Solar Panels and Home Owners Insurance - read your 2020 updates!

I’m not sure where to post this and it isn’t specifically Sense related except for the knowledge I have of my usage.

State Farm’s 2020 updates to their home owners policy exclude solar panels that are producing more than 125% of the homes usage. I’m in Texas and don’t know if it’s different elsewhere.

I designed my system to produce 120% of my usage - with five adults in the house, planning for the eventual degradation of the system. Four years later, just me full time, no indoor pets any more and my Sense unit - my production is close to doubling my usage. I’m angry and frustrated at being penalized for being efficient, but the real reason for my post is to try to find out if others are dealing with this and looking for ideas on how to insure my panels.

If this is too far off topic, just let me know. I trust the members here and am not on any solar panel forums.

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Have you tried farm bureau insurance? Don’t let the name scare you away. I don’t have a farm but use Kentucky farm bureau.
I’m able to get a policy from them that covers what others don’t.

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Thanks! I’ll check them out. I do have a farm :slight_smile: so they may be a good fit all the way around.

Just throwing out some ideas even though you may not like them:

  1. Have you considered not running part of your array to get below the 120% limit? Do you actually get any financial benefit from overproduction?
  2. Perhaps consider buying an EV to get that usage up a bit?
  3. Along the same lines, as you replace appliances, is going all-electric a possibility?
  4. This is really out there, but would you consider bitcoin mining if your marginal cost of electricity is zero?
  5. Along the lines of increasing usage and monetizing that, are there crops or livestock you could pick up that would take advantage of the potentially free electricity that you have?

Just some thoughts. Apologies if they are too crazy.

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That’s actually a shocking policy (pun intended) on State Farm’s part, or am I missing something?

I would contact legislators about that and try and get some press! Oh my.
I think this forum should weigh in on this some more since Sense could be a key part of this equation moving forward.

Not the least reason is

… and the other “crazy” thoughts.

Neighbors? Open a charging station?
How many kWhrs are you actually overproducing?

There has to be a long term storage option you can exploit that will clock as “usage”.

Perhaps through some (legally binding) semantic shenanigans you can have a grid feed considered “usage”?

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These are actually great ideas. :slight_smile:
I don’t really have the ability to use only sections of my array unless i were to physically disconnect them. Since my overuse/underuse is seasonal, I don’t really want to do that. I’m not sure that using more electricity is the right answer, although it does weirdly make sense. most of my appliances are propane, but none close to needing to be replaced. the BF is looking at an EV but isn’t there full time. I am getting a check back each year from our local coop, but it’s little more than beer money if you break it down to a monthly income. I have livestock, so they’re already included. Bitcoin mining is an option I hadn’t considered, but might look into. I’m currently trying to deal with my local agent for additional clarity on the policy, but at this point, i’m not sure what he can do. If they end up kissing me good bye, I will likely follow up in a more public fashion. I suspect the majority of their policy holders haven’t read the fine print on the changes. I’m putting out feelers to farm bureau and others as was suggested here and no one else seems to have those restrictions.

the crazy thing is that state farm literally has no way to calculate my usage. they seem to think they can get it from my electric company but even if i grant them access to my numbers, they don’t have any record of my usage. only my overage, and what I pull off the grid. and correct me if i’m wrong, if it’s a battery system rather than a grid tie-in … is the production/usage always 100%? there would never be an overage or any income no matter how large the system?

So is your annual overproduction >125% of “usage” or is it clocked (supposedly) month-to-month and they dropped you due to a single (monthly) instance of overproduction?

Regardless of the insurance issue I guess you need a way of exploiting the juice though.

In this day and age you would think that governments should incentivize EV adoption based on the owner’s charging situation: If you are overproducing solar you should get some kind of tax break when buying an EV.

App: Waze/Google or similar directs you to a known over producing solar array while driving and needing a charge … all while factoring in the ETA; delay in going off-route; AND the requirements (as provided by Sense!) of the household with the charging station. Cha-ching.

Back to the crazy ideas:

  1. Hothouse - this is inspired by an article I read about transparent solar panels for powering hothouses. You don’t need the transparent solar, but you could use your excess solar to power your hothouse.
  2. Throw a tarp over some of the panels to reduce production.
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My BF just purchased a pluggable so we’ll have that part time, but I’m still looking at other options. I am loving all the creativity on this thread! :slight_smile:

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I know it’s been awhile, but it looks like I’ll be going with Farm Bureau. Thanks for the tip!

Is your home all electric? My guess is that it isn’t. Converted gas mechanical systems to electric would increase your load big time. Same with switching to an electric car…

It’s not :slight_smile: I have propane stove, clothes dryer and hot water heater. It will make sense to replace them with electric when they need replacing but they are all pretty new.

I’m actually very happy with the Farm Bureau policy. It’s significantly better coverage overall at about the same cost.

Invest in some bitcoin mining rigs?

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Becky, Do you get paid from your electric company for the surplus energy you create? It still might make sense to replace relatively new gas mechanical systems and appliances with electric ones to capture the money (energy) you are likely wasting!

this is a possibility i haven’t looked into yet, but i will.

yes, i get a check at the end of the year for the energy I don’t use. I guess, all in all, I’d rather have the cash than replace good appliances. With the Farm Bureau insurance I have now, the panels are insurance specifically. they were so easy to work with.

Wow. That’s rad that you get a check for surplus energy! With my net metering agreement I’m given kWh credits towards future electric bills. Every April, if there is still a surplus, it is given to a low income electric bill assistance program and my bill is essentially reset to zero. So in my case, I will never get a check from the electric utility. Given your situation, I see how this complicates the issue.