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Thread: Another example of how utilities are total dirtballs

  1. #31
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    The rules were carefully outlined in the agreement we signed when we had our grid tied P.V. system installed. We still went as big as we could. The big part of our motivation is to do as much as we can to reduce our footprint. The economics do not make sense. Having participated in "caring" is uplifting to us even though it is mostly a gesture.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maurice Mcmurry View Post
    The rules were carefully outlined in the agreement we signed when we had our grid tied P.V. system installed. We still went as big as we could. The big part of our motivation is to do as much as we can to reduce our footprint. The economics do not make sense. Having participated in "caring" is uplifting to us even though it is mostly a gesture.
    Similar here, except with my grid tied PV system the utilities through the state utility commission could choose and raise prices as they see fit, as long as they get approved by the commissioners they lobbied to get appointed. The usage fees are largely irrelevant to me as I run a surplus, but escalating monthly fees and minimum charges...

    Energy is generally reliable here. My neighborhood is at risk because all the feeding cables to my neighborhood (which has underground cables) are overhead, laced through countless, untrimmed oak trees. Needless to say, in a hurricane, we'll be without power. As has happened before. The utilities and county do virtually nothing about that issue. Of course, not nearly as huge an issue as PG&E in California with transmission cables and wild fires. I truly feel very bad about people confronted with the risk of wildfires, and rotating blackouts. My understanding is that solar arrays and battery backups are fairly common in those areas. I could rant and rave about the issue of "Islanding" which makes my array useless to help my neighbors after a hurricane, but that's another story.

    I chose a large PV system because I have the roof space for it, and in an unusually tall house which has no issue of shade, ever from trees. We had no ability to guess what our electric bills would be in our new house as we bought a pre-existing house with an absentee owner, and our last house was so different (pool, large aquarium, much larger), that a comparison was just a wild guess. And I renovated my house to be incredibly energy efficient. Also, I would think a good thing.

    So I have a 30kWh array on the house. It provides some surplus some months, and on a few occasions we run a deficit. I don't see that as a bad thing, like I made a mistake as to sizing my array.

    The system cost $75K. Certainly not cheap. And I truly feel that I am doing my personal little thing for the environment. I also drive a Tesla, so also, not inexpensive, but doing my little part for the environment.
    Last edited by Alan Lightstone; 01-21-2022 at 9:13 AM.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lightstone View Post
    ... So potentially close to $50K.
    So w/ a wee bit of Jethro Bodine math, that's ~136yr payback, ignoring the time-value of money. Sorta makes $30/mo look cheap?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    ...depend on "the grid" - the whole grid, ...
    For those so inclined, or sufficiently incensed, just disconnect. No more dependence. Simple.

    And to no one in particular, I'm intrigued by the safety aspects of CA's mega-micro-distribution ('mega'? sources of 'micro'? capacity). If the owner of the distribution system needs to maintain their wires & poles, that the PV-owner is just barely using to distribute their excess production, and which maintenance is, as some have said, so desperately necessary, how do they de-energize them? Do they politely call all of the PV providers (thousands? - and everyone answers the phone, of course) and ask them to pull the main breaker? Can they ID these providers, and remotely open the circuit at the meter base? Or, do the service crews just have to work the system hot? ...Maybe wait for a really cloudy day??

    Note to self: scratch 2nd career as CA lineman from bucket list.

    And I wonder what it costs to keep 2 or a dozen 500MW (average-sized) combined cycle gas fired power plants on hot standby*? You know.... For when a big cloud drifts by, or the sun so rudely dips below the horizon, during the turkey-cooking-big-game-on-the-TV-existentially-hot-out-AC-on-max-forest-fire-fleeing-havin-a-baby-gotta-go-to-ER-but-EV-is-dead kinda day. Sorta makes $30/mo look cheap, I bet.

    *-Let's ignore construction costs.

  4. #34
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    Alan, if you do consider batteries, look at the Generac solution. Also, I believe that Tesla recently changed their policies and their battery solution can only be had if you also have their solar solution. (I don't know who did your solar) I was considering solar for here at our new property, but have decided to just go with a whole house backup generator because I don't believe we will be living here long enough to justify the added cost of using solar for backup...it's three to four times the cost of the generator.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Alan, if you do consider batteries, look at the Generac solution. Also, I believe that Tesla recently changed their policies and their battery solution can only be had if you also have their solar solution. (I don't know who did your solar) I was considering solar for here at our new property, but have decided to just go with a whole house backup generator because I don't believe we will be living here long enough to justify the added cost of using solar for backup...it's three to four times the cost of the generator.
    I had heard that about Tesla Energy also, but my solar installer said that wasn't an issue, FWIW..

    I had briefly looked at the Generac solution a while ago. I think it didn't have the capacity I needed, or was much more expensive for that capacity. But that was a while ago.

    Already having a propane tank in the house, I could spend $15K on a whole house propane generator, or spend an equivalent amount of money (or a little more) to power about half of my needs every night and have backup for a hurricane. The economics of this never justify themselves. It will never pay for itself with the utility only paying me $0.0325/kWh.

    I just can't pull the trigger on a propane generator that may never be used, or once every 10 years in a hurricane. I'd rather it be a battery solution, and would definitely seriously consider that if/when the utilities in Florida succeed in getting rid of net billing.
    Last edited by Alan Lightstone; 01-21-2022 at 9:19 AM.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  6. #36
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    The current Generac battery solution is honestly more technically attractive and a lot more modular than the Tesla PowerWall. It really is worthy of your consideration, IMHO, and what I would have used had the decision been different here. Professor Dr SWMBO and I really would prefer the battery solution tied to solar because of our personal views. But $13K for the generator compared to about $45 K for the solar and battery solution (after incentives) is too big of a gap for a property that may only be ours for 10-15 years, especially given we "took it in the shorts" financially selling our previous property. (Yes, the RE market is hot, in general, but not so much for unique properties)
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #37
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    I went with solar, and I said when I did that it would only be a matter of time before they started charging minimum fees. My utility did have a small one, but I strongly expected it to go up within a few years as more and more people went solar.

  8. #38
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    I understood the Tesla solar thing is they no longer sell just the solar. You must buy their battery as well.
    Bill D

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    The current Generac battery solution is honestly more technically attractive and a lot more modular than the Tesla PowerWall. It really is worthy of your consideration, IMHO, and what I would have used had the decision been different here. Professor Dr SWMBO and I really would prefer the battery solution tied to solar because of our personal views. But $13K for the generator compared to about $45 K for the solar and battery solution (after incentives) is too big of a gap for a property that may only be ours for 10-15 years, especially given we "took it in the shorts" financially selling our previous property. (Yes, the RE market is hot, in general, but not so much for unique properties)
    Looking at the Generac specs. Have to dive in them for a while, but two can be bundled together with 6 batteries in each to produce 36kWh. Interesting that they offer them with either Nickel Manganese Cobalt batteries or with Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt batteries. Or that's perhaps a typo.

    Of course each module weighs 459# with 6 batteries in it.

    Installers much just love that.

    That is the first one that I've seen that can scale up that high, outside of Tesla Powerwalls.

    I wonder what the comparable costs are...

    Plus I just looked at my average energy usage. Over the last 3 years I used an average of 110kWh of energy per day. Ah, South Florida... So assuming that my panels produce the average of 125 kWh per day (which they did over the past 3 years), how would this work at night if I wanted the panels to power the house during sunlight as well as charge the batteries, and discharge at night feeding the house and potentially needing no energy from the grid.

    Could the Generac or Tesla do that? I really don't know the energy usage day vs night in my house, but lets assume it's 60% daytime, and 40% nighttime. So I would need 44 kWh of battery capacity (somewhat more, considering they won't totally discharge) to totally power the house at night. I'm not aware of any battery system that can do that. The Generac comes close, and on winter days would easily accomplish this. But on those hot summer Florida days - no way.

    And as far as charging the batteries fully during sunlight and power the house. I would need 66kWh of solar production to cover daytime electricity usage and an additional 44kWh of solar production to charge the batteries for nighttime electric usage. There are a number of days where that could occur, but throw in a cloudy day, or afternoon showers which happen almost daily here in the summer - no way.

    So at least in my house, going totally off grid really won't work. Unless I'm missing something. And the cost of the battery system would be astronomical.
    Last edited by Alan Lightstone; 01-21-2022 at 10:54 AM.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lightstone View Post
    The utilities in Florida tried 2 years ago to pass a statewide constitutional amendment to end net metering. Rumor was they spent $7 million on their ad campaigns. Much to my amazement, it didn't pass. But I have no doubt they'll try again.
    Most likely the rate payers ended up paying for the ad campaign.

    Most likely they will keep putting the statewide constitutional amendment on the ballot until the voters "get it right."

    Every state has its own state utility commission that tends to dance to the tune of states politicians who dance to the tune of those who have the most money to give to politicians.

    An investment manager once said, “The main problem with moving to Florida is you have to live in Florida.” That can be said about the unseemly underbelly of every state that is run by politicians who are run by money.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    That can be said about the unseemly underbelly of every state that is run by politicians who are run by money.

    jtk
    That can be said of any state I have lived in. Both Northeast, Midwest, and South.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  12. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lightstone View Post
    Looking at the Generac specs. Have to dive in them for a while, but two can be bundled together with 6 batteries in each to produce 36kWh. Interesting that they offer them with either Nickel Manganese Cobalt batteries or with Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt batteries. Or that's perhaps a typo.

    Of course each module weighs 459# with 6 batteries in it.

    Installers much just love that.

    That is the first one that I've seen that can scale up that high, outside of Tesla Powerwalls.

    I wonder what the comparable costs are...

    Plus I just looked at my average energy usage. Over the last 3 years I used an average of 110kWh of energy per day. Ah, South Florida... So assuming that my panels produce the average of 125 kWh per day (which they did over the past 3 years), how would this work at night if I wanted the panels to power the house during sunlight as well as charge the batteries, and discharge at night feeding the house and potentially needing no energy from the grid.

    Could the Generac or Tesla do that? I really don't know the energy usage day vs night in my house, but lets assume it's 60% daytime, and 40% nighttime. So I would need 44 kWh of battery capacity (somewhat more, considering they won't totally discharge) to totally power the house at night. I'm not aware of any battery system that can do that. The Generac comes close, and on winter days would easily accomplish this. But on those hot summer Florida days - no way.

    And as far as charging the batteries fully during sunlight and power the house. I would need 66kWh of solar production to cover daytime electricity usage and an additional 44kWh of solar production to charge the batteries for nighttime electric usage. There are a number of days where that could occur, but throw in a cloudy day, or afternoon showers which happen almost daily here in the summer - no way.

    So at least in my house, going totally off grid really won't work. Unless I'm missing something. And the cost of the battery system would be astronomical.
    I think you'd have to install a backup generator to the batteries and use that when the batteries are depleted. If you go with a natural gas generator, the fuel cost is not too high.

    But the installed cost of a battery system plus a generator backup would be high. You'd probably only do that if you had no access to the grid. Almost any monthly grid charge would probably be cheaper.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  13. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm McLeod View Post
    And to no one in particular, I'm intrigued by the safety aspects of CA's mega-micro-distribution ('mega'? sources of 'micro'? capacity). If the owner of the distribution system needs to maintain their wires & poles, that the PV-owner is just barely using to distribute their excess production, and which maintenance is, as some have said, so desperately necessary, how do they de-energize them? Do they politely call all of the PV providers (thousands? - and everyone answers the phone, of course) and ask them to pull the main breaker? Can they ID these providers, and remotely open the circuit at the meter base? Or, do the service crews just have to work the system hot? ...Maybe wait for a really cloudy day??
    Solar systems are designed to disconnect automatically when there is no voltage from the feed to the house.

    If the grid is energized, the line workers do their work hot. I've watched a lot of installations of new power poles. They do that on 44kV lines with the lines energized. Scares the heck out of me.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 01-21-2022 at 11:52 AM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  14. #44
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    Earlier someone mentioned regulatory agencies that govern power production. When I left Virginia Power in 1983 we had 128 regulatory agencies to satisfy over our nuclear, coal, gas and hydro/pumped storage power plants. It's a nightmare on steroids dealing with so many organizations with so many politicians in the mix. I worked for the Multiple Power Plant (MPP) group. We were responsible for all construction and repair of power plant facilities. It wasn't uncommon for me to leave a nuclear station and report to a coal burner or have to jump back and forth depending on manpower requirements. Everyone in our group had a "Home Station" but we all traveled when it was necessary. Our annual budget included the contracts for all of our contractors and it was staggering what it costs to maintain our state wide power production system and build new power plants.

    I know this from personal experience. The most powerful person in any state is not the governor or even the state legislature, its the president of your power company. He tells the governor how its going to be and there isn't any discussion. If private solar installations become a problem for the power company it won't be one for long.
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 01-21-2022 at 12:05 PM.

  15. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    Solar systems are designed to disconnect automatically when there is no voltage from the feed to the house.

    If the grid is energized, the line workers do their work hot. I've watched a lot of installations of new power poles. They do that on 44kV lines with the lines energized. Scares the heck out of me.

    Mike
    Good to know.

    I had (college) summer job(s) with a rural electric co-op, predating any PV installs, so too familiar with the basic pre-PV risks. Obviously, as pervasive and necessary as electrical power is to modern life, providers try to minimize outages. But some work just requires turning things off - large area or small - no way around it; easy to isolate the 'trunk' from feeding a 'branch'; not so easy if every 'leaf' feeds the branch.

    (We can federalize the grid, then it will be free :: Tesla's dream fulfilled.)

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