Democrats press FERC to reject anti-net metering petition: Twenty-one Democratic senators and House members wrote to FERC asking the agency to reject a petition that would effectively end the practice of solar net metering, which pays rooftop solar owners for the power they send back to the grid. The lawmakers wrote that Congress expressly gave states — not FERC — authority over net metering, and that approving the petition would give FERC the authority to set “rates, terms and conditions” for net metering programs active in 45 states. The lawmakers also pressed FERC to order the New England Ratepayers Association, the group that filed the petition, to disclose its twelve anonymous donors. Source: Politico
New guidance from the Treasury Department confirms that the safe harbor provisions for the solar Investment Tax Credit will be extended until Oct. 15 as a result of the pandemic, giving solar companies more time to qualify for the credit. Erin Duncan, VP of congressional affairs for industry group SEIA said, “We appreciate the additional layer of clarity the Treasury Department has provided with respect to solar projects started in 2019. Today’s action shows that solar energy is an economic driver with bipartisan appeal.” Source: SEIA
Virginia agency aims to make solar ‘faster, easier and more affordable’: A pressing decarbonization timeline has prompted a state agency that oversees energy and mining development to help local governments knock down barriers to solar — which now provides just 1% of the state’s electricity. The goal is “to make solar development faster, easier and more affordable.” Source: ENN
Community Choice Energy providers Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) announced the execution of a 20-year solar PV and battery storage contract with NextEra Energy Yellow Pine Energy Center. MBCP will be contracting for 75 MW of solar capacity and 39 MW of energy storage, serving 5% of its annual retail load. SVCE will contract for 50 MW of solar capacity and 26 MW of energy storage, serving 4% of its annual retail load. Source: SVCE
Energy won’t be the same when this is over: The coronavirus is rewriting the future of fossil fuels and renewables. With planes grounded, cars parked, factories shuttered and offices dark, the coronavirus has carved a big hole in the energy economy and redirected its future in ways that could hardly have been imagined four months ago. Even once the world picks up again, the basics of the business will reflect the legacy of the 2020 pandemic. Coal, already staggering, has taken yet another serious blow. Some analysts wonder whether we have now passed peak oil — whether we will ever again burn 100 million barrels a day. Source: Washington Post
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When Solar panels, on peoples homes, cost $7 to $9 per watt installed, only governemt incentives like Net Metering and Tax Credits could get projects started. Now with installed Solar systems being under $3 per watt, and the number of homes with solar has swollen fron less than 2% to as high as 20 % in some areas, Utilities are losing money and have to raise the prices for energy to everyone else to pay for the net metering programs. PG&E, in California, Charges 30 cents per kilo watt hour to customers to pay for all the government mandated programs like reduced bills for the poor, Net Metering, fire death compensation, power “turn off” compensation etc. The cost of energy is only 8 cents per kilowatt hour and 22 cents for everything else.
Today, an overbuilt solar panel system can not only power your home, but earn you credits under Net Metering at 30 cents per kilo watt hour for your Natural Gas bill and pay you cash at the end of the year but this is not earned money. it is taken from all the other rate payers as higher electric tarrifs. If you look at the infrastructure costs, that must be paid for, Extra Electricity sent back on the grid is only worth 30% if the tarrif charged. That means, to be fair to utilities and the other customers in the utility service area, the solar overproducer should get 9 cents for every kilowatt put onto the grid in excess of what they use, then buy it back at 30 cents like everybody else does at night.
The 9 cents is still twice as high as the 4.5 cents wholesale price of energy and since all the energy you produce and store is yours for the price of your original solar panel and battery storage system and that works out to 16 cents per kilo watt hour for solar plus battery storage rather than the 30 cents the utility charges for the non-solar customer.
As more people opt-in for roof top solar, Pure Net Metering will go away and a modifies “Value Net Metering” will take its place. With lower solar instalation costs, the savings to rate payers will still be there for new systems. Older, more expensive systems, have still been “Grandfathered “into the older Net Metering rates for up to 20 years from when they first signed up at instalation to make those more expensive systems pay for themselves. Newer, less expensive systems will get a “Fair Value” for any excess power they generate and those newer systems will pay for themselves also. Just as the tax credits are slowly going away, so will Net Metering but we must demand “Fair Metering” or “Value metering” or we could get nothing back at all.
All that would be true, except you are overlooking what EVs are going to do to the grid. When the average EV has 60 kWh and the average home has 2 -3 vehicles or 120 – 180 kWh, then the excess renewable energy always has a place to go if the workplace has smart EVSEs and the homes have V2G technology. EVs and renewables are growing at a similar pace to one another.
The real cost of the grid is TOU. So if you have the ability to sell as you say during valued times of use then your power IS worth more. If utilities do not have to support peaker plants or build out their own storage its a perfect windfall. Current EVs don’t have the chemistries or cycles to support this, but this is all about to change. Keep your eye on Tesla Batter Day.
You made some great points , but, when a utility can buy renewable solar from large wind farms or solar farms at 2 cents to 3 cents per Kilo Watt Hour and sell it for a profit to support the billon dollar infrastructure they built over the last 100 years, why would they want to buy power at 10 times that cost? Government madates come and go based on what party is in office at that time and right now, the party in power is in the hands of big oil and energy companies. They are not interested in energy storage because it takes away from the fossil fuel industry’s bottom line of selling fuels to the peaker plants. I built a home solar power off grid system with 8,000 amp hours of batteries (67 Kilo Watt hours) and 8,000 watts of solar panels and I generate electricity and power part of my home day and night of grid at a cost rate of 16 cents per kilowatt hour based on what I paid for my solar panels and 7 year cycle on my battery bank. My utility PG&E charges me 30 cents per kilowatt hour with penalty rates of up to 48 cents per kilo what hour so my system pays off because I pay less for my power than PG&E can deliver electricity it to me. If I pushed power back onto the grid with my system insead of being off grid, the utility would want compleate controle of my system to meet it’s demands and not my own and the compensation would not be there for the 7 year battery replacment cycle and I would be required to sell any overproduced power at 2.5 cents per kilo watt hour at “True-up time”. That is not enough to buy one replacment battery let alone the 80 I need every 7 years.
PG&E breaks down their bill for energy 30% and infrustructure 70% so they should be truing up at 9 cents per kilo watt hour, not the 2.5 cents per kilo watt hour they offer. (30% X 30 cents per Kilo watt hour)
It is all about the money for solar installers, home owners and the utilities and if you want to control how “green” you are, you need to be “off grid” until all power from utilities comes from renewables and their own battery storage. I could not wait until 2050 when I would be 106 years old to make a diffrance. I started in 2007 to go off grid and hope to finish my system this year with a Tesla Solar Glass Roof to be 100% renewable.
“That means, to be fair to utilities and the other customers in the utility service area, the solar overproducer should get 9 cents for every kilowatt put onto the grid in excess of what they use, then buy it back at 30 cents like everybody else does at night.
The 9 cents is still twice as high as the 4.5 cents wholesale price of energy and since all the energy you produce and store is yours for the price of your original solar panel and battery storage system and that works out to 16 cents per kilo watt hour for solar plus battery storage rather than the 30 cents the utility charges for the non-solar customer.”
APS has a similar “program” for solar PV owners in Arizona. APS allows around 7 to 8 cents/kWh for solar PV overgeneration pushed back onto the grid and one pays from 12 to 16cents/kWh when they buy power at night minus the electricity credit. Its getting to the point now that when one says residential solar PV they also say packaged with an energy storage system. Just 15 years ago one would pay around $50K for a simple grid tied solar PV system of around 8.5kWp with , tax breaks and subsidies. Now one can get a 15kWp solar PV system and smart energy storage system for right at $50K, without a subsidy or the still remaining 26% ITC. In 5 years could we possibly do the same system solar PV and smart energy storage for $30K to $35K installed? Realistically when one gets to a solar PV system that can run your house into the night from 4 to 7 sun hours a day for the cost of a “new” mid-line vehicle, the excuse of upfront costs starts to sound lame, ROI falls apart as when more folks “present” a 2,500 square foot home like a 500 square foot bungalow in energy usage to the local utility, then the utility will cry about “lost revenues” when folks buy and maintain their own systems instead of buying electricity from the utility with “demand charges”, TOU rates and tiered electricity block rates. The nice thing about solar PV with smart ESS, if you get the proper package, the solar PV can be absorbed, partially absorbed by the hybrid inverter/charger and if the system is set up for grid interactive one can program just how much energy one wants to push back onto the grid or use all energy from the solar PV array to help power the house and charge the battery pack. IF and when the utility is looking for distributed grid services “partners”, then one could re-program their smart ESS to allow more sales and services to the grid demands instead of the house’s demands.
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