WEC has submitted a proposal to the Vermont Public Service Board, regarding net-metering. In summary, you will be able to net out everything but the Grid Service Fee and the Member Service Fee. Here is a picture of what that means for your electric bill, in this example the member's bill went from $100 to $27 dollars, and they carried a $20 credit toward eligible line items on next months bill. Below is a link to the lengthy details, good reading if you need to fall asleep :-) Call Darren at 802-522-2381 for estimates.
We had originally planned to install a Solar Thermal Hot Water system at our house (we love reducing our propane bill), but the the advancements in Solar PV, and Heat Pump Hot Water Heaters, have sent us down a different path. Adding Solar PV, grid-tie, or even off-grid, as well as a HPWH can be an economical solution, and more versatile. When Solar Thermal over produces your demand, you are left with only excess hot water, but when Solar PV over produces your demand the excess can be consumed by any load that requires electricity. Here are a couple of articles discussing the pros, and cons.
Solar PV Hot Water Article
Installing a Solar PV system is a hedge against rising electricity rates. By installing a system you are fixing your kWh rate at (total kWh produced by the system over it's lifetime) / (total lifetime system cost). These fixed rates are competitive with current VT and NH utility rates.
We are looking for our first AllSun Tracker customer, and would love to give someone a great price on our inaugural install. Call us for an estimate today (802) 522-2381
These trackers can produce 35-45% more energy than a fixed array, and they eliminate roof penetrations, panel removal for roof replacement, and roof angle/exposure/shading issues. You can learn more here.
I recently gave a Solar PV estimate for a customer who was building a remote camp, and unfortunately they decided to go with a generator as their power solution. I expect that at some point down the road they will go solar, as living with just a generator is inconvenient, noisy, and over time very costly. I know, because I lived it. When we first built our timberframe, passive solar, home, I went out and bought a very quiet and very efficient Honda Generator. This was to be our power solution for years to come, but after about a year of running the generator, and racking up 1200 hours on the new machine, I decided for many reasons that this was not a final solution for us. The next step in our power evolution was to add an inverter/charger, and a battery bank. This way the generator would run only for a short period of time everyday, servicing large loads, like laundry, and recharging the battery bank which would service smaller loads, like lights. This was a vast improvement over the stand alone generator solution, but it too was costly in gasoline, and was adding wear to the generator at too fast a pace. We finally had the capital to add a solar array, and we could not be happier. The generator now only runs in the darkest winter months, and our batteries are much healthier, as they reach float on a regular basis, which due to the longer slower charge rate was just not feasible with the generator.
I feel like I lost a job due to the lack of understanding about what solar pv is capable of providing. The generator solution has a much lower initial cost, which is enticing, but it is a poor investment in the long run, less convenient, noisy, and less environmentally friendly. I thought I would put dollars to my own scenario to illustrate. As you can see at around year 6, solar pv pays for itself, and by year 10 the battery/inverter/charger solution starts to pull way from the stand alone generator solution. This analysis does not include any tax credits or incentives, assumes a 7000 hour life for the generator, and factors in the life cycle for the batteries.
We are now a REV member and provisional partner. You can see our listing at http://www.revermont.org/main/omeara-solar/
We have had several questions regarding net-metering in our area. In particular, what is the impact on the Washington Electric Co-op (WEC) current position of taking on no new net-metered installs. With respect to WEC, here is a excerpt from Renewable Energy Vermont's Summary on the new legislation.
Raises cap from 4% to 15% of utility’s peak load.
You can see the REV summary of the new legislation at http://www.greenenergytimes.net/2014/04/04/net-metering-summary-house-bill-702/