Tuesday, May 24, 2022 |
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• Net Energy Metering rate for solar is an entitlement program for the rich
• Don’t hate the player
Net Energy Metering rate for solar is an entitlement program for the rich
Get it straight before you start carrying protest signs wanting more, KIUC’s Net Energy Metering rate for solar photovoltaic (PV) customers is an entitlement program for rich people.
KIUC has no limit on how much solar generation they will tie into their grid; they just have two different rate programs to determine how much they will pay you for the excess electricity you make yourself, which you sell back to them.
The cost of electricity includes charges that are directly a result of making it, basically the cost of the diesel fuel to spin generators and it includes other costs that are separate from generation: costs for poles and wires to move the electricity around.
KIUC members with solar PV on their roof, like me, generate electricity so KIUC doesn’t need to burn so much diesel, but we don’t reduce the need for those poles and wires. Actually, customers with grid-tied solar PV generation on their roof increase the need for spending on those poles and wires to balance load because clouds make solar PV output so variable.
The NEM rate was wisely limited on a first-come first-served basis to 1 percent of KIUC’s maximum load and that rate program is now fully subscribed. That rate forgives the cost of poles and wires and pays you at the retail rate for all the electricity you sell back to KIUC. It was an incredible deal for those who could afford to spend $30,000 to make an average 10-kilowatt hours of electricity a day.
But, make no mistake, it is paying those customers (and it is paying me too since I’m a NEM customer) more than the electricity would cost KIUC to generate and that extra money to pay them is coming on the backs of other rate payers who can’t afford to install their own solar PV generation.
Call a KIUC director, attend a KIUC Board meeting or read their Currents magazine and learn what is really going on. The NEM rate was created as a subsidy to jumpstart the local solar PV industry and it worked.
Now, KIUC is holding to the 1 percent limit not because they don’t like solar, they are holding to the 1 percent limit for rate fairness. They don’t think low or fixed income members who already have to stretch to pay their bills should be paying anything extra, even just a little extra, so rich people who can afford tens of thousands of dollars of solar PV on their roof can pay less than their fair share.
KIUC doesn’t have a limit on solar PV generation. KIUC wants more solar PV generation and is busy interconnecting to more members with solar PV all the time. They are just billed using Schedule Q where KIUC pays you for the electricity you sell back to them at exactly KIUC’s cost to make it. With Schedule Q you have to pay your fair share — and not a cent more — for the poles and wires you use.
The NEM program was around then to encourage people like me to take the risk and it worked. But now that we have an active solar PV industry on Kaua‘i, the ratepayer members of KIUC don’t need to keep subsidizing people who can afford PV.
Walt Barnes, Former KIUC director
Don’t hate the player
I don’t know what it is, but everywhere I look I see problems and suffering with a solution not out of reach.
Could it be if there’s no problems then there is no money to be made? For example, our cows are some of the world’s best, yet we buy our beef and milk elsewhere.
I see jobs for a lot of people, self-sustainability and an un-relinquishable fuel/energy source. How you ask? Manure is a prime source of methane which if harvested could replace our dependency on propane and power our electric plants to lower costs.
Our government would rather build bridges to help the bottleneck effect on the Eastside rather than build factories that would feed and employ the people of Kaua‘i.
On another note … Why is it so bad to smoke marijuana? Wherever I go it’s “be above the influence,” but let’s go to the bar and drink responsibly or in moderation.
They pass laws that make it so you have to be a contractor to “protect” the people in regards to what happened after Iniki but all they did was invite contractors from around the world to come here and tell everyone how to live their lives and take all the jobs.
They drug test everyone which condemns you if you smoke marijuana. Now, because of something you did three weeks ago on your time, it costs you your job. But you can drink, pop pills, snort or rock the bowl and be clear in a matter of days; which to me is what these tests promote people to do.
Not many people are happy with the reality they’re dealt and often find some kind of way to escape. Some people might not like my views or the way I express them, to all of you remember this quote; “In the game of life I am a player; don’t hate the player, hate your game.”
James Langtad, Wailua Homesteads
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