In the discussion about the Ivanpah plant, Guy and I have been discussing the fraction of "impervious" surfaces you would need to cover with PV
in order provide the amount of electricity used by the U.S. It's a big fraction, even assuming infinite, efficient storage: ~16%.
I am becoming more-and-more convinced that PV on existing structures is one of the least damaging forms of electricity generation available today. But that discussion got me thinking about the barriers out there that are keeping us from putting more PV on our roofs. One thing that strikes me is that while our roof already has 10 kW of PV installed, it could hold about 3X that amount (without installing on the North-facing portion). The current amount of PV almost provides the amount of electricity we use annually, but if we could triple the size of the array, we could provide for two more houses across the street which are in the woods.
But how could that be made practical? In theory, we could simply add the panels but our net-metering laws only permit residential installations up to 10 kW. But even if that limit did not exist, they also do not pay for production beyond our own consumption. But why should the power company be allowed to collect ALL the income for electricity which we produce? It makes sense for them charging for its distribution, but at the current price of PV, it would makes sense to install PV if we could be paid retail-minus-distribution.
Does anyone here produce more electricity than they consume? (Note that while I am not talking about zeroing your bill by producing a fraction of your consumption under a TOU plan, a discussion of producing beyond that amount to match or exceed usage fits here, too.) If so, how much do you get paid for the overage?
Is there any legislation out there that encourages the coverage of ALL flat or South-, East- and West-facing unshaded roofs on houses, barns, factories, warehouses, etc., even if it will result in production beyond consumption? If so, what and where are they? (Note that the East- and West-facing roofs only carry about a 15% production penalty if located on a roof that is not too steep. In fact, in some weather regimes in which there is more cloudiness in the morning or afternoon, the East- or West- facing surfaces can produce MORE electricity then the South-facing one.)