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posted by martyb on Wednesday July 21, @10:48AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

U.S. seeks to speed rooftop solar growth with instant permits:

The Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP+) platform, developed by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will be an optional portal for local governments to process permit applications automatically.

Approvals typically take a week or more currently, and permit-related costs can account for about a third of installers' overall costs, DOE said. The software speeds the process up by standardizing requirements, streamlining the application and automating some approvals.

Administration officials said the software will help speed adoption of rooftop solar and achieve President Joe Biden's goal of decarbonizing the U.S. electricity grid by 2035, a key pillar of his plan to address climate change. DOE has said that solar energy will need to be installed at a pace as much as five times faster than it is today to realize that goal.

[...] The portal performs an automatic review of permit applications, approving eligible systems instantly. Complex or ineligible systems are re-routed for additional review.

Local governments will not have to pay for the portal, DOE said. DOE is challenging 125 mayors and local officials to sign up for the SolarAPP tool before the end of the summer.


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Wednesday July 21, @11:48AM (23 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @11:48AM (#1158717) Journal

    Approvals typically take a week or more currently, and permit-related costs can account for about a third of installers' overall costs, DOE said.

    Now apply that to regulation as a whole. There must be a lot of routine construction and other such processes that is subject to similar permitting costs. Making a necessary process substantially cheaper would be a huge win for everyone.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by c0lo on Wednesday July 21, @12:18PM (8 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @12:18PM (#1158718) Journal

      Yes, because 500kg of flat panels spread over 25sqm of roof and with identical electricals is the same as building different homes/bridges/aso on various terrains and climates. No need to check the structural designs or the materials to be used. After all, we can afford condos go down with people inside after 25 years, Florida is a worthy example to follow.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday July 21, @12:42PM (3 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @12:42PM (#1158723) Journal

        Yes, because 500kg of flat panels spread over 25sqm of roof and with identical electricals is the same as building different homes/bridges/aso on various terrains and climates.

        Note the use of the phrases, "routine construction and other such processes" and "similar permitting costs". So not the same, but similar enough that a lot of permitting can be automated. Or are you against cheaper homes/bridges/aso with the same quality and regulation?

        After all, we can afford condos go down with people inside after 25 years, Florida is a worthy example to follow.

        Because Florida has been using this streamlined process to regulate its condo building for the last 25 years? Pull my other finger.

        Funny how you object to even common sense efforts to improve regulation and making it less costly for us all.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday July 21, @01:07PM (2 children)

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @01:07PM (#1158730) Journal

          Note the use of the phrases, "routine construction ...

          Better check that the "routine construction" is actually something that exists and not a fictional concept.

          Funny how you object to even common sense efforts to improve regulation and making it less costly for us all.

          Funny how you think that price should trump safety and suggest building engineering is regulation just for the sake of regulation.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by khallow on Wednesday July 21, @05:39PM (1 child)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @05:39PM (#1158802) Journal

            Better check that the "routine construction" is actually something that exists and not a fictional concept.

            I300k [seia.org] PV installations per year counts as routine construction.

            Funny how you think that price should trump safety and suggest building engineering is regulation just for the sake of regulation.

            What makes the old approach safer? My take is that a lot of these regulations backfire, either by creating distractions or opportunities for corruption.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @07:15PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @07:15PM (#1158866)

              Simple solution, have local taxes pay for the engineers to inspect projects for free. If safety is the goal then the community should make it as easy as possible without monetary barriers.

      • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Wednesday July 21, @12:49PM (2 children)

        by Opportunist (5545) on Wednesday July 21, @12:49PM (#1158726)

        How about allowing you to do with your house whatever you please as long as you only endanger yourself and your own family, and if your house comes down becasue you're too stupid to do it right, sucks to be you?

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday July 21, @01:09PM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @01:09PM (#1158731) Journal

          Are you sure you wanted to reply to the comment you actually replied?

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by slinches on Wednesday July 21, @09:00PM

          by slinches (5049) on Wednesday July 21, @09:00PM (#1158908)

          In most places in the US you can do pretty much anything you want with your own property within the zoning limits (or HOA CC&Rs). However, if there's work done on your home without permits or inspections for work that requires it, that can cause complications if you want to sell it later. There are also some jurisdictions that aggressively cite homeowners for unpermitted work, so YMMV. However if you really want to have the freedom to do what you want with only the most minimal restrictions, buy some property in a remote unincorporated area in the western US.

      • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Wednesday July 21, @06:25PM

        by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @06:25PM (#1158825) Homepage Journal

        That is pretty much what happened with my solar install. I dislike suburban track housing, but one advantage is the houses are all built similarly. My 1998 house uses standard trusses and according to building codes of the time the roof is equipped to handle the panel weight. My solar installer poked his head in the attic with a flashlight as a sanity check, but otherwise the install was turn-key.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by fakefuck39 on Wednesday July 21, @05:54PM (9 children)

      by fakefuck39 (6620) on Wednesday July 21, @05:54PM (#1158805)

      I gotta say I completely disagree here. You take a guy who is an electrician, you take a building architect, they need to drive out to the site. Then there's paperwork and design documents that need to be reviewed. Local weather needs to be taken into account. This is a big thing.

      I was doing some construction in a building I own after the top floor tenants moved out. I ripped out the ceiling and the non load bearing walls, and redid the whole thing - raising the ceiling into part of the attic. Took over a year. It would have taken me several months and about 10k to get permits. I've got a buddy from college who became an electrician, and my ex-roomate is a structural engineer. They came out several times and worked with the crew to make sure everything is up to code. Then I got them a couple of plane tickets and hotel for vacation, using my points. No permits, we kept the windows draped off during construction, and kept it quiet. Then I sold the house, and it passed inspection by the buyer's bank.

      So the issue at hand is the "cheaper" thing. In theory, this should be $2k, not 10k. But let's look at normal government markup. My "realID" drivers license cost me $90 - in some states it's $45. How much does that really cost? Probably five bucks. Passport renewal? It's $110. Why is all this shit so expensive? Same reason a $50 bottle of wine is $200 at a restaurant. You're not paying for the wine, you're paying for the building and the business. That extra $8k is what's needed to run the department, their HR, their office lease, their maternity leave. If we get rid of these fees for "common construction" those costs do not go away, and will just have to be paid by the general taxpayer. Do you want people unable to afford housing to take that money out of their rent, to pay for your house construction? Do you want people on the bus or walking to pay for the gas tax? Does someone who pays for their kids to attend a private school want to pay for public schools via their property taxes? Does a hippie want to pay for us to start wars in iraq after dumbya goes on national tv in a cowboy costume and lies about weapons of ass destruction?

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by bussdriver on Wednesday July 21, @09:37PM (2 children)

        by bussdriver (6876) on Wednesday July 21, @09:37PM (#1158925)

        There are a couple TV series with this guy...Mike Holmes where the whole thing is about people getting screwed from contractors and inspectors NOT doing their jobs correctly OR HONESTLY.

        People are supposed to TRUST that you didn't sell them a moldy death trap??

        Sure their payed inspector might spot things but unless they rip some shit open they need to be around during the process to see something is not being easily hidden. We need permits, regulations, and inspectors for a good reason and yes like EVERYTHING they have greedy corrupt and dishonest people. The problem is that many humans just suck. You have some bad humans that make it a problem for all of us so we hire and require other humans to mitigate the bad humans and naturally, those humans have a % that suck and the oversight of those humans 3rd level removed have some humans that suck... the whole system is designed by politicians and that power attract even more people who suck and half the electorate love to vote for people who really suck... because they suck at voting to the point they'll destroy democracy...

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @02:56AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @02:56AM (#1159004)

          There's something particularly revolting about the off-spring of senior politicians.

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @04:29AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @04:29AM (#1159028)

          When we did construction, we had a number of contractors that offered to do the construction without pulling permits. Those we declined. A different contractor built in time to their estimated schedule specifically to redo work for failing the inspections at various steps. When I asked him about it, he replied "everybody fails and has to fix it." After that I got curious and put in a FOIA request to our city department that does permits. Turns out that most companies and licensees don't have to redo work ever, but that there are serial offenders that routinely fail the first pass. Interestingly enough, it also turned out that people who had unpermitted work done tend also have the work redone as part of closing or in less than 5 years anyway. Which means that they don't really end up saving money in the long run.

      • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by khallow on Thursday July 22, @12:43AM (5 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 22, @12:43AM (#1158972) Journal

        My "realID" drivers license cost me $90 - in some states it's $45. How much does that really cost? Probably five bucks. Passport renewal? It's $110. Why is all this shit so expensive? Same reason a $50 bottle of wine is $200 at a restaurant. You're not paying for the wine, you're paying for the building and the business. That extra $8k is what's needed to run the department, their HR, their office lease, their maternity leave.

        Maybe that $90 for a $5 job is a sign they need a hell of a lot less department, HR, office, maternity leave, etc.

        Do you want people unable to afford housing to take that money out of their rent, to pay for your house construction? Do you want people on the bus or walking to pay for the gas tax? Does someone who pays for their kids to attend a private school want to pay for public schools via their property taxes? Does a hippie want to pay for us to start wars in iraq after dumbya goes on national tv in a cowboy costume and lies about weapons of ass destruction?

        That's an excellent argument. But here's the catch. You're not paying for the costs of your interest - making sure your building is safe. You're paying so that someone can warm chairs, someone can profit from building and rental contracts, and other bits of corruption. I personally would rather this corruption just be minimized so that pay for use makes sense. But if we're going to pay for corruption, we might as well spread the pain so that everyone pays for it, not just the people who need vital services that just so happen to benefit a lot more people than themselves.

        Finally, just because this effort is advertised as being a cost savings doesn't mean it will be or even will be intended as such. It could just be another bit of corruption and just another big cost. I'm a bit hopeful since it's intended to expedite a policy goal - those tend to get treated more seriously, but failures of this sort have happened before.

        These costs don't go down unless we make them go down. Merely accepting that a $5 job takes $90, just means that a few decades down the road you're merely accepting that a $5 job takes $180 or $360.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by fakefuck39 on Thursday July 22, @01:36AM (4 children)

          by fakefuck39 (6620) on Thursday July 22, @01:36AM (#1158982)

          >I personally would rather this corruption just be minimized

          what you're saying is there's too much fat, and too much corruption. newsflash, a percent of the population are corrupt, a percent lazy, and a percent like to fuck little boys. you end up with any organization with fat, and any church with pedo priests. your solution is "don't hire corrupt lazy people." that's like having a dirty pitcher of water and trying to pour yourself a clean glass from it.

          we have what we have. unless you have a better plan to have an organization build with this mix of people, you don't have a solution, you have a useless rant. and no, oversight agencies and things like that won't get the water clean. those are already in place. if they weren't, that $10k in fees would be $20k in fees.

          >These costs don't go down unless we make them go down.
          and we are indeed keeping them down. the cost you're complaining about now, would be much higher if we didn't. your solution of "less overhead and less management" would not result in a leaner organization. it would result in the building in Florida that collapsed killing a bunch of people.

          • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by khallow on Sunday July 25, @04:13AM (3 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 25, @04:13AM (#1159708) Journal

            what you're saying is there's too much fat, and too much corruption.

            The thing is, I'm not speaking of shaving slivers of fat, mild inefficiency off of a near perfect process. $90 for a $5 job means you're not even within an order of magnitude of efficient.

            unless you have a better plan to have an organization build with this mix of people, you don't have a solution, you have a useless rant.

            Of course, I have a better plan. Fire their asses. Then that organization isn't built with that mix of people.

            • (Score: 2) by fakefuck39 on Sunday July 25, @04:21AM (2 children)

              by fakefuck39 (6620) on Sunday July 25, @04:21AM (#1159709)

              You do seem to consistently miss the point. It's not a $5 job retard - it's a $5 license. I outlined that in detail. You need printers and IT, background check systems to talk, inter-state checks for tickets, criminal records, link to federal and state systems, HR, lawyers, a graphic designer for the forms, maternity leave, website designers, etc.

              >Of course, I have a better plan. Fire their asses.
              Cool. And the people who decide who gets fired are from that dirty water pool too. Internal Affairs got the cops in check - right?

              >Then that organization isn't built with that mix of people.
              It is, it's just smaller now so your shit costs even more and takes even longer.

              If you think $90 for a $5 card is too much, you'd be surprised how much the ingredients for a coffee at a starbucks cost.

              • (Score: 0, Troll) by khallow on Sunday July 25, @11:51AM (1 child)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 25, @11:51AM (#1159746) Journal

                >Then that organization isn't built with that mix of people.

                It is, it's just smaller now so your shit costs even more and takes even longer.

                Unless, of course, it's faster because the shit got removed.

                Cool. And the people who decide who gets fired are from that dirty water pool too. Internal Affairs got the cops in check - right?

                Then maybe the problem is just that permitting shouldn't be done by that government. If they're not going to do the job relatively efficiently, then I'm fine with not paying them to not do the job.

                If you think $90 for a $5 card is too much, you'd be surprised how much the ingredients for a coffee at a starbucks cost.

                "Ingredients" - you're not counting the labor and capital costs? Why the double standard?

                • (Score: 1, Troll) by fakefuck39 on Sunday July 25, @12:18PM

                  by fakefuck39 (6620) on Sunday July 25, @12:18PM (#1159751)

                  >Unless, of course, it's faster because the shit got removed.
                  yes, less staff means faster work. That's why my checkout at the grocery store is faster when there's a single cashier. you are a retard

                  >permitting shouldn't be done by that government
                  The solution to expensive housing permits is to replace the government. A king perhaps, or an EU-style parliament with a premier.

                  >I'm fine with not paying them to not do the job.
                  Then you're fine with a guy building a meat smoke factory next to your house. Cool. How about a guy who builds a tall house, that collapses onto yours and kills your kids. Oh who am I kidding, how can an incel have kids.

                  > "Ingredients" - you're not counting the labor and capital costs? Why the double standard?
                  I am counting the labor costs, which is why it's $5 for a coffee, and $90 for a license. That $5 coffee includes quality control people, maternity leave, accountants, and building inspectors, for the building you walk into to get your coffee. The markup on the coffee from 20c of ingredients, is higher than the markup on the realID drivers licens, which is higher than the markup on building permits and inspections.

                  >Why the double standard?
                  Why indeed. Why do you have this double standard. Oh, because your autistic brain does not live in this real world, and make up one you can feel better about yourself in. Take your pills.

    • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Wednesday July 21, @06:42PM (3 children)

      by shortscreen (2252) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @06:42PM (#1158838) Journal

      I thought I was cynical, but if one third the cost of installing solar panels is not materials or labor but red tape and bribes then maybe I have a ways yet to go. Although they don't say whether this is for residential or commercial installations. Covering a Walmart store with solar panels is certainly a much different project than covering a two-car garage.

      • (Score: 2) by fakefuck39 on Thursday July 22, @02:51AM (2 children)

        by fakefuck39 (6620) on Thursday July 22, @02:51AM (#1159003)

        The government does take fees. They also give you a 3-4k tax credit, which for a regular tax bracket saves you 10% of the solar panel's cost - so now we're down from 1/3 to 1/4.

        Now, a place like OR, your permits are $200. In IL the cost is estimated using (.5% of total +$50 processing +$50 electrical permit) + 10% of permit cost for the technology fee. for a $15k install, it's, wait for it, $200. This pays for the permit review - them checking your diagrams for the structure and electrical.

        but that's not all. you also need an electrical inspection and a structural inspection, by a certified inspector. Those are about $250 each. It takes only a couple of days to get your permit approved. So we're looking at total costs of about $700 - nowhere near 1/3 of the cost to get that solar panel on the roof.

        But they're not talking about that cost. They say "about a third of installers' overall costs." That doesn't include the cost of the solar panel, which you buy. That's the labor and the wires and the screws. If it costs $2k to install a solar panel you bought, 1/3 of that is going to be $700.

        • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Thursday July 22, @06:36AM (1 child)

          by shortscreen (2252) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 22, @06:36AM (#1159056) Journal

          OK, I thought the overall costs included the panels themselves. Withdrawing that assumption does make the cost breakdown more reasonable. But is $2K a typical price point? Seems like it would have to be higher than that, based on the numbers from random website A [thumbtack.com] and random website B [energysage.com].

          • (Score: 2) by fakefuck39 on Thursday July 22, @07:33AM

            by fakefuck39 (6620) on Thursday July 22, @07:33AM (#1159065)

            2k is a number I pulled out if my ass, based on 50 man hours, at 40/hour. it's what you pay when you have hourly contractors doing work on your house and you ask them to add solar panels.

            now, let me give you another example. you take a huge shit (in progress right now.) you then get into the bowl and start dancing while it flushes. fun -right? well, you broke the toilet skippy, need a new one. you go to lowes, buy a toilet and a $5 wax cylinder. you try to put the new toilet on, but it keeps leaking, because that wax is impissible for an amateur to not fuck up. so you call a plumber, and he wants $200 to install your toilet, which cists $200.

            then you ask the contractor whom you're paying hourly for some remodeling. He gets it done in 20 minutes, and it's only cost you an extra thirty bucks.

            so, you're right, and you can call a solar panel place. they'll sell you the panel, and they'll charge you 7k for labor. which will be estilated at 10 hours of work, for 3 people, but only 2 will show up and still get it done in a day. solar panels should be put in while you're already working on your house for something else, by general contractors and an electrician.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @12:27PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @12:27PM (#1158720)

    If the permitting is automatic, who's going to grease the palms of the inspectors?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @03:01AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @03:01AM (#1159005)

      Uh, the back of your mom's head?

  • (Score: 3, Touché) by VLM on Wednesday July 21, @01:04PM (3 children)

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @01:04PM (#1158729)

    permit-related costs can account for about a third of installers' overall costs

    Follow the money.

    So they want local govts to chop off their revenue stream, the one that pays their salaries, and they're wondering if they'll get buy in. Hmm, yeah, I wonder.

    Maybe my barber would recommend I buy hair clippers for about the cost of one haircut, and then I could DIY my haircut, or maybe not, what do you all think by barber would recommend?

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday July 21, @01:14PM (2 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @01:14PM (#1158733) Journal

      Well, nothings stops the local govt to tax the producers of electrical power operating under their jurisdiction. What's not to like in a steady income stream replacing an one off approval fee for 25 years?

      (grin)

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:26PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:26PM (#1158798)

        Makes sense. In much of the west of the USA property owners do not own the rain that falls on their land, why should they own the insolation?

        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @03:07AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @03:07AM (#1159006)

          Rain is Jesus's tears so it actually belongs to the Repubilcans.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Muad'Dave on Wednesday July 21, @02:20PM (4 children)

    by Muad'Dave (1413) on Wednesday July 21, @02:20PM (#1158741)

    Solar installations, particularly those on private dwellings, are known to generate horrific amounts of RF interference. I hope their permitting speed-up doesn't result in the use of even more non-FCC approved/compliant controllers/inverters.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday July 22, @02:10AM (3 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 22, @02:10AM (#1158991) Journal

      Solar installations, particularly those on private dwellings, are known to generate horrific amounts of RF interference.

      No reason to be so with a decent converter. Aren't there some standards for RF emission in US [cornell.edu]? Or have them been deregulated lately?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @04:40AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @04:40AM (#1159030)

        Constructive interference is a bitch. Each part of the system is within those limits, but get a number of them together and you can easily exceed those levels in the right harmonics. Add in some installers that are building it down to a price not installing chokes or taking other mitigation efforts and you can easily get a neighborhood full of noise.

      • (Score: 2) by Muad'Dave on Thursday July 22, @09:42PM (1 child)

        by Muad'Dave (1413) on Thursday July 22, @09:42PM (#1159244)

        There are standards, but they're roundly ignored. The FCC used to require independent testing of devices that use/emit RF, but now allows 'self certification' - that's how many of the non-compliant stuff ends up here. You know all those 433 MHz 'maker' modules that are available everywhere? They're for an ISM band that does not exist in the US, and are generally illegal to operate (they emit too much power and don't have controls on duty cycle that are required by law), yet they're sold everywhere.

        As another poster said, installers cut corners by not properly grounding and bonding the parts, and often leave off the filter chokes to cut cost. No one but those of us that use the VLF/HF/MF bands notice. Once anyone gets around to caring (if ever) the installer is long gone.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday July 22, @10:05PM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 22, @10:05PM (#1159255) Journal

          There are standards, but they're roundly ignored. The FCC used to require independent testing of devices that use/emit RF, but now allows 'self certification'

          So "self-regulation". Yeap, this will work, we've seen it in 2008 with the banks and Boeing 747 (as two examples the pop immediately in mind).

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @03:05PM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @03:05PM (#1158746)

    How many years (actual or projected) to recover the investment?
    On the whole glad you did it or regret it?

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Freeman on Wednesday July 21, @03:45PM

      by Freeman (732) on Wednesday July 21, @03:45PM (#1158751) Journal

      Father-in-law got a system setup, where he uses his electricity from the panels first, then sells the excess back to the company. While you might be able to get them to build credit on your account, good luck getting them to cut you a check. They never have so far as I've heard and he generally makes plenty of electricity during the day to pay for his usage at night, with a bit of surplus.

      --
      Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:19PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:19PM (#1158794)

      The answer to the recover question will depend very heavily upon what government incentives were in place at the time vs. now.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:33PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:33PM (#1158799)

        Factoring in also the middle east wars, pipelines and clean ups required to protect the supply of sun.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @09:06PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @09:06PM (#1158911)

      i got grid-tie solar.
      in hindsight i have to agree that i am a freeloader, since my setup is "government" sponsored via Feed-In-Tarif (fit). so i get about double the money from selling ALL electricity then i pay for buying it back. so (not really numbers) i get 10 dollars for 1 kwh electricity generated by my solar system and uploaded to the grid. then over another (regular) meter i buy it back at 5 dollars.
      my system has been running for 7years and should break even this year or next.
      the FIT contract is for 20 years.
      now this: i gambled that the system would break even before it breaks, so i didn't keep the money (for replacement parts) but used it to buy micro-inverters and panels incrementally.
      when i had enough money to buy a "set" (that is one micro and one panel) i went shopping.
      i build a small stand, angled south, big enough to hold about 7 panels. sofar i have 3.5 panels (one's smaller but was very cheap).
      these i have wired to my house panel. my house electricity bill is halfed BUT if i don't use the electricity it produces (by bringing loads online, like tv, computers, etc) the electricity just leaves my house to the grid. i get no compensation, the meter ("smart" one) doesn't register it as an upload but it does show negatif watt(*) when there are no loads turned on in the house, so i am giving away electricity to the grid operator which they can sell to the neighbours.
      i deeply hope that the grid operator and the powerplant operator (which are two different entities) have their very own gigantic meter inbetween themselfs that measures how energy is flowing from producer to distributor -aka- grid operator. if it's just a lump sum and "take it of leave it" then my free uploaded energy will not register and keep the big producer in play forever.
      anyways, i learned alot and it opened my eyes to alot of "wealth distribution" and ofc electricity and how it works (blew up a two pole breaker wiring the neutral wrong on 3 phase setup. the micros are "evenly distributed over all 3 phases since the " smart" meter is a blackbox and i am not sure how it "measures")
      i am seriously thinking about going "standalone". that is taking a hard look at the main circuit box and deciding which breakers are essential and which are luxury.
      essential ones i would disconnect and wire to a standalone battery inverter (that produces a sine wave and can charge a battery from the AC side on which it produces the sine wave which is the required " heartbeat" that a "on-grid" and ANTI-ISLANDING solar inverter needs to work) and which will continue to work even if the grid goes down.
      the non-essential ones (and mostly power hogs) i would leave "on-grid".
      so, in short, 7years ago stuff was expensive, same shit is now half the price but my setup has a fit contract, so 7-8 years.
      note: if you want to " try" solar, don't believe joda, you can try small and they're called "micro-inverters". you buy one, if you like, keep adding or as budget allows, no need to " dump a shitload of money" on a string inverter setup -aka- christmas-tree-setup (and partial shading problem), which can be "scary" commitment for n00b!
      one tip: if in any way possible, ground mount your setup. the roof is a scary place to go to clean glass.
      good luck skywalker!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @09:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @09:16PM (#1158915)

        oh, i forgot to explain the (*) above.
        it is BRAINWASHING! if i export or upload electricity it should show POSITIF.
        also notice how your normal electricity bill shows positif numbers and your electricity meter does too?
        a normal person is "using" electricty so it should be a debt and count BACKWARDS, thus be a negatif number. only electricity PRODUCTION and uploading it thru the meter is POSITIF!
        but alas, using (consuming) electricity makes a positif number get bigger ... which is good right?

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @12:38AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @12:38AM (#1158971)

      For me, between the federal tax credits and the local rebates, it was about 7 years to payback. Without them it would have been 21 years and I wouldn't have bothered (it was around 7 years ago now).

      Most of the price had nothing to do with the hardware. The amount of paperwork required was insane, and I didn't even have to deal with a lot of it (part of why installs are so expensive in the US).

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday July 22, @02:20AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 22, @02:20AM (#1158994) Journal

      YMMV - in Australia, you have the fee for delivering the power to your home (unless you go out of grid completely).
      Then, you buy the energy at retail price and sell the surplus at wholesale price.

      If you were to add an energy storage that allows you to consume at night with priority what you produce at day, you may end by being self-sufficient, but the grid fees will still be there. The good news: investment in an energy buffer went down over the last past years, but it's still in the range of $1500/kwh of storage for domestic consumers.

      The problem becomes more complicated when you get a "peak" differential price - usually at night the energy is cheaper, even in retail.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 2) by edinlinux on Wednesday July 21, @05:19PM (2 children)

    by edinlinux (4637) on Wednesday July 21, @05:19PM (#1158793)

    As long as the installer or construction company is licensed (and thus know what the rules are), why is a "permit" even necessary at all?

    Whole thing sounds like a scam..

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday July 21, @05:42PM (1 child)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @05:42PM (#1158803) Journal
      Why should the installer be licensed when you can permit instead? It allows for DIY.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bussdriver on Wednesday July 21, @09:41PM

        by bussdriver (6876) on Wednesday July 21, @09:41PM (#1158928)

        Licenses don't stop a lot of bad or scamming contractors. You need a neutral 3rd party inspector. How do we pay for those? Well, people don't want to pay for a job that they don't personally need so we push the cost to employ them onto the users of them. Like the gas tax which funds roads; it's a user fee. You need an inspector so you pay the fee. How badly managed and how selfish and short sighted your city (gov and majority) is what decides the fees.

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