View Full Version : Recent experience installing solar panels at home?



Pete
07-06-2015, 10:24 AM
With all the advances in solar technology and now with reasonable storage batteries starting to hit the market, I was wondering if any of you have had panels installed and if so, how this has worked out for you.

It seems with Oklahoma's long hot summers it's to the point where solar is starting to make good economic sense.

Anybody care to share their experience?

zachj7
07-06-2015, 01:33 PM
Are there government state subsidies and laws regarding selling back solar energy to the power companies? I know in CA, there are nice rebates and laws about selling energy back to power companies. OK would be a great area for solar panels on roofs. The trees are generally much shorter here than back east. There is significantly more sun. Solar power can be very useful to Oklahoma, but even more useful is wind power. Too bad, wind power for the average house hold is a bit more complicated and intrusive than solar panels on roofs. Considering the consistent wind in the high plains, wind power should be more prevalent but down to the house level, solar energy makes a lot sense. Weather might be a little bit of a concern for solar panels on roofs. I don't see panels too often around here but in CA, lots of houses have them.

adaniel
07-06-2015, 02:10 PM
Unfortunately you won't see a lot of solar panel installation in OK. Chalk it up to yet another brilliant move by the pro business pro freedom Oklahoma legislature and SB 1456. This allows public utilities to charge a surcharge for solar panels, effectively rendering them uneconomical for most people.

You would think that the utility companies would welcome the extra power in their grid. But alas, not here.....

Oklahoma's 'sun tax' law sparks debate after its signing - Tulsa World: Government (http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/government/oklahoma-s-sun-tax-law-sparks-debate-after-its-signing/article_4fc68fc1-ea3c-5ef7-b75e-185b95474def.html)

Jersey Boss
07-06-2015, 02:26 PM
At the same time you have legal scholar Pruitt arguing how Oklahoma needs coal fired plants so the working poor can afford electricity. No hypocrisy here.

David
07-06-2015, 03:18 PM
Serious question: If someone is running their property entirely off on-site generated electricity and have spare to pipe into the grid, should that person be able to sell their electricity to OG&E and pay nothing for the upkeep of the grid infrastructure? What happens if and when a quarter of the state population is doing this? Or half?

Admittedly, I do not know the precise details of how selling back to the grid worked pre-Senate Bill 1456, so it is possible that this situation was already handled.

Pete
07-06-2015, 04:44 PM
Unfortunately you won't see a lot of solar panel installation in OK. Chalk it up to yet another brilliant move by the pro business pro freedom Oklahoma legislature and SB 1456. This allows public utilities to charge a surcharge for solar panels, effectively rendering them uneconomical for most people.

I knew there had to be a reason you didn't see much solar in Oklahoma.

zookeeper
07-06-2015, 05:10 PM
Unfortunately you won't see a lot of solar panel installation in OK. Chalk it up to yet another brilliant move by the pro business pro freedom Oklahoma legislature and SB 1456. This allows public utilities to charge a surcharge for solar panels, effectively rendering them uneconomical for most people.

You would think that the utility companies would welcome the extra power in their grid. But alas, not here.....

Oklahoma's 'sun tax' law sparks debate after its signing - Tulsa World: Government (http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/government/oklahoma-s-sun-tax-law-sparks-debate-after-its-signing/article_4fc68fc1-ea3c-5ef7-b75e-185b95474def.html)

And opponents of that are continuing their moves to get it to the state high court. I think it's blatantly unconstitutional. That bill alone shows how powerful the energy lobby is in our state. Too many legislators are bought and paid for by Big Energy. Witness the special election in HD-85 which is vacant due to the death of David Dank - who was probably the most UNpaid for politician at 23rd and Lincoln. The usual suspects have all lined up behind Chip Carter, who is the epitome of a political hack. Inhofe fringe (he worked for him). But that has meant all the money and independent expenditures are going to him at an alarming rate, spending unbelievable money for a State House seat. (Thank you, Citizens United.)

king183
07-06-2015, 07:14 PM
I knew there had to be a reason you didn't see much solar in Oklahoma.

Yeah, the bill was suddenly pushed by Mike Turner, at the time the 26 year old legislator from Edmond, who ran for James Lankford's vacated US House seat. I say "suddenly" because it's very obvious that a 26 year old freshman legislator doesn't just think up this idea of a surcharge on his own, given he had no legitimate experience in that sector. He was obviously viewed as a prime target for the OG&E lobbyist and agreed to carry their water on that bill. It was a perfect example of legislators being bought by, in this case, corporate money instead of actually attempting to determine what was good public policy. If you were to ask him to explain the merits of the bill today, so far removed in time from the lobbyist-provided talking points, he wouldn't be able to do it.

He lost his race for Congress, by the way. He outspent all of his opponents and was defeated handily.

David
07-07-2015, 10:00 AM
Has the surcharge for this even been established yet, such that we know that installing solar panels is uneconomical? The most recent article I can find is this one from June (http://www.utilitydive.com/news/oklahoma-regulators-consider-new-demand-charges-for-rooftop-solar/400960/), and according to it the Corporation Commission is still meeting about the issue:


Staff of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) have been holding meetings to discuss implementation of SB 1456, which went into effect in November. The law allows utilities to ask regulators to design a new rate structure for customers with distributed generation, which could include new charges.

Also, according to this article (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/04/oklahoma_sb_1456_why_the_tea_party_is_fighting_for _solar_power.html) from last year, Governor Fallin issued this executive order (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1146319-gov-mary-fallin-executive-order-2014-07.html) when she signed the bill into law that put some restrictions on how it is implemented. The First Energy Plan mentioned in the order can be found here (http://www.ok.gov/energy/documents/Governor%20Fallin's%20Energy%20Plan.pdf) and includes the following:



Encourage increased use of renewables for power generation through the use of flexible, next-generation natural gas combined cycle equipment
 Recommendations:
o Pursue, exceed, and raise Oklahomaís 15% renewable energy target
o Support the creation of a Midwestern governorís compact focused on developing wind resources
o Encourage the evaluation and realization of solar energy potential throughout the state

jn1780
07-07-2015, 10:59 AM
How would the energy companies know if you have solar panels on your house? For 99% of people in this state, they will never be able to completely live off the grid or be able to actually sell power back to the utility companies.

Pete
07-07-2015, 11:02 AM
How would the energy companies know if you have solar panels on your house? For 99% of people in this state, they will never be able to completely live off the grid or be able to actually sell power back to the utility companies.

A big part of making solar work is all the incentives and rebates that come with the installation, so registering for that stuff is how they would know.