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Anyone else in the SOLAR industry?

Discussion in 'Jobs & Careers' started by Phil Dammit, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. Nov 14, 2013 at 9:20 AM
    #1
    Phil Dammit

    Phil Dammit [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Been in it for about 8 months now afer being in the field for 6 years, work as designer/detailer for a division 5 steel erector now. Wondering who else is out there, maybe we can network for jobs. Make our companies some money.:D
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
  2. Jan 17, 2014 at 9:48 AM
    #2
    jamesrenoallen

    jamesrenoallen Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to school for renewable energy, mostly studying for wind turbines but we learn some about Solar power too. I wouldn't mind working in Solar
     
  3. Jan 17, 2014 at 9:52 AM
    #3
    Phil Dammit

    Phil Dammit [OP] Well-Known Member

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    4.5/5.5 drop, DJM arms, QA1 coilovers, 6lug leafs, QA1 18-way, rear swaybar, Batwing Big brakes, high flow cat, indy/hurst shifter, memphis amps, focal 3-ways, Eclipse AV unit, SunDown 10" custom box, TRD bucket swap.
    With the year I have been in the industry it's full of a lot of DERP, I mean a lot.
     
  4. Jan 18, 2014 at 8:40 AM
    #4
    jamesrenoallen

    jamesrenoallen Well-Known Member

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    is there a lot of solar power plants down in Arizona?
     
  5. Jan 20, 2014 at 7:17 AM
    #5
    Phil Dammit

    Phil Dammit [OP] Well-Known Member

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    4.5/5.5 drop, DJM arms, QA1 coilovers, 6lug leafs, QA1 18-way, rear swaybar, Batwing Big brakes, high flow cat, indy/hurst shifter, memphis amps, focal 3-ways, Eclipse AV unit, SunDown 10" custom box, TRD bucket swap.
    I know of one or two mega watt plants in southern Arizona. There are some in fighting between some solar companies and tax revenue at the moment so those jobs seem to not get the backing they should, especially for being in the sunshine state. However, ASU is almost completely covered in Solar now, between the company I worked for that covered the softball stadium to the MU, roof tops, and most if not all of the parking lots.
     
  6. Jan 20, 2014 at 2:40 PM
    #6
    Wishbone Runner

    Wishbone Runner Because 4R

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    • 04 SR5 V6 • King/Camburg/Icon/Metal Tech • 16" MT Classic Lock • Hankook RT03 295/75/16 • Shrockworks Sliders • RCI Skids • Hella 4000
  7. Jan 20, 2014 at 2:43 PM
    #7
    Phil Dammit

    Phil Dammit [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Tempe, Arizona
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    4.5/5.5 drop, DJM arms, QA1 coilovers, 6lug leafs, QA1 18-way, rear swaybar, Batwing Big brakes, high flow cat, indy/hurst shifter, memphis amps, focal 3-ways, Eclipse AV unit, SunDown 10" custom box, TRD bucket swap.
    Damn that is huge.
     
  8. Jan 20, 2014 at 2:50 PM
    #8
    Wishbone Runner

    Wishbone Runner Because 4R

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    They installed a pair of identical ones down there. Utility PV is getting pretty big down there as well as in places like SoCal desert, lots of sun and land that really isn't worth shit. Plus PV material prices are dropping like a rock. CSP was supposed to be the next big thing, but with the aforementioned reasons, that sector of the industry took a shit.
     
  9. Jan 20, 2014 at 2:51 PM
    #9
    PLC721

    PLC721 Well-Known Member

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    My dads company has started doing installs of generators on dairy farms to transform the methane gas to electricity, pretty cool, he does a lot of solar stuff too but the dairy farm was a new one
     
  10. Jan 20, 2014 at 2:52 PM
    #10
    Phil Dammit

    Phil Dammit [OP] Well-Known Member

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    4.5/5.5 drop, DJM arms, QA1 coilovers, 6lug leafs, QA1 18-way, rear swaybar, Batwing Big brakes, high flow cat, indy/hurst shifter, memphis amps, focal 3-ways, Eclipse AV unit, SunDown 10" custom box, TRD bucket swap.
    Yeah, this industry blows my mind right now. Currently working on a 2 meg project in Mass at a prestigious golf resort.
     
  11. Jan 20, 2014 at 2:52 PM
    #11
    Phil Dammit

    Phil Dammit [OP] Well-Known Member

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    4.5/5.5 drop, DJM arms, QA1 coilovers, 6lug leafs, QA1 18-way, rear swaybar, Batwing Big brakes, high flow cat, indy/hurst shifter, memphis amps, focal 3-ways, Eclipse AV unit, SunDown 10" custom box, TRD bucket swap.
    And you are just now bringing this up pat?
     
  12. Jan 20, 2014 at 2:53 PM
    #12
    PLC721

    PLC721 Well-Known Member

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    Whatchu talking bout Phyllis
     
  13. Jan 20, 2014 at 7:21 PM
    #13
    Phil Dammit

    Phil Dammit [OP] Well-Known Member

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    4.5/5.5 drop, DJM arms, QA1 coilovers, 6lug leafs, QA1 18-way, rear swaybar, Batwing Big brakes, high flow cat, indy/hurst shifter, memphis amps, focal 3-ways, Eclipse AV unit, SunDown 10" custom box, TRD bucket swap.
    You've known I worked in solar forever ago
     
  14. Jan 26, 2014 at 12:10 PM
    #14
    Greensystemsgo

    Greensystemsgo Self Proclaimed first gen expert :doh:

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    5100/5125's All pro expedition leafs Eibach coils Light racing uca's 2004 gauge cluster All stainless brake lines 1" diff drop kenwood with polks rebuild seat support webbing satoshi grill optima red top
    worked for almost a year and a half at the solana project 15 miles west of gila bend. It is currently one of the worlds largest solar plants. Its twin in socal is the same size and technology. currently 3x3 miles, soon to be expanded to 3x5 miles. Started as a basic assembler of the parabolic trough frame, earned a overhead crane position, and finally went into maintenance and repair of assembly aspect, weather it be pneumatic driven hydraluic rivet guns, the 480v overhead cranes, air compressor/driers, or even repairs to the frames themselves after installation after failed quality control check. Not quite what i think you are after as far as information, but was definitely a great experience I would willing to answer any and all questions about. Pretty sure the NDA is over as its finally been turned on.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  15. Jan 26, 2014 at 2:06 PM
    #15
    Sido

    Sido Well-Known Member

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    Few years ago when I was working in the SF Bay Area I was right next to the Soylndra office building and factory. It was eerie how quickly the front of the factory went up, you would go to work and come home and wouldn't even recognize it. Then one day a big American flag was hung up and something was painted "American made, American laboor" or something like that, which should have told me something big was up. The next day Obama came for a photo op, and the exits right there off of I-880 were blocked off, didn't make it to work until noon due to the traffic. And then that imploded, and we know the rest of the story.

    Then a few years ago China started to corner the market with polysilicon modules, selling them below cost ushering in a time of oversupply...many solar companies exited the market or went bankrupt. The China thing is still an issue, but it doesn't look like their practices will change anytime soon.

    There are a few gigantic projects going in outside of LA, and Imperial Valley, and Arizona. These are a special first wave, we will not see those in the future. The future will be based on smaller (less than 100MW) plants and commercial/ residential rooftop.

    The industry is very political and there is a lot of information and disinformation, and there are battles even between various groups. Is it a good thing to have a diversified mix of energy not based on hydrocarbons? Yea sure. Do you want to take desert land that no one is using and turn it into a solar power plant? Ok sounds good. But wait! What about the hikers? And the desert fox and the tortoise? There are many stakeholders that come into play. Even the solar installations in Imperial Valley are controversial- you are taking good farmland out of the food system and putting a solar array up out there. It is getting harder to put in solar projects on public land. I saw recently there was a project proposed in California on public land that was rejected by the California Energy Commission because of the impact on migratory birds- the plant would have used mirrors that reflect sunlight up these towers to boil water and when birds fly through the beams of light it cooks them.

    Right now there is a big battle brewing between utility scale power plants and rooftop solar. The price per watt is significantly cheaper with utility scale, but people like solar on their rooftops. Not sure how that battle will play out. On the same topic, the solar industry gets a bad rap for being subsidized, mostly due to Solyndra. I have never seen any handholding by the state, but there are incentives that exist in any industry. I have seen this- http://www.treasury.gov/initiatives/recovery/Pages/1603.aspx This just seems like one of our many tax credits that exist and no one knows why it exists but it does.

    And this- https://lpo.energy.gov/our-projects/ This is where the Dept. of Energy backs the project. If things fall apart, the project has the financial backing of the government. If things don't fall apart, then it doesn't really cost the taxpayers anything. And if it does fall apart, the DOE gets an asset (the project). They are generally very judicious when giving out these guarantees. The other subsidies are through the back door- state green energy mandates. All the projects in California are to meet the impending state renewable energy guidelines, otherwise not a single one would be going in. And if you really think about it, pretty much any industry is subsidized or given an advantage. When you drive your car down the road, who pays for all of that? And the bridges? When you fly, who pays for the airspace and air traffic controllers? Manufacturing and defense contracting? Really when you get down to it the least subsidized thing in this country is probably Amtrak which is partially government owned :)

    Prices are falling, solar is getting cheaper, the model of building a power plant and selling to an energy company is probably over as the companies that build the plants are starting to see benefits of the long term cash flow. Maybe in the future you will see the big energy companies build the solar plants themselves and hold them. The value in a solar plant is the steady stream of electricity revenue, especially if it is connected with a PPA (power purchase agreement). A PPA is very valuable, more valuable than the plant itself because it gives an investor a reliable cash flow model. NRG is already doing it- they put the power plants in a special holding company that they own the majority shares in, and sell the rest to the public. It will pay dividends, similar to a REIT. This is all new, I wonder if it will take off and become a true sector or if only a few companies will do it. http://investor.nrgyield.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=251846&p=irol-irhome

    I think you are going to see less projects in the southwest and smaller ones throughout the US. Japan will be interesting to watch- they used to get around 30% of their energy from around 50 reactors, and I think now they only have two reactors up and running. For the first time since the 60's there is public opposition to something and public protests, which never happens in conformist Japan. Will be interesting to see how the solar industry develops there, especially given the land constraints.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  16. Jan 27, 2014 at 6:12 AM
    #16
    Phil Dammit

    Phil Dammit [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I have read up on that project, massive and impressive. Thanks for the info, but I am looking for networking, it's all about who you know in this industry.
    Interesting take on the Solar industry. Couple takes I found peculiar, you talk about land use and going green up until you hit this first point. What is cheaper and more responsible? Building shade and infrastructure to power everyday things with extremely low impact, or completely changing the terrain and bringing hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to the desert to farm corn? And this price per watt, that can always change with the increase of solar module output. This idea that you price it per your total wattage still boggles my mind.
     
  17. Jan 27, 2014 at 6:16 AM
    #17
    SoCaltaco65

    SoCaltaco65 Well-Known Member

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    nope, but my house is off the grid, did all the work myself, got sick of the power company sticking it to me. Cells, Batts, Turbine. Likewise full graywater system as well.
     
  18. Jan 27, 2014 at 7:33 PM
    #18
    Sido

    Sido Well-Known Member

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    For the part about the desert and land use, none of that is my opinion, I was trying to highlight the diversity of stakeholder opinion that I have seen. I am not saying it is rational or reasonable, and it becomes a battle of green v green. People are generally irrational in every aspect of their lives, no different here. And you have a good point, the modern industrialized farm is not without it's own issues. I don't think you can look at farming in imperial valley without looking at the salton sea, that is a complete disaster. It's like solving a complex puzzle where there is no answer, and every action has an interrelated side effect. That's why it is so easy to frame it in the solar plant vs farm field, it ignores all the other issues and is simple and effective.

    Price per watt is very important. It is the base measure at a point in time. Sure, modules will get more efficient in the future, but you are building a project now, and once it is done you will leave the modules in place for ~25 years. For contract sales it's the only measure I've seen used. Someone will want xyz watts for abc price. You could view price per watt as a euphemism for "cost per module" really means the same thing. People like to focus in on this measure when it comes to solar, but really it is just one piece- you still have to look at permits, labor, inverters, and all the other things that go with setting up solar. In some instances these can cost more than the modules, especially on small set ups.
     
  19. Jan 28, 2014 at 6:29 AM
    #19
    Phil Dammit

    Phil Dammit [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I work for a structural company, have worked for a few structural groups, bidding jobs as price per watt does not correlate when building structures with 198k sq ft of coverage. I can see price per watt but only on projects that are around 50kW or lower.
     
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