Is Distributed Generation (DG) Right for Me?
Distributed Generation (DG) refers to small-scale power generation (i.e. solar, wind, other) at a customer’s home, or business, used to reduce the customer’s need for power from the utility power grid.
It is important to research the facts before committing to a solar system purchase and explore whether solar is the right investment.
At Kerrville Public Utility Board (KPUB), we recognize that different customers have different priorities for their electric service, and we strive to provide options for everyone.
Did you know that as a KPUB customer, you are already using renewable energy? We purchase power from diverse, competitive sources to ensure the best possible rates when keeping the lights on for our community and to meet our customers’ needs.
As your community-owned, not-for-profit electric utility company, KPUB is here to be your source for your energy investment decisions and information.
We’re here to help you ask the right questions and help you determine if going solar is the right investment for you.
Steps to Take Before Installing DG
Do Your Research & Review Upfront Costs Before You Invest
Please note that while KPUB does not sell, install or maintain solar systems, we should still be one of your first contacts when considering a solar system investment.
Contact our engineering department at 830.257.3050 today for a free review of your DG system proposal.
Solar systems are purchased through a contractor, and you will be the owner and the party responsible for the purchase price and ongoing maintenance and repair costs. If leasing is an option you prefer, you will pay less initially, but you’ll likely have higher long-term expenses. Whichever option you choose (purchasing vs. leasing), it is very beneficial to do your research on all of the costs that you will be responsible for during the life of the system. Examples of those expenses are: installation (in addition to the price of the system), interconnection costs, insurance, taxes, etc.
If you are considering leasing, ask important questions like the length of the lease term, if the contract is transferrable to a new homeowner should you sell your home and the potential for price increases.
Choose a Reputable Contractor/Installer
KPUB does not make recommendations or endorsements for specific contractors/solar companies. However, we do realize the importance of finding a reputable installer who will size the system properly. Please do your research, ask for local customer references, pictures of previous customers’ installations and check consumer reviews online before you submit any payment or sign any agreements.
Review Your Current Energy Usage to Help Determine an Appropriate Solar System Size
Understanding your electricity usage and overall energy needs is an important step in the process of investigating whether a DG system is a good investment for you. Through your free KPUB SmartHub account, you have the ability to review and analyze your prior energy usage and how that usage fluctuates each calendar year. That data will help you determine the size and system that best fits your home energy consumption trends.
The biggest financial bang for your buck will be achieved by primarily offsetting usage inside your home and limiting your exports to the grid. KPUB’s residential rates have three components: a $10.25 monthly customer charge, distribution charges of about 2 cents per kWh, and power supply costs of about 6.5 cents kWh. When you offset usage in your home, you avoid both the distribution charge and the power supply charge (about 9.5 cents per kWh total). When you deliver to the grid, you get a credit for only the power supply charge.
Additionally, complete a thorough energy efficiency audit. In many cases, it is more beneficial to upgrade your home’s efficiency measures prior to installing a distributed generation resource in order to reduce your energy bill. Generally, you want your home to be as efficient as possible and then investigate solar power options.
Research Potential Incentives and Tax Credits
It’s important to know what types of financial incentives are available to offset your investment costs. Incentives often are driven by laws or policies; have expiration dates; and can vary by type and size of the system, whether it’s for residential or commercial/industrial use, and other factors.
The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (www.dsireusa.org) is one source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the U.S. The site features an interactive map, which allows users to click on a state to see a comprehensive listing of federal and state incentives, credits, exemptions, grants, loans and rebates for residential and commercial/industrial projects and programs.
KPUB has various rebates for energy efficiency improvements, but we do not have rebates for the installation of distributed generation.
Understand How a Solar System Interconnects with KPUB’s System
Most solar systems are designed to provide you with a portion of the electricity required but may not provide 100 percent of your needs. You’ll most likely still need power from a centralized energy grid, so it’s important to realize that DG is intended for supplemental power to meet your own energy needs. At night, on cloudy days, and possibly during other high-energy-use times, you’ll need more power than your solar system can produce.
That means you’ll still be connected to KPUB’s power lines. Because those systems are grid-connected, energy can flow both ways. Each utility—including KPUB—sets appropriate policies and rates for connecting solar systems to our lines (the grid).
Requirements for Distributed Generation System
Distributed Generation (DG) refers to small-scale power generation (i.e. solar, wind, other) at a Customer’s home, or business, used to reduce the Customer’s need for power from the utility power grid. Below are the requirements and the documentation that must be submitted in order to “interconnect” with the electrical supply provided by the Kerrville Public Utility Board (KPUB).
Agreement & Application for Interconnection and Parallel Operation of Distributed Generation
Agreement for Interconnection and Parallel Operation of Distributed Generation. This Agreement between KPUB and the Customer is for the purpose of interconnecting the Customer’s electric generating system with KPUB’s electric distribution system and operating the Customer system in parallel with KPUB’s distribution system. Click here to download the Agreement.
This Application for Interconnection is to be completed by the Customer and the Customer’s DG system installer. Approval of the application is contingent upon the Customer executing the Agreement and the complete submittal of all documentation required per the application. Click here to download the Application.
Completed applications and requirement inquiries can be emailed to [email protected].
Service shall be supplied and used in accordance with the terms and conditions of the following:
Distributed Generation, Rider DG
KPUB’s Tariff for Electric Service – Rate Schedule for the Customer Distributed Generation System
Substantive Rules Applicable to Electric Service Providers
Chapter 25.211 Interconnection of On-Site Distributed Generation (DG). The purpose of this section is to clearly state the terms and conditions that govern the interconnection and parallel operation of on-site distributed generation. Click here to download TPUC Rule §25.211.
Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) Substantive Rule §25.212
- Substantive Rules Applicable to Electric Service Providers. Chapter 25.212 Interconnection of On-Site Distributed Generation (DG). The purpose of this section is to describe the requirements and procedures for safe and effective connection and operation of distributed generation. Click here to download TPUC Rule §25.212.
How Does Solar Work?
KPUB has a demo solar array right outside our office at 2250 Memorial Blvd. A solar array is a grouping of solar panels that capture and transform the energy from the sunlight into electricity. This particular model operates as a 2,160 watt (2.16 kW) system.
For maximum visibility and demonstrative purposes, KPUB opted for a pole mounted system, as opposed to a roof mounted system. The array consists of 12 Schuco 180 watt modules and 12 Enphase Microinverters that convert each module direct current (DC) voltage to the buildings alternating current (AC) voltage. Some systems utilize a singer inverter for several modules.
Click the button below to view the output of our array. It is a real-time view of the output and has historical data for viewing.
Other FAQ for Going Solar
If I install solar, will I still have a KPUB bill?
Yes, you will. Even if you install a system that produces all of the energy that you need on a monthly basis, there will always be charges and credits like the monthly customer service charge, charges for energy consumed at night (for solar), and credits for the energy you deliver to the grid.
Does KPUB buy back any excess solar that’s produced?
Yes. Your KPUB bill will show two different energy totals: the total amount of energy delivered by KPUB to your home and the total amount of energy you delivered to the KPUB grid. For the total amount of energy delivered by KPUB to your home there will be a charge for the distribution and power supply costs. For the total amount of energy you deliver to the KPUB grid, there will be a credit for the power supply component of our rates. When a distributed generation installation is approved, we install a specially programmed meter that keeps track of the two different amounts separately.
Will I have power if the grid does not?
A traditional solar photovoltaic (PV) system will not operate when there is no grid (UL-1747/IEEE-1547).
This is a safety mechanism to prevent back-feeding onto the system which would present a safety hazard to any crews working on the lines.
There are mechanisms whereby you can utilize solar while the grid is off but you would have to be intentional about it upfront. This is accommodated generally with batteries and either a transfer switch or a dedicated panel.
Do you still have questions? We are happy to help! Contact our engineering department at 830.257.3050 today.