Making money with solar

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by Theresa Coleman and Paul Kangas

What is the fastest way to shift our economy from oil to solar?

If a city passes a local law that requires each house sold to be required to install 10 or more solar panels after the sale, this will shift 1 million homes to solar in 2015. Think about that.

This man decided to make installing solar panels on his roof a do-it-yourself project.
This man decided to make installing solar panels on his roof a do-it-yourself project.

The house is for sale, so it is empty. The bank is loaning money to the buyer. If there were a law that required the government to give a $5,000 tax credit and the bank to loan an extra $10,000 to the buyer, so the owner could then buy 10 panels, at $120 each, and hire a local crew to install the panels, this would rapidly install 10 million panels and create thousands of local jobs.

It is a bad deal to lease your roof to a solar leasing company, like Solar City, because they make the money and control your roof, so you can’t sell your house.

With this new solar roof law, the homeowner now gets 100 percent of the energy and money from the use and sale of the solar generated from their roof onto the grid. If we can now raise the rate PG&E is required to pay to $0.49 kwh homes can then pay off the solar loan in eight years. Win, win, wow.

Thin-film solar is flexible enough for a tile roof. – Photo: US Tile
Thin-film solar is flexible enough for a tile roof. – Photo: US Tile

What is the best way to generate solar? There are three main ways: The first is thin-film. Probably thin-film panels are the best way to generate solar energy since they put less weight on a roof and can fit more easily on the sunny side of a house. They can be rolled out and are easier to install in more places.

Our main goal is to build decentralized, distributive, rooftop solar, which gives more power and more money to solar home owners. Plus thin-film will be easier to mold onto cars, airplanes, boats, backpacks etc.

As you read this, a solar powered plane, Impulse II, is now circling the earth. Thin-film requires less rare earth materials and so cost less. Thin-film absorbs more energy from low light times of day and when there is shade on a panel. In five ways, thin-film is more efficient and generates more energy.

Second: Crystalline panels are heavier, rigid and more expensive. Most panels you see today are crystalline. They require more toxic rare earth materials. They do not work well where there is shade on a panel or in low light on overcast days.

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System
Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System

Third: Probably the least efficient way to generate solar energy is the use of mirrors and concentrating light on a tall tower of molten salt. That form would require the energy be transmitted for hundreds of miles from the desert, causing a 20 percent loss in transmission.

An example is Ivanpah, the world’s largest solar plant in the desert near Needles on the California-Nevada border, and so such energy would be far too expensive. Ivanpah is going bankrupt. Putting money into such a bankrupt technology would be a terrible waste.

The Solar Justice affinity group meets every Sunday, 3 p.m., at 2940 16th St. at Mission, San Francisco. Join us. To RSVP, call 415-368-8581. See our last article in SF Bay View, “Our future and the solar mandate of Assembly Bill 327.”

Community advocate Theresa Coleman and solar energy advocate Paul Kangas can be reached at theresalynncoleman@yahoo.com and dr8kangas@me.com, respectively.

56 COMMENTS

  1. Solar power is a very precious asset I think! I think maybe in 10 years most of the new homes will have solar panels and this will have a dramatic effect on the environment and on the bills we pay. cornelia

  2. If you're thinking about adding solar to home's roof, just stay away from those 30 year balloon payment loans with 2.9% annual payment increases. Here's a funny video that illustrates some of the pitfalls of signing up for one of these expensive loans.

  3. If you’re willing to make a long-term investment, that initial solar panel outlay will pay itself back many times over. Great post for inspire other solar installers!

  4. Two classes of solar panel systems can be purchased. Poly-crystalline are less expensive but less efficient when compared to mono-crystalline. Choose the best product for how much money available for you to pay.

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  6. Photovoltaic tiles are genius. This is something that should have been invented years ago. One of the major complaints I here from people is they dont want to put the ugly panels on their roof. This is a wonderful alternative.

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  8. solar system must play a vital rule in our economy. day by day people are interested to use solar panel system and it helps to grow our GDP percentage and reserve. informative one.

  9. PG&E just sent a notice to me that they're 'adjusting' (translate to 'raising') the monthly Minimum Delivery Charge from $4.50/month to 'approximately' $10.00/month. Anybody else get this notice? Any comments?

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  11. solar system must play a vital rule in our economy. day by day people are interested to use solar panel system and it helps to grow our GDP percentage and reserve. informative one….

  12. I think solar panels will become more popular with the time and soon will replace the traditional sources. For example now world's leading companies are using it's full potential. Like Walmart who has set up solar power energy resources over 144 locations.

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  19. Thank you so much for posting this. I think this really puts things into a different light. I mean, I have read about this stuff before but the way you write just makes it clearer. If that makes sense lol

  20. Alright so it's not really a question about the topic at hand here but… how long does it take you to put together these kind of posts? Is it easy? Like did you have to research all this stuff? I've been wanting to start a blog myself, so just curious. Sorry not totally relevant but figured I'd ask. Thanks in advance

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  23. Thank you so much for posting this. I think this really puts things into a different light. I mean, I have read about this stuff before but the way you write just makes it clearer. If that makes sense lol

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