Break-even in thirty years (for something that probably will not last half that time)

The half-news show continues. The subject of previous post was the hurrah story from Belgian newspapers about a family that installed a Tesla powerwall. My impression was that things that didn’t fit the narrative were excluded, therefor coming to an overly positive success story. I wasn’t really sure whether this was caused by a wrong interpretation by the journalist or whether it originated from the interviewee.

I found out that the owner of this powerwall had a twitter account and recently started a facebook account in which he writes about his installation and (only) its advantages. Going through the posts, it seems likely that the one-sided positive narrative came from the owner and the journalist probably reported it uncritically.

Reading his tweets on the powerwall, I found a very small glimpse that it is not as positive as it was painted in the newspaper articles and the social media:

Basically, when tweeting about the powerwall when it was delivered, someone asked if he calculated the break-even time for his investment. His answer was “Yes, 30 years” and ended with a clown wink.

Well, that is interesting information for people who consider buying such a system. In the newspaper articles, as in the twitter and facebook account, only the positive side was shown. The focus was on the profit he had (he drew less power from the grid, therefor saving money on his electricity bill), but not whether that profit was somehow in balance with the investment.

This tweet showed me that he realizes that he will never break-even on his investment, yet, this valuable information was buried very deep in his twitter timeline and was brought forward only after a casual remark from a visitor.

This 30 years even seems a bit low to me. Probably the calculation doesn’t include the cost of the solar panels, the inverter, efficiency loss of the battery and who knows what more. So that thirty years will easily double, maybe even triple for new owners.

This confirmed that success stories about renewable energy and disinformation go hand in hand. More, they have to go hand in hand. If both sides of the story would been told, then there would not be much of a success story left. Only a guy who overpaid his battery and did so for reasons of principle.

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4 thoughts on “Break-even in thirty years (for something that probably will not last half that time)

  1. vuurklip

    Whenever we spend a LOT of money on anything, we start looking for the benefits. We don’t want to see any negatives. We don’t want to admit our mistakes – it makes us feel bad.

    Reply
    1. trustyetverify Post author

      When reading through his tweets (he is a very active tweeter) and facebook posts, it seems he is on some kind of crusade to make the Flemish people enthusiastic about a home battery system. In that case he has no interest in telling the whole story, because that will look a bit silly. I think he realizes that, hence the clown wink emoticon.

      I think he means well and he is willing to pay for his principles, but that probably will not make many people enthusiastic about such a system. Presenting it as a clean and effortless way to lower the electricity bill however…

      Reply
  2. manicbeancounter

    Given that the person concerned publicizes his Tesla Wall so much I would suggest that the rewards are not primarily financial, but from the reflected glory of other seeing him to be virtuous. It is a modern version of pharisees in biblical times who displayed their religious fervor by praying in public places, wearing religious clothes and attending all the festivals.

    Reply
    1. trustyetverify Post author

      That was initially my idea also. However, the more I read about it, the more I have the impression that this is some kind of campaign. Don’t get me wrong, I still think the guy is an idealist and doesn’t care about the money, but I have the impression that is there is more to it than what we see at the surface. Especially when I found out who that guy really is. But more on that in a later post.

      Reply

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