BHM's Homesteading & Self-Reliance Forum

Posting requires Registration and the use of Cookies-enabled browser

  #1  
Old 03-08-2015, 04:40 PM
Wanderer Wanderer is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 26
Default The Grid Strikes Back

The utility companies wants to add fees for having solar panels on your roof.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/nation...b89_story.html

It sounds like hogwash to me. If there is a flat infrastructure cost, then everyone should pay a flat fee for the infrastructure plus a usage cost per kilowatt hour. Singling out a specific usage type group for a special fee is an attempt to reduce that usage group. Otherwise, they could use that same argument to add fees for energy efficient refrigerators.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-08-2015, 06:34 PM
HuntingHawk HuntingHawk is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,409
Default

OK, this is about grid tie systems. No affect on those that have or want solar systems for back up when electricity is lost.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-08-2015, 08:37 PM
chrisser Male chrisser is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Cleveland OH / Palestine WV
Posts: 1,330
Default

I can somewhat sympathize with the electric companies.

Think of what it takes to produce and transmit electricity. The power company needs to produce their power at high voltage and then it gets stepped down several times before it gets to your meter, where they charge you what appears to be the rate of electricity you're using. But actually, they're charging you the portion of what it costs to generate it at their end, taking into account all the equipment, line losses etc.

Now you start pushing a few amps backwards through the meter at 110vac or maybe 200vac. From what I understand, you end up charging the electric company essentially the same rate for that power.

But the power you're pushing in isn't the same as what you're pulling out. Those amps don't translate backwards into the thousands of volts and amps the power has to be at in order to transmit it to someplace else useful. Your amps are a trickle in a torrent, yet you get to bill the power company at the torrent rate.

Now, to be sure, if you're close enough to your neighbors, then maybe some of your power can get used by them and offset what the power company is sending them - assuming they need the power at the same time you're pushing it in. But if you've ever tried to run a power tool at the end of a long extension cord, you know the kind of losses involved even at those short distances. In those cases, there's less of a discrepancy. But overall, especially in a rural area, the power company's getting the short end of the stick. When the power company is publicly owned, as many are, then everyone else is getting that same stick.
__________________
Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

Marxism: The ultimate illusory fantasy.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-08-2015, 09:40 PM
12vman's Avatar
12vman Male 12vman is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Tuscarawas County, Ohio
Posts: 2,040
Default

Note to self.. Look at avatar..
__________________
"Without Deviation from the Norm, Progress is not Possible".
*Frank Zappa*
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference"
*Robert Frost*
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-08-2015, 10:42 PM
Tim Horton's Avatar
Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Deep in the BC Bush
Posts: 6,012
Default

Admittedly my knowledge of electrical systems is very poor....

But I got to call foul on this thing... For instance it seems to me... If I had a home system that would occasionally put power back into the grid... Even at, say 120 volts it may not multiply/step up the way the grid system steps down, but I'm still putting a watt of power in that the utility doesn't have to supply to someone on the part of the grid at the same level of power that is provided to me...

SeewhatImean...
__________________
Always fresh.
Keep your stick on the ice. Red Green
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-09-2015, 12:15 AM
12vman's Avatar
12vman Male 12vman is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Tuscarawas County, Ohio
Posts: 2,040
Default

IMO..

I dunno what the power company is whinin' about. They have enough of the population that would never cut the umbilical cord or mess with silly solar panels. Then you have the very few that wanna feel good and "Think" they are helping the environment by pumping power back into the grid. The small percentage that put panels on their roofs are still connected and can't function without it!

To me, there's no in between. You're either connected or you're not! I chose not to connect and I'll never regret it..

There's a "Few" luxuries I don't have but I could have them if I simply invested the money. I don't mind. I don't have to deal with the propaganda or the politics..
__________________
"Without Deviation from the Norm, Progress is not Possible".
*Frank Zappa*
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference"
*Robert Frost*
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-09-2015, 01:30 PM
doc doc is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
Posts: 1,524
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyobuckaroo View Post
.....but I'm still putting a watt of power in that the utility doesn't have to supply to someone on the part of the grid at the same level of power that is provided to me...

SeewhatImean...
No, Chrisser has it right:

-- think of the electricity as flowing water, with a bunch of it evaporating along the way. The power company has to produce, say, 2 gallons in order for you to get 1 gallon at your house. Now you produce an extra 1/2 gal and pour it back into the pipe, but by the time it gets anywhere to be used, it's evaporated to 1/4 gal, but the company is supposed to pay you for the 1/2 gal.

Not to mention, the power co is producing millions of gallons and can't really "cut back" by 1/2 gal when you pour in your measly 1/2 gal.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-09-2015, 01:56 PM
12vman's Avatar
12vman Male 12vman is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Tuscarawas County, Ohio
Posts: 2,040
Default

The power company still needs to supply the demand, regardless of the small amount that a few "Feel Gooders" are adding. (a drop in the ocean) The demand changes from day to day so the amount of energy added by a few panels on a roof ain't gonna make a huge difference. It's just a bunch of bologna..

Let's not forget the fact that solar doesn't make any power during the night..
__________________
"Without Deviation from the Norm, Progress is not Possible".
*Frank Zappa*
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference"
*Robert Frost*
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-09-2015, 02:41 PM
Wanderer Wanderer is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 26
Default

I don't see in the article where the complaint is about the cost of the electricity being supplied to the grid from solar customers. The utilities are worried about declining retail sales.

Quote:
If demand for residential solar continued to soar, traditional utilities could soon face serious problems, from “declining retail sales” and a “loss of customers” to “potential obsolescence,” according to a presentation prepared for the group. “Industry must prepare an action plan to address the challenges,” it said.
The analogy is made to land line telephones vs cellular phones. If everyone switches to cellular, who pays for the landlines?

Also the article, discusses the inversion of the usually pro solar progressives and the pro fossil fuel conservatives. Residential solar is creating energy independence and individual control over their own energy needs. Progressives oppose this independence. The progressives want everyone to participate in public energy which can be controlled by government bureaucrats and the costs 'fairly' redistributed ( poor pay less, rich pay more schemes). Conservatives want to protect individual rights to independence and self sufficiency.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-09-2015, 07:48 PM
doc doc is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
Posts: 1,524
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
I don't see in the article where the complaint is about the cost of the electricity being supplied to the grid from solar customers. The utilities are worried about declining retail sales.
.

Solar only accounts for 0.8% of US electricity production. The power companies don't feel any threat. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewab..._United_States

The program to sell excess production back to the company is a boondoggle meant to appease the TreeHuggers. Most private solar arrays aren't big enuff to supply the needs of their owners, often those unwilling to make any sacrifices in usage for conservation's sake.

Those like 12vman are in special situations not amenable to hooking back up to the grid anyways. That's a major reason they went solar in the first place.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-20-2015, 03:10 AM
Ironbeard Ironbeard is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 11
Default

I keep bouncing between Inter-tied / net-metered and Independent / self-contained, but every time I think about having to rely on the honesty and integrity of corporate America I just want to run screaming for the hills!!
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-20-2015, 08:13 AM
doc doc is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
Posts: 1,524
Default

To me, there's only two reasons to consider going "off-grid." [a] because you're so far off-grid that it's cost prohibitive to connect, or[2] for the sake of reliability of power supply, anticipating some extended disruption of service of the grid.

Many of those who have installed alternative power sources are those who are trying to ease guilty consciences- the "Do-Gooders," as 12vman calls them. They're kidding themselves as to the supposed benefits to the environment, and willing to pay 3x the cost for their power. They're buying absolution for a non-existent sin.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-20-2015, 11:42 AM
CarolAnn's Avatar
CarolAnn Female CarolAnn is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 4,888
Default

From the article:
"There is a grid that everyone relies on, and you have to pay for that grid and pay for that infrastructure.”
That is HOGWASH.
I work for an electrical engineering company and our clients ARE ...the grid, or rather, the companies that own it. There's a constant battle to upgrade it and keep up with demand. The percentage of drop in consumer usage caused by solar power users is smaller than miniscule. Not only that, but the "grid" is not owned by local power companies by law. Transmission of electric power is totally separate from distribution, so any distribution (re, local power company) that's charging extra to solar producers is just using it as an excuse to gouge.

If they tack on that fifty bucks a MONTH to electric bills, more people WILL go with alternative energy only they'll install closed systems and tell their local power company to take a hike.

I hope they do!
__________________
"Someday" is not a day of the week...but if it were, it sure would be a busy day!
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-20-2015, 02:31 PM
Ironbeard Ironbeard is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 11
Default

Contrary to the vocal pundits of "Globalization" and the like, everyone being connected to everyone else is not only foolish and stupid but suicidal in my book. If "Bob" screws something up hundreds or tens of thousands of miles from me, I don't want to feel or have to deal with it in my backyard as collateral damage from his mistake or stupid move. There are entirely too many stupid and greedy people on this planet for me to trust other folks to do the "right thing" enough not to threaten my part of this planet.

Anyone that controls something you need or that you depend upon to survive...CONTROLS YOU!!

No thank you.

Judging humanity on even the best of days does nothing to entice me to put my trust in others, in fact exactly the opposite. So to that end, if I can, I will produce as much of the materials and "things" I need to live within my comfort zone on my own. I will join in the local community of like minded individuals and I will support those ideals, but trust in distant humans, oligarchic corporations, governments, and people I don't know personally....I don't think so. It's not paranoia....it's just good Common Sense.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05-21-2015, 02:29 AM
Jjr's Avatar
Jjr Male Jjr is offline
Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: NWLA
Posts: 837
Default

Bottom line is, it is always about the money. We have it and they want it!
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 06-20-2015, 03:51 PM
JimGagnepain Male JimGagnepain is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Colorado Springs
Posts: 15
Default Great Article

This is a very sensitive subject to me. I am an Electrical Engineer (BS), and I also have 5.2 kW of renewable energy (solar PV and wind), with Netmetering. I run a surplus every month, and get a check from Mountain View Electric, a rural Utility cooperative, at the end of the year (usually $200-$300).

When I installed my system just 4 years, the Fixed fee part of my statement was $9.99 per month. In the mere 4 years, they have raised the Fixed Fee to $19.99, and then to $29.99. At the same time, they lowered the Usage fees. So in effect, they're penalizing renewable energy customers, and those who conserve, and rewarding the trophy home owner with excessive Megawatt usage. I am subsidizing the wealthy trophy home owner.

I actually called and complained, in a 1 hour discussion, with a representative from Mountain View. He said that the Utility has a new policy, and is trying to recover all non-energy expenditures with the Fixed Fee. This new policy went into effect just a few years after voters approved the mandatory Netmetering law. What a coincidence! I asked him how he would feel, if he pulled up to a gas pump in his car, and was charged $20, before he started pumping. He said, "that's not the same". I told him, "It's exactly the same!".

This is nothing more than political pressure from the coal industry. Mountain View purchases it's electricity from Tri-States Energy which is almost exclusively coal-fired plants. This is typical of what is going on in the US, and the state of residential renewables and netmetering.

From an Electrical Engineering standpoint, there is currently no issue with Netmetering costing the Utility more to maintain. NONE. Maybe there would be, if over 25% of the houses in a residential area had renewables, but this simply is not the case. Actually, solar PVs, are great for Utilities, and all their customers. They typically produce at their peak around 3-4 pm in the summer, just when most consumers are coming home from work and cranking up their air conditioners. Solar PVs are a peak load producer! Peak load usage is the telltale sign of whether or not a Utility needs to build more power plants, and thus passing on those huge expenditures to all of their customers.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06-21-2015, 01:45 PM
12vman's Avatar
12vman Male 12vman is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Tuscarawas County, Ohio
Posts: 2,040
Default

Welcome to the forum Jim. Great to get an experienced opinion on this..

Bottom line is they don't like guys like us. We can maintain without them and they don't like it. They're used to being the "Gods", making us to believe that they are the only game in town. (And pricing things to promote their agenda) Making it tougher for folks like yourself to see it (Grid Tie) as a benefit..

I can understand the pressure from the coal industry but I see it as pressure from power generation in general. (The whole industry!) They don't want to become a "Battery Bank" for night usage. They want it all!

At one time, electrical production was a private industry, developing/expanding along just fine. Then along came the Gooberment and their "Bright" idea.. (Good Read, BTW..)

http://www.windcharger.org/Wind_Charger/Welcome.html

Could you imagine what it would be today? I understand large industry would see a need for huge power but I believe the household scenario would be totally different. Talk about energy efficiency..
__________________
"Without Deviation from the Norm, Progress is not Possible".
*Frank Zappa*
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference"
*Robert Frost*
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06-21-2015, 06:21 PM
JimGagnepain Male JimGagnepain is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Colorado Springs
Posts: 15
Default

Even though my background is electric engineering, and I'm in the business of solving complex problems, I believe in simplicity, when it comes to my home. To me, that was the beauty of Netmetering. If I lived in a very rural area, where I had to pay a huge up-front cost for grid-tie, I would go with a stand-alone battery system.

It's the Corporate greed, and the influence of the ultra wealthy, that bothers me. The little old couple who conserves electricity, by turning off their lights and hanging out their laundry, loses. The wealthy trophy-home owner, who probably sat on the Board who made this decision, comes out way ahead.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -2. The time now is 11:35 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 1996 to Present. Backwoods Home Magazine, Inc.