DIYer’s PV Solar Panel Watch, Buy at cost thanks to your Government!



This short article is all about a call I got yesterday, and the price I was offered for panels  per Watt! $.78 (78 cents USD) per watt.  Sure, you know the advertisement above is sucker bait, why would you ever attempt to build a panel when they are nearly giving them away right now!

You saw your Government use your money to fund the housing Market to death, now you can take advantage of  their efforts to fund the Solar Energy Market to death, and of course it’s your money they use… again!  Following is how you might take advantage of yet another diaster they created. 

It’s likely prime time to make decision to invest in Solar or not. You could buy at fire sale prices thanks to Politics.  And there’s no paperwork, and no hurdles to jump over.  Yes! You can literally buy at prices below the manufacturer’s cost of production and transport to their warehouse. Should this be any surprise to you? Isn’t it exactly the same as the >People< in Government meddling in the housing market?  didn’t they do it to win the popular vote?

Just yesterday, a house and acerage that was on the Market in Enumclaw Washington for $1.2 million, was sold for $380,000.  Slice it any way you want, the root cause was people in government running a ‘give away’ program, and of course they did it with our money. Freddie and Fanny was totally empowered to help win votes. Even the Indian Immigrant driving a cab bought a home twice as grand as mine! Zero down, no interest, no citizenship, who cared, it was your money they were loaning out.. and now we watch them duplicate the effort in Green Investments.. and get away with it, you know there’s little chance anyone will go to jail.

If you buy the spoils of the real estate collapse, you may find yourself paying high property taxes.. who knows what these people will do to remain in power next? Certainly, they won’t stop telling  young voters who have no clue… that they won’t be passing out free candy this year.. or will they?

There’s several ways to invest in Solar, first, you need to know if you live in a decent area for solar PV, and you need calculate the KWHs you might collect, and know the basis for your investment. It’s one thing to deceive others, as many in Government do, but to deceive yourself? That’s NOT something a DIYer does.. Haven’t we learned you are best off investing the time to understand a mechanical or electrical device BEFORE we attempt to fix it? We need do the same with our personal investments.  Remember that gizmo you took apart where the little spring popped that small part into the deepest recesses of the junk in the corner of your shop! The warning about that spring was in paragraph three of the page up had up on your work station… remember?

Here’s the Solar Play.. and how you might go about it…

If you buy a professionally installed Solar System for the fortune they charge, you might receive a contract to sell back the power produced for what seems like a very favorable price. The DIYer passes up his opportunity to do his own install and to buy equipment at going out of business prices. We are left to wonder about the value of the dollar in 10 years, remember the 70s and what happened to our dollar? If that contract is not tied to the going rate of a KWH, what will your investment be worth?

The DIYer’s best play is to buy components at fire sale prices, and use his skills to add value. That’s where Solar Panels appear to be right now thanks to Government meddling. But, you don’t buy panels at any cost and make a decent return if they are stored inside your barn. You need a plan to put them to work unless you choose to speculate on the panels rising in price, and that’s a gamble.

But what about all the other important pieces you’ll need? An inverter, Batteries, wire,  material to support the panels, a controller?

I’d consider designing a system that expands and evolves as you go.. consider a roof full of panels with proper gauge of wire leading to a panel where you can configure the panels from series or parallel operation as you need in the future.

Let’s say you own an automotive repair shop, with a great southern exposure, the angle of the roof is close to what you need to fix the panels at, so your DIY fabricated racking is minimal. To start out, you could use an inexpensive Modified sign Wave inverter to power your overhead lighting and possibly more, and if you have a lot of hot water usage, you might use an electric element in the lower part of the hot water heater as a ‘dump load’ perhaps even a separate tank ahead of the electric one? If you live in a dry area, solar power might be used effectively to run a swanp cooler and fans.  From here expand your system.

Before you invest, know that one person I know had his homeowner’s policy canceled because he built an ugly wooden structure that looked like scaffolding attached to the house. The Insurance agent knew nothing about solar, but he knew it looked unprofessional and he canceled the policy!

A favorite Alternative Energy Friend ended up in a contest with his local authorites, they were just unfriendly to his idea of experimenting with AE, so he ended up buying an old van and using it to mount the panels to. It sits in the yard looking far more ugly than his origional plan but legal 🙂 The next contest came when he wanted to put up a wind turbine, the authorities objected, so he bought an old truck with a boom and man lift to mount his wind turbine on. I don’t suggest you do this, but I do suggest you fully research before you buy.. and.. take advantage of the fire sales on the way.  I bought some Outback MPPTs for about a third of retail price, I have one in service, and I’m very happy with the performance..

This  is the end of the article, what follows are more musing and rants about A.E. .. book mark this page an return in two years..

Most who frequent here have some years under their belts, we are old enough to know the cycles of the markets, we’ve seen commodities go high in price, and then back down again. But perhaps there is something new in the air?

It wasn’t that long ago that German Politicians were faced with the problem of pacifying a huge voter block demanding a Greener Future. The result was FEAR….. fear of being voted out of office by people who have no clue about energy, how to meet their demands?

German Politicians responded with a Government subsidy that paid nearly 100% of the cost of installing a Solar PV system on a German residence.  When it’s free, who cares how the investment is maintained? who cares if a tree sprouts in front of your panel array and grows to give your patio needed shade in the summer?

Yes, it’s now  history, and we watched the Germans create an incredible demand for solar panels, and we need ask, who doesn’t want to buy when it looks free? The cost of Panels  rose, as it always seems to do when demand goes up. Soon the panels were over $6 a watt, and if you have the business sense God gave a chicken, you might realize the German public is now carrying that debt.. instead of free, they essentially drove up the stock price and bought at the highest price we’ve seen thus far, brilliant! It reminds me of the Tanks Germans built in WWII, some were so heavy, they couldn’t take them across bridges to where they needed them… but now we Americans attempt to copy what they do, the powerhouse within the EU, perhaps the only one?   We are left to ask.. What might have happened if they left German Citizens to make their own Solar Investment decisions?

Today, we can order Solar PV panels for a fraction of the price, can you believe .78 cents USD a watt! and a lot of it has to do with a destroyed industry.  Artificial demand, or even one big order for a product has destroyed a lot of companies in the past, whether it be widgets or tooth picks, and huge spike in demand can wreak havoc on entire industries!  Many of these failures have to do with people in power attempting to remain there by doing the popular thing which is often the opposite of the smart thing.

Imagine yourself as a retailer buying a mountain of PV panels at less than half the street price! $2.99 cents delivered! Wow, how could you lose?

But, let’s look forward a little,  we know the uninformed are unwittingly driving up the price of electricity through their insane votes to place wind farms in already Green Energy Hydro Markets, and effectively taxing themselves into expensive energy. (Example Washington State).  It may be a self full filling prophecy.. that the life blood of our economy becomes expensive…. yes, you were wise in locating in an area blessed with abundant green hydro, but it doesn’t mean your elected officials can’t ‘sell off’ the advantage. Remember Montana Power? the eight percent dividend people earned on their stock every year for how long? Yes, it was the CEO who traded off a large interest in the company for the crap on wall street that had seen a 30% rise in price value in just one year!

People in Washington State, like the present Governor and others in Politics are effectively dong the identical thing Montana Power did..they are selling off the golden goose, and forcing the rate payers to invest in power plants that will never provide a return on >their<   investment! the real winners are the foreign entities that build the equipment, and all the palms that get greased up front. It’s popular with the kiddies that vote, but soon they’ll understand it has become their heavy burden, it will be proven a diaster shortly.. just like the housing market!

Here’s my thought, lead and copper have been high, not all that long ago, I bought >new< surplus deep cycle batteries for less than the current scrap lead price per pound! Copper is still high, but we need ask.. will commodities cycle?

My conclusion…if you ever considered PV, if you are wise enough to look up your area with the ‘on line’ PV tools and know you could effectively make a return on investment on PV…. Now might be a good time to buy. You will effectively be taking advantage of the Government Subsidies in the smart way, you will be buying the spoils created by an insane Government subsidy that created spoils for less than the manufacturer was delivering the panels to the distribution facility for!

Today, I’m sure you can visit websites of Politicians and popular environmental sites, where they praise their own efforts for forcing PV and other green energy investment.  In reality they helped to destroy an industry, and they hope you aren’t smart enough to follow the string.  The reality is.. I know people in the Solar Industry who were doing quite well BEFORE government intervention. At present, the larger jobs are government installs, and of course, we the tax payers are footing the bill, so it really doesn’t matter if the investment is viable does it? Most of the PV solar business has had the life squeezed out of it..

Consider buying your PV panels surplus now, and shop carefully for the other components, There a number of ‘going out of business sales’ and those large lead acid fork lift batteries might be on the action block, calculate the weight of the electrolyte, the steel case, and bid on it according to scrap. Remember, there are several technologies of batteries, you likely want the old designs that have been giving some off gridders more than 25 years of service. You will be taking advantage of the Government’s meddling in the Market, by buying spoils created by their bad decisions driven by their desire to remain in power at any cost to you.

Last night I was talking to a Friend, California came up, one for the larger economies in the world, they are deeper in debt than Greece, worse off than Italy by a large measure and some say they’re too big to fail 🙂 Fact is they have already failed!

It reminds me of a boat being too big and too well-built to sink, we know where the Bismark lays, We know where the Titanic lays… if only we could magically levitate them though the front gate of the local scrap dealer.. think of the value of the copper alone!

In closing, anyone that pays money for the construction plans to build a PV panel deserves to be fleeced, but the real problem is these same uninformed people vote!

And why the mention of DIYer in the title?

I suggest you study the price of PV panels and equipment, look at the subsidies offered, and then consider what it takes to have the panels professionally installed and certified for any kind of rebate, subsidy, or other compensation, it’a a HUGE increase in cost over what a DIYer can install for, and do it in steps where you need not pay any interest.

Perhaps you need look at who is promising the return or subsidy, whether it’s tied to the face value of the dollar, the potential for inflation, and other things that could happen.

I know one guy who bought a rather small PV Array installed for $100,000.00, contract in hand to sell the KWHs back to the power company at a good rate with a cap per month. It would be interesting to pencil out what you could DIY install the same PV plant for today. What happens if inflation duplicates the Jimmy Carter years? What will he buy with those returned dollars in 10 years? The cost of repairs, will his equipment be discontinued, who will service it? How likely is it that the key supplier of the Solar Equipment was driven into Bankruptcy already via Government meddling? Perhaps there’s a promise made by your Government to use your social Security money to rescue his investment if things go sour? ….lucky you!

As we make assessments of Government promises, we need reflect on their past promises, social security put in a lock box? sure thing! They just pulled a half billion out and handed it to Solyndra.. Ohh you say you’re tired of hearing about that? Well, you’ll eventually find out that most of (your forced investments) by the DOE are just like are on the hook, not the person who heads the DOE.  Yes, the same money you paid in via your social security deductions were handed over to companies who were contributors to political campaigns AND who had exceedingly flawed business plans to make a product to be sold at a price the market can not afford to pay..

Investing now under the terms of rebates might be a disastrous decision compared to doing your own project and buying at fire sale prices when the opportunity arises.

We have a Government that has no problem running guns, (of sure.. they’ll do what is necessary to save face on the surface, but the fall guy will likely be well paid for the fall, and you’ll never notice he’s living so well after he takes the fall.  Buying votes, robbing social security, all kinds of grants to supporters, forcing you to pay for it all, and now forcing you to join their healthcare plan, and younger people will line up for it! An Assistant Coach took advantage of kids at Penn State,  some of our politicians do a similiar thing with our kids, they have no idea they’re being screwed.

There’s only one logical play if the voters continue to vote for the impossible dream like California, Greece and Italy. If you are there and can’t move, You must become as independent as possible. A big part of this independence might come through selling off what will be too expensive to own in a few years, that might be a large home in the south, or one in the North that no one can afford to heat in 10 years. Maybe you sell the American dream before politicans sells you? Got a big gas guzzling boat? A house with an energy bill twice as big as the mortgage payment? Maybe it’s time to find a new owner?

A battery idea.. some large  fishing boats have decent size battery banks, these are the same batteries used in off grid locations. Many of these boats change the batteries out after a good fishing season, they can’t risk less than flawless performance, and if the year was good, perhaps the accountant will tell them they need more investment in the boat to keep from paying the FEDs too much? look for oppurtunities to buy good batteries from those entities who purchase fresh battereis at intervals.. you’ll need to offer more than the scrap man.

As I close, I am so happy with my decision to power our place in the central mountains of Washington off solar.  Puget Sound Energy has a transformer at the front of the property, I met with the rep in the area, and he told me how it was going to be.. I could place my house up front and close to that power transformer, and eat the dust off the gravel road, or pay thousands for a transformer, buried wire, and labor to run a distance greater than 200 feet. I thought of all those minimum bills when we weren’t there, over 15 years now.. times 12 months, and the never ending payments for ever…

I used Outback components, I did the install myself, a friend helped me set the solar mounts, the rest was pay as I went. The system has met every demand I’ve placed on it. The outback equipment was designed and sold by people who know Solar Power inside and out.  I bought outback equipment because it works so well for folks in the outback in Oz and Kiwi Land, and here in North America. My investment will prove far wiser than the political victory at the Wild Horse Wind Farm, our children love all those big white monsters that don’t seem to be making power when I drive by.. couldn’t they at least paint them earth colors so they don’t mar the landscape?

comments, scroll down, I’d love to hear it..

have a great day….

George B

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2 Responses to DIYer’s PV Solar Panel Watch, Buy at cost thanks to your Government!

  1. Will, the tinkerer says:

    George, there is not one thing you have said above that I do not agree with 100% It warms my conservative, common sense heart to read it! Perhaps enough people will wake up this time around to elect decent people to office but like you said, once in office, if all they do is related to their political career and getting reelected, our country will suffer some more. Too bad elected officials cannot be punished retroactively for robbing Social Security! When officials see large sums of money tucked away for a specific purpose, they can get what I call dollar sign blindness. Blindness to what it will do to those that expect that money to be there when needed. Blind to the working stiff who has to pay extra SS to make up for the missing money! Blind to doing the right thing both morally and by law! OK, I’ll get off my soapbox (or whatever it is that I’m standing on! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a real soapbox!

    • George B. says:

      Will, Perhaps people will care more after it’s too late.. We are DIYers, our time is coming, we should trim the sails as much as reasonable. The folks who may be really screwed are those who need to hire all things done for them.
      who knows..

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