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Going solar to give the government the "one finger salute"?  RSS feed

 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
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We got a notice from the state television and radio service that we are required to pay 55€ a year to the state television and radio service because we are connected to the public electric network. I admit my big mistake was not taking down the TV antenna when we moved here 4 years ago, because at the time my inlaws protested or something, and then it just got forgotten, as that is why the meter-reader perhaps made some note that then notified RTV. We don't have any TV or Radio here, we don't watch TV or even listen to the radio in the car. But even if I took down the damned old antenna, we would still have to pay because we are connected to the public power network.

I would go solar, but I guess it doesn't make economic sense to spend, I dunno precisely, but I would guess like 5000€ to not have to pay 55€. Still, with our average income, it is something like an additional 0.5 - 1% tax on us, for something we don't want and don't use. But then most of the taxes are for stuff that we don't want and don't use...

I guess this is what I get for moving from Georgia, USA to Slovakia, EU, where the experience of 40 years of Communism didn't really instill many libertarian ideas in people...
 
Topher Belknap
Posts: 205
Location: Midcoast Maine (zone 5b)
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Andrew Ray wrote:but I would guess like 5000€ to not have to pay 55€.


Solar also gives you free electricity. Around here, it gives cheaper electricity (i.e. paying off a loan to install the equipment) than delivered by the electric company.

So the questions become:
What are you paying now for electricity?
Does your power company do net-metering?
How is your solar access?

 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 713
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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sorry to hear you are being extorted (if i can be blunt).
seems you cant get away from taxes anywhere that is comfortable to live nowadays....

im interested to hear about your move though.
how did you decide slovakia?
do you speak the language?
how has the transition been?
any major culture shocks you didnt expect?
did you move with kids? If so, how are they liking things?

sorry for all the questions, we are thinking about a similar move but towards central america, so any info you have would be greatly appreciated.
 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
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Topher Belknap wrote:
Andrew Ray wrote:but I would guess like 5000€ to not have to pay 55€.


Solar also gives you free electricity. Around here, it gives cheaper electricity (i.e. paying off a loan to install the equipment) than delivered by the electric company.

So the questions become:
What are you paying now for electricity?
Does your power company do net-metering?
How is your solar access?



Good question. I should actually do some calculations. We are down in a narrow valley, but our property extends up the ridge-- a wild guess would be that up on the ridge gets an hour more sunlight than down here. According to a map I found, our area gets 1200kWh/m2 per year from optimally tilted solar panels.

Last year we used 3600kWh. I expect this to go up this year, however, as I'm installing a pump in the well getting us off the public water supply (which comes from the same aquifier, but for 1000l is 1,30€ vs. the electric costs to pump 1000l from the well of 0,10€).

We are paying too much for electricty right now. I got rid of the gas heaters in the house last year (easy heat, huge cost) so we heat 100% wood now, but we need to change the electric plan because if you have no gas heaters they give you a more advantageous rate (I guess they assume you'll use electric heaters or something).

As we are going on Friday to change the plan, I'll ask about feed-in tariffs.

My wife came up with a scheme to get out of the TV tax-- get my in-laws to rent our house and "pay" the electricity. You pay the same amount no-matter how many houses you use/own/rent for TV (the in-laws watch the damned thing). I dunno if the scheme will work, but 55€ isn't exactly pocket change here either.


Kelly Smith-- I met a Slovak woman while studying abroad in France at a pro-life march. Then I volunteered that summer for her pro-life NGO in Slovakia (seemed like an exotic place to volunteer). Working all summer with the woman led eventually to marriage, and as she had something she was already doing in Slovakia, while I had no job yet in the U.S., I moved over here. I speak the language now (more or less) after 4 years. The transition I guess wasn't much for me-- there was the transition from college life to "real" adult life, but this basically coincided with moving over here with her. When people here (or in the U.S.) ask me which country is better, I have to admit that I don't have a good basis of comparison--- my childhood and college life was all in the U.S. and all of the real-adult part has been here so far. There are differences in the culture here and in Georgia for sure, people seem to visit each other more here and families seem a bit closer together, but not any real shocks. We married over here and kids (so far) have all been born here-- our second in the car on the way to the hospital!

I definitely didn't move to Slovakia on account of it being a libertarian paradise or anything, though I can't say that the tax burden would be particularly worse than most of the U.S., just distributed differently (higher sales tax, nearly no property tax, moderate income tax, with exemptions for children or spouse, mandatory social and health insurance, though the state also gives everyone payments for children (a bonus when one is born of 800€ and then 200€/month for children under three, so on the balance right now our net losses due to taxes are fairly low)). Slovakia, along with the Czech Republic, have fairly liberal gun laws (which being a Southerner and "gun nut" since age 7 matter to me), so after taking a test on knowledge of gun laws and handling, as well as a fairly silly psychiatric test (draw a person, from which the psychologist can tell whether you are a psychopath or not!) and some fees I can get guns for sport shooting and carry for self-defence. There are other negatives, like mandatory vaccination and no homeschooling, except we've so far (with the help of our doctor) avoided fines for not vaccinating, and there are ways to register with a school and then homeschool!
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Hi Andrew !

This is not unususal . In the U.S. we pay for Public Broadcasting to stay afloat . Even if you don't listen to Terry Gross on Fresh Air our income taxes pay her salary . City and county taxes pay for local power , water , and sewer hook-up . You may continue to pay even after going off grid . We pay for public schooling even though we home school . It's the cost of doing business .

By the way I googled "Libertarians in Slovakia" and found this guy :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Sul%C3%ADk

Will you get to vote ?
 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
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wayne stephen wrote:Will you get to vote?


Nope. Only in municipal and "county" elections. If I got to vote for MEPs I'd probably vote for one of my wife's friends anyway-- it is enough that the MEP is an anti-federalist-- i.e., against expanding the powers of Brussels and more for keeping the EU a loose trade and free movement union of independent countries.

Yea, its true about PBS in America, and all the other taxes. My mother will be glad in a couple of years when she turns 65 she no longer has to pay for schools in her county, so her property tax bill gets virtually halved! Death and taxes, like Ben Franklin said...

No sewer hook-up in our village to worry about yet-- I hope if they ever do that that we won't be somehow forced to connect, but since ours is quite a small village its probably a long way from happening here.

An interesting economic/libertarian organization in Slovakia is INESS: http://www.iness.sk/stranka/5031 (english page) I really like their "Price of the State" project, where you get a detailed breakdown of where taxes go, how much, etc.
 
Topher Belknap
Posts: 205
Location: Midcoast Maine (zone 5b)
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wayne stephen wrote: We pay for public schooling even though we home school.


Since even people who don't have kids pay for the schools, it is better to think of it as 'We pay to make sure the kids we will be encountering later in life won't be complete ignoramuses'. If one wants social security, one needs knowledgeable kids paying into it. If one wants health care in one's old age, one needs well-trained doctors. Public schooling is the greatest bargain you will encounter.
 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
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It might really pay off, and fairly quickly. Our electric bill for the year came yesterday-- 600€. We use an average of 10kWh/day. I can get a 2kW solar system for 3200€, grid tied though, so the original purpose of getting out of the 55€ television tax by leaving the grid is lost, but the system would pay off in around 7 years.

Only bummer is that the well pump I already ordered is three phase, so if I wanted it to run entirely off of solar (instead of just one leg) I'd have to get a three phase inverter, some more expense.
 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 713
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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you might look into a generator or similar to run the well pump, it may be cheaper/easier in the short/medium term. even better if you can get one that runs on propane/butane or another liquid fuel that stores well.

only advice i have would be to size the inverter and charge controller such that you can keep adding panels as time goes on/panels get cheaper.
 
Henry Coulder
Posts: 33
bike tiny house
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It was really interesting from the perspective of someone next door in Czech Republic to hear about the very close (historically) neighbours Slovakia - formerly Czechoslovak.
higher sales tax, nearly no property tax, moderate income tax, with exemptions for children or spouse, mandatory social and health insurance, though the state also gives everyone payments for children (a bonus when one is born of 800€ and then 200€/month for children under three, so on the balance right now our net losses due to taxes are fairly low)).


- So this was really good insight and information for the Slovakian side of things.
- And someone mentioned extortion above... I'm definitely not into that
- I like the idea of "Price of the State" - An interesting economic/libertarian organization in Slovakia is INESS: http://www.iness.sk/stranka/5031 (english page)
- Also I have a small patch of land doing things and thinking about a well / pumps etc... even though there is a house nearby that can supply it (when we carry)

Actually my projects and site touch on a lot of the above in theory AND the practical as we speak... click from my signature for example and interesting to hear from everyone on such diverse things... people are welcome to visit if you're around in Europe or ready to travel here!... see links below...
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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