Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,569 ✭✭✭✭✭
from the Consumerist.com
http://consumerist.com/5323004/got-solar-panels-utility-wants-to-charge-you-for-not-using-their-energy

excerpt: " Midwest utility Xcel Energy wants to charge anyone using solar panels a monthly fee for sustainably generating their own energy. According to company spokesman Tom Henley, "We just don't think it's fair that customers that don't have solar panels on their homes should subsidize these solar panel customers any further." Huh? "


Apparently, they are not charging PV owners yet, but are wanting them to pay their fair share. Fair Share of what?
Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
|| Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
|| VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

Comments

  • TnAndyTnAndy Solar Expert Posts: 249 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    Fee grabbing at it's best.

    Fine.....I'll go totally off grid, you come get your poles and wires off my property and stick ALL your fees in your ear.....and other appropriate places.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,596 admin
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    Well, from a business point of view--the Utility is correct. They still have to pay for the power lines and the generation plants that were put in place to handle the average and peak loads for all of their customers (and plan/pay for the future needs too).

    Net Metering, where the customer simply turns the meter backwards if they generate more power than they use--the utility is forced (by state law) to buy the electricity back at retail rates and sell it to the neighbors at the same retail power rate.

    If "everyone" where to install solar panels, the utility would be left with a choice to either go out of business or implement high reservation fees that would be equal to roughly 1/2 of the original power bill.

    And, even then, the utility would still have issues if everyone had solar/wind power that was able to offset 100% of their monthly usage.

    The current system (which only allows up to a few percent of GT solar power to be generated by homes and businesses)--relies on the fact that the grid load always exceeds the amount of locally generated power. If, "everyone" had solar PV--during the middle of the day, they would have about 4x more power being generated vs used (my solar system generates 2kW or more peak while my average load is only 200-400 watts during the day)-- and the network would fail... The utilities have almost zero capability to consume power and place it into storage for use later (i.e., pumped hydro where they can pump water backup up the dam for use later). And under the current Net Metering rate plans, there is no money available to pay for the pumped storage costs.

    In California--we have many years of history that are written by our state public utility commission that addressed many of these issues--that the state government has specifically bypassed for home based solar power:
    1. Normally, for anyone that builds on on-site generation plant (say a company that has agricultural waste that they burn for heat and power)--they have to pay for to "leave the grid" because the utility has made long term investments for generators and power lines that are now "stranded".
    2. There is a limit (currently 1%?) of how much small GT solar/renewable power can be connected to their network. This amount is so small, it can never really be an significant contribution to our total power generation
    3. Residential billing does not include "reservation charges"... But commercial power rates do--Approximately 1/2 of the "average" commercial charges is for reservation charges (maximum power used in a 15 minute period in the last year). At least a few large solar GT customers (such as school districts) have found that solar GT has hardly offset their bill at all (and can cause reservation charges to go up--if their solar generation peak is larger than their peak consumption load).
    4. There have already been "network emergencies" where local renewable power being fed "uncontrollably" (by wind farms in this case) to the grid has almost caused power failures--Heavy winds in large regions have swamped the ability of the utility to ship power out to other regions--running the risk that the utility would have to black out the area because wind power generators would not answer their phones and/or refused to turn off their output (they get paid whether or not the utility/region needs the power).
    5. Solar produces its peak power from ~9am-3pm... Utilty peak power usage can extend as much to 8pm or so (people comming home turning on A/C, cooking, doing wash, etc.). Solar GT does not offset the peak generation needs (at least in California). So, does little to cut utility costs. You can see here (live, represents ~85% of California's power generation/usage) that while the load varies by a factor of 2x over the day--the online generation capabilities are almost flat (the "cheap" power plants take hours or even days to come up to power--so they consume fuel whether the power is being sold or not).
    6. In California new solar GT customers are forced to go on a Time of Use rate plan--they do get higher payments for their solar power used during the day (~$0.30 per kWhr day peak vs $0.09 per kWhr off-peak night)--gives incentive to reduce power use (depending on rate plan) to as late as 9pm before lower rate charges (well after the sun has gone down).
    In the end, I can understand very much that the state is directly and indirectly forcing all utilty customers to subsidize those that have installed solar (I have almost $10,000 from local and federal rate/tax payers for my system--thank you)... And, in California, we have paid for the privilege with very high utility rates (upwards of $0.75 per kWhr during peak usage for commercial customers). And if a commercial customer attempts to stay in business by building their own co-generation plant to cut/stabilize their costs--they have to "pay" for that privilege too via exit charges and reservation charges.

    Currently, it is a pretty messed up system that only works on the premise that there will be few solar GT customers (less than 1% of the customer base). If, they ever achieved the "goal" of 100% of the customers generating their own power with GT solar/wind/etc... The whole system would fail (customers would still have very high connection/exit charges for decades to com and/or extensive blackouts because of the unregulated nature of simple solar GT and wind--Hmmm another use for "Smart Meters"--to shed GT solar customers when too much power is being generated).

    At this point--there is "no functional plan" that is sustainable for true renewable / distributed power. It only works because so few people/companies have done what they are being asked to do.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    Good reply Bill,

    While I do think it is a money grab by the utility in the short term, you raise some interesting points. The ultimate reality (IMHO) is that we have energy prices that are in the net/net too cheap and in most cases don't reflect their true and total cost. (Carbon squestration of coal, habitat destruction from hydro, nuke waste storage and reprocessing etc) When we do address these costs, the price will be more like CA's with peak pricing of $.75 kwh rather than the $.08 from the TVA.

    One of the great side benefits of plug in hybirds or pure EV's is their potential ability to serve as a HUGE disaggregated battery bank that would allow utilities to "bank" excess power during times of peak production, and then draw from that "bank" as needed at times of peak demand.

    The car charging systems can be designed to be smart enough to manage the battery power in such a way to allow the car to be driven the required distance at any given time.

    I have no illusions that this will or even should come free. In fact, as I have so often opined we need begin to pay the true costs of our energy choices, if we have to pay a few $$ a month AND this cost is born by all the users then I don't have a problem with it. That said, I do think that eXell energy is looking to get a money grab in the short term.

    Icarus
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    This would be one of those utilities that regularly goes to the government demanding a rate increase because "there are too many people using too much power and our system wasn't designed to handle such a load"? That's the complaint we hear from BC Hydro on a regular basis. I imagine this idea will be as popular as any of the other blatantly obvious money-grabs by companies who regularly report massive profits at the public's expense.

    But Bill is perfectly correct: there is currently no comprehensive plan for including small-scale production of electricity in the 'big scheme of things', no matter how many Gov't. Officials and Celebrities go 'round touting the 'greeness' of it. We recognize the value, but can't quite fit it in the plan. Yet. In some cases you can ask your local utility about grid-tie twice, and get two different answers.

    On the whole, there's a lot of lack-of-foresight on the part of electric grid planning. This is just more of it.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    but it's alright to do if they are allowed to charge you? indirectly all customers have paid for all that utilities have be it in their bills or through the government. shame on you bill as you should voluntarily pay the utility by fining yourself $100 a day for your infraction. i hope the taxis out in your area charge you whether you use them or not too because you use the streets.
    you are correct on the limitations renewables can sink into the grid, but 1% was the utilities' idea and that certainly isn't hurting them as it could save them from having to powerup another generator being it's during peak power usage times.
    sorry bill, i just don't feel sorry for those poor utilities having to put up with us. they are not hurting and they scheme like most other conglomerates on how to steal your $. your stance is confusing to say the least.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,596 admin
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    At least for the near future--electric vehicles are not going to work for load shifting (charging them at night, can be a good thing for utilities--assuming they get paid for the power, instead of a Net Metered scheme).

    The problem is, every time I have looked at how much it costs to store power at home and time shift the power... Assuming a 20 year useful life, even a good battery that lasts 20 years, TSW inverters (not even GT capable--just shifting your own power usage)--it came out to something like $0.45 per kWhr...

    And even assuming the utilities are able to cut that price by 1/2 (volume of business, technologies that are not available to the average home user like molten sodium batteries damming up major river systems)--you are still looking at $0.20+ per kWhr storage + losses (hydro, one of the most efficient is still ~80% efficient) + transmission losses + the original cost of the power.

    If we are not paying enough for the "true and total cost" for the power in the first place--Then I will doubt that we will pay the "true costs" of the power storage devices too (issues with lead, lithium mining/processing, distribution, recycling, dams and their effects on ecology/dangers from failures, losses to store and regenerate the power, etc.).

    I have stayed away from the Carbon / anthropogenic global warming issue... Only because we are not going to solve it here--and those calling for Carbon taxes and such 1. Are actually creating more CO2 with their current policies and 2. are not behaving like there is really a crises in the first place.

    Regarding my point 1.--our "dear leaders" have actually made the whole carbon situation worse with their forced wind-turbine polices; Windsun posted this article a while ago:
    There is no evidence that industrial wind power is likely to have a significant impact on carbon emissions. The European experience is instructive. Denmark, the world’s most wind-intensive nation, with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant. It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power’s unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36% in 2006 alone).

    Flemming Nissen, the head of development at West Danish generating company ELSAM (one of Denmark’s largest energy utilities) tells us that “wind turbines do not reduce carbon dioxide emissions.” The German experience is no different. Der Spiegel reports that “Germany’s CO2 emissions haven’t been reduced by even a single gram,” and additional coal- and gas-fired plants have been constructed to ensure reliable delivery.

    Indeed, recent academic research shows that wind power may actually increase greenhouse gas emissions in some cases, depending on the carbon-intensity of back-up generation required because of its intermittent character. On the negative side of the environmental ledger are adverse impacts of industrial wind turbines on birdlife and other forms of wildlife, farm animals, wetlands and viewsheds.
    Point #2... We have the famous Al Gore home:
    • Al Gore's average monthly electric bill in 2006: $1,200 (source: AP).
    • Al Gore's total electric consumption in 2006: 191,000 kilowatt hours (source: AP).
    • Average annual electric consumption per U.S. household (in 2001): 10,656 kilowatt hours (source: EIA).
    And we have a nice picture of Thomas Friedman's home. Not a solar panel in sight (not even on the pool house--a brain dead obvious place for one). And:
    The Power of GreenThomas L. Friedman discusses what brought him to his passionate interest in environmental leadership — and how the immense challenge of creating a greener world can be met.
    And more:
    New York Times honcho Thomas Friedman (again, review link to picture of TF's home):
    This bill’s goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 is nowhere near what science tells us we need to mitigate climate change. But it also contains significant provisions to prevent new buildings from becoming energy hogs, to make our appliances the most energy efficient in the world and to help preserve forests in places like the Amazon.
    Others who ignore climate change:
    ... who ignore climate change "reality":
    At a recent dinner at the University of Oxford, a senior researcher in atmospheric physics was telling me about his coming holiday in Thailand. I asked him whether he was concerned that his trip would make a contribution to climate change - we had, after all, just sat through a two-hour presentation on the topic. "Of course," he said blithely. "And I'm sure the government will make long-haul flights illegal at some point."

    I had deliberately steered our conversation this way as part of an informal research project that I am conducting - one you are welcome to join. My participants so far include a senior adviser to a leading UK climate policy expert who flies regularly to South Africa ("my offsets help set a price in the carbon market"), a member of the British Antarctic Survey who makes several long-haul skiing trips a year ("my job is stressful"), a national media environment correspondent who took his family to Sri Lanka ("I can't see much hope") and a Greenpeace climate campaigner just back from scuba diving in the Pacific ("it was a great trip!").

    Intriguing as their dissonance may be, what is especially revealing is that each has a career predicated on the assumption that information is sufficient to generate change. It is an assumption that a moment's introspection would show them was deeply flawed.
    When those with a vested interest in climate change aren't believers it's hardly surprising the average man in the street isn't on board the global warming bandwagon.
    Believe me, I respect those that work hard at conservation with their own time and money and directly reduce their resource foot print... One can conserve preserve the world's resources without having to follow any on particular wing of climate change / science.

    But at this point, our governments are actually making the whole situation (if you believe in AGW) much worse with their current polices... So much worse that they could not make it any worse if they tried.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,596 admin
    edited November 2019 #8
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy
    niel wrote: »
    ...i hope the taxis out in your area charge you whether you use them or not too because you use the streets.
    They do--it is called public transit. I have posted here before that Public Transit, on average does not save any energy--and some of them actually use more energy that a person driving around in their own cars (Santa Clara Light Rail is one of the worst it uses several times more energy than a car).

    Buses here mostly carry a hand full of people. Cost about $5 per trip (but the fair is something like $1.50 per trip). And the para-transit service costs around $20-$40 per trip -- would have been much cheaper to give the money to a private cab company (with much better service)... Ah... Found their latest statement of service for a $1.50 ticket, it costs:
    [FONT=Fixedsys]Operating Expenditures – Fixed-route [/FONT][FONT=Fixedsys]$86,371,188[/FONT]
    [FONT=Fixedsys]Passenger Fares – Fixed-route              [/FONT][FONT=Fixedsys]$16,262,073[/FONT]
    [FONT=Fixedsys]Farebox Recovery – Fixed-route              [/FONT][FONT=Fixedsys]18.8%[/FONT][FONT=Fixedsys]
    Net Cost Per Passenger – Fixed-route       [/FONT][FONT=Fixedsys]$4.71[/FONT][FONT=Fixedsys]
    Net Cost Per Passenger – Redi-Wheels       [/FONT][FONT=Fixedsys]$38.16[/FONT][FONT=Fixedsys]
    
    * FY 07 Financial Information*[/FONT]
    
    Want to bet on whether or not Governments and Government agencies pay vehicle registration fees (they don't) or weight fees (they don't) or vehicle road taxes (they don't) or vehicle personal property taxes (they don't).

    Want to see how much of the vehicle related fees I pay for my car go to fund "public transit" which ruins my roads and drives 50 passenger desil busses up and down my streets with 1 driver and 3 passengers... I don't.
    you are correct on the limitations renewables can sink into the grid, but 1% was the utilities' idea and that certainly isn't hurting them as it could save them from having to powerup another generator being it's during peak power usage times.
    Unfortunately, that is not quite correct... Below 5% margin, they go into alerts and below 2.5% margin they will start shedding loads (voluntary loads first). At something like 1%, rolling blackouts.

    And, if you see the California Independent System Operator's current load prediction for today (this is a live chart and changes daily)--you will see their current peak is around 5-6pm--long after the peak that they paid for with my GT PV system. And I have seen peaks as late as 8-9PM at times. Dark. Deep dark.
    sorry bill, i just don't feel sorry for those poor utilities having to put up with us. they are not hurting and they scheme like most other conglomerates on how to steal your $. your stance is confusing to say the least.
    I did not say I felt sorry for them... I said I understand their business issues. The utilities are in bed with with the California PUC--so they certainly have paid for the seat at the table.

    But--that is not always a good thing--both of our major utilities nearly went bankrupt in 2000-2001 directly because of state laws and regulations (see how well those utility campaign contributions worked?)... The only thing that "saved" the utilities from bankruptcy, was the fact that state took at a $25,000,000 40 year loan (note from 2019--That was $25,000,000,000 loan--not enough zeros. -BB)to pay for that farce of a "deregulation" set of laws to pay for a summer's worth of stupidity (and state refusal to change the laws for months on end).

    And--that confusion of yours is the direct result of my responding to government polices... The conservation part I did was because I am cheap and don't believe in waste.

    The Solar GT system was installed because the "government" was giving me close to $10,000 in cash and tax rebates to install my system. And--because this was just after the whole deregulation nightmare a few years before--I did not trust the state not to double my rates--so getting a chance to set my own rate at $0.14-$0.17 per kWhr seemed like a good bet.

    Net Metering--another government business killing plan. Make my utility buy back power at retail and sell it back to me at retail--when ~1/2 the utility's cost is for the distribution network to move power around and is unrelated to the cost of generating the power... I would be stupid not to take them up on that offer (this is the environment the government has set up--just like the Mafia--make an offer the business cannot refuse and then "customers" take them up on the money losing "offer"--only a government or organized crime ring can pull this one off).

    The Governments offered (now is forcing) solar GT connections to take Time of Use metering... $0.09 off peak, and $0.30 (to $0.60 maximum) on-peak rate. With Solar GT--I "sell" for $0.30 per kWhr, and "buy" at $0.09 per kWhr... And I am current averaging $300+ worth of credit per year on my power bill (may install that A/C or Electric Car--especially now that the government is paying me to buy both--when I probably would have bought neither without the government subsidies--in my case, actually, again, encouraging more resource consumption by me).

    Would I have conserved without Government "Welfare"--Yes... And in fact I did even though there were/are welfare payments available to me for doing exactly that.

    If I trusted my government to not mess thing up even more, and I did not get the welfare payments--Would I have installed GT Solar on my home... Probably not.

    As it is right now, because of all of these government regulations that force subsidized utility rates for the "poor" (and cheap like me--who is not poor)--The first 300 kWhrs per month is actually a fraction less per kWhr than it was in 1996 (around $0.11 per kWhr). Certainly not what we are supposed to be seeing--a constant energy cost inflation due to overall inflation and ever increasing energy costs. So--at least for small consumers--an intensive to increase (or at least not conserve) for the "little guy".

    For the big guy--if they want to conserve using renewable resources (say using ag waste)--they have to pay for stranding the utilty infrastructure (again, another government PUC requirement)--so there is the distinctive there (but I am sure there are other government payments that can offset those distinctives).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    We have a carbon tax here in BC. It is claimed to be 'revenue neutral' by its proponents. It can not be, because there is a cost in administering it which is not off-set by anything (nor can it be). And isn't it really just shifting the problem around? Simply upping the cost of something doesn't provide an incentive for reducing usage; it just makes it more expensive. This usually affects lower income people first and foremost - and they can least afford it.

    You can't always define costs of things in pure $ form.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    One thing I learned long ago, and indeed admit all too often; people are hypocritical and I am no less so than any other, and indeed perhaps more so as I talk alot.

    On the other hand, I have done a lot to limit my foot print, carbon and otherwise. The reality is do I want to PAY a carbon tax at the pump or the meter? Do I want to pay $5/us gallon for gas? Of course not. But in the abstract, I realize that these are probably good things for the rest of you!

    In all seriousness the talk about Al Gore, or Thomas Friedman sort of misses the point. Few of us can say that we ALWAYS walk the same walk as the talk, but we do the best we can. Whatever else you wish to say about Gore or Friedman or anyone else, it must be said that for better or worse, they have opened millions of eyes to the issue, no matter what side you come down on. (I will leave my personal opinions of AGW out for now as I'm sure most of you know it anyway!)

    The only public persona that I know who truly walks the walk in almost every aspect of his life,, so much so that he won't fly anymore is David Suzuki. Once again, regardless of how you feel about his work, he has opened millions of eyes to the environmental issues of the day, and is indeed a inspiring person to see and hear in person. (for those that my not know who he is:http://www.davidsuzuki.org/)


    The simple reality is that there are about 1/3 more mouths to feed on the planet than when I came along. All other issues being equal, these mouths and their consumption patterns can't help to have an effect on the environment both locally as well as globally. Much as we wish to live in an insular world, we don't.

    Tony
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    1/3 more Tony? It's more than doubled in my lifetime.

    Thanks for making me feel even older.:p

    Off-grid living is a prime example of the differences in awareness: our Fraser Valley all-electric house is wired for 48 kW's. I grew up in a house with a 19.2 kW service. We live here much the same as on the coast with 3.6 kW (could stand to be a bit more).

    If you're going to add taxes, add them to wastage not usage.
  • vcallawayvcallaway Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    Using the cost of leaving the grid is pure B.S.

    MANY years ago utilities amortized the costs to connect new areas. There were and still are taxes on urban utilities to fund build outs of rural utilities. Those systems were paid for long ago.

    In the last 20 years there has been a shift so that new construction bears the cost of connection. Anyone who has built a house in that time can tell you that connecting to the grid is expensive. Those costs were paid directly by the consumer. To charge someone for NOT using the service is just plain looting.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    thank you vcallaway as the greed of the utilities has nothing to do with how our government is bumbling renewables in this instance and this was my point also.
    for the record i never said mass transit as i said taxis. at least a taxi is allowed to compete as we have no real competition when it comes to utilities other than to do it yourself.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,596 admin
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    Niel,

    I know you said Taxis... I said public transit. Around here, a publicly funded taxi is public and para-transit. And, it is incredibly wasteful of money and energy.

    We used to have Jitnies in San Francisco--privately funded public transit. But, the "government" basically drove all of those out of business almost 40 years ago. From a 1995 UC Berkley transit study:
    San Francisco’s jitneys first appeared in 1914 to transport workers and attendees to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. By 1915, over 1,400 private jitney operators were plying their trade on the streets of San Francisco. Because of complaints from streetcar operators, jitneys were soon banned on major thoroughfares; however, the Board of Supervisors lifted all restrictions in 1917 in response to a streetcar-worker’s strike that threatened to cripple the city. By 1918, several thousand jitneys covered every major thoroughfare in the city, primarily ferrying suburbanites to downtown jobs (Belknap,973).

    From this height, San Francisco’s jitney fleet fell steadily at the hands of rising insurance rates,competition from the private automobile, and more restrictive rules on who could operate, when, and where.
    ...
    Because of mounting public transit deficits and pressures to protect Muni trolleybuses and street-cars from competition, no new [Jitney] permits were issued after 1972. This severely restricted any potential for expansion and market innovation at a time when the region’s new rail service, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, opened. The Mission jitney was hard hit by BART’s 1974 opening. Because city regulations required operators to charge fares at least as high as the local public transit services (Muni), jitney operators found it difficult to complete with BART’s lower fare and faster service for trips beginning and ending near BART stations.

    The last Jitney guy (at that time) was able to make money on a $1 per ride (no, he was not getting rich)-- While SF Muni was doing good if it was making 30% of its revenue from its ~$1 fare.

    And, we all know how heavily regulated taxis are in major metropolitan areas (the above report outlines Taxi regulations in our area). Government in large cities is heavily involved in setting fairs, regulations, numbers of "medallions", who can pick up fares from our airports (and extra fees), etc...

    So--Taxis are not able to run as a free market in much of our area but at the pleasure of government officials.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • GreenerPowerGreenerPower Solar Expert Posts: 264 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    My 2c on the cost to produce and operate electricity.
    ... The annualised capital cost for a generating facility will be determined by initial investment, interest and lifetime. Dividing this cost by the annual full-load equivalent running hours gives us the capital part in electricity cost.

    Normalising everything to 1 kW of generating capacity, investment cost varies between 1,000 and 5,000 euro per kW. And full-load availability varies between 1,000 and 7,000 hours per year. Using 20 years and 7% capital cost, the annualisation factor is 0.094 and the capital component in electricity production is listed below.

    10yr10pc.png

    The green area is typical for conventional generation (thermal power stations). If the number of full-load hours for these stations diminishes, because of priority for alternative generating methods, the blue area becomes quite attractive. This is a typical range for wind power plants. Since these operate without fuel cost, and without carbon externalities, they become a mainstream option, provided siting and integration issues are addressed.

    The orange area is typical for photovoltaic generation. Obviously, this technology needs to go through a steep learning curve to reduce costs. The yellow area is typical for domestic wind turbines, which have a higher capital cost per kW compared to MW-sized wind generators, and because of lower wind availability at their lower height, have fewer running hours. Therefore, in economic terms, domestic wind turbines are similar to photovoltaics.

    These calculations are very sensitive to interest rates and economic lifetimes. We repeat the table below for 10% interest and 10 years lifetime. I attach the underlying spreadsheet for readers to make their own calculations.
    Look at PG&E 10-K report on operating costs and revenues from selling electricity.
    page 22 - Average residential customer pay : 14.87 c / KWhr
    page 21 - Total delivery 86176 GWhr
    page 53 - operating expense (elect. & gas) : $112 million
    There are other expenses totaled $37 million, I just left them to cover gas operation and use this $112 figure for electricity. This comes out to be 0.129 c / KWhr to operate.
    They are still quite profitable. For commodity goods, more than a 20% markup is too much. I have to agree that after 10 years in operation, all their investment costs on power plants and distribution lines have been recovered. The peak usage now exceed generation and no new power plants are built. Should not charge users to put their excess on the grid for other users to use.
    GP
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,596 admin
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    Only issue is that PG&E (for example) makes most of their money off of the $0.129 per kWhr that they get for moving electricity from the generator to the consumer...

    Net Metering moves the electricity "for free" from one small generator to another small consumer (outside of control of the utility).

    Much of the cost for a utility is the costs for large distribution systems to small customers (more expensive to send 1,000 kWatts to between 2,000 homes vs sending 1,000 kWatts to a single oil refinery.

    As long as Net Metering is <1% of the total electricity in the network--it probably can be ignored... When Net Metering gets (SWAG) >10% of the network-- it becomes a significant cost factor to charge and manage.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy
    1/3 more Tony? It's more than doubled in my lifetime.

    Thanks for making me feel even older.:p

    Off-grid living is a prime example of the differences in awareness: our Fraser Valley all-electric house is wired for 48 kW's. I grew up in a house with a 19.2 kW service. We live here much the same as on the coast with 3.6 kW (could stand to be a bit more).


    Marc,

    I suspect that I am older than you. I was using a rough number of the US population from ~1960 to the present. I seem to remember that when the US population was ~200 million. It is now ~330m? Canada has gone from under 20 to close to 40 if memory serves.

    My guess is if you add in the growth in the rest of the world, it is at least double in my life time.

    T
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    Tony -

    Yes I was thinking world pop. not just U.S. and/or Canada.
    So pull up a rocking chair while we let the youngsters play in the yard ...:p

    Marc
  • KamalaKamala Solar Expert Posts: 452 ✭✭
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy
    icarus wrote: »
    Much as we wish to live in an insular world, we don't.

    Tony

    This hurts.... But Tony you do live as such... according to the words that we have...

    insular

    Def #2 not applicable

    Sometimes I think I'm already there,

    Craig
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Got Solar Panels? Utility Wants To Charge You For Not Using Their Energy

    But not really true,

    I buy fuel that may have been mined and refined in Western Canada. I buy food that may have been grown in California, My computer was made somewhere. Much of what I have, came from somewhere else.

    I may live on an island , but aside from the fact that I may use less than some, I am as dependent on the rest of the world as any urban/suburbanite.


    Tony

    Ps It may be a semantic issue of insular, but I think you get the point.
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