Solar power is finally within reach, but not for long

Pubblicato il 5 lug 2019
Only 1.9 million US homes are powered by their own solar panels. That’s because they're expensive, right? A huge federal tax credit and lower material costs may finally make solar the right choice in 2019. Verge editor Sean Hollister explains why he took the plunge.
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*Correction: At 1:04 there is a typo. 'Conneticut' should be 'Connecticut'. We apologize to all Connecticuters. Thank you Gabriel Sanchez for the catch.
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  • What else should the world do to make renewable energy spread further and faster?

    • Kinetic energy maybe, it'd work on Coastal areas. Maybe put underwater turbines in the oceans under currents.

    • @David Armstrong Big improvements in energy storage are definitely one of the best ways to solve all these problems. Because the price of solar and wind just keeps falling already. As do batteries, but it a slower pace.

    • Your going to want those batteries. Trust me...

  • Solar and EV tax credits are welfare for rich people. Furthers wealth inequality in our country. You should feel ashamed.

  • Hey guys I’m a solar salesman who works with Sunrun and Vivint, if you are looking to go renewable but don’t have the money to invest in panels, look up a PPA! You can switch to solar power for $0. Simply buy purchasing the power itself from the panels instead of purchasing power from coal plants. And it’s cheaper so you save money immediately!

  • What kind of fuzzy math is this??? You say panel setup cost 12740, and your old electric bill was 200, then divide to find payoff, that implies zero electricity cost going forward - but then later you state you still need to buy electricity at night, and the net metering doesnt cover full amount -so what are you actually still "Net paying" to the utility? Furthermore, the 100-->200 elec cost is nowhere near realistic if you were paying over 100 in gas - gas is way cheaper than electricity on a btu/$ basis.

  • A 5K system is nothing...

  • Title is really misleading.

  • go solar

  • If it requires a tax credit to be cost effective, then it never was. Its called freeloading. Of course its wealthy people freeloading so we call it responsible investment.

  • I don’t get the title of the video. Why isn’t it in reach for long? Even with lower tax credits in the future, overall cost per kWh decreases over time. So long term it will become more affordable for even more people, not fewer people.

  • For the cost: you should also estimate the repair cost, it may be more expensive than the power you use in few months if you face any bad weather than damages the panel...

    • panels last through hurricane winds, and baseballs going 80mph bounce right off them

  • @The Verge - I suggest adding the time value of money to your financial considerations. Muy importante.

  • At least one area of the sustainable future we are ahead on here in Australia. If only we can drop the coal fired power stations and start incentives for EVs.

  • First of all, I need my own home... ;-)

  • Good. The "incentives" are just stolen money anyway. If solar is a good idea, let it stand on it's own -without subsidies.

  • Can't recommend The Verge as a proper youtube channel when the people behind it are so petty

  • Man that is expensive there. I installed a 6.4kw system here in Australia for $5100 AUD. Looking at doubling my capacity now as we run a home business.

  • I work for solar and I can tell you it is not good for the environment lol. Your solar panels will stop producing as effectively after 25 years making you need to buy new ones! Also none of the parts of the solar panel are recyclable!

  • How much does it recoup that cost. This is one way of media bashing Solar Panel by using how long does it take to pay back, instead you could pay the government for rest of your life for cheap, how does that sound? Rest of your life is better than freedom.

  • Utah averages $26000 for 5kw of solar.... Still way overpriced! That price is from two separate quotes I got last year.... Doubt it changed much this year.

  • the last question, how climate change is going to change all that? some places will be unhabitable because of heatwaves others because sea rising, maybe the whole planet will be unhabitable

  • Don’t forget depreciation of money and Solar polar

  • Conneticut? Typo?

  • Other countries: I see that you are putting solar panel's on your house and we are going to help you cover some cost Usa: YOU ARE STEALING OUR SUNLIGHIT YOU NEED TO PAY FOR IT

  • solar is future

  • yay. 60% of the roofs here in MN

  • This title needs "in the USA" at the back. Sorry but, half of your viewers are international. Oh well...

  • But what if I want to sell my house in 5 years?

  • Now is the perfect time to instal solar, you can’t beat the tax credits.

  • The tax credit is going partly because the industry itself is maturing with cost dropping

  • I'm going with batteries. My calculations show, that the levelized cost per kWh of stored electrical energy is about $.10 per kWh, if every bit of energy was coming from batteries. But, the batteries only have to supply about 14 hours of power during summer, and as high as 18 hours during winter. Thus, since the batteries are not supplying the power during the day,(when the AC is on and you're doing laundry), a battery with a capacity equivalent to a full 24 hours with no other supply, is about the right size, to get the lowest cost per kWh. That calculation seems to work with everything from cheap golf cart batteries, all the way up to the super expensive, but super long lasting Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. The fact that the batteries DON'T supply the house during daylight hours, reduces that to about $.08 per kWh. That's on par with our lowest tier billing, and well below our secondary rate,($.114 per kWh), and our tertiary rate.($.144 per kWh) The extra capacity is good for those cloudy days, where I may need to dip a little deeper into my battery capacity. Even though it seems unnecessary to have that much capacity, bear in mind, that batteries will last longer if you can consistently keep them in the upper half of their state of charge. Reserve capacity is always nice, as well. If you install much more than that, particularly with Lead Acid, you can easily reach the point of diminishing returns, because of calendar life. Lead Acid is best sized, for your highest 24 hour day of draw. I don't intend to go off grid, the grid will connect to the system in the form of a large harmonic power factor corrected battery charger. It will by a tertiary source, after my panels,(primary source)and battery bank.(secondary source) As a bonus, should I ever need it, I have a selection of portable generators which can also be used for battery charging, in case there's a snow storm, that knocks out grid power, and completely covers my panels. Those generators will come in handy,(if grid power isn't available) because I will have a "defrost" feature, that will back feed the panels, and melt the snow off by heating them up electrically. I've tested the concept, and it works extremely well, but, it uses an enormous amount of energy.(about half what the panels can produce on an overcast day)If I do it early in the morning, the panels will generate back the power I used by the end of the day, and then some. The big benefit would be the panels being fully exposed the following day, where they can bring the batteries back up to full charge again.

  • Batteries are worth it. You're obviously looking at premium house batteries and you don't need high performance batteries for house power walls as the C rates are so low.

  • Tesla battery is also subsidiesed by the government. It comes out pretty cheap after incentives.

  • Also electrical costs go up nation wide by 3-6% every year. Some places will see even higher rate jumps due to local/regional growth, and reduced viability of fossil production options.

  • I disagree about not installing the battery. I have a 4.5 KWh battery. On a real sunny day it charges really fast. But if there’s shade in the middle of the day and you put on a high use appliance, you’re not pulling from the grid. But instead from the battery and the solar panels. Same goes for charging my car on a cloudy day, once the battery is charged I can pull say 400 watts from the battery and 1KW from the solar to maintain the minimum amount of power required to charge the car. So for me solar without a storage battery makes no sense. Especially if you work 5 days a week and nobody is at home during the sunniest time of the day.

  • „Good for the planet“ Has an electric boiler, one of the most inefficient systems you can get (which is just straight up forbidden in Switzerland for new installations for that reason).

  • SPOILER ALERT: If you are not from USA, this video has nothing to do with you.

  • Nuclear power is the only way to safe the planet

  • Should be the first and easiest push to combat climate change. Make solar affordable and offer incentives. Just have to have politicians who are not backed by oil and coal companies.

  • That's the government you've elected for yourselves. Removing benefits of taking active steps towards sustainability. Well done.

    • Non-base-load power generation isnt about sustainability, it's about virtue signaling.

  • termal solar (sanitary) is more rentable.

  • It will (hopefully) take of after the 2020 election!

  • WAIT did you confused tax credit with tax refund? Tax credit means you wont pay taxes on that amount, it does not mean you get that amount erased... am I wrong?

  • Let’s all quibble about the cushions in the lifeboats of the Titanic. Everything isn’t measured in dollars and cents. We are cooking ourselves with fossil fuels.

    • Besides new industry, new job market. Money spent, will be money earned. Millions of dollars don't just disappear after it's spent. They put a price in things like it just costs that disappeared from the system. Some where some one gets paid when the government spend money. Why not filter that money from the bottom up.

  • But did you make sure to use Allen wrenches and antistatic wristbands?

    • Are the anti static wrist bands because of all the static you get from the doubters?😜

  • I bought 7kw of used solar panels for way less from Santan Solar and learned how to make a yard mounted microgrid for pennies on the dollar.

  • My house ain't covered in solar? Hows it within reach bro till you can buy a panel at walmart it ain't within reach.

  • Soon I’m afraid we’re going to run out of the rare earth minerals to produce these. Hopefully they don’t go up too much in price or we find a more suitable alternative

  • Charlie Day really let himself go...

  • Why don't you put "in the US" into the title?

  • $16k - you're being ripped off! In Australia a quality 6kW system costs less than half that before rebates, and about $4k USD after them.

    • Not entirely true, as in Australia the government takes your power but gives you little to no credit vs most U.S. states have better net metering policies (but up costs with red tape fees).

  • Why is solar so expensive in the USA?! I got a top quality 6.5kw system installed in Australia for USD$5200.

  • See credits as a bonus only. If you install solar you need to not think about the credit and make sure that the choice is smart regardless. Government credits come and go and are very unstable and you don't know from one day to the next if they'll have it. Same with FIT programs they come and go all the time so you don't want to depend on it. If you have enough space for enough solar panels to go off grid then it's a non brainer. It's lot of work though, because you have to take snow off them every morning.

  • Its DIY doable to go off the grid these days. EV batteries make this all possible now. I`m off the grid for 2 years now and will never look back.

  • Wait.. does Trump know about these tax cuts?

  • Forgot to include annual loss per year in cell production. Also cost to clean cells to keep peak performance. In NJ I spend $500 average per month. My calculated ROi was 8-9 years after all tax breaks. Not worth it. I do better returns in stocks. Also I even calculated if panels were free. Still barely worth it. Most of the cost is install and then your annual loss, limited lifespan of cells, annual degradation of performance.

    • My power bills are half that, and, I'm doing solar and batteries. Much less volatile than stocks, even if I run lithium ion batteries!😁

  • so this video is irrelevant for everyone living outside the us.

  • The largest source of energy on Earth is solar energy so of course this is the future. Only greedy fossil fuel companies and those corrupt politicians paid by them are fighting this progress that will actually help save the world.

  • Good, clear, concise video, but where did you get the $200 per month figure at 1:59? Around here, a good assumption is three hours per day at peak rated solar power output on average. If you live someplace like Arizona it might be twice that. Even at five hours per day with your 5 KW solar panels, you'd need to be paying your local electric company 27 cents per Kwatt hour. The national average is 13 cents per KW hour. It's 20 cents in California. June is typically a peak solar month in the US. Are your pre-purchase estimates viable in this peak solar month? What about six months from now at a solar minimum?

  • And only relevant for mericans. Next!

  • The reason solar is still too expensive for most Americans in 2019 is because 2/3 of installation costs are installer overhead and profit and the maximum tax credits can only be claimed when using a professional installer. If I could get the same amount of tax credits for a DIY installation I would already have solar.

    • McNoodles Do you want it for free ? lol. You can diy solar for 70 - 90 cents per watt in US if you smart about where you get the parts from.