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Okay, let's consider some of that:

First, sure, for the usual renewables, need either storage or transmission lines across continents and/or oceans. So, assume renewables need storage.

=== Home Batteries?

For residential electric power, why have home batteries instead of grid batteries? Likely grid batteries will be cheaper due to economy of scale and also, due to parallelism and better engineering and maintenance, better reliability.

=== Wholesale Electric Prices

We need to keep in mind, for someone in the US paying their local electric utility 12 cents per KWh, that the wholesale price on the grid is surprisingly low. E.g., at

http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/update/wholesale_mark...

can see that the wholesale price is often, depending on geographic location and time, ballpark 1-2 cents per KWh.

That's a current reference, but as I recall not so many years ago the wholesale price was commonly 0.5 cents per KWh.

Lesson: In the US, electric power, the actual power itself, as generated, at the plant, and ready to put on the grid, is surprisingly cheap. So, talking about something cheaper has some challenges.

So where does the rest of the 12 cents go? Sure, to running the grid.

=== Charging for a Grid Connection

So, basically, assuming the wholesale price of 2 cents per KWh, for an electric bill of $100 at 12 cents per KWh,

     (10/12) * 100 = 83.33
dollars are for basically just the grid connection alone.

So, if you tell your electric company that you want to use their power only when there is two feet of snow on your roof, then they will have their public utility commission let them tell you that, fine, and now, the good news, your cost of electricity is reduced from 12 cents per KWh to 2 cents per KWh but, the bad news, there is now a flat fee of $83.33 per month for just the grid connection itself.

Else, ballpark, the electric company loses money, and the public utility commission doesn't much like that.

=== Rugged Rooftop Solar

Roof-top solar will need to be more reliable than asphalt shingles or will need to be replaced, say, each 10 years due just to wind and weather.

Just the labor cost for the replacement will be significant even if the panels are just dirt cheap. If they are cheaper than asphalt shingles -- terrific! Somehow I doubt that rooftop solar panels will be cheaper per square foot than shingles; ask the shingle guys -- I doubt that they are worried!

Gotta keep those solar panels in good shape. So, ballpark need a new roof each, maybe, 10 years.

=== Off the Grid!

Suppose want to have no grid connection at all. Four issues:

(1) If want electric cars, then need one heck of a slug of electric power and the grid again. Else get to drive for groceries maybe once a month. Look up the arithmetic -- e.g., for charging stations, we're talking megawatts.

(2) I'm skeptical that rooftop solar can drive whole house A/C in warm climates. Then, what about the standard summer afternoon thunder storms -- the A/C will be pulling one heck of a load out of the batteries.

Uh, a lot of the load on A/C is not to cool the air but just to condense the humidity as the air cools and keep the humidity nicely below 100%. So, even if the thunder storms cool the air, the A/C still has to remove humidity.

Sure, a totally sealed up house, no air leaks at all, an air to air heat exchanger, special windows, fantastic insulation, etc. can work wonders (if you are not over a radon source), but only a tiny fraction of houses were built that way.

(3) How to heat the house in the winter, say, the snow last winter in Boston? No sunlight to the solar panels for days. So, no electric power even to drive the pump for burning fuel oil.

(4) If want electric heat in the winter (and I believe we should hope for that), then will need the grid again, at least when have two feet of snow on the solar panels. Then for the grid, will be back to that $83.33 a month fixed charge for the grid connection.

=== Cover the US SW

So. sure, cover the US SW with solar panels. Also put wind turbines on the Rockies, all over Kansas, etc.

Assume all this is for free, both capex and opex.

Now, what will the batteries cost?

And the conversions between DC and AC?

Net, we need to hear about not just cheap solar panels but about a lot of really cheap batteries.

Also we're talking paying for those batteries -- capex plus opex -- with ballpark 1 cent per KWh, maybe less, in wholesale electric prices.

=== Tests

To me, the OP fails both the sniff test and the giggle test.

=== The Hidden Agenda

So, what's really going on?

I smell carbon taxes and, net, higher electric bills. No thanks.

=== High Speed Trains

Japan has high speed trains. So do the Chinese. So does France. Just get on board and zip to your destination -- clean, modern, quiet, smooth, comfortable, fast, safe. Right?

Wouldn't you really like to see lots of high speed trains, a nice grid, connecting all the important US cities? Pride of the US! Great for the US infrastructure! Benefits beyond ability to count! Changes everything! Why have we waited so long?

If China can build high speed trains, then surely US engineering can also. Is there something wrong with US engineering; does it need to catch up with China? Do we need to wake up US engineering? Why does the US want to fall behind China?

What to do with the carbon taxes? Sure, high speed trains, general revenues, etc.

=== Cost/Benefit Analysis

Of course, there are problems with the US Federal Government building high speed trains: About 100 years ago a lot of people saw that could build big water resource projects and make the desert bloom.

So, smart real estate entrepreneurs, buy up some cheap desert land, have the Feds build a big water resource project, make the desert bloom and that land valuable, sell the land, and retire rich, all from the generosity of the US taxpayers.

Well, that situation, I didn't actually call it a scam, was the case a few times too often, and then a law was passed about "cost/benefit analysis". Before such a project, had to add up all the costs and all the benefits "to whomsoever they may accrue" and have the benefits bigger than the costs.

Presto. Bingo. Right away that little ratio killed off nearly all the Fed funded water resource projects.

For high speed trains? In the US, nearly all projects for public transportation of people lose buckets of money and would get a grade of flat F on any reasonable cost/benefit analysis. Indeed, in a course I took, the optimal decision for the Baltimore subway, already built and ready to roll, was just to brick up the entrances and f'get about it because, even counting the capex as $0.00, the project failed cost/benefit just from the opex.

States and cities can fund high speed trains, but the Feds can't.

=== Summary

The OP is not about solar panels. Instead it's about something it never mentions -- carbon taxes.

Watch your wallet.




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