Unaffordable building now, just wait.

If the city had told the truth about the Community Solar

Garden, and its still not too late to do that.

It would have stopped all the waste of public and 

private dollars in local solar power systems.

The city community solar garden is a fraud.

When you understand where this can go regarding

this article, you will understand solar will not be

part of everyone's rush to 100% renewables around here.

Step Code 5 Net Zero using grid tied PV solar panels is

stealing money from people who don't know, subsidized by

everyone else.  Beware of solar salesmen.


If a building makes as much power as it consumes its considered Net Zero. 

How will a building make power?  The suggestion is solar panels. All excess solar power is earned in summer and Nelson hydro allows full retail credit even though they don't need the power.

In winter when solar doesn't work all these worthless summer solar credits are cashed in when Nelson hydro is paying a premium for excess Fortis power.  Those who can afford step code 5 buildings with solar panels have a power bill of $0.  Those who can least afford this along with everyone else pays.

If the city is successful in getting rural customers to pay for all excess expensive Fortis power it will be rural customers electric bills funding all this summer solar credit filled by expensive Fortis winter power.

Who pays for Nelson hydro?  Those with step code 5 buildings with solar panels use Nelson hydro as their free power credit/debit bank while paying nothing to maintain the system.

Imagine 5000 solar power Nelson homes. Will the city figure out this isn't working!  If these homes don't buy power, get full credit for excess and Nelson hydro fills these credits with expensive Fortis power, do I have to go on?   This city is going to have to tell the truth about the solar garden and stop paying full retail for any excess solar power.

I recommend reading the  PHONY solar garden!  before continuing .

Things you need to know:

Nelson hydro can make 16MW if water is available, typically spring runoff through fall.

Almost all annual solar is earned when water is spilling and Nelson Hydro is making power for less than a penny yet allowing full retail credit for anyone's excess solar, its value $0.

 This is the same time most annual solar power is made, it has the same value as the water spilling over the dam, zero, nada, zip $0 yet Nelson hydro credits full retail for anyone's excess solar, if we can't use the water spilling why are we pretending solar has value?

In winter we could use solar it doesn't work!  Nelson hydro makes 16 MW when water is available in winter they are reduced to their 9 MW licence.  And buying excess power from Fortis for 530% more than their own generation.  How smart is that, they could be making huge profits from their summer water power but instead let those profits spill down the river with the water and  give full retail credit for everyone's solar power, then in winter they cash in those worthless summer solar credits when Nelson hydro pays 530% more for power.  Who would do such a stupid thing?
Nelson hydro does.

In winter Nelson hydro is reduced to making  their licenced 9 MW and buying excess power from Fortis for 4c/kWh , at the same time all those summer solar credits get cashed in.

From November through March the Nelson community solar garden makes power for little more than one average homes annual use, in december and january, virtually nothing..  

Nelson solar garden $400,000 power for 1 house in winter might last 25 years.

Nakusp put small hydro on their city water system for $150,000 power for 50 houses at night, in snow, when it rains, when the sun doesn't shine and will last a century.

Some Numbers to know - 

Nelson hydro makes power for less than a penny     0.87c/kWh

Nelson hydro buys excess power from Fortis for     4.0c/kWh

Nelson hydro sells power retail for an average of   12.0c/kWh

Gross Profits selling Nelson generated power 1380%     12/.87

Gross Profits selling excess Fortis power          300%      12/4

The economics:

Nelson loses 1380% profit not selling power to those who can afford solar and allows them full retail credit for any excess solar power.

In Winter when solar doesn't work they cash in these credits when Nelson hydro is buying excess  power from  Fortis for 4c/kWh to fill those solar credits.  Thereby losing the 300% profits otherwise 

earned from selling Fortis power.

If its Nelson generated power filling solar credits its 1380% lost again.

Those who can afford solar to be net zero get a free ride, using Nelson hydro poles, wires, transformers, maintenance to bank and retrieve their solar credits. Subsidized by all other Nelson hydro customers.

 Fortis a business making money only allows one to install a solar system only large enough to avoid their consumption based on historical bills, if by chance they make any excess Fortis will only pay their wholesale costs.  They know solar is worthless to them, its political.

BC Hydro has finally gone Fortis's way, once politically correct they couldn't afford to keep this up.

Nelson, even though their bylaw says they won't buy anyone's power unless it makes economic sense is still paying full retail, Why? Feelgood green washing votes.

I keep asking why they ignore their bylaw they won't answer.

 Might it be their big mistake, the community solar garden?  If they actually paid the churches, co ops and others wholesale for their solar contracts there would be no more eco wackos calling for more solar power systems.

The hydro manager just left, the city needs to tell the truth,  admit the mistake, give the money back to the church groups and others all fooled into thinking solar panels at the dam were helping to save the planet and create a board of directors to oversee Nelson hydro.

I would post this on the Nelson Tech & Knowledge Workers face book page, they claim to be the cities intelligent community but it will be removed.  I have had similar things removed and was banned from the site.  

City councilor Keith Page who just joined NelsonTalkz is an administrator of NT&K facebook page,  has deleted my comments and others critical of the city on that page.

He tells me I am wasting everyone's time (mayor and council).

Who reading this will post this on NT&K,  Then you can come back here and let us know how long it lasted and guess who might have removed it and if you were banned.  And learn a little about councilor Page and his ethics as a city councilor.  He tells me I have no ethics.

The solar garden political stunt was presented as FULLY funded and voluntary(false) to those who opted in for their warm fuzzy feeling.  If that were the case, instead of receiving about $30/yr per panel 25 year contract subsidized by everyone else they would receive about $2/yr.  And every Nelson hydro customer is now stuck paying full retail with inflation and all future costs to maintain the solar garden for the remainder of the 25 year contract.  130 bought in to the 248 panels, while 10,000 hydro customers fund their misinformed and misguided  fantasy.  City council received a phony engineers report showing the solar garden had a business case..........possibly why the hydro manager is now gone!!  Now its time to sell the system, get whatever can be recovered, pay back those misinformed buying a solar contract and start making money from the huge profits our water power will make helping to reduce everyone's electric bill instead of it flowing down the river.

Norm Yanke

asking questions never getting answers

What will work, small hydro, a century ago most communities had their own hydro, clean green, works at night, in winter, when it snows, affordable, dependable, how did this solar nonsense begin?

Nelson's primary gravity water line contour seen below was  installed in 1926 studies more than a decade ago identified it as undersized, needing replacement and vulnerable to slides, spills forest fires and failure.

A study showed two potential small hydro generation possibilities making power to help pay for the replacement.  We have solar panels at the dam!!!!!!


Above contour of the 7 km City of Nelson water supply line long over due for replacement.


The average roof can hold about 5kW of solar panels.

2000 x 5kW = 10,000kW installed solar

Locally available solar data says 1 kW of solar panels will make about 775kWh of power from April through September..

Therefore the average home 5kW installed x 775kWh/kw = 3875kWh.

Average home uses about 9000kWh per year (Nelson hydro urban stat, rural is more like BC Hydro 11,000kWh/yr statistic)  during most of it in winter, assume
for these summer months the average home uses a third of annual or 3000kWh.

That is 3000kWh lost income from selling Nelson Hydro's clean green waterpower made for
.87c and selling for 10.51c/kWh.  3000 x .87= $26 cost of generation
3000kWh sold for 10.51c/kWh =$330 - $26 =$304 lost income per home.

Presume the credit earned from each homes excess power 875kWh (3875 earned 3000 consumed) is credited at full retail that is 875kWh x .1051c/kWh =$92 credit per home

Presume 2000 homes x lost sales of $304 per home = $608,000 lost to Nelson hydro income.

The allowed credit of $92 is subsidy from every other Nelson hydro customer, that credit is earned when Nelson hydro and every other hydro Dam is spilling water, its power we don't need.

$92 x 2000 homes = $184,000 plus the $608,000 lost sales =  $792,000.

In winter Nelson hydro is buying excess power from Fortis at 4c/kWh.

This is when all the summer solar credit is being cashed in.  Instead of 
Nelson hydro selling that 875kWh credit they are filling it with excess Fortis power
now purchased for 4c/kWh or $35 Nelson hydro cost.  They could have sold this for
10.51c/kWh for a profit of $92 losing $92-$35 = $57 per home.

2000 homes x $57 = $114.450 added to the above $792,000 is $906,450.

The average homes 5kW will make about 5000kWh/yr x .1051c/kWh=$525. 

Its called Cross subsidization, something to be avoided in a public utility.

When one class of customer subsidizes another, those who can afford solar will be 
subsidized by those least able to afford to live in the city or install solar.

Those with solar will not contribute their fair share to the maintenance of Nelson hydro yet
use it as their backup bank to store summer excess solar that has no value and then
cash in that credit paid for by those who can least afford it.

Never mind the fact that solar here adds to the cities carbon footprint.  NOTHING is cleaner
or greener than our waterpower.   The Community Solar garden is the epitome of
stupid.  Our own clean green hydro generation could make that power for about $500/yr.
Business case borrowed money payments $24,000/yr for 25 years the life expectancy of a solar
Solar isn't working , when it become viable we will all know it.  Education will stop this waste.

Until solar can be stored in grid quantities long term for the same cost as hydro generation which won't happen in any lifetime its worthless here yet those who don't understand continue to waste our
public money.

Fortis Electric
Net Metering.  A business with management answerable to shareholders makes business decisions.

You can install solar on your home but only a system no larger than to avoid your consumption based on historical bills.  New construction?  I presume the new energy consultants and calculations for a building meeting Step Code 5 will be known and therefore historical bills are not required.

The point is, Fortis doesn't want your excess solar power, if by chance your building does actually end up with a year end credit they will only pay you their wholesale cost of power purchase.   
Todays estimated solar system installs are likely about $3/watt.  The average home according to BC Hydro stats uses 11,000kWh annually.  I have no idea what a step code 5 building will save lets presume 80%.  From the above statistic the building will use 2200 kWh/yr.

To make the home net zero, local data suggests 1 kW of solar will earn about 1000kWh/y.

Therefore maximum solar size  2200kW solar system,  costs?  Likely$3-$4/watt = $6600.

Present Fortis rates copied below.

Bi-monthly residential service:

  • Customer Charge $34.56 based on 60 day billing period.
  • First 1,600 kWh are billed @ 10.799¢ per kWh.
  • Additional kWh are billed @ 14.320¢ per kWh.
Annual electric bills for a step 5 building with solar could look like the following:

2200kWh consumption @ 10.799c/kWh = $240
Bimonthly basic @ $34.56 = $207.36

Likely install cost for 2200kWh of solar at $3/watt = $6600

$6600 borrowed at 3.5% over 25 years (life expectancy of a solar panel)   $33/mo
or $396/yr.

Step Code 5 annual electricity cost without solar from above info 
2200kWh @ 10.799c/kWh = $237 + basic $207.36 = $445

With Solar  money cost $396 + basic $207.36 = $603  

Costs more, isn't green, future costs of solar panel failure, inverter replacements, roof leaks,
insurance premiums(coming, not here yet). etc.  Does nothing for the environment except produce
toxic waste as solar panels age making less power every year if they last 25 years.
Not too smart when you know the reality.

BCHYDRO Net Metering, once paying a premium because it was political has now followed Fortis as above paying the average annual
Mid C (mid Columbia Northwest Power Producers power trading hub) rate recently 3c/kWh.
Nelson hydro is paying some small hydro producer 14c/kWh!!!!!!!!  seems to be a big secret.

NELSON HYDRO pays full retail even though the bylaw says they won't buy any power unless it makes economic sense, nobody will answer my question why?(likely due to their phony solar garden)


The BC Utilities Commission recently denied a Kelowna project(similar to the Nelson Community Solar Garden) because it was of NO benefit to anyone.
They also stated it was arguably green.
Penticton, where the sun shines studied solar and said it would have to be subsidized over 50%.

Nothing is cleaner or greener than our waterpower,  Nelson is proving this with their community solar garden.  Nelson hydro pays full retail for solar power while watching the huge profits otherwise earned from cleaner greener waterpower spilling down the river.
Greenwashing at its best.  Solar power subsidized by every other Nelson hydro customer who should be receiving the benefits of reduced electric rates from selling their waterpower.

Unless you can avoid the burning of a non renewable such as coal which can't happen here, no solar power is green or can compete with our cheap cleaner greener waterpower.

Something to be avoided in a public electric utility.  When one class of consumer subsidizes
another, in this case those who can afford solar.
Solar increases our carbon footprint, costs everyone money and solar panels will become toxic hazardous waste an ever increasing problem in the world now. 


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