Solars Development Future

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Even after one of the largest solar developer companies recently filed for bankruptcy protection I still think Solar Energy is the future of energy. What do you think??

SunEdison Inc SUNE.N, once the fastest-growing U.S. renewable energy company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday after a short-lived but aggressive binge of debt-fueled acquisitions proved unsustainable.

Solar developer SunEdison in bankruptcy as aggressive growth plan unravels | Reuters
  • Profile picture of the author agc
    sit down and do the math.

    A $1m investment in solar will produce $100k of retail priced electricity per year, and about $70k of wholesale prices electricity per year.

    That's a return on investment of about $70[k], assuming nothing ever breaks, needs servicing, the grass / brush never has to be cut under the collectors before it grows up in through them, and there is zero depreciation.

    Not much of a return, really.
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    • Profile picture of the author whateverpedia
      Originally Posted by agc View Post

      sit down and do the math.
      OK

      A $1m investment in solar will produce $100k of retail priced electricity per year, and about $70k of wholesale prices electricity per year.
      Which equates to a 10% and 7% return on investment respectively. If you add them together, that's a 17% return on investment. Not bad. Not bad at all.

      That's a return on investment of about $70
      Is this some brand of mathematics that is not even remotely mathematical that you're using?

      Not much of a return, really.
      Yeah, a positive 17% is nowhere near as good as the negative 94% that's just been wiped off the market capitalisation of coal companies.
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      • Profile picture of the author agc
        Originally Posted by whateverpedia View Post

        OK
        Which equates to a 10% and 7% return on investment respectively. If you add them together, that's a 17% return on investment. Not bad. Not bad at all.
        You don't get to sell the same unit of inventory at BOTH wholesale AND retail. You, as a big producer, get to sell at wholesale ONLY to the local distribution networks, who then sell it at retail.

        And add a k after the $70 (my typo, I obviously meant 7% or $70k, not $70).

        It's about a 7% GROSS profit. Then you start taking off for expenses. Like a CPA, maintenance on the inverters that are finicky, site maintenance, etc.

        Closer to a 5% net.

        And we haven't even depreciated the array yet. They don't have an infinite life expectancy.

        The margins get thin enough that it takes big tax credits and big bond issues to make it work.

        Myself, anything that won't work on a cash basis, I avoid it. Because lever it up and when the winds blow against you, the lever will swing back around and take your head off. *cough*sunedison*cough*
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  • Profile picture of the author irawr
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    Originally Posted by kingjpm View Post

    Even after one of the largest solar developer companies recently filed for bankruptcy protection I still think Solar Energy is the future of energy. What do you think??

    SunEdison Inc SUNE.N, once the fastest-growing U.S. renewable energy company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday after a short-lived but aggressive binge of debt-fueled acquisitions proved unsustainable.

    Solar developer SunEdison in bankruptcy as aggressive growth plan unravels | Reuters
    It IS the future, it's just still too expensive.

    Solar Impulse 2 lands in California after Pacific leg - CNN.com

    Originally Posted by agc View Post

    sit down and do the math.

    A $1m investment in solar will produce $100k of retail priced electricity per year, and about $70k of wholesale prices electricity per year.

    That's a return on investment of about $70, assuming nothing ever breaks, needs servicing, the grass / brush never has to be cut under the collectors before it grows up in through them, and there is zero depreciation.

    Not much of a return, really.
    I agree with what you're saying, but what are those numbers? Where did you pull that out of...
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  • Profile picture of the author agc
    I've been researching what to do with a mountain side I'm thinking about buying in the Poconos.

    I have spreadsheets. Lots of spreadsheets.

    Solar and wind are both "viable" but the cost needs to come down another 50% for me to consider it investable for someone too small to float a $50m bond offering.

    Looks like the best for the mountain would be 2 acres of tree farm and cut your own firewood in order to secure / preserve ag zoning, then a private trailer park development. Maybe in 5-10 years solar and wind will have come down in price. I'd leave pad space for wind power on the ridge and the unbuildable south face of the mountain could eventually be used for solar.

    Interesting tidbit: The sun puts down around 100watts per sqft in electromagnetic energy (peak). Current solar panels make 20watts per sqft (peak). Actually not a terrible conversion rate.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Solar power is not "the future" - it's part of the future of energy. It's not viable for every part of the country.

    You can't push science or force acceptance of an expensive technology. You need to support the development and testing instead of trying to force sales on the end user.

    Trying to push solar panel sales - the govt is handing money to companies who are spending it and then closing when the money runs out. They aren't moving the science forward - only taking the money as long as they can.

    Solar is never mentioned where I live - but geothermal is being used quite effectively. People will adapt to alternative energies as the options become affordable, available and reliable.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      Solar power is not "the future" - it's part of the future of energy. It's not viable for every part of the country.

      You can't push science or force acceptance of an expensive technology. You need to support the development and testing instead of trying to force sales on the end user.

      Trying to push solar panel sales - the govt is handing money to companies who are spending it and then closing when the money runs out. They aren't moving the science forward - only taking the money as long as they can.

      Solar is never mentioned where I live - but geothermal is being used quite effectively. People will adapt to alternative energies as the options become affordable, available and reliable.
      Deaths and other health issues aren't viable anywhere. And these issues aren't factored into the true cost of fossil fuels. When the health costs are factored in, solar and wind is more affordable that carbon based fuels, even where you live.


      And, the government is handing out money to Big Oil is the form of tax subsidies. The tax rate for Big Oil companies is 9%. Why does the most profitable industry in human history need government handouts?


      The biggest issue with solar in the US is that China has finally realized that their poor environment caused by pollution is hurting their economy. As a result, they have gone into massive production of solar and wind energy.


      Just because an American solar company goes bankrupt isn't an indication of the value of solar power. It's usually a case of the American company not being able to compete with China on price due to the poor wages and working conditions of Chinese workers.
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      • Profile picture of the author Importexport
        Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

        Just because an American solar company goes bankrupt isn't an indication of the value of solar power. It's usually a case of the American company not being able to compete with China on price due to the poor wages and working conditions of Chinese workers.
        I only want to comment on your sweeping assertion that Chinese workers are poorly paid and have poor working conditions.

        Having visited China countless times since I began exporting there in 1978, and importing from there in 1987, I can tell you there are many exceptions to what you assume to be the case.

        There is no doubt there are still places where working conditions are poor, and I am sorry to say that it some remote areas there is still child labor, but these problems are diminishing.

        I saw a huge improvement begin in 1985 when the Chinese government began to impose labor laws that have produced big changes. As a seller, when exporting and as a buyer when importing, I visited a large number of factories, and I have seen it with my own eyes.

        One industry from which I bought a lot is one that by its very nature generates dust, and small offcuts of metal and plastic materials. That industry had appallingly dirty and hazardous working conditions when I visited them as an exporter in the 1970s. Now the new factories that have replaced the old are scrupulously clean. There are lines painted providing pathways for people and equipment to pass through without endangering the workers. The scraps are removed frequently, so the slipping or tripping hazard is reduced.

        There are kindergartens provided on the premises at no cost to the workers, and health care is also provided free of charge.

        One result of the rising standard of living is that manufacturing costs are rising. This has resulted in the phenomenon known as re-shoring, in which manufacturing that has gone offshore to China has slowly begun to return to the US and other western countries.

        I don't want to give the impression that I am an advocate for China manufacturing. In fact, although I teach how to source and import products from China (and other countries) I often recommend that intending importers look for local suppliers first. Costs can sometimes be so close as to make importing nonviable, and the advantage of labeling as made in the USA or made in the EU etc., will often outweigh the small cost difference.

        Walter Hay.
        "If you think education is expensive - consider the cost of ignorance."
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        • Profile picture of the author Kurt
          Originally Posted by Importexport View Post

          I only want to comment on your sweeping assertion that Chinese workers are poorly paid and have poor working conditions.

          Having visited China countless times since I began exporting there in 1978, and importing from there in 1987, I can tell you there are many exceptions to what you assume to be the case.

          There is no doubt there are still places where working conditions are poor, and I am sorry to say that it some remote areas there is still child labor, but these problems are diminishing.

          I saw a huge improvement begin in 1985 when the Chinese government began to impose labor laws that have produced big changes. As a seller, when exporting and as a buyer when importing, I visited a large number of factories, and I have seen it with my own eyes.

          One industry from which I bought a lot is one that by its very nature generates dust, and small offcuts of metal and plastic materials. That industry had appallingly dirty and hazardous working conditions when I visited them as an exporter in the 1970s. Now the new factories that have replaced the old are scrupulously clean. There are lines painted providing pathways for people and equipment to pass through without endangering the workers. The scraps are removed frequently, so the slipping or tripping hazard is reduced.

          There are kindergartens provided on the premises at no cost to the workers, and health care is also provided free of charge.

          One result of the rising standard of living is that manufacturing costs are rising. This has resulted in the phenomenon known as re-shoring, in which manufacturing that has gone offshore to China has slowly begun to return to the US and other western countries.

          I don't want to give the impression that I am an advocate for China manufacturing. In fact, although I teach how to source and import products from China (and other countries) I often recommend that intending importers look for local suppliers first. Costs can sometimes be so close as to make importing nonviable, and the advantage of labeling as made in the USA or made in the EU etc., will often outweigh the small cost difference.

          Walter Hay.
          "If you think education is expensive - consider the cost of ignorance."
          The fact is, Chinese solar equipment has under-cut prices of a number of American solar manufacturers. Either China is paying their workers far less than we are, or they are much more efficient at manufacturing than we are.

          And if you're going to say that Chinese factories have the same safety and environmental issues (costs) to deal with as American factories, then we'll just have to disagree. My earlier comments also included poor working conditions, in addition to wages.


          I also pointed out that China is improving safety and environmental issues when I said:


          The biggest issue with solar in the US is that China has finally realized that their poor environment caused by pollution is hurting their economy.

          And yes, some manufacturing is returning to the US, in part due to stagnant wages here as well as low-cost immigrant (legal and illegal) labor.

          Another fact is China's GNP is roughly the same size as the USA's, yet has three times the population. This means the net wealth per capita in China is 1/3 than that in the US.
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          • Profile picture of the author Importexport
            Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

            The fact is, Chinese solar equipment has under-cut prices of a number of American solar manufacturers. Either China is paying their workers far less than we are, or they are much more efficient at manufacturing than we are.

            And if you're going to say that Chinese factories have the same safety and environmental issues (costs) to deal with as American factories, then we'll just have to disagree. My earlier comments also included poor working conditions, in addition to wages.

            I also pointed out that China is improving safety and environmental issues when I said: The biggest issue with solar in the US is that China has finally realized that their poor environment caused by pollution is hurting their economy. As a result, they have gone into massive production of solar and wind energy.

            And yes, some manufacturing is returning to the US, in part due to stagnant wages here as well as low-cost immigrant (legal and illegal) labor.

            Another fact is China's GNP is roughly the same size as the USA's, yet has three times the population. This means the net wealth per capita in China is 1/3 than that in the US.
            Thanks for your comments @Kurt.

            It is true that US workers are paid a lot more than workers in China. One thing not taken into account when statements like that are made is that the cost of living in China is way below the cost of living in the US.

            In many cases they do work more efficiently also. They don't have Union forced demarcation issues that hinder production. Workers are allowed to multi-skill, and comparing factories in the China and the US in the same industry, I can vouch for the fact that the output per person in China per hour is often much higher.

            It's not all about costs of production. Chinese manufacturers are satisfied with lower profit margins than US manufacturers.

            Working conditions for Chinese workers in many of the factories I have visited are far superior to the conditions I have seen in some US factories. You must compare apples with apples.

            Manufacturing returning to the US from China is a result of both lower costs in the US and increasing costs in China. The process is part of history. Post war, Japan was the cheap and nasty product source for the world. Their costs rose, and South Korea took their place. Their costs rose and Taiwan took their place. Their costs rose and Hong Kong took their place. Their costs rose and mainland China took their place.

            I am not an advocate for Chinese manufacturers. Although I teach importing, I urge my student to look elsewhere other than China, and I particularly recommend the US.

            I often see low cost, good quality items imported from Italy, Germany, and other western countries, and those prices are often much lower than for similar products in the US.

            The world's economy, for better or worse is global, and I can't see the momentum being stopped.

            What is net wealth? It is often a feel good artificial figure that is a result of inflated house prices. Cost of living is far more relevant. You can't spend your house unless you borrow on it.

            Walter

            P.S. Have you ever been to China? I have lost count of the number of times I have been there. I know the manufacturing scene, and I understand the Chinese psyche. I have seen many changes over the 38 years I have been visiting China.
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
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      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      Solar power is not "the future" - it's part of the future of energy. It's not viable for every part of the country.

      You can't push science or force acceptance of an expensive technology. You need to support the development and testing instead of trying to force sales on the end user.

      Trying to push solar panel sales - the govt is handing money to companies who are spending it and then closing when the money runs out. They aren't moving the science forward - only taking the money as long as they can.

      Solar is never mentioned where I live - but geothermal is being used quite effectively. People will adapt to alternative energies as the options become affordable, available and reliable.


      Actually solar is very much viable, the problem is mass produced solar panels that are inefficient.

      Example, one square foot of solar panel like used on the International Space Station creates enough energy to power an entire home.

      (7:08 in the video)


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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    I've waited decades for solar to get to this point of public exposure. Now that it is so exposed, I wish it never was. I really don't think it is any better than it was when I was in school. When I left school, solar started becoming almost like a big fad. Calculators and hobbyist computers did also, though the calculators and computers were bigger and directly used a bit more. You see, solar was used as a kid's hobbyist novelty, and to help power calculators, watches, etc.... Calculators were used to check answers, and help speed things up. Computers were used for all sorts of things, but companies hadn't really started using them for the most part, in day to day use.

    OK, flash forward like 4 decades. So where are we NOW?

    1. Calculators are used as an excuse to not learn math, and to "legally" cheat on tests! Most do NOT have solar cells.
    2. Watches tend to NOT have solar cells, but are not as common as they were.
    3. Computers are often used to run tools created by others for free, and to access the internet. Again, an excuse to be lazy.
    4. Solar cells fell into a kind of public hole only to be revived as a snake oil scam. People are claiming they can create a great advertising gimic and create roadways to CONFUSE(excuse me, "help") drivers. It is an ABSURDLY stupid idea, and LEDs, Glass, Adhesive, Solar cells, are NOWHERE NEAR good enough yet to live up to the claims. They ALSO stole money to give to DUMB startups that quickly went bankrupt, because reality is not good enough to meet their claims.

    AGC is right, but he left out ANOTHER big thing most people forget. BECAUSE they are so inefficient, you need a lot of them, and they must be 1 layer thick, or directional. That means they take a LOT of space! If you live in an apartment, for example, they will build several floors which means MORE need in less space. So this effectively scales DOWN rather than up.

    That means that, if you have a ranch style house, you may be able to get it. If you have a multi story house, your ability drops. If you have an apartment, you might as well not bother. There are other problems also, like mounting securely without hurting integrity, and keeping reflected light levels low.

    It IS a shame. I have a bank that is good for charging some stuff I have, in a disaster, and am thinking about getting a bigger one for the home. That will be very expensive though. The reason THAT is possible is NOT because of the solar cells, but stability of the grid, and improvements with lithium ion. It still isn't as good as a full solar for normal use. Basically I am talking about a system that may give me full power for a few hours after being charged by solar for a few hours. OH, and they take up a small room. Trickle charging for short periods of use just doesn't require so much realestate. It is like that solar calculator so many decades ago. They worked in subdued light because they required so much less power than the solar cell could generate. Besides, they were generally LCD so you needed to have light just to see the numbers.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
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  • Profile picture of the author agc
    Oh, and the sun edison capital isn't gone. Just the sun edison equity. The arrays are all still there. Some bond holders are going to come away from bankruptcy court holding some productive assets at a huuuuuge discount.

    If could lay may hands on $1m of solar array for $250k, I'd jump at it. At that point the numbers make sense on a cash basis. $70k wholesale on $250k is ~25% gross return. bleed off 5% in maintenance operating costs and depreciation and hey, it's still looking good.
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    ALSO, things like solar require shipping, some design, and installation. Driving to chicago, I noticed these HUGE trucks carrying one thing. They had like 3 huge trucks, two trailers each, IIRC, that were just carrying the blades for wind turbines. Solar may not be as bad, but I have heard stories about them breaking in transit. You have to figure out where to put them. You want to get the best power while keeping things safe and looking nice. And you have to securely install them, wires and all, without hurting insulation, waterproofing, etc....

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
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      Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

      ALSO, things like solar require shipping, some design, and installation. Driving to chicago, I noticed these HUGE trucks carrying one thing. They had like 3 huge trucks, two trailers each, IIRC, that were just carrying the blades for wind turbines. Solar may not be as bad, but I have heard stories about them breaking in transit. You have to figure out where to put them. You want to get the best power while keeping things safe and looking nice. And you have to securely install them, wires and all, without hurting insulation, waterproofing, etc....

      Steve


      They've probably figured out the logistics by now. Besides, they have insurance like everyone else.

      BTW, Chicago IS the Windy City.
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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by yukon View Post

        They've probably figured out the logistics by now. Besides, they have insurance like everyone else.

        BTW, Chicago IS the Windy City.
        Insurance isn't good enough. How much would bonded Assurance cost? Does anyone really even sell it? How do they assure your life?

        As for logistics? You mean you HAVEN'T heard of FEDEX, UPS, etc?

        They have NOT "figured out the logistics". THAT is why people make a big deal about shipping, etc.... And look at APPLE! A coworker bought an ipad(a popular expensive and capable one) and it took them about FOUR WEEKS to ship it! It came from china. They REFUSED to hold one for him, and said the only way he could get one at the store was to be one of the first ones in line on the day they got a shipment.

        Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author agc
    Srsly? You really mean to say that a large industrial / capital equipment purchaser has no idea how to plan a procurement timeline?

    wtf are you smoking? You think a solar array is more complex to bring online than a steel mill? A new Ford factory in Mississippi? A new oil refinery?

    These aren't iPads backordered by Apple.

    This stuff is made to order, and project planners know how to layer the procurement process into the project timeline.

    And I assure you, people are well aware of exactly how to get stuff containerized, insured, shipped, and delivered. 100%. Including insuring against the loss of use and cap cost of stalling a half done project to replace a lost shipment of a critical component. Even big stuff, like A380 parts.

    Saying nobody has figured out logistics is quite possibly the ________ thing I'll hear... well at least this hour. lol
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
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      Originally Posted by agc View Post

      Srsly? You really mean to say that a large industrial / capital equipment purchaser has no idea how to plan a procurement timeline?

      wtf are you smoking? You think a solar array is more complex to bring online than a steel mill? A new Ford factory in Mississippi? A new oil refinery?

      These aren't iPads backordered by Apple.

      This stuff is made to order, and project planners know how to layer the procurement process into the project timeline.

      And I assure you, people are well aware of exactly how to get stuff containerized, insured, shipped, and delivered. 100%. Including insuring against the loss of use and cap cost of stalling a half done project to replace a lost shipment of a critical component. Even big stuff, like A380 parts.

      Saying nobody has figured out logistics is quite possibly the ________ thing I'll hear... well at least this hour. lol

      I know, it's not even remotely realistic.

      Lets all go blow millions of dollars on wind turbines with no idea what we're doing.
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by agc View Post

      Srsly? You really mean to say that a large industrial / capital equipment purchaser has no idea how to plan a procurement timeline?
      I was saying that such things had to be considered! That is ALL.

      wtf are you smoking? You think a solar array is more complex to bring online than a steel mill? A new Ford factory in Mississippi? A new oil refinery?
      I don't smoke at all. Companies do NOT build steel mills unless it is economically advantageous.

      These aren't iPads backordered by Apple.
      His Ipad wasn't backordered EITHER! It is just a DUMB way that Apple handles everything. They actually HAD the inferior product in stock and many were settling for THAT. They had poor planning on handling a JIT type inventory, and were generally out of stock on the better one in stores.

      This stuff is made to order, and project planners know how to layer the procurement process into the project timeline.
      I was simply illustrating problems and expenses.

      And I assure you, people are well aware of exactly how to get stuff containerized, insured, shipped, and delivered. 100%. Including insuring against the loss of use and cap cost of stalling a half done project to replace a lost shipment of a critical component. Even big stuff, like A380 parts.
      I've heard enough horror stories to be assured that such assurances aren't so reliable. Also, I was referring to damage on items that will NEVER be shipped or done at the factory. They are done ON SITE with what is there. Building a plant is different, as the whole thing can be designed with that in mind. HECK, doing this is even dependent on the state and perhaps the city or even the BLOCK, because of building codes and covenants.
      AGAIN, insurance is for AFTER THE FACT! I have heard of a minor leak destroying a home in a few days. I recently heard of a home that had a minor leak that was found relatively quickly. It caused mold to grow, and the whole mansion ended up getting destroyed. It took the insurance years to pay off, and they didn't even pay the full coverage. Ironically, the insurance helped cause the problem by saying that the owners couldn't fix it until they responded. That took years.

      BTW A man lost his career and freedom. The child was likely handicapped by it. The woman was probably close to ending up like the man. LUCKILY she seemed to recover eventually.

      Saying nobody has figured out logistics is quite possibly the ________ thing I'll hear... well at least this hour. lol
      Simply saying that if a part is missing or damaged, it will be delayed and the time or expense can be high.

      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author agc
        Originally Posted by seasoned View Post


        His Ipad wasn't backordered EITHER! It is just a DUMB way that Apple handles everything. They actually HAD the inferior product in stock and many were settling for THAT. They had poor planning on handling a JIT type inventory, and were generally out of stock on the better one in stores.
        Um. Backorder = out of stock.
        Again, wtf are you smoking?


        back·or·der
        ˈbakˌôrdər/
        noun
        noun: backorder; plural noun: backorders; noun: back order; plural noun: back orders; noun: back-order; plural noun: back-orders
        1. 1.
          a retailer's order for a product that is temporarily out of stock with the supplier.
          "the phone I wanted was on backorder"




        verb
        verb: backorder; 3rd person present: backorders; gerund or present participle: backordering; past tense: backordered; past participle: backordered
        1. 1.
          place an order for (a product) that is temporarily out of stock.
          "the item was backordered by our distributor"



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        • Profile picture of the author seasoned
          Originally Posted by agc View Post

          Um. Backorder = out of stock.
          Again, wtf are you smoking?


          back·or·der
          ˈbakˌôrdər/
          noun
          noun: backorder; plural noun: backorders; noun: back order; plural noun: back orders; noun: back-order; plural noun: back-orders
          1. 1.
            a retailer's order for a product that is temporarily out of stock with the supplier.
            "the phone I wanted was on backorder"




          verb
          verb: backorder; 3rd person present: backorders; gerund or present participle: backordering; past tense: backordered; past participle: backordered
          1. 1.
            place an order for (a product) that is temporarily out of stock.
            "the item was backordered by our distributor"



          They had the phone in the warehouse, and were shipping it to the store. They simply don't hold the phone there for people that order it, not even at the store. Sorry if I don't accept the backorder excuse.

          Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author JuliaStein
    Originally Posted by kingjpm View Post

    Even after one of the largest solar developer companies recently filed for bankruptcy protection I still think Solar Energy is the future of energy. What do you think??
    I agree with you. It's a shame for all humanity that we are still using oil and spending millions on it, when we have FREE sun and its shining
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  • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
    solar power works for me

    wind power back up

    excess power goes to bitcoin mining

    no power bills

    sorry to add a practical perspective, not theoretical
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  • Profile picture of the author mathesh vino
    what use to solars ?
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      Originally Posted by mathesh vino View Post

      what use to solars ?




      Signature
      Hi
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