Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Worst Business Model Ever

Imagine this situation - you spend thousands of dollars to outfit your home with solar panels, as well as the necessary DC-to-AC conversion technology. You do this because over the lifetime of the solar panels and associated infrastructure, you expect to buy substantially less power from the power company. In fact, this is how you would justify the purchase of the solar panels -- if you do it right, you will make back more than the cost of the technology in savings on your electricity bill.

Well, there is a utility out there (Xcel Energy in Colorado) who proposes that their customers with solar panels on their homes be charged for the electricity that they don't use -- see links here and here and here. You might expect that there is an outcry about this.

One of Xcel's customers noted of his solar panel installation that
“Mine are generating enough to feed five or six houses around me electricity, so there's no free ride.”
A solar energy consultant pointed out
“That's less energy that Xcel Energy has to produce. That's less coal that they have to burn.”

This is one of those times where you encounter something and you just have to shake your head and wonder what the heck they were thinking? In this case, think of this as a tax on progress.

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