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Bilge Rat
motors and controls.........
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Around here it’s one digital meter. Supposedly the spinning meters aren’t accurate running in reverse. The digital meters only tally up, whether it’s power in or power out. Are yours digital meters?

I do have a second meter, but it’s in my basement next to the inverter. It’s for SREC credits. For ten years you get one credit for every 1,000 KWH produced. They either don’t trust the meter built into the inverter, or they don’t want to deal with different numbers if you change out your inverter? The utility doesn’t own the meter. It’s a revenue grade spinning meter. I read the number and put it into the PJM-EIS Gats system. The credits are sold at market value.

When I first installed the system, one credit was selling for just over $600. I get six credits a year. A few months later the new Governor revamped the system. The market dropped to around $60 a credit. It has been running around $220 for a few years now. I think my credit days are done this September. I sell mine on the Flett exchange.
They're the newfangled 'smart meters'.

They require 2 so they can charge retail rates for your usage and get wholesale rates for your generation.

One is the normal meter, the other is connected 'backward' so it reads only what the solar pushes into the grid.
 

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36th year apprentice & Floor Sweeper
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I never really understood what a smart meter is. I have a “Net Meter”. It’s digital and gives two readings. KWH in and KWH out. They can change in the billing what they will charge or credit for “in” and “out”.

After that, I don’t know of any other function of the meter. They still give me estimates, because some months they don’t read the meter. It doesn’t send them the information over the power lines, and there’s no remote. They physically walk the neighborhoods and read the meters. They have no idea if I was to pull the meter, other than a broken seal. They cannot shut off my power remotely.

If they can cut off someone’s power remotely, wouldn’t that require a big contractor behind the meter?
 

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Electrical contractor 37 years. Electrical inspector 2 years
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Smart meters can monitor you usage, sense when the meter is disconnected or has no electric, limit your power and shut you off. It can tell when you lost power sometimes before the homeowner does. It does it electronically. They can send signals back to the main office on a regular basis. They also can cause the AFCI breaker to trip under ideal conditions. They also have thinner blades so they are sometimes loose in the older meter pans.
 

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36th year apprentice & Floor Sweeper
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Smart meters can monitor you usage, sense when the meter is disconnected or has no electric, limit your power and shut you off. It can tell when you lost power sometimes before the homeowner does. It does it electronically. They can send signals back to the main office on a regular basis. They also can cause the AFCI breaker to trip under ideal conditions. They also have thinner blades so they are sometimes loose in the older meter pans.
Do they still have to go around and read the meter?
Where is this AFCI breaker? In the meter?
 

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Electrical contractor 37 years. Electrical inspector 2 years
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Do they still have to go around and read the meter?
Where is this AFCI breaker? In the meter?
They can read the meter from the office. They are radio frequency based and under the right conditions they could set off the AFCI, or so I am told by a utility service worker who was replacing a meter where I was working.
 

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Bilge Rat
motors and controls.........
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A smart meter can indeed read both ways however, the PUCO around here has adopted the policy of 'if the customer is paying for it, we will make it as expensive as possible, as difficult to install as possible and as aesthetically ugly as possible'.

Therefore, 2 meters, one of them has a bunch of yellow and red stickers on it warning of a solar installation.
 

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Problem solver
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I've always thought "net metering" was not fair to the power company.

W/out subsidies, solar power for your home is not cheap.

I think solar is a great partner, but solar alone does not cut it.

If an efficient long lasting battery storage system ever comes to fruition, then I can see home solar could take off, cut yourself off from the grid completely.

I don't see how the government can continue the subsides for solar, so I think we are going through a paradigm change on how we view utility invoicing.
Shhhhhhh! Don't tell the left that.
If it was up to Biden...we would be running on Squirrel cages and rubberbands.
 

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That's the problem, reduce the amount of customers, or the amount they pay in, the grid is aging and you still need to pay to maintain it, thus either reduce the load, and or raise the per KW/hr rate.
which btw ... every time they raise the rate, it makes solar that much more affordable
right now we dont have a state subsidy to help buy a system
13c / kWh for residential
both mean too much money up front, and too long a payback

it is Not a sound money management/investment decision


now that we have grid tie with battery and generator backup
solar is much much more attractive here
but still NOT affordable
 

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Electrical contractor 37 years. Electrical inspector 2 years
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The other problem is no one makes a plug and play system with solar, generator, and batteries. I spend hours going through the parameters to make these things work together.
Is it really cost effective to install solar and batteries? Between wall space and maintenance, would this be a good fit for somebody who is not talented with homeownership? Over the years I have been in several houses that had solar but when I glanced at the inverter, it said it was off line. The homeowner had no idea as to what to do. A maintenance contract off set the savings in electricity.
 

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The other problem is no one makes a plug and play system with solar, generator, and batteries. I spend hours going through the parameters to make these things work together.
Hum, sounds like a good retirement job? :)
 

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Is it really cost effective to install solar and batteries? Between wall space and maintenance, would this be a good fit for somebody who is not talented with homeownership? Over the years I have been in several houses that had solar but when I glanced at the inverter, it said it was off line. The homeowner had no idea as to what to do. A maintenance contract off set the savings in electricity.
I don’t disagree with you. But is a backup generator cost effective? Is there maintenance there?

What is the expectation of a backup power system? To run the house as if the grid is not down? Or to keep the heat, AC, refrigeration, lights and maybe water on?

Solar has no real maintenance, lithium batteries have no real maintenance.
 

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Senile Member
I make all the electrons line up for their Flu shots
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I do like the idea of maintenance free backup power. I think a big batch of sun panels and a backup battery bank is terrific so long as it is separated from the house by at least maybe 50 feet or so. For any rural or lets say 1/2 acre lots it's a really sweet idea to have the whole shebang away from both the roof and the side walls of the house. Beats mowing that big lawn........
 
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Electrical contractor 37 years. Electrical inspector 2 years
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I do like the idea of maintenance free backup power. I think a big batch of sun panels and a backup battery bank is terrific so long as it is separated from the house by at least maybe 50 feet or so. For any rural or lets say 1/2 acre lots it's a really sweet idea to have the whole shebang away from both the roof and the side walls of the house. Beats mowing that big lawn........
I thought they use guinea pigs to maintain the lawns there.
 

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Chief Flunky
Field Service Engineer
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Silicon solar panels gave a life of about 20 years in ideal conditions. I’ve seen some places near a beach destroyed by a hurricane six weeks later. Lithium batteries last about 10 years and are the same issue as VRLA…you can’t test them. Open lead acid batteries “last” about 20 years but since you can check/add water, inspect, and do testing to verify operation, bad jars can be swapped out giving the battery essentially unlimited life. Water loss and such goes way down with calcium cells and the catalyst covers. So the idea that lithium is “superior” is true only in the short term. Plus the amount of power is pretty limited. You CAN run “off the grid” but there are a lot of compromises. No AC. Must use a special (abd small) refrigerator/freezer, all LED lighting, high efficiency small washer/dryer and dryer must be gas or use a clothes line. Think “cabin living”. Oh, and don’t even think you will be recharging your car.

Generators last 20+ years if you maintain the batteries, put them on a regular diet and exercise, and go propane or natural gas so there are no filters and far less garbage in the engine. And realistically power is unlimited.
 

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Saw a new clip on solar customer being charged a minimum charge on the bill.

We have a Management fee where I am. For grid up keep.

Is this new?


Looks like we can never really get off the grid.
This evolves with every administration, usually at the state level.

I worked for Sun Run in NJ when NJ had a very competitive 'carbon trading' based incentive. We could put panels on people's roofs and promise them something like $.20 usd/kwh for 20 years, after which time they owned the panels. This meant those Renewable Energy Credits made this work.

I was a site inspection tech, evaluated roofs, roof support structure, and measured electrical panels/capacities. Made drawings and filled out forms for the engineers in California.

During this time, Warren Buffet had complete control of Nevada. They made fake news claims like 'distributive grid is dangerous' and eliminated all the REC's in the state. Sun Run alone lost 2200 jobs.

So the answer is you better look to a big company that is managing an extant large solar investment and see how they are leveraging the State.

We are at the point now that a properly engineered system doesn't need any of that extra funny business to be useful. I am typing this off grid, using a 4G hotspot. I also cooked 2 meals today and my cabin is comfy. Renewable energy is real, the only hurdle to overcome is incompetent bureaucracy.
 

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just seen my friends quote for solar.

81k of which he will be expected to pay 64k. Still got a $50 connection fee to the grid and $50 insurance for the system.

They show it on paper saving $2700 a year (12 cent a kwh in his area).

I figure if you have 64k cash and invested it in stocks and shares it should be able to cover the electric bill for the next 30 years taking into account inflation then look at the 50 saved on insurance as a bonus.
 
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