If demand is strong without a rebate, why waste taxpayer money? Sounds like they've done what they need to hit that target - establish a robust market where people can take control of their own energy future by affordably investing in solar energy.
That's a misstatement on my part. 75% of households do not have a suitable rooftop for solar power. They rent, they live in shade, etc...
No, it's true that the vote was contentious and so is the ongoing process. But I think it's important to note (from the story you linked to) that Xcel is only willing to deal when the city stop exploring its options. They want a captive audience, which is why I think the city has to keep contemplating giving them the boot, even if they haven't officially yet.
When I originally did the research in mid-2011, that new data wasn't released. I stand corrected.
@Anonymous - I wrote that wrong. The simplicity and value of the FIT contracts and the participation of the KfW bank has provided low cost financing opportunities not available in the U.S.
@ThePhoenixSun Great questions. CLEAN programs in the U.S. are largely like Germany's, where you get the price for ALL energy production, not just for on-site consumption (this is not net metering). There were a couple exceptions (one Indiana program and the Iowa one). A comparative map would be great. I didn't include it in the report, but here it is: http://c1cleantechnicacom.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2011/08/average-electricity-price-by-state.png
Foiled by the European convention with using periods as a thousands separator. I fixed that glaring error in Germany's solar output. Apologies!
You're right, I did misunderstand the tiers. And my misunderstanding led to a drastic underestimate of the value of solar under PG&E's TOU plan. Update here: http://energyselfreliantstates.org/content/electricity-priced-hour-boosts-distributed-solar-value-third-or-more
Thanks for all the recommendations about the log scale. I'm not going to replace it in the post, because I'm not convinced that the accuracy is worth the potential loss of accessibility. But for you log scale loving nerds, here's the log scale version:
I pretty much use NREL's PVWatts for estimating output. For Los Angeles, for example, that's about 1500 kWh AC for every DC kW of capacity. I also include panel degradation of 0.5% per year.
Two thoughts. First, with solar leasing and other 3rd party arrangements, solar can be more costly than grid power as long as the lease/PPA has an escalator that is forecast to be lower than grid power inflation.
And second, it's not always purely an economic decision. Or folks may be willing to expect longer than a 25-year project life...