Jim Wong

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since Apr 19, 2018
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Recent posts by Jim Wong



The concept of net-metering is simple. The power you generate with solar panels, minus the power you use, equals a net amount of electricity. Most of us are connected to a grid, so we don’t need batteries to store that excess energy.

Instead, it is just fed into the grid and your neighbors use that electricity. Then at night, when the solar panels are inactive, you use electricity and it’s fed back to your home from the grid. The way to measure how much you generate, how much you use, and how much you give to the grid is with a meter that runs both backward and forward. The measuring process of that meter is called net metering. It’s simple in theory, but there is some more to it.

Augment Solar Power With a Net-Metering Agreement
Net metering agreements are mandated at a state level in 43 out of the 50 states and in Washington DC, but even in states where they don’t mandate net-metering agreements, most utilities still have their own programs.

Most will also come out and install the special meters themselves at no charge. If you are going to feed power back into the grid, the people who handle the grid will want to make sure everything is installed right.

Check out FreeingTheGrid Net-Metering Grade State Map to see where your state stands in terms of net metering.

Solar Power Moves Bidirectional Meters
Most meters are the simple bidirectional meters that spin backward to record energy flowing from their system to the utility grid, and they are currently eligible for net energy metering. The basic version of these meters are referred to as "non-time-of-use meters" because they don’t record when electricity was used, only how much was used. Some utilities may want two meters for net energy metering, one to measure electricity going from the grid to your home or business, and one to measure surplus energy going from your system to the grid.
Time-of-use (TOU) meters are more sophisticated, recording when electricity is used and allowing the utility to charge different rates at different times of the day or week. These meters can work in your favor because many times you generate power in peak times of the day and send it back to them when they charge higher rates. Then at night when rates are less expensive, you use power from the grid.

At the end of each month, if you use more power than you generate, you pay the utility that bill, if you use less power, then those credits are carried over to the next month. At the end of the year, you will receive a “true-up” bill from your utility that shows how much power you generated, and how much you used. That leftover power can turn into cash with some utilities. They may pay you the wholesale rate they use when purchasing power from other power companies, but cash from the utility is a lot better than owing them money.

Solar Power Billing with Net Energy Metering
Under a net energy metering agreement, your utility will continue to read your meter monthly and you will receive a monthly statement indicating the net amount of electricity you consumed or exported to the utility grid during that billing period. If you are a residential or small commercial customer, you have the option of paying the utility for your net consumption monthly or settling your account every 12 months. Contact your utility for billing options.

Residential Solar Power Eligibility
You are eligible for net energy metering if you are a retail customer of an electric utility in California, you generate at least some of your electricity using solar or wind energy or other qualified generating technologies on your premise, and your generating system's peak capacity output is 1,000 kW or less. Here is the actual copy of what SMUD the local Sacramento Utility says:

The net metering option applies to residential, commercial/industrial, and agricultural customers who have a solar or wind electrical generation facility, a hybrid system of both, or a biomass facility with a capacity of not more than 1000 kilowatts. The facility must be located on the customer's premises, operate in parallel with SMUD's transmission and distribution facilities, and must be intended primarily to offset part or all of the customer's own electrical requirements. For SMUD-supplied photovoltaic (PV) systems, an additional meter for PV generation will be supplied as part of the system package. (B) Large Commercial > 20 kW; Agricultural Customers > 30 kW SMUD will pay for and install a single meter, or an equivalent means of metering, capable of registering the flow of electricity in both directions. The customer may be required to pay the cost differential between standard metering and bi-directional metering. For SMUD-supplied photovoltaic (PV) systems, an additional meter for PV generation will be supplied as part of the system package.

Residential Solar Power Helps the Grid with Net-Metering
Net-metering works for both residential and commercial use. It saves homeowners money every month, but an amazing unintended benefit of net metering is that on really hot days when the power grid is loaded, homes and businesses that feed electricity back into the grid help alleviate that load.

There you have it. Net-metering explained. The electricity that your solar panels generate serves your home’s energy needs and reduces your monthly electric bill. The utility We automatically supply additional power to your home when needed day or night. When your system generates more electricity than your home can use, the surplus energy exports to the electric grid, helping everyone else.

To learn more about how you can participate in the solar power revolution, you can visit HahaSmart, and try out our DIY tool. You can see how solar panels look on your roof, and you can design a solar panel system that allows you to participate in net-metering. We can even recommend certified installers who can save you money.

For information relating to going solar don’t forget to visit our solar blog section for more handy guides and articles.

Read more from our blog section here https://hahasmart.com/blog
9 months ago
As the solar revolution continues to grow, owners of condo, lofts, and townhomes felt left out because they usually had to battle their homeowners associations to add solar. Thanks to a change in California law, homeowners no longer have to get approval from the HOAs.

All you have to do is search “HOA problems” to get more results than you could read in a lifetime.

While rules on the appearance of buildings and surrounding property is a great way to ensure community standards, many times these rules can restrict people in ways that were never intended. Thanks to these new laws, California HOAs can’t obstruct solar installations on their properties.

REMOVE HOA CONTROL OVER SOLAR INSTALLATIONS
Under the new law, HOAs cannot prohibit solar installations. They must conform to the state solar policy. Here is quick summary of the law.

If a condo owner wants to install solar panels on their own rooftop, adjacent garage, or carport, HOAs can no longer prohibit them or require a member vote for approval. If a condo owner wants to install solar panels onto a common rooftop, garage, or carport, the condo owners might require a solar site survey before the installations. The survey determines the breakdown of usable space among all homeowners sharing the area designated for potential solar hardware.

This way the installation can be on a common roof, or covering a parking lot that everyone shares, for example. Everyone gets their own designated solar panels and even though they are all tied together, condo owners won’t end up paying for their neighbors’ electricity.

The only case where the HOA could deny the solar installation is if the site survey determines that the rooftop solar system would be impractical or if space allocation is impossible.

This law change will make solar adoption in condos far easier and more likely for these shared-space buildings.

A good way to think of it is if half of the condo owners want to install solar panels on the property, and they have enough money and space for the project, then they can do it. The other owners don’t have to buy into the solar panels, but because of the shared cost and the obvious benefits, many of them will buy into the project, making the cost better for everyone.

The market was already heading in this direction. Developers already build condos with solar panels, this law just speeds the process up and allows existing condo owners to join the solar revolution.

HOMEOWNERS HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY
It is important to understand that this new law does come with some requirements. Solar applicants in multifamily dwellings with common roof areas will likely have to notify each owner in the building of the proposed solar installation. If you share a roof with your neighbor, even though you have your own roof over your condo, you probably have to notify your neighbors that a solar panel installation is coming.

Owners who apply for a solar installation through the HOA might also be required to have homeowner liability coverage. They would need to provide the HOA with proof of insurance within 14 days of approval, and they would need to show proof every year.

Owners of the solar condo property would be responsible for:

The costs for damage to any common area resulting from installation, maintenance, repair, removal, or replacement of the solar installation.
The costs for maintenance, repair, and replacement of the solar installation.
The restoration of all common areas and separate interests if the solar system is removed.
Disclosing the solar installation to prospective buyers and anyone related to the property.

EXCITING TIME FOR CONDO OWNERS
Right now is an exciting time for condo owners in California who feel they are missing the solar revolution. Solar is better, more powerful, and less expensive than ever.  Now because it is extended to condo owners under the rule of homeowners associations, everyone who owns a condo or a townhome can enjoy the benefits of going solar.

It is also important to note that even if you live in a Condo that is installing solar in a shared space, everyone still qualifies for the Federal Solar Tax credit, which allows the condo owners to use 30 percent of the cost as a tax deduction, and the 30 percent credit is in effect until 2020

If you want more information, please visit us at  HahaSmart and see how we can save condo owners money and guide them through the whole solar panel installation process.
9 months ago
I personally have condo and am currently fighting the homeowners association, the only down fall can be getting through the homeowners association, ten of us want to add solar to the apartment, however the home was built before 1978, so it should go through according to the CA Gov site:

http://ohp.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=25664

9 months ago
It's been a big question to many homeowners, how can you save fast? Will my savings outweigh what I would pay on an electric bill? How much money can you potentially save by the end of the year?

In short you may jump to the conclusion that your home is not big enough to save enough, but that's not true, installing home solar will immediately stop your bills, and you may find yourself not paying too much out of pocket after installation. Plus depending on your state, your tax incentives could be huge!

Site like this will help
http://www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov/consumers/taxcredits.php
https://hahasmart.com/design-diy
9 months ago
OK, thanks for the tip, I just checked out a site that helped me enough to get my questions answered, but I will refer them to you here if it works out!
9 months ago