Shazam! Solar Panels Don’t Work at Night!


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.

RUSH: Right.

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.


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