Ok, ok, so Saint Paul doesn’t have a buzzword-compliant “smart grid” but I did at least have digital meters which the utility could read via some proprietary RF signal.
So why, now that I have solar panels, a production meter, and a bidirectional meter for my house, does Xcel dispatch a human meter-reader out in a car to walk to the back of my house and copy numbers off the meters? Given that even average driving uses the equivalent of about 40kWh/day, this is not the effect I hoped my solar panels would have.
On the bright side, I used 270kWh last month and produced 308kWh, my first month of over-production. (Bright, clear October days, and no need for fans, AC, or heat!). So not only did I avoid $27.00 on the electricity bill ($0.10/kWh, $0.07/kWh + $0.03/kWh for wind costs) I’ll get a credit of about $3.50 ($0.09/kWh paid by the utility for the small net production) – at this rate I’ll have these things paid off in … oh, well, here’s hoping for rate increases ;)