11 – Raxter Decentralization and self-consumption

Leasing companies install and operate PV arrays on individual’s homes as if they were an independent power generation company. As this trend has been growing, the largest effect of greater decentralization of power generation that I have seen is the rising cost per kWh that the utilities are imposing on their customers that have not transitioned over in order to compensate for their lost revenue.


Eventually, I see the utilities starting to charge more in the evening hours to be able to reduce how much per kWh that they are current crediting to existing PV production sites or introducing standards that will allow them to not credit more than the standard utility rate for alternative power production. I believe that this would open up an opportunity to install smart controls on individuals’ homes to help program their loads to operate during peak PV production times.


I could easily see myself running consumption reports and installing smart home controls that would allow the end user to increase their self-consumption and reduce how much they were purchasing from and selling to the utility which is what they are already starting to introduce in Germany.


Raxter’s Understanding of the Cost of Capital

For the most part renewable energy generation sites require minimal maintenance and are fairly reliable and predictable in regards to production. Considering what I know about renewable energy, the largest hurdle with renewable energy projects is the bankability of the components that you are utilizing and the upfront cost.

With a reputable company that offers a production guarantee, once the upfront cost is compensated it is a guaranteed return on investment with minimal risk.

To explain our potential for success I would calculate the Weighted Average Cost of Capital for my company to help the investor understand the reliability of my company. Then I would show them the net present value of their investment over the 30 year operating period of an average solar photovoltaics system.

03 Raxter – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

A little known fact is that the catchphrase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is actually listed in order of the most importance. The most important thing that we can do to reduce the amount of pollution that we produce is to reduce the quantity of resources that we are consuming. The easiest way to accomplish this is to utilize energy efficient means.

Given the current technology dependent generation – visual aids tend to capture people’s attention more than spreadsheets. That being said, I would like to create a program that would allow you to build a 3D model of your house with standard appliances. When you run the program it would take you through a typical day and visually show you how much each appliance utilizes during the day while adding up the daily total. After the daily consumption report was complete, it would give you the opportunity to swap out appliances for newer energy efficient appliances so you could run a comparison. In the comparison summary, the program would calculate how long it would take you to recap your investment given the amount of money that you’d save through reducing your consumption. This would help average homeowners be able to easily tell where they could have the biggest bang for the smallest investment.

My target audience would be manufacturers of energy efficient appliances. However, the program could also be modified to show the difference that new windows or additional installation could make, which would increase the variety of customers that I could sell the program to.

Raxter – Solar at Night?

The renewable energy projects are failing to receive the same degree of support from the financial community and the government that nuclear does because they do not offer the same type of energy production. What I mean by this is that Biomass (although renewable) requires burning products that can impact the air quality, Geothermal is more readily available in seismically active areas (i.e. not easily accessible everywhere), Wind only works in areas with prevailing wind (and even then is subject to the weather), and Solar only works during the daytime (and times of non-inclement weather). Whereas, Nuclear can offer a long term, continuous, semi-clean, low cost solution in any area that it is built. That all being said, I believe that the only way we can obtain and maintain our clean-energy independence is to adopt all forms of renewable technologies.

To focus on two of the main renewable energy projects, I think the largest issue with mass adoption of Wind and Solar has to do with the periods of weather (including nights) than hinder production. With that said, I personally see a need for someone to develop a large scale energy storage device that could capture excess energy produced and help spread out the energy distribution to offer continuous energy production regardless of the time of day or weather. This would help make Wind and Solar a well-rounded solution, thus improving their image as a reliable form of energy production.

Design it Right

My name is Ronnie Raxter; I prefer to go by my middle name Cheri. I currently reside in a rural part of Northern California that is trying to break off into its own state (i.e. the State of Jefferson). Although I’ve called California home for the last eighteen years (like most people here) I’m not from here. All and all, I had lived in seven different states by the time I was thirteen and those homes varied from a busy life in Phoenix to the corner of a mountain in Idaho. Having experienced living without running water or electricity (in ID) I became very interested in energy consumption and waste at a young age. I have worked in the technical side of the Solar Photovoltaics (PV) industry for the last seven years and I’ve returned to school to obtain a BA in Energy and Sustainability. My interest in this course both follow my own interest in renewable energy as well as fall into a core course requirement for the degree that I’m pursuing.

As for running my own business, being a single mother for eleven years left me with the obligation of bringing home two incomes. During that time I had worked full time and freelanced on the side to bring in more money. I liked the idea of being my own boss and not having to pay a middleman (I made a lot of money), however the reality of sick days equals no pay, vacation time equals lost opportunity, and a bad economy equals less opportunities, made me realize that in my situation running a freelance business was not in my best interest. That being said, through my current position I have a unique look into the trials and tribulations of designing and installing a PV system and I personally see a need for a program that could easily size and engineer a PV system for people who are new to the industry. All and all, I think that removing the possibility of human error for new installers would have a significant impact on the renewable energy industry.