As we are all becoming increasingly clear on what we don’t want — and move toward holding accountable those who are causing us harm — let’s also put creative energy into what we do want. Engaging these two areas of focus in tandem, only makes sense.
As it is so often, it just depends on what we focus on. This reminds me of a story told by one of my favourite motivational speakers, Jim Rohn. He said that sometimes things can be such a mess that we try to look out the window and see the spots and streaks on the window, instead of the sun. We might focus on all that is negative and miss that positive energy that is us. Or in this case, the positive energy that is the sun itself.
Meeting our world’s energy need
Maybe if we look at this rightly, we will see that with the sun, we can solve the biggest issue on this planet: true energy sustainability. Along with what comes from that: healing our environment.
Looking big picture, according to a thesis from the Technical University of Braunschweig, with currently-available panel technology, the entire planet can be powered by solar energy panels comprising a total area of 254km x 254km!
What this means for you: powering your own home
Before we go too much further I want to take a quick and easy look at a big problem for all of us:
Do you see what I see? What we see here is 2 things: A giant problem for utilities and a big solution for the rest of us.
The problem is utilities are seeing a flatline in demand while also their own forecasts show a large drop in demand predicted for decades. Not good. (for them)
Keep in mind, this is actually a loss — for over the time frames noted above, populations (residential) and industry (commercial) have both grown substantially.
Then again, so have efficiencies in appliances and industry.
Generally speaking, we are all now paying the price for this efficiency and savings. Economic law says less demand, lower prices. Not with utilities, they just make laws that mandate higher prices with governments.
Utilities’ plan to compensate
As some of you know, electricity is a $2 Trillion/year industry. Many will know also that this lack of demand can only be made up in two ways.
- Increasing the per watt price of power (as seen in the charts above and your power bill)
- Find alternate revenue streams to keep bond and shareholders happy (selling data)
Enter the ‘Smart Grid’ and ‘Smart Meters’.
A quick reminder here that utility regulators expect that your private data from ‘smart’ meters to be worth “a lot more than the commodity used [electricity] to generate the data.”
‘It never ends.’ You’re right, it doesn’t — until we end it.
The purpose of touching on this point is that there is absolutely no way that power prices are going to go down.
When we consider things like Time Of Use (TOU) pricing that meters allow utilities to further gouge you for (in the name of saving energy of course) then we get a better idea. TOU is simply a scam to charge you the most, when you need the most power.
But I thought the whole point of using less was to reduce power costs? Now it is the reason it will be going up?
We’ll let you scratch your head on the above ‘logic’
Smart meters are a clever way to green wash the total incompetence of utilities. Common sense tells us there are Zero companies on this planet sitting in board rooms devising ways to get people to use less of their product when market forces are already doing that for them. As you see below, one thing leads to another.
Oops, sorry about that!
This tells us that using a number like 5% yearly rate increases is on the conservative side.
When myself and many others have dug into the debt loads, the massive requirements for grid upgrades for things like aging infrastructure (power poles, dams etc.), the massive pension liabilities for both public and private utilities, interest rate increases moving forward, smart meters needing replacement every 5-7 years and drops in overall demand we certainly see this number as conservative.
Go toward ‘off-grid’ is easier than you think
We fully realize not everyone has the money to do this, some are renters and so on. We want you to know that there are plenty of you out there that are of the means to make this happen.
We will leave out the ‘soft metrics’ like freedom, privacy and the rest for that is more or less important depending on who you talk to. When we talk numbers it’s black and white.
Before we get going, I want to ask you: do you know where your money is invested?
The purpose of this question is that the odds are very high that you have put your money into the very companies that are ‘taxing’ you and others. As in, you are feeding the very beast that you want to defeat. This is always a losing strategy.
My ask is that you sit down with whoever is looking after your investments and dig down into just who you are supporting. My tell is I will guarantee you will be shocked. My hope is you find that there is no way that they are a better investment than investing in yourself.
To use the ultimate financial pitch: ‘diversify into yourself’
I have investigated many Mutual Funds to Pension Funds to look at returns. Most of the funds since inception are struggling to get to that 5% number we displayed above which includes the most popular ‘Balanced’ Funds.
Most who have the money right now are older and therefore invested in Bonds, mostly government. As rates rise (and they will), your losses will mount. Also, that rates are so low now that you really aren’t even beating inflation.
You need only think: do you want to get stuck holding the bag? Or do you want to stick it to the system, while getting ROI on your solar array? Simply, it is about choice.
Are you risk adverse? If you are in bonds, you probably are. Do you consider yourself a ‘risky investment’ I highly doubt it. So what are you waiting for?
Getting into solar
Depending on your needs and other factors, an average system would cost around $30,000. While these numbers are going down, I do know that many seem to think that this will be cut in half etc. very soon and are waiting to avoid ‘buyers remorse’. However there is not a tonne of room left and also we have been hearing this for years. Of course I welcome higher efficiencies and lower costs over time but things are also possibly nearly as good as they will get for some time as evidenced below.
Also, using an investment analogy of ‘invest early, invest often’ 5% means a lot as time goes by. Example below.
A 5% increase on a $200/month bill is $210, then $220.50, and so on until in 10 years it’s $310.75. Over 10 years you are now at over $110 MORE per month X12 equalling $1320 and keep in mind your dollars are worth even less over 10 years so even this number is even worse for you in total costs. Also something that costs $30 000 today really costs $35 000+ in 10 years as your purchasing power drops over time. So sure, we can look at anything we have bought vs it’s replacement 10 years later and see it got better… but what did we do for that 10 years?
5% yearly increases compounded AND decreased purchasing power caused by inflation gets to be a very ugly number if you are on the wrong side (still taking power from the utilities) It’s a beautiful portrait if you are on the right side (receiving power from the sun) Effectively, your returns are compounded. Each and every day, your solution gets brighter than the sun itself!
“Expensive” stigma? Gone.
Click and Pick. As in click the sell button and Pick up the phone and buy button.
Utilities are in a self terminating feedback loop.
You are the scapegoat.
Until, of course, you decide you don’t want to play that game.
The math is there, it varies from region to region, but it’s there. You are there. Let’s make a bull market in ourselves, our planet and with our investments. Invest in you for a change. I think you will like the returns. Actually, I think you will love them!
My suggestion is to get on the phone with someone in your area. In the dozen or so Solar Companies I have spoken with I have found them to be top notch in their capacity and will to answer and their helping of me to understand the big picture.