Grid-Tie for Alabama Power Customers

  • The intent of a grid-tie system is to offset kWh you would otherwise purchase.  This it does.  The extent to which it reduces your power bill is dependent on the utility company to which it is tied. Grid-tie solar was very popular in areas where legislation forced net metering because under such an arrangement, solar could effectively zero a power bill or generate a surplus, which was refunded to the owner.  Net metering is slowly but surely going away because it is unfavorable to the utility’s revenue.  Net-metering’s replacement usually has the utility paying for un-consumed generation at the “offset” (or wholesale) rate.  Under this plan, the economic size of the solar system is based on what you can actually consume, as the un-consumed kWh is greatly reduced in value.  The Alabama legislature has never, and will never, pass legislation forcing the utility into a financially unfavorable arrangement, that is, net metering.  There is no place in Alabama where solar will zero, or significantly reduce, an electric bill.  You can still own a grid-tie solar system, but there is little to no financial incentive for doing so.  Especially if you will be tied to Alabama Power.  They have done all in their power to remove ALL financial incentive for owning solar.  If you just want to reduce your carbon footprint, solar grid-tie is a good deal – even for Alabama Power customers.  If you want to save money, consider building a house that requires significantly less energy to provide the same creature comforts.  It is very doable.
  • Battery systems provide grid independence, not bill reduction.  The least expensive kWh you can get currently comes through the meter.  But there are some people who no longer relish the vulnerability of being completely dependent on large corporations for the things that are necessary to living comfortably.  They are very willing to pay for something that provides such independence.  If you have no such concerns, forget about battery-based solar systems.
  • There is one way that solar can provide both a reduction in $ out for purchased power AND some grid independence.  If interested, watch the video on my website on solar water heating.  I honestly can’t explain why solar water heaters are such a mystery, and a rarity, in Alabama.
  • I understand the desire to maintain all of our grid addictions at a lower cost.  But the guys that own the politicians have tilted the table in their favor.  By far, the better approach is to REDUCE or ELIMINATE your dependence on purchased power.  You can still have all the creature comforts to which you have become accustomed.  It does, however, require a break from traditional programmed behavior – which means it takes some effort in thought as to how you really want to live. 

I worked for Alabama Power for 20 years in power distribution.  It has been over 9 years since I’ve purchased a kWh and I’m living in the most comfortable house ever.  I sell and install all kinds of solar systems, but my main focus is systems that support life, security, and comfort – independent of the grid.  If you are interested, please call.  I can talk a lot faster than I can type.