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Discussion Starter #1
I'm visiting relatives in the Houston area today. While watching TV, a TXU Energy ad popped in offering "Free Solar Days." On their site, the plan that the commercial was referring to is called "Free Nights & Solar Days 18." The "18" is for the term months of the plan.

TXU buys solar from a utility-grade farm and wind from a similar source. The customer gets the benefit without having to invest in their own installation. Sweet!

Below is a link to the particulars. Of note is an early cancellation fee of nearly $300. Doing the math, it looks like a plan I would pick if I'm at home or have loved ones at home during the daytime hours. Daytime is measured from 6 A.M. to 9 P.M.

https://www.txu.com/Handlers/PDFGen...=EnergyFactsLabel&custClass=3&tdsp=ER_CENTERP
 

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That is one outrageously expensive plan. I have averaged around $0.06/kWh in Texas for several years. $0.15/kWh is a terrible ripoff.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The benefit is realized from not paying for daytime usage "if you're (or your family) at home" during the day. If no one is at home during the heat of the day, you're correct - it's not a bargain then.

We've used about 3.4 MWh/month at our place during some of the summer months in San Antonio. Most of that is daytime cooling. I've not looked at the graphs, but I'd imagine only <500 kWh of that is night-time (9 PM-6AM) usage - for which we'd pay ~ $75 (all in). I'll take that.
 

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Houston is open to Competition. There are rate plans (I use) where the power is 7 cents/KWH AND you get an $80 bill credit if total usage is between 1000 and 2000 KWs. I strive to always land in that sweet spot had have bills between $32 and up to $90 for 1300 to 1800 kw. 15 Cent is really high, especially given that you to sure to turn AC OFF during every day. I can get the cost under 4 cents.

 

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You're both correct. But you hit on the key - "...sure to turn AC OFF during every day." But when your family is at home everyday with the AC cranking in the Texas heat (and the pool pump, etc), that's where the savings could be realized with the TXU plan.

Our pool pump alone uses ~300 kWh/month.
 

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Except when you turn the AC off, the house and all the contents get hot, then you crank it on full blast to cool the house, does it really save that much?

We're seeing 100 degree days in IL. I'm so glad I didn't move to Austin as many of my coworkers did. I can tolerate it for a few days here and there, but not all summer long.

As for the price, sometimes people like to pay a bit more to be green.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Except when you turn the AC off, the house and all the contents get hot, then you crank it on full blast to cool the house, does it really save that much?

We're seeing 100 degree days in IL. I'm so glad I didn't move to Austin as many of my coworkers did. I can tolerate it for a few days here and there, but not all summer long.
I played that experiment out a few years back. Yes, we did save when my wife was working. By throttling the AC back to 80* while we were both away during the day, then back to comfortable about 30 minutes before I arrived home from work. But now that my wife has retired, she's home all day (except for shopping.)

As for temps down here - it's not just us. We were in Salt Lake City, Utah the first couple of weeks of July. Temps there were the same as South Texas - just not as humid.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
As for the price, sometimes people like to pay a bit more to be green.
Just noticed your edit.

As for me, we only strive for "Green" when it keeps/puts green dollars bills in my pocket. One of the criteria that we set when we looked for bids on our array was that it had to pay for itself in 10 years. We're on track for that to now happen in 9 years. Our utility has a wind energy program that doesn't make a bit of sense other than to pat yourself on the back for buying it. Their solar farm participation offer to their customers sold out after only a couple of days offering it. It did make sense - dollar-wise.
 

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Just noticed your edit.

As for me, we only strive for "Green" when it keeps/puts green dollars bills in my pocket. One of the criteria that we set when we looked for bids on our array was that it had to pay for itself in 10 years. We're on track for that to now happen in 9 years. Our utility has a wind energy program that doesn't make a bit of sense other than to pat yourself on the back for buying it. Their solar farm participation offer to their customers sold out after only a couple of days offering it. It did make sense - dollar-wise.
Every few years I look at solar, crunch the numbers, and it always seems to come out that my power bill needs to double, or the price of the panels and inverter(s) needs to be half price, or the efficiency needs to double before I can get the math to be forever in my favor. So the new plan is to go ahead and build myself a small solar panel array when the house is paid off, then add to it a little at a time until I become net neutral. Hopefully the energetic companies don't lobby to change the laws that currently allow me to put energy in the grid and save it for when I want to pull from the grid in the winter. With my geothermal system I have super efficient coloring, not so efficient heating, but no dino juice is directly burned to heat the house, only indirectly with whatever the power company uses to generate electricity. I will reduce that carbon footprint via solar panels if I don't die first. It's just a big game of monopoly...I've got the house, probably a couple cars, the last kid's college tuition, maybe a couple of weddings, then it's downhill from there.

Then again, there was another job scare earlier this week. That's 3 in 5 years, though thinking back, no job has ever been secure. Only as secure as you have the confidence and ability to get out there, kill something, and bring it home.
 

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Houston is open to Competition. There are rate plans (I use) where the power is 7 cents/KWH AND you get an $80 bill credit if total usage is between 1000 and 2000 KWs. I strive to always land in that sweet spot had have bills between $32 and up to $90 for 1300 to 1800 kw. 15 Cent is really high, especially given that you to sure to turn AC OFF during every day. I can get the cost under 4 cents.

I drool over you guys paying so little for a kWh! On Long Island, I paid PSEGLI 21 cents per kWh last month, when including the surcharges, taxes, etc..:p
 

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Every few years I look at solar, crunch the numbers, and it always seems to come out that my power bill needs to double, or the price of the panels and inverter(s) needs to be half price, or the efficiency needs to double before I can get the math to be forever in my favor. So the new plan is to go ahead and build myself a small solar panel array when the house is paid off, then add to it a little at a time until I become net neutral. Hopefully the energetic companies don't lobby to change the laws that currently allow me to put energy in the grid and save it for when I want to pull from the grid in the winter. With my geothermal system I have super efficient coloring, not so efficient heating, but no dino juice is directly burned to heat the house, only indirectly with whatever the power company uses to generate electricity. I will reduce that carbon footprint via solar panels if I don't die first. It's just a big game of monopoly...I've got the house, probably a couple cars, the last kid's college tuition, maybe a couple of weddings, then it's downhill from there.

Then again, there was another job scare earlier this week. That's 3 in 5 years, though thinking back, no job has ever been secure. Only as secure as you have the confidence and ability to get out there, kill something, and bring it home.
Does your math include smaller PV systems that only offset higher tier usage? To start with, I'm going to be putting a small (~3 kW) system up. Enough to offset the Tier 2/Tier 3 usage plans. With the tax credit, it will pay for itself in about five years. If/when we are powering more EVs at home, I'll expand the system.
 

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Does your math include smaller PV systems that only offset higher tier usage? To start with, I'm going to be putting a small (~3 kW) system up. Enough to offset the Tier 2/Tier 3 usage plans. With the tax credit, it will pay for itself in about five years. If/when we are powering more EVs at home, I'll expand the system.
You Californians have very expensive power. Here in IL my rate is 3-6 cents per KWH and with taxes and combining the fees, the total comes out to 9-12 cent per kWh. Switching to tiered pricing barely changes the numbers since the non-tiered is so low. I'm paying $150-200 per month to cool 6k sq feet with my geothermal system which costs about the same the conventional AC electrical usage in my previous house 1/3rd the size. The only heating option here in the country is propane which costs $400-600 per month with my old smaller house, the new house with geothermal costs about the same. A big grid tie system with inverter installed myself, using an electrician for the final hookup, and taking advantage of all the state and federal incentives will still take 10+ years to recoup the costs.

Is it wrong to hope for higher utility rates to make this work out? Similarly, I'd like to see the government tack on an extra $1-2 tax to the gas prices to push people away from SUVs and towards more fuel efficient vehicles. When I bought my volt, the car almost paid for itself when fuel was $4 per gallon. But when the price dropped, that benefit was diminished.
 

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I have this plan now, and had the regular "Free Nights" program for the past three years. Considering I've shifted charging both cars at night, I get to crank the AC down to 68F, most of my pool's filtration and chlorine generation is during these hours, and the dishwasher, washer/dryer, and even most oven baking starts after 9PM, my average price per kWh drops to ~5-6 cents. When I get my Powerwalls hooked up, they'll offset the daytime cost, even more.
 

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You Californians have very expensive power. Here in IL my rate is 3-6 cents per KWH and with taxes and combining the fees, the total comes out to 9-12 cent per kWh. Switching to tiered pricing barely changes the numbers since the non-tiered is so low. I'm paying $150-200 per month to cool 6k sq feet with my geothermal system which costs about the same the conventional AC electrical usage in my previous house 1/3rd the size. The only heating option here in the country is propane which costs $400-600 per month with my old smaller house, the new house with geothermal costs about the same. A big grid tie system with inverter installed myself, using an electrician for the final hookup, and taking advantage of all the state and federal incentives will still take 10+ years to recoup the costs.

Is it wrong to hope for higher utility rates to make this work out? Similarly, I'd like to see the government tack on an extra $1-2 tax to the gas prices to push people away from SUVs and towards more fuel efficient vehicles. When I bought my volt, the car almost paid for itself when fuel was $4 per gallon. But when the price dropped, that benefit was diminished.
Yeah. I'm talking about offsetting down to the $0.12 per kWh rate. With rates that low, it's not surprising that so few people have transitioned to solar. On an industrial scale, solar has become cheaper than any of the fossil fuel plants, but I guess it will still take some time before individual PV arrays can compete.
 

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I just locked a 36 month Electric contract for 7 cents per kWh here in TX... 100% renewable source as well. No base fees, no time of use, nothing. Free nights would be a gimmick for me anyways since I work nights and am never home anyways charging for me always starts at 8am when I get home.

My parents switched to TXU (briefly) they got screwed around so hard from whatever billing errors they made, was a nightmare to resolve. TXU could offer me 5 cents per kwh and I still wouldnt' take it based on their customer service problems alone.
 
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