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Texas owners: Free nights or Net metering

I'm about to get our 15.6 kW system and 2 powerwalls installed which will produce an estimated 18,762 kWh/yr to cover 100% of our usage. Let's say if I use 45% of electricity at night. Will free nights (from 8PM to 6AM, 35.7 cents/kWh during daytime + $4.39 monthly charge) make more sense than net metering? The thought is to charge 2 powerwalls during nighttime for free so even if the weather is bad the next day and minimum power can be generated from the panels, I should be ok from 6AM to 8PM. Do I overlook something? Thanks.

Note: yes I've searched and seen different opinions case by case.
 
I have a 12 kW system and 3 Powerwalls. I am on the Green Mountain Energy free nights plan. It is free from 8PM to 6AM and $.24/kWh from 6AM to 8PM. The batteries and solar are enough to cover me through the day. Sometimes I end up fully charging the batteries during the day and end up putting energy onto the grid. I do not charge the Powerwalls at night, unless Storm Watch activates. I generate about 50 kWh/day and use between 60 to 70 kWh/day depending on how much I drive.

Last month half my system was down due to a failed inverter. My electric bill was still on $20. I’ve only been on the free nights plan for 2 months, but so far my bill has been lower than when I was doing net metering. I am curious how long they’ll let us get away with this.
 
Just depends on how much you generate vs use. Personally on free nights, but have only a 8kW system so don’t generate as much.

If you generate significantly more than you use, net metering can result in negative bills. With Free nights best case is $0.

I’m not aware of any electricity plans in Texas that are both TOU and net metering.
 
I have a 12 kW system and 3 Powerwalls. I am on the Green Mountain Energy free nights plan. It is free from 8PM to 6AM and $.24/kWh from 6AM to 8PM.
Green Mountain is what I quoted. I guess their price jumps so high for daytime for a reason...

green.JPG
 
16kw system with 4 Powerwalls and 2 Teslas to charge. I’m on free nights and have $.03/kWh buy back from Amigo Energy. Because of the paltry buy back rate I just mine bitcoin with my excess daytime generation instead. My monthly power bills are typically less than ~$10 and that’s with an eye watering 250kWh+ consumption per day. Pool pump, AC usage, car charging etc are all timed to occur at night.
 
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Interesting... I'm still new to Solar, still waiting on PTO, so I don't have a feel for things yet. I'm on a Net Metering plan from MP2. But I had not thought about free nights and using the powerwalls to get me through those few hours of darkness with no solar production. I can easily power my house loads with Solar and I can run my loads for hours on my 2 powerwalls. If I had two EV's it may just be easier to have a free night plan and charge the cars at night. Two EVs might be in my future.

Question... if you don't have a net metering plan, does your system still export? Just no credit? Or is it inhibited from export period?
 
Green Mountain is what I quoted. I guess their price jumps so high for daytime for a reason...

View attachment 808807
We selected a Green Mountain free nights plan when we put solar and powerwalls last year. Its worked out very well. We have a 16kW system with 4 Powerwalls.

Our plan last year was for 12 months, and I just renewed it for 2 years. Our renewal was for the similar plan - "Pollution Free All Nighter 24" -- without the premier. The EFL was dated on 4/6/22 and has a daytime energy charge of 22.407 cents -- otherwise the numbers are the same as you show. I'm not sure what the difference is for the "premium" plan, but you might want to see if you can find the "regular" version to see if it has a price difference. That's a big daytime rate jump in just 30 days -- it might make sense to look at a 1 year plan and take a gamble that energy prices drop a little bit by next April (you can renew with GM about 60 days in advance, so look at plans starting then).

FWIW, our original plan had a daytime charge of ~15 cents (the combined REP+TDU rate is just under 19 cents/kWh). Our new plan has a combined rate of ~26.3 cents. I modeled our usage since last Sept using the new rates, and since 98% of our grid draw is at night (ie free period), it looks like out bill will increase by <$1 month...

Since we received PTO on Sept 1 last year (install was late June, PTO took over 2 months...), our electric bills have been in the $5-8 range, with one bill that was ~$14. That "high" bill looked like a billing issue -- Green Mountain showed we had grid draw one day that the meter data did not reflect. I didn't complain since I really don't want to draw any attention to how we use the plan.

I do have the plan set in the Tesla app and its set to run on cost savings mode. For the plan, I set Peak as 6a to 8p to match the plan. I then put in the combined CenterPoint and Daytime Energy charges, rounded up to the nearest cent (Tesla doesn't allow decimals to be entered) -- for the rate plan above, that would be 31.8005 + 3.9416 cents -- so would enter 36 cents in the app. For the sell and off-peak rates, I entered $0 and the app blanked them out. The system draws from the grid from 8pm to 6am, switches to draw from the Powerwalls at 6am, then charges them back from solar, only sending excess to the grid once the powerwalls are 100%. We get a little drain in the evening -- typically ending the day with the PW anywhere between 85-95% (cloudier winter days were lower, yesterday was nice and sunny, with sunset after 8pm, so it ended around 94%.

We generally only charge the cars (we have a 3 and a Y...) at night. Occasionally we'll charge during the day, but that rarely results in any grid draw.
 
Interesting... I'm still new to Solar, still waiting on PTO, so I don't have a feel for things yet. I'm on a Net Metering plan from MP2. But I had not thought about free nights and using the powerwalls to get me through those few hours of darkness with no solar production. I can easily power my house loads with Solar and I can run my loads for hours on my 2 powerwalls. If I had two EV's it may just be easier to have a free night plan and charge the cars at night. Two EVs might be in my future.

Question... if you don't have a net metering plan, does your system still export? Just no credit? Or is it inhibited from export period?
I see your question was answered. Yes, the system exports, but we do so at $0.

But the free nights plan still works out to the lowest bill for us. We were just up for renewal and I modeled the 9 months of use we had since PTO using a combination of the Tesla app data and SmartMeterTexas data. Our actual bills with free nights have been in the $5-8 range each month. My model shows that a net metering plan would be in the ~$30/month range. Our system over produces from Nov-Apr, but slightly underproduces May-Oct...

When your plan is up for renewal, take a look at the free nights plans. One tip -- not all of them have $0 TDU charge during the free period -- so read the EFL. I modeled several plans to compare and the Green Mountain free nights plan works best for us...
 
I see your question was answered. Yes, the system exports, but we do so at $0.

But the free nights plan still works out to the lowest bill for us. We were just up for renewal and I modeled the 9 months of use we had since PTO using a combination of the Tesla app data and SmartMeterTexas data. Our actual bills with free nights have been in the $5-8 range each month. My model shows that a net metering plan would be in the ~$30/month range. Our system over produces from Nov-Apr, but slightly underproduces May-Oct...

When your plan is up for renewal, take a look at the free nights plans. One tip -- not all of them have $0 TDU charge during the free period -- so read the EFL. I modeled several plans to compare and the Green Mountain free nights plan works best for us...
X2 on everything. Came to the same conclusions for our home.

FYI to you guys that have had it on “set it and forget it” mode for a while - the app now allows grid charging powerwalls… so you could flip that switch to cover any lack of solar if needed. Use at your own risk with respect to tax credit and utility agreements and all that…
 
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We selected a Green Mountain free nights plan when we put solar and powerwalls last year. Its worked out very well. We have a 16kW system with 4 Powerwalls.

Our plan last year was for 12 months, and I just renewed it for 2 years. Our renewal was for the similar plan - "Pollution Free All Nighter 24" -- without the premier. The EFL was dated on 4/6/22 and has a daytime energy charge of 22.407 cents -- otherwise the numbers are the same as you show. I'm not sure what the difference is for the "premium" plan, but you might want to see if you can find the "regular" version to see if it has a price difference. That's a big daytime rate jump in just 30 days -- it might make sense to look at a 1 year plan and take a gamble that energy prices drop a little bit by next April (you can renew with GM about 60 days in advance, so look at plans starting then).

FWIW, our original plan had a daytime charge of ~15 cents (the combined REP+TDU rate is just under 19 cents/kWh). Our new plan has a combined rate of ~26.3 cents. I modeled our usage since last Sept using the new rates, and since 98% of our grid draw is at night (ie free period), it looks like out bill will increase by <$1 month...

Since we received PTO on Sept 1 last year (install was late June, PTO took over 2 months...), our electric bills have been in the $5-8 range, with one bill that was ~$14. That "high" bill looked like a billing issue -- Green Mountain showed we had grid draw one day that the meter data did not reflect. I didn't complain since I really don't want to draw any attention to how we use the plan.

I do have the plan set in the Tesla app and its set to run on cost savings mode. For the plan, I set Peak as 6a to 8p to match the plan. I then put in the combined CenterPoint and Daytime Energy charges, rounded up to the nearest cent (Tesla doesn't allow decimals to be entered) -- for the rate plan above, that would be 31.8005 + 3.9416 cents -- so would enter 36 cents in the app. For the sell and off-peak rates, I entered $0 and the app blanked them out. The system draws from the grid from 8pm to 6am, switches to draw from the Powerwalls at 6am, then charges them back from solar, only sending excess to the grid once the powerwalls are 100%. We get a little drain in the evening -- typically ending the day with the PW anywhere between 85-95% (cloudier winter days were lower, yesterday was nice and sunny, with sunset after 8pm, so it ended around 94%.

We generally only charge the cars (we have a 3 and a Y...) at night. Occasionally we'll charge during the day, but that rarely results in any grid draw.
Thanks. I read a few of your posts to understand how the free nights work so it got me thinking to get free nights as well. :)

From what I see on GM's website, there is no "regular" version whereas all "All Nighter" plans say "Premier"...

Because of the price jump from GM and I specified the system to cover 100% of our usage, would I still see a lower cost with free nights? :rolleyes:
 
16kw system with 4 Powerwalls and 2 Teslas to charge. I’m on free nights and have $.03/kWh buy back from Amigo Energy. Because of the paltry buy back rate I just mine bitcoin with my excess daytime generation instead. My monthly power bills are typically less than ~$10 and that’s with an eye watering 250kWh+ consumption per day. Pool pump, AC usage, car charging etc are all timed to occur at night.

That's a damn sweet deal. I have the same system, but flat rates day/night at $0.11/kWh. I have to be careful when charging both cars that I don't totally deplete the Powerwalls. And my buy back rates are $0.05/kWh so I try to locally use as much as possible.
 
I checked the plan from Amigo. They have Securitization Default Charges for 0.00196 cent/kWh. Is that a charge for power delivery at nights? View attachment 809772
Not sure. That’s not in my EFL from them. I’m in TNMP service area though, so maybe that’s some sort of grid operator specific charge from Centerpoint that Amigo has to pass through? I’m typically only assessed the base charge of $4.95 plus a tiny bit extra for whatever little rounding error daytime grid usage I end up with.
 
So I did a search on Free Night plans in my zipcode in Texas. It turns out that Free Night plans are only supported on Centerpoint's grid. As soon as I search for TNMP plans, all the Free Night options go away. Frack'n rat bastards. They got that tied up nice and tight don't they. So, either TNMP will one day offer these plans, or Centerpoint may one day stop offering these plans. At least for me at this moment it is not an option for my service area. Best I can do is a net-metering plan. All keep on the look out though.
 
So I did a search on Free Night plans in my zipcode in Texas. It turns out that Free Night plans are only supported on Centerpoint's grid. As soon as I search for TNMP plans, all the Free Night options go away. Frack'n rat bastards. They got that tied up nice and tight don't they. So, either TNMP will one day offer these plans, or Centerpoint may one day stop offering these plans. At least for me at this moment it is not an option for my service area. Best I can do is a net-metering plan. All keep on the look out though.
Interesting, @GWord also lives in TNMP service area and could get free nights from Amigo.

My research shows that either Reliant 24 or Green Mountain 24 could save me the most if my panels and powerwalls can cover 90% to 100% of the need during daytime and the monthly charge is between $5 to $20.
 
So I did a search on Free Night plans in my zipcode in Texas. It turns out that Free Night plans are only supported on Centerpoint's grid. As soon as I search for TNMP plans, all the Free Night options go away. Frack'n rat bastards. They got that tied up nice and tight don't they. So, either TNMP will one day offer these plans, or Centerpoint may one day stop offering these plans. At least for me at this moment it is not an option for my service area. Best I can do is a net-metering plan. All keep on the look out though.
TNMP is slow rolling out 5G smart meters and when the AT&T 3g cell network shut down earlier in the year a lot of people essentially had dumb meters all of a sudden that had to be read by hand. This obviously doesn’t work for an hourly electric service. I had to call TNMP and get them to enter a service request to prioritize my replacement because Amigo was threatening to roll me into a regular plan at $.15/h. I’m guessing the lack of plans that you’re seeing might be somehow related.

From one of the RSPs: TNMP Customers will have some Disruption and Changes to Service | Rhythm
 
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