Re: Dear Cohousing Community
From: Dick Margulis (dickdmargulis.com)
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2021 11:21:10 -0800 (PST)
On 1/8/2021 1:57 PM, Jim Bronson wrote:

1) Do we have an electric meter on each of our 28 units, or an electric
meter only on each of our seven buildings, or have only one electric meter
for the community and parcel out charges based on square footage of
individual units through the HOA?

Your electric utility and your state public utilities commission will have the final say in that. You can explore options, but pay close attention to the monthly service charges that apply to different size meters.




2) Do we have solar.with battery backup, for a start, on the Community
House (possibly using financing where a third party pays for the
installation and is compensated over time through selling power to us and
the grid)?

The economics of this varies from state to state. In Oregon, this may work out. In Connecticut it turned out to be infeasible. We went down the path of designing a microgrid solution for the community (one giant meter, connected solar collectors, central storage battery, car chargers). The Connecticut Green Bank was on board with enthusiastic support. They brought in a specialist engineering firm to analyze the project, and the conclusion the engineers came to was that a thirty-home community could not possibly consume or produce enough power (under our restrictive state regulations) to ever justify the cost of the storage battery.

We ended up having to have individual meters on each home, individual solar systems purchased or leased by homeowners, and optional whole-house batteries (such as Tesla sells). We were advised to live in the homes for a year and monitor power usage before installing solar systems/batteries, in order to properly size the systems. In Connecticut, any power sold back to the grid above the amount used by the home would be reimbursed at wholesale prices, which would not be enough to pay for the extra solar panels. Again, this may be entirely different in Oregon. I'm just telling you what we learned here.

Dick Margulis
Rocky Corner
Bethany CT


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