Is the electricity really cheaper?

Discussion in 'Prime Fuel Economy & EV Range' started by NMPP, Nov 18, 2018.

  1. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

    Nov 8, 2015
    New England
    2021 Prius Prime
    Thank you for this information. I suspect that is also true for our region at least for now and foreseeable near future. That is another reason, I don't want to invest $30K now on my rooftop of the house that I don't know if I would be living in the next 30 years.

    I have taken a class on solar and alternative energy, and the instructor of this class was very much like your friend. A retired engineer with a passion for living independently. He also lives in a totally off-grid house although I have not visited his residence. He has given a lecture on how "cheaply" you can find and buy solar equipment including batteries. I don't think I have the knowledge and skills to copy what he and your friends do, but my hope is to design and build a tiny house with passive solar heating with off-grid PV and battery for the only essential electronics to retire in it. The simpler and smaller are better in my view.
    jerrymildred likes this.
  2. Terrell

    Terrell Old-Timer

    Feb 10, 2010
    2010 Prius
    Our electric company has a wrinkle to their payouts: If in 12 months you buy more energy from them than you export to them, they consider you a "Purchaser," and the rate they pay for your exported kWh is the same as what they charge anyone.

    BUT, if you export more kWh than you buy, you are considered a "Seller," and they buy your exported power at a much lower rate.

    Without the monthly "fees" of roughly $20.00,
    Current "Purchaser" rate Winter: $ 0.12733 / kWh. Summer: $ 0.13850 / kWh
    Current buyback rate for "Seller": $ 0.08447 / kWh (but they are allowed to go as low as $ 0.02340 / kWh).

    The first 12 months they consider you a "Purchaser," then they go month by month based on the previous 12 months. That's why our credit for exported power suddenly dropped, because our solar panels have been generating more power than we buy.

    Some things we were not told. For example, the above "Seller" info. Also that "during the winter the sun would warm the panels enough that accumulated snow would slide off." Nope! After a snow storm the snow just sits there until warmer days. So in Dec, Jan & Feb they didn't generate much power at all. Another inaccurate statement was "charges for energy will be rising at X% per year, so with solar, you'll save/earn more and more as the years go by." At this point, I told the sales guy to close his laptop with all the charts and projections on graphs, because I knew that the rates of our electric company have not changed much over the years. It's a public utility.

    So, bottom line: I am happy to be generating power, which is silent and I don't need to do anything (much) to maintain, to receive a credit on our electric bill which sometimes also offsets the "fees" as well as the gas bill, lower energy bills, to be producing clean energy, to have a new roof with new sheets and shingles (needed to support the weight of the solar, because our old roof was rotting), and to have power which we do not pay for (well, sort of, ignoring the initial costs) running things in the house when the sun is shining.

    What I don't know with changes of rates, terms, weather with variance of snow, sun, possible hail damage, tornadoes, etc. is when our solar investment will pay for itself. Where to invest money? In the stock market? Variances there as well, but it's been doing pretty well. I just hate paying taxes on the earnings. In a savings account? Hah - that doesn't even keep pace with inflation. In solar? Sure, why not? Everything we do is at risk. Plus, nothing is really free. So, as they say, "Enjoy it while the sun is shining!" ;)
    Salamander_King and jerrymildred like this.
  3. Ovation

    Ovation Junior Member

    May 11, 2021
    2021 Prius Prime
    Don’t know about adding solar to my house but I can state definitively that electric is cheaper than gas where I live. Using my current electric price of 9 cents/kWh vs 1.30$/litre for gas, it’s costing me 2 cents/km on electric “fuel” and 6 cents/km on gas. No way I will skip charging as a rule.