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  • Utility Rate Changes An Ominous Sign For SolarCity [View article]

    >>Banker fails to recognize this basic truth.<<

    Perhaps Banker is being more perspicacious that you think.

    >>The days of having competing sets of lines from a variety of companies disappeared forever in the first several years of electrification after everyone realized how unworkable it was to have competing technologies and redundant transmission systems.<<

    Until the mid-2110's when monopolistic transmission systems where encouraged to be as inefficient as possible because, the greater the inefficiency, the higher the cost; the higher the cost, the higher the price; and the higher the price, the higher the salaries of those monopolistic transmission company executives, (some of whom do nothing much at all; some of whom get in the way of what the other some are trying to do; and the rest will do something as soon as they wake up). Remember, inefficiency is profitable.

    Maybe we need a "competing sets of lines from a variety of companies"... or, at least, a competing set of power producers competing for the right to sell power using the grid as a regulator-set price-regulated utility for transporting the power it sells through it.
    Dec 22, 2014. 02:04 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Utility Rate Changes An Ominous Sign For SolarCity [View article]

    >>Do I have an economical alternative?
    As far as the grid is concerned, we know the answer to that question is a resounding "no" except with a few rare exceptions. <<

    For those who like to plan ahead, there is another question:

    "Given my circumstances, at what price points will I have an economical alternative?"
    As the all-in cost of solar continues to come down, more solutions become economical.

    And it's not always just about break-even or better economics. Some homeowners will gladly pay a premium as a kind of "insurance" policy against various events.
    Dec 20, 2014. 02:11 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Micron: A Big Value Story Most Of The Market Is Missing [View article]

    Paying a dividend increases the cost of buying back the remaining convertibles. So until that has happened, no dividends will be declared.
    Dec 20, 2014. 01:37 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Utility Rate Changes An Ominous Sign For SolarCity [View article]

    >>Do you have the present, average split between what percentage of elec bills are derived from fixed costs and what from usage? Wouldn't we need to know this number to make assumptions on how much fixed cost increase the utilities can make?<<

    It depends on the utility.
    Some utilities provide no generation, just transmission.
    Some utilities provide only generation and sell it to a transmission utility.
    And some utilities provide both. Even with the ones which provide both generation and transmission, the cost split between the two varies greatly. Picture the difference between Niagara power, which generates electricity from turbines powered by the falling water of the falls, and Twinkleberry Power (I made that up) which generates power from coal and gas. Vastly different costs.

    Here in Nevada the utility uses mostly gas, some coal, a tiny amount of solar. Depending on who you ask, and who does the calculating, transmission costs run about 55% to 75% of total costs. Delivered cost varies greatly and right now is about 13.1 cents per kilowatt-hour.

    The current Southern Nevada system billing system has a fixed monthly charge of $10 plus per kWh charges, credits and taxes that add up to $.131115/kWh.

    For a typical homeowner using say, 200 kWh a month that comes to $26.22 plus $10 or $36.22 a month. The $10 was intended to cover fixed costs but doesn't even come close at 28% of the bill. The utility could not get any more pushed though the regulators.

    It will get closer as time goes on. Next a $15 monthly charge and a variable charge of $21.22 a month. Then $25 fixed and $11.22 variable or roughly 70-30 which is about right.

    At a $25 a month charge people will complain but no one is going off grid economically at that price so the grid gets paid for and is safe from abandonment.

    But that's still not fair. What about a big home with two pools, two saunas, a steam room, four fountains and thousands of light bulbs on the ground, in the trees and on the chandeliers. Say that guy uses 10,000 kWh/month. $25 plus a lowered kWh charge of $.052/kWh is a bonanza for that guy. It lowers his bill from $1320 a month to $545 a month.

    The problem is that the more energy you use, the more you need the grid and the more it is worth to you.

    If you have solar, and you use the grid connection for back-up, here in Nevada it works this way: You have two meters. One measures your solar generation and runs backwards. What you don't use immediately, goes into the grid for storage. You don't get paid for it but you can take it out at any time (night time say) for free.

    So that big guy is using the grid as a giant battery storing hundreds of kWh and paying the same as someone who stores one or maybe three kWh from time to time. If you try to make that big guy pay his fair share, you will drive him off the grid because he can do it economically and securely.

    I don't personally see a solution that is fair to everybody. Someone has got to get the raw end of the deal. Or a lot of someone's getting a lot of the raw ends.
    Dec 20, 2014. 12:21 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Utility Rate Changes An Ominous Sign For SolarCity [View article]

    >>I just got new meter a year or so ago so they could read the meter from the road.<<

    Next year maybe you'll get one like mine which reports its readings over the internet continuously.

    Untouched by human hands.
    The robots are coming! The robots are coming!
    Dec 19, 2014. 10:46 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Real Is The Off-Grid Solar Threat To Utilities? [View article]
    Good job. CA. You mention some, but not nearly all, of the considerations which come up in building a rooftop solar system designed to take the house off the grid completely.

    The first thing which anyone intending to try this must realize is that it is a process. During the process you will learn lot. Some of what you will learn is about things you need which you hadn't planned for; which won't fit; which cost too much; etc.

    Two preliminary thoughts:

    1. If you have been talking to leasing salespeople (SolarCity, Vivent, etc.) and you have not been reacting with disgust at their obvious attempts to manipulate you with a bunch of horse-hookey, especially their numbers, quit. You're too naïve for this project.
    2. If you are on a budget, quit now and save yourself the trouble of having to quit when you realize that it costs more than you planned.

    If you want to go off grid and can afford to indulge yourself then:

    1. Plan it carefully. Use whatever resources you can get access to: architects, contractors, friends with solar systems, google, read - read - read.
    2. Do not expect your plan to survive its first contact with a contractor, a purchase, or the next thought you will have. You will make hundreds of plans only the last one of which will get built.
    3. Build the system flexibly. The design will evolve as you build it.
    4. Build it so that if something goes wrong, you can handle it. Remember, everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

    There is more I can throw out, but I got tired just thinking about it.

    PS. I found one of my best sources to be a former pot grower who had to generate a lot of power for his growing operation and stay completely off the grid so that the cops could not follow the large electricity draws straight to his grow.
    Dec 19, 2014. 05:02 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Micron: Extreme Undervaluation And Massive Growth Potential [View article]
    That is true.
    Dec 19, 2014. 10:21 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • GT Advanced Technologies: Judge's Sign-Off Of Apple Settlement Sets Company Back On An Old Course [View article]

    Well done again. Thanks.
    Dec 19, 2014. 10:09 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Micron: Extreme Undervaluation And Massive Growth Potential [View article]

    >>RSA, is it true that if I put in a sell order with a good until cancel with a price say at $50 that Schwab in my case cannot use those shares?<<

    Probably not but they would still be reported as institutionally owned if that is what you're getting at.
    Dec 19, 2014. 09:39 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • More About The Intel Investor Meeting [View article]

    I agree with almost all of your take on it.

    >>If Intel wishes, they will sell hundreds of million of SSDs into the client and server markets;<<


    >>...the decision is theirs alone...<<


    It is also possible that Micron proprietary IP went into whatever is disruptive about the cost process. Then the decision is a joint decision. Given the way these two have been saying all nice things about each other, especially about how intact the relationship is, I would say that joint IP is probable.

    Intel sells enterprise SSDs right now.
    Micron sells client and some enterprise SSDs right now.

    Intel has been using the phrase "disruptive cost". Micron has not, unless I missed it. That gives me a clue that part of what is disruptive about the cost is the ability to fabricate it on a small process node which others (Samsung, TSM, etc.) can't match.

    >>...and that decision is probably already made.<<

    Disagree with the "probably" part. That decision has certainly already been made or Intel and Micron could not be playing nice with each other as they are.

    My guess:

    Intel will take all the enterprise market that it wants, mostly all of it.
    Micron will take the client market and fab the SSDs in its own fab at 16nm using the part of the disruptive nature of the technology which does not rely on lower size than Micron can handle.

    The new PC technology will be Intel inside processor+xyzMB SSD on a chip. If xyzMB (say 248 MB) isn't big enough for you, you can buy a Micron SSD (248MB to 1TB) as your second non-boot drive.

    My guess could be all wrong but I'll bet dollars to jelly donuts that Micron is sharing big in this disruptive cost 3D NAND drive.

    Maybe I need to rethink that? Do jelly donuts cost more than a dollar now? OK, I'll bet dollars to peanuts (one to one) that Micron participates.

    On another note, you guys have jointly succeeded in driving me insane. I bought some options today. Yes, Bruce, they were LEAPS.

    I may buy more if I like the price, strike, expiration, etc. I don't know yet what the "etc." part is.
    Dec 19, 2014. 01:19 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Utility Rate Changes An Ominous Sign For SolarCity [View article]

    I've made that same argument to utility committee legislators, regulators, and utility executives. I get Edison Institute white papers from the legislators; nothing from the regulators who no longer take my calls; and, sometimes, sensible discussion from the utility executives.
    Dec 19, 2014. 12:00 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Micron: Extreme Undervaluation And Massive Growth Potential [View article]

    >>MU's 97% institutional ownership?<<

    That is if you count every share owned in street name as institutionally owned. Most individuals who buy stock and leave the shares at the broker's firm are counted as "institutional shares". The shares are kept in a margin account by default and put into the broker's custodial name.
    Dec 18, 2014. 04:12 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Micron: Extreme Undervaluation And Massive Growth Potential [View article]
    Nice job, Gap Bridger.

    You covered all the bases.
    Dec 16, 2014. 09:05 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Utility Rate Changes An Ominous Sign For SolarCity [View article]
    Well said.
    Dec 16, 2014. 03:47 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Utility Rate Changes An Ominous Sign For SolarCity [View article]

    >>RSA, did you ever take a position in SCTY yet?<<

    Several times, both long and short. Currently short.
    Dec 16, 2014. 03:44 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment