View Full Version : Residential Green Power

02-11-2009, 08:31 AM
So with all the talk that goes on all the time about turning more green, one topic I'd like to discuss is why the state of Oklahoma has been dragging it's feet for so long to address some of the ways we can make changes, specifically in regards to power. If you take a look at California, you will see a model of the type of aggresive plans Oklahomans should be making. We are far less polluted, but that means our changes will keep us from getting there.

CA offers a tax credit to help folks buy residential solar systems that take them completely off the grid. The ROI for these systems can be as little as 5 years, depending on your electrical use. In Oklahoma, we have no such credits to help out, so an ROI is 20+ years. Basically you won't see much here beyond a few people using solar radiant to heat their pools.

OG&E has made some minimal progess on pushing wind power, but they'd still rather use coal. Thank God the Corporation Commission denied their plans for the new coal plant. Power companies like OG&E want to find a way to make their customers pay for plants as well as the power they provide, which I think is total B.S. They don't explain why they do things a certain why, so customers just see a rate increase and get pissed. For-Profit is not For-Customer....too bad we can't have state power or something.

Solar isn't really viable yet for large scale use. You'll get about 30mw out of 200 acres. It's a drop in the bucket for sure. I believe the newer solar radiant systems are more productive, but I don't know the numbers. The newer nuclear options are extremely expensive and take a long time to build. The newer ones have much less waste, and you can actually build plants that run off of other plant's waste, but again, it's expensive power. I'm not saying I have any amazing solution to the problem, but I would like to see Oklahoma be more proactive in the green world. Push the wind power, push the solar power. If we don't ever try, then the technology won't improve. We WILL run out of coal and gas and oil one day, but I'm damned sure the wind will be there right along with the sun for another 10 billion years.

02-11-2009, 08:33 AM
I should note that the residential solar systems do withstand gold ball sized hail. They don't collapse from ice or wind like traditional lines, and can have battery systems to store power for night use or cloudy days.

02-11-2009, 09:29 AM
I'd rather not use California as a role model. They're broke. Germany would be a great example though:

The renewable energy sector was aided especially by the law that required businesses to buy energy generated from renewable sources first before buying energy from non-renewable sources. People who produce energy in their own homes have a guarantee by the government that they can sell their 'product' at fixed prices for a period of 20 years. This has created a surge in the production of clean energy.
Renewable energy in Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (

Twofold strategy: require/strongly encourage businesses to buy renewable energy, and make it profitable for private citizens to install solar panels or turbines. Germany's program became so popular that even some of the autobahns are lined with solar panels.

A couple years back I read about a new technology that's basically like photovoltaic shingles. Would be amazing if they further developed and began marketing that product.

02-11-2009, 09:30 AM
I agree with you. I'm actually thinking about launching a green movement here in OKC. In the meantime, for those of you interested in solar power. I found this on craigslist yesterday, it's a free solar hot water heater in Edmond, all you have to do is remove it yourself from these people's house. It's a good deal if someone is dedicated to improving the environment and has the time/skills/money.

5 collector solar hot water system (

02-11-2009, 10:35 AM
Actually, im all for green design, but it just so happens that 90% of it is really ugly and trendy looking. Some more traditional looking green design would be nice. I guess the only problem is traditional design doesnt use many green products or green construction.

02-11-2009, 11:03 AM
It may seem small, but I recently bought a Solio. A small solar charger you can charge all your portable electronics (PDA,cell phone, Ipod, Iphone, digital camera, etc.) from w/o going on the grid. It has an adapter so if there is no solar, it can plug in and store power like a battery. It can also hold it's charge for 1 year. It may seem small, but it's a start and keeping me from plugging my iPhone and digital camera in regularly. I also bought a couple LED light bulbs off Ebay for $5 with the same purchase.

There's another green thread that I posted awhlie back, but when I switched my tiny downtown condo to all CFL's and added a hot water insulation blanket, our electricity bill dropped about $30 avg a month. When I go all LED, I'll be curious to see how much more it drops.

02-11-2009, 03:09 PM
I didn't even think about the tank wrap. I'm going to go get me one this weekend!

The aesthetics thing is something that I really hope the public can get over. There are places in town that forbid solar panels because of the look. Really folks? Come on, isn't it worth it to get that electricity and not have to pay OG&E, not to mention help the planet....all for a few panels on your roof? Personally, if I had them, I'd want everyone to see them so they'd know I was being green and didn't have to pay OG&E. Then the next time a storm comes through and the neighbors lines are down, I'll still have power. Actually mine are underground, but you get the point.

Just a quick reminder, you do need to be able to at least take a hose to them from time to time. They build up dust like anything else so you do need to clean them off. It's as easy as spraying it down with the hose while you stand on the ground. I don't know how sensetive the glass is on most of these to know if you want to be doing that mid-day in the summer when it's 100+ know hot surface, cold water, cracks.

Lord Helmet
02-11-2009, 03:32 PM
I agree that OG&E has been dragging their feet...but they are taking sign ups for wind energy again. I signed up last week. Costs me about $12/month extra to purchace 100% wind power:

OG&E Electric Services | Wind Power | Options & Costs Calculator (

02-11-2009, 04:27 PM
Cool. I need to sign up for the wind power. Yeah bombermwc, I purchased the hot water tank blanket for like $15 bucks at Lowe's and the top "cap" was on sale for like $2. The ROI on it was one month.

02-11-2009, 04:33 PM
@OP: The problem is that if we use solar or wind we cut out the folks who are making money on gas and coal. Our government and Corporation Commission do not have the people and an efficient market as their chief priorities. They are more interested in serving those who grease the wheels of government if you get my drift.

02-12-2009, 06:57 PM
Well I just got a quote for a 5KW wind turbine. $22k and $28k with a 1kw solar paner. Yes there are fed tax credits, but I all ready get 2 child credits and deductions for house payments. It's hard from the web sites to see if those credits carry over into upcomming year(s). But at full cost and paying $.11/kWh it wouls take 10+ yrs for payback.
I'm hoping for better incentives, grants, technology in the near future to make these clean alternatives more affordable.
But as noted, our state makes big $$$ from gas & oil.
Does anyone have info what this current package might have in it for alt energy, or what Pikens Plan might do for the little man?

02-12-2009, 10:48 PM
@OP: The problem is that if we use solar or wind we cut out the folks who are making money on gas and coal. Our government and Corporation Commission do not have the people and an efficient market as their chief priorities. They are more interested in serving those who grease the wheels of government if you get my drift.

Agreed...having previously worked in corporate audit positions in both public and private energy and utility companies, I can personally tell you that the waste is tremendous. Particularly on the power production side. That being said, if these same companies that profit from gas and coal had any vision, they would transition into companies that also profit from wind, solar, CNG, green energy, etc. The whole culture at most power producing companies is out of whack.