Frequently Asked Questions
We can absolutely design a system to keep your power on. Unless specifically designed to do so, most systems are required to have "anti-islanding" features. This is a safety mechanism that requires energy production systems to go down if the grid goes down. The reason for this is so utility linemen can make repairs without the risk of being shocked by localized power production systems. Unfortunately, you will not be able to carry on through a blackout.
Battery storage typically has two major functions. First, we can shift when energy is pulled from the grid. If rates fluctuate during a 24-hour cycle, we can design systems that store energy when rates are low and release when rates are high. This allows you to buy more cheap energy and use less of the expensive energy. The second way we use batteries is to address demand. Our battery storage systems can be programed to release energy when your demand goes up, keeping your load profile low from the utility's perspective and thus saving you money as it relates to demand charges.
Yes, and battery storage can often offer a savings on its own. Because Pacifico Power is technology agnostic, we can often find creative ways to bring other energy solutions to the table.
The Economics of Energy
A number of factors determine the benefits of using alternative energy. Most businesses can save from 5–30% on their current energy bills and hedge a greater savings over time. Pacifico Power can help source the technologies and programs that will match your business's energy needs. This is what we do. Let's take a look and determine what that is!
Utilities do not pay for energy that you put on the line. However, with net metering, you are allowed to bank credits to be used later. In some cases, overproduction can be put on the line during expensive energy times and banked for use at cheaper energy times. It is therefore possible to use more energy than you produce but have a zero bill in the end. Any unused credits are zeroed out over time, usually annually.
There are a number of incentives that make offsetting the costs attractive. These include rebates, tax and green credits, and carve-outs. Pacifico Power can educate you on what incentives are available and which ones you might be able to take advantage of. The general rule with renewables is that the incentives reduce over time. Now is the best time to take advantage of them.
Energy providers are required to supply energy to everyone at the same time. Part of their planning process is predicting how much energy will be consumed. In addition to that, utilities need to know how fast energy is going to be consumed and when. They have to be prepared for every customer turning on their lights at the same time without the grid failing. Each customer has different usage patterns. Some use a lot of energy at night by lighting parking lots, while some use a lot in the afternoon by keeping buildings cool. A plotted chart of your usage will reveal your trends and specific peaks in kWs. We call these peaks "demand." Over the year, the utility company looks at your peaks and determines your highest peak as your demand. At any given time, they have to be prepared for you to need that spike, and they have to have energy ready to give to you at that rate. When your plotted patterns have higher peaks, the utility charges you based on how high that peak is. Pacifico Power can design alternative systems that address demand on top of energy needs, thus offering the potential for "double" savings.
There are a number of factors that cause rate changes. Unfortunately, utilities don't have a lot of competition. As the cost of acquiring energy goes up, they petition the Public Utilities Commission to raise rates. We've seen significant rate hikes over the past decade. Pacifico Power can offer fixed projected pricing on energy and thus help customers hedge against increasing energy rates.
Both a kilowatt (kW) and kilowatt hour (kWh) are ways to measure energy. A kilowatt is equal to 1,000 watts and measures a point in time in relation to demand or load. It is best understood if compared to the speed at which energy is being used. A kilowatt hour is related to a kilowatt but measures over a period in time. The kWh measure is the quantification of the energy you use. A single kWh is the amount of energy flowing into a device at the rate of 1 kW for a complete hour. It is much like driving a car and the relationship among miles driven, miles per hour, and time. The total energy used is measured in kWh (related to total miles driven) and correlates with the rate measured in kW (related to miles per hour) in relation to a period of time. Average kW × time in hours = total kWh, much like average rate of speed × time in hours = total miles driven.
System Ownership and Financing
PPAs and ESAs are ways to buy energy over a specific period of time without up-front costs. With a PPA or ESA, you purchase the power the energy system produces at a predetermined rate. The customer agrees to pay for all the energy the system produces. The PPA/ESA bill is in addition to a dramatically reduced utility bill with a net result of total savings.
This is a strategic question for every customer. Ultimately, it comes down to preferences over capital, financing, and long-term commitment. There is a solution for everyone to save on energy costs. Pacifico Power can assist in determining this based on your company's objectives and help you establish an energy strategy.
Yes. All of our projects have warranties. Pacifico Power is prepared to discuss how to extend warranties as well as provide operational services to keep your systems on and performing.
Pacifico Power offers an annual guarantee of production in our Energy Service Agreement (ESA) model. We will produce those minimum numbers or pay you the difference. You can hold us accountable for a well-designed, maintained, and performing system.