Is there money to be made in P.V.?

I have been in the electrical construction business for over 30 years and find PV fascinating. I thought it would go hand in hand being a sparky. But I don't see were you can make a buck at it for the following reasons

-The design responsibility is far more demanding then preforming an electrical project per plans and specs. You have to make sure the PV system works.
-Here in the N.E., it's seasonable , you are ether working on roofs when it's brutally hot or can't work because of winter conditions.
- You are drilling peoples roofs to install supports for the array, if it leaks you bought it.
-Just working on pitched roofs is dangerous.
-In NY we need to warranty the system for 5 years instead of the standard electrical project for one year.
-The paper work
-The competition. I thought I had an edge on school and public projects where you need to be bonded. Boy was I wrong, the bigger solar guys are doing the jobs for less then my costs, forget about overhead and profit.
Even though my avatar shows me by an array, I just don't see where it's feasible. Anybody else?
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
I work for a large safety conscious EC and we find we are competing against the shorts and sneaker tree huger crowd working for peanuts. By the time we set up roof railings, tie offs etc the hackers are already halfway done.
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
Well, somebody is making money at it.

What are the names of the large 'solar guys'?

I'll bet they are making their money on site surveys and sales and buying larger quantities of solar panels. They may even build their own trackers.

I am learning in school that solar is a different animal, but an animal that is here to stay.

Keep an eye on Germany. That small nation produces 49 percent of the world's solar electricity. They plan on shutting off all their nukes in just a few years. The day that happens will be a shot in the arm for the solar energy business.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Well, somebody is making money at it.
Yes, the brokers not the ECs.


(Not sure if you know this but I have also taken the classes you are and the shine comes off it quick in the real world.)
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
Yes, the brokers not the ECs.


(Not sure if you know this but I have also taken the classes you are and the shine comes off it quick in the real world.)
When you say 'shine' are you talking about irradiance or irradiation?

;)

Trust me, I will be staying tuned to this forum for up to the minute real world news.
 
I attended a solar conference in Golden Colorado about four years ago. Everyone of the installers I talked to was just making ends meet, Except one guy in Long Island were the utility kw was $.21. Even the key speaker lived in the woods of Wisconsin , off the grid without running water. However that was more of a life style choice then n economic one.

I was hoping to ride the wave in, but I don't see it.

I didn't want to turn this into a rant, but it's too bad we spend so much money on other country's problems around the world and not ours.
 

satcom

Senior Member
The more jobs the solar brokers sell and install the higher the rates for everyone, when the utility has to invest in more plants to keep up with the offset demand, the guys playing the market with green programs and goverment assisted programs will walk away with the golden eggs, the installing companies may get some of the crumbs left over if they bid the jobs at cost or loss.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
The market is probably going to expand in Japan after public horror about nuclear reactors.
What horror?

Two nuke plants pretty well survived a very large earthquake and tidal wave, if anything that should be looked at as a good thing.
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
What horror?

Two nuke plants pretty well survived a very large earthquake and tidal wave, if anything that should be looked at as a good thing.

Agreed. But since it's a nuke, it will catch the ire of anyone that has some agenda contrary to nuclear power.

My hat is off to the engineers and builders of those plants. They did a fine job and Ma Nature threw just about everything she had at the plants and just barely took them down.
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
That's probably so, but it wont help us here. I can make a lot more money with electric work then PV. Which is a shame, cause I really enjoy solar.
Well, in Michigan PV is electric work. Anything covered by the NEC has to be performed by a licensed sparky and a journeyman supervised apprentice if said apprentice is used, and we also have an apprentice to journeyman ratio that keeps the amount of apprentii in check. Also, no helpers.

When we adopt the 2011 NEC and it's new Article 694, wind turbine installation will also become 'electrical work'.
 

bluesmoke...oops

Senior Member
You mean like comparing the Japanese nukes with Chernobyl?

I have seen the same thing.
Exactly. Or when they pressured to have the whole thing classified as equal to Chernobyl. If the incident in Japan is a 7 on a scale, then Chernobyl is about a 15.
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
Exactly. Or when they pressured to have the whole thing classified as equal to Chernobyl. If the incident in Japan is a 7 on a scale, then Chernobyl is about a 15.
Since Chernobyl exploded and killed people, I would have to give it at least a 15 1/2.

But, since the scale only goes to 7, it's a moot point.
 
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