that affect the levelized generation cost, a second table is provided below that gives the range of levelized costs based on these differences. The levelized cost for each technology is evaluated based on the capacity factor indicated, which generally corresponds to the maximum availability of each technology. Quick FactsHydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) have a significant potential to reduce emissions from the transportation sector, because they do not emit any greenhouse gases (GHGs) during vehicle operation.
Why build risky, expensive, short-lived offshore wind farms if a 50% or more renewable electric grid may not be possible given the lack of a national grid, lack of commercial-level utility-scale energy storage now (or ever), and the insurmountable issue of seasonal wind and solar?
Hurricane risk along the southern portions of the Eastern seaboard and Gulf Coast regions, especially extreme wind gusts. Potential for earthquakes and higher average sea-states may increase fatigue concerns on offshore wind turbine structures.
Bearings are subject to a high level of stress over the lifetime of the turbine, and therefore represent significant risk in the case of unexpected failure. Wider-bases for offshore wind towers may exceed underpass requirements for either rail or road transportation.
In addition to traffic congestion, overland transport of wind turbines can cause road damage, due to the repeated passage of heavy-load convoys. Harsh weather offshore not only threatens the performance of wind turbines, it can also inhibit access to turbines by maintenance staff. Compared to the land-based wind market, the offshore wind market entails many more risks that increase the level of quality needed. This study reveals the need for permanent magnet generators (PMGs), and a concern this could lead to exhausting limited supplies of rare earth metals Neodymium (Nd), Dysprosium (Dy) and Praseodymium (Pr), used by the PMGs, which serve the function of making the gearbox robust enough to overcome extreme marine conditions and withstand torques, extreme forces, operating speeds, and temperatures.
The enormous size of offshore wind turbines and their components is anticipated to make it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to move turbine components over land. Because of this, coastal manufacturing of blades, nacelle, tower, foundation, and substructure fabrication may be an industry requirement in the near future.
Air pollution from the 10,000 largest polluting facilities in Europe cost citizens between €102 billion and €169 billion in 2009 reveals the European Environment Agency (EEA) in a new report analysing the costs of harm to health and the environment caused by air pollution. The EEA has published its latest report entitled ‘Revealing the costs of air pollution from industrial facilities in Europe’, which it explains reveals some of the hidden costs of pollution by using existing tools employed by policy-makers to estimate harm to health and the environment. The industrial facilities covered by the analysis include large power plants, refineries, manufacturing combustion and industrial processes, waste and certain agricultural activities. Air pollution by the facilities covered by EEA’s analysis cost every European citizen approximately € 200-330 on average in 2009. Countries such as Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, where a high number of large facilities are located, contribute the most to the total damage costs.


Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions contribute the most to the overall damage costs, approximately €63 billion in 2009. The report uses publicly-available data from the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR). The pollutants examined are regional air pollutants (NH3, NOx, PM10, SO2, volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs)), heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury and nickel), organic micropollutants (benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dioxins & furans), and CO2.
Certain aspects of harm to health and the environment are excluded from the scope of this study, such as the health and safety aspects associated with occupational exposure to air pollutants. It is important to note that the report does not assess whether the emissions from industrial facilities included in the E-PRTR are consistent with the legal permitting conditions for the operation of these plants.
The EEA has recently released a number of other publications addressing various aspects of air pollution in Europe. And we’ve been hearing a lot about the drop in the price of generating and transmitting renewable energy as those technologies have grown from pie-in-the-sky dreams to everyday realities. That’s based on the assumption of a 100 percent financed purchase at 5 percent interest over 25 years, the average life of a solar PV system. The study suggested that in order to compete for market share, non-hardware costs such as installation labor, financing, customer acquisition, permitting and inspection, which can add up to 64 percent of the total cost of a system, need to come down. While some incentives are intended to “sweeten the deal” and jumpstart the local solar market, others are more basic policies that allow customer-generators to enter the market and receive a payment for the power they supply to the grid. This special rate schedule lets PV owners sell all of the power generated by their system to their utility at a rate reflecting what the value of solar energy to the grid is determined to be. People concidering buying solar systems for themselves are to be commended, but must go into the venture with eyes wide open. But at some point if solar is widely used, methods to mange the grids will need to be changed.
This fantasy seems to increase the soft business skills and they are more likely to cut the edges.
Looks to me like solar can provide 60% or more of current demand, and with efficiency nearly half the electrical needs without storage. The externalities calculated for fossil fuel production (Esp by the Harvard study) are not realistic. Remember that urban areas have higher CO2 than average, and even suburban areas go over the average daily. All sectors of the energy system are represented in NEMS, including the electric power generation, transmission, & distribution system. These forecasts are updated annually and published in the Annual Energy Outlook (AEO).[2] All sectors of the energy system are represented in NEMS, including the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution system.
As a result, EIA must represent a slate of technologies, their capital and operating costs, their availability and capacity factors, the financial structure and subsidies, the time to construct the plant, the utilization of the plant, and expected future cost changes, including fuel input for fossil and nuclear plants. Levelized costs represent the present value of the total cost of building and operating a generating plant over its financial life, converted to equal annual payments and amortized over expected annual generation from an assumed duty cycle. These incentives are incorporated in the evaluation of the technologies in NEMS based on current laws and regulations in effect at the time of the modeling exercise, as well as regional differences in the cost and performance of the technology, such as labor rates and availability of wind or sun resources.
However, some technologies, such as a conventional combined cycle turbine, that may look relatively expensive at its maximum capacity factor may be the most economic option when evaluated at a lower capacity factor associated with an intermediate load rather than base load facility.[5] Simple combustion turbines (conventional or advanced technology) are typically used for peak load, and are thus evaluated at a 30 percent capacity factor.
Their lifecycle GHG emissions depend on how the hydrogen fuel is made.A future mid-size car in the 2035-2045 time frame, powered by fuel cells and using hydrogen generated from natural gas, is projected to have lifecycle GHG emissions slightly lower than that for a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), powered by gasoline.
Icing risks primarily manifest in the form of surface ice, which can place significant additional loads on turbine foundations and towers. This is particularly the case for offshore wind turbines, where downtime and difficult access for maintenance can have expensive repercussions.
The offshore environment can be much harsher, with high winds, significant wave loads, and corrosion-producing salt water.
The inability to reach and repair sub-performing or inoperable turbines can cause significant lost power sales.
Includes blade, nacelle, tower, and foundation manufacturing facilities; new cranes, heavy-capacity terminals, staging areas, warehouse space, and infrastructure to connect to land-based transportation. Global demand may reach 12,200 tons per year of rare earth metals for PMGs by the end of 2016, yet only 7,840 tons of neodymium and 112 of dysprosium are produced per year now. This will require very large swaths of coastal land—Vestas’ recently abandoned Sheerness U.K. Half of the total damage cost (between €51 billion and €85 billion) was caused by just 191 facilities. Emissions from power plants contributed the largest share of the damage costs (estimated at €66–112 billion). However, when damage costs are weighted in an attempt to reflect the productivity of national economies, the ordering of countries changes significantly. Three quarters of the total damage costs were caused by the emissions from just 622 industrial facilities – 6 % of the total number. Air pollutants, which contribute to acid rain and can cause respiratory problems - sulphur dioxide (SO2), ammonia (NH3), particulate matter (PM10) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) - were found to cause €38-105 billion of damage a year.
The analysis builds on existing policy tools and methods, such as the methods developed under the EU’s Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) programme. For regional air pollutants for example, the model framework underpinning the assessment should be extended in the future to include aspects such as a valuation of ecological impacts and acid damage to culturally significant buildings and monuments. Yet many people still think of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems as unaffordable luxuries.
It found that in those cities, a fully financed solar system would cost average residential consumers less than they would pay for electricity from their current local utility. The federal Investment Tax Credit is set to expire at the end of 2016 so its future is unclear. Also a new study showed solar installations get a substantial premium when you sell your house, a huge plus if you move before you get you payback on the system. The 3-percentage point adjustment is similar to a $15 per ton carbon dioxide emissions fee when investing in a new coal plant without CCS technology. Since the availability of wind or solar is dependent on forces outside of the operator’s control, their levelized costs are not directly comparable to those for other technologies although the average annual capacity factor may be similar. Scheduling between trucking companies, railroad and port operators, and city and state authorities can be very onerous.
By using existing tools employed by policy-makers to estimate harm to health and the environment, we revealed some of the hidden costs of pollution. Other significant contributions to the overall damage costs came from production processes (€23–28 billion) and manufacturing combustion (€8–21 billion). The emissions from countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Poland and the Czech Republic are then relatively more important with regard to the damage costs. The facilities with emissions associated with a high damage cost are in most cases some of the largest facilities in Europe which release the greatest amount of pollutants. Based on the different methodologies, it calculates a range of estimated damage costs arising from air pollutant releases reported by nearly 10 000 individual facilities to the E?PRTR.
The recognised benefits of industrial facilities, including manufacturing products, employment and tax revenues, are not addressed in the report.


This adjustment represents the implicit hurdle being added to greenhouse gas intensive projects to account for the possibility that they may need to purchase allowances or invest in other greenhouse gas emission-reducing projects that offset their emissions in the future.
The capacity factors shown for solar, wind, and hydroelectric resources are simple averages of the capacity factor for the marginal site in each region.
An FCV would have near-zero lifecycle GHG emissions if the hydrogen were made, for example, from electrolysis powered by renewable electricity.Several major hurdles to commercial deployment must be overcome before any environmental benefits from FCVs are realized. Moreover, access constraints to an offshore site, often caused by poor weather or lack of availability of appropriate vessels, can increase O&M costs as well as reduce revenue due to power losses. An additional $700 million investment is assumed to go toward industrial manufacturing facilities.
Sectors excluded from the EEA analysis include transport, households and most agicultural activities – if these were included the cost of pollution would be even higher. Make sure your attorney and home owners insurance company is aware of your installation plans. Thus, the levelized capital costs of coal-fired plants without CCS are likely higher than most current coal project costs. These capacity factors can vary significantly by region and can represent resources that may or may not get built in EIA capacity projections. In addition to the blade and nacelle facilities included in the mid scenario, the high scenario includes a $240 million tower manufacturing plant and a $190 million foundation manufacturing facility. FCVs emit no tailpipe GHGs or other pollutants during vehicle operation, and depending on how hydrogen is produced, there can be substantially lower upstream GHG emissions associated with producing hydrogen fuel.Fuel cells are already used to generate electricity for other applications, including in spacecraft and in stationary uses, such as emergency power generators.
Although the concept of a fuel cell was developed in England in the 1800s, the first workable fuels cells were not produced until much later, in the 1950s. In very simple terms, a fuel cell uses a catalyst to split hydrogen into protons and electrons, the electrons then travel through an external circuit (thus creating an electric current), and the hydrogen ions and electrons react with oxygen to create water.To obtain enough electricity to power a vehicle, individual fuel cells, like the one described below, are combined in series to make a fuel cell stack. There are several different types of fuel cells, each of which is suited for a different application. Here, a platinum catalyst is used to separate the hydrogen molecule into positive hydrogen ions (protons) and negatively charged electrons.[10]The PEM allows only the protons to pass through to the cathode, while the electrons travel through an external circuit to the cathode.
The hydrogen gas must be compressed at extremely high pressure at 5,000 to 10,000 pounds per square inch (psi) to store enough fuel to obtain adequate driving range. Lifecycle GHG emissions from FCVs thus depend, mainly, on the process used to produce hydrogen.
Hydrogen can be produced from fossil fuels (coal and natural gas), nuclear, renewable energy technologies (wind, solar, geothermal, biomass), and hydroelectric power (see Box 1 for more information).Lifecycle GHG emissions for an FCV are the sum of emissions from the production and distribution of hydrogen, the production of the vehicle, and vehicle operation.
With biomass gasification or electrolysis, lifecycle emissions for an FCV are lower than all other vehicle types, with the exception of EVs recharged using electricity from renewable sources.Over the long term, the reduction of overall transportation sector emissions attributable to FCVs will depend on the total number of vehicles in use.
A 2008 study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) provides one measure of the potential for GHG emission reductions from FCVs.
The NAS study estimated the maximum practicable penetration rate for FCVs in the United States in the 2008 to 2050 time frame. This process breaks down methane (CH4), a hydrocarbon, into hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2). The methane in natural gas is reacted with water (in the form of high-temperature steam) to produce carbon monoxide and hydrogen.
A series of chemical reactions is then used to produce a synthesis gas (a gas mixture that contains varying amounts of carbon monoxide and hydrogen), which is reacted with steam to produce more hydrogen. Producing hydrogen via coal gasification is significantly more efficient than burning coal to produce electricity that is then used in electrolysis.Although gasification technology is commercially available, the challenge is lowering the amount of CO2 emitted from the process to decrease upstream emissions from the use of FCVs. Coal gasification with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) or biomass gasification can produce hydrogen with very low or no net GHG emissions, although both these technologies are only in the early stages of commercial-scale deployment. Electrolysis is in advanced stages of technological development and could play an important role in the near to mid term.
Net GHG emissions from electrolysis for hydrogen production depend on the source of the electricity used. When these microbes consume water in the presence of sunlight, hydrogen is produced as a byproduct of their metabolic processes. GHG emissions for light-duty vehicles would decline by 20 percent in 2035 and by more than 60 percent in 2050, as compared to BAU levels.[23]In this scenario, hydrogen is initially produced from natural gas, then from a mixture of sources – natural gas, biomass gasification, and coal gasification with CCS. These estimates assumed that all technical goals were met, consumers accepted FCV technology, and the appropriate policies were implemented for the market transition period.There are multiple options for reducing GHG emissions from transportation over the long-term.
The study estimates that a fuel cell car in 2035 will cost $5,300 more than its gasoline counterpart, which would have a retail price of $21,600 (in 2007$).[29]Current StatusSome believe that FCVs are the most promising long-term solution to the challenge of low carbon transportation. Because hydrogen has less energy per unit volume, distribution costs are higher than those for gasoline or diesel. Most hydrogen is produced either on-site or near where it is used, usually at large industrial sites. It is then distributed by pipeline, high-pressure tube trailers, or liquefied hydrogen tankers.
One potential solution is to produce hydrogen regionally or locally to limit issues with distribution. At first, hydrogen distribution (and sales of FCVs) could be concentrated in a few key areas. Achieving this target would allow FCVs to be competitive with conventional vehicles in terms of durability.
Hydrogen gas is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, and thus unable to be detected by human senses. Unlike natural gas, hydrogen cannot be odorized to aid human detection; furthermore, current odorants contaminate fuel cells and impair cell functioning.
These policies can be directed at either producers – manufacturers of FCVs and suppliers of hydrogen – to reduce production and distribution costs, or consumers who purchase FCVs. Economy-wide policies that reduce oil use and GHGs can include GHG cap-and-trade systems and other policies that put a price on GHG emissions. These policies can encourage a broad array of cost-effective options for reducing GHG emissions across economic sectors.
Accessed 1 January 2011.[5] The electrolyte is an ion conducting material that allows only the appropriate ions to pass between the anode and cathode. Committee on Assessment of Resource Needs for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies, National Research Council. LFEE 2008-05 RP, July 2008; and Committee on Assessment of Resource Needs for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies, National Research Council. Light-Duty Vehicle Fleet Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Laboratory for Energy and the Environment, Publication No.




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