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Re: Demand Rates and Solar / Using The Grid "For Free"

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:35 am
by smkettner
AndyH wrote: From the grid operator perspective, it's a hell of a lot cheaper to 'let' all the 'civilians' add PV with THEIR OWN MONEY rather than pay to install another power plant...
You left out 'municipal' as investor owned utilities love adding infrastructure to increase the asset base and guaranteed return to shareholders.

The real return will be when batteries can be used to chop the duck's head off the demand curve. Then it is just a matter of time before the old power plants become museums.

Re: Demand Rates and Solar / Using The Grid "For Free"

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:28 am
by dgpcolorado
From The Washington Post: Utilities want solar unplugged: Power companies are trying to slow a solar revolution that is taking customers off the grid

As I've said before, I don't have a problem with a utility charging a reasonable service fee for infrastructure. In my area I currently get charged $16/month and power co-op insiders tell me that a more fair share of infrastructure costs would be in the $20-$25/month range. But that's for a remote rural mountain co-op with much higher costs spread over fewer customers. A typical utility that serves urban areas ought to have a service charge that is considerably lower IMO. Anything more and it is clearly a ploy to kill net metering and individual renewable generation.

Re: Demand Rates and Solar / Using The Grid "For Free"

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:41 pm
by sub3marathonman
From the Washington Post article, "While homeowners with solar panels usually see dramatic reductions in their electric bills, they still rely on the grid for electricity at night and on cloudy days. The utility collects less revenue, even though the infrastructure costs — from expensive power plants to transmission lines and maintenance crews — remain the same."

That is what I object to, as it is blatantly false. The infrastructure costs are not remaining the same, they are, or could be, decreasing with the installation of rooftop solar. For example, currently, I have used 0 kwh during peak and semi-peak demand times. Yet, they are saying they're keeping 20% of their rarely used infrastructure on hand for me, and not for those people who are blasting their A/C when its 100 degrees or have their house at 80 when its 30 below where they're at. I chuckled one time when on the news, they showed how a guy was having such a hardship paying for heating oil to heat the house during a particularly cold winter, yet when I glimpsed the thermostat it was set at 78. So how hard was he really having it when I'm at 63 during a cold snap?

But the utilities don't want to switch to a fair TOU demand rate for PV customers because at least Lakeland Electric wants to economically destroy the competition to their cheap access to 2 cents / kwh solar they are getting from customers who allow the utility to install panels on their roof. Remember, no other public utility, or municipal utility either that I could find, in the state of Florida, is requiring PV customers to be on a demand rate that will essentially make electricity more expensive than without any PV at all. As it is too, businesses on demand rates are being overcharged, as the demand rate should be dramatically different from peak to off peak. And if you say that doesn't matter, it does because those businesses must pass on their costs for their overcharged electricity on to their customers (you).

Re: Demand Rates and Solar / Using The Grid "For Free"

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:10 pm
by smkettner
This is where Tesla's home battery will pay off. You cut your demand to a max 1 kW. Anything else comes from the battery or solar. Recharge from grid only when excess is available.

Although sometimes I think a fixed monthly fee based on original main breaker size would be appropriate. Maybe 5 to 10 cents per amp per month.
To reduce infrastructure... houses could be built with a 20 amp main and a battery & solar to supply the rest.

Re: Demand Rates and Solar / Using The Grid "For Free"

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:38 pm
by RegGuheert
sub3marathonman wrote:From the Washington Post article, "While homeowners with solar panels usually see dramatic reductions in their electric bills, they still rely on the grid for electricity at night and on cloudy days. The utility collects less revenue, even though the infrastructure costs — from expensive power plants to transmission lines and maintenance crews — remain the same."

That is what I object to, as it is blatantly false. The infrastructure costs are not remaining the same, they are, or could be, decreasing with the installation of rooftop solar. For example, currently, I have used 0 kwh during peak and semi-peak demand times. Yet, they are saying they're keeping 20% of their rarely used infrastructure on hand for me, and not for those people who are blasting their A/C when its 100 degrees or have their house at 80 when its 30 below where they're at.
And the falsehoods go beyond what you have mentioned:

- They fail to mention that during other times, the solar panels are feeding power into the grid. For utilities in warm climates, this typically happens during peak load times. In other words, not only do the homes with solar panels NOT load the grid, but instead they unload it, at least when the sun is shining brightly. (When the sun is NOT shining brightly, the load is reduced because of lower air-conditioning load.)
- The solar panels feed the grid from the load end, which is generally preferable to feeding more power in at the power plant.
- If enough homes add solar panels at a sufficiently high rate, then the need for grid expansion in the future may be greatly reduced.

Unfortunately, the utilities' complaints are mostly valid in cold places where the peak load occurs during cold, dark winter nights. But, frankly, the penetration of solar in such locations is so low today that the utilities are not yet being impacted by the growth of PV. Hopefully cost-effective storage solutions will be in place in time to address the concerns in these areas.

Re: Demand Rates and Solar / Using The Grid "For Free"

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 4:05 pm
by hewitt66
The costing models used by utilities will undoubtedly have to be modified as solar, storage, and EV's become more prevalent. The reality is that few consumers will totally and permanently disconnect from the grid. This means that a fair and unsubsidized tariff structure will need to be developed. Demand structures are inherently fair if they are based on the coincident system peak. It is important to remember that in exchange for a obligation to provide service, utilities are allowed to recover their costs and regulated rate of return. If you remain connected to the grid with the expectation that the grid must supply 0 to 100% of your power needs, then any discount simply shifts costs to lower income families and mutli-family residents who do not have a solar option. Just saying that the issue is broader than greedy utilities vs. the little guy trying to save the planet. There is a workable middle ground and demand-based rate structures may a step in the right direction.