Green / Eco-Friendly

Solar panel returns in various countries

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  • Nov 24th, 2019 2:47 am
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Solar panel returns in various countries

I got talking to some fellow passengers on a recent cruise about solar panels and cost recovery.

So it seems parts of Canada have a long, long time to recover costs, and this is because power costs is very very low.

B.C rates are currently 9-12 cents /KWh.

Hawaii rates are 37 cents U.S. / KWh (so ~49 cents).

Germany is 30 Euro cents / KWh (or maybe more) - at least 45 cents

Parts of Australia can be reportedly up to 60 cents Australian/KWh, roughly the same as CAD.

Goes to show why solar is more popular because they payback is much shorter.
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Deal Guru
Jan 27, 2006
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That's just one side of things... you also need to look at the other side - how much does it cost to install a system in various countries. Places like Germany have been subsidizing alternative energy for years if not a decade or more. In addition, some of these places have actually give you a premium for selling power back to grid while others, like BC, basically does net meter so there's no premium paid.
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The people I talked to (living in Germany, Hawaii and Western Australia) told me there is net metering but the payment is only at the lowest rate (in the case of WA much below than the cost of power). I doubt if install cost is much different than in western Canada (and may be cheaper because there are more people doing it) though I didn't ask but the much-higher rates would make the decisions less ambiguous.
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thriftshopper wrote: The people I talked to (living in Germany, Hawaii and Western Australia) told me there is net metering but the payment is only at the lowest rate (in the case of WA much below than the cost of power). I doubt if install cost is much different than in western Canada (and may be cheaper because there are more people doing it) though I didn't ask but the much-higher rates would make the decisions less ambiguous.
I remember a few news segments talking to people locally about net meter and it seems that BC Hydro wasn't really set up to do it very well currently and there's been very little direction from government to correct that.
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BC Hydro does net metering reasonably well from all accounts (2-3 installers I've talked to but never bit the bullet due to unsuitable roofing material (concrete tile)): One gets credited the basic rate (~9¢+ / KWh). I talked to someone near me who has what can be best described as a solar farm (over 140 panels including some 2 dozen on a single-axis tracker). The provincial government put a stop to new net metering accounts getting more credit than they use due to a handful of solar farm accounts.
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thriftshopper wrote: BC Hydro does net metering reasonably well from all accounts (2-3 installers I've talked to but never bit the bullet due to unsuitable roofing material (concrete tile)): One gets credited the basic rate (~9¢+ / KWh). I talked to someone near me who has what can be best described as a solar farm (over 140 panels including some 2 dozen on a single-axis tracker). The provincial government put a stop to new net metering accounts getting more credit than they use due to a handful of solar farm accounts.
But you would think that they would want a solar farm to contribute more energy than they use especially if it's net metering. After all, it's not like how it was in Ontario where people made off like bandits for running the meter backwards.
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craftsman wrote: But you would think that they would want a solar farm to contribute more energy than they use especially if it's net metering. After all, it's not like how it was in Ontario where people made off like bandits for running the meter backwards.
The current government is trying to stench losses (or expenses) at BC Hydro. Only costs 3¢/KWh or some such to produce power so they don't want to buy it back at 9¢, let alone the sweet contracts given to run-of-river private hydro developers that cost BC Hydro 10-12¢. I do agree that using solar net metering - even crediting/paying tier 1 rates - might well end up being cheaper than Site C.

Better than some regimes such as in Florida (where you think solar on all suitable roof tops should be mandatory) but private utilities wanted and tried to abolish it.

How much did Ontario Hydro pay for net metering?
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thriftshopper wrote: The current government is trying to stench losses (or expenses) at BC Hydro. Only costs 3¢/KWh or some such to produce power so they don't want to buy it back at 9¢, let alone the sweet contracts given to run-of-river private hydro developers that cost BC Hydro 10-12¢. I do agree that using solar net metering - even crediting/paying tier 1 rates - might well end up being cheaper than Site C.
It's not just that... getting Site C won't be done and producing for years and those run-of-river projects were mainly misguided greenwashing projects that never did make sense (neither for the Liberal government of the time or for those on the green/eco side to push it) from a cost or infrastructure standpoint (ie running power lines to a small river). The government should just cancel some of the run-of-river projects but they won't as they don't want to seem anti-green/eco as many people still think they are the environmental way to go.

thriftshopper wrote: How much did Ontario Hydro pay for net metering?
Ontario Hydro was paying way above market rates for power - I believe it was in the range of 60 cents/KWh... Companies were approaching homeowners to put up panels for FREE and the homeowners would get free power while the company installed more than enough panels to power the home and make a nice profit from selling the power back to Hydro.
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AFAIK, hydro has fallen out of favour with environmentalists for well over 2 decades so that precedes the BC Liberal boondoggle. Yes, they should be cancelled or rates reduced (which would do the same).

60¢/KWh? Insanity. Guess Ontario was the place to install a solar farm....
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thriftshopper wrote: I got talking to some fellow passengers on a recent cruise about solar panels and cost recovery.

So it seems parts of Canada have a long, long time to recover costs, and this is because power costs is very very low.

B.C rates are currently 9-12 cents /KWh.

Hawaii rates are 37 cents U.S. / KWh (so ~49 cents).

Germany is 30 Euro cents / KWh (or maybe more) - at least 45 cents

Parts of Australia can be reportedly up to 60 cents Australian/KWh, roughly the same as CAD.

Goes to show why solar is more popular because they payback is much shorter.
This is just referring to the electricity rate. If this is refers to a micro-install for home use you have to consider and add the distribution and administrative costs. which can add up to 10-15c more . so 25c to 40c isnt unusual for actual electricity costs.
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Supahhh wrote: This is just referring to the electricity rate. If this is refers to a micro-install for home use you have to consider and add the distribution and administrative costs. which can add up to 10-15c more . so 25c to 40c isnt unusual for actual electricity costs.
Depends on where one is, again. BC Hydro charges variable (consumption) and fixed rate. Fixed is just under C$0.21 a day (or ~1.7-2.3 KWh). Higher in some jurisdictions when it's a separate company wanting to make its own profits.
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