Archive for July 2008

Historical Electric Rates

Solar proponents claim that electric rates in California have been going up significantly faster than inflation, making solar a good deal. Here’s the data to prove it.

Utility-Wide Weighted Average Retail Electricity Prices 1980-2005

(nominal $) (cents/kWh)

Year 	PG&E 	SCE 	SDG&E 	LADWP 	SMUD 	BGP 	ESPs 	Other Municipal Utilities
1980 	4.76 	6.09 	8.43 	5.61 	2.53 	6.72
1981 	6.05 	6.45 	9.36 	6.16 	2.82 	6.48
1982 	6.24 	7.37 	11.26 	6.11 	3.03 	7.60
1983 	6.42 	7.42 	11.66 	5.85 	3.75 	7.48
1984 	7.86 	7.64 	11.80 	6.08 	3.92 	7.79
1985 	8.73 	7.94 	12.84 	6.54 	4.56 	7.81
1986 	8.72 	8.20 	11.66 	6.74 	5.45 	7.65
1987 	7.56 	8.19 	10.42 	7.09 	6.64 	8.22
1988 	7.85 	8.51 	9.82 	7.57 	7.35 	9.05
1989 	8.79 	9.17 	9.51 	8.06 	7.41 	9.50
1990 	9.24 	9.45 	9.22 	8.39 	8.27 	9.82
1991 	9.87 	10.07 	9.36 	8.23 	8.30 	9.91
1992 	10.42 	10.36 	9.47 	8.62 	8.21 	10.34
1993 	10.59 	10.06 	9.89 	9.13 	7.69 	10.96
1994 	10.71 	10.28 	9.69 	9.53 	7.96 	11.49
1995 	9.89 	10.46 	9.67 	9.14 	8.18 	11.43
1996 	10.20 	10.22 	10.36 	9.12 	8.14 	11.36
1997 	10.30 	10.22 	10.70 	9.36 	7.92 	10.51
1998 	9.74 	10.10 	10.16 	9.76 	7.63 	10.95
1999 	9.81 	10.05 	10.16 	9.75 	7.60 	10.96
2000 	9.82 	10.12 	13.72 	9.79 	7.61 	10.97
2001 	11.74 	12.87 	13.66 	9.79 	9.26 	13.57
2002 	12.72 	12.82 	14.45 	9.80 	9.27 	12.72
2003 	13.18 	13.16 	14.26 	9.80 	9.81 	12.43
2004 	12.72 	12.18 	14.55 	9.66 	8.60 	11.88 	6.19 	9.34
2005 	13.07 	12.93 	14.72 	9.31 	10.10 	11.97 	6.44 	9.51

Note: Energy Commission staff estimated these prices using data from EIA, utility websites and submittals during the IEPR cycles.

Utility-Wide Prices – These include prices for residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural customer classes.

BGP – This category includes electricity rates for customers of the cities of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena.

Other Municipal Utilities – This category includes rates for Redding Electric Utility, Silicon Valley Power, City of Anaheim, Riverside, Roseville, Modesto Irrigation District, Turlock Irrigation District, and Imperial Irrigation District.

ESPs – These rates only reflect the generation portion of the total rate. Other charges such as T&D must be added. ESPs – Energy Service Providers include Arizona Power Service (APS), Constellation New Energy (CNE), Pilot Power Group, Strategic Energy LLC, and Sempra Energy Solutions.

Table 5.6.A. Average Retail Price of Electricity to Ultimate Customers by End-Use Sector, by State, November 2007 and 2006 (Cents per kilowatthour)

                Residential	Commercial	Industrial1	Transportation	All Sectors
California  	Nov-07 	Nov-06 	Nov-07	Nov-06  Nov-07 	Nov-06  Nov-07  Nov-06 	Nov-07 	Nov-06
California  	14.26  	14.47  	11.94  	12.23  	9.75  	9.66  	7.8  	7.27  	12.23  	12.38

 Average Revenue per Kilowatthour by State
(Lowest to Highest Rate as of November 2007)
Rank 	State 	Average Electricity Rate for
All Sectors
(Cents per Kilowatthour)

39  	Maryland 	11.58
40 	District of Columbia 	11.99
41 	Vermont 	12.11
42 	California 	12.23
43 	New Jersey 	12.84
44 	Alaska 	13.12
45 	Rhode Island 	13.55
46 	Maine 	13.66
47 	New Hampshire 	13.68
48 	Massachusetts 	14.71
49 	New York 	14.90
50 	Connecticut 	15.77
51 	Hawaii 	23.67

More info

Solar Power Information Resource

I gathered this information when I was trying to make a living selling residential solar systems. The job didn’t agree with me but this information is still valid. Check it out

Internal Rate of Return tutorial

Solar time of Use (local copy) A paper about Electricity Rate Structures and the Economics of Solar PV: Could Mandatory Time-of-Use Rates Undermine California’s Solar Photovoltaic Subsidies? – shown to Lee by his neighbor Oren Ahoobim

Federal Information Sources

  • SEIA Solar Roadmap(local) – Notably on page 7 it shows that they think solar prices will decrease slowly. No great breakthrough on the horizon.
  • I think this talks about long term net metering contracts. IE:

    Under PURPA, utilities are required to purchase electricity from QFs at the utilities’ “avoided cost.” (11) The Federal government, in formulating regulations, often delegates implementation to the States. This occurred with PURPA, as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) delegated the authority for the determination of avoided cost to the States. In several States including California, avoided cost purchase contracts were very favorable to non-utility generators. For example, between 1982 and 1988, Standard Offer 4 (SO4) contracts written in California allowed QFs to sell renewable energy under 15-to-30 year terms.


Additionally, the new law makes a credit available to those who add qualified solar panels, solar water heating equipment, or a fuel cell power plant to their homes in the United States. In general, a qualified fuel cell power plant converts a fuel into electricity using electrochemical means, has an electricity–only generation efficiency of more than 30 percent and generates at least 0.5 kilowatts of electricity. Taxpayers are allowed one credit equal to 30 percent of the qualified investment in a solar panel up to a maximum credit of $2,000, and another equivalent credit for investing in a solar water heating system. No part of either system can be used to heat a pool or hot tub. … These items must be placed in service after Dec. 31, 2005 and before Jan. 1, 2008.

30% tax credit… $2,000 for a PV system and $2,000 for solar water heating

[edit] IRS Form 3468

  • IRS form 3468 for 2005 Taxes Use Form 3468 to claim the investment credit. The investment credit consists of the rehabilitation, energy, qualifying advanced coal project, and qualifying gasification project credits.

A very important tax form. Print the whole thing out and read.

There is mention of a credit for using solar illumination

? Increased the energy percentage from 10 to 30% for solar property placed in service after December 31, 2005.

There is mention of a credit for property that generates solar or geothermal power

For purposes of line 2, solar energy property is equipment that uses solar energy to: ? Generate electricity,? Heat or cool (or provide hot water for use in) a structure, or ? Provide solar process heat (but not to heat a swimming pool).

solar energy property includes solar energy property as defined in the line 2 instructions and equipment which uses solar energy to illuminate the inside of a structure using fiber-optic distributed sunlight.

California State Information Sources


Other (and unsorted) Information Sources

  • Good Book: “Got Sun? Go Solar” by Rex A Ewing and Doug Pratt. Excellent book. Practical. Covers the generalities very well.

Stuff from Charlotte


Rating systems


Campus initiatives

  • (book) Procurement Guide for Renewable Energy Systems IREC & U.S. EPA, 1997, 104 p. $15.00 The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), in cooperation with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Sandia National Laboratories, has developed this handbook to guide state and local government procurement officials in the specification and purchase of commercially available renewable energy systems. Includes basic information about renewable energy, product specifications, schematic designs and photos, installation details, and a directory of a wide variety of photovoltaics, solar water heating systems, and small wind generating systems.
  • (the local chapter of The American Solar Energy Society) Northern California Solar Energy Association (NorCal Solar) P.O. Box 3008 Berkeley, CA 94703 P: (510) 869-2759 e-mail: web site: Executive Director: Liz Merry
  • Agricultural Biomass to Energy Program
  • Alameda County – Million Solar Roofs Partnership
  • Anaheim Public Utilities – Green Power for the Grid
  • Anaheim Public Utilities – PV Buydown Program
  • Bay Area Solar Consortium – Million Solar Roofs Partnership
  • California Clean Energy Partnership (CCEP) – Million Solar Roofs Partnership
  • California Property Tax Exemption for Solar Systems
  • City of Palo Alto Utilities – Palo Alto Green
  • City of Santa Monica – Green Power Purchasing
  • City of Santa Monica – PV Ferris Wheel & SolarPort
  • Emerging Renewables (Rebate) Program
  • LADWP – Green Power for a Green LA
  • Los Angeles – Green Power Purchasing
  • Marin Solar Program – Million Solar Roofs Partnership
  • Net Metering
  • Renewable Resources Trust Fund
  • Renewables Portfolio Standard
  • Retail Electricity Disclosure Program and Green Labeling
  • Roseville Electric – Green Energy
  • SMUD – Community Solar(SM)
  • SMUD – GreenergySM
  • San Diego – Million Solar Roofs Partnership
  • San Francisco – Million Solar Roofs Partnership
  • San Francisco Public Utilities Commission – Million Solar Roofs Partnership
  • Solar or Wind Energy System Credit – Corporate
  • Solar or Wind Energy System Credit – Personal


  • US Department of Energy: Department of Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • Seattle Regional Office Heather Mulligan, 800 5th Ave, Suite 3950, Seattle, WA 98104, ph: 206-553-7693
  • Alameda County Solar Partnership
  • City of Humboldt
  • Marin Coounty MSR
  • City of Sacramento
  • Bay Area Solar Consortium
  • Whatcom 1000 Solar Rooftop Project

And if all that fails, try getting Energy Film low e film. You could save 15% on your energy bills. Lasts 10 years. DIY. Costs $40 for a 4’x7′ sheet, maybe $500 for a whole house instead of $12,000 to install low-e windows. Energy Film blocks out 70% of solar heat in summer, retains 38% of escaping heat in winter and blocks 97% of UV rays while still allowing 77% of natural light into a room.

Handgun Guide for Men and Women

A while back I was considering getting a handgun. I wanted it to be easy to handle for both myself and my girlfriend. I decided on the Beretta 92FS. Actually, the box tells me that it’s a Beretta M9, the same thing with different markings.

I was a little disappointed because although the Springfield XD9 is very sexy, the grip is too large for my dainty woman’s hands. No matter, the Beretta is a fine handgun.

For your pleasure, here’s some links and research I did in buying the gun…

*  Charlotte talked with a very nice female cop, she recommended Glock47, Glock 27, Glock 26. And to check the website for Kahr arms …..LC action drop down menus on weapons….. Weapons for women…..

* Beretta 92FS. $575 The official handgun of the US Armed Forces

* Beretta 92FS Vertec site reads “good for small handed shooters”(?)

* Springfield XD9 4″ $500 grip safety but no thumb safety. Inexpensive, comes with case, 2 magazines. Green bi-tone is pretty.

* Springfield 1911-A1 9 MM. Model PI9134L  Thumb safety, grip safety, more expensive, single stack

* Smith & Wesson 3913 recommended by

* Browning HiPower recommended by

Other info

At Jackson Arms, Monday night is Ladies Night (1/2 price for Ladies). They have Berretta 92 and Springfield XD9 but they’re both broken :-(. Call back in a few weeks.

Use to figure street price

Maybe buy a gun from On Target Guns & Accessories in Ukiah CA 707-462-8513

Maybe buy a gun bag from They are often at local gun shows

Maybe call these ranges looking to rent handguns or to shoot at – A great site with info like how to rack a pistol if you aren’t strong and how to dry fire and such. And it’s pink! Double-action / Single-Action (like on the Beretta 92FS) is bad: “With a DA/SA gun not one but two different trigger pulls must be learned. Novice shooters often pull their first shot low as a result of the heavy DA trigger”

“Typically “single stack”, designs such as the 1911 models work well for shooters with small hands” A good site, check out the forums too. The M9, Beretta 92 F, has the smoothest slide and the lightest recoil spring of any major caliber pistol I know

Good for small hands ParaOrdnance 18-9 (according to:

To reduce recoil, don’t get porting; it’s louder and has more flash, which could temporarily blind you consider getting Shok-Buff ( instead

Psychos in Love

Speaking of classic movies, Psychos in Love is an all-time favorite of mine.

That is the VHS tape I used to own. Since I don’t have a VHS player any more, I figured I’d spread the love and wait for it to come out on DVD. :-)

QBOX Events Mailing List

I just took over administrating the QBOX Events mailing list. Laughing Squid is apparently getting out of the Mailman mailing list business.

This from the mailing list itself:

Charles Gadeken
Wed, 08 May 2002 16:51:13 -0700 (PDT)

Welcome to the QBOX list. This list is managed by Charlie Gadeken, if you have
any questions about how you ended up on this list feel free to ask me. If you do not want to be on this mailing list please follow the
link at the bottom of this message and unsubscribe yourself. 

This is the very first mailing for this new list. Many of you were on the My Old
Burningart Presents list, some of you are just my friends, others have requested
to be on this list directly. 

On the list you will hear about Events focused on mechanical, kinetic and
electronic art in the Bay Area. I expect to send out about one or two mailings a
month. All of these posts will be related to performance events, lectures and
gallery shows that support mechanical, kinetic and electronic art in the Bay
Area. I will be sending out an announcement for a show this Sunday "Power Tool
Drag Race after Party" which will follow this message.

Thank you for listening and i look forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming

charlie gadeken
director: QBOX

You can subscribe to the list via or here.

Time Barbarians

5 Stars. Up there with Deathstalker. Not quite Evil Dead, but fun. I want to see this movie played at Bad Movie Night at the Dark Room. It was just wonderful/awful. I appreciate all the good that this movie has to offer.