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  #1  
Old 09-14-2005, 10:26 AM
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Selling electricity back to the power company

Anybody out there know of any good sources for finding out how one can generate his own power and sell it back to the power company? I've heard that many states require the power company to buy back the power. It'd be nice to read up on that.

I was thinking of setting up wind and/or WVO powered generators. Probably wouldn't make any money off it, but it'd be cool to see that meter spin the other way for a change.
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Old 09-14-2005, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dculkin
Anybody out there know of any good sources for finding out how one can generate his own power and sell it back to the power company? I've heard that many states require the power company to buy back the power. It'd be nice to read up on that.

I was thinking of setting up wind and/or WVO powered generators. Probably wouldn't make any money off it, but it'd be cool to see that meter spin the other way for a change.

I think you just need a way of metering it...........but I am curious too if thats not the correct answer.
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Old 09-14-2005, 11:07 AM
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I'm sure its different in different states, but the APS program in AZ is not really cost effective - for now anyway. It's more of an emergency backup system for me. The power you generate flows into the grid and then you pay them retail for it. They then charge back what you've sold them at wholesale. They do pay 4.00 a watt for new solar panels up to 50% of the cost, which winds up being like prepaying for 20 yrs. (about the life of the panels) of power at todays price. Electricity should always be a relative bargain, but in my location the reliability of the grid is a concern. It's really just a hobby.
If you're in a windy area try and obtain an old Jakes wind machine and rebuild it. Way cool old technology that is still the best. Here's some links
Home Power
Homwbrew
and if you're a motorhead
WVO 600 RPM Diesels
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Last edited by crash9; 09-14-2005 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 09-14-2005, 11:13 AM
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So you want to "Grid Tie". or "Net Selling" which really is not selling it allows you to offset you own energy consumption during peak times with what is produced during off peak times. I thought about this when living in Oregon in an extremly windy area and using wind generators. The cost v return was not there Additionaly the cost of KW hrs from Idaho Power was of the lowest in the US.
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Old 09-14-2005, 11:18 AM
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The girl who is in charge of payroll in my office does this.

She bought a program from a company that specializes in this. They placed a bunch of solar panels on her roof, and on sunny days, her electrical meter actually runs backwards. Southern California Edison credits her for the power she generates.

On cloudy days, her meter runs the normal way.

She's had this set-up for over a year, and it appears to be working for her.

I know the initial start-up cost wasn't cheap, but eventually, there is a payback.
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  #6  
Old 09-14-2005, 11:28 AM
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I called our power company (Novec) and asked whether they will buy excess power that I pump back into the grid. The lady on the phone gave an immediate and definite "No." Maybe I didn't ask the right question. I will look into it some more.

The links posted by crash9 look great. I definitely will follow up with those. That little Petter motor is just too cool for school. I need one of those.

I don't know whether my place qualifies as windy, but we do have an old dairy barn that sits on a high spot. I've been thinking that a wind generator would look good on top of the barn in place of one of the old sheet metal ventilators. We've always got a breeze going up there.
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Old 09-14-2005, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dculkin
I called our power company (Novec) and asked whether they will buy excess power that I pump back into the grid. The lady on the phone gave an immediate and definite "No." Maybe I didn't ask the right question. I will look into it some more.

The links posted by crash9 look great. I definitely will follow up with those. That little Petter motor is just too cool for school. I need one of those.

I don't know whether my place qualifies as windy, but we do have an old dairy barn that sits on a high spot. I've been thinking that a wind generator would look good on top of the barn in place of one of the old sheet metal ventilators. We've always got a breeze going up there.
I think they gave a bogus answer...they may not like it but I seem to remember a Federal law requireing them to buy it at market price....a number of years ago...
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Old 09-14-2005, 11:38 AM
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Panels are expensive, Wind Turbines now are in the $500 range and very cool if you have a constant wind. We don't get much wind here (with the exception of the week before last ) or I would pick up another turbine. The only thing I use panels on now is to recharge a battery system that powers an inverter.
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  #9  
Old 09-14-2005, 11:53 AM
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AFAIK, they must buy back the power.

But, the catch is that they buy it back at their "cost" to produce it.

So, currently, we pay about $.12 per kilowatt-hour.

When you sell it back to them, they give you about $.05 per kilowatt-hour claiming that their direct cost to produce the power is at this level.

You can't break even selling power to them at $.05, no matter which source you use.........wind turbines...........solar panels..........a diesel generator.
No source can match this cost when depreciation and maintenance are considered. The solar panel folks completely ignore depreciation. The panels don't last forever.
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Old 09-14-2005, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Carlton
AFAIK, they must buy back the power.

But, the catch is that they buy it back at their "cost" to produce it.

So, currently, we pay about $.12 per kilowatt-hour.

When you sell it back to them, they give you about $.05 per kilowatt-hour claiming that their direct cost to produce the power is at this level.

You can't break even selling power to them at $.05, no matter which source you use.........wind turbines...........solar panels..........a diesel generator.
No source can match this cost when depreciation and maintenance are considered. The solar panel folks completely ignore depreciation. The panels don't last forever.
A clear case of Economy of scale.....


just like Walmart....
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Old 09-14-2005, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Carlton
AFAIK, they must buy back the power.

But, the catch is that they buy it back at their "cost" to produce it.

So, currently, we pay about $.12 per kilowatt-hour.

When you sell it back to them, they give you about $.05 per kilowatt-hour claiming that their direct cost to produce the power is at this level.
This definitely one of those deals where the salesman gets out his canned pitch and starts flipping through a notebook. All the govt. deals just support the solar industry.
I just bought a surplus military generator with this very cool little 4cyl. air-cooled motor - couldn't pass on the deal. My fuel cost works out to about 70/90 cents a Kw. Even those old Lister styles will burn about 15/20 cents a Kw at current prices, but if you're down and want power, it's cheap at any price.
When you add the cost of an inverter/charger, batteries and power house for the whole rig it gets into the "I just want it" category. Then when your the only light in the valley, you need to think about the shotgun or how to feed all your new found friends.
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  #12  
Old 09-14-2005, 12:59 PM
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You may not be able to sell it back to the power companies but you could use them to store it (put as much in as you take out). The biggest problem with electricity is storage and it that regard its been resolved. You could get your power bill to zero. If you go over and can't sell it and you could get your power bill to zero you could move that power into less efficient uses, like heating, and convert it into lowering your heating bill.

Their billed cost of power is the combined cost of production and distribution. You are just producing it, the distribution is still theirs, and that's a capitol cost that bean counters have spent a bunch of time working with.
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Old 09-14-2005, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
I think they gave a bogus answer...they may not like it but I seem to remember a Federal law requireing them to buy it at market price....a number of years ago...
Yep, IIRC, that happened during a democratic administration too.
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Old 09-14-2005, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by R Leo
Yep, IIRC, that happened during a democratic administration too.

I couldn't tell you what decade it was, I just remember hearing or reading about it somewhere...
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Old 09-14-2005, 01:20 PM
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I was thinking of a small water cooled diesel that had an output of less than 8kw.

If I could hook up the water cooling to the furnace and allow the furnace to pick up and distribute the excess heat throughout the house, I might have something that is closer to saving money. But, if you tried to run it 24/7, I still think that you can't breakeven due to the fuel consumption.
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