I did a double take when I read this Q&A exchange:
Q. What can people do to protect themselves?
W: People are beginning to understand that they need their own onsite capabilities to island themselves from the grid. That’s because the grid’s external vulnerabilities will continue to be a problem until we do have substantial amounts of distributed generation. I have a solar photovoltaic system that provides 100 percent of my power needs. I am looking into how I can island myself off the grid. But it is not just me, the military is moving toward micro-grids at all of their bases because they understand the vulnerability of those bases to outages.
Who might this person be??? A “crazy prepper” perhaps…?
Solar is more popular than ever because electricity rates from the utilities are inflating pretty quickly.
With this new demand for solar, comes a bunch of fly-by-night "companies" that want to make a quick buck. Many of you have seen it with the roofing companies who were like vultures after the big hail storm. Well, these new "solar installers" are going to cost you a lot more money and give you even more grief.
Pick a company that knows solar. We're proud to say "solar is all we do." We're not "Roofing and Solar" or "General contractor and solar installer". We're solar - 100%.
I love volunteering with the Texas Solar Energy Society and think it's plays an essential role in advocating for Texas solar. It's why we now provide a TXSES membership to each new owner of
a Solar CenTex solar array.
This quarter, I wanted to write about the potential for the solar industry to bring solar jobs to the electric cooperative areas. One can't outsource a solar installer!
For all you cooperative members, please consider engaging your cooperative and ask them to consider solar supportive polices and procedures because the easier (and less expensive) it is for you
to put on solar, the more potential for more local jobs.
Enjoy - I look forward to your comments.
Energy inflation in Texas always seems to be something that happens to somebody else. Well, it’s happening to me right now.
When I meet with potential new customers, I tell them how Solar CenTex models a conservative 3.78% energy inflation rate in our proposals, but that just last year in Texas, electricity prices inflated 9% and they ought to be aware of that.
I’m very careful to say that 9% is not the year on year forecast but with ERCOT having the electric generation challenges it faces over the next decade, I tell those considering solar that when they make that decision to go solar, they’ll be protected against inflation for the decades ahead.
Well…my two year contract with TXU is up and the choices I have aren’t very pretty.
We’ve been with a TXU plan call Texas Choice 24. Its base energy charge is 7.9 cents per kwh. I know that there is the Oncor charge over and above this price (we all do need to pay for the great service that Oncor provides to us – reliable transmission) but for the sake of “apples to apples”, we’ll just talk base charges. I’ve been satisfied with my plan. I knew there were better month to month plans but my family knows it paying a fair price for a 2-year contract.
Imagine my shock when I opened the “Renew now to keep your low rate” letter from TXU. I knew it would be more than my current rate because I’ve been telling everyone, “you don’t see this inflation on a month to month basis, but you’ll see it when you try to renew.”
11 cents per kwh...plus the Oncor charge! Yikes…
We're past the Winter Solstice. Every day is now getting longer and for our current customers, your systems will continue to create more and more electricity everyday. Even in these darkest days of the year, our customers have created as much as 47 kilowatt hours of solar electricity (kWh) in a single day.
Do the math...that's over 1,300 kWh for a month and while everyday is not perfectly clear blue, imagine what 1,000 kWh off your bill would do for your post-Christmas finances. So I hope you make it your resolution to finally put that solar on your home so you too can be free from high electric bills for the next 25+ years.
I'll admit it. Like many people, I never put a lot of thought into roof ventilation. I always thought "attics are hot and that's just how it is in Texas." Well, I learned a lot yesterday from Jim Hudson at Solar Royal Solar Attic Fans and I think the Solar CenTex team's learning experience is going to improve our solar performance for you.
Many thanks to SolarBridge — a great technology company with even greater people. We're excited to use and offer this product to Solar CenTex customers.
I said microinverters will deliver more power to meet your needs and this is proving true already.
My house is already delivering lots of electricity — over 90 kWh over three days, and I still have another roof to install!
Next week check back to see what "Casa Arey" is generating, because we'll link the Home Power Manager portal right to this site.
Solar CenTex can do the same for you. If you want to see my system, just send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I always used 3.78% as the energy inflation rate because that's a number I can get from the Energy Information Agency. It's a conservative number that I used for my solar financial assessments. But I always knew that with Texas having its own grid and market, this number never really depicted our future. There had to be a more local number.
It wasn't until a customer asked last month, "hey, what's the Texas inflation for electricity" that I gave another push to get more accurate data. Here is an article from the Dallas News from last month: it assesses a 9% increase based on data from the Association of Electric Companies of Texas.
Ben and I visited one of our distributors last week and we were introduced to SolarBridge AC solar modules. These are microinverters that are pre-installed to the solar module at the factory and are a completely integrated solution. Better power, longer life, greater fidelity monitoring.
Better power, longer life, greater fidelity monitoring. I was already a microinverter fan and SolarBridge has taken my confidence to a new level.
Check out this video on their reliability by design.
I left a customer's home yesterday and one of the major questions was whether his system would be reliable. The answer is YES!
The PV industry has taken important steps to ensure quality because it knows that quality is essential to industry and company reputation as well as to "bankability" for the major financing that is part of utility-scale solar projects. Check out this link.
When I worked for Nexolon, I knew that selection of module materiels was critical to make sure the module we would sell to San Antonio was going to be producing power for the next 2+ decades.
This same emphasis on quality is in the inverter industry too. The central inverter manufacturers know that the "microinverter" craze with its 20/25 year warranties was a game-changer for them. So now, the current major manufacturers as well as the new inverter makers all have 10-year warranties with optional 15/20 year extended warranties. But having a warranty means they must make the R&D investments so they're not having to pay future warranty claims. New transformerless designs are great for the future - and they're available right now.
When a central inverter solution makes sense for your home and gives the best investment return possible, we'll make it. Know that the inverters we recommend will be quality inverters, backed up by reliable warranties that will protect you for the years ahead.
We are now an authorized partner with Admirals Bank! This means we now have more tools to help you install solar on your home.
Admirals Bank has become an industry leader for "solar" loans. They understand the value of your investment. Solar CenTex is very pleased to be able to work with them.
We like outright ownership of your solar system because you get the full value of the benefits such as federal tax credits and interst deductions. You don't get these with a lease.
Every situation is different but with our new partnership, we have access to their loan modeling tools to help you understand the range of ownership options available to you TODAY!
Admirals Bank financing plus ONCOR PV incentive rebate funding means this really is the best time to put solar on your home. Call us anytime.
This scenario has been setting up for the last 6-9 months and the likely effect on you is an increasing electricity bill. The Texas Public Utilities Commission chose to raise the max allowable rate for wholesale energy to incent investors to build new generation capacity. The PUC has decided that it will share the costs between investors and consumers...you will pay with higher electric bills as new investor-owned generation facilities amortize their investment.
Texas needs new capacity but the PUC could have chosen to get after the problem with other methods like incentives for efficiency and other policy. Many in the broader solar industry wanted "solar carve-outs" in the Texas renewable portfolio standard so that a minimum level of solar was required by policy. This method has led to Texas being #1 in the nation (and #5 in the world if it were a separate nation!) in wind generation.
Nonetheless, by either policy or pure economics, solar power is achieving "grid parity" with traditional generation. Much of solar progress over the last decade has been on cost and technology improvements by the solar industry...now cost increases no the other side are narrowing the gap even more.
Bottom line for you: expect solar payback periods to narrow as Texas' cost/kWh increases.