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Clear info on home solar power rebates, tax credits, and other benefits

2017 Policy Grade

F

Avg. Yearly Savings

$749

Congratulations! You've found the ultimate guide to going solar in Alabama

2017 Policy Grade

F

Avg. Savings/year

$749

Welcome to the 2017 Alabama solar power information page!

Note: The numbers above are just estimates for a 5kW solar system, and your home is unique. The best way to know exactly how much money solar power can save you is to connect with one of our partners nearby. A friendly solar expert we trust will give you a buzz and help you craft a personal plan to get the absolute most out of a solar power system for your home. It's 100% free (yes, that’s right, 100% free) and you aren't obligated to buy anything.

From the southern Bay to the northern Mountains, Alabama has a whole lot of intact natural areas to protect. In fact, about 23 million acres –an astounding 68% of Alabama’s total land area is still forested. If that were not enough motivation to adopt a solar friendly path, Alabama gets a fair bit of sun across the entire state. Put those two together and you get a state that should be at the forefront of solar power usage for homeowners.

Sadly, that has not been the case; the state legislature has done very little to encourage solar power development, continuing to miss golden opportunities to harness natural solar resources and team with existing utility programs to create a strong statewide solar incentive program.

Recently, the state's utility companies have been getting into the solar game, but there has still been very little help for homeowners who want to go solar. There are still ways to make solar work for you in Alabama, so read on to get our best advice!

Questions? Our network of solar experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page. You can get discounted on-grid pricing as low as $4,500/kW!

Your guide to going solar in Alabama

We've designed this page to be a complete guide to the complicated and sometimes confusing process of installing solar panels on a home in Alabama. Since there's a lot of important information to consider, we've separated the page into sections to help you find what you are looking for. If you find this page useful, please share it with someone who might also find it interesting!

The Solar Strategy section is all about the various financial options you have in Alabama. We've created a tool that asks you a few questions about what you hope to get out of a solar purchase and recommends whether you should pursue a solar lease, loan, or outright purchase. Then, we give you a detailed picture of how each could work for you.

The Policy Information section contains all of our latest research on the rules set by the state legislature and public utilities commission that determines how easy it is to go solar in Alabama. These policies and rules govern everything from renewable energy mandates to whether you get paid retail or wholesale rates for the extra energy your system produces, and can have a huge effect on the viability of solar.

Finally, the Solar Incentives section lists all of the available financial benefits available to homeowners who go solar. This section includes information about money-back rebates and grants, tax credits, and tax exemptions. If you're looking for what Alabama is doing to make solar more affordable for its citizens, you'll find it here.

Click any of the boxes below to go to that section of the page, or scroll down to read the page in order.

Your Solar Strategy in Alabama

Figuring out the best way to go solar in Alabama can be a little daunting. From loans and leases to power-purchase agreements, there are a lot of options out there. To help you pick the one that might be best, we've created the handy decision tool below.

We'll ask you a few simple questions about you and your home. Once you're done, we'll recommend a good option. Further down this page, we provide cost estimates and example return-on-investment calculations for all the various options:

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Compare the Return of Different Solar Investments in Alabama

The chart above shows the 25-year returns for an investment in solar whether you choose to purchase a system with cash or pay over time with a loan. As you can see, the purchase option leads to the highest dollar-amount returns over time, but it also requires a big up-front investment. If you take a home equity line of credit (HELOC), though, your payments over 15 years will be a little more than your savings, but you'll still come out ahead in the end.

The last option is for a small solar system. We've included in because Alabama doesn't have a lease option, but if you still want solar and you have a little equity, you can make a smaller system work for you!

Read on to find out more about each option.

Net Present Value of Solar in Alabama

“Net Present What?!” Don’t panic, this isn’t an economics test. NPV is just a tool used to compare investments. Basically, it asks, “if you had X dollars to invest, which investment would get you the best return?” It relies on the idea that getting a return on your investment sooner is better than later, because you can reinvest your early profits and keep the gain train going.

We compare an investment in solar to a “what-if” investment in a Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 stock index fund, which has seen growth of about 7% per year over the past 25 years. We use the cost of solar in Alabama and ask “how much better or worse (in 2017 dollars) is an investment in solar than stocks?” Here's what we found for the most popular ways of going solar in Alabama:

Well, it could be worse. Actually, if you look above, getting solar with a loan in Alabama is an investment that's just a little bit better than putting your money in stocks. Here's some more about how we got these numbers:

Solar Loan NPV: $689

As we’re fond of saying, taking a loan for solar is a no-brainer, because it’s like agreeing to pay over time for something that is also making you money, plus you get 30% of the loan value as a tax credit (cash in your pocket) after making payments for only 1 year. In the case of Alabama, that tax credit windfall helps push the NPV of a solar loan to $689 better than a similar investment in the stock market. That's a very small number, because electricity is still so cheap here that even the huge first-year windfall is overtaken by the cost of the loan over the long term. Still, beating the stock market with a better-than-7% return is nothing to sneeze at. Read more about solar loans below

Solar Purchase NPV: -$3,412

A solar purchase in Alabama has a negative NPV because electricity prices here are so cheap and you don't get paid anything for extra solar energy you send back to the grid. You're much better off with a solar loan, unless you absolutely need to put gobs of money into an asset.Read more about solar purchases below.

green square  Buying Solar in Alabama

So you’ve got some cash and you’re ready to buy. An outright purchase returns the most money over time, because you own the system from day one and reap all the benefits. That 30% Federal tax credit and electricity savings bring your first-year cost way down.

In our example, you put down $20,000, but by the end of year 1, incentives and energy savings will erase a bunch of it. Over 25 years, your system will produce big returns. But look at the net present value number in the chart. Negatvie, huh? That means you'd be bteer off (financially speaking) putting your money into a mutual fund that returns at least 6%.

If you want better NPV, look into the HELOC option below, because you'll make more that way, and taking a loan to buy an income-generating asset is just a really smart move.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for an Alabama solar purchase with a 5-kW rooftop solar system:

  • Installing a typical 5kW solar system should start at about $20,000. Don’t worry – even without state incentives, you can still knock a big chunk off the price right off the bat.
  • Since the feds calculate their incentive based on actual out of pocket costs, no state incentives means a bigger federal solar tax credit. Subtract $6,000 (30% of $20,000) for a new price of $14,000.
  • After the tax credit we subtract your first year’s energy savings, which we estimate to be about $749. That brings your cost after the first year to $13,251.
  • With a conservative estimate for the future rise of electricity prices (increasing at a rate of 3.5%), you can expect your new solar power system to pay for itself in about 15 years. Even with that slower (than other states) payback time frame, you can still expect to get about 10 years of profits (yes, profits) out of your solar power system. We estimate those profits to be in excess of $12,500 through 2041.
  • And don't forget... your home's value just increased by close to $20,000, too (your expected annual electricity savings over 20 years)!
  • In addition to all that cash (and home value), you’ve created some green for the earth as well by not using electricity from fossil-fuels. In fact, the energy you’re not using has the carbon equivalent of planting 104 trees a year, every year your solar power system is humming.
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Alabama. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar panel system, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

orange square  Solar Loans in Alabama

This is without a doubt the best option when it comes to percentage return on investment. That’s because it relies on using someone else’s money for the purchase price, which is paid back over time. The cost is similar to a new car loan, but because solar makes you money, it's a tremendous investment. A solar purchase like this will make sense for you if the following is true about you and your current situation:

  • You can get a home-equity line of credit (HELOC) for $20,000, with a fixed rate of 4.5% or lower and a 15-year repayment period.
  • You love making money without much risk

The reason this works so well is that you don’t have to put any money down, but you still get all of the incentives that go along with buying solar. You'll get the 30% federal tax credit and the energy bill savings will start right away. The bad news is your loan payments will be higher than those energy bill savings, so you'll end up spending about $100/month for solar in the first year. That difference will come down each year as electricity prices rise, but your system will keep on producing about the same amount of electricity.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for an Alabama solar purchase with a HELOC:

  • Installing a typical 5-kW solar system should start at about $20,000. That will be the amount of your HELOC.
  • The electricity you'll save in the first year of operation would have cost $749. That's enough to pay for family movie night once a month.
  • At the end of the year, the federal government will give you a 30% tax credit based on the cost of your system after the rebate. That's $6,000 you won't be paying in taxes. You can take the credit over two years if you don't owe $6,000 in federal taxes this year.
  • Your loan payments will total $1,775, which means even though you're paying for a loan, those savings and incentives mean you’ll actually come out way ahead after the first year. You’ll have solar on your roof and an extra $4,974 in your pocket.
  • When your loan’s paid off in year 15, you’ll start see over $1,100 per year in savings until the end of your system’s life.
  • For our 25-year estimate, you'll see a total savings of nearly $6,000 with a solar loan in Alabama.
  • And don't forget... your solar panels are offsetting so much dirty electricity, it's like planting 113 trees per year!
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Alabama. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar loan, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

blue square  Small Rooftop Systems in Alabama

Let's say you don't have a ton of extra cash laying around, but you do have a bit of equity in your home. Can a solar investment work for you? YES! Will it save you lots of money over the long term? Not really. It's basically a break-even proposition.

In Alabama, the net present value of this kind of solar investment is negative at a discount rate of 6%, which means you would be better off putting your money into a mutual fund as long as you culd get annual returns of at least 6%. Still, if you're determined to go solar for the environment or another reason, this can be a great way to do it.

You can own a small rooftop solar system with just the money you can get with a home-equity line of credit (HELOC). It works just like the above example, but without costing $20,000. Here's the factors we'll look at for this example:

  • A 2-kW rooftop system that will cost around $8,000 installed.
  • A HELOC or solar loan for $9,600 with a 10-year payback at 4.5% interest.

Just like the big system, you don’t have to put any money down, but you still get all of the incentives that go along with buying solar. You'll get the 30% federal tax credit and the energy bill savings will start right away. Your loan payments will be about $97 per month while your energy bill savings will be about $25.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for an Alabama solar purchase with a small rooftop solar system:

  • Installing a typical 2-kW solar system should start at about $9,600. Your loan should be for this amount.
  • You'll save $300 in electricity costs in the first year, while your loan payments will be $1,200, so the net first-yearl cost of the loan is $900.
  • At the end of the year, the federal government will give you a 30% tax credit based on the cost of your system. That's $2,880 that you won't owe this year, and the credit rolls over for as many years as you need to recoup the $2,880.
  • When your loan’s paid off in year 10, you’ll start see over $400 per year in savings until the end of your system’s 25-year life.
  • For our estimate, you'll see a savings of more than $1,800 while only spending a little each year on loan payments.
  • And don't forget... your home's value just increased by close to $8,000, too (your expected annual electricity savings over 20 years)!
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Alabama. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar loan, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Alabama Solar Policy Information

Ever wonder why solar seems to be everywhere in some states, but not in others? We did too.

State legislatures and public utilities commissions can enact rules to make solar power accessible for everyone. Favorable rules explain why some of the cloudiest states—New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, are doing so well with solar, and yet some of those with the most natural solar resources—like Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida—are doing so poorly.

Below is important information about the public policy, rules, and economic reasons that affect your ability to go solar here in Alabama:

RPS

None

Grade: F

Alabama's Renewable Portfolio Standard grade

A Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) basically requires utilities in the state to source a percentage of energy from renewable sources by a given date. A strong RPS is important because it forces utility companies to promote conversion to renewable energy. That generally means free money for you in the form of solar power rebates and performance payments when you switch to solar.

Alabama currently has no state or local Renewable Portfolio Standards. As we’ve seen in other states, the lack of an RPS has translated to an unfortunate lack of incentives to support solar power.

What's an RPS? Your state legislature paves the way for strong solar energy incentives to flourish by setting standards for renewable energy generation within their territories. Those standards are called the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). If utility companies do not meet these standards, they must pay alternative compliance fees directly to the state. Many utilities then determine the best ways to source their energy from renewable sources that are less expensive than this fee.

An RPS is a mandate that says "Hey utilities! Y'all now have to make a certain percentage of your electricity from renewable sources. If not, you'll have to pay us huge fines." The consequences are good, because utilities usually try to meet these RPS standards by creating solar power incentives for you, the homeowner. Read more about Renewable Portfolio Standards.

RPS solar carve out

None

Grade: F

Alabama's Solar Carve-out grade

Unfortunately, no RPS means no solar carve out.

What's a solar set aside? A solar set aside guarantees a specific portion of the overall renewable energy mix generated comes from the sun. For those states with progressive standards, high alternative compliance payments, and clear solar carve outs, the faster those areas become ripe for solar.

Some states have higher alternative compliance fees than others, and some states have more progressive alternative energy standards and deadlines than others do.

For instance, New Jersey has an overall RPS of 22.5% by the year 2021. That requires local utilities to source 22.5% of their energy mix from renewable sources by the year 2021. Pretty good. However, New Jersey also has a specific solar set aside of 4.1% by 2028. That’s the type of firm commitment which really gets the industry rolling forward. No wonder why New Jersey is one of the hottest solar markets right now!

Alabama Electricity Prices

$0.12/kwh

Grade: C

Alabama's Electricity cost grade

Alabama pays an average of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity. That’s a bit below the national average of 13 cents/kWh. We know you hate that monthly electric bill, but here at SPR, we actually think that energy is too cheap right now. That’s right, too cheap. Most electricity is currently produced by burning fossil fuels. All that earth-killing oil and coal may be cheap, but the long-term costs associated with fossil fuels far outweigh those monthly bill savings. When all those long-term costs really start to kick in, monthly electricity bills are going to inevitably rise as well and you’ll be patting yourself on the back for having already switched over to clean, efficient solar energy.

Why are electricity prices so important? Because that is what solar power is directly competing against. The cost to produce power with solar is relatively constant (of course how much sun hits your area has an effect), so if you are paying $0.40 per watt for power, then you make FOUR TIMES AS MUCH as the guy or girl paying $0.10 per watt electricity.

The caveat here is that if the $0.10 per watt person has a HUGE rebate, they may be better off than the $0.40 per watt person. Because of that, states without any renewable standards tend to be heavily reliant on cheap coal for electricity, and also have very low electricity prices. When electricity prices are artificially low, that hinders the ability of solar energy to achieve meaningful payback in the state.

Alabama Net Metering

None

Grade: F

Alabama's Net Metering grade

Net Metering requires your utility to monitor how much energy your solar power system produces and how much energy you actually consume, and make sure you get credit for any surplus. Alabama is one of only six states in the nation without statewide net metering standards in place. Net metering remains completely at the discretion of the utility.

What is net metering? Net metering is the billing arrangement where you can sell excess electricity back to your utility for equal the amount you are charged to consume it. The more customer friendly net metering policies, the higher the grade.

The grade here specifically reflects individual solar system capacity, caps on program capacity limits, restrictions on “rollover” of kWh from one month to the next (yep just like cell phone minutes), metering issues (like charges for new meters), Renewable Energy Credit (REC) ownership, eligible customers and technology (the more renewables the better), being able to aggregate meters across the property for net metering, and safe harbor provisions to protect customers from solar tariff changes.

Alabama Interconnection Rules

None

Alabama's Interconnection Standards grade

Likewise, Alabama is one of fifteen states lacking statewide standards for interconnection. Utility companies have full discretion not only on whether to offer net metering, but also over what is required for you to get your solar power system connected to the grid in the first place. That can spell a logistical nightmare for attempting to connect your solar panels to the grid.

Interconnection rules are a little technical, but they basically allow you to “plug in” to the electric grid with solar panels on your roof. The more complex, out of date, or nonsensical the state rules are for plugging into the grid, the lower the grade.

Specifically, the grade reflects what technologies are eligible, individual system capacity, removing interconnection process complexity for smaller systems, interconnection timelines and charges, engineering charges, prohibiting the requirement of unnecessary external disconnects, certification, spot interconnection vs. wide area interconnection, technical screens, friendliness of legalese, insurance requirements, dispute resolution, and rule coverage.

Solar Incentives in Alabama

Alabama Solar Power Rebates

None

Grade: F

Alabama's Solar Rebates grade

2016 was the year the solar rebate died in Alabama. TVA used to have a nice program where they'd buy your solar electricity and even give you $1,000 up front, but sadly, it no longer exists. With no RPS in place, politicians and utility companies have no incentive to help promote solar power. They’re happy to leave all the costs to you … until they face stiff penalties for failing to satisfy an RPS, that is. Given all of Alabama’s sunshine, legislators have a great opportunity to secure cheap and plentiful energy, but they need to start pushing statewide incentives to make use of all those solar resources.

How do solar rebates work? Similar to getting a rebate card from your local big box store for a dishwasher purchase, state legislatures also provide rebates for solar panel purchases to spur on investment and create new jobs. If you purchase the solar panel system yourself, you qualify for this free cash, which many times is a lump payment back to you. Some solar installers like to take this amount directly off the total installed price, and they'll handle the paperwork for you to make things a lot less complex.

The availability of state and utility rebates were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The better the rebates, the higher the grade.

Alabama Solar Power Tax Credits

None

Grade: F

Alabama's Solar Tax Credits grade

While Alabama does not have any policies currently to provide renewable energy tax credits, due largely to the lack of a Renewable Portfolio Standard, you Alabamians will benefit from the 30% Federal Solar Tax Credit nonetheless! There's no cap on the federal tax credit and you'll deduct that right off the bat. Sample calculations follow below -- keep scrolling!

About state solar tax credits: State tax credits are not technically free money. However, they are 'credits' and not 'deductions' which means that if you have the tax appetite to take advantage of them, then they can be a 1-to-1 dollar amount off your taxes instead of a fraction of the cost of the system. So that means they can be an important factor to consider. In certain circumstances, state tax credits can provide a very powerful incentive for people to go solar.

(Keep in mind, we are not tax professionals and give no tax advice so please consult a professional before acting on anything we say related to taxes)

The availability of personal tax credits for solar energy were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The higher the tax credit amount, the higher the grade.

Solar Power Performance Payments

None

Grade: F

Alabama's Solar Performance Payments grade

Once again, Alabama’s left in the dark when it comes to solar incentives. If you’re lucky enough to be a TVA customer, your solar power system is eligible for the Green Power Providers Program, which ensures you'll get paid retail rates for the electricity your system produces. Sadly, this program used to pay a bonus of $.02/kWh for that electricity, but those performance payments have gone the way of the dodo.

Explanation of performance payments: Performance payments represent a big chunk of the financial rationale for going solar, and in many instances they make your decision a wise one. For certain states, if you’ve got solar panels on your roof, not only will you be cutting your electric bill down to size, but you'll be getting paid additional cash from your utility company. Pretty awesome, huh? Not only are you generating electricity for yourself, freezing your own popsicles with sun, and feeling like you’re doing something smart for your children or any of the other 4 reasons people go solar, but you are getting PAID!

Utility companies are paying people with solar panels on their roofs because their states say they have to, otherwise they will pay a fee. Therefore, the payment amount to homeowners is typically a little bit less than the amount they would be billed for by the state. For states with these alternative compliance fees, Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) exchanges have popped up. In the above chart, we outlined an estimate of yearly payments a homeowner might expect from the utility company for the SREC credits from their solar energy system.

Expected SREC payments were calculated by using the latest trade values in the SRECtrade database. The availability of feed-in tariffs were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The higher the expected monthly payments, the higher the grade.

If you don’t know what an SREC is, or how they work, check out this great SREC video

Property Tax Exemption

None

Grade: F

Alabama's Solar Property Tax Exemptions grade

There’s no property tax exemption for solar panels installations in Alabama, but there certainly should be. It’s a simple way to encourage solar growth, especially since solar homes appreciate by a multiple of twenty times annual electricity bill savings. That property value increase should be tax exempt, because you’re doing a lot of good for the community, economy, and environment.

About solar property tax exemptions: Property tax exemption status is a pretty big factor when putting together your investment considerations. Many argue that solar power adds approximately 20 times your annual electricity bill savings (if you are owning the system and not leasing. Leasing still has a positive impact on the ability to sell your home though, in our opinion).

For many average-sized solar power systems on a house, that can mean $20,000 to your home value. (Edit April, 2014: Some companies, like Solar Mosaic, are starting to offer traditional style equity-based home loans for such a thing). An additional $20,000 in property tax basis in many states amounts to a big chunk of change owed back to the state. However, many states have complete exemptions from added taxes when you install solar on your home!

The availability of a property tax exemption for solar energy was also sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The stronger the tax exemption, the higher the grade.

Sales Tax Exemption

None

Grade: F

Alabama's Solar Sales Tax Exemption grade

One of the simplest ways for the Alabama state legislature to encourage small scale clean energy adoption is to declare solar panel equipment exempt from state sales taxes as many other progressive states have done. Sadly, there is no such declaration. Luckily for you, however, Alabama has one of the lowest statewide sales tax rates, collecting only 4%.

What's the deal with solar power sales tax exemptions? When states give you a sales tax break on solar, we notice. You should too. State sales tax exemption status for the purchase of solar energy systems were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. Sales tax exemptions, if present, were all 100%. A handful of states are completely exempt from sales tax regardless, and therefore received ‘A’ grades by default (OR, DE, MT, AK, and NH).

Switch to solar and save $36.44/mo on avg ($0 installations available) - Click Here

The consensus on Alabama solar power rebates and incentives

Unfortunately the Alabama legislature is currently squandering the state’s solar power potential. Without any incentives in place (aside from the TVA Green Power Providers Program), cost after year 1 remain higher than most other states, and the payback time frame here is a sub-par 16 years. That’s not the slowest time to payback we’ve seen, but given the total absence of state policy supporting solar power, we are nearly forced to give Alabama our first “F.”

 

98 thoughts on “Alabama Solar Power for your house – rebates, tax credits, savings

  1. Bill E. says:

    I put in a 10 kw solar system in Northport. Much to my surprise there is a $5/kw/month capacity reserve fee (in my case, $50/mo). Since my system cost $19,600 (after federal tax credit) and produces about $147 worth of electricity per month (net savings of $97 per month after $50 fee taken out), I have a break-even point of about 16 years, with about a 6% ROI.

    1. Ben Zientara says:

      Thanks for telling your story, Bill. Those fees are sold to the public as a way to make solar owners pay their “fair share” of the transmission and distribution fees included on everyone’s electric bill, but the claims that solar owners are a burden on others are patently false. We like to get the word out when utility companies aren’t playing fair. Can you share the name of your electric company?

  2. Anonymous says:

    yes you are right solar works real good ,if you go into your power provider and ask if solar works and they say it dose not (AND THAT IS WHAT THEY WILL SAY) they are good at lying to you ,if we could get the trash out of the capatol in montgomery we could have solar here in alabama,but good luck getting rid of the trash cause they are as sorry as the power companys ,but solar works and they know it dose that is why they say it dont from what I read alabama power is the big hold back in alabama

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have a 3700 Watt System.. I live in S.E. AL. I use my system conservatively. I have a Hot water heater timer set for 4 hrs. a day. 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. I use all major appliances such as cloth dryers, electric stoves, and especially AC units during day time only. Most of the time We use crock pots and slow cookers such as electric roasters which may burn a whole 2Kwh a piece during a 8 to 10 hr. cook . It cooks while were at work. The key is to get a system that is big enough to try and reduce 12 hrs a day.. Conserve all you can at night. I used to pay 185.00 a month on average, I now pay 28.50 a month on average. 23.00 is our providers meter fee. With these figures, I paid 10,500.00 for the system and installed it myself. with the average savings itll all pay for itself even in a poor rated crumy ran state like ours in just under 5.5 yrs. Im happy with mine!! Even if they say it doesnt work.

  4. Anonymous says:

    the last time I posted here about you puting your on meter in to keep check on your power provider,s smart meter ,well once more the smartmeter stuck me again with 10 khw I did not use,the 1-8-2014 it was 11khw ,so if you want to know if you are getting what you pay for or not solar or no solar you need your own meter to track them smart meters ,even your povider calls them smart meters cause while you sleeping they are adding to your power bill , power you did not use it,s true they are smart But my meter is smart to it tells the Real story,about power providers,

  5. Anonymous says:

    im a resident of alabama tue incentive are the worst in the country i do have my own solar array and back feeding to the grit with a 2.5 kwh system saving about 100. dollars a month

  6. Anonymous says:

    NBC has an article circulating on Utilities fighting back on solar.. They claim the rooftop install avg. in 2013 was on setup every 4 min.

  7. Anonymous says:

    ok every one i posted down this page about putting your own meter in to keep check on your power providers smart meter,i am glad i did my power provider just stold (11) kill-o-watts from me last night that i did not use, youfolks on alabama power you better start checking on them and all other providers to ,i would not know that i got ripped off last night if i did not have my meter ,

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’ve purchased a 7kw solar grid tied system and Alabama Power is planning on charging me $35 per month Capacity Reservation Charge which will eat up half of the planned savings and double the time of return on investment. Is there a way around this?

  9. All you need to bear in mind is that you can do that will have great effect on led bulbs
    dimmable your water temperature. The circulation
    of electrons within a electrical circuit is resistance which can be programmed to signal
    various conditions. In so far as lighting during night time.

  10. Jason says:

    @Magdi… really it seems to me that Alabama Power has set the “value” of 1kwh at 12c and they feel like yours is somehow less valuble. If they need to make profit fine but they should provide you power at the same price they charge you for it or at least relatively close.

  11. Magdi says:

    I live in Montgomery. Inhave nice 10kw solar system on my roof that is outstanding. I reduced my bill by 90% at least but i assert that Al power are crooks. Since installing my system and fought to getvthem to agree , they keep reducing the rate they initially agreed pay for each KW i dump back into the grid. I pay 12 c or so for usage but they pay back now about 3c. Every year they lower it. Don t know why but the next time they do, i shall sue them right and left.

    1. Jason says:

      I am interested in installing panels. Who installed your solar panels? Is AL power still paying you for your extra energy?

    2. david says:

      well I sure hope you do ,and power provider,s they are crook,s plain and simple ,but you all need to use the media ,news papers and t v stations and give them your story about how good solar is and what your power provider is doing to you ,your power provider don’t like to hear Bad news on them , tv wsfa has a county Road 12 call them and get on the news all you can ,and the federal web site says all power providers have to give you a buy and sell meter ,so if they don’t have one tell them to get one ,or you are going to call the federal renewable energy dept , and tell them your power provider will not get you one, all ways use the media if you can ,I am in solar and it works good for my house hole ,if you can keep posting here would like to hear about all the bad stuff these crook,s are doing , and good luck to all of you

  12. Anonymous says:

    Cindy, thet know what it is, they are Bullian you.. South Al. issues them, Covington issues them and they are all Touchtone Energy. Call them again and tell them your next call after you hang the phone up is too the Public Service Commission. Theyll get it worked out.

    1. BILL says:

      yes if you will do that they will start to get it,and every one out there that Reads this since they have put you in a smart meter ,you need to install a meter to track the smart meter for your self you just may learn a little more about your power supplier, then you can check to see if they are over charging you for your power you are getting from them ,they control there meter in there office so they can set it any way they want to ,so get you a meter of your own and track them ,and you could Be supprised at what you see ,there,s one thing for sure if you dont have a meter of your own you dont know if your getting the kill-watt hours your paying for or not ,get that meter cause you dont know what they are doing while you are a sleep ,

  13. Cindy says:

    Bill,
    We are on Cherokee Electric as well and just installed solar panels. My question is how do you get Cherokee Electric pay the .04 cents a kilowatt to you and get a buy & sell meter? I requested a buy & sell meter from them and was told they do not have that. Any information you can provide would be great. Thanks for your valuable information you have provided.

    1. BILL says:

      hello Cindy first look up the public service comm, web sit get there phone number co-op,s are not under the public service comm rules But call them anyway tell them what you have done and ask them for help, if our co-op can do it Cherokee can do it to, and call the governor,s office ,and tell them to , you have got to fight Back , and dont let them Bullie you ,they will Bullie you if you let them ,let them know you are not going to sit down and take it with out a fight , and look up the federal website on Renewable energy and read what it says they are suppose to do ,above all dont stop trying to get it ,and let us know what you come up with thank,s Bill

    2. BILL says:

      cindy one more thing you need to know ,,all co-op,s have 4 or 5 Board members in your county and one in your district represents you so he is the one you need to get in touch with call cherokee electric and find out who your represntitive is and he is the one you need to work on ,if you do not have a BUY SELL meter they are takeing your xtra power for for free to them ,you need to install a meter to keep check on there meter ,then you can tell if they are ripping you off are not,

  14. David says:

    Mr. W Lee, I couldnt agree with you more. Off grid Solar I take it since 1998 is a really really inspirational to say the least. I know the more people know about Solar the more they will see that Big Energy and alot of assorted media are feeding the people garbage that may hurt their portfolios if the people took matters in their own hands when it comes to energy independence. I myself I have a grid tie by day and a off grid by night and love power bills of 22.00 and less. I used to average 180.00 to 225.00 a month. But I maxed out my Credit( Its there, I took it and so does big energy whenever they are subsidized, which seems for most anything they want especially in our area anyway, like the so called Smart bend you over meter. Im a Tax payer and it not anything you cant do as well as of now.) I think the more people know, the more they will turn to Solar in our state.. I talked to a loan officer friend at the bank last week that is now convinced that yes Solar is a great Investment. Its just a matter of time as Randy Travis says, and solar here in Alabama will be common as is in 90% of our country with the same rules and benifits as they share outside of this Iron Curtain we live in here in our own state.. I love Alabama, but I hate crooked politicians and lobbiest who have only their corporations best interest in mind over the people who keep them in business.
    And as for the polticians that backstab the people, like I said in the last paragraph.

  15. Warren Lee says:

    We need power companies and they should make a profit. However they have been on a gravy train and don’t want to get off.
    We need them to function as the battery for the solar panels. During the day residential systems generate power back feeding the grid. At night they draw power from the power company instead of batteries. That is the best method right now until a new form of energy storage is developed. I have been off the grid and using battery banks since 1998.
    Solar works and is the solution.
    Unified pressure is needed to get true net zero metering for Alabama Where we are allowed to spin the meter backwards and get full usage credit for it.
    The power company makes out from reduction in generating size of their equipment due to PV output being perfectly synchronized with demand on the grid.
    Call write everyone you can think of.
    Protest in Montgomery or you local town with WE NEED SOLAR NET ZERO METERING signs.

  16. Kiltit says:

    Whew! Read it all. All I’m interested in is an opportunity to look at a working solar panel setup and have someone explain and answer my million plus questions. I’ve seen some really great solar setups on youtube, but lack the skill set to jump into a project. If anyone is close to Dothan and is willing to share information and allow viewing of the system, let me know. I’ve went from CFL to LED lighting through the house and locked the thermostat down so the kids don’t turn it down. The wife is drying clothes on the line to reduce the use of the dryer and my KWh is still averaging 70 a day. I just need some relief and I think solar will provide it if I can do it a little at a time. Suppliers and ideas are welcome

  17. David says:

    grrbrown..
    Who are the Stereotypes that you speak about? I hope its not me you are refering to for my investment was mine to make freely and on my own. I save alot of Money and it hurts alot of Investers for they cant invest in me. So for the Oregon thing, maybe some Green people are that way, but if me saving money makes me Green in that aspect, well then so be it.
    I wonder what your meaning on the work to be done in Alabama at the end of your comment. Tell us. We’d like to hear whats going on. Thanks

  18. grrbrown says:

    I am sitting in a college library with free wifi, surrounded by people of all colors, using macbooks and other high end electronics. I am in Huntsville, a city with more PhD’s per capita than Palo Alto. We put men into space here. For all the stereotypes, there is another Alabama, constantly fighting for the paradise that could be. Alabama with the progressive attitudes and laws of Oregon would truly be the best place on Earth to live. Stereotype all you want, it only makes you sound weak. I currently work in the defense industry, and our work on renewables, including solar, with be available on the private market in just a few years. That’s right, the energy innovations that will lead this nation forward are being created in many places, including right here, in the great state of Alabama.

  19. Bill says:

    yes you are Right on david just change some of your habits around to when the sun is shineing and let the solar do it,s job and it dose a good job here to ,I have not had a power Bill Below 60.00 in 30years But thanks to my solar power my last Bill was 56.92 and this Bill(for this month) will Be less than that, your power provider dose not hold all the key,s if you want your power Bill down ,dont wait for alabama to move ,get your solar and Bring that Bill down I Belive you will Be glad you did,

  20. David says:

    Yea Alabama it seems is going to take it to the limit on Fighting Net-Metering. But I still wouldnt let Net-Metering stop me.. I didnt either.. And still have dropped my power bill by 80%. I changed a few habit with my hotwater heater to make sure it ran only when my Solar ran and 325.00 AVG went to the 60.00 dollar range. During the Spring and Fall its down as low as 20.00 to 25.00..
    With net-metering is were it scares the Hell out of my power provider.. Because then Id get a check. ;)

  21. bill says:

    michael we do not have net metering at this time ,But that dose not mean solar will not pay for itself ,according to the federal Renewable energy web site , they can not stop you from hooking up to there grid and you can Request a Buy & sell meter they do not have to pay you what you pay them ,but you are soppose get a little ,we get .04 cents a kill-o-watt for what gose to them ,but i dont give them any more than I have to I use all of my power I can that is why we need to call our governor Bentley at 334-242 7978 and tell him we need net metering in alabama dont let your power previder Bully you , your solar will pay off with or with out net-metering if you let them they will push you off ,you just have to stand up to them ,if you get any solar they lose money and they dont like that if they Refuse to let you hook up call your governor or any one in the energy division in alabama ,if you fight Back you stand a chance to win ,But if you let them Bully you,you will lose

  22. Michael says:

    I live on Weiss Lake and use Cherokee Electric power. Its like banging your head on the wall to get net metering from them, they claim they dont have to go by the 2005 law. Has anyone else had any luck?

  23. Gordon says:

    I am in Northern Alabama and I built my home to support Solar Panels in the future. I don’t see them as economical at this time. That Alabama is so poorly supporting the efforts of it people in this effort is sad. I know of programs to train students in installing solar in community colleges. But without financial incentives, it will be many years before they can find work in the field. That people are being actively discouraged is criminal.

  24. Jim says:

    I am an Auburn boy who moved out to California, and the contrast between AL and CA policies is stunning. CA passed a law 3 or 4 (?) years ago that said HOA’s could not restrict homeowners from installing solar on their home. Although there is no state tax credit, the power company provides a credit (was about 10 percent when I installed) for installation costs that is partially subsidized through the Air Quality District. I was thinking of getting a system for my retired dad in B’ham, but AL policy seems to discourage this. Finally, I wasn’t smart enough to realize it at the time, but install it yourself and save a ton. I am extremely pleased with my system and have even gone ahead and bought an all electric Nissan Leaf that I could charge off the roof. I have paid about $150 total for electricity since mid 2008 and have not been to a gas station since May 2010. Like everything else, whether it pays for itself depends on what you do and how you use it.

  25. Jennifer says:

    I really wish Alabama would go Solar Power.It would really help in everything,from saving money to the trees.Our power Companies need to stop and think how it would help their customers out that is having a hard time paying for power cost.LIke our household,there is only one person working and it’s hard to pay it on time like they wont it to be.You would think they would do that,but i feel like they don’t care,all they care about it having that money in their pocket..yip!!!!

  26. Tony says:

    First let me start by declaring the pride I have living in Alabama. I’m not from here and nor have I been here but 18 months. My wife is from Panama and I’ve lived with her in Panama, Puerto Rico, Germany, and now here. In these months, us foreigners have been made to feel very welcome by our neighbors, our Church, and my co-workers.

    Although thankful, our time in Germany (7.5 yrs) is what is relevant to this conversation.

    In Germany, our next door neighbor, with his middle aged step-father, put in solar panels which covered nearly his entire south facing roof. A roof with a very tilted pitch! This guy is an M.D. and his step-father has worked the land his whole life. I watched them and talked with them. Their greatest concern was sealing the holes in the roof created by the infrastructure holding the panels. It went up slow and careful, but they did it. Their motivation? Energy cost 2.5-3 times what we pay here compared to Germany. Varies depending upon area, obviously.

    So this experience motivated me to consider PV for the home I was to buy. My wife’s dream house is in a Home Owner Association sub-division. Guess what? Yep, no PV panels allowed on the roof. Sad, because I have a huge southern facing roof tilted at approx 20 degrees – ideal right?

    So maybe Alabama does have an opportunity to achieve better policies in support of solar energy use. For me, I’ll continue working to influence the HOA so I can do as my German neighbor and brother Watchman above – get’r done!

    Watchman, if you wouldn’t mind sharing details, I’ll appreciate it. tony_ret@yahoo.com

  27. David says:

    If anyone is interested, there will be on December 6th nd 7th a conference in Auburn,Al. Alabama Clean and Renewable Energy Conference @ Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. State political figures will be there as well as all aspects of energy for finding ways to improve Alabamas renewable energy policies. Contact info: Kathy Hornsby 334-242-5284 Hope to see you there.

  28. david says:

    Im sorry, I meant GE!! lol

  29. tony hanners says:

    i am from the dothan alabama area and i to am starting to check into solar as the power bill keeps just going up and i am now installing a wood burning fireplace for the tax break as this is a joke but doing it for us as alabama is broke and have our taxes on hold from 10 as i installed new windows and doors and the whole works and have all papers to prove and feds paid but not alabama waiting on a audit, what a joke.

  30. David says:

    After reading the last two post that are here on this site, I too beleive its all education and contacting of your States Gov. Officials to get the ball rolling. Corporations Like Wal-Mart and walgreens throughout the Country are getting on the Solar Bandwagon like Crazy… If you follow politics Republicans are now not so Green. But they need a cash Cow to now unseat Obama.. Im Concervative myself, but see through the BS… They need money, like Obama has GTE.. Poltics!! Dont let anyone try to convince you Solar doesnt work. So many states now enjoy relatively free energy independence from Corporations that gouge you to the brink everyday.. Alabama no dought is fighting for last place. Let your voice be heard, and Alabama will join the rest of the Country in true energy Independence.. Capitalism at its best! Corporations competeing with the people..

  31. Billy fuller says:

    to all those in alabama I am in solar it works Real good But for it to work the way it should we have got to get net-metering in alabama so every one Please call the governor,s office every week or so ,and get everyone that will call ,and let the governor know the people of alabama need net-metering in our state, I have Been calling it But I need more to call to , call this number (334-242-7978 this is johnny Blackman,s number of the governor,s office and let them know we need net -metering in alabama ,the more people that call the Better it will Be ,please call them ,thanks Bill

  32. R. Draper says:

    after reading many of the comments that have been posted, it boils down to educating the public in general, and contacting state legislators or even the governor himself with numerous letters if need be. I think the people should have the choice, and more of a say when it comes to utilities.

  33. Roxann says:

    I’m stunned to have read all of the comments posted! Some helpful, some just ignorant! Let me just say, I ended up here on accident researching solar panels to help with our pockets as well as saving this planet. If we can harness the energy our earth supplies why haven’t we yet? Mostly because of the cost! Which ive found is incredible! I’m not looking for someone to put money in my pocket but my energy bills are going through the roof my taxes are going up and its getting harder to make ends meet.I was born in this beautiful state as well as my children. Ive had the pleasure of seeing others and have to say proud to be an Alabamian. We do have a bad reputation for being rednecks or stupid and reading some of what was posted just encourages those thoughts.The fact is Alabama should give incentives for installing solar or wind and if were generating enough power to turn the dial backward your dang right I want a check in the mail and better not be late with it or I wont hesitate to tack on late fees,cause the power company doesn’t mind and wont blink an eye to turn you off!! I don’t know what the answer is but Alabama is 50 years behind when it comes to going green.I love my state love my GOD love my children,I don’t love spending money on electricity if i don’t have to. For those who posted helpful hints thank you. For all others you got a chip on your shoulders and give Alabamians the bad names in which we cant get away from.

  34. Paul says:

    WATCHMAN, What loads are you running while on back up? you should be able to run a window unit that would keep a room cool during an outage.I would like to talk with you, email showmeyourgreencard@gmail.com

  35. watchman says:

    Well, I live in semi rural Alabama. The comments about running your meter backwards are mistaken. You can do it, and I have a system that does it. I have a 2500 watt grid tied battery backup system which I installed myself. I am an electrical engineer, now retired, but you don’t need to be to install one. My system and I made it just fine through the latest 8 day power outage caused by the May tornadoes.

    The system uses grid-tied inverters, which as the name implies passes excess power back into the power lines, and can also drow on the lines when the load is heavy. Research it. –Hint: Outback Power systems.. You do not have to be an engineer, just handy with tools and have a little common sense.

    My system cost has been about $16 k, including 2.5 kw of panels, mounting structure, inverters, controllers and batteries. (plus a LOT of elbow grease)

    I save about 20% on my electric bill. Granted it is not a money maker, but it does provide lights and electricity for refrigerators and freezers when the mains go down for indefinite periods, without worrying about gas for a noisy generator.

    A small apartment sized gas stove tucked in the basement and rigged to run on propane will cook meals for 5 for over a month on a grill-sized propane tank.

  36. David says:

    Bruce its a big time lie.. Go to Alabama Powers Internet site and search for solar.. Then call those liars back.. Good Luck.

  37. Bill says:

    Hello to all dose anyone out there still Read these comment,s here, or is there anyone trying to talk to there Rep.” out there to get something going up in montgomery,there are only 2 or 3 states left that dont have net-metering and no thanks to the power company,s around the state we are one of the states that dont have it ,here in coffee county we are trying to get our Rep.” to move if we can,But we need a lot of help,is there anyone out there Reading these post ,that is trying at this time to get something going,if you are let us know about it ,Bill

  38. David says:

    Heres a breakdown of the Investment on average. Lets say a 5200W system @ every possible positive factor you can use for the systems effeciency. Ok, 5200W X 4.98 = 25896.00. Minus 10% of the Fed. Tax credit you may qualify for which now leaves 23306.40. Now on avg, a 5200W say produces 29.9KWH daily, give or take 8KWH daily. 29.9 X 30 days = 897KWH monthly on avg. 897 X 12 months = 10764KWH a year. 10764KWH X 27 years = 290628 KWH for the avg. lifetime of the system. When you divide the cost of 23306.40 by 290628 KWH, your avg. cost per KWH comes out to .0801 KWH for each KWH over the life of the system. If by chance you will need another Inverter over this lifetime of your system, Lets say 15yrs, it would only raise this avg. by .0100 to .0900 per KWH. I pay now .1265 and dont believe itll ever go down. 5, 10, 15 yrs from now what do you think the cost of a KWH will be? I know of areas around the country that they are paying already .15 to as high as .18 per KWH.
    So is it a bad Investment? I dont think so.

  39. bruce says:

    i live in tuscaloosa al i have a small pv sytem that charges batteries it cost me about 800.00 it lower my bill by havle i want to sell power back to the grid but they told me with the new smart meter it was not avable thats a lie but thats al power for you ps my sytem is only 300 watts

  40. Billy fuller says:

    folks we need to get net-metering in our state,if we dont try to get it we never will ,Bill

  41. David says:

    Well Id be the first to say Al. sucks on Renewables. Im not saying anyone should be payed by another to get started.. Its just plain wrong and I dont do things like that because folks might take me for a Politician, but it would be nice if our State Politicians would atleast give us Net-Metering.

  42. Paul says:

    Thanks for stopping by Power Pete, obviously every one knows that brown power is also subsidized by tax payers. You’ll probable not get any response from your elected officials because they receive a tax revenue from every chunk of smoldering coal producing power.

    What aggravates me is how the power company writes articles about renewable energy and they all ways seem to inflate the cost of installing it, deflate the output that it will produce and fail to mention any thing about the environmental benefits (which another quick internet search will also provide). Also they try to discourage investment in solar power by giving the systems a life expectancy of 20 years, the panels are warranted to produce 80% of the rated output for 25 years.

    The power company usual state you would have to spend 100,000 dollars to invest in solar, this just is not true. The system with the quickest pay back is grid tied no battery back up and only produces enough to cover your constant loads(fridge, freezer, tv, modems and whatever else always stays on). The ac does not run all the time there for you would be giving power back to the power company at a discounted rate. based on my use the optimal system is 600 watts or 3 panels which would cost 2500 before the 30% tax credit.

    Also if you look a little deeper you’ll find that people that use more electricity pay less per kwh. So while the power company is pushing cfl and telling everyone to turn off our lights their billing practices are rewarding excessive use. I feel that electricity has become more of a commodity and should be sold as such, every person should pay the same per kwh with no base charges or meter fees. If it takes a meter, transformer and wire to sell the public power that should be the cost of doing business for the power company. What if gasoline was treated that way? If there was a $100 dollar monthly fee to pump gas it would reward the person that uses the most with a lower per gallon price.

    Here is an example of a PV system in MS that cost 6000 (after the federal tax credit) and took 1 person 8 hours to install. http://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/rQq46398 If you click on the lifetime graph you’ll see the south east has a good amount of productive days contrary to the power company’s always rainy/cloudy description. I would have to say it’s a co2 cloud not the weather hanging over their heads. Please keep in mind that even if the pay back is 20 years their is a pay back. You can pay on your power bill forever and the power company will never pay you back. Understanding your power use will reduce your bill the most devices like this are excellent. (http://www.theenergydetective.com/store/ted-5000)

    Feel free to contact me at showmeyourgreencard@gmail.com

  43. Pete says:

    For all the state bashers I have two suggestions. Alabama has several interstate highways that lead to other other states, take one of them. Move to a state that charges higher utility rates and enjoy it. My second suggestion, quit asking tax payers to subsidize your green power endevors. Pay for it yourself and quit whining.

  44. RTR says:

    TVA has 3 Mark I Nuclear Reactors (the type that melted down in Japan) in Browns Ferry. The reactors are over 30 years old and at the end of their designed life.
    However; The NRC gave the TVA a license to operate these plants for an additional 20 years. Seems strange that the plants are operated to recover cost and produce profit in the 30 years life. But the cost of power still goes up even though a paid for plant is producing the power.

  45. Chris says:

    FACE IT PEOPLE. When you enter Alabama turn your watch back 50 years. That is how far we are behind the western states in green energy.

  46. Pat says:

    Why can you not install a system that will provide 100% of your needs and write these power leaches off for good?

  47. Tony says:

    Do any Alabama Utility Companies offer energy rebates?

  48. Magdi says:

    Why wait for incentives. Most of the text listed here is whining. Just do it. Worst case scenario, you will produce enough power not to pay electricity.
    I am planning an 8 KW system to be done in December 2010. Why let the Saudis and the mullah laugh all the way to the bank. Consider this a patroitic matter. A good system of 8ww cost about 24K. Instead of buying a BMW with 45K. buy a chevy for 20K and pay for the 24K with the rest.

  49. gail marshal says:

    I had a plan for a solar & wind power home power project and would like to know how much this payback program payed back per____?… watt. can you give me the information? thamks

  50. wba says:

    I read somewhere in the Ala. public service commission papers that a home power generation customer (gird tie) must provide a $1,000,000.00 insurance policy in order to get a net meter. Does anyone in Ala. know if that is in fact true? I think without the net meter, you actually pay for the power you introduce.

  51. WBA says:

    I live in Spanish Fort Alabama. I am installing (myself) a small 24 volt solar grid tie system with battery back up . This type of system will slow down the power meter and reduce the power bill. Also, I installed a ‘Power Saver’ or power factor corrector box to further slow the meter down. I am following standard electrical codes and my grid tie connection comes into my power panel on a double 220v 20 amp breaker. I hope to add a wind pma soon and as time goes on, I’ll add a panel and extra inverter over and over again to increase my overall output into the grid. I will be curious to see if Riviera Power forces me to turn off my system.

    1. S says:

      Feb 2013 Also a Sp. Ft. resident==What is the development with your system and Riviera?

  52. Kiwistyle says:

    We decided to get on Budget pay for our electric. We have two meters at our house so each went on separate Budget pay. This is the month to “reconcile”, one of the bills ended up with a $400.00 credit and the other with a $300.00 deficit. Now here is the issue that has me upset. For the one that is under the payment they want us to catch it up with a $680.00 payment and the other one they just simply want to keep and neither credit to our other account or get a refund on it. Why would they as they are getting interest of our money.

    Now here is an interesting fact. I contacted the Utilities Commission to lodge a complaint about this practice. But I was at the wrong place so I was given the Attorney Generals phone number and was told Now I will Quote:
    There is no agency that Governs Electricity in the state of Alabama. I ask what my other recourse is. She told me to go to a Board meeting and voice your opinions. Board Meetings are closed. So in fact the Covington County Electric Company can and do cheat people everyday of the week and it is legal.

    I am looking for another Electric source for two buildings, one is 16X20 and the other is 16X24 and I need to run air conditions and water heaters in them both. Then I am going to work on the house. I have enough room to put up a windmill, any know anything about this source of energy??

  53. Kiwistyle says:

    I am here looking at solar energy for a very good reason. We decided to get on Budget pay for our electric. We have two meters at our house so each went on Budget pay. This is the month to “reconcile”, one of the bills ended up with a $400.00 credit and the other with a $300.00 deficit. Now here is the issue that has me upset. For the one that is under the payment they want us to catch it up with a $680.00 payment and the other one they just simply want to keep and neither credit to our other account or get a refund on it. Why would they as they are getting interest of our money.

    Now here is an interesting fact. I contacted the Utilities Commission to lodge a complaint about this practice. But I was at the wrong place so I was given the Attorney Generals phone number and was told Now I will Quote:
    There is no agency that Governs Electricity in the state of Alabama. I ask what my other recourse is. She told me to go to a Board meeting and voice your opinions. Board Meetings are closed. So in fact the Covington County Electric Company can and do cheat people everyday of the week and it is legal.

    I am looking for another Electric source for two buildings, one is 16X20 and the other is 16X24 and I need to run air conditions and water heaters in them both. Then I am going to work on the house. I have enough room to put up a windmill, any know anything about this source of energy??

  54. roderick morrison says:

    right glad to hear that there are some hardy souls in Lower Alabama who are determined in the face of adversity to go GREEN, we also live close by that recycling plant on Govt St, lets join up and develop our own SOLAR Movement.
    PS I migrated straight into Mobile from Scotland-its a great State its the right choice for me,,, however, I may speak funny- but at least I can spell,

  55. Andolyn says:

    I’m glad to read all of the input on solar incentives in Alabama or the lack thereof. I am building in Fairhope, AL (near Mobile) and we are earnestly trying to build with energy conservation in mind. We started by using structural insulated panels (SIPs) and now need to decide on roofing. I would love to use solar shingles and be net-zero for the year in terms of energy consumption. I have been discouraged to use solar shingles by my builder and the gentleman we chose to set up our solar water heating system (roof panels) It certainly sounds like the state/power company will not support these efforts. Anyone know of someone who has used solar shingles in south Alabama? Thanks in advance for your help!

    Andolyn Fitzgerald johnandolyn@bellsouth.net

  56. Larry White says:

    Some very intersting disucssions, but I am still interested in installing solar power for my residence. Energy costs will just continue to rise and I believe home solar is the way to go. Currently we could pay for a system in 10-11 years and be generating “free” energy from that point. Any feedback?

  57. bobby white says:

    I have just installed a 2100 watt PV system.I intened to install a grid tie system,however I was discoreged all alone the way by my electric co op {CAEC} I was told this is nota good solar area and that to conect to there system I would have to provid $100,000 worth of insurance.So I put in a 48v battary based unit with a 6kw inverter so ther will be room to grow.now i cut there power off at 6am till 5pm

  58. Catfish says:

    There are several errors with postings above. 1) Alabama Power does not have a monopoly in Alabama. There are more than 30 electric municipalities in AL, who are served from multiple resources and providers. Other “power companies” are TVA, Powersouth, and AMEA. 2) Alabama may not have tax incentives, but we do have similar legislation as other states that allows for renewable energy buy-back from consumer owned generation. This became effective in May 2008. It is not specifically net-metering, because net-metering is not always the best solution, and does not always give the best payback to the consumer. 3) ALPower does have a Solar rate (PAE), and it has been in place since June 2009.

  59. msg says:

    we have the technology to go green and save our environment and ourselves. yet we have no incentives from state government to do so. i don’t know about everyone else, but i can’
    t seem to save a dime to put toward solar panels for trying to pay my electric bills. sad indeed.

  60. wayne says:

    Anyone ever really looked at the ROI for a PV system? It’s somewhere bordering on the outrageous. And NO – Bama does not give us any incentives to go green. Even buying a Smart car is Dumb – in Bama, you’ll get run over and crushed to death. Forget that.

    Bottom line – unless the cost of PV comes down to where I can get ~ a 1-year ROI, then I’ll keep ignoring solar. Too bad – ’cause I think solar is cool (pardon any pun here).

  61. TLogan says:

    I sat in an Economic Development Conference in Montgomery in early 2009 and listened in unbelief as one of the heads of Alabama Power said that the State of Alabama was not a good place to try to generate either solar or wind energy. The people at our table all groaned as he showed a “map” of Alabama with sun and wind ratings that in his words were too low for any benefit.

    Then he displayed a pie chart showing how by 2025 more than 20% of Alabama Power’s KWH would come from nuclear ? energy!!

    And he represents the guys who are running our power industry in Alabama.

    1. Why spend billions on a nuclear plant in Alabama when you have a natural nuclear plant: The Sun. And great solar technology to capture that power. It’s ready here and now and Alabamans have to elect and pressure officials to give subsidies toward solar projects, not costly, unreliable, unsafe, water intensive nuclear.

  62. Leslie Muzingo says:

    While I will agree that Alabama certainly should be more environmentally friendly and offer more incentives, Alabama can, on the other hand, be considered PROGRESSIVE for offering a tax incentive for burning wood before the Feds did as they are now – yes folks, you can now get a 30% tax credit for installing a fireplace insert. It could be that your fireplace was none functional or you didn’t even burn wood before, but thanks to the fed govt, now you burn wood. Why? Because wood, as Alabama knew long ago, (and as they know in Norway and Sweden) is a renewable resource, and so long as the fireplaces and stoves are energy efficient, this is actually a good way to heat our homes. As for the individual who claims to live in South Alabama but says there is no recycling center here, I don’t know where THAT person lives, but I live in Mobile, and there is a very large center not a quarter mile from my home. That center is actively used by the community and has several full time employees.

    It is easy to criticize. We in Alabama would appreciate it if you’d just encourage us next time.

    1. Leslie, thanks for your perspective. The wood burning program you’re taking about is explained briefly here.

      Nevertheless, this is SolarPowerRocks, not WoodPowerRocks, and we hope that Alabama natives will do all they can to encourage their legislators to pass programs that will use all that gorgeous Alabama sun for solar electric and solar hot water systems. I’m glad to hear that you’re recycling down there in Mobile. I have friends down there in smaller towns that don’t. It would be great if all could be more environmentally conscious as Mobile. Thanks for your thoughts.

  63. Doug says:

    It’s not up to the utilities.It’s up to the consumer to prove the demand is there to convert to alternate power sources. Solar wind and geothermal often appear to be blocked. If the public would move forward with out the help of the state and learn to go off grid the TVA and the state will have no choice but to get with the times. The loss of tax revenue usually gets the states panties in a bunch pretty quick.

  64. ME says:

    Well Considering where I live in South Alabama does not even have a recycling program how can you expect them to have anything for solar.

  65. MAD BRAD says:

    Just joined in on trying to get something done by contacting our representatives and got ignored with no returned calls and lies that I would get returned emails. The one office that would respond started in on how education needs priority over solar and our education is in quote dire straits. They may be in bad shape but they were not so bad that two years ago that our state officials gave themselves a 60% raise. Also we hear how cheap our taxes are here. That may be the case for some but not for me. That figured a way to double my business license this year and my land tax continues to go up.

    1. Good for you, Brad! Sounds like the next step is to get more press for the cause. See if you can’t the attention of one of the large Alabama news papers or, even better, a television station. But don’t be mad brad to these reporters. Be polite, make your case that solar is important too and that it’s important to the health of those kids in terms of pollution and asthma related health costs. Point out that utilities all over the states are getting on board, including Florida and Georgia. Does Alabama want to be left behind on the bottom floor of clean air solar energy? With all of its sun? That’s what I would say to the reporters. Hopefully, they’ll then go get some kind of comment from the lawmakers about why they want to leave Alabama behind the times. Coal is yesterday. Solar is ready now and will be a huge part of our energy future.

      Keep it up, Brad! But remember to keep your cool. Otherwise, they’ll just listen to your anger and emotions and not what you’re truly trying to say.

  66. red says:

    Want to know how evil alabama power is?
    Look at this from their website.
    http://www.alabamapower.com/renewableenergy/solar_costs.asp

  67. red says:

    First dont think tha Alabamas government is the only one getting their pockets stuffed, the only difference is who is doing the stuffing. Here in Alabama it is mostly Alabama power, where in other states it is the green energy companies. Second I am not at all embarrassed to be from Alabama and if you are you have the right to leave.
    I have sent many letters to the state reps on this very subject. NOT e-mails. Letters. They get a huge amount of e-mails every day. If you want to get your point across to them send letters. Send ten a day, what ever it takes. Or you can also run for office yourself. Another effective move might also be to make sure the state reps see this comment board. Print it out and send them one hundred copies.

  68. Larry says:

    Priorities
    #1 Learn to spell or use spell check.
    #2 Save the environment

    1. Honestly, Larry, Our priorities are 1) Save the environment, 2) drink celebratory beer, 3) spell check, 4) more beer. 5) See #1.

      In any case, the only spelling mistake that our system caught that wasn’t intentional (“gotta” is just how write) was “bigwhigs.” Should have been bigwigs. Gotta change that. But thanks for pointing that out. If bad copy editing is all that prevents you from going solar, well….real bummer for the planet and I guess bad on us. We’ve probably got a zillion more typos on our 3 years worth of our great solar info here, so please forgive us in advance and go solar anyway. :)

  69. JACKSON CANUP says:

    start with you local goverment , and work your we up the line ,and vote. get in the local town halls make noise it will take time but look at the savings for all, look at the new jobs, sheffield alabama I am coming your way and we are going to get green! alabama goverment is going to help or alabama goverment is going to change! alabama could be looked at as one of the best states in America to retire.

  70. Stephanie says:

    How do we get this changed in Alabama? Alabama needs incentives for solar panels!

  71. Mark McMullen says:

    I will also share this. I have worked on government facilities as an inspector and as a construction superintendent and I have seen the govt. waste alot of our tax money. And to this day I cannot figure out why they will not utilize the power supply systems available on there own structures. I think we should also pressure them “contact your local Rep.” to do the right thing and set the example. They all preach how we ” the rodents in the maze” need to do the right thing for our country. Its time we make them do the right thing for “US” since we do pay for their luxuries. Power to the People.

  72. Mark McMullen says:

    I see that most of you agree to a certain degree that the federal and overall individual states are not as GUNG HO to give big incentives. I agree with Monty’s idea, Let the meter go in reverse if you make more than you use, and or at least pay you the same rate that they charge you per kwH. When you install the PV system it comes with a secondary meter that shows you how many kwH you have produced produced. Although there is no incentives in Al. to speak of, if you install a system and use the power from the PV as the primary and the grid as the secondary than you bypass the issue of being compensated by the local power company. The systems out there are expensive, but if you are building a home get the system finance all in one with the home loan and you will hit the ground running with savings. If I stand corrected please comment. The more we know the better. Power to the People.

  73. Judy says:

    I am not ashamed of living in Alabama, nor do I particularly care about the stereotypes commonly associated with it. I do think that the Alabama should assist, and in some cases, provide “green living” for its residents. It would save the government a fortune in low income supplement. Also, considering the years of toxic abuse heaped upon our land, Alabama could really use the opportunity to make amends to the earth.

  74. Monty says:

    Alabam is a great place to implement a PV system, all you have to do is pay for it yourself. Obama’s plans and incentives work only for commercial investments geared towards “savings” for the tax payers. What a joke.

    There is a huge political mokery running this state when a man can get payed to burn wood and gets laghed at when he wants to sell the extra juice generated fron a PV system.

    Here’s an idea: Make it a “federal” mandate that anyone who generates more power than they need, gets to run the meeter in reverse. Set a standard for the quality of power produced, the same thing you want running your home theater or computer, give me a little insentive, keep it simple and call it a day.

    Sorry, that would make too much sence. Obama is just as big a stand up “green” comedian as the gold lined pocket pupets in Montgomery.

  75. JOHN says:

    I am very disappointed in my state government and their lack of interest in promoting solar energy. To add insult to injury our local cooperative, Baldwin EMC actually charges you a higher rate for electricity if you have any alternative energy source supplementing energy to your home or business.

  76. Chris says:

    One would think that with energy prices as high as they are that each state could come up with a nice plan to help the individual who wants to go solar. Doesn’t surprise me that Alabama which is also one of the lowest ranked states in everything else would not have a plan to help people.

  77. Paris Vega says:

    I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Our city offers Recycling, emissions testing, and hazardous waste collection. Here is a good article about what Tuscaloosa and other Alabama cities are doing: http://www.nbc13.com/vtm/news/local/article/tuscaloosa_experiments_with_going_green_at_waste_water_treatment_plant/59631/

  78. Nicole says:

    If I am not mistaken, the TVA program requires the homeowner to carry huge amounts of very expensive insurance to cover TVA’s equipment — insurance costs which overwhelm the savings of any benefits they offer.

  79. M. H. Henry says:

    Question #1 (calculation of savings)
    I am interestd in this calculation.
    Green Power Switch Producer credit (3,500 Kwh/year * $0.15 * 10 years)
    Is the 3,500 an average or a maximum?

    Question # 2 (Best installers)
    Who if anyone here has had a contractor install a system? What are the best contractors in Alabama at the best cost.

  80. M. H. Henry says:

    I think we should focus on how to save money as Alabama residents and write our congressman with any complaints. It will not do any good here. We should be interested in sharing information here that will lead us to a decision to buy green power or not based on the current benefits and or tax cuts. Leave the emotions out of it and stick to the facts. This will help us and others be more productive in our decision making.

  81. Sumpter says:

    Im all about green power. The real tradgedy is a southern company also owns georgia power allows residents to sell power back to ga power where as alabama residents cannot! What should be done is all deposit money collected should be made to be used in construction of pv and wind generation plants. This money is never taxed and is hidden to public disclosure. The person who pays this money almost never sees it again. Politicians who protect monopolys such as this god will spew from gods mouth, no matter how godly they veiw thierself. What pathetic blight.

  82. michael says:

    I have lived in Alabama for most of my life and I am ashamed at the way our state is lacking on renewable power that will help not only our state but the country as a whole by not providing more in the way of grants and insentives to help anyone go green if they want. Alabama Power should not hold a monopoly on Power nor should any other.

  83. Jean says:

    A power plant near Birmingham holds the record for airborne mercury production from coal.

  84. henry says:

    jon, you got me. (embarrassed), public schooled. need i say more. we are not on the same page with alternative fuels. do you work with the gov.?

  85. Jon Ingram says:

    “imbarased” is embarrassing me! Believe it or not, there are plenty of literate people who live in Alabama! Not all of us are rednecks either. My state has been stereotyped since the ’60s. Alabama is not as nearly backwards and unrefined as national public perception would have one believe.

    Anyway, our Governor IS doing something in the area of alternative fuels. Is it enough? NO. But, at least it is a start. To see one important step he is undertaking check out this press release from his office:
    http://governorpress.alabama.gov/pr/pr-2008-09-26-01-clean_corridor.asp

  86. Michael Alpers says:

    The local power producers Including TVA and Huntsville Utilities in northern Alabama do not care or have a clue. If you read the TVA write-up completely they will not allow reverse power generation to offset the cost of making green power. It is only a marketing scam. If they were truly serious they would allow reverse generation at the rates charged to the consumer as most other states do. There is nothing green about the state of Alabama and from what I can see never will be. They won’t even recycle for that matter.

  87. henry says:

    Alabama state legislators have been investing our money in “clean coal” and nuke. clean coal is misleading: “There is no such thing as ‘clean coal’ and there never will be. It’s an oxymoron.” i am proud to be an american but imbarased to be from alabama where the lobbyers own the the goverment from the governor down. may the ones who sells us out burn in hell.
    imbarased

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