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SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

Thought this deserved it's own thread.

http://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2014/04/05/net-metering-nears-cap-st-croix

I was told by a pretty good source that the stack of permits in the DPNR office on STX will fill the current cap. Some are being processed and some are just a stack they still need to start processing. The numbers WAPA might be quoting could be permits already processed.
After DPNR permitting, installation, inspection,......Then you sign an agreement with WAPA. So they are the last to know.

Quote Hugo Hodge: "“I had customers call me and ask me then if it’s true because they were concerned that they should get in on it before it ran out," Hodge continued. "My answer to them then was, ‘It’s not there now, but if they (developers) keep scaring people like that it will get there.""

It's the WAPA bill they are scared of! And the "developers" were right!!!

I was told 2 years ago by a few solar companies that I had no more than 2 years to get on board or miss the boat. Glad I listened!!!

I guess the next option will be Off Grid Battery Systems.

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Topic starter Posted : April 7, 2014 4:38 pm
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member

I don't know why on earth the legislature gave more wattage to STT!
Why set a cap anyway?

From the source article:
In approving the program in 2009, the Legislature set a cap, or limit, on how much power WAPA would buy – 15 megawatts territorywide, 10 on St. Thomas and a five on on St. Croix.

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Posted : April 7, 2014 4:55 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

This from the St Croix Source March 2013

"With these larger systems going online, it’s hard to tell how long it will take for the cap space to run out, but Larry Aldrich, owner of the V.I. Solar Depot, is encouraging his prospective net metering customers not to drag their feet.

“If you procrastinate for two years, forget it. Cross it off your wish list because you’re not going to get one. There ain’t going to be no permits,” he said.

And while Aldrich has a clear financial benefit from people believing the time to buy is now, officials at the Energy Office and WAPA are not disagreeing with his timeframe.
"

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Topic starter Posted : April 7, 2014 5:02 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

I don't know why on earth the legislature gave more wattage to STT!
Why set a cap anyway?

From the source article:
In approving the program in 2009, the Legislature set a cap, or limit, on how much power WAPA would buy – 15 megawatts territorywide, 10 on St. Thomas and a five on on St. Croix.

There has to be a cap. This from Aug. 2013 STX Source
"The issue was raised while the board debated a change order to a contract issued to KEMA Consulting Services to study the technical hurdles of connecting large solar installations to the existing grid.

WAPA broke ground for such an installation in Estate Spanish Town on St. Croix earlier this month.

The completed report has found that the St. Croix and St. Thomas/St. John grids can only sustain a 20 percent penetration by intermittent renewable energy, such as wind or solar, before becoming unstable.
"
Why STT got double? That is puzzling!!

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Topic starter Posted : April 7, 2014 5:03 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

"Once the cap is met on each island, nobody else can participate, he said, because there are technical constraints to how much power that is intermittent, fluctuating with cloud cover or other factors, can be added to the grid.

He said the worst part of the whole net-metering system and how it was set up was that nothing was carved out specifically for the small business or residential customer.

“There’s no megawatt carved out just for them and that’s what really should have happened,” Hodge said. “Now you’re just being eaten up by the commercial customers.”

Well who the hell set it up that way? Hugo and our Senators, that's who. Make sense now?
As a dear friend often comments about policies and the governmental BS that goes on constantly here in our lovely islands:
"It makes my head want to explode!"

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Posted : April 7, 2014 6:21 pm
Bruno
(@Bruno)
Advanced Member

That 20% includes other renewable projects that WAPA is having also on the grid. Spanish town will add 4 MW to the grid. They (Toshiba) will sell WAPA electricity at just under 16 cents a kw. Also, Tibbar energy is part of the 20%. An rfp to have another company finance build and sell solar power to WAPA on STX for 6 MW is soon come. The short list is picked. If WAPA canned that project, because I dought we will see the savings anyway, that would open up 6 more MW for STX. Start making noise to your senators.

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Posted : April 7, 2014 8:31 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
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It's very interesting if you look into the background and players in Tibbar, even tangently involved.

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Posted : April 7, 2014 9:28 pm
caribstx
(@caribstx)
Trusted Member

I'm sure a lawsuit could be brought against WAPA to free up more net metering allocation. Any takers?

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Posted : April 8, 2014 1:04 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

I'm sure a lawsuit could be brought against WAPA to free up more net metering allocation. Any takers?

the limitation is not administrative.... netmetering is very very hard to allow as a powercompany, Hawaii is in shambles because of it right now, California is starting to have issues; do you think we will do any better?

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Posted : April 8, 2014 2:24 pm
C_Ray6
(@C_Ray6)
Advanced Member

I wonder if anything can be invented so each customer can store their own unused electricity to be used at a later time?

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Posted : April 8, 2014 2:25 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

I wonder if anything can be invented so each customer can store their own unused electricity to be used at a later time?

Invented long ago,.......It's called batteries.

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Topic starter Posted : April 8, 2014 2:28 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

I wonder if anything can be invented so each customer can store their own unused electricity to be used at a later time?

Invented long ago,.......It's called batteries.

that had to be a sarcastic question.... haha

just an FYI on battery installs, they are usualy around 1/3 or more expensive than netmetering, that's why netmetering is so popular from what I can tell... "off the grid" is way better in so many ways.

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Posted : April 8, 2014 2:30 pm
C_Ray6
(@C_Ray6)
Advanced Member

How often to you have to replace the batteries? I guess I wasn't being sarcastic just a little ignorant. Funny how we take things like electricity for granted on the mainland. When I make my final move I think it would be very appealing to live off the grid even if I had to use 1/3 more than if I told sell it back.

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Posted : April 8, 2014 2:50 pm
caribstx
(@caribstx)
Trusted Member

The way battery technology is advancing these days, it wouldnt surprise me to see the cost of battery storage decrease significantly over the next few years. Likewise, solar panel efficiency will also increase dramatically over the next few years. I'm going to wait a bit and see how things turn out. Sometimes being an early adopter is not an advantage with rapidly improving technology.

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Posted : April 8, 2014 4:25 pm
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

You mean something like this...

http://www.gizmag.com/cuess-solar-panel-photovoltaic/14507/

They're coming!

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Posted : April 8, 2014 4:44 pm
sunshinefun
(@sunshinefun)
Trusted Member

When better, cheaper batteries inevitably become available, you can bet the thieves at WAPA will want to tax them or ban them outright.

I can see it now.

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Posted : April 8, 2014 4:51 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

The way I procured my solar system and installation, my payback will be about 2 yrs.. While you guys are waiting for cheaper/better, I'll be saving $400-$500 per month with my old expensive hardware.;)

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Topic starter Posted : April 8, 2014 5:19 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
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I'm getting all my ducks in a row for a home install... I'd love to go "off grid" over "on grid", still not sure on costs..

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Posted : April 8, 2014 7:22 pm
C_Ray6
(@C_Ray6)
Advanced Member

I'd love to see this topic updated periodically. When I make the move I am definitely want to be off the grid. I'd love to hear how everyone else is progressing in that regard. Onward!

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Posted : April 9, 2014 2:29 am
gonetropo
(@gonetropo)
Advanced Member

The way I procured my solar system and installation, my payback will be about 2 yrs.. While you guys are waiting for cheaper/better, I'll be saving $400-$500 per month with my old expensive hardware.;)

Right you are SkysTheLimit!

We installed 10 panels in May 2012 with Enphase micro invertors and to date have generated 8400 KWH or roughly $4300 at $.53/KWH.

We also received a $3500+ federal income tax credit for a total savings to date of $7800. The system was about $11,500 installed including a silicone roof coating under all the panels, wiring, permitting, etc. Our bills are under $10 per month with pool, refrigerator, chest freezer, lighting, and electric clothes dryer, that we use very carefully.
This is the report we received from Enphase for March:

Dates Peak Power Total
03/01/2014 - 03/07/2014 2.12 kW 76.7 kWh
03/08/2014 - 03/14/2014 2.18 kW 65.6 kWh
03/15/2014 - 03/21/2014 2.18 kW 81.4 kWh
03/22/2014 - 03/28/2014 2.19 kW 82.0 kWh
03/29/2014 - 03/31/2014 2.14 kW 32.2 kWh
March 2014 Total: 338 kWh

The system should be completely paid for next year at this rate.

At the rates charged on this island per KWH, it makes no sense to procrastinate a solar installation! As I have mentioned previously, I am not an advocate of solar power but it sure makes sense on these islands. You could not rationalize a solar installation if you were paying $.09 per KWH!

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Posted : April 9, 2014 8:57 am
Bruno
(@Bruno)
Advanced Member

Cars will get more efficient also in the years to come. I'm not walking. I have been installing solar for 31 yrs now. I have seen panels increase in wattage size and cell efficiency increase over the years. Inverters, both grid- tied and off- grid have become more robust. The prices have dropped so much, that even in .09 kwh areas, large solar projects can be justified. Solar life cycle cost are less then .07 per kwh. Here in the USVI, we don't have the clean electricity enjoyed in the states. Living off-grid gives the cleanest electricity that can be made. Pure sine wave, no noise to filter out, no outages. Just good clean power. Oh, and there is the environment! Even though off-grid has it's added cost and regular battery maintenance, it is still better, cleaner and much less expensive then WAPA will ever be. It is a proven technology hard to be reckoned with. 🙂

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Posted : April 9, 2014 11:50 am
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

I'm hearing more and more rumors that netmetering on STX is done...

that's ok, I'll just have to fork out a bit more cash and get a battery bank... and that way if wapa goes down I'll still have power with out the need for a generator.

If I spend 35,000 on a system my payback is 6 years at my current usage & hopefully I can spend less than or close too 25,000 so a 4 year payback is possible, then 14-16 years of free power (based on reported 20 year life spans, with probably a battery bank replacement around year 10).

still worth it, net metering would have been nice for the initial savings, but not neccisary.

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Posted : April 9, 2014 11:56 am
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

I'm hearing more and more rumors that netmetering on STX is done...

that's ok, I'll just have to fork out a bit more cash and get a battery bank... and that way if wapa goes down I'll still have power with out the need for a generator.

If I spend 35,000 on a system my payback is 6 years at my current usage & hopefully I can spend less than or close too 25,000 so a 4 year payback is possible, then 14-16 years of free power (based on reported 20 year life spans, with probably a battery bank replacement around year 10).

still worth it, net metering would have been nice for the initial savings, but not neccisary.

With the 30% tax credit it should pay off faster than 6 yrs.

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Topic starter Posted : April 9, 2014 12:10 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

This Application Note from Enphase addresses adding batteries to an Enphase system.

http://enphase.com/global/files/Enphase_Application-Note_AC-Coupled-Battery-Based-Systems.pdf

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Topic starter Posted : April 9, 2014 12:13 pm
Bruno
(@Bruno)
Advanced Member

Very good SkysTheLimit. This is exactly the way I set up "micro grids" with ac coupling. If the grid goes away, within a 64th of a second the off-grid takes over. The light bulbs hardly flicker. Depending on the house load, depends on who many Magnum Inverters I will install. This is a very stout system.

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Posted : April 9, 2014 12:34 pm
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