RUSH: I have to go to the phones quickly. We have a guy on the phone from Newport Beach, California, is worried that I have destroyed or am destroying his business. There is no way I’d want to ever do anything like that. It’s Steve in Newport Beach. Steve, great to have you on the program. What’s the problem?
CALLER: Hey, Rush, I (unintelligible) caller, long-term listener, Rush Baby, thanks to my late father. Actually, I’ve been listening to you religiously since 2007. And your commentary on Obama botching his oath significantly changed my career, and I’m in forever debt to you. It’s good to talk to you.
RUSH: Well, okay. I appreciate that. Thank you very much. Now, it says up here that you work in solar and that I am killing your business.
CALLER: Yes, sir. Every time you mention it I always cringe. I called a few times, thank God I got through. I just want to let you know, and all your listeners, especially those here in California (unintelligible) some of our customers are fully aware that when the grid goes dark, the solar system does as well. (Unintelligible) have a backup batteries are able to power their house for about six to eight hours, depending on which battery they have.
CALLER: During the nighttime. And then also you mentioned that when the sun goes down, you’re buying energy from the grid. Well, in fact how it works is that when the sun is up you’re producing your power, whatever power you don’t use, it goes back onto the grid, which is correct, that’s a mandate that California has, California Renewable Energy Act, and then when the sun goes down you call your credit back and, if you use any more power than what you produce, then you buy a little bit of power from the utility.
RUSH: When they are providing it.
CALLER: Yes, sir. That is correct. So when PG&E shuts off 800,000 customers and SCE cut off 200,000 customers this last week, if you have solar, it’s not producing power for your home unless you have a battery backup.
RUSH: Does everybody have a battery backup that has solar panels on their house?
CALLER: No, sir. It’s relatively new technology —
RUSH: It is. Federal mandate that you have to have a battery backup to make sure — —
CALLER: No, no, no, no. It’s a state mandate.
RUSH: State mandate.
CALLER: — the rest of the country — (crosstalk)
RUSH: It’s a government mandate that you gotta have a battery backup.
CALLER: No, they don’t mandate a battery. They’re mandating that the state provide clean energy so by 2045 the state of California is supposed to be producing —
RUSH: Clean. Got it. (crosstalk)
CALLER: — solar, wind (unintelligible) power, which is — it’s pretty ridiculous, however, the way that I — (crosstalk)
RUSH: Look, I understand that. And you have my sympathies. You really do. You’ve bitten off a lot here going into the solar business. You know, when I first heard of the proliferation of solar — now, my first house in California had a couple panels on the roof — and I was misled, like I think a lot of people were, about what their purpose was and their effectiveness.
I mean, I was sold, I literally was sold and told, “This is gonna lower your bill like you can’t believe.” Okay, fine. I don’t believe my electric bill is ever gonna go down, so I don’t buy into it. I don’t think cost-of-living things are ever gonna go appreciably down, cable bill or whatever, I just don’t think it is. I don’t fall for it.
But the reason this came up today, Steve, is a story from the Doomberg News – uh, Bloomberg News agency. And here’s the headline: “Californians Learning That Solar Panels Don’t Work in Blackouts.” Okay. So you see it’s not me. I’m simply the messenger here reporting to you what Bloomberg News is reporting. Now, this headline, “Californians Learning –” that means they don’t know that solar panels don’t work in blackouts. That means there’s a lot of people in California shocked, surprised. Here’s how the story begins.
“Californians have embraced rooftop solar panels more than anyone in the U.S., but many are learning the hard way the systems won’t keep the lights on during blackouts. That’s because most panels are designed to supply power to the grid,” not the houses on whose rooves they are.
“During the heat of the day, solar systems can crank out more juice than a home can handle. Conversely, they don’t produce power at all at night. So systems are tied into the grid, and the vast majority aren’t working this week as PG&E Corp. cuts power to much of Northern California –” You’re down there in Newport Beach. This is Northern California, “– to prevent wildfires.
“The only way for most solar panels to work during a blackout is pairing them with batteries,” as you just said. Okay, Steve, so this is a story that’s now nationwide out there on Bloomberg, and what about that is incorrect?
CALLER: The thing about that is incorrect is that people are under the assumption that their solar panels are powering their house. You’re correct that they are designed to feed the grid. So how this works is that the system is (unintelligible) to offset their power. What they are doing is they are powering not only their house, but they’re back-feeding all the excess energy produced back to the grid through something called net energy (unintelligible) So that when the sun goes down, the California Public Utility Commission is counting the number of kilowatts that you’re putting onto the grid and exporting and how many kilowatts you’re importing from the grid —
RUSH: While they tell you to keep your thermostat high in the summer and low in the winter.
CALLER: (laughing) I’m not gonna argue with the politics of this state. It’s mind-boggling. (Unintelligible) —
RUSH: Well, see, you have just zeroed in on the problem. And this is why I applaud you and I have at the same time a little — it’s not really sympathy, but your whole business is political. California’s politicized everything. You are fighting political mandates or political requirements here and there. And let me ask you this, you’re in the business — well, I can’t ask you this. You’re in the business. I wouldn’t expect you to answer in any other way that would suffice to help your business, so I’m not gonna ask you that.
But this is my sense. I would not put somebody in that kind of circumstance. I’ll ask it after he’s gone, but I’m not gonna make him answer. Steve, I appreciate the call. I’m glad to be straightened out on some of this. Basically he says most customers know that their panels are not working at night. That’s good. The sun’s down at night. Really good. So the education system is doing a bang-up job there. People know that their solar panels are providing zip, zero, nada at night.
But they’re providing more than the house needs. Can I take that little bit of information and ask a very logical question? If the solar panel in the daytime — and, Steve, if you want to take a stab at answering this, go ahead, if you’re still there. If the solar panel — it says right here the Doomberg story — if the solar panel produces more power than the house needs in the daytime, then why can’t the solar panels, instead of sending it to the grid, send it to your battery so that you can use it at night or when PG&E shuts you off. Why do you have to send it to the grid?
CALLER: It can. If you have a battery, it fills the battery first and then sends to the grid, so that when the grid goes dark during a blackout your battery has the power to light your home for about six to eight hours.
RUSH: Six to eight hours.
CALLER: With four 20-amp circuits, yes. So it doesn’t power the entire home and customers who have a battery know this.
RUSH: So you’re telling me that California can elect not to send any overage that the panels absorb during the day to the grid, they can send it straight to their battery array?
CALLER: If they buy enough —
RUSH: Oh, they gotta buy something else. Oh!
CALLER: Yeah. Oh, yeah.
RUSH: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I got it. I got it. See, folks —
CALLER: We’re screwed here in California, Rush. We pay the highest —
RUSH: Tell me! Tell me! I used to live there, and I watch what’s going on there because I love the place. Can I tell you how cockeyed this is? If this Doomberg story is right, then one aspect of solar panels actually works. Depending on the size of the house — and of course this could be accommodated by however many solar panels, but if these panels — if this is right, if the solar panels can absorb more power than your house needs in the daytime, why can’t you keep that? Why isn’t it yours? Why is it the grid’s?
Why does it have to get sent from your panels to the grid? You put the panels on there. They’re sold as these massive new improvements with clean, renewable energy and so this story says that solar panels create more power than the average house needs when the sun — there’s always a caveat — when the sun shines.
Now, look at what people have to have though. Gotta go out and buy a battery backup for their house, a battery backup. Normally you go buy a generator for when the power company fails. Now, in California, you gotta have a battery backup for when your own solar panels fail or when the sun’s not up. Then you gotta get permission from the state to make sure that the overage stays on your house and your property rather than going to the grid. And they get you coming or going.
Anyway, I just remember Solyndra and I remember all of the fraud. Solyndra was a bogus company set up by Obama donors, and they wanted to get their money back. They gave money to Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, and the short version of the story is that they got all kinds of favorable loan agreements and investment opportunities for a bogus entity!
There was no Solyndra! It sold bogus solar panels. It went out of business shortly after Obama got elected. But the people that got money to Obama were given some of it back in exchange for the donation in the first place under the guise of money being invested in Solyndra. And there were a bunch of others not named Solyndra that were doing the same thing.
I remember back then, Steve, I had people like you in the solar industry calling me and giving me a little grief. They were big fans of the show and they were hurt because they thought what I was doing was being effectively negative PR for solar panels and the solar industry.
But you hit the nail on the head. Everything you’re doing in this, since they’ve politicized energy and tied everything to climate change and the destruction of the planet, you’ve got bells and whistles and hoops that you have to jump through out there. And like most else that bureaucracies come up with, I’d venture to say that over half the stuff you have to put people through that you have to do isn’t even necessary to make your systems work. Thanks for the call.
RUSH: I’ve got an email from a listener. “Dear Mr. Limbaugh: Sometimes you surprise me. You are so knowledgeable and so brilliant, and then you ask a question that makes me think you don’t remember things sometimes. Mr. Limbaugh, it is socialism in California. They need to share their power. They can’t keep their own power, Rush! How much power does one person need?” This person is upset that I somehow asked a question, “If you can produce your own power from solar panels, why do you have to give it to the grid?”
That was my point in asking the question is to illustrate that nothing is yours, no matter what you’re paying for in California. It all goes into the common store, and then it gets redistributed. Meanwhile, you gotta pay out all these different things to be able to engage in this. You know, a six- to-eight-hour battery backup? What do you do when PG&E shuts you down for 10 days because of the fire threat — or a day and a half?
What do you do? Your batteries are gonna be depleted, and you’ve done everything they’ve told you to do. You’ve got your solar panels. You’ve got your thermostat set at 95 during the daytime and 44 at night. You’re doing everything they tell you to do — you’re sweating the daytime, you’re freezing at night — and they still come and get you. Oh, by the way, the ChiComs are great people and we need to be more like ’em.
RUSH: This is John in Denver. Great to have you, sir, on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Thank you for taking my call, Rush, and kudos to Bo. I am just here to tell you that you may be slightly incorrect on the understanding of the solar industry and what happens in California.
CALLER: What you need is something from DR Microgrid. It’s a combination system that has a battery, it’s a certain type of battery. It has to have an intelligence switch and then you have to have the capability of storing it, playing it back to the power company’s grid at high peak current. (Unintelligible) company are required to pay you to tap into this source that they can use. So the battery, in effect, doubles the amount of energy you need. You sell half back to —
RUSH: Wait, wait, wait. Doubles the amount of energy that you need?
CALLER: Right. Now, your needs are dependent upon two things. One, if you want to fulfill just the emergency blackouts for a number of hours or a day, or you want to run it on peak hours, then you add another power source. You can use, for example, natural gas, liquid natural gas, propane, whatever sources are available. California has mandated this to be part of their new construction project starting in January of 2020. So it’s gonna be in all the houses. You just have to have the right system and the right type of battery.
The cost of the battery, a lot of these states now offer incentives along with the federal government so your cost of the battery can drop by as much as 70%. The return on investment would come back in two to three years, maybe five if you’re commercial. So for every dollar you invest you get about two back. Your monthly power bill, Rush, whether you’re a home or a business, could go to absolute zero.
RUSH: Oh, really?
CALLER: Yes. And therein lies the hook.
RUSH: Are you expecting your house that you’re building, do I understand you’re gonna have occupancy in 2020, are you expecting your electric bill to net out to zero?
CALLER: Yes, in fact, make money because the power company will pay you for the excess power you generate.
RUSH: Well, that’s fascinating.
CALLER: There’s a lot more to this, but I could take up your whole hour. I’m not sure you want to do that.
RUSH: I’m sure you could. I know it’s probably technical. I’ve often said that I’m very naive, and even at my advanced age of 68, I’m still very naive. And as I listen to you describe what all you’ve gotta do to get down to net zero, I’m asking myself, why can’t you build a house, connect it to the power company, pay for what you use, and be done with it?
CALLER: Because the power company —
RUSH: — why do you need a solar panel and battery backups? You need a CPA to calculate how much you’re getting screwed or not by the power company.
CALLER: Actually you don’t. You take the 12-month power bills you have now, redo the calculations and tell you how much you have to spend on this system to meet your demands, but also to equal the cost of your power bill, we can string it out.
RUSH: Why —
CALLER: You end up at zero. You’re paying the money anyway, Rush, you’re already paying the money in the electric bill. Why pay the electric bill when you can pay for a system that in three years, seven years, two years, you you’ll own free and you have no power bills and you get mailbox money from the power company.
RUSH: No power pills and you get mailbox money from the power company. Has this ever happened in practice?
CALLER: Yes. We have case studies and a white paper where we’re doing this now in California.
RUSH: No, I know it’s happening on the white paper. Is it happening in somebody’s life?
CALLER: Yes. I have wineries, breweries, retirement centers, places in California where just — look, I’m 67. We’re just launching this thing.
RUSH: But any individual homes where this is working at?
CALLER: Yes, in New Zealand we have 20,000 homes that are using it —
RUSH: In New Zealand.
CALLER: Well, we’re trying to bring it here. Our (unintelligible) are from there and we are bringing it here. We’re already set up and operating in California, Rush. Nanogrids it’s called. It just launched at the solar panel institute show by us last month in Salt Lake City.
RUSH: Nanogrids. Why didn’t you say that in the beginning if you’re —
CALLER: Well, you didn’t ask. I’m trying to make you right.
RUSH: Well, you think I don’t understand what you’re talking about. If you would have said Nanogrids —
CALLER: I know you do. I know you do. You have microgrids and nano.
RUSH: I got it. I figured it out now. Thank you for the call very much.
RUSH: Okay. Here is what is going on in California. Remember the old days where you moved into a house and you had a thermostat in there, and maybe if you were lucky you had air-conditioning? (Now everybody does. Most people.) You turned the thermostat to where you want it. You get a bill, you complain about it, you pay it; life goes on. Oh, no, not anymore. Now you put solar panels up there. Then you talk about the grid, nongrid. Do you get to use any of the solar panel power on your house?
No. It goes to the grid. Then you gotta get a battery backup up out there, six to eight hours. And if you want to, you can put a lot of solar panels up there, then arrange for the power company to pay you to put ’em on there. Then you use your power, back it up, and have it available for any time you want it. And at the end of the month, the power company’s gonna send you a check for net zero what your costs were. Therefore, you have no expenses. People will be flocking to California with this! But actually, what is happening in California is this: It is socialism.
All of this is rooted in socialism and this so-called quest that nothing’s gonna cost anybody anything and everybody’s gonna get what they want — and what they need. Nobody’s going to be laughed at. Nobody’s going to be humiliated. Nobody’s going to ever lose because there will never be any winners. Everybody will always be the same, and life will utopia. (Never works out.) In truth, state taxes in California combined with federal taxes and all of the little nickel-and-dime add-ons have doubled the price of gasoline on average.
You know, it spikes and it goes down. But in California, as compared to the rest of the fruited plain, the price of gasoline has been remarkably higher, on balance and on average, for decades. It has double the average price per gallon of gasoline throughout the state, and there are ancillary effects and impacts in other states around the country where California is involved in the energy-supply business. So the rising costs of gasoline combined with the political pressure of climate change destroying the planet has forced people into accessing massive state and federal tax breaks (ahem) and credits to go out and buy the electric cars, in the belief that they are going to be cheaper to operate because they will be immune from the price of gasoline.
And, of course, the added benefit is that it is clean, sustainable, renewable energy. The battery in the phenomenal electric car. So people get to tool around 200 miles at a time before charging the battery in the car, believing they are saving the planet, believing they are saving the climate, believing they are saving massive amounts of money that they are not spending on gasoline. And not having the slightest idea that charging the batteries in their cars is causing the use of more and more coal at the very power plants they think they are screwing using solar panels on the rooves of their homes.
So people have been forced into buying these little electric cars — and, at the same time, thinking of themselves as really progressive, really modern, really ahead of the game, really cool, really stylish. “I’m driving my Tesla! I’m driving any Volt! I’m driving whatever. I’m better than you. I’m saving the planet. I am protecting America. I am doing penance for my role in destroying the world.” All of this stuff goes into it,” and then what happens (laughing) the state of California comes along and says, “You know what? We’re gonna shut down your power. You know why?
“Because there might be some wildfires flaring up out there. We gotta shut down the power to protect even more damage from happening.” So after you have been priced out of buying a conventional combustible-engine car running on gasoline, now you’re driving you’re politically correct Tesla or whatever it is. And you’re loving it and you’re cooling and you’re tooling around and you’re saving money. And then all of a sudden you can’t charge it because they’ve shut down the power. But at least you have a six-hour battery backup for the solar panels on the roof of your house!
But you can’t drive your car because you can’t charge it because they’ve shut down the power. Socialism always fails people. It always does. It never, ever does anything but fail the general population. All of that I’ve just described is never gonna happen to government leaders, never gonna happen to powerful business leaders. They’re gonna be immune! They’ll drive their combustible-engine cars. They’re not gonna be worried about having their homes heated and air-conditioned, whether or not the solar panels are properly configured and operating.
They’re gonna use natural gas or whatever they can. But for the general population, socialism bombs. It never, ever fulfills a single promise that it makes — and yet, the lure remains solid. Dispute nothing but massive failure throughout whatever length of time humans have been on earth, socialism still manages to recruit more and more dumbfounded, ignorant young people believing that it just hasn’t been done right yet. “The right people haven’t done it. We haven’t had the right amount of money. It can work, Mr. Limbaugh,” despite the fact that it never has, because it can’t. It simply isn’t possible.