Campaign Update & Early Voting 

 

Voting is underway. People who vote by mail started receiving their ballots last week and are sending them in. I've been walking around, ringing the doorbells of complete strangers, and I have been pleased to meet people who have already voted for me.  

 

Early voting in Moapa Valley is Monday, October 27 at the Moapa Valley Community Center, 320 N. Moapa Boulevard. In Mesquite, it is Tuesday and Wednesday, October 28 and 29 at the Deuce Building, 150 N. Yucca Street.  Let's all get out and vote on these early days. That way you know it's done and there is no way something can happen on election day that prevents you from voting.  

 

I'm optimistic I will be elected, but the final count may be very close. I will need every one of your votes. Thank you for reading the newsletter and considering whether you will vote for me.

Solar News 
 

I ran into some news about solar that is interesting.  

 

First, we knew that solar prices have come down fast, but it's nice to see numbers in print. ThinkProgress.org reports that costs of utility-size arrays have come down 59 percent more than was predicted only four years ago, in 2010. See THIS.  These 5-MW and larger arrays now cost about $1.80 per Watt. Prices for fully installed home arrays of 5-kW or so now cost under $4 per Watt. Costs depend on location, which is probably due to labor costs. The lowest cost is in Florida, at $3.33 per Watt.

 

Second is an article at Solarpowerrocks.com that ranks states according to favorability for solar installations. See THIS. Nevada ranks 14th out of 51 (counting D.C.). Ranking is based on many factors. Despite being a bit short of sunshine, some of the northeastern states rank very high. This is because their electric rates are high, so that the payback time for an array is short.


Solar Arrays & 
Net Metering 
 

Net Metering is the way electric utilities compensate people who generate renewable energy and place unused energy onto the grid for the utility to use.   

 

The picture shows a digital net meter where the left hand number alternates between total energy delivered to the customer, energy received from the customer, and the net energy delivered. 

 

Net Metering means that the meter measures the net amount of electricity used by the customer. Some meters actually run forward when electricity is delivered from the utility to the customer, and backward when the utility receives electricity from the customer. Some meters keep track of three values: the total delivered, the total received, and the net delivered. Either way, true Net Metering occurs when the utility bills the customer for the net amount of electricity delivered. At the end of each billing cycle, if the net amount is negative, meaning that the utility has received more than it delivered, the amount is carried forward as a kWh credit to the next cycle. In most cases, any credit is settled annually, with the utility paying the customer for the net amount received by the utility. This payment is usually at wholesale electricity prices, and is capped to discourage customers from generating much more than they use.

 

Overton Power District does not do true Net Metering. Instead, each billing cycle OPD charges the customer at retail prices for the total amount delivered to the customer. It then credits the customer at wholesale prices for electricity received from the customer. I complained about this at an OPD Board meeting a year ago upon receiving my first bill after installing a solar array. I also wrote a detailed letter to the general manager, who responded some time later, that the policy would not be changed. The main argument used by OPD is that they need to be compensated for use of their facilities in delivering and receiving electricity.

 

What bothers me most is that the OPD Net Metering Policy document implies that OPD does true net metering. The document does not specifically say how the monthly billing is done, and this, if nothing else, should be corrected. The document says that if, over a full year, OPD has received more electricity than it delivered, the customer will be paid at wholesale, up to a maximum of $150.00. This statement is consistent with True Net Metering - which OPD doesn't do.

 

Fairness to all ratepayers is paramount. NV Energy recently commissioned a study which showed that their True Net Metering policy is fair to all, even including their incentives for installing distributed renewable energy. Unfortunately, this study does not apply to OPD, largely because NV Energy is required to have 25 percent renewable energy by 2025, and OPD is unregulated. If elected to be a Trustee of OPD, I will strongly recommend that OPD do a study to determine what would be fair to all ratepayers.

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