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Owner of solar-powered home fights neighbor's trees, gains little ground - "Right to sunlight"
Tampa Bay - St. Petersburg Times ^ | May 20, 2012 | Will Hobson

Posted on 05/20/2012 7:21:57 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

LARGO — Last summer, Mike Zwalley put a $65,000 solar energy system on his roof. The system — a 30-gallon solar water heater and 44 black panels that convert sunlight into electricity — cut Zwalley's electric bill from $300 to $400 per month to $10 to $20.

About two months after Zwalley installed the system at his waterfront home off Indian Rocks Road, his next-door neighbor planted three cypress trees, each about 10 feet tall, along his property line.

Zwalley, a 58-year-old car salesman, was not happy. He had asked the neighbor, Wade Gibson, not to plant the trees there.

Zwalley found several websites that estimated the trees would grow to between 70 and 100 feet. At that height, they could cast shade on Zwalley's solar panels.

Gibson told Zwalley that he did not think the trees would get that big, but if they did, Gibson would take care of it, according to Zwalley.

That answer wasn't good enough for Zwalley. He called city management. He called state legislators. He called legal experts. They all gave him different forms of the same answer: In Florida, the law is not on your side.

It would be in a few other states, though.

As energy costs continue to rise, legal experts say courts should expect more battles over solar panels and a property owner's rights, or lack thereof, to sunlight.

"We're going to see more and more, and if it's on your rooftop or in your back yard, you're going to be concerned about your neighbor growing trees," said Scott Anders, director of the Energy Policy Initiatives Center in San Diego. "And growing trees is a good thing, right?"

If Zwalley lived in any of the following places,...

(Excerpt) Read more at tampabay.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government
KEYWORDS: environment; green; lawyers; regulations; sucker
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To: Pollster1
The US taxpayers are refunding 30% of his cost next April 15. The utility is paying him for contributing to their renewable energy assets in addition to cutting his utility bill - and charging his neighbors more to cover the “solar renewable energy credits”. I don’t know if his state or county gives him something too, but they might.

I held my temper last weekend when getting the song and dance from a president from a green company state he's all for the rich paying their fair share. Yeah, big buddy, how much are you paying your tax lawyers and accountants to find loop holes so you don't have to pay the same as I do? Nothing is stopping you from writing out a larger check to Uncle Sam. How much did your company get in stimulus hooey, aka my tax dollars, and when can I expect you to reimburse me? How many exceptions and credits are you getting which the rest of us are paying for? Yeah, big buddy, come down off that holy mountain.

101 posted on 05/20/2012 10:29:33 AM PDT by bgill
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To: EGPWS
Simple solution..... MOVE!

Or buy up all his neighbors so he can bulldoze everything.

I bet those new trees are helping with the neighbor's electric bill so is he going to help offset their costs? Just this morning, I watched the neighbor clip some of my limbs over on his side of the fence but didn't say a word because that was his side. A few weeks ago, I clipped some of his growing over my property. I don't tell him what he needs to do on his side and he shouldn't tell me what to do on mine.

102 posted on 05/20/2012 10:35:54 AM PDT by bgill
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To: MtBaldy

Not only that, but I have “never” seen any mainstream TRUE analysis of what the TOTAL result is of the balancing equation which describes the NET benefit/cost of any of these wonderful green solutions.

Even if they have been calculated, we certainly don’t see them published along with the description of the applications.

>Total pollution generated by making a standard size solar panel
>Total pollution generated by charging an electric vehicle
>Total pollution created by manufacturing the battery set for an electric vehicle vs a gas/diesel engine
>Total pollution caused by a hybrid versus a conventional vehicle of same size and capability
>Total REAL cost vz benefit of one commercial sized wind generator

etc, etc, etc


103 posted on 05/20/2012 11:27:12 AM PDT by CanuckYank
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

What a great deal $65000 most paid by the government. Would take over 10 years to break even at that point.


104 posted on 05/20/2012 11:28:56 AM PDT by Diggity
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To: SunTzuWu

I looked into these as I live in FL, 1/2 the cost was Tax right offs... The state also give you a few grand..


105 posted on 05/20/2012 11:31:02 AM PDT by satan69 (garden)
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To: ExTxMarine

Don’t forget about “Stronger and More Frequent” 150 MPH wind will solve the problem.... The guy lives on the beach so he will get the full force of the storms....


106 posted on 05/20/2012 11:36:40 AM PDT by satan69 (garden)
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Keep FR Running
Let's get to Yellow!

107 posted on 05/20/2012 12:02:57 PM PDT by RedMDer (https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/default.aspx?tsid=93)
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To: MtBaldy
In re idiots and Solar:

Anyone who lives in FL and doesn't use Solar Power to heat his hot water is an idiot. It is dumb simple and doesn't involve electricity.

All It means is that hot hot water constantly flows into your water heater so one doesn't need as much electricity to run it. Not exactly the surgery of rockets.

Now as far as using solar power to generate electricity, why not? It is heavily subsidized, replete with low interest loans, tax breaks, etc. etc. Zwalley has figured out, in essence ... how to charge his neighbor for his electricity! BTW, some slick used solar panel salesman really took this boob downtown on the price! And yeah, a nifty hurricane could remove it very efficiently.

The Maine dream is to "go off the grid" with hydroelectric. In the 18th and 19th century, the nation was choc-abloc with sawmills running off small streams and millponds. Perfect for low-head hydro installations!

In Ohio, Oklahoma, and elsewhere, farmsteads run off their own natural gas. Think outside the box! Utility powerplants and distribution networks waste 25% in just transmission and distribution.

108 posted on 05/20/2012 12:27:39 PM PDT by Kenny Bunk (So, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Roberts can't figure out if Obama is a Natural Born Citizen?)
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To: Sudetenland; exDemMom
Maryland benefits from a mostly maritime climate most of the year. There are exceptions of course ~ out in Western Maryland they have an arctic climate for several months!

What that means is you can have a heat pump system ~ just like most of the folks in suburban DC, and all down the Tidewater.

$200 a month for heat, cooling, hot water and cooking for several adults ~ with seasonal variation.

If you lived in the Subtropics or Tropics, your A/C cost would depend on what the local energy resources were. I have it on good authority that in Malaysia, where they have their own oil wells, A/C, cooking and hot water runs about $300 a month all year round (assuming you are using electricity). You can cut that back a bit with kerosene cooking systems, but not much. $100 a barrel oil means it gets exported to Japan ~ providing the country with a nice profit, but still costing the locals $100 a barrel PLUS taxes if they want to use it themselves.

BTW, they seemed to have invented taxes in Malaysia. A bottle of cheap wine you can get at WalMart for $2.70 a bottle would, if you could get it, cost another $22.00 per bottle for the excise tax.

The alternative to A/C is a sarong, lots of shade, avoidance of alcohol and eat sparingly.

They have a local problem there with spent hurricanes that graze India. They get slowed down and then spin out over Burma, Thailand and Malaysia for weeks ~ creating something more like a really heavy mist than a serious rain. You can sweat off a couple of pounds a day when that happens.

109 posted on 05/20/2012 12:39:32 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Mr. Zwalley, buy a diesel generator and STFU.


110 posted on 05/20/2012 1:31:02 PM PDT by Nowhere Man (General James Mattoon Scott, where are you when we need you? We need a regime change.)
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To: SunTzuWu

Capital cost will be recooped in 16 years 2 months based on an average savings of $335.00/month.


111 posted on 05/20/2012 1:32:37 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Scr*w you dude.If I want to plant trees on my property as long as they are not hanging over your property and are cared for they are none of your business.


112 posted on 05/20/2012 1:38:40 PM PDT by chris_bdba
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Scr*w you dude.If I want to plant trees on my property as long as they are not hanging over your property and are cared for they are none of your business.


113 posted on 05/20/2012 1:38:51 PM PDT by chris_bdba
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To: Pollster1

Depends where one lives. Most utilities have 86’ed solar subsidies and after the Solyndra debacle so is Uncle Sam. Solar has become a four letter word.


114 posted on 05/20/2012 1:39:02 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Zwalley sounds like a prepper, to me! He’s independent.

(And think how much it would bother all the liberals if our use of oil went down because a whole bunch of us chose to augment or replace our local electric company.)

Zwalley shouldn’t a have problem for a few years, though - and even then, for part of the day.

It appears that Zwalley removed a tree on his property that the neighbor liked because it shaded Gibson’s garage and yard - Gibson planted 3 trees that are likely to grow much taller than the oak.

The neighbor has the right to do anything with his own yard, but he is responsible for his intentional actions that create shade that covers *his* neighbor’s house and that solar array. Gibson was aware of the problem before he planted the trees, why didn’t he pick trees that wouldn’t grow so tall?

Or better yet, why not “shade” his own roof with solar panels?


115 posted on 05/20/2012 2:02:27 PM PDT by hocndoc (WingRight.org Have mustard seed, not afraid to use it. Hold Rs to promises, don't watch O keep his.)
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To: unixfox

How do you feel about the people who moved there *before* the airport was built?


116 posted on 05/20/2012 2:04:40 PM PDT by hocndoc (WingRight.org Have mustard seed, not afraid to use it. Hold Rs to promises, don't watch O keep his.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I imagine the initial installation is much more expensive than the subsequent replacement of just the panels.


117 posted on 05/20/2012 2:15:06 PM PDT by wolfman
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To: A.A. Cunningham

Nope, 30% tax credit/ rebate, through 2016.


118 posted on 05/20/2012 2:22:13 PM PDT by hocndoc (WingRight.org Have mustard seed, not afraid to use it. Hold Rs to promises, don't watch O keep his.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Two thoughts:

1. $400 seems quite high for a yearly average electric bill even for Florida.

2. If his high bill is due to air conditioning, wouldn't a tree canopy really help reduce those costs?

119 posted on 05/20/2012 2:27:27 PM PDT by CharacterCounts (A vote for the lesser of two evils only insures the triumph of evil.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

What a terrible waste of $65K. It will take him 16 years to break even not counting opportunity costs which would kick it up to near 25 years.


120 posted on 05/20/2012 4:45:45 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I can’t believe the guy murdered an oak tree to put the solar panels up!!!


121 posted on 05/20/2012 4:47:42 PM PDT by Borax Queen
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To: mvpel

But then he’d first have to be cured of his ecological disorder.


122 posted on 05/20/2012 4:48:49 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

First Hurricane to go ripping roofs off in the area is going to make a nice glass confetti of the panels.


123 posted on 05/20/2012 4:50:59 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: hocndoc

“but he is responsible for his intentional actions that create shade that covers *his* neighbor’s house and that solar array.”

Nope. Not in Florida.


124 posted on 05/20/2012 4:56:40 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: Sudetenland

Tell me about it. My bill this month was $296 and that was with a $98 credit. Of course, my bill is light, gas, water, trash pickup and sewage, plus a couple of other small fees.

By July and Aug, it will be over $400.


125 posted on 05/20/2012 5:32:07 PM PDT by packrat35 (When will we admit we are now almost a police state?)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

The guy is a fool.

Even if he really saving $350 a month on electricity this thing will never pay for itself.


126 posted on 05/20/2012 5:53:12 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

“Gibson told Zwalley that he did not think the trees would get that big, but if they did, Gibson would take care of it, according to Zwalley.

That answer wasn’t good enough for Zwalley.”

What a great neighbor “Sue-First, Ask Questions Later” Zwalley is.


127 posted on 05/20/2012 6:13:51 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: muawiyah

>properly treated the ROI computation will be quite beneficial to him.

Don’t try to sell me on that ROI computation unless you are willing to buy this cheap bridge I have for sale - it has a GREAT ROI :)


128 posted on 05/20/2012 6:54:01 PM PDT by bill1952 (Choice is an illusion created between those with power - and those without)
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To: SunTzuWu
With all the gubbermint subsidies and credits, he isn't paying that $300 per month--we are. Savings, my a&&.
129 posted on 05/20/2012 7:07:03 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Stalwart
On his roof, wearing flip-flops.

Aren't flip-flops, like, Florida's official state shoe?

130 posted on 05/20/2012 7:09:22 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: mountn man
Did he get a tax credit? That would reduce that 65K to about 35K if he got 55% off of fed tax.

Suppose inflation hits and energy costs double. Suppose energy gets hard to get at any price.

Now, re-do the figures.

Planting those trees, of that type, seems really spiteful.

131 posted on 05/20/2012 7:11:59 PM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

What is Zwalley so effed up about? He’ll be dead before those trees could be large enough to have a significant effect on his solar power.


132 posted on 05/20/2012 7:28:24 PM PDT by Post Toasties (Leftists give insanity a bad name. 0bama: Four years of failure and fingerpointing.)
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To: Rebelbase

I understand that is the case legally. However, morally, he is.


133 posted on 05/20/2012 9:25:30 PM PDT by hocndoc (WingRight.org Have mustard seed, not afraid to use it. Hold Rs to promises, don't watch O keep his.)
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To: Gay State Conservative
As the wise sage, Kermit has said: "It's not easy being green."
134 posted on 05/20/2012 10:47:00 PM PDT by gigster (Cogito, Ergo, Ronaldus Magnus Conservatus)
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To: SunTzuWu

It also assumes the money was free.


135 posted on 05/20/2012 11:17:49 PM PDT by DB
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To: Sudetenland
Welcome to the real world of living in the South. In Houston I've been paying over $300/mo. for a couple of decades during the summer months--which run from mid-April-October.

I'm from California. I recently moved back to Maryland after spending 3 years in Texas (near San Antonio). I have *never* had bills over $300/mo. Now that I'm back in MD, I have had some "shell shock" over a couple of bills that were over $200--higher than I've ever paid.

To me, high bills suggest that the house isn't properly insulated. There are plenty of things one can do to reduce one's electric bill.

136 posted on 05/21/2012 3:34:19 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: Gaffer

Another idiot.

First off the sun is probably pretty much over head most of the year. Secondly, a $65,000 system should track the trajectory of the sun, it looks like his are passive and straight up. And lastly, someone has already pointed out that Mr. Solar will break even in 18 years.


137 posted on 05/21/2012 5:01:15 AM PDT by nikos1121
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Judge - "Hmmmmm..."? Whos "right's will I trample on today?" "On one hand we have a friggin moonbat that has turned his home into a Frankenstein of an eyesore for his neighbors and on the other hand we have a neighbor that has an excellent solution to his problem without burning down his neighbors house or taking him to court to get him to beautify his home."

"Aaaahhhhh.... What to do? What to do?"

"WAIT JUST A MINUTE! Did I just say that the tree planting neighbor was wishing to by-pass the court system to solve his problem? OOOOOOOH that really pisses me off. How dare he think he can resolve issues with others without my council?! If everyone solved their own problems I wouldn't have a job. Jerks like this don't have any rights. He's friggin lucky I can't have him drawn and quartered. I'm going to give him 30 minutes to remove those trees or else he'll be fined a million dollars a day. Ha... That'll even make der fuhrer mr. obomba happy. Imagine how happy he'll be when he sees how I've increased his revenues and handled this dissident.

I'm so smart. Maybe I'll be his newest czar or his next Supreme Court nominee?..."
138 posted on 05/21/2012 6:02:55 AM PDT by Whats-wrong-with-the-truth (Romney (aka - obomney)... Just put the (D) behind your name and be done with it.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"Mike Zwalley put a $65,000 solar energy system on his roof."

LOL... $65,000 to save $300 a month? Damn... It's going to take him 18.5 years to realize a savings.

Do solar panels last that long? LOL...

What a friggin moron.

139 posted on 05/21/2012 6:07:18 AM PDT by Whats-wrong-with-the-truth (Romney (aka - obomney)... Just put the (D) behind your name and be done with it.)
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To: muawiyah
"An even easier solution is to plant something that harbors pests that like to eat your neighbor's trees.

Or, simply cut off any branches that extend over your lot ~ lawful everywhere in America if not in most of the world.
"

I think you're missing the point. This putz is ticked off that Johnny Appleseed didn't get his permission before planting his trees.

I'll bet a years wages the moonbat sun worshiper didn't get Johnny Appleseed's permission to place that big ugly solar wart in the middle of the block.

Liberals are such hypocrites. They kick sand in your face then get made when you get up and kick their a**.

140 posted on 05/21/2012 6:17:03 AM PDT by Whats-wrong-with-the-truth (Romney (aka - obomney)... Just put the (D) behind your name and be done with it.)
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To: Whats-wrong-with-the-truth
Sure he did ~ if he had zoning that allowed a rooftop installation then he had permission and that came from the gub'mnt that all of these people voted for.

BTW, do you have windows in your house?

141 posted on 05/21/2012 6:23:26 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: SunTzuWu

assuming he survives a hurrican that wipes out the power grid (again) he will be a-ok.


142 posted on 05/21/2012 6:46:38 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: bgill

there are local areas where there are “shade overflow” laws. Just like X amount of drain/rain water has to stay on property, so too does shade. IOW you can’s make a neighbor’s house in complete shade.


143 posted on 05/21/2012 6:54:48 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: muawiyah

True. But, United States Postal Service.


144 posted on 05/21/2012 6:59:34 AM PDT by Lazamataz (The so-called 'mainstream' media has gone from "biased" straight to "utterly surreal".)
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To: Lazamataz

Could be. But you know best eh!


145 posted on 05/21/2012 7:31:52 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: unixfox
This numbnuts reminds me of people who move close to an airport then complain about the noise
We got that same mentality in my area. Yrs. ago people who bought houses near the Orange Cty Speedway. Every Sat night during racing season they complain. Some dumb yuppies from NYC moved in to the overpriced mcmansions built near the onion feilds in Pine Island. They complain about slow moving farm vehicles disrupting traffic and the pesticides the farmers use are killing their children. Not to mention, especially during the hot humid days the unmistakable aroma of cow manure in the air. HEY SCHMUCKS! You chose to live next to farms, what did you expect? What's incredible is, according to NY law, any realtor who sells property adjacent to a farm must disclose these potential drawbacks and inconveniences in writing.
146 posted on 05/21/2012 7:48:58 AM PDT by Impala64ssa (You call me an islamophobe like it's a bad thing.)
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To: Impala64ssa

actually the issue becomes when is the zoning changed or what was the area zoning.

usually a race track or concert stadum has to get a varience. Or if it is built next to an undeveloped residential area then the track is on notice of the future issues they will have.

In this case, there is a “solar access” this man paid for. What were the rules regarding home heights? permitted vegitation? fences? shade overflow? There are also laws for “tree fall” if a large tree falls over it can only reach so far into the next lot.

It is a very sloppy article written by someone who should only be writting about kitten fashion shows.


147 posted on 05/21/2012 7:59:01 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: BookaT
I would prefer to be self sufficient even if it meant I spent a little MORE for electricity than having to rely on the electric company.

Apparently you and many others are unaware that solar panels only provide worthless power (nonpeak). He is just as dependent on the grid to get (expensive) peak power in evening as you or I. The other travesty is that he gets full price for the power he produces even though it is not needed by the grid. That jacks up everyone else's rate just so he can feel good about himself.

148 posted on 05/21/2012 8:12:19 AM PDT by palmer (Jim, please bill me 50 cents for this completely useless post)
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To: muawiyah

149 posted on 05/21/2012 8:16:33 AM PDT by Lazamataz (The so-called 'mainstream' media has gone from "biased" straight to "utterly surreal".)
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To: Gaffer
battery replacements

Nope. He has panels and sells worthless off-peak power to the grid at full price when he has sun and no failures (probably spins the meter backwards). Then at peak period in the evening he draws from the grid at the same price, except that is peak power and costs more. If he actually stored his power in batteries that would be commendable but none of those jerks do that, they just scam the other ratepayers and feel smug about it.

150 posted on 05/21/2012 8:17:38 AM PDT by palmer (Jim, please bill me 50 cents for this completely useless post)
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