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ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
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ineoeni
Mueller Community

Posts: 103
Joined on May 18th, 2008
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by ineoeni on September 15th, 2013

Hey Solar People!

The Mueller Megawatt Project (MMP) is working with other solar homeowners around Austin to work out a solution to Austin Energy's solar credit reset that will occur on Jan 1 of next year. If you don't know about this, the short explanation is: On Jan 1, if a homeowner has a CREDIT on their electric bill due to their solar system, Austin Energy will zero out the credit. There was some discussion of this reset occurring at the end of the summer instead, but Austin Energy has since changed their mind on this.

While MMP is still formulating our ask from Austin Energy, we do know that in order to present a strong case we need some data. The MMP is asking all solar homeowners in Mueller to send us 4 pieces of information

(1) If you have a credit on your current bill and if so, how much is it?
(2) Your address (so we can cross reference against the people we know have solar so we don't keep pinging you
(3) If you have it readily available - the size of your system (example: 5.75 kW). You would find this on your invoice from your installer who put up the system.

To be clear, if you don't have a credit, we STILL want to hear from you.

You can provide your responses here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1sHbO-jPUnUaY3cCoKILGovoPZWJT1JHevXojO-X8Gu4/viewform

We guarantee that we will not use your information for anything other than this project and we won't distribute your information or identify anyone exclusively, except to potentially say something like, "We have a neighbor who has a $500 credit."

Again, we aren't exactly sure what our ask is of AE, but we know the credit reset on January 1 is not the right answer.

Thanks for your help!

Aman
 
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Betsy
Mueller Community

Posts: 542
Joined on December 17th, 2007
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by Betsy on September 16th, 2013

Thanks for taking up this cause! If there has to be a reset, I thought the reset at the end of summer would be best for us because we'd use up most/all of our credit during the heat of summer with the A/C in full swing. By Jan 1, we could have some credit from cooler (hopefully) Fall months. We'll fill out the online survey.
 
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danx111
Mueller Community

Posts: 1151
Joined on November 25th, 2008
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by danx111 on September 16th, 2013

Quote:
Thanks for taking up this cause! If there has to be a reset, I thought the reset at the end of summer would be best for us because we'd use up most/all of our credit during the heat of summer with the A/C in full swing. By Jan 1, we could have some credit from cooler (hopefully) Fall months. We'll fill out the online survey.


There are/will be a number of solar users in RMMA and other neighborhoods who will have (for various reasons) significant credits at the end of the year. I am against any policy that will negate that credit. If we provided AE with power we should be compensated for it.
 
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Hellojustice
Mueller Community

Posts: 52
Joined on August 16th, 2008
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by Hellojustice on September 16th, 2013

Aman, it seems that you are getting the wrong data at least in part. The first issue to tackle seems to me to be the timing of the reset. I had a credit balance in August and used it up this month which would work perfectly with a September 30 reset. I will have a credit at the end of December but none as of now. Maybe AE ought to apply credit reset balances against money they gave us to buy the solar systems and when they have their money back, they can starting paying the credit to the homeowner.
 
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Jeffrey Dwyer
Mueller Community

Posts: 16
Joined on July 25th, 2013
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by Jeffrey Dwyer on September 16th, 2013

Hi Hellojustice,

I have surpluses nearly every month of the year except December and January. That is because I have electric heat, which uses a fair amount of energy at a time of year when the solar production is lowest. My home is truly zero energy in that I produce more electricity than I consume and use only $5 worth of natural gas annually to run my cooktop and burn no wood for heating. So, there are pros and cons for a reset date for different solar customers. A reset date of March 1 would benefit me the most. I could generate surplus from March through October, turn off my inverters and rest my system from November through February, restart my system in March and thereby preserve my investment in my inverters while still achieving net zero dollars on my electric bill and leaving no surplus.

BUT THERE SHOULD BE NO RESET DATE!!!

Austin Energy electric customers contribute to the rebate programs as part of the Community Benefit Charges which include the Energy Efficiency Services fee of .289¢/kWh which "recovers the cost of energy efficiency rebates and related costs, solar rebates, and the Green Building program offered by Austin Energy throughout its service area." This quote is from the City of Austin Electric Rate Schedules. This fee is charged to all AE electric customers.

Rebates are to encourage and reward responsible behavior and consumption of resources. Rebates are not loans and should not have to be reimbursed by the recipients in addition to the EES fees described above.

Here are the facts:

1) Austin Energy is paying 16.5¢/kWh to the Webberville Solar Farm.

2) Austin Energy is paying solar customers who use much more power than they generate 12.8¢/kWh.

3) Austin Energy is paying those who generate nearly as much as they consume to slightly more than they consume less than 12.8¢/kWh.

4) Austin Energy is incurring additional expense in printing, postage and payment processing by billing solar customers through two totally separate bills for electric and other services. The cost of this program may even exceed the revenue the utility would realize by confiscating solar surpluses! And the only apparent reason for the two bill system is to prevent the return of the surplus to those most responsible consumers who generate it.

5) The most responsible residential consumers of electrical resources in our community are being treated worse than those who consume much more power than they produce.

I think the solar surplus should be handled exactly as it was before the rate change. Any surplus at that time was simply credited to the Water/Wastewater/Garbage Collection/Street Cleaning portion of the bill. This was much fairer, continued to incentivize building the most efficient building envelope, continued to incentivize conservation, eliminated the need to generate two sets of bills for solar customers, and exercised the most common sense.
 
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langhugh
Mueller Community

Posts: 1149
Joined on August 18th, 2007
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by langhugh on September 16th, 2013

If I may offer one thought about the reset date that may inform the conversation or maybe it is self-evident.

The reset date will affect us exactly once.

After the initial reset, we will all enjoy a 12-month cycle containing all four seasons.

One may be frustrated by losing a credit annually, but the date of reset, as long as it covers at least 12 months, is a small matter.
 
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Betsy
Mueller Community

Posts: 542
Joined on December 17th, 2007
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by Betsy on September 16th, 2013

I'm not understanding that Dusty. I have no credit at the moment because I used it all up over the summer. If I earn some credit in Nov & December, and they reset on Jan. 1, I'll lose the credit I had in Nov/Dec. Then I'll earn credit again in the Spring, use it up in the Summer, and lose any Fall credit again on Jan. 1 the following year. It will hit me every year, unless I earn no credit in the Fall months, right?
 
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langhugh
Mueller Community

Posts: 1149
Joined on August 18th, 2007
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by langhugh on September 16th, 2013

Quote:
I'm not understanding that Dusty. I have no credit at the moment because I used it all up over the summer. If I earn some credit in Nov & December, and they reset on Jan. 1, I'll lose the credit I had in Nov/Dec. Then I'll earn credit again in the Spring, use it up in the Summer, and lose any Fall credit again on Jan. 1 the following year. It will hit me every year, unless I earn no credit in the Fall months, right?


In as much as the credit is cumulative over a 12-month cycle, it will net out over the 12 months. In other words, your November and December credits may very likely make up for a net deficit you ran through October.

Last year, when they initially suggested a January 1st reset, it was immediately after they set the new customer rates in the fall. Much of the hub-bub then involved the fact that they were most certainly cancelling out 3 or 4 credit-months (September, October, November, December). Thankfully, they did not, and they let a full 12 months play out.

 
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Betsy
Mueller Community

Posts: 542
Joined on December 17th, 2007
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by Betsy on September 16th, 2013

I'm really tired and maybe that's why I'm not understanding... if they zero out any credit I earn in Nov/Dec, how will it offset anything?
 
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Jeffrey Dwyer
Mueller Community

Posts: 16
Joined on July 25th, 2013
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by Jeffrey Dwyer on September 16th, 2013

Hi Langhugh,

You are correct IF AND ONLY IF Austin Energy allows those solar customers who run deficits in January and possibly February to leave those bills unpaid in anticipation of future solar surplus later in the year. I am skeptical that they would take that approach.

This past January, I consumed about 460 kWh more than my system produced. Some solar customers like myself heat with electricity and have their largest solar deficit, and therefore largest electric bill, in January. It could take until March or April billing for my surplus to accumulate to the point to erase the January deficit. If I have to pay my January bill when due and it is not later refunded back to me when I have a surplus, then I am really getting...

So unless AE switches to annual billing for electricity for its solar customers, I am afraid your premise may not be correct for at least some of us.

 
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