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Rooftop Solar Companies Cash In on Government Handouts
Townhall.com ^ | July 24, 2014 | David Williams

Posted on 07/24/2014 5:35:33 PM PDT by Kaslin

You can’t help but hand it to them – rooftop solar companies have quite cleverly found their way onto the government’s gravy train.

For years Washington has subsidized rooftop solar installations for customers in the form of the Solar Investment Tax Credit, which allows homeowners who install rooftop solar panels to receive a tax credit of up to 30 percent of the cost.

The subsidy has been one of the many ongoing ways in which the feds insert themselves into the energy marketplace. And while it has hampered efforts to achieve real energy independence in the U.S., and has therefore caused real harm to our economy, it nevertheless has met a legitimate need for homeowners desperate for some relief from high energy costs.

But rooftop solar companies – most of which, like SolarCity, Corp., are political connected and favored – have created a scheme to claim the tax credit for themselves. These companies discovered that if they lease the rooftop solar systems to homeowners, the companies themselves can claim the federal tax credit as well as all state and local incentives.

Evidence is now pouring in that this scheme enriches these companies and their Wall Street investors at the expense of homeowners and taxpayers. Worse still, customers who are persuaded to sign onto these leasing programs are finding they reduce the value of their homes.

To the homeowner, the initial deal looks like a good one. SolarCity waives upfront fees and secures outside financing for customers to lease their units. Standard leases last twenty years. Because the customers don’t own the solar units, they are not entitled to the federal tax credit - SolarCity is. A tax credit is essentially a creative way for the government to give someone money – in this case, Wall Street-backed companies – without the dyspeptic display of actually handing over a wad of cash. The arrangement gives SolarCity 20 years of tax credits per customer.

And, in typical Washington crony capitalist fashion, SolarCity was founded and is run by a friend and major donor to President Barack Obama, Elon Musk.

But some may not see the harm. The customer is still getting a deal, right? Not necessarily. Most of the promised annual cost saving from rooftop solar systems are associated with owning, not leasing the system. What’s more, as Bloomberg has reported, “[f]or people who own rooftop power systems, solar adds value to the home … Leased systems are another story because they’re considered personal property rather than part of a house. For many potential buyers, a solar lease is a liability rather than an asset.”

Saving $50 per month on your electricity bill would be nice, but not if doing so devalues your house by $10,000 - $15,000. A homeowner would have to realize 200 months or more of those kinds of savings to make out on the deal. But SolarCity starts collecting on day one.

It’s become an all too familiar story: politically favored companies work the system to enrich themselves and their wealthy investors at the expense of taxpayers and consumers. If Washington has any genuine interest in protecting consumers, they’d blow the roof off this scheme.


TOPICS: Editorial
KEYWORDS: electricity; resident0bama; solarpanels; taxcuts

1 posted on 07/24/2014 5:35:33 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

I had one talk me into letting them into my house. The solar electricity system was $65,000 and a water heater was $14,000.

The numbers they used to cost justify the thing were so far out of the ball park it was amazing.

Of course they counted on huge govt subsidies to entice me.


2 posted on 07/24/2014 5:38:53 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Kaslin

Solar power works best when the sun is shining. In warm climates, keeping a home cool in summer is a major challenge.

You have at least a couple of options:

1. Install roof-top PV solar collectors, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, and use the electricity they generate to power your air conditioner.

2. Paint your roof white, at a cost of a few hundred dollars or less, and reflect most of the sunlight away, before it has a chance to heat your home.


3 posted on 07/24/2014 5:50:37 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: driftdiver

There was a demo on. They said solar would never reach a reasonable price for consumers. Subsidies are forever!!


4 posted on 07/24/2014 5:52:22 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Kaslin

a Win Win, right?

until the ice storms hit..

and the climate turns gray..


5 posted on 07/24/2014 5:55:26 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi - Revolution is a'brewin!!!)
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To: Sacajaweau

They tried to tell me my electric bills for the next 10 years would exceed $58,000. I wanted to ask if he thought I was Al Gore.


6 posted on 07/24/2014 5:58:37 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Kaslin

BIG GOVERNMENT IS CRONY SOCIALISM


7 posted on 07/24/2014 6:39:25 PM PDT by PGalt
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To: PGalt

What about when a state gives a company tens or hundreds of millions in tax breaks and incentives to move to their state?

Isn’t that also cronyism?


8 posted on 07/24/2014 6:43:32 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: Kaslin

The hell if I’m going to let ANYONE pound nails (or drive bolts) into my excellent, non-leaking, roof.


9 posted on 07/24/2014 6:53:28 PM PDT by BobL
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To: Kaslin

How do solar panels fare in a SHTF scenario? From global monetary collapse to EMP? That would be the only reason I would get one.


10 posted on 07/24/2014 7:03:37 PM PDT by Captainpaintball (Immigration without assimilation is the death of a nation)
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To: driftdiver

Just wait until they try to trade in their precious little electric cars...


11 posted on 07/24/2014 7:47:30 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA
3. plant trees!

Under the leaves is a good 15° drop in temp!

12 posted on 07/24/2014 7:48:27 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: driftdiver

Just wait till you start paying the carbon tax pass through from your Utility. $58,000 over 10 years may not be too far off.


13 posted on 07/24/2014 8:02:17 PM PDT by Go_Raiders (Freedom doesn't give you the right to take from others, no matter how innocent your program sounds.)
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To: Kaslin

Gotta love the pic. It is from Germany. Look aat the license plate on the car in the garage.


14 posted on 07/24/2014 10:37:35 PM PDT by AirForce-TechSgt ("The American Indians found out what happens when you don't control immigration.")
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To: GeronL; All

Special arrangements/corporate welfare/crony-fascism-socialism schemes-incentives-breaks, etc., etc….carried out by the FEDS, the states, the cities, the criminals in our midst. Kwame Kilpatrick imprisoned ex-mayor of Detroit was good at it. Bastiat (1801-1850) wrote about it... “The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.”

How to Identify Legal Plunder

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law — which may be an isolated case — is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry is thus able to spend more and to pay higher wages to the poor workingmen.

Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.

Legal Plunder Has Many Names

Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole — with their common aim of legal plunder — constitute socialism.

Above all, if you wish to be strong, begin by rooting out every particle of socialism that may have crept into your legislation. This will be no light task.

/Bastiat


15 posted on 07/25/2014 12:02:32 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: AirForce-TechSgt
The American Indians found out what happens when you don't control immigration.

And the wooly mammoth found out what happens when another species invades your borders; too!

16 posted on 07/25/2014 3:14:36 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: AirForce-TechSgt
Gotta love the pic. It is from Germany.

http://media.townhall.com/townhall/reu/ha/2013/240/2013-08-28T111252Z_1_CBRE97R0V5U00_RTROPTP_3_GERMANY-ELECTION-ENERGY.JPG

17 posted on 07/25/2014 3:16:49 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Kaslin

How do you re-roof a house with all those solar panels up there?

And what happens to them in a hurricane?


18 posted on 07/25/2014 3:22:03 AM PDT by Fresh Wind (The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.)
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To: Captainpaintball
How do solar panels fare in a SHTF scenario? From global monetary collapse to EMP? That would be the only reason I would get one.

Then you need just a couple panels plus batteries in the basement or crawl space. If you use solar for anything more than Fridge/freezer and incidentals you are wasting lots of money. for example, solar electric heating will not work at all. Solar A/C is at least feasible but still too pricey. The only reason solar works at all is massive subsidies by rate payers (net metering) not mentioned in the article.

19 posted on 07/25/2014 3:28:58 AM PDT by palmer (This comment is not approved or cleared by FDA)
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To: Fresh Wind

Same answer to both your questions. I lugged a bunch of 4x4’s to the roof and mounted my panels to those (they cross the peak). They just rest on the roof so they can be moved for reroofing. Also no holes in the roof. And they have not budged even in 60-70 mph gusts.


20 posted on 07/25/2014 3:31:12 AM PDT by palmer (This comment is not approved or cleared by FDA)
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To: Fresh Wind
I assume the roofers have to take them off.

And what happens to them in a hurricane?Or tornado, I would think they be flying all over the place probably hitting people

21 posted on 07/25/2014 4:19:12 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Elsie

“3. plant trees!”

Yes, indeed. I was going to add that, but thought I should keep my post as brief as possible. Several municipalities have “sunshine” (or some such) laws, which require property owners to cut down trees that shade a neighbours roof — where the neighbour wants to install solar power. (There have been FR threads about this topic.)

It’s tough to chose the stupidest government regulations; but these bylaws have to come near the top. Someone has free cooling (thanks to their neighbour’s shade tree), and uses the iron fist of government to force his neighbour to cut down the tree — so that he can spend tens of thousands of dollars installing solar power, to attempt to provide as much cooling mechanically.

Oh, and they also want government grants for this folly.


22 posted on 07/25/2014 12:13:18 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA
It’s tough to chose the stupidest government regulations; but these bylaws have to come near the top.

And that's why I live in the country; outside of all government control (and quasi ones; too) except for county, state and federal.

23 posted on 07/25/2014 1:41:42 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: palmer
Wow.

Thanks for your reply.

24 posted on 07/26/2014 1:39:31 AM PDT by Captainpaintball (Immigration without assimilation is the death of a nation)
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To: Kaslin
Golf-ball to baseball sized hail?
25 posted on 07/28/2014 10:09:38 PM PDT by tdscpa
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