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Re: SDG&E, Solar, Net Metering, and Time of Use 2 (TOU2)

Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:18 pm

Randy, thanks for that important clarification on expansion! And I, for one, never meant to suggest that altering the peak period is unfair, only that if it happens I would love to find some vehicle-to-grid solution to both help the grid and minimize my own energy costs.
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RegGuheert
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Re: SDG&E, Solar, Net Metering, and Time of Use 2 (TOU2)

Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:13 am

cbiwww wrote:But my true up date is next month and, like Philip, I'm discovering that on EV-TOU2, even though I've consumed way more than I've generated, it's only going to end up costing pennies/kwh. So as much as I'd love to add panels (hate consuming more fossil fuels), I think it would take decades to pay off.
This is the problem with TOU net metering as currently implemented: it discourages homeowners like cbiwww from installing even enough PV to replace the energy that they personally used. Instead, homeowners should be paid for additional production, as well.

And while I'm at it, I will also criticize flat-rate net metering like we have here. This plan also discourages production of electricity beyond what we personally use. As we have discussed elsewhere, it would be nice for me to be able to produce more than I consume on my rooftop to compensate for my neighbor across the street who does not have the ability to produce electricity due to being in the woods. And I would say this should be regardless of whether or not he pays or I pay for the system.
Randy wrote:Back to Randy: As far as changing the TOU periods, shouldn't those actually reflect what's happening on the power system so that all customers can be billed or credited fairly? When I worked in our control center many years ago, the peak time on the power system was routinely 3 to 4pm (hence the on-peak period of noon to 6pm from all those years ago). But now the power system peak is routinely 7 or 8pm.

Yes, it's unfortunate that all of us solar power producers will get less reimbursement for noon power or 2pm power if a shift in TOU periods goes through, but noon to 6pm is not the peak time any more (we have more residential customers now than before). And if you're a business owner paying extra for power at peak times such as 1pm or 2pm, don't you want the TOU periods to accurately reflect what's going on with the power system. It goes both ways...

The current peak load at 7 or 8pm is larger now in megawatts than the old 3pm peak used to be, and since most solar is winding down at that time even in the summer, the need for utility generation is larger than ever (with an even larger ramp-up as the sun goes down to replace solar generation)...That's one reason why peak times should be pushed out (to help mitigate or manage that ramp)...
Nowhere in these three paragraphs did you acknowledge the PRIMARY reason the peak has moved from 1 or 2PM to 7 or 8PM: the addition of solar-powered electricity generators to the grid. Instead, you have implied by what you wrote that this shift is solely due to having more residential customers. Put another way, your response is extremely utility-centric.

Please allow me to make some suggested changes which are not so focused on the desires of the utility at the expense of the homeowner:

1) PREVENT the utilities from installing (or purchasing power from) utility-scale solar-powered generators (like Ivanpah) since those facilities unnecessarily take away the opportunity for more homeowners to generate their own electricity on their roofs while simultaneously raising the rate of electricity. Simply put, if it weren't for Ivanpah, southern CA ratepayers would be paying less, more homeowners would be bill-free, the duck curve would be less pronounced and less damage would be done to the environment.

2) REQUIRE utilities to purchase PV-generated electricity at a particular rate. This rate should be equal to the rate charged during the hour when it is produced. This rate can be allowed to go down over time as more PV generation is added to the grid. (I think this is how things work today.) There should be a "floor" rate that limits the minimum which can be paid for PV production. This floor rate can drop over time and should be targeted to allow a particular payback time for homeowners to recover their investment (perhaps 10 years).

3) REQUIRE utilities to accept TOU net metering for electric vehicles. Electricity consumed and produced by electric vehicle will be credited or billed TO THE VEHICLE OWNER, not the facility owner. This will further encorage ratepayers to consume and produce electricity at the most appropriate times. It would lead to the rapid installation of BEV charging facilities at most places-of-work and would simultaneously eliminate the problem of BEV charging for most renters.

4) ALLOW utilities to raise the rates for electricity (and implement appropriate TOU rates) to accommodate the shrinking rate-paying base.

These changes should hasten the demise of the traditional utility. With the above changes, the utilities will soon cease to be electricity producers: this role will be taken over by the some ratepayers (but not all). The utilities will instead become the operators of the distribution facilities and the balancers of the production and loads by setting the pricing. In other words, they will become bourses.

The point is that policies do not need to be utility-centric. They can, and should, be rate-payer-centric. That way, one (artificial) person is not benefited to the detriment of many (actual) persons.
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Re: SDG&E, Solar, Net Metering, and Time of Use 2 (TOU2)

Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:30 am

Lot of comments here, I'll try to give some counter points - not trying to start a flame-war, but being more of a "devils-advocate" so-to-speak and trying to maintain a level perspective to all sides of the meter ;).

RegGuheert wrote:1) PREVENT the utilities from installing (or purchasing power from) utility-scale solar-powered generators (like Ivanpah) since those facilities unnecessarily take away the opportunity for more homeowners to generate their own electricity on their roofs while simultaneously raising the rate of electricity. Simply put, if it weren't for Ivanpah, southern CA ratepayers would be paying less, more homeowners would be bill-free, the duck curve would be less pronounced and less damage would be done to the environment.

Shouldn't the utilities have the freedom to build power plants they feel they need? Not sure how it takes away the opportunity (incentive??) for homeowners to generate their own electricity. When rates go up, won't people be MORE likely to install self generation?
RegGuheert wrote:2) REQUIRE utilities to purchase PV-generated electricity at a particular rate. This rate should be equal to the rate charged during the hour when it is produced. This rate can be allowed to go down over time as more PV generation is added to the grid. (I think this is how things work today.) There should be a "floor" rate that limits the minimum which can be paid for PV production. This floor rate can drop over time and should be targeted to allow a particular payback time for homeowners to recover their investment (perhaps 10 years).

This is already done in California to an extent, NEM 1.0 credits at the retail rate, and if you over produce beyond that you are paid at the wholesale rate. These rates are adjusted through regulation.
RegGuheert wrote:3) REQUIRE utilities to accept TOU net metering for electric vehicles. Electricity consumed and produced by electric vehicle will be credited or billed TO THE VEHICLE OWNER, not the facility owner. This will further encorage ratepayers to consume and produce electricity at the most appropriate times. It would lead to the rapid installation of BEV charging facilities at most places-of-work and would simultaneously eliminate the problem of BEV charging for most renters.

Who pays for the charging equipment installation and maintenance of the charging infrastructure? How would the demand charges work on quick chargers?
RegGuheert wrote:4) ALLOW utilities to raise the rates for electricity (and implement appropriate TOU rates) to accommodate the shrinking rate-paying base.

Not sure if the base would like that. Maintaining and operating the grid, base load plant, and peaker plants is expensive and they would be all that is left to pay for it.
RegGuheert wrote:These changes should hasten the demise of the traditional utility.

The utility provides a service I enjoy having. I choose to have electric powered lights at night, and feel the cost is worth it, as probably most of us do if you really think about it. Now, I may decide I don't want to pay the utility to keep my house cool in the summer, so I turn off the AC - again it is my choice. We can even go off-grid if we wanted to, but most will find that purchasing power from the utility to be the more cost effective option - but again this is all a choice.
RegGuheert wrote:With the above changes, the utilities will soon cease to be electricity producers: this role will be taken over by the some ratepayers (but not all). The utilities will instead become the operators of the distribution facilities and the balancers of the production and loads by setting the pricing. In other words, they will become bourses.

I think you just described the California investor owned utilities. They actually own very few power plants; they were sold off during the deregulation attempt over a decade ago. You may want to look up the owner of Ivanpah.

So in the future, when solar production (on both sides of the meter) exceeds demand minus base load plant power, what gets shut down and how should rates (negative?) be handled in that situation?

Like it or not, without a cheap means of power storage or major changes in the way we consume electricity, solar will become less valuable to the grid. These changes will need to be reflected in how we are compensated for our exports.
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Re: SDG&E, Solar, Net Metering, and Time of Use 2 (TOU2)

Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:03 am

I came across this cool adapter that SDG&E sells which effectively makes performing a line-side-tap a plug-and-play solution for those who are somewhat challenged in the panel size department and thus limited in the amount of solar they can add directly to their main service panel.

http://www.sdge.com/environment/renewable-meter-adapter



This adapter plugs into your existing meter socket and provides up to 60A (48A continuous, or 11.5 kW AC maximum solar system size). It also functions as your utility disconnect switch. It is reasonably priced at $1,326, installed, IMO. It is certainly a lot cheaper than the alternative.

In my case, I have a 100A service panel and thus am limited to a 20A solar breaker or 16A continuous solar power. I currently have 14.4A of Enphase micro inverters, so I am limited in my options in terms of adding more solar unless I opt to upgrade my service panel. Because I also have a underground utility feed, it would cost $5-6k to upgrade my panel based on the rough quotes I got before I installed my solar system.

Pretty cool - now I can much more cost effectively install another 2-3 kW of solar to get back to net-zero.
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Re: SDG&E, Solar, Net Metering, and Time of Use 2 (TOU2)

Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:26 am

drees wrote:Pretty cool - now I can much more cost effectively install another 2-3 kW of solar to get back to net-zero.
That is pretty cool! It interesting that it comes from the utility. I wonder if you could purchase it from the manufacturer for even less.

Now if you could only get the sun the shine in the late evening hours! ;)
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Re: SDG&E, Solar, Net Metering, and Time of Use 2 (TOU2)

Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:52 am

It was co-invented by Ken Parks and another guy at SDG&E, and i believe is only available through the utility.
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Re: SDG&E, Solar, Net Metering, and Time of Use 2 (TOU2)

Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:50 pm

drees wrote:In my case, I have a 100A service panel and thus am limited to a 20A solar breaker or 16A continuous solar power.
100 amps is still a lot of power.
I would be tempted to go down to 80 or even 60 amps if that would boost the solar you need. Not sure if the rules allow that.
Have you ever 'turned everything on' and measured the current?

I doubt I have pulled more than 60 amps through my meter and I have a 200 amp panel. Bit of over kill if you ask me.
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Re: SDG&E, Solar, Net Metering, and Time of Use 2 (TOU2)

Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:46 pm

NEC has two different rules to calculate minimum load capacity, I am right at the limit as is.

It wouldn't be too hard for me to hit 100A with an EV charging at 32A with an electric dryer, range and A/C, but since charging most typically happens at night and all 3 of tgose rarely run and my LEAF can only charge at 16A, it's rare to exceed 30-40A for any length of time.

I'll have to try downloading my meter data to see what my peak load is (averaged over 15 min).
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Re: SDG&E, Solar, Net Metering, and Time of Use 2 (TOU2)

Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:08 am

RegGuheert wrote:Now if you could only get the sun the shine in the late evening hours! ;)

Yes, that would be a neat trick. I will probably get some sort of BSS eventually to shift production later depending on how TOU rates end up, but given BSS storage prices and availability it's still more cost effective to add more solar at this point even if peak rates shift. Also, rooftop solar has the added benefit of shading/insulating the roof which is good in the summer for keeping upstairs a bit cooler and reducing A/C load.

drees wrote:I'll have to try downloading my meter data to see what my peak load is (averaged over 15 min).

OK, downloaded the last year's worth of data and the most energy I've consumed in 15 minutes is only 2.1 kWh or 8.4 kW which would be 34A. I wonder what the 1 minute peak rate was, but I suspect it wasn't significantly higher.
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Re: SDG&E, Solar, Net Metering, and Time of Use 2 (TOU2)

Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:58 am

philip wrote:
RegGuheert wrote:1) PREVENT the utilities from installing (or purchasing power from) utility-scale solar-powered generators (like Ivanpah) since those facilities unnecessarily take away the opportunity for more homeowners to generate their own electricity on their roofs while simultaneously raising the rate of electricity. Simply put, if it weren't for Ivanpah, southern CA ratepayers would be paying less, more homeowners would be bill-free, the duck curve would be less pronounced and less damage would be done to the environment.
Shouldn't the utilities have the freedom to build power plants they feel they need? Not sure how it takes away the opportunity (incentive??) for homeowners to generate their own electricity. When rates go up, won't people be MORE likely to install self generation?
No, utilities should NOT be allowed to generate solar electricity. Utilities have traditionally been regulated as monopolies because the generation and distribution of electricity was considered to be a natural monopoly. This regulation is primarily to protect the interests of consumers as detailed in this article.

But things have changed. As I have discussed, consumers are BEST served if they are allowed to generate electricity from their roofs using photovoltaics. This reduces cost to the consumers and cost to the environment. I am proposing that they be gradually regulated OUT of production during this period and only allowed to continue to operate in the areas where there may still be benefits of having a monopoly.

As it stands today, the government has been promoting the solution which is practically the worst one imaginable for the taxpayers, the electricity consumers and the environment.
philip wrote:
RegGuheert wrote:2) REQUIRE utilities to purchase PV-generated electricity at a particular rate. This rate should be equal to the rate charged during the hour when it is produced. This rate can be allowed to go down over time as more PV generation is added to the grid. (I think this is how things work today.) There should be a "floor" rate that limits the minimum which can be paid for PV production. This floor rate can drop over time and should be targeted to allow a particular payback time for homeowners to recover their investment (perhaps 10 years).
This is already done in California to an extent, NEM 1.0 credits at the retail rate, and if you over produce beyond that you are paid at the wholesale rate. These rates are adjusted through regulation.
Agreed. But the current rules do not create a *simultaneous* demand, as detailed in 3) below.
philip wrote:
RegGuheert wrote:3) REQUIRE utilities to accept TOU net metering for electric vehicles. Electricity consumed and produced by electric vehicle will be credited or billed TO THE VEHICLE OWNER, not the facility owner. This will further encourage ratepayers to consume and produce electricity at the most appropriate times. It would lead to the rapid installation of BEV charging facilities at most places-of-work and would simultaneously eliminate the problem of BEV charging for most renters.
Who pays for the charging equipment installation and maintenance of the charging infrastructure?
TBD. Since the benefit is for the ratepayer, they should probably pay for the infrastructure. Since the ratepayer is approximately the same as the taxpayer, this might be a good use for taxation.
philip wrote:How would the demand charges work on quick chargers?
This is a good example of a case when demand charges make very little sense. In fact there are real benefits to the society as a whole if we can make this work. The utility should be allowed to charge a surcharge for the installation of charging infrastructure to the extent that it might cause them to invest in existing structure to prevent overloading the system. Almost certainly this would NOT apply to home installations (if capped at a certain power level). But it might apply to places of business. If things are done smartly, however, we *should* be able to taper the charging to match the excess solar production while still balancing across the grid.
philip wrote:
RegGuheert wrote:4) ALLOW utilities to raise the rates for electricity (and implement appropriate TOU rates) to accommodate the shrinking rate-paying base.
Not sure if the base would like that. Maintaining and operating the grid, base load plant, and peaker plants is expensive and they would be all that is left to pay for it.
Perhaps, but note that during the daylight hours, prices should be steadily coming down. With the advent of consumer-accessible battery solutions and battery-electric vehicles, there will be a firm cap placed on the price which it would be reasonable to charge at nighttime. Currently, the difference between consumption and production will be capped at about $0.15, but that number should drop rapidly.
philip wrote:
RegGuheert wrote:These changes should hasten the demise of the traditional utility.
The utility provides a service I enjoy having. I choose to have electric powered lights at night, and feel the cost is worth it, as probably most of us do if you really think about it. Now, I may decide I don't want to pay the utility to keep my house cool in the summer, so I turn off the AC - again it is my choice. We can even go off-grid if we wanted to, but most will find that purchasing power from the utility to be the more cost effective option - but again this is all a choice.
So do I. But, as you say below, I do not propose that they disappear. Rather, I propose that we modify the regulations to recognize that a natural monopoly no longer exists for generation. The utilities should be preserved as a bourse to su
philip wrote:
RegGuheert wrote:With the above changes, the utilities will soon cease to be electricity producers: this role will be taken over by the some ratepayers (but not all). The utilities will instead become the operators of the distribution facilities and the balancers of the production and loads by setting the pricing. In other words, they will become bourses.
I think you just described the California investor owned utilities. They actually own very few power plants; they were sold off during the deregulation attempt over a decade ago.
I'm glad you recognize that fact.
philip wrote:You may want to look up the owner of Ivanpah.
I'm familiar with the owners of Ivanpah. The government has created a situation where rooftop solar is being pushed out at great detriment to the consumer, the taxpayer and the environment. This type of nonsense needs to stop.
philip wrote:So in the future, when solar production (on both sides of the meter) exceeds demand minus base load plant power, what gets shut down and how should rates (negative?) be handled in that situation?
See item 3) above. The proper operation of the electricity bourse will allow for the value of electricity to remain positive under all conditions by creating an appropriate signals to influence both consumption and production. But we need to avoid the mistake that Germany has made of moving renewable production too far ahead of storage.
philip wrote:Like it or not, without a cheap means of power storage or major changes in the way we consume electricity, solar will become less valuable to the grid. These changes will need to be reflected in how we are compensated for our exports.
Those are precisely the dynamics which my proposal addresses. Using inventive policy initiatives to simultaneously drive BEV growth and charging behavior while we continue to build out PV roofs will address all of the issues you have raised.
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