Friday, November 30, 2012

No More SRECs for Me

As of tomorrow, New Jersey will no longer award SRECs based on estimates.  Instead, only numbers from "revenue grade" meters will be accepted.  I'm still not clear on the process.  If I upgraded my meter, would I be the one reading the meter and forwarding the reading?  To whom would I report it?  My broker?  Is that any more reliable than an estimate?

And why isn't my meter good enough to report power generation when it is deemed perfectly fine for reporting and billing me for power consumption?  What's wrong with this picture?

But I did get the word from my broker that my net meter isn't good enough.  With the abysmal rates that SRECs are selling for, I've decided not to invest any money in buying a new meter.  Besides the cost, it would be a bureaucratic clusterF to

    1) Identify a suitable meter.
    2) Explain this mess to an electrician and get a price.
    3) Get any needed approvals.
    4) Hope my broker agrees that it's good enough (they don't seem to have a list of acceptable ones).
    5+) etc.

For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know how these things work.  It takes so much time just to explain questions and issues even before anybody starts trying to resolve them.

I'm disappointed about this.  Loss of SREC income will shove back my payoff date even further into the future (although the plummeting value of the darn things had pretty much already done that).  I feel like I've been shafted by the New Jersey Board of Utilities, who let me install a system and then decided to implement this drastic change.

The various authorities and entities have screwed this up royally.  I'm feeling rather cynical about the whole thing right now.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Now I Must Buy an Expensive New Meter or No More SRECS!

Bad news for me and a lot of solar generators in the Garden State.  Sometimes it's hard not to flip a giant bird at the ruling bodies when these decisions come down.

It seems that the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities is going to require that solar generators like me will need to install a revenue grade production meter (RGM) in order to accumulate SRECs.  And nobody will be grandfathered in.  It's conceivable that my current meter meets that requirement, but I just can't imagine that I have that kind of luck.  I've never had it before.

An RGM is defined as a meter that meets the ANSI C12.1-2008 standard of +/-2% accuracy.  More importantly, it will cost six or seven hundred bucks, all of which would come right out of my pocket.  This pretty much sucks.  I consider it a violation of the contract/agreement that I entered into when I signed up for this whole thing.  But what I think isn't going to matter, of course.

I don't know when this goes into effect.  For all I know it could be immediate.

If this were a year or two ago, the decision would be a no-brainer.  In order to generate a dozen SRECs a year, each of which sold for over $600, would it have been worth it to incur a one-time cost of $600?  Duh.

Now, however, it isn't so easy a call.  SRECs aren't worth the electrons they're printed on.  At the current SREC price, it'll take a year of SREC generation just to cover the cost of the new meter (and regular followers of this blog now that I burned several years off the end of my life convincing PSE&G to install the meter I now have had since July).

It's all so stupid.  The state has failed to do what's necessary to preserve the value of SRECs, which have thus dropped through the floor and are practically worthless.  Now they're exponentially jacking up the price of generating them.    

I hate to be one of those people who goes ballistic about government shortsightedness anytime anything doesn't go their way, but if the shoe fits...