Net metering  

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LoveUSVI
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July 7, 2017 5:29 pm  

WAPA has stopped future net metering contracts in STT and STJ

http://stthomassource.com/content/2017/06/28/wapa-closes-net-metering-applications-on-st-thomas-st-john/

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Gator's Mom
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July 7, 2017 5:50 pm  

From the beginning, WAPA said there were a limited number of net metering permits available. It's about managing the electric load sources on the grid.

WAPA has stopped future net metering contracts in STT and STJ

http://stthomassource.com/content/2017/06/28/wapa-closes-net-metering-applications-on-st-thomas-st-john/

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Exit Zero
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July 7, 2017 5:58 pm  

So can you install solar panels, reduce your wapa usage and cost - just not get paid by WAPA for any extra you generate?


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Gator's Mom
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July 7, 2017 6:29 pm  

No. The electric grid can only accommodate a certain amount of solar generated power.

So can you install solar panels, reduce your wapa usage and cost - just not get paid by WAPA for any extra you generate?


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fdr
 fdr
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July 7, 2017 7:11 pm  

The only way to set up solar energy now, if you do not already have a net metering permit, is to set up a standalone battery system. WAPA has no say-so in anything that is not connected to its grid.


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SunnyCaribe
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July 7, 2017 7:52 pm  

I've never understood the attraction of net-metering.

Presumably it's WAPA's high cost and poor mamagement and reliability that would drive you to invest in an alternative energy system.

So...why would you then invest in a system that obligated you to enter into another contractual agreement with WAPA, an agreement to which they alone set the terms, and which they may revoke at any time?


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fdr
 fdr
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July 7, 2017 8:05 pm  

I've never understood the attraction of net-metering.

Presumably it's WAPA's high cost and poor mamagement and reliability that would drive you to invest in an alternative energy system.

So...why would you then invest in a system that obligated you to enter into another contractual agreement with WAPA, an agreement to which they alone set the terms, and which they may revoke at any time?

Yeah, it's not fun to still be dependent on WAPA. The folks who do net metering find the cost savings so significantly substantial as to make the investment still worthwhile. Plus there's a 30% federal tax credit for renewable energy, which makes the upfront cost much cheaper and payoff of the investment faster.


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SunnyCaribe
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July 7, 2017 8:20 pm  

I've never understood the attraction of net-metering.

Presumably it's WAPA's high cost and poor mamagement and reliability that would drive you to invest in an alternative energy system.

So...why would you then invest in a system that obligated you to enter into another contractual agreement with WAPA, an agreement to which they alone set the terms, and which they may revoke at any time?

Yeah, it's not fun to still be dependent on WAPA. The folks who do net metering find the cost savings so significantly substantial as to make the investment still worthwhile. Plus there's a 30% federal tax credit for renewable energy, which makes the upfront cost much cheaper and payoff of the investment faster.

I enjoyed the same tax credit when I installed my pv/battery system, and the only reason I know when WAPA goes out is when my neighbor, with his yard full of net-metered panels, fires up his generator. SMDH.


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fdr
 fdr
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July 7, 2017 8:25 pm  

Agreed, Sunny. The grid-tied systems were more affordable, though - not everyone has the budget for complete energy independence.


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Scubadoo
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July 7, 2017 9:24 pm  

Batteries are expensive and take up space. With net metering you can bank your extra power during the day and use Wapa at night and maybe still end up in the black. Hence the reason for limited permits. Wapa can't store power effectively either so they have to be able to provide for variable power generation day and night.


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Beeski
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July 8, 2017 9:24 am  

ROI for net metering was under 3 years when I did it 4 years ago.
As battery technology improves / gets cheaper, I am hoping to be able to move off the grid in 5-10 years.


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SunnyCaribe
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July 8, 2017 2:10 pm  

Batteries are expensive and take up space. With net metering you can bank your extra power during the day and use Wapa at night and maybe still end up in the black. Hence the reason for limited permits. Wapa can't store power effectively either so they have to be able to provide for variable power generation day and night.

That's certainly the popular understanding, but I'm not sure how valid that argument is. Utility companies in the summer months complain about variable and heavy loads during business and afternoon hours, when AC and refrigeration loads are at their peak, with greatly reduced loads in the evenings. Since peak summertime electrical loads correspond with peak solar productivity, it seems to me that net-metering offers the utility a cushion against load variability rather than being a cause of it.


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Exit Zero
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July 8, 2017 3:18 pm  

That's certainly the popular understanding, but I'm not sure how valid that argument is. Utility companies in the summer months complain about variable and heavy loads during business and afternoon hours, when AC and refrigeration loads are at their peak, with greatly reduced loads in the evenings. Since peak summertime electrical loads correspond with peak solar productivity, it seems to me that net-metering offers the utility a cushion against load variability rather than being a cause of it.

That is true where Utilities can easily buy more power from the grid they have access to.
Here in the VI we have no grid available to supplement our generators so responding to changes in demand is dependent on the power available from the generators online at the time.


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singlefin
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July 8, 2017 3:26 pm  

I would thing energy use wouldn't spike too much in the summer because most of the big houses are empty, and businesses usually cut back hours or take extended vacations.


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SkysTheLimit
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July 8, 2017 3:32 pm  

To me it made more sense to buy a decent generator instead of batteries. That was 3 1/2 years ago. As stated above, the battery tech has gone up and the cost has come down. One day I might invest in batteries.

Question: If you go on batteries and off grid what do you do about rainy/shady days? I suppose your panel bank needs to be a bit "over-sized" to make sure you make enough?
For instance, we have a solar system but still have a WAPA bill. Just usually very small or a small credit. What happens when you "come up short" with batteries? Add panels?

Alan
St. Croix resident since 2000


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Scubadoo
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July 8, 2017 4:01 pm  

To me it made more sense to buy a decent generator instead of batteries. That was 3 1/2 years ago. As stated above, the battery tech has gone up and the cost has come down. One day I might invest in batteries.

Question: If you go on batteries and off grid what do you do about rainy/shady days? I suppose your panel bank needs to be a bit "over-sized" to make sure you make enough?
For instance, we have a solar system but still have a WAPA bill. Just usually very small or a small credit. What happens when you "come up short" with batteries? Add panels?

Go submarine and use a generator to charge you batteries.


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singlefin
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July 8, 2017 5:43 pm  

How about a split system?
Refrigerator, water pump, an outlet or two hooked up to an "off-grid" battery / solar system, and the rest of your home non-essentials still connected to WAPA.


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LiquidFluoride
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July 8, 2017 6:03 pm  

So can you install solar panels, reduce your wapa usage and cost - just not get paid by WAPA for any extra you generate?

yes, this is how I do it, but you'll have to buy a battery bank... go completely off grid.

I use wapa to charge my batteries when I need it, my bill is down to 1/5th what it used to be.

So...why would you then invest in a system that obligated you to enter into another contractual agreement with WAPA, an agreement to which they alone set the terms, and which they may revoke at any time?

because the batteries, charge controllers and inverters cost a LOT of money... it's way cheaper to just netmeter.

I have 30 panels, but only 8 batteries because they are so expensive (I'll build my own battery bank later)

Question: If you go on batteries and off grid what do you do about rainy/shady days? I suppose your panel bank needs to be a bit "over-sized" to make sure you make enough?
For instance, we have a solar system but still have a WAPA bill. Just usually very small or a small credit. What happens when you "come up short" with batteries? Add panels?

I use Wapa to charge my batteries when there's not enough sun..

You should be going for extra battery, not extra panels (well, as long as you have a DECENT number of panels)

There was a [URL="http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/abinazir/2011/06/15/what-are-chances-you-would-be-born/"]1: 400,000,000,000,000[/URL] chance of you being born: what have you done with your miraculous life today?


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fdr
 fdr
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July 8, 2017 8:05 pm  

Question: If you go on batteries and off grid what do you do about rainy/shady days? I suppose your panel bank needs to be a bit "over-sized" to make sure you make enough?
For instance, we have a solar system but still have a WAPA bill. Just usually very small or a small credit. What happens when you "come up short" with batteries? Add panels?

If you've estimated your energy needs properly, then you've already planned a system appropriately sized for nighttime use and the occasional cloudy day. A good solar contractor knows how to size a system (not many have experience with off-grid here yet).

Even when cloudy, there is still some UV absorption and hence panel production. I live off-grid and keep batteries topped up with a wind generator. When it's rainy for more than a couple of days, sometimes it's necessary to supplement with a gas-powered generator. Of course, that's a rare event around here.


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Alana33
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July 8, 2017 10:53 pm  

What happens when there's a month of cloudy, torrential rainy days?
What happens if you're completely off grid?

What are good questions to ask a solar representative.

How much money, care and self knowledge, work does it take to have a system installed and it's upkeep, dealing with cleaning or recoating a wood roof every 5 years, space a system takes up, insurance to cover it on homeowners windstorm policy, ease of maintaining and maintenance of panels and battery systems, costs, etc?


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fdr
 fdr
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July 8, 2017 11:39 pm  

What happens when there's a month of cloudy, torrential rainy days?

You discover you've moved to the Pacific Northwest. In the last 10 years, even the rainiest month required running the generator at night for a few days in a row at most.

What happens if you're completely off grid?

As I said, you run a generator to keep the batteries topped up. Batteries don't last when people take them down below their max voltage (called cycling). Each battery has only so many cycles in its lifespan, which weakens the plates through sulfation every time they cycle. If you take good care of them (making sure they don't fall below 100% charge), they won't use up those cycles as quickly last many years.

How much money, care and self knowledge, work does it take to have a system installed and it's upkeep, dealing with cleaning or recoating a wood roof every 5 years, space a system takes up, insurance to cover it on homeowners windstorm policy, ease of maintaining and maintenance of panels and battery systems, costs, etc?

Money depends on the size of the system, and insurance depends on your provider. The rest depends on the competence of your solar installer. Not sure what you mean about "recoating a wood roof", because a wood roof is definitely not a requirement for a solar install.

There are plenty of people here who are good at selling solar. It's very important to ask around to find the people who are actually good at building systems that work.


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Alana33
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July 9, 2017 1:03 pm  

Thanks for your response, fdr.

I was referring to the wooden roofs most homeowners have that are coated with hypalon (An elastomeric roof covering available commercially in liquid, sheet, or putty-like (caulking) consistency in several different colors. Hypalon roofing is more resistant to thermal movement and weathering than neoprene) and which requires cleaning at least every other year and the need for being repainted every few years.

Would one have to remove all the panels to do this?
What about the panels themselves?
Do you need to keep them clean?
I like a clean roof especially since it affects cistern water collected.


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Gumbo
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July 9, 2017 3:02 pm  

Where do you buy the roof coating in sheets? I've seen only seams taped and topcoat applied to bare plywood or Vulkem applied instead. A sheet membrane would be much better.


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Alana33
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July 9, 2017 6:54 pm  

Not in sheets, you paint the hypalon product on.
Similar to the Vulkem product but not a 2 part application.
Sorry, if I didn't explain it well.


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LiquidFluoride
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July 9, 2017 8:40 pm  

Would one have to remove all the panels to do this?
What about the panels themselves?
Do you need to keep them clean?
I like a clean roof especially since it affects cistern water collected.

My pannels are bolted on in 4 spots, but 2 of them are shared between pannels, very easy to remove and reposition, if you need to repaint you can just remove the panels and paint around the railing brackets then put the panels back on.

I have cleaned my panels once to remove our dust, but they don't seem to need much cleaning, and they protect the roof under them pretty well.

There was a [URL="http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/abinazir/2011/06/15/what-are-chances-you-would-be-born/"]1: 400,000,000,000,000[/URL] chance of you being born: what have you done with your miraculous life today?


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