Dave Melrose, a reader who is in the solar installation business, commented on my previous article Death knell for net metering. He worries that people could be misinformed because I didn’t make clear that self-generation of electricity remains viable for homeowners.
People tell me a 15-year payback on solar installations is common, even without selling excess power to the utility. However, having studied the financial statements of BC Hydro, I know that huge rate increases are coming. These will shorten the solar system payback considerably.
Deliveries to large industrial users — almost 30% of sales — are below BC Hydro’s marginal cost of power and unneeded electricity is purchased from IPPs in quantities and at prices that are rising steadily. Therefore, rates for residential and small or medium-sized businesses will increase at rates even higher than in the past ten years.
My certainty about future rate increases is revealed by these charts, which show a decade of flat demand, losses hidden by fake accounting and total liabilities that are 250% of the amount reported ten years ago.
The comment by Mr. Melrose is repeated here:
Thanks for a very informative article, and thanks to everyone who has made comments.
As a NABCEP Cetrified PV Installation Professional who recently relocated to B.C. from Utah to continue my career in renewable energy I am deeply concerned with the stance B.C. Hydro is taking on net metering.
I never recommend to my customers that they exceed a 100% offset with their systems so the announcement last Friday doesn’t worry me on that level. I am very worried about what seems like a unilateral decision made by the utility without much concern for approval by the BCUC.
I’ve experienced the hostility and contention between the solar industry and entrenched utilities in the U.S. and the successes and failures in those political battles. It would appear that I will need to continue fighting for my job here in B.C.
To that end I might ask you Norm, would you please write another follow up to this article? I’m beginning to hear from customers that have read portions of this article (and not the comments) who are coming away with the understanding that there is no more net metering at all and they no longer want to install solar.
I’m doing my best to explain the net metering announcement to people one by one but you have the ability to communicate with a much larger audience. The title of your article, while making a statement, is actually hurting the industry as a whole.
People need to know that choosing solar is still a viable option and that if they don’t exceed their own needs the net metering program is still going to benefit them. Thanks for your help.
Rates paid to people contributing electricity through net metering are substantially less than what #SiteC power will cost and it comes with zero capital or maintenance costs to the utility and zero destruction of valuable farmlands and sites of cultural significance. #bcpoli
— Norm Farrell – In-Sights.ca (@Norm_Farrell) April 26, 2018
Categories: BC Hydro