California utilities losing money on increased solar panel usage

MayrMeninoCrash

Liberal Psycopath
Dec 9, 2004
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#1
Who'da thunk requiring power companies to buy back electricity from people with solar panels at rates equal to what they charge would bite us in the ass?

Booming rooftop solar installations in California are bringing an unwelcome surprise to the homes and businesses that don't have the devices: an extra $1.3 billion added to their annual bills, more than half of that for Pacific Gas & Electric customers.
Power companies in the state, the nation's biggest for solar power, are required to buy electricity from home solar generators at the same price they resell it to other customers, meaning utilities earn nothing to cover their fixed costs. The rules are shortsighted because eventually rates must be raised to make up the difference, according to Southern California Edison, which has joined with competitors to estimate potential losses.
As more homes and warehouses get covered in solar panels, higher rates imposed on traditional consumers risk a growing conflict between renewable-energy advocates and power companies that foresee a backlash in California and 42 other states with similar policies. The tension has also emerged in countries including Spain and Germany, where solar investments are curbing investment in the power grid.
"You get into a situation where you have a transmission and distribution system with nobody paying for it," said Akbar Jazayeri, vice president of regulatory operations at Edison, a unit of Edison International and California's second-largest electric utility.
To deter losses as solar abounds, states typically set a cap on the amount of photovoltaic power utilities must buy under what is called net-metering policies. Those allow a meter to run backward during the hours a day when a home or business is selling the power to the utility. California's limit is 5 percent of a utility's aggregate peak load.
New customers

About 20,000 customers of San Diego Gas & Electric had connected 146 megawatts of solar panels to its grid as of Nov. 1, accounting for 1.2 percent of its peak load. The company is adding 409 new net-metering customers a month, said Stephanie Donovan, a spokeswoman for the state's third-largest utility.
SDG&E can't collect about $18 million to $20 million a year in grid costs from customers with rooftop solar panels, according to Dan Skopec, vice president of regulatory affairs for San Diego's Sempra Energy, the utility's owner.
The utility will be shifting about $200 million in annual costs to customers without panels when the state reaches its cap, Skopec said. Solar customers "avoid charges, not just for energy, but also the costs of the transmission and distribution system," he said. "That's why we say it is not sustainable."
Pacific Gas & Electric, the state's biggest utility, will pass on about $700 million in annual costs to people without solar systems when the state hits the cap, according to Denny Boyles, a spokesman. Southern California Edison will transfer about $400 million annually, according to spokesman David Song, for a total of $1.3 billion from the three utilities.
That's about 3.9 percent of the $33.5 billion spent on electricity in 2010 in California, based on the latest figures available from the U.S. Energy Department.
"The problem exacerbates with each new system that goes on a roof," said Mark Bachman, an analyst at Avian Securities Inc. "Utilities will need to get reimbursed for their grid costs by a shrinking number of consumers."
California utility customers installed 245 megawatts of solar panels in 2011 and have already added more than 315 megawatts this year, according to the California Solar Initiative, a state program to encourage rooftop energy systems.
Solar growth

Installations of U.S. residential and commercial solar systems totaled about 1,050 megawatts in the first three quarters of the year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, compared with about 1,100 for all of 2011.



Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Solar-power-adds-to-nonusers-costs-4124277.php#ixzz2FTD6QLjL
 

mikeybot

SPANAKOPITA!!!
Jul 25, 2005
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#2
Short-sighted planning in California? That's unpossible!
 

whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
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#3
Yeah that doesn't make sense, because there is still some amount of overhead that PG&E has to deal with when transferring the electricity, even though the infrastructure is already in place.

Not to mention it's a business that has to make a profit. They should be paying wholesale prices.
 

Lord Zero

Viciously Silly
Aug 25, 2008
54,327
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#4
If California was a person chained into a restraint seat in an underground room with absolutely no limb use and you gave him a dollar, told him to save it and turned around, when you turn back around, the dollar would be on fire. Everyone involved would spend the rest of their lives wondering how he did it.
 

weeniewawa

it's a man, baby!!!
May 21, 2005
12,076
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#5
it is not short sighted.

this was planned just as with all of these plans.

it was not to make solar cheaper, it was to increase conventional power generation costs so high that it makes solar look cheap

the same way barry wants to make electric cars less expensive than gas burning cars by driving up the cost of gasoline
 

whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
Donator
Jan 12, 2010
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Northern California
#6
it is not short sighted.

this was planned just as with all of these plans.

it was not to make solar cheaper, it was to increase conventional power generation costs so high that it makes solar look cheap

the same way barry wants to make electric cars less expensive than gas burning cars by driving up the cost of gasoline
It's also a way of making general customers subsidize those who install solar. By forcing the utility company to pay them an inflated price, those loses have to be passed on to everyone else. You're paying for your neighbor to install solar (and this is just one example of how that is happening).
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
43,672
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#7
fuck em. they are saving money on not having to build and maintain power plants
 

MayrMeninoCrash

Liberal Psycopath
Dec 9, 2004
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Loveland, CO
#8
fuck em. they are saving money on not having to build and maintain power plants
The problem is all of those greedy cunts that need power when the sun goes down because their magic roof mirrors stop working for about 12 hours.
 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
79,638
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Seattle
#9
The problem is all of those greedy cunts that need power when the sun goes down because their magic roof mirrors stop working for about 12 hours.
Um, no. Unless you are joking. The panels charge batteries that run the power at night. If you make enough power to sell back to the grid, you are completely power self sufficient.
 

MayrMeninoCrash

Liberal Psycopath
Dec 9, 2004
24,920
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Loveland, CO
#10
Um, no. Unless you are joking. The panels charge batteries that run the power at night. If you make enough power to sell back to the grid, you are completely power self sufficient.
A lot of the solar installations here are connected directly to a house inverter. A bank of batteries is a separate expense. When the sun is out the excess power is sent back to the grid and when the sun isnt out the house relies on grid power. Hence my snarky response.