Just got a $1 electric bill

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MarkC
MarkC Solar Expert Posts: 212 ✭✭✭
The first for me - the solar energy credits paid essentially all Grid energy, fixed and distribution costs resulting in a $1 bill for last month.
 :p 
3850 watts - 14 - 275SW SolarWorld Panels, 4000 TL-US SMA Sunny Boy Grid tied inverter.  2760 Watts - 8 - 345XL Solar World Panels, 3000 TL-US SMA Sunny Boy GT inverter.   3000 watts SMA/SPS power.  PV "switchable" to MidNite Classic 250ks based charging of Golf cart + spare battery array of 8 - 155 AH 12V Trojans with an  APC SMT3000 - 48 volt DC=>120 Volt AC inverter for emergency off-grid.   Also, "PriUPS" backup generator with APC SURT6000/SURT003  => 192 volt DC/240 volt split phase AC inverter.  

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  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,469 admin
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    Sounds good. They are still changing the billing for me in California (PG&E). Fixed costs went from $4.50 to $10 per month. And now my (very nice) Time of Use Rate plan will change (move high priced power well into the evening--post sunset).

    Oh well, it was a nice ride while for a while.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • solar_dave
    solar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,397 ✭✭✭✭
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    BB. said:
    Sounds good. They are still changing the billing for me in California (PG&E). Fixed costs went from $4.50 to $10 per month. And now my (very nice) Time of Use Rate plan will change (move high priced power well into the evening--post sunset).

    Oh well, it was a nice ride while for a while.

    -Bill
    Wait till they only allow a kWh credit within your TOU.  No transfer of day power to night time off peak usage and have your TOU a 9AM to 9PM on-peak.  It seems to be just too hard to tell what the "fixed" costs are, around $25 here I think. there are many variable fee items that seem to have a fixed bottom cost but it is insane to try and keep up with the shenanigans they pull.  A few cents here and there do add up.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,767 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    I have a client in Nevada that is really angry with their PUC.  He says he is coming out to Mariposa and is going to buy 5 acres from me.

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • MarkC
    MarkC Solar Expert Posts: 212 ✭✭✭
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    For now, my co-op sells at 11 and buys at 8 cents.  Making watts while the sun shines.  Seems most PUCs are trying hard to POC (piss off customers).  Don't understand why they do not all SUPPORT all types of "off peak" shifting - they all get paid no matter.
    3850 watts - 14 - 275SW SolarWorld Panels, 4000 TL-US SMA Sunny Boy Grid tied inverter.  2760 Watts - 8 - 345XL Solar World Panels, 3000 TL-US SMA Sunny Boy GT inverter.   3000 watts SMA/SPS power.  PV "switchable" to MidNite Classic 250ks based charging of Golf cart + spare battery array of 8 - 155 AH 12V Trojans with an  APC SMT3000 - 48 volt DC=>120 Volt AC inverter for emergency off-grid.   Also, "PriUPS" backup generator with APC SURT6000/SURT003  => 192 volt DC/240 volt split phase AC inverter.  
  • Yaryman
    Yaryman Registered Users Posts: 5
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    I have had several discussions on another board as to what the "grid cost" is and should be for each POCO user. 
    I'm in California getting electricity from PG&E on a TOU program with a $10 a month minimum. 
    It was pointed out to me that I was being subsidized by the other 96.3% of PG&E customers that didn't have solar. 

    I pointed out that will I was living inland and paying those top tier prices during the summer I was subsidizing those PG&E customers on the coast that don't need air conditioning and hit those higher tier prices. Got no reply to that. 

  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,469 admin
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    Yaryman,

    I too have PG&E and they have raised the minimum electric charge to $10 now. And they have discontinued the (very nice for solar folks) plan--And I have to choose one of the less good ones (peak rates to near ~8-9pm at night--not much sun here).

    The tiered rate (the more power you use, the higher PG&E charges per kWattHour) is a left over from the energy crisis of the 1970's.

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=7373
    7. Utility rate reform (legislative): Conventional utility pricing policies discourage conservation. The smallest users commonly pay the highest per unit price due to practices such as declining block rates. Rates often do not reflect the costs imposed on society by the actions of utility consumers. The result is waste and inequity. The President will therefore submit legislation which contains the following provisions: --State public utility commissions must require their regulated electric utilities to phase out and eliminate promotional, declining, and other rates for electricity that do not reflect cost incidence. --To shift energy use from peak to nonpeak periods, electric utilities would be required to offer daily off-peak rates to each customer who is willing to pay metering costs and to offer lower rates to customers willing to have their power interrupted at times of highest peak demand. --Master metering for electricity would generally be prohibited in new structures. --State public utility commissions would require gas utilities to eliminate declining block rates and to implement such rules as FPC may prescribe with respect to master metering, summer-winter rate differentials, and interruptible rates. --By amendment to the Federal Power Act, the Federal Power Commission would be authorized to require interconnection and power pooling between utilities even if they are not presently under FPC jurisdiction, and to require "wheeling" (the transmission of power between two non-contiguous utilities across a third utility's system).
    So--being in California, "we" have kept the punitive rates for those that use "too much power".

    It is sort of like going to Costco and paying 2x more for items in bulk vs buying at the local market. It does not make sense from a pure economics point of view.

    However--There are reasons why the present Net Metering plan for Solar Power does not make a lot of sense for the accounts at utilities.

    More or less (very roughly), ~1/2 of your power bill goes to buying power from the electric generator station, and the other 1/2 goes to paying for distribution (power poles, transformers, trucks and labor, rent for land used by the utility, billing costs, customer service, etc.). And (again very roughly), the cost for generator power is ~1/2 for the generator station, and the other ~1/2 goes for paying for fuel (coal, oil, natural gas, etc.).

    For a utility customer that uses lots of power during peak times (such as A/C and water pumping in the California Central Valley)--The utility has to "size" the generator stations and distribution lines to carry the maximum demand of the customers/region. If the "valley" only uses peak power for 6 months of the year, then the rest of the time, the utility has "excess capacity" that still needs to be paid for. Peaker power plants that are shut down for the season, etc. (peaker plants tend to be much more expensive per kWH vs "base load" plants like coal and nuclear).

    You can click on the California Independent System Operator website and see the 24 hour forecast of power usage (something like 85% of the electric power in the state). Right now (near spring), there is not a large difference between early morning and evening power usage. During the summer time--The difference between minimum load and peak loads are much higher.

    In the old days, the utility would advertise people to get washers and dryers... They were typically operated "off peak" and helped increase power usage during lower power usage times.

    Today, they are trying to get to "real time pricing"--The last plan I saw the utility would give you a 24 hour "contract" (or forecast) of your $/kWH price. And the customer could decide to run the washer, A/C, electric oven, electric water heater the next day (and what time) or not.

    While I certainly understand the "accounting problem" of Grid Tied Solar customers buying and selling back power to the utility at "retail rates". I am not in favor of real-time pricing either. We sort of had that with California's "electric deregulation" back in the early 2000's which darn near bankrupted our major electric utilities--And made huge amounts of money for Enron, Los Angeles Water and Power, etc... And left us with something like a $25 Billion Bond to pay for those "extortionary power rates" that the state of California stuck us with (not really a "free market"--Just a screwed up regulatory scheme).

    I cannot give you an exact answer if folks in the Valley are subsidizing those of us on the coast (don't use A/C, use natural gas for cooking/heating). I do agree with you that the tiered rate plan with ever increasing charges for "high to excessive" power usage (some regulatory folks decide what is "excessive" power usage) is probably not fair.

    However, there are definitely costs for those folks that use a variable amount of power (over the day, and between seasons) that need to be accounted for. And why some folks (farmers, firms that use large amounts of electricity seasonal) still use co-generation systems, and use off grid power systems (diesel and natural gas fired generators, etc.).

    However, in California--Fixed diesel generators (and off road vehicles, forklifts, etc.) are now being hit with pollution control requirements (and, remember, to the government CO2 is a "pollutant")--And getting approvals for these gensets is getting harder and harder (and the state is making parts companies report when people by spare parts for this equipment so they can "talk to folks" later about their "pollution profile" and permits, if any--I guess).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,767 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Just want to thank all the Utility citizens for subsidizing the federal credit again. We love you !

    MORE FROM NEVADA !

    Nevada's home solar business is in turmoil as the state's Public Utilities Commission starts to phase out incentives for homeowners who install rooftop solar panels. Some of the largest solar companies have stopped seeking new business in the state and laid off hundreds of workers.

    Even for small solar installers, this once-booming business has slowed to a trickle. The warehouse at Robco Electric in Las Vegas was filled to capacity with pallets of solar panels stacked high last year. Now, it's nearly empty.

    "The PUC made a decision and it just devastated our industry," says Robco President Rob Kowalczik. He's all business when talking about how the PUC sided with the utility and pretty much killed off residential solar in Nevada. But when it comes to his workers, he chokes up.

    "The hardest thing is to lay people off," says Kowalczik. So far, his company has let 25 people go. The solar division of his company is down to a few salespeople and one installation crew.

    Connie Berry was a solar installer at Robco Electric but was laid off after the company's sales sharply dropped.

    Jeff Brady/NPR

    One of the 25 is Connie Berry. She was just a few months into her job as an installer for Robco. Now, she's looking for work in the construction business, but she holds out hope her solar job will come back.

    "It's been two months now since I got laid off, and I was hoping to get a call back. ... I got my tools. I'm ready to go," says Berry.

    In front of Robco Electric, you're more likely now to see the company's sales cars parked in the middle of the day. Sales and marketing manager Tim Webb says last year they would have been out chasing down new leads all day. He says there were a lot of other solar companies on the road, too.

    "It was kind of like the solar gold rush here. All these companies flocked into town, set up an office and sold systems. Now they're gone. There's just a few of us remaining," says Webb.

    Companies like SolarCity say they were left with no choice but to stop doing business in Nevada when the PUC changed the rules for something called "net metering."

    Robco Electric Sales and Marketing Manager Tim Webb shows off a solar panel from his sales kit. Since regulators have phased out solar incentives, his car often sits in the company parking lot.

    Jeff Brady/NPR

    Net metering allows homeowners with solar panels to sell excess electricity they generate to the utility at retail rather than wholesale rates. It's a great deal for homeowners because they can do something good for the environment and save money on their energy bills.

    But every kilowatt generated on someone's roof is one less the local utility sells. And utilities use that ratepayer money to maintain the electrical grid.

    In this case, the local utility, NV Energy, is owned by Warren Buffett's company Berkshire Hathaway. During an interview with CNBC last month, Buffett echoed an argument utilities across the country have been making: When solar customers don't pay to maintain the power grid, that leaves everyone else to pick up the tab.

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net