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Tue Dec 18, 2012, 06:09 PM

What does the group think about this article on solar power net metering?

http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Solar-power-adds-to-nonusers-costs-4124277.php#photo-3906472

I guess you need to read the article - it briefly discusses the solar capacity caps under current CA law and the problem of solar power generators not paying into the system they are using.

Obviously it is not a problem of any significance when one has only a few generators, but as solar power gets cheaper, this may become a real issue.
Permitting net-metering programs to grow indefinitely is "not sustainable," said Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena (Los Angeles County). He wrote legislation that was approved in August requiring the state to conduct a detailed study on the economic impact of rooftop panels before making any additional changes to the cap. He expects the study to show net metering has a negative impact on utilities and customers who don't have solar systems.


There is one error in the article - a good part of the increased costs in Germany stem not from net metering but from the premium paid to solar generators.

6 replies, 582 views

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Reply What does the group think about this article on solar power net metering? (Original post)
Yo_Mama Dec 2012 OP
msongs Dec 2012 #1
PamW Dec 2012 #2
Yo_Mama Dec 2012 #3
PamW Dec 2012 #4
wtmusic Dec 2012 #5
bananas Dec 2012 #6

Response to Yo_Mama (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 07:04 PM

1. in other words it cuts into corporate monopoly profits and they don't like it nt

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Response to Yo_Mama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 10:43 AM

2. Easily fixable

The whole problem is that the utility like PG&E is forced to buy power at retail rates.

The power is "at" the home of the solar generator, and PG&E has to move it over their transmission lines to who ever they are reselling the power to. The resale is at the retail price that PG&E paid for it.

This is really unfair to PG&E; because it forces PG&E to "eat" the line losses which average about 7%. That is, if a solar generator sells 100 kw-hrs to PG&E at retail price, and PG&E resells that power to someone else, then on average the amount of energy resold is only 93 kw-hours because, on average; 7 kw-hrs will end up as resistance heating in the transmission lines. Therefore, not only does PG&E not make a profit; it has to "eat" the cost of the 7 kw-hrs that end up as transmission line loss. Additionally, PG&E had to provide the transmission line capacity, and doesn't get paid for it.

Solar generators should be treated like any other electricity supplier to PG&E. PG&E should pay the solar generator the wholesale cost of the electricity like they do any other electricity provider.

PamW

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Response to PamW (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:46 PM

3. Isn't the wholesale price considerably less?

Of course, wholesale prices vary. Maybe the utilities could pay the high current? But then, they don't have a way to know when the power is really being fed into the system.

I suspect that this would make solar power installations for homes look far less attractive, but it's better than running straight at the wall like we are doing.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:24 AM

4. Of course.

Yes the wholesale price is considerably less; which is why the difference pays for the transmission lines.

If one has a solar installation and one is selling power to the utility; then why shouldn't the solar installation sell the energy at the same price as what other sources are selling equivalent power?

PamW

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Response to Yo_Mama (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:29 AM

5. It's a legit concern but the solution is simple

Solar customers "avoid charges, not just for energy, but also the costs of the transmission and distribution system," he said. "That's why we say it is not sustainable."

Residential solar is completely sustainable, but everyone who's connected should have to pay the base connection fee to cover distribution expenses.



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Response to Yo_Mama (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 01:47 PM

6. UCAN has some good information

http://ucan.org/energy/electricity/advanced_metering/sdges_proposed_solar_tax_rejected_regulators

SDG&E's Proposed Solar Tax is Rejected by Regulators

Posted January 18th, 2012 by michael

UCAN News

CPUC Rejects SDG&E rate demand

In an important victory for San Diego ratepayers today, a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) commissioner slammed the door on SDG&E's attempt to impose new fees upon customers who produce solar power.

Commissioner Mark Ferron adopted UCAN's recommendation that SDG&E's controversial "Network Usage Charge" be rejected and ordered that SDG&E must refile its request for a "general rate increase". The Commissioner found that SDG&E's proposed increased fees -- especially fees to consumers with rooftop solar energy -- were illegal.

Implications of this CPUC decision is that, for the near term, the skies will remain clear and sunny for residential solar generators as they need not worry about SDG&E imposing new fees upon them. However, UCAN expects that SDG&E will now move this debate to the Legislature. It is unlikely that they'll get the legislature/Governor to change the law anytime soon. However, after 2016, our clear skies forecast gets fuzzier.

In the interim, UCAN's experts will be digging into SDG&E's claims that customers who produce solar power are causing more costs than benefits.


The CPUC decision may be viewed in pdf format here.

Local newspapers reported on the important decision. The North County Times story can be found here. And the U-T San Diego story can be round here.

For a quick overview of UCAN's arguments, click here.


The U-T San Diego article points out:
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jan/18/regulators-reject-new-charge-solar-customers/

The commissioner assigned to the case, Mark Ferron, raised concerns that SDG&E's proposal would have imposed charges twice -- both for incoming and outgoing power -- on customers who generate their own electricity. That, he wrote, raised concerns about equal treatment of customers within the same rate class.

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