They’re Getting Paid to Reproduce!

15 Apr

I keep hearing about “get rich quick” scams…

In fact, at one point, I’d won over $1.2 Billion dollars in lotteries I never bought a single ticket for! Plus, I had hundreds of millions of dollars in Nigerian Bank money left in my control to distribute to poor widows and orphans! Imagine that! I’m sitting in Mississippi, trying to just survive each month, and all this time, I was a billionaire, and I didn’t even know it! LOL!

nigerian_scamI even got checks in the mail for thousands of dollars, so I could become a secret shopper! All I had to do was deposit the check in my bank account, wait for it to clear, and then send the bulk of the cash to some obscure post office box, in Outer Hicksville, USA. Yeah right, like I’d do that!

And I keep having people ask me if there is any truth to the rumor that you can actually make money with your photovoltaic panels.

No, it’s not a Nigerian Lottery scam. I’ve talked about “net-metering” before. In fact, I ‘ve talked about it several times. But we’re not talking about “net-metering” this time. We’re talking about the thousands of dollars that American families make from the subsidies paid to people generating renewable energy.

Here’s a typical example;

I just read that Bill Ball decided to hitch a 9,900-watt solar-panel system to his 4,000-square-foot home three years ago. Now, he had some real hard decisions to make, but he made them.  Even though the Sergeantsville, N.J., couple got a generous 70% subsidy from the state, they had to borrow from their retirement savings to pay the balance, a total of almost $20,000.00.

In retrospect, however, “it was the best decision we ever made,” says the Ball family. The panels lowered the families cost of electricity to be sure. But, the Balls also earn between $6,000 and $7,000 annually from the photovoltaic panels, according to news sources.


Here’s how it works:

Each year, the state of New Jersey provides the Balls with SREC‘s (Solar Renewable Energy Certificates), which represent the cost of offsetting pollution-generating energy. The Balls then sell the certificates for between $5000 to $7000, on the open market to brokers or electricity suppliers who are required to invest in solar energy under New Jersey’s Renewable Portfolio Standards.  They usually get upper market value for them. They have no trouble turning them into cash income, let me tell you! It’s cheaper for the utilities to buy these certificates, than to actually underwrite solar energy programs.

It makes a difference come tax time, too! Having this added income is especially helpful as the Balls’ 7 acre homesite  costs  $13,000 a year in property taxes.

“To me, that $19,000 investment on the roof is the equivalent of having a rental property, except you don’t have a tenant,” Mrs. Ball says.

So forget that “mother-in-law” apartment! Put photovoltaic panels on the roof, and then put some money in your pocket! You’ll never need to evict an unruly boarder  again!

Now that we have THAT figured out, we can address the second most common question I get about “alternative energy…”

How do photovoltaic systems actually work?

Here’s the “Readers Digest Condensed Version” of the answer;

pv-system

PV Panels

On sunny days the photovoltaic panels convert sunlight to direct current (DC) electricity which can be used to charge batteries or to supply loads.

Charge Controller

The charge controller manages the efficient charging of the batteries using the DC energy from the pv panels.

Batteries
DC energy mane by the photovoltaic panels is stored in deep cycle lead-acid batteries. Just like the batteries in your flashlight, this electricity is then released on demand, for instance, when no charging energy is being produced (like night-time).  Like a bank account, energy put into batteries over a period of time can be taken out more quickly when needed. Like a bank account, you cannot take out more than you put in. Moreover, lead-acid batteries need to be quickly 100% re-charged to remain in good condition. They should not be drawn down below 50% , because this harms the lifespan of the battery.

Here’s the “nuts and bolts” of batteries;

Battery life can be estimated by average depth of discharge and by time to full recharge. A battery with an average of 30% depth of discharge will last about 1,200 discharge/charge cycles, or about 62% longer than the 450 cycles at 50% average depth of discharge. A battery with an average of 50% depth of discharge will last twice as long or more than if it uses the maximum 80% average depth of discharge. Got it?

Inverter
The inverter converts the DC energy from the batteries or panels to 120 volts AC for standard house loads.

Generator

A generator can be fueled by bio-fuel (our personal favorite), diesel, propane gas, or gasoline. It is another source of AC power for heavier loads and a backup for charging the batteries when there is insufficient sunlight.

And remember, there’s still wind power, hydroelectric power via tidal generation, geothermal power production…

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance RoninAnd please remember that we’re trying desperately to save this blog. As my wife’s illness worsens, the budget gets tighter and tighter. If you like what you read, and it helps you find your path, please consider hitting the Paypal button, and donatining a few bucks to the cause, okay? We really want to keep this blog going!
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