Monday, July 17, 2017

The Road To Hawaii -- July 17, 2017

When I was growing up in Williston in the 1960s, it was my perception (right, wrong, indifferent) that "aluminum siding" was the newest fad. I don't know how that all worked out but it sure seemed like there was a lot of hype about aluminum siding at the time.

I say all that because it reminds me of the residential-solar-roof industry today. Take a look at Hawaii. From greentechmedia.com:
For anyone in sales, there are two existential questions that need to be posed and answered: What's the market for what you're peddling, and how much market share can you expect to capture?

As the once-thriving rooftop solar industry in Hawaii painfully contracts, businesses like mine and others are being forced to seriously ponder those two questions.

In a state where there's by far more installed solar capacity per home and business than any other place in the nation, and still a high dependency on imported fossil fuels, how can it be that our solar coaster is slowing to a crippling crawl?

In a state that's pledged itself to 100 percent renewable in power generation by 2045, the first in the country to make such a commitment, how can it be that the bottom is dropping out of the rooftop solar market?

There is strong consensus among Hawaii energy stakeholders that bringing considerably more rooftop solar PV on-line is a good thing and a high priority. But with this year on pace to see the lowest numbers since 2010, we in the industry are wondering whether what we're experiencing now is the new normal, as major players disappear completely or see their PV sales revenues drop by as much as 80 to 90 percent.
Wow, if residential rooftop solar energy can't make it in Hawaii where utility costs are very, very high and there is an immense amount of sunshine year around, how will the rest of the world make out with solar energy?

Years ago, I posted an article about the fact that rooftop solar energy never pays for itself, or if it does, it takes up to 20 years, or something to that effect. There's a huge up-front cost of installing solar panels and one still has monthly utility bills. My hunch is that many homeowners who were early adopters are telling their neighbors that if they had to do it all over again, they would not install rooftop solar panels. 

Batteries are getting better, but they add significantly to the cost of solar energy. And like any battery, I assume they degrade over time, needing replacement.

Blue Hawaii, Elvis Presley

2 comments:

  1. The transformational technological breakthroughs haven't occurred in the stylish new renewables industry, but in the stolid old oil and gas industry.

    This isn't the way things were supposed to work.

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    1. Another interesting point needs to be made: in another life I was a newspaper editor. Daily we got numerous press releases faxed to us, most of them looking like news stories but were simply "advertisements" or "interests" promoting their agenda. Many of these "intermittent energy" stories appear to me to be nothing more than "advertisements" or policy statements from faux environmental interests.

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