About a month ago, West Hawaii Today featured an article about how the poor are paying more for their electricity rate because the wealthy upper class have installed photovoltaic panels and that they are not paying their fair share of the cost to produce electricity, so claims Hawaii Electric Light Co. – See more at: http://m.westhawaiitoday.com/opinion/letters/letters-6-17-14#sthash.9e8USmqc.dpuf
Complete with 6,000 solar panels, Mineirão is the first World Cup stadium ever powered by solar energy. The plant’s installed capacity of 1,600 megawatts-hour per year (1.4 MW) is enough to power 1,200 households, according to the Brazilian federal government’s World Cup website. “As it’s not possible to store all the energy, 10 percent of it will be used in powering the Mineirão and the rest will be transferred to consumers,” said Alexandre Maia Bueno with Minas Gerais State Electricity Company (CEMIG), which constructed the plant.
“The potential is there for a mega increase in solar deployments,” Mercy says, adding that all methods of project finance will be affected, particularly PPAs.
Is it right for utilities to imposes “usage” fees on distributed energy producers? If we were to look into a crystal ball and see the Solar power explosion that is predicted to come we’d gladly expect utilities to impose fees to maintain the grid that will be receiving unused electricity. We’d see that their customer base would be made up of commercial users, manufacturing, heavy technology, and municipalities. We’d also see medium to large multi-family developments, hi-rise apartments. Utilities will be around for a while until panels become more efficient. So is the fee fair? Will it be fair in the future? It’s definitely not fair now, but it will be. The only other option will be to go off-grid.
One scenario, utilities invest heavily in HVDC Transmission lines and power storage. It would make the future more stable and efficient for everyone, plugged in distributed energy producers too.
How so? Better transmission reduces loss during transmission, reduces the cost utilities expend and that consumers pay. This model would also create revenue by allowing utilities to store excess power and reduce demand production. It could be stored closer to demand, in the cities or at industrial complexes. Solar power pumped into the grid gets used. Power generated get stored and saved for peak demand. It should. So what’s the problem?
An outdated infrastructure. That’s what the fees are really meant to address. As I noted before, utilities are seeing less revenue, their retail (residential) base isn’t growing as strong as we think.
“It’s important to emphasize that this is all about rate design; it doesn’t result in more revenue for the company, it doesn’t result in more profit,” Eskelsen said. “It’s about designing a rate structure for the future when more customers use their power in a very different way.” Rocky Mountain Power spokesman.
Net metering — in which solar customers sell excess energy to the grid, getting credits for when they need to draw power from it, like at night — is under threat in some states and is an uncertain model that could render solar systems uneconomical, Goldman said.
With storage, however, consumers would no longer be tied to the grid and grid parity — the point at which solar energy costs roughly the same as power from the grid — is only a decade away in some states, Goldman said.
Prospective solar customers have had to endure delays and a lot of bureaucratic run around to install solar power, but municipalities are finally easing some of the back log. Do you have any stories about delays or rejections you’ve experienced trying to have your solar system installed?
Power generation, currently, is equivalent to rubbing two sticks together. We need to start viewing it as a technology, because more and more the electricity demand will come from technology – smartphones, smart TV, smart appliances, and smart cars, leading to a mature smart grid that will regulate how hard we run those two sticks together.
Communication companies can teach the electric utilities a thing or two about attacking a declining customer base: separate entities for residential and commercial.
Note to come as I research this theory.
“Utilities had been willing to pay more because many states, including California, require them to derive a significant percentage of their power from renewable energy sources. But now utilities in many states are on track to meet those requirements, giving them less incentive to buy higher-priced solar energy —especially as a steep decline in natural gas prices has cut the cost of power from gas-fired generators.”
Is this also the reason that Utilities are pushing back against residential Solar Systems?