Solar Energy Cost and Net Metering

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1 2007 UI Solar Decathlon Solar Energy Cost and Net Metering SEDAC Workshop Spring 2011 Ty Newell Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering V. President; Newell Instruments, Inc. Newellinstruments.com

2 Solar/Renewable Tax Incentives Estimated to produce 440,000 new jobs in US by 2016 Without tax incentives, job creation ~215,000 States with best incentives create the most jobs (California, New Jersey, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Michigan)...97% of jobs in renewable energy field will be spread among 20 states Unfortunately, Illinois is not among those aggressively providing incentives 3% of jobs created spread over 30 remaining states Source: Economic Impacts of Extending Federal Solar Tax Credits final report by Navigant Consulting, Sept, 2008 (co-authored by Jay Paidipati, UI Alum)

3 If You re Green, You May be Going to Hell Why do we assume that conserving resources, using energy efficiently, and minimally impacting the earth are what we are supposed to be doing? It seems reasonable that sustaining human life on the planet requires living on our daily solar energy allowance, as we have done for millenia. Only over the past two centuries have we deviated from this basis. But, is sustaining the human race important?

4 Brewing My boss (son) harvesting hops from our laboratory great summer shade plant that dies back to its roots in winter Any point of view may be argued do what you think best

5 Grid-tie Solar Energy Systems Connects solar system to utility grid in seamless manner House draws from utility when solar is insufficient Solar flows into utility grid when excess available No batteries solar power connects to circuit breakers just like any other circuit in the house Inverter (converts solar DC voltage to Utility 60hz voltage) monitors Utility and shuts down when Utility is down

6 Steps to Size and Install Solar Energy System Size the solar system based on anticipated load Recommend version 1 of PV Watts from NREL Receive Utility approval for system design (should be simple for systems less than 10kW..residential systems in Illinois should be less than 10kW for all energy needs) Install!

7 PV Watts Output for Equinox House Nominal system size We need 8000kWh for 100% of Equinox House requirements and 2000kWh for 8000 miles of driving Annual output

8 Equinox Solar System Performance PV Watts prediction ~10,300kWh actual ~11,000 to 12,000kWh

9 Utility Process (Ameren) Three Steps: Fill out form to become a distributed generator (small power plant less than 10kW) Fill out application for a bi-directional meter Inspection by utility before permission to come on line $25 application fee Most utilities require accessible disconnect near meter box

10 Net Meter Credit In Illinois, no checks are written for excess electricity (some states have feed-in rates, 3 or 4 times their sell rate to encourage growth) Excess solar energy generated is credited to your account Summer is time to grow energy credit Good synergism with Utility demand At end of solar year (April), credit is zeroed.this is time when house load should be very low, so new credit will begin growing Can convert to time-of-day pricing in Ameren region through Power Smart Pricing program this gives $ credit, which benefits solar because excess in sunny afternoons when energy is $$$, and house needs can be shifted to time when energy is $ (eg, AC and hot water at night) should be able to pay fees with $ credits

11 Newell Instruments 3.2 kwatt System 16 Sanyo 200 PV panels Nominal output = 200 watts per panel under clear sky Two-axis tracker; follows the sun and looks more directly at the sun than fixed slope Two-axis ~25% more energy collection with ~25% more cost (more later) Start digging!

12 200 foot Trench to Lab Building

13 Lifting the Mast Strong Backs Needed (not mine)

14 Pour Cement (~7 cu yds = 1 truckload)

15 Add Tracking Mechanism-More Strong Backs

16 Mount Collectors Alignment Critical!

17 Almost Done

18 Complete July 2008

19 3.2kW NI Laboratory System Cost 16 Solar PV Panels (Sanyo 200) $16,200 Fronius 4kW inverter 2,700 Foundation/site work 3,600 Wattsun 2 axis tracker 5,200 Wire, conduit, switches, etc 1,200 Labor (120 $35/hr) 4,200 Total System Cost $33,100 State Rebate (30% to $33,000 invest) - 9,900 Federal Rebate (30%, $2000 max cred) - 2,000 Net System Cost $21,200 Produces 5500kWh per year (~19.2 cents/kwh)

20 Equinox House 8.2kW System 40 panel packaged system 28,000 Labor (100 $35/hr) 3,500 Steel, wire, post holes, concrete 3,500 Total System Cost $35,000 Federal Rebate (30%, no limit) - 10,500 Net System Cost $24,500 ~Twice the system in 2009 as in 2008 for the same price! -Cost over 20 years is ~12.5 cents per kwh -no escalation of price over lifetime -Solar powered Electric Vehicle cost less than $2 per gallon gas

21 AC Power (Watts) Clear Sky August vs November Aug-08 = 27.7 kw-hr 21-Nov-08 = 23.3kW-hr Cooler temperatures increase solar cell efficiency Tree line on west property line :00 2:24 4:48 7:12 9:36 12:00 14:24 16:48 19:12 21:36 0:00 Time of Day

22 We are in an exciting time! A playground of new things allowing us to create and invent New methods to convert energy New methods to store energy New materials New processes We must remember that the seeds we sow today may not be important for today

23 Thank You! But, given time, our efforts can grow

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