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No Glow Yet From Going Green - Build DIY Solar Panels

No Glow Yet From Going Green - Build DIY Solar Panels

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Published by james
No Glow Yet From Going Green - Build DIY Solar Panels
Use the Solar Panel Do-it-yourself Guides to build a Cheap Yet Highly Efficient Solar Panel at home Yourself Easily. Even a 15 year old can easily do it using the Complete Guide. Even build a windmill easily! DIY Guides are hugely popular. Build Homemade Solar Power Panels. Read on..
No Glow Yet From Going Green - Build DIY Solar Panels
Use the Solar Panel Do-it-yourself Guides to build a Cheap Yet Highly Efficient Solar Panel at home Yourself Easily. Even a 15 year old can easily do it using the Complete Guide. Even build a windmill easily! DIY Guides are hugely popular. Build Homemade Solar Power Panels. Read on..

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Published by: james on Apr 23, 2009
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06/14/2009

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 No glow yet from going greenAt a time when green energy initiatives are gaining popularity nationwide,John Berger ought to be basking in the glow of increased solar panel sales.But his Houston-based Standard Renewable Energy is seeing limitedinstallations locally because, he claims, Houston’s grid operator, CenterPointEnergy, is dragging its feet on solar initiatives. The federal governmentrecently renewed a tax credit for installing solar panels, but for mostHoustonians the real benefit — saving on electric bills — remains elusive.Earlier this week, a city of Houston task force unveiled its plans for improving the reliability of the grid, which included provisions for a solar rebate program similar to those of other cities.The rebates would be a good first step, but they don’t go far enough. Thanksto our deregulated electric market, rebates cover only the retail cost of theelectricity, not the transmission fees charged by CenterPoint, Berger said.A bigger impediment to introducing money-saving innovations such asrooftop solar generation, though, is a Public Utility Commission ruleregarding net metering. Net metering allows consumers to offset power from the grid with power generated at home, which at the moment primarily means solar panels. ButTexas’ net metering provisions are “clunky and primitive,” according to thetask force’s report.What’s more, there’s no good system for handling the flow of electricityfrom the consumer back to the grid, said Tom Standish, a member of the citytask force and CenterPoint’s senior vice president of regulated operations.However, he said CenterPoint remains committed to establishing a processfor such two-way exchanges.
 
“We’re not opposed to doing it,” he said. No consumer benefitCenterPoint’s plan to outfit all area homes with smart meters, which manyelectric retailers hope will spur market innovation, doesn’t promote solar  panels or other alternative forms of generation, Berger contended, becausethe meters don’t register power generated from them.“They get to charge money when the meter spins forward, and you getnothing back when it spins backward,” he said. “That’s not net metering. It’snot a benefit to the consumer, which is ironic.”It’s ironic because solar generation ought to be exactly the kind oinnovative technology encouraged by Texas’ deregulated system.Instead, some of the most successful solar programs have been in cities thatstill have municipal-owned electric monopolies because the entire system,including transmission and delivery, are part of the same operation.“In a municipal-owned environment, it’s easier to do than in a deregulatedenvironment,” said Paul Hobby, who chaired the task force.In the meantime, Standard Renewable has seen its installations in theHouston area lag other states. It’s handled 123 installations locally since2006, compared with more than 200 in Colorado, for example.Until the net metering issue is resolved, rebates alone probably won’t beenough to encourage people to use solar power.The federal tax credits are limited to about $2,000 a household, or about 10 percent of the cost of a typical installation. City- or state-sponsored rebateswould add to that, but the real benefit from consumers would be in gettingcredit for excess power that could be sold back to the grid.Intervention requiredOn Tuesday, the Texas Senate approved a measure that would establish arebate program and require retail electric companies to buy solar-generated power from consumers at fair market rates.

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