Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It won't be long now.

You know what bothers me most about this whole green energy fraud? Some might think it's the billions of tax dollars wasted. It isn't. I'm used to the government stealing my money, and buying 800 dollar toilet seats.

It's the fact that Steven Chu came straight from the board of directors of a semiconductor company who's philosophy is that every computer part will one day cost a penny. Oh, I know these board of director posts are mostly about political influence. Still, I thought the board of directors could, if needed, make valuable decisions about the company in which they hold a board seat.

So, how do you resolve an energy secretary who seems completely oblivious to propping up a sector who's mandate is to keep prices high to support the industry. When he just came from a place who's mandate was to keep prices low to gain market share. Either a Berkeley degree isn't as great as you think it is - or he is a flat out fraud.

Even more irksome is most of Silicon Valley's overall philosophy is doing things better and cheaper to undercut your competitors.

Oh Snarkolepsy, you are crazy - you say. They would never want to keep prices high. If the price comes down, green energy can compete with fossil fuels. This is what they want.

If that were true, they wouldn't be bitching about China undercutting the US. They would welcome it. Like they did when China made TV's. We all like cheaper TV's. Right? We all might buy solar, if it were cheaper. RIGHT?

Then this morning I read this:

"Sacramento is one of two U.S. cities set to participate in a massive energy-efficiency project assembled by British business tycoon Richard Branson.

The plan would pour an estimated $100 million into retrofitting commercial buildings in Sacramento. The company running the project, Ygrene Energy Fund of Santa Rosa, estimates the plan could generate upwards of 8,000 construction jobs for the city."
Read more here.

I almost dismissed this article with a roll of the eye. Self I said - who cares if they are doing it with private money. That won't last long because they are basically just making shit up. "Projections" are not reality.

Still, I was a little curious about Richard Bransons new brain trust. I'm glad I did actually. It makes car salesmen look absolutely saintly.

"Focusing mainly on commercial property at first, the group plans to exploit a new tax arrangement that allows property owners to upgrade their buildings at no upfront cost, typically cutting their energy use and their utility bills by a third. The building owners would pay for the upgrades over five to 20 years through surcharges on their property-tax bills, but that would be less than the savings. " Read more here.

Ooooooh! They are pushing PACE again. Thanks Berkeley. It starts getting good here though. They go on to say:

"Short-term loans provided by Barclays Capital will be used to pay for the upgrades. Contractors will offer a warranty that the utility savings they have promised will actually materialize, and an insurance underwriter, Energi, of Peabody, Mass., will back up that warranty. Those insurance contracts, in turn, will be backed by Hannover Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies."

Why......if prices came down, surely they could easily make good on a warranty that savings will materialise. Wait,there is more!

"As projects are completed, the upgrade loans, typically carrying interest rates of 7 percent, will be bundled into long-term bonds resembling those routinely issued by governmental taxing districts. Barclays will market the bonds. Retirement funds have expressed interest in buying these bonds, which will be repaid by tax surcharges on each property that undergoes a retrofit. " Here.

Hey, maybe CALPERS could invest. Seriously though. A 7% interest rate? What kind of effed up credit do you need for that mauling? Oh wait.

•Underwriting is fast and easy with no credit check required.

This is from the Ygrene Energy Fund website!

So, you are telling me that homeowners have no upfront cost. The city or Branson, front's the whole price. Your house is now unsellable because it has a lien on it. When the cost of solar finally does come down and the cities can't hide the fact that they overpaid for all of these installations, bondholders will be on the hook once again.

Honestly... what is not to love?


  1. I've wanted to start a solar company for a few years. Most of the cost of solar is on the installation, if you could do it yourself it hasn't been t hat bad of pricing for a while. I live in rural area where there is no regulation so I don't have to have unnecessary high priced workers like engineers. I looked up solar pricing, it is easy to find for 1.50-2 per watt. Not saying it is the best it could be, but you are talking like 15k do it yourself.

  2. Sounds like a good way to lose your shirt.