Friday, June 22, 2012

We are Generation Partners

Generation Partners is the program run by Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and our local utility, Meriwether Lewis Electrical Cooperative (MLEC) that allows residents to sell back power that they generate with their own power systems.  Every Watt we generate goes directly into the utility grid and TVA pays us 12 cents/kWhr above the retail rate to residential customers (currently 9 cents/kWhr).  As of 8:30am June 19, we are selling power to TVA!!  Randy took this shot of Brent Warf from MLEC and me standing in front of the new meter just after our array was commissioned.  We flipped the switch and the meter started turning.  In the past 72 hours, we have generated 100 kWhr, while we used 48 kWhrs to run our house.  Our net earnings have been about $5.50 per day so far.

You might be wondering what the system cost us to build.  Our total expenditures came to about $15,500 for the 6,160 Watt system.  This is very cheap because we did the work ourselves.  The cost includes $5,358 for the PV's, $2400 for the galvanized pipe, $2675 for the Ironridge rails and components, $2900 for the inverter (SMA Sunnyboy 6000US), $800 labor for Kenny Brown's help, $465 in fees and the remainder in wire, conduit, AC disconnect, meter base, Unistrut, lugs, etc, etc.  But that is not the whole story.  MLEC will be sending us a check for $1000 for setting up the system, plus we will get a federal tax credit amounting to about $4,500.  Thus, the NET cost to us will be more like $10,000.  If we can generate 30 kWhr/day for just 300 days a year we will earn $1890 per year, which would take between 5 and 6 years to pay for the system.  Our contract with TVA guarantees that they will pay us 12 cents/kWhr  above the retail rate for 10 years, but we can break the contract if we should want to at any time.  Watts not to love??

On other fronts, we have purchased some furniture, including a nice slipcover sofa with down pillows (so comfortable!) from sellers on craigslist.  Also, we have tiled the screened porch and we are building a really cute outhouse.  The beautiful quilt on the sofa was a gift from Wayne and Claudia Schumacher (Quiltworks of Orange Springs).

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