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Hi all,

Funny I just asked almost the same question as Chris over on  green
building talk regarding a home we are eventually going to build here in
VT--  I am assuming you are the same Dana that replied over there--small
world?

It really feels like even at 2.4 COP average for the heat pump, it is going
to compare evenly in $$$ to a 96% propane burner at $1.88 , which is not
going to be an easy find on propane prices and I don't actually think that
even takes into consideration the electricity that a gas burner uses?
Chris,  let us know what you figure out!  I saw a website with pricing
between the FH15 and FE18 and they were the same price essentially, at
$2250 (probably grey market internet pricing, so local installer pricing I
would expect to be higher).

With PV pricing on it's way down, does it make sense to wait before
adopting? It appears that the pay-for-itself in VT  is still currently
about 15 years with all federal/state incentives.

On Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 3:24 PM, Dana Dorsett <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>  Chris writes:
>
> >I’ll probably just do a self-install(mostly) of a mini split and forget
> about the rebates.
>
> FWIW: The -FH series Mitsubishis won't be available through local
> distribution for several weeks yet (according to a friend who just had an
> -FE18 installed at his place this week), but they're available via some
> internet stores.  Grapevine from an acquantance in Hanover NH has it that
> Fujitsu will not warranty any unit purchased via internet grey-market even
> if installed by a certified installer (apparently part of the contractual
> support agreements with the distributors.) I'm not sure if the same is true
> for Mitsubishi or noet, but assume that for mostly-DIY installation you are
> probably giving up any warranty support as well as the rebates.  But it can
> still be done, and they are pretty reliable if done correctly.
>
> Unless you're going into the biz you probably don't even want to think
> about buying the necessary tools & instrumentation to properly pump down
> the system and install the refrigerant to the proper levels. It's worth
> paying a qualified tech on an hourly basis to do the final charging & test
> portion, but don't assume that they owe you anything more after you've
> handed them the check/sack 'o nickels/wampum/whaddevah for the services
> rendered.
>
> Since we're already well into the weeds, and given that it's Way Off Topic
> season...
>
> Apparently the new VT rebate structures and qualifications are currently
> still TBD. A draft amendment affecting it has been passed in the VT
> legislature, but is still awaiting the governor's autograph:
> http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2014/bills/Passed/S-202C.pdf
>
> There is larger economic rationale for applying taxpayer/ratepayer funds
> toward displacing propane, heating oil, and natural gas (all of which are
> imported into the state, representing a net outflow of wealth from the
> state) by an increased use of electricity (which is mostly sourced
> in-state, or at least very locally regionally, keeping the wealth in
> the local economy).  The policy wonks still have to come up with clear and
> conservative models for the actual value of that change to the
> ratepayers/tax payers, but this is becoming a fairly polished act- don't be
> surprised if they publish the new subsidy information before the ink is dry
> on the amendment.
>
> Previously it was pretty hefty- $1000 for the first unit, $700 if you
> added a second, provided the models met the heating efficiency and capacity
> at low-outdoor temp requirements. (Which narrowed it down the -FExxNA and
> -xxRLS2-H mini splits, and the Daikin Altherma hydronic output air source
> heat pump- a very short list.)  By contrast, in the Peoples Republic of MA
> there is a subsidy that maxes out at $500, and for one unit only, and that
> program is set to expire at the end of 2014.   The rationale for subsidy by
> the ratepayers here was primarily the value of avoided peak power costs
> during heavy air conditioning grid loads by having extremely efficient air
> conditioning, and pretty much ignored the value of reduced grid-load for
> space heating even for those using resistance heaters.  It seems like it
> would be a no-brainer for freeing up valuable grid capacity during peak
> heating events, even if they are only running a COP of 1.5-2.5 at the 99%
> outside design temps in MA.
>
> Going even deeper into the weeds...
>
> During this winter's peak cold snap competition for the resource between
> power generators and those using it for space heating drove the spot rates
> for gas thorugh the roof, and even then it wasn't clear there would be
> sufficient capacity from gas generators to keep the grid stable without
> firing up oil-fired peakers at some ridiculously high cost (which they in
> fact did.) The day-ahead market bidding was open for a record amount of
> time, since gas generation operators were being quoted gas prices & volumes
> that changed hourly- the ISO-NE operators were pretty freaked out by that,
> since literally half the annual regional grid power is from natural gas,
> usually more than half during summertime peaks (when the pipeline
> capacity isn't being guzzled by space heating systems):
> http://www.psnhnews.com/press-releases/psnh-power-plant-fleet-called-during-cold-snap
> It's probably cheaper to buy capacity by heavily subsidizing mini-splits
> for those heating with resistance power than to build/maintain/fuel/finance
> peakers that only run 100-200 hours per year, and thus have to charge
> ridiculous $/MWH to have business.  (This too will change with
> the distributed storage in the coming decade.)
>
> Only the true energy geeks would want to see this, but the ISO-NE grid
> operator maintains a quasi-real-time website showing regional spot-market
> pricing & grid efficiencies, as well as the fractional fuel-sources:
>
>
> http://isoexpress.iso-ne.com/guest-hub;jsessionid=0B8BF612ED6003109D9204762BD497FC
>
> It's not always up and running- try later if it dead-ends.  It only shows
> sources that are monitored directly in real time by the grid operator- any
> rooftop PV or micro-cogenerator power source from behind your meter
> (running it backwards) just appears as negative-load to them, so the
> renewables fraction of the true grid sources don't show up.   Metered wind
> farms & large municipal PV arrays do, but they are agnostic about the
> minute-by-minute or even daily levels of distributed power going onto the
> grid from simple net-metered sites. (The distributed newewable power source
> information is aggregated by others for purposes of selling production
> credits, but you never get to see it in real-time.)  As of 5 minutes ago
> the average winds in New England was pretty low, and the non-hydro
> renewables was supplying less than 7% of the grid load, and only about 0.3%
> of the total was from wind (about 1/3 the amount of power supplied by
> coal), a 36% was from nukes, and half was from natural gas.  On windier
> days wind power alone hits 2% of the total, and that is WAY up from a few
> years ago. Wind will be hitting double digits by 2020, but the output of
> distributed solar (that doesn't even register) will pass the
> mid-day fraction held by wind & coal combined by then, since the installed
> capacity of PV in New England has been doubling every 9-12 months for about
> a decade now (dominated by installations in MA, which should pass half a
> gigawatt before the end of this year, but still significant in VT & CT, not
> so much NH or ME) with no slow down in sight.
>
> Wind is growing at a rapid clip too (though not nearly as fast as in the
> midwest) but at a much slower exponent than PV in this region.  This is due
> to several factors- the cost of wind power is continuing to decline, but
> not as precipitously as PV, and unlike PV, wind is not economically
> scalable to the single-home  or sub-10kw (or even sub 100kw) level.  By
> contrast PV power, though more expensive on a lifecycle basis than large
> scale wind, it  is cheaper than the residential retail rates in much of New
> England, and will be cheaper than the residential rates in all of New
> England soon. Most states in the region allow third-party ownership of
> rooftop PV-  the difference between the lifecycle cost and the retail rates
> have sufficient arbitrage that well financed solar companies can cut the
> homeowner a discount on their power use in exchange for the privilege of
> putting panels on the roof, and still reap a hefty profit by selling
> production credits (in addition to better than breaking even on the power
> charged to the homeowner, still at 15-20% less than the utility would
> charge them.)  While outright ownership is a better long term better deal
> for most, the $0 down with 20 years of discount power at at a fixed
> sub-retail rate is pretty compelling.  There are other financing models in
> play too, but with or without the federal income tax credit it will only be
> getting cheaper, and the deals better year on year over in the next five
> years.
>
> The PV party is only just getting started, but it's bound to really
> mess with the business models of incumbent merchant peak generation
> operators, as well as the utility companies once distibuted ratepayer-owned
> PV becomes a double-digit percentage of all power on the ISO-NE grid,
> cutting the air conditioning peaks down by a large a good fraction, and
> with net-metering-at-retail cutting into gross utility revenues.  If state
> reguators & utilities mis-calculate it could be pretty rough ride (as it
> is right now in Hawaii), but we'll see.  Utilities (and utility management)
> is used to being  regulated monopolies, and ratepayer-owned generation
> outside of their control is competion, something that takes a major culture
> shift to deal with inside some utilities.  But in the end competition
> should be good for all rate-payers (if not all utility bond holders or
> shareholders), unless the regulators really screw it up during the
> transition period.
>
> dana
>
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