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I’m clueless on this topic and looking for advise or help from someone with more knowledge. We have our appt at our raw land 11.50acres with our local electrical co op on Monday morning. At this appt I’m suppose to find out how far I can go back from FM rd if I want overhead or buried if I want extra security lighting and bulb selections etc I don’t know what I want but that I want the lowest bill possible even if it means high upfront cost. What types of setups are there such as wind or solar for homeowners like myself that could help offset my kilowatt usage from my electric co op. I currently live in a deregulated area so I have super low bills because I can shop around that won’t be the case at the new place. I’m stuck with the co op. Thanks in advance
 

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I was going to send you a private message. Apparently you have your settings so that no one can contact you.

I would be glad to talk to you on the phone about my experience with the coops in two states.
 

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Paying for it is the challenge.
 

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You need to find out the rules from the coop for wind and solar. Being a coop they don't have to allow them if they don't want to or have net metering plan. Until you find that out no since in talking alternative energies.

Getting any kind of security/yard light from them will cost both in a monthly rental fee and electricity usage that you can't control. If you need lighting put in your own that you can control when it's turned on.

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You need to find out the rules from the coop for wind and solar. Being a coop they don't have to allow them if they don't want to or have net metering plan. Until you find that out no since in talking alternative energies.
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I'm not familiar with all the laws everywhere, but I'm pretty sure the utility provider, regardless of who they are, have no say in a person setting up solar or wind..
Their authority stops at their meter... if it didn't, they could then tell you what bushes you can plant and how to cut your grass.

They have the authority to say you can't pump energy backward through their meter, but they can not stop you from going with a hybrid off grid system.

There are solar inverters that have what's called "Grid Zero" technology.. they'll store energy but they won't allow it to be pumped into the utility grid.
 

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Getting any kind of security/yard light from them will cost both in a monthly rental fee and electricity usage that you can't control.
Here it's just a monthly fee and the power isn't run through a meter.
It's better to just buy your own lights and put them on switches to be used as desired.

If you want to learn about solar set ups, go here and read:

https://www.solarpaneltalk.com/forum

There are some real experts there who have been into it for many years.
 

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Just howling at the moon
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I'm not familiar with all the laws everywhere, but I'm pretty sure the utility provider, regardless of who they are, have no say in a person setting up solar or wind..
Their authority stops at their meter... if it didn't, they could then tell you what bushes you can plant and how to cut your grass.

Federal regulations don't require coops to allow customer generation. So if they don't want you to have solar or wind they don't have to allow it. I don't know of any state that has overruled this.

They have the authority to say you can't pump energy backward through their meter, but they can not stop you from going with a hybrid off grid system.

Yes they can by federal regulations. Since the customers are the coop owners they can set whatever rules they want and federal regs allow it.

There are solar inverters that have what's called "Grid Zero" technology.. they'll store energy but they won't allow it to be pumped into the utility grid.

They don't store any power. Just don't allow it to be pushed back to the grid.
See above.

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I got a rough estimate for installing solar on a new build outside of Austin.

$25,000

I just finished construction of an energy efficient home. My electric bill is under $80 per month.

It is not even remotely cost effective to install solar for my situation.
 

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First off, please quote using the forum function, it makes it much easier to respond to as it eliminates confusion.

Federal regulations don't require coops to allow customer generation. So if they don't want you to have solar or wind they don't have to allow it. I don't know of any state that has overruled this.
I'm looking into this now but it doesn't make sense. That statement would technically mean you couldn't put a solar panel on your chicken coop, or even use a solar powered calculator. I see no way in which they could legally enforce these rules. That said, I'm not at all familiar with the actual laws in place and maybe perhaps they can do whatever they want. As I said, I'm doing some research now on it.
In my research, I'm a bit bewildered by some of the terminology as these articles and media reports keep using the term "distributed solar" or "distributed generation".. those specific phrases usually mean a solar system that is tied to the grid power and almost never means an off grid system. Not sure if the media reports are using the appropriate terms however as one would need to be very familiar with solar to know.

Still researching

Yes they can by federal regulations. Since the customers are the coop owners they can set whatever rules they want and federal regs allow it.
Can you post a link to this regulation? I can't find anything that would prevent someone from adding an off grid/hybrid system to their home. I found the parts where the coop can prevent net metering or prevent you from tying into their system, but nothing that would prevent someone from installing batteries and running off them AND having the grid power as backup.
As I said above, the terminology is confusing to say the least.

They don't store any power. Just don't allow it to be pushed back to the grid.
I own one (Outback Radian 8048A), yes they do store the power. The way they work is to charge the batteries with solar and run the home off that stored energy. Should the home use more power than the solar array and battery can provide, they then suck in power from the grid to assist the batteries.
They will not, however, send excess energy from the array back into the grid once the batteries are fully charged.


One more thought about the coop's preventing solar.. Seems to me that every homeowner has the fundamental right to protect their family and their homes. That said, a solar backup system would go a long way to preventing a basement from flooding or food spoilage should the coop grid go down due to storms.

What are they going to do, say "oh, you own a portable coleman generator and that's not allowed" ???

If the coop was somehow legally able to prevent these systems from being installed, they would be exercising a level of power and control over people that is only found within homeowner associations.

I find it very difficult to believe they have that much control and am still of the "uninformed" opinion that all the controversy is centered around grid tied systems.

As I said, the terminology is very confusing and stuffed full of "what ifs" and "how about this" questions. What if you put up a shed 300 feet from your home and want to put in a solar powered light??? What if you have a pond 300 yards out and want to install a solar powered aerator? Are they able to force you to run $1000 worth of power out there? What about solar garden lights? Or a solar powered security light?

It doesn't add up.. but then I don't have all the facts yet so I say that with reservations.
 

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From my co-op.....

https://www.pec.coop/your-service/solar-options/system-interconnection/

When you interconnect your own generation equipment with our distribution system, you’ll get more than a measure of grid independence. Whether you own solar panels, wind turbines or other small power-production equipment, the meter at your location will measure the amount of electricity you draw from our system as well as the amount of electricity exported to our grid by your equipment. This is called net metering.

Until your bill is reduced to zero, you’ll be credited at our full rate for the energy you generate. If you generate more power than you use during a given billing period, that amount will be credited at our net energy credit rate, which is our fuel cost with no capacity component.
 
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Discussion Starter #15
If you want to go solar, I can calculate your needs and tell you how to set it up..
Murby that sounds great. I’m pretty sure I will still need electricity from my local provider but I hope to start small and grow to know more about ways I can rely on them less and have my own sources more. Even if it’s just small ways. Anything helps right.
 

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You need to find out the rules from the coop for wind and solar. Being a coop they don't have to allow them if they don't want to or have net metering plan. Until you find that out no since in talking alternative energies.

Getting any kind of security/yard light from them will cost both in a monthly rental fee and electricity usage that you can't control. If you need lighting put in your own that you can control when it's turned on.

WWW
I was under the impression they don’t really care what I do as long as it don’t involve them. If a person buys a crap load of solar landscaping lights nobody says nothing. Same like now I have 4 exterior solar lights at each corner of my home my electric company don’t know and don’t care no way could they monitor all that. I’m not sure what you mean by saying I need to speak with the co op first?
 

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Which coop is it?
 

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You can click on my name and one option that comes up should be to start a conversation.

I think if you go to the top of this page, you will see a little person thing. Click on that and look in the privacy options. Scroll down. The start conversation option is near the bottom of the privacy page.
 

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Same like now I have 4 exterior solar lights at each corner of my home my electric company don’t know and don’t care no way could they monitor all that. I’m not sure what you mean by saying I need to speak with the co op first?
They usually don't care what you do as long as it's not connected to their system in any way.
 
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