KB Homes, having offered solar panels as an option on new homes, is now making solar standard

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by Rybold, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. Rybold

    Rybold globally warmed member

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    Now, Starter Homes Boast Solar Arrays - NYTimes.com
     
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  2. caffeinekid

    caffeinekid Duct Tape Extraordinaire

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    All this says to me is that KB homes is looking for ways of increasing their margins. The $15,000-20,000 question is how much the homes would go for without the arrays.
     
  3. wick1ert

    wick1ert Senior Member

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    It's definitely a good start, and I really hope that they don't charge more to the home owner for this option than the owner would pay on their own to add it. I've said for awhile that new homes should incorporate some sort of energy production at the build date. Overall, it doesn't add too much to the cost of the home. Depending upon how energy efficient this home is, a 30% production out of a 1.4kw system seems a little optimistic. Then again, if it's built facing optimally, then it's not too far fetched, either.
     
  4. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Another prospective might go like this:
    I suppose one could make "margins" the issue about ANY capitol outlay ... from
    attic insulation to the USA's Chyrnobyl-like, antiquated grid. Or in stead of waiting 'till power shortages are the norm, people/businesses can get out there & try and do somethig ...despite the throng of those who'll 2nd guess what the "real motive" is.
    See ... whacky me ... I thought the question was how bad can things get by NOT being forward thinkers.

    ;)
     
  5. caffeinekid

    caffeinekid Duct Tape Extraordinaire

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    Well, I actually agree....so lets see them adding the option at cost instead of as a margin-increasing gimmick, especially if it is mandatory. While we are at it, lets see them add something more substantial than a little 1.5KW token array. Lots of businesses offer 'at cost' incentives to give their product an edge and overall boost to their presence in the marketplace. Why should home builders be any different? In fact, why isn't this under consideration as just another building standard?
     
  6. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    I agree . . . why SHOULD home builders be any different. Whether it's a cup of coffee, a womans hair style, or a house. Profit is the goal. The general or home builder has to buy lumber, copper pipe, sewer, romex, PV panels, toilets ... labor ... mark up for losses on the next job ... insurance etc. Sales or service, you make money by marking stuff up, that cost you less ... after you buy it for less ... hopefully. I'm guessing KB doesn't want to install giant systems on these (relatively) small homes (by the looks of the pictures), because home buyers can only afford so much.

    One of the local realtors bought a short sale home around the corner (comp's would normally be about $600K) and refurbished it to the 9's. Solar, low 'E' ... flash water heater, bamboo flooring, no offgass paint, insulation ... you name it. He lost his shorts ... though the buyer got the super deal. That's the nature of green purchases ... general rule, it aint a home buyers primary concern. Just buying as much home as one can, is generally most home owner's concern, in an area with good schools, low (as possible) crime area ... as close to work ... that stuff comes 1st.
     
  7. Rybold

    Rybold globally warmed member

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    Hey, if home builders have a sparkle of profit in their eyes with solar panels and this means that new homes will now have solar panels, then I'm all for it 100% because prior to this, NO new homes had solar panels. Now, new homes WILL have solar panels. Excellent!

    I read in the Sunday paper today that several other home builders are planning tracts of houses in Orange County that will have solar panels as an option on numerous new housing projects. The solar panels were amongst about ten different "Green Technologies" that are being offered on the houses.
     
  8. tripp

    tripp Which it's a 'ybrid, ain't it?

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    massive amounts of insulation to cut AC costs might be even more effective than small solar arrays. Both would be better.
     
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  9. kiwibruce

    kiwibruce Junior Member

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    I agree, If they were serious then there is a lot of "low hanging fruit" that could be picked off before jumping to PV, how about Solar Hot water, every house should have this and even solar water heating, Triple glazing, etc, etc. All ths should be standard before you get into PV.
     
  10. tripp

    tripp Which it's a 'ybrid, ain't it?

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    Agreed. The number of terawatt hours that could be eliminated in the US by simply picking said low hanging fruit could power large amounts of the rest of the world. I would like to see solar water heating become standard code for all new buildings. There's simply no reason not to put it from the get go. The most expensive aspect of solar water heating on existing buildings is the retrofit job, I'd wager. Would love to see point of use water heating more too. Would save vast amounts of water annually at the national scale.

    Exterior walls should be minimum R40... low E double pane windows should be minimum standard... clearly can't go nuts, homes still have to be affordable... but part of a house being affordable is low operating costs... and operating costs rise w/inflation. Mortgage payments don't (which is one of the things that makes them attractive).
     
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    how about losing that desert lawn.
     
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  12. caffeinekid

    caffeinekid Duct Tape Extraordinaire

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    Here in Texas we have had several home builders over the last 5 or 6 years subcontract the work for solar arrays to be built on their new products. And by and large their products have been overpriced in general, but even worse is that if the Fed offers an incentive for purchasing a solar system, the builder merely marks that segment of the final product up by AT LEAST that amount so that the net gain to the buyer is essentially zero.

    Sadly, it is not exactly news that many "green" advocates are also suckers.
     
  13. caffeinekid

    caffeinekid Duct Tape Extraordinaire

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    Well, correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the reason for California anyways was a little utility called PG & E that didn't appreciate the lost potential revenue.
     
  14. wick1ert

    wick1ert Senior Member

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    While we're at it, why not make super high efficient AC units standard too. Maybe require advanced ducting, in that each room has a separate thermostat and only those rooms are cooled as needed, rather than cool an entire house all the time. Not trying to argue, but at what point do you stop doing the small items to conserve what the panels would produce at the same price point?

    In the end, I'm glad to see the panels, but I agree that there are also several other options that would add a minisule amount to the cost of the house. I think all houses should be a minimum of 6" fully insulated exterior walls, and 18" minimum of insulation in the attic. It's very little additional cost when these are part of the build. After much more, you start to hit diminishing return obstacles. But, solar hot water, even point-of-use water heating is a big benefit. Low flow faucets, toilets, shower heads.

    I think they chose the easiest option to be more "efficient" with the solar array for prospective buyers. For a lot of builders, buying in quantity makes a big difference for them.
     
  15. kiwibruce

    kiwibruce Junior Member

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    absolutely!
     
  16. mainerinexile

    mainerinexile No longer in exile!

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    We should put all the roofs in America to use. In case anyone still thinks that nuclear is a good idea, consider that a new 1,500 MW nuclear reactor is estimated to cost $10 Billion. But $10 billion spent on solar panels would generate about 15,000 MW, at 1,000 a watt installed, if my math is correct.
     
  17. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    I bet that doesn't even cover the decommissioning costs nor the long term costs of storing the waste. (no any cost associated wit accident, or uranium mining/processing etc)

    Icarus
     
  18. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    Gives you a clue to why getting non-government financing for nuclear plants is impossible. While you math has a dramatic over optimization for solar, the basic concept is right.
     
  19. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    Not including the long term waste issue, I will su port any nke pland that can be built under te following terms. The first is that ALL the funding must come from the private sector, with no tax breaks or gimmicks, AND they insure themselves with a cash bond big enough to cover all possible liability. When I see that, then feel free to build it.

    Icarus
     
  20. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    South Texas expansion of 2.7 GW is estimated at $18B. This is on an existing nuclear site, which makes it much cheaper, and does not count waste disposal or decommissioning costs. A nuclear GW needs a 15% safety factor, so $7.85B per usable GW.

    Solar is also also greatly underestimated in cost as it is listed at peak capacity, this must be scaled for real capacity. If solar would get anywhere near the 20% market share that nuclear is using, the federal government would stop the 30% federal subsidy. My guess is solar is at least at $20B per usable GW before subsidies, but would appreciate better figures.

    Solar is not really competing with nuclear it is competing with wind and natural gas. In southern California, the cost of peak electricity is high and solar provides its power during these peaks. California is also an electricity importer with plenty of good sun, so solar on Southern Cal homes make great sense. In Iowa on the other hand cost for peak power is much lower and there are great sights for wind. Putting solar up in Iowa does not make as much sense as adding more wind which they are doing faster than any other state.
     
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