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Old 09-22-2016, 06:44 PM   #161
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End of the day, shadows getting long, only making a hundred watts;
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Old 09-23-2016, 08:03 AM   #162
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Regarding an uptick in minimum utility charges from the electric company for being hooked to their grid while being a solar homeowner;
Right now, I pay about $10 for the grid charge I call it. However, IF I use $10 more in power than I generate, I still only pay the $10 for the grid charge. Meaning; the utility charges me for a minimum amount of power used. It behooves me to use how ever many kilowatts the minimum charge represents.

Skip ahead to the future when the charge goes up to $30 a month. A future solar home owner needs fewer solar watts since he's required to use at least $30 a month from his utility. If the solar equipment is priced per watt, average $5 a watt or so, I don't see how this raise in a base rate would affect the total # of customers opting for solar. They would just have a smaller sized system designed and installed.

Even better, the installing solar company could offer a 'free' water heater or other home appliance incentive to justify a larger array. Or perhaps a hot tub. Speaking of which; since the federal credit on solar includes incidentals such as the cost of roof upgrades, could it be rationalized to upgrade appliances to electric from gas and get the solar credit against those costs?

For existing solar customers, IF they weren't grandfathered in to a minimum rate increase, there is an option as well. For me, a current solar owner, not all my energy is solar, although all my electric use is covered by solar. I also use propane. For heating, cooking, hot water. I imagine I could change out my water heater tank from gas to electric and more than offset the $30 a month potential rise in the utility minimum charge.

Even if I were all electric, I'd not walk away from $30 a month sitting there in kilowatts unused. A hot tub uses about a buck a day in electricity. I could always do with setting my thermometer a little cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

I guess you could say, basically, a rate increase for a minimum monthly charge to be connected to the grid undermines energy conservation for solar customers.
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Old 09-23-2016, 08:20 AM   #163
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...
Right now, I pay about $10 for the grid charge I call it. However, IF I use $10 more in power than I generate, I still only pay the $10 for the grid charge. ...
That seems odd. I have a monthly 'connection fee' for my utilities, and there is no offset based on usage. You pay the fee, you pay your delivery charge (paying for your use of the infrastructure) and you pay supply charge (kWh or cubic feet of gas) - each is separate with no interaction. In many places, the delivery and supply charge are bundled, but we are allowed to choose our supplier (generally at the community level, but I think individuals can choose as well).

Do the smart meters actually track incoming and outgoing energy separately, and just net those out for your bill? Or do they effectively run backwards, and all you see is the net? If you can get separate in and out readings, I would say that the correct way to do the billing would be to charge a fixed connection fee, a delivery charge for kWh in, and a net (in - out) supply charge.

If out> in, maybe the utility should pay the wholesale rate, I think most systems stop at zero?


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Old 09-23-2016, 08:22 AM   #164
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But for me, Ski, it ensures my timely quarterly preferred stock dividends that I enjoy being deposited in my brokerage accounts.
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Old 09-23-2016, 08:55 AM   #165
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Do the smart meters actually track incoming and outgoing energy separately, and just net those out for your bill? Or do they effectively run backwards, and all you see is the net? If you can get separate in and out readings, I would say that the correct way to do the billing would be to charge a fixed connection fee, a delivery charge for kWh in, and a net (in - out) supply charge.

If out> in, maybe the utility should pay the wholesale rate, I think most systems stop at zero?

-ERD50
The smart meter is just reading out net. However, it telemetries back to the utility a buffered real-time use I can track on their website for my account. With Time-Of-Use rates, the solar owner is concerned more about rates than kilowatts. To bank at the peak rates and withdraw at the off peak rates is where the solar can make enough to help offset the monthly min-charges. I thought I had to pay that monthly charge no matter if I over generated or not. It just wasn't all that clear, even though the utility said I need to pay monthly, that monthly fee. I didn't. I didn't pay the utility anything for the full year. I 'overgenerated' enough to offset the full minimum monthly fee plus an additional $16 worth of off peak-rated power. My bill was for 36 cents; a tax that could not be offset by any generation on my part.
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Old 09-23-2016, 09:03 AM   #166
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That seems odd. I have a monthly 'connection fee' for my utilities, and there is no offset based on usage. You pay the fee, you pay your delivery charge (paying for your use of the infrastructure) and you pay supply charge (kWh or cubic feet of gas) - each is separate with no interaction. In many places, the delivery and supply charge are bundled, but we are allowed to choose our supplier (generally at the community level, but I think individuals can choose as well).
-ERD50
See, I thought that too with my utility bill; that the monthly minimum was a connection fee, separate from kilowatt consumption. I was wrong when I got to true-up. Then it was obvious that the charge included 'use it or loose it' power in it's valuation.
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Old 09-23-2016, 09:52 AM   #167
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Yes, this detail shows that you get a credit for the "connect fee"

I'm glad I followed the recommend to go less than consumption. I used 7200 KWH last year and I'm estimated to generate 5500. I got PTO in 3 days after submission rather than the 5 to 10 advised.

And it all fits neatly on one half (south facing) of my garage roof. Robbie is a happy guy -
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:20 PM   #168
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My usage detail from PG&E for the last month. Went online the 20th and the 21st was cloudy. Sweet, so glad I did this -
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Old 09-30-2016, 01:36 PM   #169
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First bill came in, part regular, part NEM. 26 days of regular and 6 days of NEM.

I'm always going to have an electric bill, but it's going to be really small -
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Old 10-20-2016, 11:19 AM   #170
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Online for a whole month now starting 9-20-16. Since I started 2 days before the autumnal equinox, the results should be a pretty good average, well a little less as 90% of production was after the midpoint. The guys were pretty good at estimating production, no "optimistic" numbers were found;
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Old 10-20-2016, 04:41 PM   #171
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I'm trying to figure out how much of a discount I should get beyond what I was offered in early September under NEM 1.0 to live with NEM 2.0. Anyone in California looked at the impact yet?
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Old 10-21-2016, 12:17 PM   #172
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You want the contractor to lower the cost because PG&E raised theirs?

Good luck!

Not to mention the 30% tax credit will be going away in 2019...
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Old 10-21-2016, 12:35 PM   #173
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Contractors can only charge what the market will bear. Once word gets around that the benefits have decreased substantially because of changes in TOU, hook up costs, and other changes unfavorable to the buyer, the price should go down.

In Arizona, the terms became so unfavorable that many contractors pulled out altogether. They could no longer make a profit on solar installations.
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Old 10-21-2016, 12:42 PM   #174
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Up here going solar means no grid as backup. With the power company wanting $5k + for each pole and all the other charges for hook-up, my neighbor decided to go off-grid. He has to be very careful with selecting appliances, but seems to be doing fine. They have four kids and live up here for six or seven months of the year.
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Old 10-21-2016, 01:09 PM   #175
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There is lots of competition in the panel & inverter side, prices have fallen and there is economy of scale too. Solar trucks buzzing around everywhere.

Yes demand has fallen due to the impending demise of NEM 1, but there are still some MW left. You could possibly squeak in under the wire if there were no material delays. Except for the panel delay, mine went real fast me thinks because I sized it small and my contractor knew how to do the paperwork correctly. I got PTO in 3 days after final.
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Old 10-21-2016, 01:25 PM   #176
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The salesman would not guarantee the installation under NEM 1.0 in early September. Said he was starting to tell people they would likely end up on NEM 2.0 around September 15th. Even playing the "send in the application to PG&E when the permit was issued" game was no guarantee you would get in under the wire because of how many people wanted to get in before the change.

The installers you see out today are installing under contracts signed around 60 days ago. Those folks will get in under NEM 1.0.
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Old 10-21-2016, 01:31 PM   #177
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Up here going solar means no grid as backup. With the power company wanting $5k + for each pole and all the other charges for hook-up, my neighbor decided to go off-grid. He has to be very careful with selecting appliances, but seems to be doing fine. They have four kids and live up here for six or seven months of the year.
I have an Aunt who lived off grid in far northern California back in the 80's. No solar for them. They used propane appliances and fired up a generator once or twice a week to run a washer.

They did just fine. Raised two kids and didn't miss not having electricity.

It wasn't quite like visiting an amish family, but there were certain similarities.
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Old 10-21-2016, 08:08 PM   #178
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Well Robbie, based on your pre solar bill, I know something now that would quickly get me distracted from my Obamacare premium....Paying 34 cents a KW! That would leave a welt on my wallet. And people where I live complain about our 9 cent KW...
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Old 10-22-2016, 05:58 AM   #179
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Just signed up with new supplier on Monday, 6.59 cents/kwh for next 18 months, up from 6.50 cent/kwh. Gotta keep Mully liquid with his utility divvies!
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Old 10-22-2016, 07:20 AM   #180
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Just signed up with new supplier on Monday, 6.59 cents/kwh for next 18 months, up from 6.50 cent/kwh. Gotta keep Mully liquid with his utility divvies!


Winemaker, Im keeping a wayward eye on them solar producing people. I try to stay with the T&D utes who will let any type of juice flow through it and not ever potentially disrupt my divvies, lol. I assume you are in an area where you select your power supplier? We do not have that option. 6.59 is a very nice price. No excuses to not have a warm house in the winter and cool in the summer!
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