Distributed Generation (DG) refers to the small scale generation of electricity from alternate energy sources like solar, wind, hydro, etc. This helps to relieve congestion on the electrical grid by placing the generation at the source of consumption. DG systems offset electricity usage from the grid thru net metering at the point of use.
Net metering is a NYS policy which enables DG owners (up to 2 MW for wind) to stay connected to the grid and get compensated for the energy generated at full retail rates. A net meter is a bidirectional meter that monitors the energy flow and keeps trackof the energy you draw from the grid and the energy that is sent back to the grid from your generator.
** In New York State there are 40 municipal (MUNI) power systems (Mayville, Akron, Holley, Bergen, Arcade, etc.) that do not allow net metering and are not eligible for grants for DG systems from NYSERDA**
Remote net metering is an extension of the net metering law that allows you to site a DG system on land owned or leased (called the host account) and transfer any excess energy to other meter(s) (satellite accounts) that you own. All meters must be in the same name; there is no limit on the number of satellite meters; you cannot generate in one utility zone and take the credits in another utility zone; credits cannot jump across one of the 13 NYISO load zones and a host meter cannot be a residential meter account.
No. DG systems are still connected to the utility via a net meter. As part of the application process, we will make an application for a net meter. Once approved, the utility will sign an agreement with you before installing the net meter.
While the independence of being off grid is enticing, living off grid is a huge lifestyle choice requiring a major commitment to energy awareness. It can also be an expensive option since the incentives are only available for grid-tied systems. We strongly recommend that you weigh all other options before making the leap, but if you decide you absolutely need to take the plunge, we would be glad to help you design and install the system. In order to receive grants and tax credits the system must be grid tied. In the future you can elect to disconnect from the grid.
When a DG system is generating electricity, the energy goes to power the onsite needs first. If there is excess energy produced, it flows back to the grid thru the net meter and which turns backwards, accumulating a kWh credit. When the site is using more energy than the DG system is generating, additional energy is pulled from the grid. The meter turns forward, using up the accumulated credits. At the end of the month, the customer is billed for the difference.
If there is excess credit, the bill will show the accumulated credit in the account available for the following month.
On a monthly basis the host account excess kWh is monetized at the host meter tariff rate. This monetary credit is applied to each of the satellite meters until used up. If there is any money credit left it is reconverted back to kWh and reapplied to the host account for carry over to the next month. You can designate how much credit (%) is applied to each satellite account. If you don’t designate the utility will apply the credits to highest $ amount bill first, working their way down to least $ amount account until the credits are used up. You can add satellite accounts only once a year.
Not much!! When you store and use kWh credits within a year, you push and pull energy at the retail rate (WNY average of 13 cents/kWh). But if you have excess credits on a residential meter, at the end of 12 months the utility will reset your meter to zero (called true-up) and pay you for the excess credits you haven’t used at the avoided cost rate (roughly 2 to 3 cents a kWh). On a commercial metered account the excess credits roll forward month to month with no true up.
You are allowed to reset the anniversary date of the true up once in your net meter account’s lifetime. Once installed, we strongly recommend that you monitor monthly production for 1 year to determine the best true up date for your system.
As part of NYSPSC & NYSERDA rules and requirements, we size the system to meet up to 110% of your last 12 months’ kWh usage on your meter(s). We do evaluate your other energy sources such as oil and propane and how it is used. If your appliances (clothes dryer, hot water tank, etc.) or equipment (corn dryer, milking parlor hot water, etc.) is using other energy than electric we can size the DG system to allow you to convert from the current energy source to electric.
All turbines covered under the NYSERDA grant program must be listed on the Interstate Turbine Advisory Council (ITAC) list of eligible turbines.
To make this list the turbine must meet AWEA 9.1 Standard or IEC Standards 61400
A tax credit is a sum deducted from the total amount a taxpayer owes to the state or Federal government and are available to businesses or individuals. The Federal investment tax credit is allowed under section 48 of the Internal Revenue Code. Solar and small wind (< 100 kW) renewable energy projects are eligible for a credit of 30% of the project cost with no maximum credit limit. The ITC is generated at the time the qualifying DG facility is placed in service.
New York State tax credits are available only on residential solar systems.
When you file your tax return at both the State and Federal level you calculate the total amount of income tax due. Generally there are withholding and quarterly tax payments that are deducted from the amount due leaving a balance or a refund due. The tax credit is against the total income tax owed so if you have had withholding deducted or tax payments made you would get those back in the form of a refund each year until the tax credit is used up.
Please consult with a tax advisor for further advice!
Has a salesperson knocked on your door lately, encouraging you to switch from your local utility to an energy service company (ESCO)?
Has a telemarketer called you at home, promising substantial savings if you make the switch?
If you’re an electric customer, it’s likely that you have received, or will soon receive, an aggressive sales pitch from one or more of the ESCOs that are authorized to sell electricity in Western New York. The promised savings may sound tempting, but are they real?
Will there be any changes in service? Who do you call if there’s an interruption in service?
There are 2 portions to your energy bill – delivery and supply. A consumer can choose to buy electricity from an ESCO instead of from National Grid, RG&E or NYSEG. However, the energy itself is still delivered by the local utility.
Any savings achieved by switching to an ESCO are limited to the supply only (not delivery) portion of the bill. Energy supply comprises about 50% of an electricity bill.
In most cases, you will still receive only a single bill and make a single payment, but a portion of you payment goes to a different company.
ESCOs offer a number of pricing options such as fixed or variable pricing and green power pricing. In most bills we have audited, the customers are promised a lower fixed rate for the first few months of the contract and see a phenomenal rise in the bills after the introductory period ends.
98% of our customers ended up paying even more with the ESCO than they did with the local utility!!!!
You can compare the latest rates of ESCOs and your utility by going to the NYS PSC’s “Power to Choose” website, but monthly rates are deceptive as they vary by the month and location. The best way to compare rates if you currently have an ESCO supplier is to call your utility andask for the rates they would have charged for the last 12 months for your account.
Yes. However, some ESCOs require a one or two year contract and charge a termination fee if you cancel the contract early. Be sure to check for this before you sign a contract with an ESCO!
We always recommend our customers to stay with the utility supplier not the ESCO!!
Many consumers reported being “slammed” by an ESCO. “Slamming” is being switched to an ESCO without your authorization. ESCO representatives, including telemarketers and door-to-door salespersons, sometimes claim to be working for the local utility. They offer special deals and ask to verify the customer’s account number. Armed with the account number, the ESCO then notifies the local utility that the customer has authorized the switch. If you’ve been slammed, contact your local utility. You’ll be switched back from the ESCO, unless the company can show proof that you authorized the initial switch. You can also file a complaint with the PSC.