Renewable Energy offers a great way to experiment with rolling your electric meter back. When you use something like a solar panel to produce your own off-grid electricity you are allowed by Texas law to send it immediately back on the grid and in essence the electric lines and transformer acts as your battery.
In this type of setup you don’t need to store the electricity you create because the Public Utility Commission of Texas will let you roll back your meter by sending that electricity back onto the electric lines.
The concept is known as Distributed Renewable Generation (DRG) and through the partnership of you with your electric utility company you can easily setup an agreement so that you may one day start getting paid each month for the electricity you generate instead of having to pay them.
A typical DRG system would be a starter solar kit that might include one or two solar panels connected to a system installed by a professional solar installer that sends the energy you create back on the grid. In North Texas, much of East Texas you would setup the DRG agreement with Oncor Electric Delivery.
In the Houston area you would create a DRG agreement with Centerpoint Energy. These utility companies are your pole and wires company and they are the ones that would need to partner with you in getting your home setup to sell electricity back to the grid.
You would have the solar installation company setup your panels to immediately send back surplus electricity, known as “outflow”, that your panels create. This setup allows you to sell back the excess electricity you are making to your retail electric company. There are only a couple of providers that even participate in the program. Green Mountain Energy, TXU, and occasionally Reliant and Kinetic when they get back with the program.
You need to know a few steps in order to get ready to sell back electricity to the grid utility company in your area.
Once you follow these steps you will begin receiving a surplus payment from Oncor, Centerpoint, another utility or possibly your retail electric provider every month. Keep in mind you will receive nothing until have successfully completed all steps so it is important to read carefully and do everything required of you.
- Submit an Interconnection Agreement to your TDSP (Transmission and Distribution Electric Utility Company) before you actually install your DRG home system. The Interconnection Agreement is required by law to be available for download at each electric utilities website in all areas of Texas.
- Request that your TDSP remove your old meter and install a new meter that records the “inflow” and “outflow” of electricity.
- Request that your TDSP switch your “Load profile” at ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) to a “DRG profile”.
- Submit the retail electric provider surplus power purchase agreement to your chosen retail electric company and make a record for your own history. The information will be verified and you should get some type of confirmation. Keep in mind the “retail electric company” is the company that bills you electricity and the TDSP company is the company that services your poles and wires. This step 4 is referring to your “retail electric company” and you will need to check with them by looking at their website or calling them to see if they have this form available for download.
- The Energy Surplus Power Purchase Agreement can be submitted in various ways.
Most providers will except a scanned copy of a signed agreement via fax or email.
You can always mail your signed agreement in but this will take a little longer.
You will start receiving electric bills that show your surplus electricity you created for the month. Each quarter you will get a bill credit on your regular retail electricity bill.
Make sure to sign the agreement and return it or you will never get the promised bill credits.
It will be nice to see the electricity you generate via solar or wind and how this effects your monthly electricity bill in dollars.
For more information on this program please visit your electric utilities website. In North Texas and East Texas areas it will usually be Oncor Electric Delivery and in the Houston area it is Centerpoint Energy.