Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Let's work together, as long as you do the hard part

Green, sustainable, renewable - whatever you want to call it, the energy game spawns a lot of talk about being not so rough on the environment. So being a responsible homeowner, you decide to do your part by installing solar panels on the roof. You soon realize that your penny-pinching ways mean you have electricity to spare, so you get the idea to sell the power to the power company. Brilliant! You have company, too.

But if you do business with Pacific Power, as most city folks around here do, you can only sell them enough to pay your own way. You upload more to them than you use yourself, that's just a nice little present to the power company. To wit:
On April 30th of each calendar year, any remaining unused kilowatt-hour credit accumulated during the previous year shall be granted to the Company, without any compensation to the Customer.
A magazine article I read recently pointed out that for people using solar panels to generate electricity, this is especially a ripoff because the power is being generated during the hours of peak demand, etc.

What this boils down to for the likes of me is a big disincentive to install a solar system (one low-power kit I found runs about $11,000, not including installation) because our household uses less than $450 in electricity each year. I'm not waiting 20 or 25 years for something to pay for itself.

Which is too bad, because I'd love to be a net-zero power user. Harumph grumble grumble.

1 comment:

Psychgrad said...

That is annoying. Nothing like screwing customers to act as a disincentive toward being green.