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Solar Energy in Pemberton Borough
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2012.01.22 Gene Kingman
Geopeak SunPower Contract
Geopeak Energy

Equipment Supplier & Lessor

Sunpower Corporation
Contract Cencelation

Response to Council 4/15/2013
A Proposed Ordinance 8/29/2013
PB Fails to Comply with Code
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Open Letter 1/11/14
To the Council 2/19/2014
Borough Comes Clean
Request Approval of Batteries

My Position


Borough Legal Council

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Issues and Remedies
482-13 Powers of BPU

Net Metering from Betz & Holt
Geopeak Response to Betz & Holt
Message to councilmen of Pemberton Borough

No Communication Received

Referenced Documents

GeoPeak Proposal
Sunpower Solar Lease
PBEC Original Agreement
PBEC Revised Agreement
2013 Power Monitoring
2015.03 Power Monitoring
2015.or Power Monitoring
NJ Clean Energy Document
Pemberton Borough Code 90

Legal Position

My Story

Buzalski vs GeoPeak Electric

GeoPeak Energy

geopeak commits Fraud

The Council Admits they take ALL the Solar Energy Produced
Bruce Buzalski Feb 20, 2014

After more than 18 months of hassle and no response, the Borough of Pemberton has finally come clean.  Last night they approved a modification to their ordinance (2014-1) for Solar Panels that states the the Borough will take ALL the energy produced not EXCESS.  That is a change from their previous official position.  It does however codify their actual practice.  Whether that is legal or not is up for grabs.  I plan to pursue it with the BPU, Legislature and Office of Community Affairs.  What is equally disturbing about the Boroughs position is that they are taking the profit from the Electric Department and transferring it to the the General Fund.  In this way they are taxing non-profits as well as individuals.

There isNo Need for the Borough to Respond
Bruce Buzalski Feb 17, 2014

Although I have pointed out to the Borough that they do not meet their own code, there is no requirement that they respond to or act on the information provided.  So although they have been told that regardless of how they wire their existing meters, they can not comply with their code, they have failed to respond verbally or in writing. Their latest trick is to propose a modification to the Code (Ordinance 2014-1) which eliminates the word EXCESS from the description.  They are therefore purchasing energy delivered to the grid knowing full well that if they connect their meter in parallel with the residential meter, they take all the energy produced leaving none for the resident who installed the system to save money.  Further, the price they propose in Ordinance 2014-1 is 25 on the dollar.  The cost of the solar energy is the cost of the system over it's life divided by the expected energy delivery.  Changing the Code after the fact has no impact on either of the two systems installed and approved by the borough prior to that change.

How do you define Excess
The Pemberton Borough Council is deathly afraid of Solar Installations.  They fear the loss of income due to a reduction in demand for their very expensive energy.  The Budget has become dependent on the excess income they get from this source.

To protect their cash cow they have created a detailed Code restricting how the Solar Systems may be connected to their Grid.  They have also invested heavily in a contract with the operators that is fairly restrictive. 

Their primary line of attack is that they refuse to allow "Reversing Meters".  They do not specifically reference Net meters in the Code, although I suppose that you could possibly consider it as running backwards.  In fact it reads the energy flowing in each direction and digitally takes the difference between the two numbers.

The Borough Fathers want you to use the energy that you produce while you produce it.  Any EXCESS goes into the grid and the Borough buys it from you at a wholesale rate.  That rate is less than half what you would pay for it when you purchase it from them and less than half what it costs you to generate it.

When the sun isn't shining you are purchasing your energy from the Borough at their inflated rates.  In fact you are paying for that energy twice.  First when you make it and the Borough takes it and second when you buy that energy back from them when the "Sun Don't Shine".

The hooker in this deal is that the Borough wants you to install a separate utility grade meter that measures the energy you send to their system.  This meter is installed by their electrician and is in parallel with the normal incoming Utility meter.  The meter then provides the lowest impedence for the generated energy to travel and it sucks off everything the Solar System produces.  This is not measuring EXCESS energy!

The Code clearly states that they will purchase the EXCESS  energy.  It clearly restricts the use of "REVERSING" meters and states that they will install a utility grade meter at the consumers expense..

My personal experience with the Borough has been horrific.  My predecessor was forced to sign a lengthy agreement that was totally unfair.  She too is sending all her energy to the Borough and has been for over 7 years. 

First, when you apply for a license for the installation, you must deposit $3500 with the Borough.  From this they will deduct any expenses that they feel are your responsibility. 

Second, at the time you apply, you are not presented with the agreement that you will be obligated to sign.  They wait until the system is completely installed and then, in the mail, after all the inspections are complete, you recieve the contract which you must sign before they will connect you to the grid.  I refused to sign it.

Third, once you negotiate a contract that you are somewhat comfortable with, they connect their meter to your system and suck all your power away.  Your bill actually goes up because the transformers are using a hefty chunk of energy and there are times when that power is taken from the grid.

My system has been installed on July 17th, 2012.  It wasn't until October of 2013 that I finally had a full understanding of how the system is operating and what their meter is doing. The system was turned off.

At their next monthly meeting, the council will be presented with a legal brief describing this position and giving them an opportunity to present arguments in their defense. 

The borough will be presented with the opportunity to submit a plan that

provides a remedy to this situation and actually measures the "EXCESS" energy as they didn't define it in the Code.  "EXCESS" is definitely not equal to "ALL". 

If, in a reasonable amount of time, they have no remedy, then they must start reading both meters, IN and OUT, take the mathematical difference to determine what is "EXCESS" and bill accordingly.  They have the option to do this annually if they wish.

The options that are open to them are to use a NET meter, or the two utility meters.  There is no way that they can determine the EXCESS in their view without more instrumentation.  The system installed is able to compute this by taking readings every minute and integrating those values over time.  They would have to instrument the input and output in a similar manor and perform the math.  There are no utility meters available that do that and it would be too costly for them to develop one.

The path of least resistance for them would be to remove the clause in the contract which states that the system is not eligible for a net meter.  That content is in the contract, not in the Code.  It is a simple matter to revise that paragraph.

In the following page, I've included some graphs and description of what a solar system looks like when installed.  There are also some excellent pictures of it in the Burlington County Times.  Ignore the man behind the curtain.

At this point, I am very optimistic that the Borough will see the error and will of their own volition find a remedy.  If not, I will have to push harder, which I will do, even though it may get expensive.