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FINALLY! Our Solar Panels are Working!

While “going green” somewhat may be an added bonus, my main reason for going solar is to SAVE some green!  For example, I don’t drive an Electric Vehicle. LOL. I just want to send a lot less money to the power company and being in South F-L-A we do have sun most of the time!

What started nearly one year ago – with our research and requests for quotations — has FINALLY started working! Following many of your requests, I thought that I’d share some of my frustrations and the various delays – along with the very positive elements — with you, regarding the installation of solar panels for our Miami Radio & TV studios.

I never would have thought that the process to go solar would have taken so long.

I never would have thought that the process to go solar would have taken so long. October 2021, we began requesting quotes from various Solar Panel providers. After much investigation and checking many references, etc… and many proposals received, we finally chose Volt Solar Energy and Terra Energy for our system.

We went with a U.S. based solar panel supplier Aptos Solar Technology Premium Fixed Roof-mounted Solar Panels with a 20-degree tilt and Hoymiles Power Inverters.

If you had told me that it would take the better part of a year to accomplish this renewable energy task, I would not have believed you. But, it did. For a variety of reasons.

I expected the Miami-Dade County Permit process might have taken a while, but that was surprisingly one of the fastest undertakings, all things considered. Even though the county required some equipment and plan changes, our contractor complied quickly. And, even all of the various Miami-Dade County inspections went without a hitch. The 54 Panels themselves took some time to arrive. I gathered that the recent, ever-familiar “supply chain” issues excuses attributed to that delay.

The actual panel installation – with 7 to 9 guys walking & banging around and drilling on the roof (making me a bit nervous for several days) went reasonably smoothly. Aside from one local Insurance company that had no idea what they were doing and actually slandered me, the insurance company that we ended up using for the power company-required panel coverage, did a good job. I’ll be sure to let you know who to avoid!

Probably THE fastest decision that was made, was the Agreement with the Founder and CEO of Terra Energy

Probably THE fastest decision that was made, was the Agreement with the Founder and CEO of Terra Energy, Jaime Martinez and I regarding their very helpful LEASE-Subscription arrangement! I didn’t have to put any money up front, didn’t have to pay for the Installation, no out-of-pocket from me at all! And the monthly lease payment is considerably lower that my average power bill! So far, it’s a win-win and I recommend it.

NOW, ENTER OUR LOCAL POWER COMPANY. In our case FPL (Florida Power & Light – or as I like to call them on the air, Florida Plunder & Loot). No surprise that power utilities have no real desire to help you convert to Solar as it ultimately saves the consumer money that doesn’t go into the power company’s deep pockets and large bank accounts. And don’t believe when your electric utility tells you that THEY can provide you with Solar Panels, when it’s just connected to the same grid! When they let you down with the power going out, their Solar Panels down the grid won’t help you a bit!

OF COURSE, FPL DRAGGED THEIR FEET. Beginning in July, they received ALL their required documents … the required $400 “Application Fee” (many wonder why we have to pay and ‘apply’ to the power company just to provide solar on our own properties…) … they received the required Insurance Certificates … the required Passed Electrical Permits … the required 6-page “Interconnection Agreement – for Customer-Owned Renewable Generation” … and more, including the none-of-their-business dollar amount for MY Solar Panels! They accepted and acknowledged getting everything. Then … they insisted on everything being re-submitted. Again!?!? There were no problems, No errors. But we had to jump through the same hoops again and submit all the exact same documents before they finally approved them!? Hmmm, more power company delays because they are so eager to help?!?

Then they promised to swap the existing meter with the required bi-sexual, uh, I mean “bi-directional” electric meter “within 3-10 days”. Well, that didn’t happen. More than 2 weeks later, we had to insist again that they do their meter change. A week later, they finally responded, and sent a technician out. He switched the meter in less than a minute, finally giving us their “Permission to Operate”, stating: “Congrats! You may now begin operating your private renewable generation system.” Gee, thanks FPL.

NET METERING. Noun: Net Metering; a system in which solar panels or other renewable energy generators are connected to a public-utility power grid and surplus power is transferred onto the grid, allowing customers to offset the cost of power drawn from the utility. Basically, Net Metering is a program that allows customers to interconnect approved renewable generation systems to the electric grid and provide electricity to their residence or facility, thus avoiding purchasing that energy from their electric utility company.  According to FPL’s Net Metering agreement, when a customer’s system produces excess energy (but less than supplied by FPL), that amount is subtracted from the customer’s monthly usage before they are billed. If the customer produces more electricity than they receive, the excess amounts are applied to the customer’s next month’s electric bill. At the end of each calendar year, any kWH remaining in your bank will be credited to your account at the annual average cost of generation. Gee, I can’t wait to see how that works and if the power company makes me fight for that “credit”. Can we trust them??

The Power Company requires a Homeowner to have a Million Dollars in Insurance!!!

Why – to my knowledge, so far – is there no easy way to ascertain when we are receiving power from our solar panels versus the power company grid?!? I know we’re not at night or when it’s raining heavily, but I’d love to see a simple little inside control panel with a couple of LEDs that would indicate that info. Is that too much to ask?

At the moment, I did not opt for any Battery Storage, but being in (sometimes-Hurricane-prone) Miami, I will likely look into that soon – especially because FPL states:  “If you have invested in a private rooftop solar system that is connected to the energy grid, you can operate your system during a power outage [only] if you have purchased and installed additional equipment, such as a battery storage system.” Ugh!

I certainly understand that you don’t want any rogue power along the grid that might endanger any repair crews, but with technology available today, there has got to be a way to isolate MY solar-generated power from going onto the grid when the grid has no power!?!

If you would like for me to personally introduce you to these Contractors to perhaps provide YOU with an estimate for your home or business, just let me know here and it will be my pleasure!

Stay tuned — to our weekly “Into Tomorrow” show and this post — for further updates . . . including reports of subsequent Electric Bills!

A collective “Thank You” to all the folks at Volt Solar and Terra Energy that “put up” with me during this long and involved process, including; … Alex … Jaime … Javier … Paola … Pablo … Aldo … Santi … Frank … Patricia … Lori … Pedro … Jose … Maria (who else am I forgetting?) ????

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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