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rated:
Arcadia Power is one of several companies that offer a couple things when you use their service:  They purchase RECs and give you the right to claim 50% of your electricity is coming from wind power for no extra fee.  For a small extra fee (around another .01) per kilowatt-hour they will give you 100% windpower.

They also do solar projects where you buy a solar panel (or a share) in a solar project and then receive a discount on your utility bill for the life of the subscription.  For instance, buying one solar panel in one project is $257 and will give you monthly savings on your bill of about $2.50 for 10 years, a total of $300.  It's not much of an investment but it entitles you to contribute to renewable energy and maintain part of your bill goes toward solar power.

I signed up for the free 50% windpower which will be the same price as my utility bill is now and am considering purchasing a solar panel or two.

I'd be interested in opinions (I don't work for them):  http://www.arcadiapower.com/solar 

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/arcadia-power-takes-community-solar-nationwide-with-new-platform

 

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Here are some other projects, but all except Arcadia are tied to local utilities or geographic regions. Arcadia is the o... (more)

Argyll (Nov. 26, 2016 @ 11:15a) |

Attached is my calculation

this is monthly NPV calculation

http://i.hizliresim.com/o02mMQ.jpg

3.2% annual return is really ... (more)

fleetwoodmac (Nov. 26, 2016 @ 9:20p) |

You receive $4.30 a year above what you pay: $4.30/257= 1.67%.

Another way is you get $43 additional dollars on the 10 ... (more)

Argyll (Nov. 27, 2016 @ 2:39p) |

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rated:
They're basically moving solar from your rooftop to an energy farm and charging you 0.015 / kwh to do so, on top of your regular electrical rates.

No thanks, I'd rather pay that towards a monthly lease for a zero cost solar installation.

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speedracer714 said:   They're basically moving solar from your rooftop to an energy farm and charging you 0.015 / kwh to do so, on top of your regular electrical rates.

No thanks, I'd rather pay that towards a monthly lease for a zero cost solar installation.

  I'm getting 50% wind power for no extra fee, zero, zip, nada.    If you purchase a solar share you actually make a small profit although the point of the deal is to support solar power. I live in an apartment so I can't install solar panels.

If you purchase a solar panel, you do not pay more, you actually pay a little less over the 7-10 year time frame.  There is nothing on top of your regular rates -- there is an actual discount.

I appreciate the response but please be careful not to propagate misinformation.

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Argyll said: I'm getting 50% wind power for no extra fee, zero, zip, nada.

You don't know that.  All it says is they send you a "consolidated bill".  It doesn't say what the rates are or if they even charge you the same rate as your local power company.
Argyll said: If you purchase a solar panel, you do not pay more, you actually pay a little less over the 7-10 year time frame. There is nothing on top of your regular rates -- there is an actual discount.

You pay more upfront by "purchasing a panel".  You're not purchasing any panels.  You're purchasing renewable energy credits at a huge markup with an ROI of 10 years that makes you feel better because you're "going green", assuming that they'll still be around 7-10 years from now.  They're buying these "credits" in bulk at a huge discount and reselling them to people like you with a 1% "refund" every month.  Put simply, you're investing with an ROI of ~10% a year but only get to apply those returns towards your energy bill.
Argyll said: I signed up for the free 50% windpower which will be the same price as my utility bill is now and am considering purchasing a solar panel or two.

Again, there's no guarantee that you'll be paying the same rates are your current rates, but I guess you can report back with your next month's electricity bill with arcadia and the previous month's bill to prove me wrong.
Argyll said: There is nothing on top of your regular rates -- there is an actual discount.

I appreciate the response but please be careful not to propagate misinformation.

Speak for yourself...

rated:
speedracer714 said:   
Argyll said: I'm getting 50% wind power for no extra fee, zero, zip, nada.

You don't know that.  All it says is they send you a "consolidated bill".  It doesn't say what the rates are or if they even charge you the same rate as your local power company.
Argyll said: If you purchase a solar panel, you do not pay more, you actually pay a little less over the 7-10 year time frame. There is nothing on top of your regular rates -- there is an actual discount.

You pay more upfront by "purchasing a panel".  You're not purchasing any panels.  You're purchasing renewable energy credits at a huge markup with an ROI of 10 years that makes you feel better because you're "going green", assuming that they'll still be around 7-10 years from now.  They're buying these "credits" in bulk at a huge discount and reselling them to people like you with a 1% "refund" every month.  Put simply, you're investing with an ROI of ~10% a year but only get to apply those returns towards your energy bill.
Argyll said: I signed up for the free 50% windpower which will be the same price as my utility bill is now and am considering purchasing a solar panel or two.

Again, there's no guarantee that you'll be paying the same rates are your current rates, but I guess you can report back with your next month's electricity bill with arcadia and the previous month's bill to prove me wrong.
Argyll said: There is nothing on top of your regular rates -- there is an actual discount.

I appreciate the response but please be careful not to propagate misinformation.

Speak for yourself...

  I think you are being too harsh on a creative idea

I calculated the annual return and it comes up to be 3.2% not bad at all

So my question is what happens if this company bankrupts. Also, is there any language that says the company may change the terms during the 10 year term?

rated:
@speedracer714

On the site itself the company says under FAQ: "How much does this cost? Our Free plan is free."

The company has guaranteed the rate will be the same as I currently pay as long as I select 50% wind power. This is important to me because I use a third party provider (Con Ed) which offers a much cheaper rate than my local utility. There is only an additional fee if you select 100% wind power. I asked them how they could keep the same rate with the 50% wind power -- they said they have grants, donations, funding etc. that allows them to do that.

RECs apply to the wind power portion of the bill. I do not believe they apply to the separate program of purchasing a solar power subscription. You are paying for a portion of a solar system, and getting the payback from it that comes from the host of the system.

Paying for the solar panel, while not a huge deal from an investment viewpoint, allows you to contribute to solar power and get a small savings at the same time.

"How are you able to offer a free plan?

Our mission is to build a national full service clean energy company, providing customers with clean energy choices. We want everyone to use cleaner energy, but we don’t want cost to be a barrier for first-time customers to join. In the future, we plan to offer additional tools and renewable energy services to help customers save even more on their bills. Arcadia Power has raised venture funding from Box Group, Wonder Ventures, and many others which gives us the freedom to focus on building an outstanding experience rather than short-term profits."

http://www.arcadiapower.com/faq 

Remember, we are talking about two separate programs here.  The wind power program in which they buy RECs from wind farms.   And, again, if you choose 50% wind power there is zero additional fee, i.e.. FREE.  

The solar power program is funding a solar power system at various facilities, houses and businesses, by which you get paid back by a monthly discount off your bill which amounts to a slight profit to you.  It is not dissimilar to putting a solar system up on your own house, except I don't have a house. I live in an apartment.

Please read the site before posting misinformation.

rated:
fleetwoodmac said:   
  I think you are being too harsh on a creative idea

I calculated the annual return and it comes up to be 3.2% not bad at all

So my question is what happens if this company bankrupts. Also, is there any language that says the company may change the terms during the 10 year term?
 

  If the company goes bankrupt you simply switch providers,  but it seems unlikely as most wind farms have long term Power Purchase Agreements. No one puts up a wind farm without a 20-30 year guaranteed PPA.   In addition, the company is making a small profit on their premium 100% wind power plan and I suppose on their solar systems.  

The solar systems seem to have mostly 7-10 year payback programs that the host has to pay.   I'm sure, like any company, they could change the terms of the wind power REC deal, but they would notify you and you can switch to another supplier any time at no charge without any problems.  

So the only worry here would be if you buy a solar subscription and somewhere along the line the host stops paying.  This seems unlikely as the solar system is in place and the host is paying the equivalent of a regular utility bill, not some extraordinary or larger amount than they had been paying.  

rated:
Argyll said:   
fleetwoodmac said:   
  I think you are being too harsh on a creative idea

I calculated the annual return and it comes up to be 3.2% not bad at all

So my question is what happens if this company bankrupts. Also, is there any language that says the company may change the terms during the 10 year term?

  If the company goes bankrupt you simply switch providers,  but it seems unlikely as most wind farms have long term Power Purchase Agreements. No one puts up a wind farm without a 20-30 year guaranteed PPA.   In addition, the company is making a small profit on their premium 100% wind power plan and I suppose on their solar systems.  

The solar systems seem to have mostly 7-10 year payback programs that the host has to pay.   I'm sure, like any company, they could change the terms of the wind power REC deal, but they would notify you and you can switch to another supplier any time at no charge without any problems.  

So the only worry here would be if you buy a solar subscription and somewhere along the line the host stops paying.  This seems unlikely as the solar system is in place and the host is paying the equivalent of a regular utility bill, not some extraordinary or larger amount than they had been paying.  

  I am still not clear
If the company bankrupts and you switch providers, who will give me the $2.50 credit on my bill?
Not the new company I switched to, right?

So who will credit me?

rated:
fleetwoodmac said:   
Argyll said:   
fleetwoodmac said:   
  I think you are being too harsh on a creative idea

I calculated the annual return and it comes up to be 3.2% not bad at all

So my question is what happens if this company bankrupts. Also, is there any language that says the company may change the terms during the 10 year term?

  If the company goes bankrupt you simply switch providers,  but it seems unlikely as most wind farms have long term Power Purchase Agreements. No one puts up a wind farm without a 20-30 year guaranteed PPA.   In addition, the company is making a small profit on their premium 100% wind power plan and I suppose on their solar systems.  

The solar systems seem to have mostly 7-10 year payback programs that the host has to pay.   I'm sure, like any company, they could change the terms of the wind power REC deal, but they would notify you and you can switch to another supplier any time at no charge without any problems.  

So the only worry here would be if you buy a solar subscription and somewhere along the line the host stops paying.  This seems unlikely as the solar system is in place and the host is paying the equivalent of a regular utility bill, not some extraordinary or larger amount than they had been paying.  

  I am still not clear
If the company bankrupts and you switch providers, who will give me the $2.50 credit on my bill?
Not the new company I switched to, right?

So who will credit me?
 

  The service contracts would switch to a backup company and you would continue to get the credit.  You do not have to sign up with Arcadia's wind power program to purchase a solar subscription, so you don't have to switch providers at all.   The solar discount would appear on your current utility bill.  It will also move to another utility if you move.

 

rated:
Argyll said:   
fleetwoodmac said:   
Argyll said:   
fleetwoodmac said:   
  I think you are being too harsh on a creative idea

I calculated the annual return and it comes up to be 3.2% not bad at all

So my question is what happens if this company bankrupts. Also, is there any language that says the company may change the terms during the 10 year term?

  If the company goes bankrupt you simply switch providers,  but it seems unlikely as most wind farms have long term Power Purchase Agreements. No one puts up a wind farm without a 20-30 year guaranteed PPA.   In addition, the company is making a small profit on their premium 100% wind power plan and I suppose on their solar systems.  

The solar systems seem to have mostly 7-10 year payback programs that the host has to pay.   I'm sure, like any company, they could change the terms of the wind power REC deal, but they would notify you and you can switch to another supplier any time at no charge without any problems.  

So the only worry here would be if you buy a solar subscription and somewhere along the line the host stops paying.  This seems unlikely as the solar system is in place and the host is paying the equivalent of a regular utility bill, not some extraordinary or larger amount than they had been paying.  

  I am still not clear
If the company bankrupts and you switch providers, who will give me the $2.50 credit on my bill?
Not the new company I switched to, right?

So who will credit me?

  The service contracts would switch to a backup company and you would continue to get the credit.  You do not have to sign up with Arcadia's wind power program to purchase a solar subscription, so you don't have to switch providers at all.   The solar discount would appear on your current utility bill.  It will also move to another utility if you move.

 

  if this is true, this is an awesome deal

3.2% annual return on your investment. I am in Houston I wish we have the same thing here

rated:
fleetwoodmac said:   
 
  if this is true, this is an awesome deal

3.2% annual return on your investment. I am in Houston I wish we have the same thing here

  How do you calculate that?  I come up with 1.67% with the current 10 year offering.  And the other two available projects come up to about the same  (Also keep in mind these are estimates so the monthly discount is likely to vary with the amount of power generated.)

It appears to be available in Houston.  Just enter your zip code and select your utility provider on the Community Solar Project Page.  I punched in some random Houston zip codes and it shows available.  According to Arcadia, it's available through about  90% of electric utilities in the US -- they told me only some very small utilities do not take part.

 

rated:
Should be noted that if you have any type of bill credit program from SCE switching your billing to the 50% program will likely mean you lose that.

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Stubtify said:   Should be noted that if you have any type of bill credit program from SCE switching your billing to the 50% program will likely mean you lose that.
  No. You don't lose anything at all.   I have budget billing with my current provider which remains.  I also receive credit for a water heater controller and an AC controller that allows the utility to turn them off or down in energy emergencies.  I also have a third party electricity supplier which remains. Everything stays the same as Arcadia pays the power bill they get from your current provider and you just get a bill from Arcadia.

I wish people would check with Arcadia before posting these things.  I did.  The statements I am making come directly from Arcadia reps or their website.

rated:
Arcadia Power raises $3.5 million, providing clean energy options to electricity customers nationwide

"Arcadia's direct-to-consumer software platform allows customers across 450+ utilities - in all 50 states - to better manage home energy use. Customers link their utility account to Arcadia, which tracks usage and automatically matches it with renewable energy certificates from wind farms, certifying a clean power footprint. New customers are automatically enrolled in the free 50% Wind Energy option and can choose to upgrade to 100% or participate in other programs such as Community Solar and LED financing."

"Nearly 10,000 customers have already chosen Arcadia's premium offering matching 100 percent of customer usage for just 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. The company launched its free 50% Wind option so people who want to reduce their carbon footprint can do so regardless of income level."


http://www.energycentral.com/news/arcadia-power-raises-35-millio...

rated:
With all due respect, it seems t o be energy trading. I smell an Enron in the making!

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amhidogha said:   With all due respect, it seems t o be energy trading. I smell an Enron in the making!
  Maybe you should look into RECs.  They are a common commodity.  The government and corporations have purchased millions of them.  The Air Force is the largest purchaser in the US government in absolute terms, purchasing 899,142 MWh worth of RECs. Among colleges and universities, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia is the largest purchaser of RECs, buying 192,727 MWh of RECs from wind power. The corporate leader is Intel, with 1,302,040 MWh purchased in 2007, and the largest purchaser among retailers is Whole Foods, which purchased 509,104 MWH, or enough RECs to offset 100% of its electricity needs.

The solar power program is straightforward. Subscribers fund a solar power system. The host then pays monthly on it with most of the profits going to the investors during the payback period. 

rated:
Argyll said:   Stubtify said:   Should be noted that if you have any type of bill credit program from SCE switching your billing to the 50% program will likely mean you lose that.
  No. You don't lose anything at all.   I have budget billing with my current provider which remains.  I also receive credit for a water heater controller and an AC controller that allows the utility to turn them off or down in energy emergencies.  I also have a third party electricity supplier which remains. Everything stays the same as Arcadia pays the power bill they get from your current provider and you just get a bill from Arcadia.

I wish people would check with Arcadia before posting these things.  I did.  The statements I am making come directly from Arcadia reps or their website.


Just to be clear. You are/were a southern California Edison customer?

rated:
Stubtify said:   
Argyll said:   
Stubtify said:   Should be noted that if you have any type of bill credit program from SCE switching your billing to the 50% program will likely mean you lose that.
  No. You don't lose anything at all.   I have budget billing with my current provider which remains.  I also receive credit for a water heater controller and an AC controller that allows the utility to turn them off or down in energy emergencies.  I also have a third party electricity supplier which remains. Everything stays the same as Arcadia pays the power bill they get from your current provider and you just get a bill from Arcadia.

I wish people would check with Arcadia before posting these things.  I did.  The statements I am making come directly from Arcadia reps or their website.


Just to be clear. You are/were a southern California Edison customer?

  No.  But the same program is available to SCE customers.

rated:
Well then I stand by my earlier comment. Many sce promos have this wording in them:

"You must be a SCE residential customer (who receives both your electricity service and billing service by from SCE)."

Arcadia takes over your billing service.

rated:
You may want to check because your utility doesn't actually change and the bill is still from SCE. It's just paid by Arcadia Power in your name. You will still be an SCE residential customer.

If you are signing up for 100% wind power you can choose to continue to receive your local power bill and Arcadia will send you a separate bill for the additional amount for green power.

"What changes when I sign up?

To simplify things, Arcadia Power pays your local utility for your electricity charges and you get a single consolidated bill from Arcadia Power. If you would prefer not to have a consolidated bill, we can always bill you separately through our Evergreen Plan. Please give us a call at (866) 526-0083 and ask about the Evergreen Plan if you’d like to continue receiving your local power bill."

rated:
How can you guys say giving $257 for them to buy panels with your money and then only giving you $300 over 10 years is a "good deal"? That's crazy, solar panels return their cost in something like 6 years (varies wildly depending the area, but that's an example that applies to my installation) and they certainly don't stop working at 10 years, so it's mostly profit for many years.
An honest offering would be if they could give you the chance to buy equity on one of their solar farms and give you a dividend which is the power generated minus cost of operation and their fee for this service. But in this case they are just asking you to give them a loan for them to invest, on very poor terms for you. They sugarcoat it to sound nice and green, but that's not close to the best 'green' investment you can make.

rated:
It's a good deal because it's designed to promote clean energy, not to promote profits. It's called "Community Solar" because It helps people put solar systems on their homes and the subscriber benefits by getting some of it back on a monthly basis.

Solar panel return on cost varies. If you look at the three projects available now, two are paid for in 7 years and one (the church) in 10 years. It is more likely people and businesses will be able to put up solar systems in the first place if they get a good deal.

"An honest offering would be if they could give you a chance to buy equity on one of their solar farms..." They are not building solar farms, they are financing small solar roof projects on houses and businesses. The project doesn't go up until enough subscribers have enrolled to pay for it.  Buying equity in such small scale operations is something almost no one would ever do.

This is small scale solar with very small projects for which it is hard to get funding at low rates.  The cost includes insurance/warranty and 24/7 operations and maintenance. It also allows an apartment dweller, like me, to say part of my electricity payment is going to solar power.

Nothing is perfect, and it's not designed as a massive, profitable investment. It fills a niche, though, in helping small scale solar progress, something which big investors are not interested in. That is why they call it "Community Solar."  The electricity bill you have to pay forever will see a small savings, as well as promote clean energy.
 

rated:
As soon as solar adoption in your utilities territory reaches > 5% - say bye bye to all solar savings. e.g. Colorado now a days.

Assuming your state/area has at least 4-5 years to get there - panels purchased outright (where all tax credits accrue to you) is usually a good deal. You will most likely break even or do better.

Leasing (or any other fancy contract they can cobble up - PPA etc, basically everything other than outright purchase with $15-20k) is almost always a bad deal. If you read the contracts - you get a variable set of benefits dependent on many extraneous factors, while the companies cash flow is free of any such risks. Even though it appears the be saving money upfront - if all the risks are priced out using any vanilla option model (assuming it is even possible), then you will come out negative.
The companies know that! That is why they like to sell you contracts where they get a fixed cash flow and you get the variable end!

If you are purchasing a house with solar panels purchased outright - it adds positive value (not the whole $15-$25k you will spend on the panels - but a part of it). If it is leased - expect the house value to go down by at least $15k.

I have done research on this recently. This is a cliffnotes version of it.

rated:
puddonhead said:   As soon as solar adoption in your utilities territory reaches > 5% - say bye bye to all solar savings. e.g. Colorado now a days.

Assuming your state/area has at least 4-5 years to get there - panels purchased outright (where all tax credits accrue to you) is usually a good deal. You will most likely break even or do better.

Leasing (or any other fancy name they can cobble up - PPA etc) is almost always a bad deal. If you read the contracts - you get a variable set of benefits dependent on many extraneous factors, while the companies cash flow is free of any such risks. Even though it appears the be saving money upfront - if all the risks are priced out using any vanilla option model, then you will come out negative.
The companies know that! That is why they like to sell you contracts where they get a fixed cash flow and you get the variable end!

If you are purchasing a house with solar panels purchased outright - it adds positive value (not the whole $15-$25k you will spend on the panels - but a part of it). If it is leased - expect the house value to go down by at least $15k.

I have done research on this recently. This is a cliffnotes version of it.
 

  How does this apply to Arcadia Power?    The panels are purchased outright by Arcadia's subscribers and paid back by the host over a 7-10 year period, after which it's profit by the host. 

rated:
You can use a credit card to buy the Solar Panels from Arcadia. If you have a rewards card, it's a good deal. I have a card that will give me $100 rebate for $500 spending by Dec. 31.

Just to be clear, there are three current solar offers from Arcadia:

1) $257 per panel, pays $300 back over 10 years ($2.50 per month on bill)
2) $373 per panel, pays $417.48 back over 7 years ($4.97 per month)
3) $295 per panel, pays $326.76 back over 7 years ($3.89 per month)

I have signed up for the free 50% wind power program but not bought a solar panel yet.

rated:
puddonhead said:   As soon as solar adoption in your utilities territory reaches > 5% - say bye bye to all solar savings. e.g. Colorado now a days.

..
 

  
What does 5% have to do with it?

Is that a magic threshold where incentives disappear?   Or was that just CO specific?

I believe Hi and CA are at 5% or more and solar is likely still a good buy there in general considering all the sunshine.

 

rated:
>> What does 5% have to do with it?

It has more to do with the mismatch of generation profile of solar vs. load profile of a typical utility. Solar peaks around mid-day - one of the two low-demand period (the other is for 2/3 hours around midnight).

Peak demand is expensive since it can not be served by extremely low price nuclear (takes years - possibly decades of planning to change output), or very low price coal (takes days to change output). The order of magnitude is striking. A baseload nuclear can be at $5/mwh where a gas peak generator may only start biddig at $1000/hour. I have seen real data like this!

Bottomline is that utilities are forced to pay out regular non-variable rate (currently ~10c/kwh for me) whereas the solar, on average, only contributes towards much lower priced power. This is more execerbated by the fact that "native power" (i.e. your municipal supply) is protected by regulation that it will get the cheapest slice of generation capacity.

This becomes a significant problem for the utility company past a certain stage of adoption. e.g. newspaper article in Colorado http://www.denverpost.com/2015/06/05/cost-of-solar-power-vexing-to-colorado-system-owners-electric-co-ops/ 

Of course - I am over-simplyfying. The power scheduling algo's are perhaps the highest complexity linear programming problems in the world and based on the current algo's I have seen - I don't believe any of them are very optimal - which increases the problem.

I did not write the exact scheduling algorithm's for power plants and transmission - however, I have written systems that feed data to it. So I have some familiarity - but not complete knowledge. Based on this familiarity, and some non-public data I can not disclose - I think 5% adoption is the threshold where problems for the utility starts becoming big enough.

There may be specific parameters for specific states/areas that tweaks this threshold, perhaps significantly so. Subsidy may even completely suppress it for a period. However, the fundamental relationship does not change.

There are others in the forum who are more familiar with power scheduling - perhaps they can comment. BTW - getting to become a scheduler or shadow scheduler is my dream job some day if I can crack it. Almost all the benefits of being a super-star quant in a big bank with much less headache :-D.... But I digress!!
<edit> fixed link

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So...the rules can be changed to work more efficiently.

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>> So...the rules can be changed to work more efficiently.

Lots of people think you can beat economic forces even over the long run if only the government would do something ...

Regrettably I am not in that camp!! Very few people realize how much you pay in kind due to peak demand management activities!!

Solar power needs to be able to operate efficiently without subsidies for it to change anything.

It is possible!

Just look at the economy of scale we have got in solar cell manufacturing! A little bit more! Maybe some battery breakthrough and we will be suddenly paying 80% less for our power because no more peak demand - solar power is generated during the daytime and used through 24 hours!! That would be the holy grail of demand management. Figure it out by yourself and you will be a trillionaire!!

The current subsidy model is, in my opinion, an impediment towards that kind of breakthrough.

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puddonhead said:    Maybe some battery breakthrough and we will be suddenly paying 80% less for our power because no more peak demand - solar power is generated during the daytime and used through 24 hours!! That would be the holy grail of demand management. Figure it out by yourself and you will be a trillionaire!!


 

  http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/11/24/this-island-is-now-powered-almost-entirely-by-solar-energy/?hpid=hp_rhp-more-top-stories_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.f1593d14b6f9 

This system powers the entire island day and night.  The battery system can provide three full days of power without sun, and fully recharge with seven hours of sunlight.   This is estimated to save the island 110,000 gallons of Diesel per year.




 

rated:
Maybe remove the subsidies for fossil fuels and the monopolies of power companies -- they are all enabled by government laws, eminent domain, monopolies in various localities, sometimes entire states, and they can bill their customers for anything including building nuclear and fossil fuel plants and getting rid of waste. If you factor in the cost of fossil fuels. the pollution, the accidents, the spills, the lives lost, transportation and pipeline costs and the potential for accidents as well as huge fluctuations in prices and occasional shortages and gluts, renewables are easily cheaper and more dependable.

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Argyll said:   You can use a credit card to buy the Solar Panels from Arcadia. If you have a rewards card, it's a good deal. I have a card that will give me $100 rebate for $500 spending by Dec. 31.

Just to be clear, there are three current solar offers from Arcadia:

1) $257 per panel, pays $300 back over 10 years ($2.50 per month on bill)
2) $373 per panel, pays $417.48 back over 7 years ($4.97 per month)
3) $295 per panel, pays $326.76 back over 7 years ($3.89 per month)

I have signed up for the free 50% wind power program but not bought a solar panel yet.

  Has anyone come across other projects similar to this one?   If there was a company offering a similar opportunity to individuals and paying back cash(or equivalent) each month instead of a bill credit,  I'd seriously consider it.  The requirement to change who bills my account is holding me back on this.

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Argyll said:   Maybe remove the subsidies for fossil fuels and the monopolies of power companies -- they are all enabled by government laws, eminent domain, monopolies in various localities, sometimes entire states, and they can bill their customers for anything including building nuclear and fossil fuel plants and getting rid of waste. If you factor in the cost of fossil fuels. the pollution, the accidents, the spills, the lives lost, transportation and pipeline costs and the potential for accidents as well as huge fluctuations in prices and occasional shortages and gluts, renewables are easily cheaper and more dependable.

It's even less direct, but a large amount of the money & blood spent on the military and terrorism is rooted in access to fossil fuels in specific places. Access to solar and wind energy is far more evenly distributed, so hopefully the subsidies for those will eventually reduce the need for this kind of spending and loss. 

rated:
AceroSBU said:   
Argyll said:   You can use a credit card to buy the Solar Panels from Arcadia. If you have a rewards card, it's a good deal. I have a card that will give me $100 rebate for $500 spending by Dec. 31.

Just to be clear, there are three current solar offers from Arcadia:

1) $257 per panel, pays $300 back over 10 years ($2.50 per month on bill)
2) $373 per panel, pays $417.48 back over 7 years ($4.97 per month)
3) $295 per panel, pays $326.76 back over 7 years ($3.89 per month)

I have signed up for the free 50% wind power program but not bought a solar panel yet.

  Has anyone come across other projects similar to this one?   If there was a company offering a similar opportunity to individuals and paying back cash(or equivalent) each month instead of a bill credit,  I'd seriously consider it.  The requirement to change who bills my account is holding me back on this.

 
I haven't followed up, but this company sounds like they do something similar in a few areas:
http://www.easycleanenergy.com/ 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_Energy_Collective 

Here's a bit from an email they sent early this year:
Price:  $3.55 per watt
Projected First Year payback: 6.1%
Total payback: 148%
For every kWh of energy you use, Xcel charges about 9.9 cents. For every kWh of energy your solar panels produce in our solar farm, you receive 13.7 cents in payments and bill credits.

It does seem that it's still bound to Xcel - the info mentions being able to keep it if you move locally, but selling if you move out of Xcel's service area. Or maybe the state too if it's partly dependent on state credits - Xcel serves a bunch of states, but I would not assume this program is portable through their entire service area.

rated:
Here are some other projects, but all except Arcadia are tied to local utilities or geographic regions. Arcadia is the only I've found so far that serves most customers of utilities in the US:

https://www.energysage.com/community-solar/projects-companies/ 

@AceroSBU -- You do not have to change who bills your account if you are just getting solar panels. The discount appears on your current bill.

I signed up for 50% wind power -- the utility bill goes to Arcadia, who pays it, but everything stays the same. I have budget billing and credits for AC and water heater controls on my bill that stay the same. Your current provider is still the same, Arcadia is just paying their bill for you to assure the 50% wind credit.
 

rated:
Argyll said:   
fleetwoodmac said:   
 
  if this is true, this is an awesome deal

3.2% annual return on your investment. I am in Houston I wish we have the same thing here

  How do you calculate that?  I come up with 1.67% with the current 10 year offering.  And the other two available projects come up to about the same  (Also keep in mind these are estimates so the monthly discount is likely to vary with the amount of power generated.)

It appears to be available in Houston.  Just enter your zip code and select your utility provider on the Community Solar Project Page.  I punched in some random Houston zip codes and it shows available.  According to Arcadia, it's available through about  90% of electric utilities in the US -- they told me only some very small utilities do not take part.

 

  Attached is my calculation

this is monthly NPV calculation

http://i.hizliresim.com/o02mMQ.jpg

3.2% annual return is really good. I would get into this if I can make sure there is no handicaps

rated:
You receive $4.30 a year above what you pay: $4.30/257= 1.67%.

Another way is you get $43 additional dollars on the 10 year plan. 43/257= 16.7%, then 16.7%/10 = 1.67%.

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