Back in the dark
ages, about 2005, one of the
Borough's residents decided to
be proactive and install solar
panels on her roof. This
Pemberton Borough off guard.
This was a major threat to their
cash cow. They couldn't afford
to allow solar installations that
would cut into their sale of
electricity. How would they
manage this problem.
PPANJ (Public Power Association of
New Jersey) who advised them to
not permit net metering and to
purchase all the power that was sent
to the grid at their cost of power
but not including any of the
transmission costs because a solar
facility wouldn't have those costs
associated with it.
So a very
complex Code was developed.
The code clearly stated how much
would be paid for electricity going
to the grid. It also stated
that a separate utility grade meter
would be installed to record
the amount of energy delivered.
The original meter would still be in
place to measure the amount of
energy consumed from their utility.
they prepared (the original being
some 15 pages) prohibited the
installation of a net meter.
This is where things began to get
In the Solar
Industry, Net meters are installed
by the utility. These meters
measure the energy flowing in both
directions and takes the difference
between them. If the consumer
uses more energy than they deliver,
they pay for the difference.
If they deliver more than they
receive the power utility purchases
that energy at an agreed upon price.
meters it is better to reconcile
once a year. That is the same
as the utility averaging the bill
over time and billing equal
installments. The difference
here is that far more energy is
being generated in the summer than
can be used, even with the air
conditioners running. So there
is always an excess of energy being
delivered during the day.
However at night, there is no solar
energy generated and the consumer
will withdraw energy from the grid,
using up the credits for the Excess
that was delivered during the day.
Pemberton Borough does not want
to return the energy once it is
captured. They want to
purchase all of it and a very low
price and sell it back at full
What is unfair
about this process is that
Pemberton Borough fails to
recognize that there is a cost
associated with the energy produced
by the Solar Panels. That cost
is the installation or lease cost
amortized over time divided by the
total amount of energy produced.
In my case that is 18¢ per killowat
the first installer, fought the
Borough for years but was unable
to change their view of Solar.
Borough Council resolutely stood
Then in 2010,
being new to the community and
unaware of the past history, I
Trinity Solar who represented
that they would install Solar Panels
for $2300. That would provide
me with the solar energy,
maintenance and insurance for the 20
year life of the system. I
couldn't resist so I readily signed
the contract. I started to
receive communications from
SunRun who owned the panels that
would be installed.
After about 6
months I received a notification
that due to the
Borough's ordinance and their
refusal to permit Net Meters,
SunRun could not install the
panels and were terminating the
Of course I was
very disappointed. I started
researching the Code and saw that
"reversing meters" were not
permitted. I'll admit, at that
time I no technical understanding of
what was happening.
Geopeak Energy was contacted.
I advised them of the previous
failure. After several weeks,
the salesman assured me that he and
his Electrician had met with the
Borough Electric Department and
had resolved the problem so the
installation could proceed.
When I asked what the solution was
he refused to discuss it. I
should have been suspect then. But I
proceeded blindly forward.
Borough wanted $3500 deposit for
the permit to cover any costs they
might encounter. That was
outrageous but I had no choice.
The installation moved forward and
was completed on July 17, 2012 and
approved by the
Borough Inspector. A
couple of days later I received a 15
page Contract from the Borough.
I had never seen it before. I
was shocked and refused to sign it.
It took the Borough 3 months but
they revised it and, although I was
still not happy about their refusal
to permit a Net meter, I signed it
at the end of October. On
December 17th 2012, their
electrician finally connected it to
the grid and I could turn on my
Over the next
10 months I had a period of
discovery. I learned that the
Meter to measure the "EXCESS" energy
was installed in parallel with the
House meter and that all the Solar
Energy generated was sucked into the
grid. The Borough was buying
ALL my Solar Energy not my EXCESS.
As part of
Geopeak Energy and I determined
that the only way I would be able to
use the Solar energy generated was
if the meters were in Series. We
tested this and found that when
electricity flows in the reverse
direction through the House Utility
Meter, it is summed with the energy
flowing into the house.
Although I was
now able to use some of the energy
generated the meter placement caused
First, the placement of the Solar
Output meter was reading all the
energy created. The
Borough was purchasing ALL the
energy not the Excess. Second,
the reverse flow in the House
Utility Meter, as adding the energy
I put into the grid to the energy I
was taking out of the grid resulting
in a ludicrously and exorbitantly
high monthly bill. I was being
charged 22¢ for every kWh I put into
Geopeak Energy contacted an
Pemberton Borough (a contract
employee as the Borough has no full
time employees in the Electric
Department) who stated that the
output meter should be connected to
the output of the solar system and
the House side of the House meter.
The system was reconfigured this
way. I turned off the Solar
Generator to avoid being charged for
the Energy I sent to the Grid.
Borough has not commented
on any of my monthly communications.
There is nothing a citizen can do
Borough Council is Wrong.