Having just scanned www.dsireusa.com for U.S. solar incentives it looks like the incentives for photovoltaic’s are declining fast, for various reasons, but the main one is no money in the coffers of the entities supplying the incentives.
It was also interesting to note how many state and utility incentive programs use or require you to use their preferred suppliers and installers. We were warned about this control and bureaucracy years ago.
It was also interesting to note how many states that have the worst weather, have incentives for photovoltaic’s: New Jersey, New Hampshire, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington, and North Dakota. No one wants to be left out of photovoltaic’s but Buffalo, N.Y.? It has to seem strange for someone from the Sunbelt.
Internationally the incentives are gone or declining. There are some new ones in Southeast Asia but that is easily supplied by China, I think. There’s one in Ontario, Canada but it is limited to system products made in Ontario and there are almost 0 module manufacturer’s in Ontario. I wonder why.
All of the above are grid-connected systems. It might not happen but it seems logical that without some new catastrophe it will be a catastrophe for the photovoltaic’s market. We have been waiting for it. We have been careful to watch prices to see when the bottom will start to fall out. We have been talking about it for months. Well the U.S. market sucks right now, we have gotten rid of our most of our huge Grade A big name brand modules and over stocked grid connect balance of systems. We’ve had clearance sales, winter clearance sales, extended clearance sales, at below cost clearance sales and now we will probably have another “Clearance of all Unsold Clearance Sale Items Sale”.
The modules we have been purchasing and selling are primarily geared for off-grid systems. It’s funny but most remote home owners, even telecommunication, highway sign, and water pumping companies don’t care about UL or any other certification, they just want the electricity and they have seen that the SUN photovoltaic modules work great and are extremely reliable. Remote home owners are the biggest buyers and believers in our SUN modules, not just because they are much cheaper than Grade A modules, but because they are the most educated and experienced users of them. They know their reliability and reputation. We have been selling them for over 10 years. See testimonials at www.sunelec.com. We have started collecting their stories and photos. We are hoping to have a couple hundred examples of systems using SUN modules. Our eBay testimonials (positive feedback) number in the thousands.
If we wanted to, we could sell modules like these for 70 cents to 1.50/watt all day long and make a reasonable profit, and we will too if things go bad for off-grid, but off-grid is cost effective from day 1 and without incentives. As my 5 year old son likes to ask “is it for real ?” finally, for solar electric systems, yes, it is real. At a dollar a watt Even better we have about $5M of them in stock, thousands of them all sizes, and from all the same major manufacturers. And, amazingly it’s our warehouse and we aren’t talking about some other warehouse thousands of miles away like almost all internet PV advertisers claim.
We know we have made the right choice from almost 40 years of experience. I have seen the rise and fall of solar many times. If you want to pay twice as much, we have those big name modules that are UL listed and we know we can as get as many of those as you will need for quite some time. However, I would put my money on a SUN module any day. We believe the off grid market is about to grow allot. Independent minded people who are on the grid and just want to save money will also put in off-grid systems to run certain appliances like the refrigerator on down in wattage. Air conditioners will have to come later, to much draw generally. I say off grid on a grid connected house because it is a fact that to be safe you should use these SUN modules on low voltage systems as the industry has been doing since its inception. 12, 24, and 48 solar arrays connected to the battery bank and then to a 12, 24 or 48 volt inverter to give you 120 or 240 Volt AC Power for selected circuits in your home. Now you have not only a system that will provide emergency backup but also one in which you can claim total independence from the utility company for the majority of the year. As prices come down, efficiency goes up (usually very slowly maybe 1 or 2 tenths a percent a year), or appliances like air conditioners become more efficient, you can go for the 100%.
We have 15 members of Sun Electronics’ design team including electrical and mechanical engineers and an architect working full time. We design systems and sell and ship them to people all over the world. Business is good. We do not want to see The End of the Photovoltaic’s Grid-Connected Industry or the safety issues compromised we just don’t think people should be limited in their ability. Free use of solar energy is important, and so it’s good to maintain and increase incentives. Putting all sorts of requirements on its use or letting someone or some huge corporations control its use is probably not good for us or for future generations. Go after the big guys who don’t deserve them or need them (some of the most profitable companies in the world with those thousands of lobbyists getting billions in donations to political campaigns) . The Solar Energy Industry Association has like 2 lobbyists, I believe. When it comes to incentives for a clean and holistic green lifestyle for our future, solar fits, we believe. Leave solar development alone, that’s all, we will all pay dearly for it in the end if we don’t, I think.
I realize this has all been said a thousand times before and I really shouldn’t be allowed to do this anymore but as a friend of mine told me in Tucson 37 years ago “someone has to do it so it might as well be you Kimball”.