rmay635703 wrote:In 5 years off grid will be at grid parity assuming you get heat from something other than electricity.
In some areas I have a strong suspicion we are already there.
Certainly there is already parity for net-metered on-grid systems with storage in places like Hawaii. Tesla PowerWall 2 is on the order of US$0.15/kWh now and that will continue to drop. The difference with being completely off-grid comes in when you have a big seasonal mismatch between production and load. But, as you say, that difference is largely related to heating.
Unfortunately, the bottom line is that they force EVERYONE to pay more for electricity with these changes, even those who produce an amount of electricity equivalent to their usage. Yes, I get that net metering is a form of subsidy and has its limits, but I also get that a two-meter system (used in some locations) is massively unfair to the solar producer since it charges an uplift for electricity which is self-consumed and is therefore not carried by the utility's distribution system.
rmay635703 wrote:Just opt out if they want to continue increasing profits in an era of reducing electrical use and increasing home production.
Yes, solar and batteries put a firm cap on electricity rates.
I do see a bit of "how to boil a frog" going on with utilities. This causes many (most?) consumers to not notice the steady increases which show up in their power bills.
For instance, our utility will raise our monthly access fee from $10 to $20 beginning in March 2018. In order to make this palatable to the rate base, they are slightly lowering the electricity rates so that the overall bills only increase a small amount (or even go DOWN for large wintertime consumers):
First 300 kWh:
11.7c/kWh -> 10.9c/kWh
Above 300 kWh:
10.5c/kWh -> 9.9c/kWh
Above 800 kWh (from June through September):
10.5c/kWh -> 11.9 kWh (The only increase in rates.)
I put my 2017 consumption numbers (assuming I didn't have solar) into their online calculator and I see the costs of the 18,245 kWh of electricity we used this year having the following pricing:
(what we would have paid for electricity in 2017 ignoring solar and about $17 of county taxes): $2017.81
(what we would have paid for electricity in 2017 ignoring solar and about $17 of county taxes): $2156.70
70% of the increase happens in the months of June through September when they are (finally) putting in place rates which INCREASE with additional usage.
If I do a simple calculation of annual dollars (including the taxes) divided by annual consumption, that comes to a change from 11.15c/kWh to 11.91c/kWh.
What we actually paid for electricity service in 2017
(including county taxes): $151.88
That number will increase to about $280.00 with the new rate plan.
Of course, slightly lower per-kWh rates mean slightly less return on grid-tied solar investments, even though the overall price of service has increased.