Complications Getting Off The Grid
I have a roofing customer who is also the first homeowner to install solar power in Claremore Oklahoma. I was excited to pull into their driveway and go talk about their roof, because even more, I wanted to talk about their solar panels. They showed me how their solar panels were connected to two breakers in their panel. They receive a monthly statement that is produced and sent wirelessly to their installer so they have tracking on how much power they produce. But they have had quite the ordeal getting credit for the power they produce from the local power company. See, the City Of Claremore in Oklahoma generates 80% of it's operating budget from funds generated from power. They buy power from the River Dam Authority, and then re-sell the power to the homeowners. That means, the City is the power company. What does that mean to homeowners? Monopoly power service is only as good as its manager. If the Mayor is in control, then it's only as good as its mayor. Mayor Mickey Perry was the mayor who said: "If everybody switches to solar power, who's going to take care of my grandchildren?" Meaning he was going to lose his income if people switched to solar. Mr Perry, recently passed away, and my customer is left to fend for themselves with another administrative leader.
When they (my customer) first got their solar panels installed, the power company installed a new meter which ran both backwards and forwards depending on whether they used more or less power than the solar panels provided. A few days later, the power company came back and changed the new meter out and installed a digital meter that ran only forwards. Though it subtracts the power used currently, if the solar panels produce more than they are using, and the meter should be going backwards, and it will not record that. If that means the power company is cheating a solar power user out of their power, then they are not only a corrupt power company, but a corrupt local government since they are one in the same, and need to be held accountable for their actions.
When the city is the local law enforcement, then who will hold them accountable for their actions when they control the courts and the jails? We the people need to hold leaders accountable to make the changes necessary for progress to proceed. So when the Federal Government gives you a tax incentive, and are paying you to encourage you to use solar energy, are you not acting on their behalf when you do so? And when the State Government pays you a tax incentive for installing solar power, are you not doing what they want you to do, because they are paying you to do so? So does that mean that a City government that moves contrary to the will of the State and National governments is a rogue city? Either way, the people are caught in the middle, and it's time for action. You decide.
I will be following this through personally, and keeping you all informed where it goes. It is these types of circumstances that technology and change continue to produce all over the U.S. and the world. We must press forward for the good changes to take place.
Here is the report from the solar company and how it comes through:
Below is detail from Wikipedia on the U.S. energy consumption and Net Metering. My hope is that we can change this chart to increase the potential for renewable energy, and to reduce our dependance upon it. Reducing dependance will require building more efficient homes that require less juice. This gives you all a good idea what the expectation is. If we can excite the population enough to move into free energy solutions, we can continue to encourage a reduction in costs through new technology and increased production.
Net metering is a service to an electric consumer under which electric energy generated by that electric consumer from an eligible on-site generating facility and delivered to the local distribution facilities may be used to offset electric energy provided by the electric utility to the electric consumer during the applicable billing period.
Net metering policies can vary significantly by country and by state or province: if net metering is available, if and how long you can keep your banked credits, and how much the credits are worth (retail/wholesale). Most net metering laws involve monthly roll over of kWh credits, a small monthly connection fee, require monthly payment of deficits (i.e. normal electric bill), and annual settlement of any residual credit. Unlike a feed-in tariff (FIT) or time of use metering (TOU), net metering can be implemented solely as an accounting procedure, and requires no special metering, or even any prior arrangement or notification.
Net metering is a policy designed to foster private investment in renewable energy. In the United States, as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, allpublic electric utilities are required to make available upon request net metering to their customers.
The electricity sector of the United States includes a large array of stakeholders that provide services through electricity generation, transmission,distribution and marketing for industrial, commercial, public and residential customers. It also includes many public institutions that regulate the sector. In 1996, there were 3,195 electric utilities in the United States, of which fewer than a 1,000 were engaged in power generation. This leaves a large number of mostly smaller utilities engaged only in power distribution. There were also 65 power marketers. Of all utilities, 2,020 were publicly owned (including 10 Federal utilities), 932 were rural electric cooperatives, and 243 were investor-owned utilities. The electricity transmission network is not owned by individual utilities, but by Independent System Operators or Regional Transmission Organizations, which are not-for-profit organizations that are obliged to provide indiscriminate access to various suppliers in order to promote competition. They are associated in the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and are typically jointly owned by the utilities in their service area.
The four above-mentioned market segments of the U.S. electricity sector are regulated by different public institutions with some functional overlaps: The federal government sets general policies through the Department of Energy, environmental policy through the Environmental Protection Agency and consumer protection policy through the Federal Trade Commission. The safety of nuclear power plants is overseen by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Economic regulation of the distribution segment is a state responsibility, usually carried out through Public Utilities Commissions; the inter-state transmission segment is regulated by the federal government through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Of the electricity generated in the United States in 2006, 70% was produced from fossil fuels (mainly coal and natural gas), almost 20% came from nuclear power, 7% from hydropower and 3% from other forms of renewable energy such as wind and solar energy. The share of renewable energy, in particular wind and solar energy, has increased substantially since 2006 and is expected to increase further.
In 2008 the average electricity tariff in the U.S. was 9.82 Cents/kilowatt-hour (kWh). In 2006-07 electricity tariffs in the U.S. were higher than in Australia, Canada, France, Sweden and Finland, but lower than in Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. Residential tariffs vary significantly between states from 6.7 Cents/kWh in West Virginia to 24.1 Cents/kWh in Hawaii. The average residential bill in 2007 was US$ 100/month. Most investments in the U.S. electricity sector are financed by private companies through debt and equity. However, some investments are indirectly financed by taxpayers through various subsidies ranging from tax incentives to subsidies for research and development, feed-in tariffs for renewable energy and support to low-income households to pay their electric bills.