Going Solar: Part 6 – The first MWh

first Mwh

67 days since going live and I’ve passed the 1 Megawatthour mark, even with a system which is smaller than desired.

I’m glad I opted to go ahead and install the small capacity which the utility (SCE) allowed me to install rathar than waiting until they responded to my request for a larger installation (which I have yet to receive a response from beyond that it has been received), but I do have a serious case of panel envy as I drive past other homes in my area with significantly larger arrays.  It bothers me on a fundamental level that when I had space, budget, and desire to install a larger system and make a self-funded positive contribution to the energy situation in my local area the utility stopped me from doing so on an economic rathar than a technical basis.  I could have seen the issue differently if my installation was limited by the current carrying capability of the powerlines, or if everyone was limited to the same size of installation, but a limit based on allowing only that size system to be installed which is rated at or below your average usage for the past 12 months prior to installing the system is simply wrong.  It does not take into account local variations such as being shaded part of the day, nor the expected decrease in production over the lifespan of the system (expected to be approximately 20% over 25 years) nor does it encourage or reward those who live energy efficient lifestyles.   Even when I generate more than I use I still pay approximately $10 a month in minimum usage fees and taxes for the privilege of being connected to the grid.  On top of this, when the grid is overloaded I remain subject to brownouts, during which the utility can choose to disable my array if the grid falls below a certain voltage threshold. It’s a classic case of corporate greed overriding technical solutions to issues.

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