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PNM says either upgrade the transformer or downsize my expansion proposal.

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  • #16
    Originally posted by RottenMutt View Post
    my electric co-op made me add batteries and solar to the back feed request (56x295+8x5000=56,520w or 235 amps). they had me sign a agreement that i will not backfeed more then 200 amps, reasonable!
    They made you ADD batteries? Which co-op is this?

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    • #17
      my electric co-op made me add batteries and solar to the back feed request (56x295+8x5000=56,520w or 235 amps). they had me sign a agreement that i will not backfeed more then 200 amps, reasonable!
      I understand the equation, but what are the components of the equation? I probably missed something in the fine print somewhere.

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      • #18
        No, they made me add my battery inverter output to my solar as total exportable energy. They are anticipating a distributed grid program.

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        • #19
          It sure seems to me that utilities, at least PNM anyways, is in no great big hurry for solar projects. My transformer upgrade request was given to a PNM engineer on March 1, according to the PNM e-mail they sent me. I e-mailed him last week about where we were on this. Today he responded and said sorry for the wait, and looked up my project and this is your "ballpark" cost. If I want to proceed, then let him know, and he'll start the process, and get me a in stone quote. Hmmm...I thought that's what I've been waiting on for the last 3 1/2 weeks. I guess maybe he thinks the "ballpark" price may scare some off, and then they won't have to do the engineering work on it. I get that I guess. The ballpark was $2500, and he said the actual cost is usually, (but not always) less than that.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by NMDan View Post
            It sure seems to me that utilities, at least PNM anyways, is in no great big hurry for solar projects.
            What utility is happy we are playing their sandbox? I don't know of any. It is mandated so they have little choice but no, they are not welcoming RE customers with open arms.

            Dave W. Gilbert AZ
            6.63kW grid-tie owner

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            • #21
              since you are pay for the transformer upgrade, ask how many tesla powerwalls you can add with new transformer? and beat your neighbor to that capacity. my power company treats batteries the same as solar and i had to add them to my backfeed request, puts me over 50kva. my transformer is 100kva and feeds 4 houses with 320 amp service, so i don't know how that all works. 100kva divided by four is 25kva, which is 104 amps per house.... anyway, next person will probably have to pay for a transformer upgrade... poor bast@rd...

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              • #22
                Originally posted by RottenMutt View Post
                since you are pay for the transformer upgrade, ask how many tesla powerwalls you can add with new transformer? and beat your neighbor to that capacity. my power company treats batteries the same as solar and i had to add them to my backfeed request, puts me over 50kva. my transformer is 100kva and feeds 4 houses with 320 amp service, so i don't know how that all works. 100kva divided by four is 25kva, which is 104 amps per house.... anyway, next person will probably have to pay for a transformer upgrade... poor bast@rd...
                That's interesting, I never thought of that happening. At some point in the future I would like to have a battery back up. Tesla is talking about a "virtual power plant" that could use the battery in their cars to back feed the house at night or grid down, and/or sell power to the grid when they need it.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by azdave View Post

                  What utility is happy we are playing their sandbox? I don't know of any. It is mandated so they have little choice but no, they are not welcoming RE customers with open arms.
                  The way it was explained to me, is at least here in New Mexico, is PNM is required to provide 15% of their power from RE sources. With us installing our solar systems, we are saving PNM from having to pay for that infrastructure themselves. They get credit for every system put in, towards that 15% requirement. I don't know for sure, but I suspect they've met that requirement, as reflected in the dismal REC's they now pay. Plus, at least in my case, they seem to be slow walking my project. When the engineer finally gets me a in stone quote, then they'll have to wait for the check to clear, then I get put on a list for the upgrade. Who know's how long all that's going to take. NM only has so much money for the 10% tax credit they offer. If that gets used up, there's no more unless our politicians do something. That tax credit went away for 5 or 6 years, and only last year was implemented again when we got a new governor. I'd hate for this to drag on and the fund runs dry for my project.

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                  • #24
                    NMDan,

                    I reside in NM and am in the process of installing a 12.96kw system. I was initially told, by PNM, that the transformer in my area would support 5.5kw. I already had the equipment and was hell bent on getting the whole enchilada on the roof. I requested the transformer upgrade. To my surprise, the upgrade was done at their expense(I fully expected to pick up the cost). I was informed, by two of my neighbors, that the install would take place on a given date. A PNM contracted crew showed up and upsized the transformer. I talked to my contact at PNM and was told that on rare occasions they pick up the install. The PNM approval took 3 months and 3 plan changes. I got the approval to install and am in the process of lining up an electrician to complete the install and grid tie. I wanted to do DIY as much as possible. I am at the point that the permitting is going to require a licensed electrician.

                    On another front: two of my neighbors have solar installed. One of them added to their system to aid in the charging of a couple of electric cars. They had to pick up the expense of the the transformer upgrade. I guess I got lucky.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Fr8tdrvr View Post
                      NMDan,

                      I reside in NM and am in the process of installing a 12.96kw system. I was initially told, by PNM, that the transformer in my area would support 5.5kw. I already had the equipment and was hell bent on getting the whole enchilada on the roof. I requested the transformer upgrade. To my surprise, the upgrade was done at their expense(I fully expected to pick up the cost). I was informed, by two of my neighbors, that the install would take place on a given date. A PNM contracted crew showed up and upsized the transformer. I talked to my contact at PNM and was told that on rare occasions they pick up the install. The PNM approval took 3 months and 3 plan changes. I got the approval to install and am in the process of lining up an electrician to complete the install and grid tie. I wanted to do DIY as much as possible. I am at the point that the permitting is going to require a licensed electrician.

                      On another front: two of my neighbors have solar installed. One of them added to their system to aid in the charging of a couple of electric cars. They had to pick up the expense of the the transformer upgrade. I guess I got lucky.
                      Wow that's great, I think you sure did get lucky. I would think that because I have an existing grid tie solar system, my approval process would be quicker for an expansion. It's not shaping up to be. 7 weeks now to get a final price on the upgrade. Then the technical review (again). Then on the list for the techs to do the upgrade. Once the crew was on your street, how long were you out of power while they did the upgrade.?

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                      • #26
                        Our service is underground. It took about two hours for the ground based transformer to be swapped out. I would assume that a pole mount should be about the same.

                        There was recently a story on the news about issues people in the Northeast heights were facing in getting PNM approval for a system. It turns out that their equipment, that is beyond the transformer, needed to be upgraded. The expense to PNM is in the millions. They weren't as pro-active in getting that upgrade completed.

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                        • #27
                          My street is horseshoe shaped and has about 20 homes. Seven of us have solar power. I've wondered about all the excess voltage sent to the lines and how they handle it all. My neighbor across from me has at least a 10KW system and we share a transformer. Next door neighbors both have large systems and they also share a transformer.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Fr8tdrvr View Post
                            NMDan,
                            .........
                            On another front: two of my neighbors have solar installed. One of them added to their system to aid in the charging of a couple of electric cars. They had to pick up the expense of the the transformer upgrade. I guess I got lucky.
                            You got lucky and your neighbors got unlucky. The only reason I would tell my provider that I had an EV would be to get the EV TOU rate. If PG&E asked me to pay for that kind of upgrade I would show them a 120 volt EV charging station that drew 15 Amps and ask them for a load analysis of the neighborhood. I do follow the numbers that our regional Independent System Operator puts out and the loads on the grid drop significantly after 11 PM and that is when I charge my EVs.

                            9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012

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