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Renewables Fail the Cost Test, Again

Old Nam Vet Wrote: Jan 27, 2013 1:52 PM
I'm a certified energy auditor with over 30 years in contracting. I have yet to find a photo-voltaic installation with under a 30 year payback. Solar hot water may make a 15 or 20 year payback, but that is out the window with the cost of natural gas backup going down. There is only one product "Solarwall" out of Canada that has a legitamite payback of under 15 years. The application is often hard to find, but when it does it works great. Even then we can't always find the right application. We haven't really tapped the envergy conservation market. Most energy upgrades have 20 year or longer expected life and therefore can't be amortized very quickly. A real problem for commercial building owners.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just released their Energy Infrastructure Update report, which shows how much new electric generating capacity was installed for 2012. According to the report, renewable energy sources (biomass, geothermal, solar, hydro, and wind) accounted for 49.10% of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed in 2012 for a total of 12,956 MW. More than a quarter of that new capacity (25.29%, or 3,276 MW) reportedly came on-line in the month of December 2012 alone and wind led the way in 2012 with 164 new “units” totaling 10,689 MW.

Advocates of renewable energy are likely cheering...

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