Family’s Solar Panels TOO Powerful and Shut Down by Utility Company.

Now, regardless of how you feel about regulations in general, which dim bulb came up with this?

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In a time when many people are going on and on about green energy, it’s unsurprising that a Southern California couple would opt to put solar cells on their own home. After all, cutting your power bill is a common reason to adopt solar. However, for this SoCal family, apparently their solar has been deemed as working too well, and subsequently blocked by their local utility company.

From The Week:

Looking to slash their electric bill, retired couple Ron and Sarah Hall installed solar panels on their Southern California home. Nearly a year later, they haven’t saved a dime.

The panels are considered too powerful, NBC Los Angeles reports, and were never turned on. A company called Solar City installed 36 panels on the Hall’s Lake Elsinore house for free; they would make their money back by filling out rebates through residential energy conservation programs. SoCal Edison, however, would not let the couple activate their system because it exceeded California’s standards for residential energy production. “They’re saying that the system that I have will generate 128 percent, that’s 28 percent over what they estimated,” Ron Hall said.

The problem isn’t necessarily the fact that the panels would generate wasted electricity, NBC Los Angeles explains. Instead, the state is concerned that homeowners could sell their excess energy.

As a result of this fear, California would require the Hall’s to adhere to business regulations.

Now, regardless of how you feel about regulations in general, can’t we all agree that this is just dim witted?  Plenty of states permit solar panel owners to sell excess power to the electric company without having to jump through more hoops than a dolphin auditioning for a gig at Sea World.  They simply send a check for the excess..

Meanwhile, California maintains a reputation as being one of the more environmentally friendly states in the nation.  Really?  Maybe it’s time to realize that sometimes regulations are a problem, especially when it gets in the way of a retired couple trying to save a bit of money on their light bill.  While we’re at it, can someone explain the evil of a retired couple supplementing their income with some excess electricity? We’re asking because we ain’t seeing it.

Perhaps California will come to learn that when you make it a pain for people to do something, they just won’t do it.  If you want folks to put solar cells on their houses, don’t punish them because it works a little too well.

Just a thought.

Photo Credit: American Solar Direct
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1 comment

  1. Sheri Reply

    This article is stating that the panels were “free” to the homeowners. I checked out a current offered solar program in my state of Washington and it’s not free at all. Lower cost incentives “yes” but still out of pocket very expensive. I got several quotes (3) and they all came in at 30 thousand or a bit higher. You have to realized the total life expectancy per panel is only 25 years and they start to diminish conversion power several years prior to the 25 year warranty expiration. You also have to make sure it’s installed on a new 25 year roof. Removal and re-install by other people voids warranty. It would have cost me more out of pocket over 25 years to install their solar panels than to stay hooked to my power company. Also, the state deal is they buy back the excess solar energy “only up to a certain dollar amount” and that has a low ceiling amount; this is applied as a “credit” to your account and is mostly used up in the winter months when solar collecting is lower. If you don’t use it all in that year it’s a (+$) to your power company. Learn to read your power bill and add up your total usage and cost per year. I did some price hunting on the solar panels and found that the $1200.00 per panel it would have cost me from solar companies was actually $250.00 per panel at other sources and that was “apples for apples” on the product. HomeDepot had some pretty good package deals. Also remember “roof weight load”. Panel weight and area can put extra stress on your roof trusses and wall studs. Check with an engineer in the event your truss and wall studs need beefing up with additional supports. All 3 companies I dealt with would not even talk to me about going “Off-Grid”, nor would they even give me a price. One company was honest with me and told me that the panel system would have only provided me with 75% of my annual power needs. The other 2 companies lied to me. If I ever choose to do a solar panel system, because of what I’ve learned, I would try to avoid installing them on my roof, choosing instead my south facing upper deck and deck walkway. This way the panels would not only provide solar power but rain cover protection (storms from the south lash our homes) and more deck shade/sun protection in the summer.