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Comment: Re:Well done! (Score 1) 425

"root causes" would have been more appropriate, as you hinted. They have little to do with the schools, IMHO, but rather the environment outside the schools. Taking kids out of that environment as much as possible in their earliest, most formative years is not something most openly want talk about much. Pay teachers all you want, give them the most creative or proven curricula and materials and beautiful classrooms, and it won't make much of a difference. Give children a solid support structure outside of school if you want to make a difference. But its much easier to blame it on the schools and keep it focused there.

Comment: Re:And by negotiate ... (Score 1) 85

What they do between now and the proposed merger date should have no bearing on the decision. It should be based on what they've done before the application was submitted, and what they commit to doing long term after the merger is approved. But somehow they'll probably do some superficial things to squeak out an approval.

Comment: Re:Billionaire saved by taxpayer (Score 1) 102

Interesting article. It does make a good point about the government not getting its due returns on such an investment, yet ignores the complications of government ownership in a business and how that might lead to interference one way or another. I think it might be a good idea for the government to have loan requirements that payback proportionally more if the company's value grows, or stock held in some escrow like account that is not managed by the government, but pays out to them at predetermined times. Somehow, the government ownership part needs to be avoided.

Comment: Re:Ok.... Here's the thing, though ..... (Score 1) 480

by Mr D from 63 (#49509587) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

IMO, there really are a lot of solar installs driven primarily by leasing companies collecting all of the tax credits on the installations -- and that probably needs to be put to a halt. A lot of people are getting these systems put in based on false promises.

Yeah, I agree. I also worry about some warranty enforcement and replacement costs for substandard installations. I bet some of those leasing companies or other installers are installing the cheap stuff, and will out of business before things start breaking down. OTOH, maybe panels will be a lot cheaper and therefore less costly to replace, but labor and other costs tend to rise.

The leasing companies should take all the risk and be able to show they have the resources to cover them.

Comment: Re:Ok.... Here's the thing, though ..... (Score 1) 480

by Mr D from 63 (#49509555) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

It just seems like making blanket statements or full-blown efforts to restrict PV solar is unreasonable, given the reality of the situation.

And in general, there are no full blown efforts to restrict PV, rather most are efforts to change the feed in and purchase requirements & some to reduce incentives, they just get reported as attempts to stop them completely or kill solar, its just no reality. One problem is that there really is no practical way to separate the two systems and have the house disconnect on run only on solar part of the time without feeding back to the grid. And solar is strongest in the middle of the day when many homeowners are at work, not using much power, and justify the cost by knowing their power will be sold back at retail if it is needed or not. Hawaii is a unique case that doesn't apply elsewhere, as they have high power costs because of lack of access to natural gas, coal, or nuclear, so they have always had very high power costs, so there is more incentive to use solar. The grid is isolated so there is less of a 'reservoir effect' to dampen then impact of renewable variability and intermittent. Not the same situation at all on the continent.

Regarding large scale solar, the large projects make more sense from a public policy standpoint, as then the power is available for all instead of the few that can install residential solar and get the taxpayer to cover a large part of their costs. Meanwhile, lower income folks in apartment buildings (or anyone who doesn't have roof access or good exposure) have no chance of similarly getting their power paid for by the taxpayer, only large scale projects allow them to participate in some way. Also, since large scale solar is much less expensive (about 1/2) than residential solar, it would make more sense to spend our tax money there and get more for our $$.

Comment: Re:Ok.... Here's the thing, though ..... (Score 1) 480

by Mr D from 63 (#49505319) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

. The only real "fluctuations" you get with the output are based on the day's weather conditions. If you compare my panels to my friend who lives on the other side of town and has a PV solar installation, our daily power generation numbers are within 2-3KWh of each other, and the hourly rates on a graph look almost identical.

Consistency across town is not predictability. What is unpredictable is how much solar power is going to be produced during any given hour of any day in a region. That varies widely and can be predicted only as accurately as we can predict weather in general, not good enough for companies that work hard to ensure the correct balance of generation is on line or in reserve at all times. Actually, it would be better if you and your friends peaks and valleys were different, because when that are the same they are additive, making the fluctuations worse.

An unrelated issue that the utilities are complaining about that purposely gets left out of these articles, is that they are often forced to purchase that power at full retail rates, and abandon power available to them at much lower rates. If those forced purchases were at the going wholesale rate (not really the right term but easier for the sake of this point), the companies would be able to cover the cost of manage abandoned reserve (which must remain available) and still make a little money as well. What is referred to as trying to force homeowners to abandon power is really just wanting to reduce the incentives to what they think makes more sense overall. The solution may be somewhere in the middle, but right now solar residential owners get it all, forced retail power sales regardless of whether it is needed or not, and taxpayers footing as much as 40% of their power bill.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling