Dominion to charge fee to heavy users of solar power

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Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
That was exactly the point of those you are debating. When the solar is not outputting any power, the utility must be able to provide the generation, and have the system capacity from the generators all the way to the solar customers. They must be able to do this (as it always has been) while making less money because the utility has sold less power to the solar cutomers during the day.

Boy oh boy, You are forgetting that the POCO is gaining a benifit of the solar provider at the same time they want to penalize that person. This is capitalisim at is best.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
I do not see many power companies embracing solar. They are mandated to accept solar. It is unreliable, that is a fact. There is no way on this earth that you can say with enough certainty that your solar generator will be producing energy when it is wanted. You can't depend on it for peak power power production, or even a good base power production plant. Another problem is voltage regulation. If your system is big enough, as you are dumping energy onto the grid, the voltage must be regulated.If the sun is strong and the panels are at full capacity, our regulators can step down enough to control voltage. If a cloud passes overhead, cutting production, the voltage regulators must start stepping up to control voltage. Once this cloud passes by and the generator is again at full capacity, the voltage regulators are stepping down. Regulators don't work that fast, and the result is extreme voltage dips and spikes. Then the phone starts ringing at the office with complaints about the voltage.
 

ggunn

PE (Electrical), NABCEP certified
Location
Austin, TX, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer - Photovoltaic Systems
I do not see many power companies embracing solar. They are mandated to accept solar. It is unreliable, that is a fact. There is no way on this earth that you can say with enough certainty that your solar generator will be producing energy when it is wanted. You can't depend on it for peak power power production, or even a good base power production plant. Another problem is voltage regulation. If your system is big enough, as you are dumping energy onto the grid, the voltage must be regulated.If the sun is strong and the panels are at full capacity, our regulators can step down enough to control voltage. If a cloud passes overhead, cutting production, the voltage regulators must start stepping up to control voltage. Once this cloud passes by and the generator is again at full capacity, the voltage regulators are stepping down. Regulators don't work that fast, and the result is extreme voltage dips and spikes. Then the phone starts ringing at the office with complaints about the voltage.
It can be worked out. Here in Texas, renewable energy generation (solar and wind) are being embraced, and methodologies for dealing with the variabilities in those sources have been and are still being developed. Solar power is NOT unreliable over the long term; real world systems deliver what they are predicted to deliver. The energy picture of the world is changing, and it behooves the utility companies to adapt and adopt rather than standing with arms folded declaring that the old model is the only one that can work.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
It can be worked out. Here in Texas, renewable energy generation (solar and wind) are being embraced, and methodologies for dealing with the variabilities in those sources have been and are still being developed. Solar power is NOT unreliable over the long term; real world systems deliver what they are predicted to deliver. The energy picture of the world is changing, and it behooves the utility companies to adapt and adopt rather than standing with arms folded declaring that the old model is the only one that can work.
Embraced? I don't think so. Embracing new technology doesn't require mandates and penalties. Take a look here for some information:http://www.instituteforenergyresear...es/texas-renewable-electricity-mandate-status
Maybe this will get yur blood to boiling:http://atomicinsights.com/2011/09/wind-they-are-unreliable-unpredictable-and-uncontrollable.html

Here is a question to ponder; If it is so reliable, why isn't it your only source of energy?

I agree that the energy picture is changing, But you don't understand the problems solar creates when it is dumped willy-nilly onto a grid that is used to steady state. My personal opinion is that the solar farms should be mandated to regulate their own voltage so that it is delivered steady rather than the sporadic dips and spikes we see everyday from cloud shading.

Adapt and Adopt? one regulator costs us around $20K. Three phase takes three of them. Without solar subsidies(That word means "a handout from the govt. because it can't support itself", sort of like welfare.) it is doubtful there would be ANY solar.
 

Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
I have no idea what benefit you see the power company getting here.
The benifit here ( in California) is very simple. The poco is getting a reduction in peak generation without the cost of infastructure. The private PV systems are being installed with rate payer taxes and other state and federal tax dollars. Basically we all are paying for the rich to save money. Why is the POCO claiming foul, the rest of the US should be really complaining.
 

Strife

Senior Member
Let's look at USPS.
For years they have been raising prices, last week I've seen a report where USPS will cut costs, meaning longer delivery time, less post offices, etc.
Why's that? Pretty simple, they deliver less mail today than 20 years ago, but we expect the same service. Has it occured to anyone that it cost more to deliver 1 envelope than 10?
Now imagine Netflix. Imagine they have to give you a credit each time you go to the local store because you didn't want to wait for the mail order DVD(I know, a little weak analogy, but still).
Last, imagine a customer that wants a flat fee for you to standby his premises, but wants a credit when he doesn't need you. Would you take such a contract? So why POCO should?

And just wait when IRS want their lost share.
 

mivey

Senior Member
Suppose you have a job providing coffee for all the partners of a firm, say 10 partners. The partners come by your stand and you are tasked to provide each one with coffee whenever they ask. If they do not get their coffee, empires will lie in ruins so failure to provide coffee is not an option. You are selling coffee of exceptional quality.

At times, all 10 come by to get coffee so you had to spend extra to get the Jetson's Ten-Cup-O-Rama coffee maker so you will be ready if they all come by at the same time. The financing for this amazing coffee maker costs you $51 per month. On average the partners drink 6 cups per day each. On average you are selling 1,020 cups per month so this comes out to a financing cost recovery of 5 cents per cup.

Your all-in space rental is $85 per month so you charge each partner a coffee-club members fee of $8.50 per month.

The costs that depend on the amount of coffee made (like coffee, filters, cups etc) run you about 30 cents per cup.

The overheads, etc are $102 per month and average 10 cents per cup.

Your margin is 5 cents per cup.

So you charge:
Member ship fee of $8.50/month per partner
A per-cup fee of $0.05 (financing) + $0.30 (volume costs) + $0.10 (overheads) + $0.05 (margin) = $0.50 per cup.

The monthly revenues are:
1020 cups * $0.50 per cup + $8.50 * 10 partners = $595

The monthly expenses are:
$51 (Ten-Cup-O-Rama) + $85 (rent) + $102 (overhead) + 1020 * $0.30 (volume costs) + 1020 * $0.05 (margin) = $595


Now comes along the idea that a select number of partners might brew their own coffee if they want, but you still have to provide coffee if they decide to not brew their own. If they brew any extra coffee that they do not drink, you have to buy it from them. They also have the option to brew extra coffee in the morning and to have you absorb this extra into your coffe supply, but they can get a fresh cup of coffee later in the day at no charge because they provided you an extra cup of fresh coffee earlier in the day.

The $8.50/partner/month is like the fixed charge that dominion charges per month (the $7 fee). It does not cover any of the other fixed costs or variable costs. The other charges from Dominion are like the per-cup charges and revenue recovery is based on how many cups are sold. These sales are used to cover both fixed and variable charges (like demand and energy for dominion).

Now, play with the coffee numbers and see how you as a coffee provider will benefit when a partner starts brewing coffee.

Think about:
What costs are you able to eliminate if a partner brews their own?
Will you have to adjust your per-cup charge if partners brew their own sometimes?
If you allow for the extra cups of partner-brewed coffee every now and then, how will you have to modify the per-cup charge to break even?
How does buying the partner-brewed coffee impact the costs to everybody else?
What impact does "storing" the extra partner-brewed coffee so they can get a no-charge fresh cup later have?
 

ggunn

PE (Electrical), NABCEP certified
Location
Austin, TX, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer - Photovoltaic Systems
Of course these are all valid concerns and I do not mean minimize them, but the times are changing and we have to change with them. Adapt or die. It is true that the lives of many in the electric utilities business would be easier in the short term if solar and wind would just go away, but I don't think that any of us really believes that that is going to happen.

Just like you guys, I have a personal stake in all this; I am a solar design engineer - EE, PE, and NABCEP certified - designing large commercial PV systems. I very much want all of us to work together to find solutions which not only keep us all in jobs but keep the lights on as sustainably and economically as possible, not just for today but for the very long haul.

We can continue to argue about the nuts and bolts, but I would rather hope that we can find ways to work as allies rather than adversaries. I think both sides have an understandable tendency to want to throw problems over the fence, but I believe that in the long run it is counterproductive.

I have said my piece.
 
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mivey

Senior Member
Of course these are all valid concerns and I do not mean minimize them, but the times are changing and we have to change with them. Adapt or die. It is true that the lives of many in the electric utilities business would be easier in the short term if solar and wind would just go away, but I don't think that any of us really believes that that is going to happen.
Stay. Go away. Whatever works. I don't care as long as the costs and revenues are tracked properly.

The problem addressed by this thread was that some members took issue with the fee that Dominion was going to charge. They felt like there was no way a fee like that could be justified but that idea is completely wrong.

Just like you guys, I have a personal stake in all this; I am a solar design engineer - EE, PE, and NABCEP certified - designing large commercial PV systems. I very much want all of us to work together to find solutions which not only keep us all in jobs but keep the lights on as sustainably and economically as possible, not just for today but for the very long haul.
Great, but artificially deflating the cost of one technology while artificially inflating the cost of another is not what I consider to be a real solution.

We can continue to argue about the nuts and bolts, but I would rather hope that we can find ways to work as allies rather than adversaries. I think both sides have an understandable tendency to want to throw problems over the fence, but I believe that in the long run it is counterproductive.
One of the problems being thrown over the fence is cost causation. I don't like the idea of "cooking the books" to make solar look better. Either it is or it isn't. Solar has a role in energy production and solar will find its niche, but let that happen on real merits and costs, not by trying to force a square peg in a round hole.
 

ggunn

PE (Electrical), NABCEP certified
Location
Austin, TX, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer - Photovoltaic Systems
Stay. Go away. Whatever works. I don't care as long as the costs and revenues are tracked properly.

The problem addressed by this thread was that some members took issue with the fee that Dominion was going to charge. They felt like there was no way a fee like that could be justified but that idea is completely wrong.

Great, but artificially deflating the cost of one technology while artificially inflating the cost of another is not what I consider to be a real solution.

One of the problems being thrown over the fence is cost causation. I don't like the idea of "cooking the books" to make solar look better. Either it is or it isn't. Solar has a role in energy production and solar will find its niche, but let that happen on real merits and costs, not by trying to force a square peg in a round hole.
Sometimes you have to take a step back to get two steps ahead. If we made solar stand on its own from square one, it might not be successful, that is true, but that doesn't mean that it will not be viable in the long run. I do not believe that strangling it in the crib is in anyone's best interest in the long haul.
 

mivey

Senior Member
Sometimes you have to take a step back to get two steps ahead. If we made solar stand on its own from square one, it might not be successful, that is true, but that doesn't mean that it will not be viable in the long run. I do not believe that strangling it in the crib is in anyone's best interest in the long haul.
Solar is already being subsidized to shore it up. But we are not just talking about subsidies at the rebate level for the installation. There are also some subsidies being created that take money out of some Dominion customer pockets and put it into other Dominion customer pockets. That is because the rates were not originally designed for the solar customer load.

Don't you see a problem when a customer with a solar panel wants to "break even" (I use quotes because of government subsidies) but does so at the expense of his neighbor? Dominion is trying to fix the rates so they adhere closer to cost causation principles. The complaining here is about when Dominion wants to shift the added cost off of the non-solar customer back to the solar customer that is causing the cost increase.

This is not about Dominion getting some wind-fall but about a fair allocation of costs to Dominion's customers. Dominion is going to make money either way but they are tasked with trying to produce fair and equitable rates. Fair rates try to charge like monies for like service. The rates were built around a particular set of assumptions about load profiles and like customers were grouped into a rate class. The solar customer profile is different and Dominion is trying to modify the existing rate to recognize that fact. The other alternative is to create a solar residential rate.
 

ggunn

PE (Electrical), NABCEP certified
Location
Austin, TX, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer - Photovoltaic Systems
Solar is already being subsidized to shore it up. But we are not just talking about subsidies at the rebate level for the installation. There are also some subsidies being created that take money out of some Dominion customer pockets and put it into other Dominion customer pockets. That is because the rates were not originally designed for the solar customer load.

Don't you see a problem when a customer with a solar panel wants to "break even" (I use quotes because of government subsidies) but does so at the expense of his neighbor? Dominion is trying to fix the rates so they adhere closer to cost causation principles. The complaining here is about when Dominion wants to shift the added cost off of the non-solar customer back to the solar customer that is causing the cost increase.

This is not about Dominion getting some wind-fall but about a fair allocation of costs to Dominion's customers. Dominion is going to make money either way but they are tasked with trying to produce fair and equitable rates. Fair rates try to charge like monies for like service. The rates were built around a particular set of assumptions about load profiles and like customers were grouped into a rate class. The solar customer profile is different and Dominion is trying to modify the existing rate to recognize that fact. The other alternative is to create a solar residential rate.

It's not as simple as you say. It's not like the guy with the PV system is making a single neighbor pay the freight. What would cost him and arm and a leg would cost his neighbor pennies. It seems to me that Dominion is trying to concentrate the cost on single users in an effort to quash solar.

It does not seem at all unfair to me to subsidize a burgeoning technology with a very small assessment on a very large number of people when it will potentially benefit everyone in the long run. It also does not seem unfair to me to allow those who pony up the up front costs of building a PV system to recoup their investment in a reasonable amount of time. They are the beta testers who are helping to develop the technology.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
Just like you guys, I have a personal stake in all this; I am a solar design engineer - EE, PE, and NABCEP certified - designing large commercial PV systems.
I realize this is off from the original topic, but I would like to pick your brain...
How do you keep parallel installations feeding into the same transformer from islanding? Each seperate generator seems to be monitoring each other. When I remove one phase the generators aren't shutting down. Until they shut down automatically I won't allow them to remain connected to our lines.
I have asked that the bandwidth be tightened up(default is 105-255) and the upper limit be set a little lower(221V). The generators are synching to a 120/208 500 kVa XF. I posted this earlier and didn't get much response to the problem. Wouldn't all the generators have to feed to a central monitoring point to keep from reading each seperate generators voltage? here is the link to the original thread: http://forums.mikeholt.com/showthread.php?t=141546&p=1355139&highlight=#post1355139
 

mivey

Senior Member
It does not seem at all unfair to me to subsidize a burgeoning technology with a very small assessment on a very large number of people when it will potentially benefit everyone in the long run. It also does not seem unfair to me to allow those who pony up the up front costs of building a PV system to recoup their investment in a reasonable amount of time. They are the beta testers who are helping to develop the technology.
Well, I've been thinking about the benefit I would get from installing a geothermal system at my house. How about you send me a check so I can get it done at very little cost to me? You will ultimately be the beneficiary because I will be making the whole planet cleaner.

A bit over-the-top, but I did so to emphasize the problem with that line of thinking.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
It does not seem at all unfair to me to subsidize a burgeoning technology with a very small assessment on a very large number of people when it will potentially benefit everyone in the long run.
Well by all means feel free to donate your own money but please do not volunteer mine. My wife has already spoken for it.
 

ggunn

PE (Electrical), NABCEP certified
Location
Austin, TX, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer - Photovoltaic Systems
Well, I've been thinking about the benefit I would get from installing a geothermal system at my house. How about you send me a check so I can get it done at very little cost to me? You will ultimately be the beneficiary because I will be making the whole planet cleaner.

A bit over-the-top, but I did so to emphasize the problem with that line of thinking.
Hyperbole, I'd call it.
 
I realize this is off from the original topic, but I would like to pick your brain...
How do you keep parallel installations feeding into the same transformer from islanding? Each seperate generator seems to be monitoring each other. When I remove one phase the generators aren't shutting down. Until they shut down automatically I won't allow them to remain connected to our lines.
I have asked that the bandwidth be tightened up(default is 105-255) and the upper limit be set a little lower(221V). The generators are synching to a 120/208 500 kVa XF. I posted this earlier and didn't get much response to the problem. Wouldn't all the generators have to feed to a central monitoring point to keep from reading each seperate generators voltage? here is the link to the original thread: http://forums.mikeholt.com/showthread.php?t=141546&p=1355139&highlight=#post1355139
For PV, there is a unit for the purpose. SMA's Sunny Island is one of them.

http://www.sma-america.com/en_US/products/off-grid-inverters/sunny-island-5048-5048-us.html

They can also combine and control power from other sources besides PV.
 
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