Washington Law: Pay for Energy You Generate?

Net metering can lead to a problematic situation. If a particular household has more solar (or other energy generation) than they need to cover their annual usage, they would end up building a larger and larger credit with the utility. Theoretically, there are at least two options for what can be done with this excess energy: Either the utility can pay the customer for it (perhaps at a wholesale rate), or the utility can throw away the credit from time to time.

Washington State law says that this credit shall be thrown away:

On April 30th of each calendar year, any remaining unused kilowatt-hour credit accumulated during the previous year shall be granted to the electric utility, without any compensation to the customer-generator.” – RCW 80.60.030(5)

In general I am fine with this policy, although it’d be neat if people could be paid some for the power. The problem I have with it is the second and third words: “April 30th”.

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1,500 Mile Road Trip Completed

After just over 1,500 miles driving from the Canadian border to California and back in a 100% electric Nissan LEAF, we have arrived safely back home.

We ended up coming home a day early because Trish came down with a stomach virus on Tuesday. We kept thinking it would go away, but it did not after a couple days, so we decided to shoot for home.

This change in our plan resulted in a single day drive on Thursday of 275 miles, which is much longer than we planned to go on any day for this trip.

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Charging on the Go

Traveling hundreds of miles from home in an electric car that has an EPA rated range of 84 miles generally isn’t very hard, but that can depend on a few different factors. Several people have asked about how we’ve accomplished this on our trip.

Our Nissan LEAFs can be charged in three ways. The most common (the way we charge at home) is called Level 2 charging. This uses a 208-to-240-volt circuit, and the LEAF (model years 2013 and newer) can pull up to 6.6 kilowatts (kW), allowing it to charge the battery from empty in about 5 hours. All new electric vehicles support charging at Level 2 using a connector called SAE J-1772. There are tens of thousands of Level 2 charging stations throughout the country.

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Zero Emission Road Trip – Update 2 – Hello, California!

We made it from Canada to California in a 100% electric Nissan LEAF.

We had originally planned on entering California and immediately turning back via Interstate 5. However, as mentioned in my last blog entry, we decided we didn’t want to subject ourselves and our dog to the heat wave currently going on in that area. So we instead diverted to the coast of Oregon. We intended to travel a bit down the coast and just explore what there was to see. We didn’t intend, necessarily, to actually drive to California via this route, since the charging infrastructure peters out some distance from the border (and doesn’t exist at all in California).

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