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Cebeco and Net Metering


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I'm seriously considering the installation of a solar system on my roof and my choice would be a "hybrid system" i.e. grid connected but still with a back-up battery pack in order to have some kind of protection in case of brownout.

I'm gathering the necessary information to apply in the Net Metering program at our local utility (Cebeco) but what i found out really turned me down!

As I understood Cebeco will install 2 digital meters one measuring the "exported" energy (the one flowing from the solar system to the grid) and one for the "imported" energy flowind from the grid to my house.

But that's where the trick comes in:

At the end of each month Cebeco will calculate the difference between the inflow and the outflow then will proceed as follows:

- the IMPORTED energy will be charged at the actual price (about 10P per KWh)

- the EXPORTED energy will be paid at the generation rate  (about 5.3P per KWh)

if the balance is negative I will have to pay the difference between the two amounts in case the balance is positive I will get a credit that will be usable in the following months (Cebeco will not pay cash anything).

What i wonder is: why they don't calculate the difference between the exported-imported energy ??

This situation is really a paradox, if for example you imported 100KWh of energy and you exported 150 KWh you will still have to pay more than 200 P even if you gave 50 KWH of net  energy to the grid!

The only lucky case is when you use the energy instantly as it's produced by the panels during daytime because in this case it will not be measured neither as exported nor as imported.

Does anybody have a real experience about this system?

Electricity is a flow of electrons right? Isn't it weird that the same electrons can double their price just for flowing in one direction instead of another???

Did i understand well or not?

If this is true that would be a GRAVEYARD to the home solar systems here because the payback time of would be extremely long.

 

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thread about net metering

 

http://www.livingincebuforums.com/topic/72619-veco%E2%80%99s-net-metering-encourages-solar-generation-power-savings/#entry841342

 

 

I do not have a cebeco bill here, but I guess that they are paying close to the same as when they buy electricity from any  other vendor.

Edited by Woolf
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The same seems to apply in most counries.

 

They pay you the same as they would pay other energy producers.

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About 4 years ago our government in Ontario Canada offered to pay 43 cents per kw when they were charging around 7 or 8 cents per kw. A big company came into my home ( Sarnia, Ontario ) town and built a huge solar farm, The biggest one in the world at the time ( 1.3 million panels ). They have a contract for 43 cents per kw for 30 years. My province ( Ontario Canada ) have just finished building 7000 90 feet high windmills at a cost of 3 million each wind mill. If you google the info about these windmills you will read all about the pitfalls of operating them, It was a big investment will a small gain  There are companies here that you can rent your roof out to them and they will install panels and give you so much a month.

Edited by sjp
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thread about net metering

 

http://www.livingincebuforums.com/topic/72619-veco%E2%80%99s-net-metering-encourages-solar-generation-power-savings/#entry841342

 

 

I do not have a cebeco bill here, but I guess that they are paying close to the same as when they buy electricity from any  other vendor.

OK, I accept that they will pay me the wholesale price of about 5 pesos per KWh for the EXCESS , i mean for the extra generated energy but what i got to know even from my potential solar installer is different:

they don't calculate the difference between the consumed and the produced ENERGY , they simply measure both flows then appy to them their respective prices (10 and 5.6  pesos).

So the result is completely different!

Anybody as a direct experience about it?

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OK, I accept that they will pay me the wholesale price of about 5 pesos per KWh for the EXCESS , i mean for the extra generated energy but what i got to know even from my potential solar installer is different:

they don't calculate the difference between the consumed and the produced ENERGY , they simply measure both flows then appy to them their respective prices (10 and 5.6  pesos).

So the result is completely different!

Anybody as a direct experience about it?

 

You only get paid for the excess.  i.e. the amount you give back to the grid.  If you produce enough some hours that you dont need any current from the grid, then you dont pay for any current from the grid.  If you produce more than you need sometimes, then you get paid for that.  If you are using 1000 watts and your panels are producing 800 watts, the you will only get and pay for 200 watts from the grid.  Makes perfect sense to me and seems fair.  At least that sounds like what is happening here.

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Lory, I understand what you are saying. 

Not sure how much you wish to invest in this. But, you could build a solar array large enough to produce double your power consumption each month.

 


 

What I am trying to say here is, CEBECO would sell you 100 kWhs of power at Php 10 / kWh, say your night time use over the course of a given month. You would, in turn, pump 200 kWhs of power back into the grid during day time production, during that same month. This would offset your bill to the point of just over breaking even.  

Edited by Hell Boy
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to_dave007

To make things easier for you, there are three CEBECO organizations. Cebeco I, II and III. For different regions of Cebu. I think I'm on Cebeco II, though I don't have huge experience with them yet, as my wife paid the first bill just after I returned to Canada. I'll know more after I get back.

 

But I do know that all three run as Co-operatives, and are not really very high tech. When our meter gets read, the meter reader updates a small piece of paper that's jammed behind the meter and records DATE, KWH READING, KWH USED SINCE LAST BILL (and I can't remember if PESOS TO PAY is also there, I THINK so). We never get any bill in the mail like we expect in Canada.

 

I will say that I've had contact with my Cebeco on three occasions, wit very positive results, as follows:

 

1. Before house built, observed wire in contact with tree, some arcing, "sparks", reported it one day and "expected" that it would take ages before they attended to it, but they attended to it on SAME DAY, and removed offending branches.

 

2. Main power poles go down the road, but they had a small "off shoot" to one pole located inside my property, about 5 meters in from two property lines, right in middle of the space behind my house. Approached local CEBECO manager (an engineer) about getting the pole moved off the property to adjacent right of way, so as not to be obstruction, and so that wire would not be just above my metal roof. He said they'll come in 2 weeks and that I should work with the team that comes to decide location details. Again, thought I was going to have to push for this again and again, but they showed up as promised, and put a new metal post in excellent location, and rerouted wire so NOT above my house, and made sure all the neighbours were happy with relocation as well, and did a great job overall really. (BTW.. No machine to drill the hole for the pole. All done by hand. And no cherry picker to hoist the pole. All done by hand. I loaned my construction guys to help man handle the pole. And the guys climb the pole to work on it)

 

3. When house was built, wanted to get power "turned on" to house, but needed fire department approvals and Cebeco approvals. After my wife and I running back and forth couple of times between the two organizations I couldn't figure out exactly what we needed to do, and in what sequence. Had my Cebeco licensed electrician join the wife and I at Fire station, promised to buy fire extinguisher for fire permit, and power turned on within a day.

 

After typhoon Yolanda, in our municipality alone there were more than 1000 poles down, and wires everywhere were on the roads and with trees on top. Clearly it was going to be a gargantuan job to get everything put back together. At the time I even wondered in Cebeco would even have the financial strength (the cash) to be able to get back on their feet. Must have cost them a fortune. And power was back within 2 weeks. I know they had help from outside the area, and I know not all work is done to standards we might accept in the west, but really, they did a great job getting it all back together so quickly.

 

All in all, I've enjoyed dealing with cebeco. Found them very approachable and honest and straightforward. I especially like that they seem to be able to make commitments, and meet them.

 

Though I spent most of my career in automation, I was originally educated as electrical engineer, and I worked in Ontario power industry for 10 years before striking out on my own, and have been inside power plants in more than 15 countries. So I read this thread with interest.

 

My "gut feel" is that Cebeco isn't ready for this yet, but it would be nice to be proven wrong (and of course I never asked them)

 

One big "issue" that a grid connected solar power system must address is that when Cebeco power is DOWN (during an outage), and you still have power at the house, YOU (not Cebeco) will need to isolate your house (immediately and automatically) from the rest of the system so that you don't electrocute a Cebeco electrician working on wires outside your home, and so that your local system doesn't try to maintain 220VAC while powering the local grid all by itself. It's for this reason that the inverters in grid connected systems are quite a bit more sophisticated (and expensive - e.g. www.xantrex.com) than their off grid cousins. I visited one grid connected home in Canada just to inquire and the homeowner showed me their 10 panel 2 KW system. Total system cost was $17,000, an $5,000 of that was the Xantrex inverter. Priced likely lower now no doubt, but still not the same as your off-grid inverter variant.

 

Lastly, any electronics that I connect to the Cebeco grid must be capable to tolerate very wide voltage swings and surges, at statistical rates orders of magnitudes higher than what we would have in the west. And that variation is certain to mean "stress" to the equipment. As with ALL equipment, "stress" will translate directly into higher failure rate and shorter lifetime. For myself, I would not want to be repairing a complex piece of electronics like that Xantrex stuff, in rural Cebu, and I also feel that repair costs to that device alone could eat up all your power sales. I confess that I have not really been keeping up with this market, so I don't know what kinds of volumes and prices they have on the grid connected inverters. But I would want to be pretty confident that I COULD get the inverter repaired if it did fail, and I'd want to know what repair costs would be "typical".

 

As a result, my own OPINION (which is worth all you paid for it), is that for the time being I would focus on OFF GRID systems like the one Paul has at the farm. If you want to install an ON GRID system I think you need to be ready to be the trail-blazer, with all the pro's and con's that come with that. Would your local Cebeco organization be happy to help you? I don't know, but would be interesting to see how they handle it.

Edited by to_dave007
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You only get paid for the excess.  i.e. the amount you give back to the grid.  If you produce enough some hours that you dont need any current from the grid, then you dont pay for any current from the grid.  If you produce more than you need sometimes, then you get paid for that.  If you are using 1000 watts and your panels are producing 800 watts, the you will only get and pay for 200 watts from the grid.  Makes perfect sense to me and seems fair.  At least that sounds like what is happening here.

Oh yes but let's say that my panels are producing in excess  in the daytime (of course) and I consume some energy in the night time then what will happen?

There will be some compensation calculated in terms of energ or they will just pay my daytime excess 5.6 pesos and i pay them nightime consumption 10 pesos?

This is the question.

If it happens like that then there is no advantage in producing anything more than u consume right away or you get just a few pesos that will even not compensate for your expense in nightime!

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Lory, I understand what you are saying. 

 

Not sure how much you wish to invest in this. But, you could build a solar array large enough to produce double your power consumption each month.

 


 

What I am trying to say here is, CEBECO would sell you 100 kWhs of power at Php 10 / kWh, say your night time use over the course of a given month. You would, in turn, pump 200 kWhs of power back into the grid during day time production, during that same month. This would offset your bill to the point of just over breaking even.  

Yes correct!

But having a DOUBLED system size compared to your real needs  means having quite double initial cost and in the end will result in a VERY LONG period after you will even just return of your initial investment.....according to some simple calculations of mine it would be around 16 years!

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Yes you are paying to use the net as storage of your excess production during the day time

 

It cost money to build and maintain the net

 

If it was 1 to 1 then all the other comsumers would infact pay for your use of the net as storage

that is unfair

 

You can go off grid, but what do you think it will cost you to buy batteries and maintain them

and you would probaly have to buy new batteries after a few years

Edited by Woolf
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Yes correct!

But having a DOUBLED system size compared to your real needs  means having quite double initial cost and in the end will result in a VERY LONG period after you will even just return of your initial investment.....according to some simple calculations of mine it would be around 16 years!

 

Well, I didn't say it would be cheap. But, being as the Philippines is, well - the Philippines. Your options are limited when dealing with an electric company in a third world country. 

With that said, a hybrid system would pretty well guarantee you that you would never be without power. And, if you are like me, you appreciate the fact that the power you are producing from your panels, is cleaner and much more reliable than the mains power coming from CEBECO. 

 

Personally, I enjoy the fact that, even during a power cut, I don't hear any generators running. Only the sound of my fan continuing to cool me. :)

 

Afterthought: One way to minimize your payments to CEBECO, and to help shorten your return on your investment, would be to generously use power during the day, especially between the hours of about 9am and 3pm, while cutting back on power usage during the evening / night hours. 

Edited by Hell Boy
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yes, a pure off-grid system would be very expensive since the only one practical option to store energy here is on a deep cycle batteries.

I worked on hydrogen fuel cells in Italy but i think it would be quite far from reality here in Moalboal  :yahoo:

That said, I agree on everything, there are several things to be consider aside from the pure economic advantage.

In any case, i think  that this and will keep many potential users away from solar.

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In any case, i think  that this and will keep many potential users away from solar.

 

Absolutely. Which is probably what they want anyway. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

 

Yes you are paying to use the net as storage of your excess production during the day time   It cost money to build and maintain the net

 

That is what I think. The difference in price is the "transmission cost". Sending your power to other users when you are producing excess and vice versa.

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