Property-Assessed Clean Energy Programs
PECO and Solar Everywhere in Philly intro:
In Peco dispute, solar homeowners wouldn’t give up
Peco is required to pay net-metering customers the same price for which it sells power. The utility’s price varies each quarter, but it tends to be 9 to 10 cents per kilowatt hour. From 2008 to 2012, it paid almost $196,000.
Peco Energy Co. crossed the wrong customer when it dismissed Mari Jensen’s complaint two years ago.
“I’m told I am like a dog with a bone,” she said.
Jensen lives in Concord Township, Delaware County, with her husband, Arthur. They spent about $30,000 in 2010 to install a rooftop solar system on their Sleighride Road ranch house.
For the last 19 months, the Jensens have fought a surreal David-and-Goliath battle with Peco over the formula the utility uses to pay them and other owners of solar systems for the power they produce and sell to the grid.
“It was absurd,” said Mari Jensen, a retired school bus driver. “The more they kept fighting it, the angrier I got.”
On Thursday, a unanimous Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission agreed with the Jensens and ordered Peco to recalculate its payments over the last five years to solar generators, who are known as net-metering customers
Solar Installation Guidebook – Solar PV Basics
How Does a PV System Work?
PV systems convert sunlight directly into electricity. PV systems allow homeowners and businesses to generate some or all of their daily electrical energy demand either on their own roof or somewhere on their property.
The majority of solar PV systems are ―grid-tied.‖ This means they remain directly connected to the power grid at all times and do not require battery storage. Grid-tied PV systems will generate electrical power to supply part of a building’s energy usage during the day and provide the greatest benefit during crucial times when the price and demand for electricity is the highest. Figure 2.1 depicts an illustration of a solar PV system interconnected to the grid.
A solar PV system can provide power to a home or business, reducing the amount of power required from the utility; when the solar PV system power generation exceeds the power needs, then the surplus power automatically back feeds into the grid. This arrangement is called ―net metering‖ for which PECO has a special tariff and will install a special utility meter that will essentially record the ―net‖ power coming in from the utility and the surplus power flowing out from the solar PV system.
A solar PV system will not operate during a power outage unless it has battery backup. It ceases to operate during outages as a safety feature for utility personnel who might be working on electric lines trying to restore power (a PV system would energize electric lines that the utility assumes is not energized, and create a shock hazard to personnel).
PV systems can also include battery backup or uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems that can operate selected circuits in a building for hours or days during a utility outage.
The basic building block of PV technology is the solar “cell”. Multiple PV cells are connected to form a PV ―module,‖ the smallest PV component sold commercially. A PV system connected or “tied” to the utility grid has these components:
- PV Array: A PV Array is made up of PV modules, which are collections of PV cells. The most common PV module is 5-to-25 square feet in size and weighs about 3-4 lbs/ft2. Modules range in power output from about 10 watts to 300 watts (although higher wattages are available for utility-scale PV applications), with the power density ranging from about 5- to-18 watts per square foot.
- DC to AC Inverter: This is the device that takes the DC power from the PV array and converts it into standard ac power used by the household appliances.
- Balance of System equipment (BOS): BOS includes mounting systems and wiring systems used to integrate the solar modules into the structural and electrical systems of the building. The wiring systems include disconnects for the DC and AC sides of the inverter, ground-fault protection, and overcurrent protection devices, junction boxes and possibly circuit combiner boxes. (See Figure 2-2).
- Metering: While meters indicate home energy usage, metering for a solar installation is used to record and display total electricity generation by the solar PV system and may provide indication of system performance.
- Batteries (optional) can provide energy storage or backup power in case of a power interruption or outage on the grid. (This guidebook does not cover solar PV systems with battery backup because of their increased complexity compared to grid-tied PV systems, and because they account for less than 5% of all the solar PV systems installed.)
Applications for PV systems are constantly expanding with new uses being identified all the time. In addition to offsetting loads for homeowners as described previously, PV systems also serve facilities such as commercial, educational, industrial, and government buildings. PV technologies are rapidly becoming installed at the utility-scale supplying power for utilities and retail electric providers in multi-megawatt capacities. Read More at source
Pennsylvania Rebates and Incentives Summary
Pennsylvania has a history of innovation and forward-thinking ideas. It was the first state to put its website URL on its license plate. It’s home of the first baseball stadium, built in 1909. The first automobile service station went up in Pittsburgh in 1913. And, in 1946 Philadelphia became home to the first computer. The state is not quite leading the charge on solar the way it has in so many other fields. But it’s not far behind either.
Pennsylvania offers home and business owners as well as non-profits and government properties incentives and rebates for installing alternative energy, including photovoltaics, solar thermal, wind turbines and geothermal systems. In 2008, the state fueled its renewable energy program when Gov. Ed Rendell (D) signed a law creating the commonwealth’s $650 million Alternative Energy Investment Fund. This legislation broadly increased funding for projects of all sizes and included an additional $16 million Alternative Fuels Investment Fund. Large sums are reserved to help home and property owners invest in energy efficiency – $237.5 million. And the state invests another $428.4 million in developing alternative energy and creating green jobs.
Integrate self-generated power
Net Metering and Interconnection with PECO
Net metering is a way to capture the energy used and produced by a renewable energy generator located at a home or small business. Homeowners and small business owners who have a solar power system, wind turbine or similar energy generator can use net metering to offset their traditional utility costs. The excess power that is generated enters the general utility grid, and is tracked as negative usage on the meter. Interconnection refers to the technical, contractual, and rates and metering requirements that are settled between the system owner and PECO before the system is connected to the grid.
Solar, DIY: Two Philadelphia handy men take solar into their own hands
You would think Greg Scott was talking about building bookshelves from a box, not installing a solar array on his roof. “Once you know how to build stuff for a reason, you sort of figure out how to build things,” he explains. Scott, together with his do-it-yourself partner Tom Weissert, thinks we can do it, too.
Scott and Weissert have installed both a solar hot water system, which heats water with solar warmth, and a photovoltaic (PV) array, which converts sunlight into electricity, on Weissert’s house in Narberth, and they are close to installing another PV system at Scott’s house in West Philly.
Scott and Weissert don’t want to stop with their houses; their vision is for a more project-sustainable community model of home PV installation. They’re still hammering out how this would work and are always looking to others for inspiration and help. “I’m not an electrician, I’m not a carpenter,” says Scott. “I want to demystify the process. I’d like to see solar panels on every house in Philadelphia.”
——————————————————————–Philadelphia Solar Blog click thru:
Solar power co-operatives are fast emerging has an innovative way for local communities to gain access to renewable energy generation. Over the last few years, several such initiatives have been successfully launched in the UK — with new schemes opening in a number of cities including London and Bristol. So, how do such schemes work? And what benefits can they provide to local people?
Bristol Energy Cooperative
The Bristol Energy Cooperative (BEC), a member of the Bristol Energy Network, was established following a meeting by several Bristol-based environmental activists. As Peter Thompson, Chair of the BEC explains, one of the key motivations was frustration at the limited options available to unincorporated informal community groups — coupled with the “desire to engage in action at a city-wide scale, beyond the remit of any of the community groups established up to that point.”
In total, the BEC has completed three installations, one at Hamilton House, a community centre in the Stoke’s Croft area of the city, with two others at the Knowle West Media Centre, and at Easton Community Centre.
The Hamilton House project runs to some 20 kW, providing an estimated annual energy output of 14,145 kWh. It was financed and installed by Ethical Solar, which gave BEC the option of buying the panels, and the resultant generation feed-in tariff income, at an early stage. The system consists of 85 x 230-Watt Innotech panels and two 3-phase SMA inverters. Read more:
Justin Hall-Tipping: Freeing energy from the grid