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Floridian (and Southern) Governmental Regulations Are Unfriendly To Solar Power

mpercy Consider some related aspects (306 comments)

If you buy solar panels and install them on your house to provide your own electricity with no grid hookup, you are generally free to do so provided you otherwise comply with zoning and building codes.

If you do the same but have a grid hookup, you should expect to pay some fixed costs related to your share of the grid infrastructure. If you flow excess power back into the grid you may have other rules to comply with for safety if nothing else.

If you lease equipment, there's not much difference in the two cases above.

If you allow someone to build a solar plan on your property for the purpose of selling you the electricity, then that is a different picture altogether, given the public utility laws come into effect on any company that build power plants and sells electricity. This particular business model evolved as a way to use the various tax provisions (depreciation) and subsidies to maximize the profits and cash flow to installers, and locking "customers" into long term contracts for electricity.

The installers are crying foul in jurisdictions that say "you built and are operating a power plant for the purpose of selling electricity, therefore you are a public utility and shall be regulated as such in accordance with the pertaining laws."

about three weeks ago
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Floridian (and Southern) Governmental Regulations Are Unfriendly To Solar Power

mpercy Leases work like this (306 comments)

For a small up-front cost, the leasing company will install several teens of thousands of dollars worth of solar power plant equipment on you house or business. You further agree to a per-kWh price that you will pay for the generated electricity, plus a small monthly lease charge.

So for virtually nothing out-of-pocket you get solar power. But the leasing company owns the equipment and collects the various subsidies, but that's not the sticking point. The part about them selling you electricity--even from "your" equipment--makes the company a electric utility and subject to piles and piles of public utility regulation and law.

about three weeks ago
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Floridian (and Southern) Governmental Regulations Are Unfriendly To Solar Power

mpercy Re: leasing (306 comments)

What is biting the leasing installers in the ass is that they are often set up not to lease equipment to the homeowner, but to sell electricity produced by the installation to the homeowner. It is this sale of electricity model that bites leasing companies in Georgia. As I understand it, if they leased equipment like they leased cars and took payment for the leased equipment itself, they would not have so many problems.

The selling of electricity, though, drops them into the PUC's lap and the PUC's position is that "if you sell electricity, here's all the regulations you have to comply with" and the leasing companies cannot make profits if they have to comply with all the laws that bind large-scale public utilities so they blame the law as being "unfriendly to solar".

In point of fact, if you had a company that wanted to build a small coal-fired power plant and sell the electricity generated by it to the one house, people would demand that it be regulated out of existence and would use the PUC definitions as the basis under which to do so.

about three weeks ago
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Floridian (and Southern) Governmental Regulations Are Unfriendly To Solar Power

mpercy Except that's not the case at all (306 comments)

If they had purchased equipment, then that would be the case as you put it.

  But these instances focus on a particular business model where "customers" do not buy or install the panels. Instead, they allow another party to install panels at their expense (the installing company remains the owner of the panels throughout) while agreeing to buy electricity generated from the panels.

In other words, they allow someone to build a solar electric plant on their property and further agree to purchase electricity from that plant. Kinda like Verizon and Sprint giving you "free" phones so long as you agree to a two year contract for cellular service. You might not buy the $800 phone otherwise.

This keeps the property-owners initial costs low while locking them into a long term electricity contract. And it makes the provider a public utility--they build plants and sell electricity to customers--and therefore are unhappy to find themselves categorized and regulated as such under the laws governing public utilities.

about three weeks ago
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Floridian (and Southern) Governmental Regulations Are Unfriendly To Solar Power

mpercy Poor and misleading summary (306 comments)

A more correct interpretation is that some states have a strong Public Utilities Commission that narrowly interprets public utility laws in a way that negatively impacts *some* solar business models.

In particular the solar business model that installs panels for free or at some low lease cost, and then sells the electricity created to the homeowner (and excess to the grid). In this case, the PUC sees the situation that someone has chosen to build a small electric power plant and sell electricity to a other parties. The notion that the primary customer is a single homeowner or business is immaterial. A company that builds electric power plants for the purpose of selling electricity to other parties is to be regulated under the same laws as any other electric utility company.

If you want solar power for your house, you are free to buy panels and have them installed at your own expense and you can reap the benefits of your self-generated electricity. There may still be issues involving whether and how you can sell excess power back into the grid.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

mpercy Re:Best metric (272 comments)

About 18,000...

about a month and a half ago
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US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes

mpercy Re:This will die in the senate (148 comments)

Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1930, 45.94
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1940, 48.54
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1950, 51.20
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1960, 52.58
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1970, 53.00
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1980, 55.46
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1990, 56.63
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 2000, 57.82

In other words...

For those reaching adulthood in 1940, the average person was expected to live 3.5 years beyond SS age of 65. Pay in for 45 years, collect for 3-4 years.
For those reaching adulthood in 2000, the average person is expected to live 10.82 years beyond SS age of 67. Pay in for 47 years, collect for 10-11 years.

about a month and a half ago
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US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes

mpercy Re:This will die in the senate (148 comments)

Perhaps, but those are longevity statistics (and not correct per CDC figures). You are ignoring the odds of making it to 60, mortality statistics.

Average life expectancy of people born in 1930, 59.20.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1940, 63.62.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1950, 68.07.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1960, 69.89.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1970, 70.75.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1980, 73.88.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1990, 75.37.
Average life expectancy of people born in 2000, 76.86.

Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1930, 15.24 (i.e., live to average of 75.24).
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1940, 15.91 (75.91)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1950, 17.04 (77.04)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1960, 17.71 (77.71)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1970, 18.34 (78.34)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1980, 20.02 (80.02)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1990, 20.90 (80.90)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 2000, 21.55 (81.55)

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/n...

about a month and a half ago
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US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes

mpercy Re:This will die in the senate (148 comments)

In earliest days of Social Security, there were hundreds of "contributors" per beneficiary, but that was a startup issue.
In 1945, there were 42 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.
In 1950, there were 16.5 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.
In 1970, there were 3.7 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.
In 1990, there were 3.4 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.
In 2010, there were 2.9 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.

Income inequality has nothing to do with the problem.

about a month and a half ago
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NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

mpercy True enough (190 comments)

In the past, Democratic and Republican administrations issued some contracts without competitive bidding for speed and to save money. When seeking the highest office in the land, Mr. Obama explicitly stated that he would not tolerate such practices. “I will finally end the abuse of no-bid contracts once and for all,” he thundered to a Grand Rapids, Mich., audience on Oct. 2, 2008. “The days of sweetheart deals for Halliburton will be over when I’m in the White House.” After becoming president, Mr. Obama continued the attack and promised on March 4 to “end unnecessary no-bid and cost-plus contracts. In some cases, contracts are awarded without competition. And that’s completely unacceptable.”

That was then; this is now. Last week, the Army revealed that KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, was awarded a no-bid contract worth as much as $568 million through next year. This deal was announced only hours after the Obama Justice Department informed the public that it was joining a suit filed by whistleblowers who allege KBR used kickbacks to get foreign contracts.

http://www.washingtontimes.com...

about 2 months ago
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Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year

mpercy it's OK, though because Obama says so (441 comments)

The Administration is going to say it's OK for wind farms to kill eagles despite what the Endangered Species Act says, perhaps because the owners donate to Democrats. Interesting to see the tree-huggers and green-energy people in-fighting...

ABC News.com

A California wind farm will become the first in the nation to avoid prosecution if eagles are injured or die when they run into the giant turning blades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday.

The Shiloh IV Wind Project LLC, 60 miles east of San Francisco, will receive a special permit allowing up to five golden eagles to be accidentally killed over five years. Previously, such a violation could potentially draw criminal charges and discourage private investment in wind farms known for catching birds in their rotors.

about 2 months ago
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Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year

mpercy Re:Sounds about right... (441 comments)

http://www.duke-energy.com/pow...
http://www.duke-energy.com/pow...

Reservoir provides 1,000MW of capacity that can be tapped quickly, and water is pumped from the lower to the upper reservoir using off-peak power.
The whole thing is a as a load-balancing feature of the nuclear plant (2500MW). Use the off-peak load excess to pump water up to the upper reservoir overnight and tap it to level off peak demand that happens during the day.

Alternative power sources like solar and wind could certainly use such a system as a battery too, but geography might prevent it.

about 2 months ago
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NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

mpercy Meh, $468M is about one Solyndra (190 comments)

And we got zippo for that expenditure.

Hey, maybe we can start using "Solyndra" as a unit measuring government waste.

about 2 months ago
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NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

mpercy Wow, CO2 beats out the Sun? (190 comments)

Perhaps you meant as a greenhouse gas, but then you dismiss water vapor?

about 2 months ago
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If Immigration Reform Is Dead, So Is Raising the H-1B Cap

mpercy Re:Simplest way to deal with H1 Visas (341 comments)

"The green card is just like the current one: you're basically just like a Citizen, except you can't vote, and you're not eligible for all the social services that Citizens are (this part is somewhat debatable)."

I think it's not debatable at all.

I've got no problem at all with people coming here legally (e.g., with criminal background check) with a valid visa and green card. But if you need social services (including EITC and child care credits) beyond an emergency room after a car wreck, there's no upside for the country.

Also, children born to such green card holders ought not be citizens (Congress gets to define what "and subject to the jurisdiction" means, and contemporaneous information about the 14th show that it was commonly understood that "visitors" would not be "subject to the jurisdiction" and therefore not gain automatic citizenship for their offspring downloaded on US dirt).

about 2 months ago
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If Immigration Reform Is Dead, So Is Raising the H-1B Cap

mpercy Re:Republicans always want to hurt the economy... (341 comments)

I know that charity and goodwill means seeing a man in need and inviting him into my home for food and shelter. If the same man crawls through an open window and helps himself to the contents of my pantry and trashes my home, then calling the police and hoping he goes to jail is not a crime against humanity.

It behooves us all to distinguish between Hispanic (or any other ethnicity) immigrants and illegal border-jumpers.

Anyone, no matter what race or original nationality, who comes to this country legally; who strives for citizenship; who embraces our language & culture while respecting their own traditions; who wants to help keep this country great--I welcome him with open arms and call him a fellow American. Those who sneak into this country illegally; who break immigration, employment, tax, zoning and even basic traffic laws on a daily basis; who reject our culture and retreat into barrios; who demand taxpayer-funded social services not even available to citizens in good standing--I have little sympathy for them and their "plight".

"We should insist that if the immigrant who comes here does in good faith become an American and assimilates himself to us he shall be treated on an exact equality with every one else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed or birth-place or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American. If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn't doing his part as an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. . . We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding-house; and we have room for but one soul loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people." [Teddy Roosevelt]

about 2 months ago
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If Immigration Reform Is Dead, So Is Raising the H-1B Cap

mpercy Re:Lower cost for H1B ? In your dreams .... (341 comments)

I've thought that if companies are really that desperate for H1B workers--because they claim there are simply absolutely no, zero, zilch, local citizens capable of doing the job--then that job is certainly worth a hefty premium. Figure they ought to be willing to pay 1.5 or even 2x the "going rate" for that H1B worker, what with supply and demand being what it is. Not to mention an additional one-time tax paid to the government that runs about 1x the H1B's salary.

about 2 months ago

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