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My First Solar Electric Bill

So, I received my first full month electric bill for my new solar system. Have to say I am pretty happy.....



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nice, not like CA. If negative on the annual true up it goes away. Of course our rates are 5 times yours
Does it go away, or do they buy it out at a wholesale rate? It's definitely not as good as getting paid full rates, but it is potentially better than some utilities that roll credits forever and never pay out.

The rule where I am (and I think it may be state-wide) is that all credits are bought out with the April bill at a generation rate. Unlike CA, it is not really a "true up". Meaning, if you use more than you produce in a monthly billing cycle, you have to pay as you go. And, if in later months you produce more than you use, you cannot apply those credits retroactively.

Our solar is expected to cover around 80% of our usage, so (especially with no TOU rates to complicate things) you might expect the utility would never be paying us for production. But, even though we were net consumers over the winter, for April, we had a small surplus (45 kWh.) It was immediately paid out instead of letting us use it towards our summer bills or instead of combining it with the other bills for the past year which would show we are net consumers (and so should get full NEM for that power if it was a true up.) In the end, just a small amount, but a weird rule that ends up grabbing a few extra bucks from customers who did not oversize their systems (and I'm sure adds up at least a little bit for the utilities.)
 
APS, the Arizona utility seems to have the best deal - they pay 10.45 cents per kWh, they true-up the credit at the end of the year, and actually send you a check for your credit balance. None of this nonsense of holding the credit in perpetuity or making it disappear at the end of the year!
That should be the way to do it. After all they are selling that energy to someone else and getting the money at the end of the month.
 
There are two things about the whole utility interconnection that I don't like:

1. The 110% limit on the solar unit capacity. Why should the utility dictate how big of solar install I can have? If they really don't want to pay much for too high excess generation, they can have a limit or tiers on the buy back rate of excess generation. But simply telling me that my solar unit HAS to be a certain size is not good.

2. When the utility service is out, you can't use your solar generation unless you have batteries. The reason given for this - if the utility service men are working on their grid to restore the power, they don't want to be harmed by the flow of excess solar generation to the grid. But cutting off customers totally from their solar generation at the time of an outage does not seem to be the right away to handle this risk of service men being harmed by solar power flowing into the grid. I was quite shocked when I realized that in a situation like recent Texas where people were out of power for several days, they couldn't use their solar generation even if they had solar installed, if they didn't have battery backup!
 

jboy210

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
6,502
4,450
Northern California
There are two things about the whole utility interconnection that I don't like:

1. The 110% limit on the solar unit capacity. Why should the utility dictate how big of solar install I can have? If they really don't want to pay much for too high excess generation, they can have a limit or tiers on the buy back rate of excess generation. But simply telling me that my solar unit HAS to be a certain size is not good.

2. When the utility service is out, you can't use your solar generation unless you have batteries. The reason given for this - if the utility service men are working on their grid to restore the power, they don't want to be harmed by the flow of excess solar generation to the grid. But cutting off customers totally from their solar generation at the time of an outage does not seem to be the right away to handle this risk of service men being harmed by solar power flowing into the grid. I was quite shocked when I realized that in a situation like recent Texas where people were out of power for several days, they couldn't use their solar generation even if they had solar installed, if they didn't have battery backup!
The second item is why we have 2 Powerwalls in the garage. Just like you, I was shocked when I found out no battery meant no power from the solar if the grid was out. Thankfully, the people on this forum really opened my eyes and ensured I ordered the correct system.
 
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There are two things about the whole utility interconnection that I don't like:

1. The 110% limit on the solar unit capacity. Why should the utility dictate how big of solar install I can have? If they really don't want to pay much for too high excess generation, they can have a limit or tiers on the buy back rate of excess generation. But simply telling me that my solar unit HAS to be a certain size is not good.

2. When the utility service is out, you can't use your solar generation unless you have batteries. The reason given for this - if the utility service men are working on their grid to restore the power, they don't want to be harmed by the flow of excess solar generation to the grid. But cutting off customers totally from their solar generation at the time of an outage does not seem to be the right away to handle this risk of service men being harmed by solar power flowing into the grid. I was quite shocked when I realized that in a situation like recent Texas where people were out of power for several days, they couldn't use their solar generation even if they had solar installed, if they didn't have battery backup!
As to point 2, its more than that. Over the couple of months of my 16.32 and 3 PWs system I have tested it by switching off from the grid as well as simply watching what happens at night. The current Tesla Gateway has the power to do two things. First, it can switch the panels completely off. Second, it can draw however much is needed from the batteries.

What it cannot do, apparently, is partially limit the production of the panels. And since it cannot do that, it would not take much for either overproduction from the panels to fry the house or for over-draw from the house with not enough solar at that moment to screw up home electronics.

That's why for me, amid all the chatter, the blaming Tesla and the fan boying of Tesla, the Gateway and the Powerwalls are just incredible. Incredible technology which makes solar actually feasible on a large scale.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
7,468
6,934
MA, NH
So, I received my first full month electric bill for my new solar system. Have to say I am pretty happy.....



View attachment 655557

Not to bust your bubble but at this time of year you typically want more overage than that. What a “season” looks like in the Northeast vs TX might be different though. I just checked and I’m at 60% excess this past month. But I’ll be under in the winter months and it all evens out. You are only 44% over break even during peak overage season. You won’t really know until a year has past to see where you are really at.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
3,593
866
auburn, ca
Not to bust your bubble but at this time of year you typically want more overage than that. What a “season” looks like in the Northeast vs TX might be different though. I just checked and I’m at 60% excess this past month. But I’ll be under in the winter months and it all evens out. You are only 44% over break even during peak overage season. You won’t really know until a year has past to see where you are really at.
And the bigger deal for winter is if one use gas heat or electric!!!! HUGE DIFFERENCE!!!!
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
3,593
866
auburn, ca
There are two things about the whole utility interconnection that I don't like:

1. The 110% limit on the solar unit capacity. Why should the utility dictate how big of solar install I can have? If they really don't want to pay much for too high excess generation, they can have a limit or tiers on the buy back rate of excess generation. But simply telling me that my solar unit HAS to be a certain size is not good.

2. When the utility service is out, you can't use your solar generation unless you have batteries. The reason given for this - if the utility service men are working on their grid to restore the power, they don't want to be harmed by the flow of excess solar generation to the grid. But cutting off customers totally from their solar generation at the time of an outage does not seem to be the right away to handle this risk of service men being harmed by solar power flowing into the grid. I was quite shocked when I realized that in a situation like recent Texas where people were out of power for several days, they couldn't use their solar generation even if they had solar installed, if they didn't have battery backup!
Going to be interesting on the 110%. I want to add more solar, but if they take my house size, I am already over. If they take my last 12 months usage, I am over. If they take my usage a year ago, I am WAY under. But, thats for the installers to find out. If they cannot get approval, the decision is made for me
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
7,468
6,934
MA, NH
Eversource in Massachusetts 1:1 net metering, no limit - if you sell you can donate any excess.

Plus a monthly check paying 8.6 cents/kWh for 10 years
Massachusetts Eversource is NOT 1:1 net metering. You lose 20% when you push to the grid and pull it back. I forget where it’s applied (I think as you push you don’t get every kWh you push as fully credited). It’s not easy to figure out by their web site or your bill. And you have look at exactly what you generated and used from system. It actually took a positive month and a negative month to figure it out.

I thought it was 1:1 for quite a while. But even at 20% cost, no limit on overage, no limit on length time, 80% efficient battery with infinite capacity, no maintenance, no degradation, no phantom losses, cost nothing and unlimited backup (if your solar doesn’t cover your need). It’s a pretty good deal.

In MA Eversource you pay about $0.26 / kWh (DELIVERED). You will not accrue at a rate of $0.26 / kWh of overage. It will be 20% less than that.

Also it might be they don’t credit the transmission fees. So you have to pay to have your electricity transmitted back to you. In dollars and cents it cost you 20%. That’s why you want to over size your system by 20% to cover that. If you want a net $0.00 over the year. The credits do accumulate as dollars and can cover the connect fees too. I have not paid a dime since the system was installed.

That’s why it makes very little sense to get a power wall in Massachusetts’s. It would never pay for itself unless there is a SREC like deal for batteries.

I also get the SRECs for 10 year as well.
 
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That’s why it makes very little sense to get a power wall in Massachusetts’s. It would never pay for itself unless there is a SREC like deal for batteries.
ConnectedSolutions can help offset the cost a bunch. For us we don’t have natural gas and would have to upsize our in ground LP tank for a generator, so PWs were a simple way to get back-up power with less expense.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
7,468
6,934
MA, NH
ConnectedSolutions can help offset the cost a bunch. For us we don’t have natural gas and would have to upsize our in ground LP tank for a generator, so PWs were a simple way to get back-up power with less expense.
I have a little $1,000 LP 4000 watt portable generator. Had it for 2 years have not needed it yet. I had gas 4000 watt portable before that for 10 years. Only time I really needed it was when I bought it and lines to our house were down, so we were last in line to get fixed. 4000 watts was plenty to be comfortable. But we do have natural gas. So it didn’t take much electricity to keep us going. But if we had electric heat you’d need that much more battery.

If there are incentives, great. With out it just doesn’t make financial sense in our situation. I wish it did, because it would be kinda cool ;)

A friend of mine in MA but not on Eversource has a rotten deal. She had cheap electricity. But she really wanted solar. Her Net metering won’t carry over more than 30 days and it’s at 50% cost. Her electric bill was $100/mo. She already paid $25k (before tax breaks) for solar. To make it work “better” she is gonna get a power wall for another $11k. That’s $100/mo for 10 years. Which is when she will need a new battery. Her original bill was $100/mo. And even with battery she can’t carry the summer overages into winter. And it’s not enough battery to cover for a long power outage with no sun in the winter.
 

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