how does the electricity company know how much solar you have installed.

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• Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
Re: how does the electricity company know how much solar you have installed.

Well spoke to York Co Op and they told me normal residential rates are as follows:
\$15/month basic facilities charge plus about 9 cents per KW. There are no other taxes or fees.

So when you install solar they increase that rate to \$25 per month and then decreasing the cost per Kw to around 5 to 7 cents/kwh which varies with demand. I was told there are taxes and fees on top of this, which I still do not understand. If your solar system is larger than 5Kw AC the monthly fee goes to \$40 per month.

All kilowatts of Monthly Coincident Peak Demand ………………….….. \$4.25 per kW
Below is a theoretical projected energy usage in KwH. Utility collum is energy I need to buy from company every month, Solar collum is what I generate.

Which leads me to my question. The Elec. Co Op can't possibly be paying me \$4.25 per kw during peak demand? That seems ridiculously high. Even if I only 20% of my solar production was during peak hrs. For example in January that would be \$4.25x541kwhx20% = \$486.90.

Any idea what this \$4.25/kw credit means in real life?
```kWh	Utility	Solar
Jan	1,137	541
Feb	788	605
Mar	714	714
April	557	802
May	576	779
Jun	785	768
July	1,112	729
Aug	991	733
Sept	887	682
Oct	762	683
Nov	950	561
Dec   1,210	499
TOTAL	10,469	8,097
```
• Solar Expert Posts: 1,989 ✭✭✭
Re: how does the electricity company know how much solar you have installed.

Likely is 4.25 cents ... Only Enron could get rates of 4.25 dollars per kwh

Notice all the other numbers are the same format \$x.xx c

They changed the kwh to be lower so if there is a net surplus, its credited at the wholesale rate, but that base charge is deal killer
Re: how does the electricity company know how much solar you have installed.

Guessing--But the \$4.25 per kW Peak per month is a "Demand Charge"... Basically they measure your peak load and charge you the privilege of delivering that amount of of peak power per month (also known and a reservation charge).

With our utility, that is a 15 minute average peak--the highest power used in a one year period... And is used to size (and pay for) the heavier wiring and transformers, etc. that (typically) a company with large motor/process equipment surges, etc. uses.

And--to make matters "worse"--That fee is paid by the consumer both on power used (load) and on power produced (solar GT power)--Which ever is higher.

-Bill
Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
• Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
Re: how does the electricity company know how much solar you have installed.

Just got off the phone and you are right Bill it is a demand charge.

Was also told over the phone that next year 2012 the coop will switch to a strictly net metering for anything less than a 25kw system. any excess one makes at the end of the year will not roll over or you wont' get a check.

A lot simpler than this time of use rate.
• Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
Re: how does the electricity company know how much solar you have installed.
Likely is 4.25 cents ... Only Enron could get rates of 4.25 dollars per kwh

Notice all the other numbers are the same format \$x.xx c

They changed the kwh to be lower so if there is a net surplus, its credited at the wholesale rate, but that base charge is deal killer

It's per kW, not kWh. It's peak rate of flow, not quantity delivered. \$4.25/kW is probably correct.
• Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭
Re: how does the electricity company know how much solar you have installed.
Well spoke to York Co Op and they told me normal residential rates are as follows:
\$15/month basic facilities charge plus about 9 cents per KW. There are no other taxes or fees.

So when you install solar they increase that rate to \$25 per month and then decreasing the cost per Kw to around 5 to 7 cents/kwh which varies with demand. I was told there are taxes and fees on top of this, which I still do not understand. If your solar system is larger than 5Kw AC the monthly fee goes to \$40 per month.

All kilowatts of Monthly Coincident Peak Demand ………………….….. \$4.25 per kW

So it sounds like the only people for whom solar makes sense are REALLY heavy power users, and then they should install the smallest possible system in order to "lock in" the lower rate that solar users are charged.

For example, let's say that your McMansion uses an average of 2,000 kWh a month.
Without solar, you pay \$15+2,000*.09 = \$195 a month.

With a tiny array that produces 20 Kwh a month, you pay \$25+1,980*(from .05 to .07), giving us something between \$124 to \$164 a month.

That's a savings of \$372-\$852 a year with solar...but not for the right reasons.:cool:

The array I just described is basically a single 200-watt panel on a microinverter, which can probably be self-installed for around \$800. That's a pretty good payback period!

As for "peak demand" charges: Let's say that you turn on 1,000 watts of lighting at the beginning of the month, and leave it on all month.

At the end of the month, you would pay for 720 kWh of power, but only 1 kW of demand.

Now let's say that you don't use a drop of power all month, and then on the last day you turn on your electric dryer and AC together, which use up 10 kW, and leave them on for an hour.

Now you'll pay for only 10 kWh of power, but a full 10 kW of demand.