# Is now a good time to invest in solar?

by Artman
Tags: invest, solar, time
 P: 5,632 I just went to the official NJ website on SREC rates and there is no decline in rates reflected there: http://www.njcleanenergy.com/renewab...g/srec-pricing ?????????? Some interesting SREC background here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_R...y_Certificates "In addition to providing cash flow security and stability, long-term SREC contracts are often required by banks or other lending institutions unwilling to accept market and legislative risk associated with SREC markets..."
PF Gold
P: 2,701
 Quote by mheslep Why do you say this?
Because of this.

 Quote by Naty1 "It's all in the fine print."
P: 5,632
 You will probably get very little savings.

Artman:
Are you able to utilize solar electricity during a commercial power outage with your system? If so, how is that achieved. Apparently most installations don't provide that and I'm trying to find out why. Thanks.
P: 1,591
 Quote by Naty1 I got an initial estimate of 33%. More information in my separate thread. Artman: Are you able to utilize solar electricity during a commercial power outage with your system? If so, how is that achieved. Apparently most installations don't provide that and I'm trying to find out why. Thanks.
No, grid tied system inverters actually mimic the sine wave they get from the grid to convert to alternating current. When the grid is down we have no power.

I was considering looking into an emergency generator and automatic transfer switch to lock out the grid so we don't electrocute a lineman to allow the solar to supplement the generator during the daylight hours. Anyone know if this would work?

SREC prices are way down. I think the reason is the supply of SRECs has increased to a point where the demand has reduced. the last time we checked it was around $276.00 in August, down from$536.00 in July. Drastic change. I don't recommend going solar to anyone at this time. Although, I am actually able to live more comfortably without it costing us more. We kept our AC set on 75 deg F all summer and our meter still went backwards. We are down at about -944 kWh as of this morning.

Due to our conversion to heatpump water heater and improved insulation and high efficiency heat pump HVAC system, we have additional savings in oil costs, but we are also still out more first costs for this new equipment.

The heatpump water heater is a GE Hybrid:

http://www.geappliances.com/heat-pump-hot-water-heater/

Nice unit. No complaints at all about it so far. Noticed a drop in electric usage immediately after putting it into operation.

After the heatpumps and increased insulation, our electric usage is down from about 30 kWh a day to around 20 kWh a day average.
PF Gold
P: 3,072
 Quote by Artman ... SREC prices are way down. I think the reason is the supply of SRECs has increased to a point where the demand has reduced. the last time we checked it was around $276.00 in August, down from$536.00 in July. ....
??? I see $167 in August. Isn't that below the grid rates in NJ? http://www.srectrade.com/new_jersey_srec.php Edit: yes, apparently grid rate is 18c/kwh http://www.physicsforums.com/showpos...07&postcount=3 P: 1,591 This is why SRECs have plummeted in NJ.  SRECs are issued once a solar facility has generated 1,000-kilowatt hours of energy, and then are sold to companies who lack solar energy production. Electric producers are required to yield a certain amount of solar energy by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), and if they do not, they must buy SRECs. The going rate for those certificates, which are traded on the open market, is around$400 to $450 each. The Pilesgrove solar project is expected to generate about 27,000 certificates a year. So in addition to the energy that can be sold, the companies can generate around$11 million per year by selling the certificates.
Not at $167 they won't, that's only about$4.5 million.

Too many huge solar farms and communities with solar panels on every lightpost. They're killing the market for the little guy.

My numbers came from last month's email from SRECtrade. So, yeah, they're outdated, darn it.
 PF Gold P: 3,072 Keep in mind that the little guy in the end pays for those SRECS. The electric producers don't buy SRECs using their hidden pot of gold, they pass the cost on via electric rates, or the state of NJ does via taxes.
 P: 1,591 What concerns me is the double dipping from the utility companies. The SREC program has restrictions imposed on the "little guy" that do not seem to be imposed on utilities. Little guy can't sell their overproduction for retail rates. The utilities can sell their overproduction for retail rates. Little guy gets their meter's zeroed at their anniversary. This is because they can take advantage of the SREC program so the utilities supposedly have paid something for the solar power. If this benefit disappears (with a one year drop from near $700 to$166 disappearance is right around the corner), I don't want my meter zeroed. The utilities can generate and sell as much as they want supposedly because they are the ones buying the SRECs. Now the utilities are selling SRECs to their competition. How is that right? Shouldn't their solar farms only count against their SREC requirements? Then perhaps any production in excess of those requirements be sold. Otherwise it's double dipping. Triple dipping if you consider that money gained from SREC sales to competition benefits them in straining their competition's income.
 PF Gold P: 3,072 Perhaps I do not understand the SREC program, but I thought it is _only_ the utilities that buy the SRECs, as mandated by law; it is the utilities that make the market demand for SRECs and no one else. Also, the utilities can only sell as much power as the consumers use (the load). They can not, in effect, generate as much power as they like and zap it into the ether for a fee.
 P: 1,591 Updates: We had one month where we needed to buy $130.00 of electricity this winter. We raised the heat pump to 67 deg F as a constant and did no night setback this year. Our secondary heat source is our oil hot water baseboard heat. With the constant 67 deg temp, the heat pump did not have to kick in the second stage much at all this year. We spent only$30 for oil. So, for our +-1200 sf 60 year old house we only needed $160 for heat and electricity this whole year (from April to April). The solar system is still generating at design ratings we have not noticed a drop in performance yet. As of right now the system has generated 24,965 kWh (design was for 11,000 per year and we went online in January 2 years ago). I noticed that the worst period for solar generation has been late fall early winter (no big surprise there) however, I am surprised that Spring did not seem similarly bad. SRECs have plummeted to$125.00 as of our last sale, which was last night. All in all, still glad we put in the solar system.
PF Gold
P: 1,420
 Quote by Artman ...we only needed \$160 for heat and electricity this whole year (from April to April).
I paid that each month, for the last 6 months.
 All in all, still glad we put in the solar system.