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How Sustainable is the Current Growth in Solar?

NathanKashdan 0 Ratings 1 Discussions 0 Group posts

Posted by: NathanKashdan // Student

A new article from by energy columnist David Roberts explains that the current boom in rooftop solar technologies is currently being threatened. Policies like net-metering for households being powered by solar panels have made having solar panels installed a very viable option for Americans. Traditional utilities companies, however, fear that this rise in solar panels will make a dent in their margins. This also has the potential of increasing overall costs for other, non-solar users of energy.

The Washington Post also has a great article:

EmmamHowe Hopkinton, MA, united-states 0 Ratings 13 Discussions 8 Group posts

EmmamHowe // Marketing/Green Policy Development

Across the nation, utilities have been taking mixed stances on the implementation of Solar Power. In some states, like Arizona, utilities are trying to make solar more expensive and less desirable for consumers. They are trying to impose monthly surcharges for Solar consumers trying to take advantage of “net metering,” a common practice that allows solar customers to earn credit for the surplus electricity they provide to the electric grid. Net metering is part of the reason why Solar energy is so attractive and cost effective, as it makes residential solar affordable by lowering electric bills to offset the $10,000 to $30,000 cost of rooftop panels. But, the Arizonan utilities feel that this practice hurts their revenue inflow, so they are doing everything they can to maintain their bottom lines. However, in states like Oregon, electric utilities are supporting renewable legislation, requiring them to meet a 50% renewable portfolio standard (double their current goal). These utilities believe that the benefits of Solar energy will outweigh initial drops in revenue. They believe the shift to solar energy will help Oregon meet its new federal requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also producing thousands of new jobs. “The residential solar industry currently employs about 174,000 people nationwide, or twice as many as the number of coal miners.” Thus, they utilities wish to move Oregon towards a cleaner energy future in a way that is both doable and affordable, pointing out that they believe they can also potentially save $600 million by 2030.

Therefore, there is hope for the relationship between the Solar industry and electric utilities. As more utilities come out in favor of renewable energy like those in Oregon, hopefully others, such as those in Arizona, will begin to realize the benefits that supporting renewable energy sources can provide them.


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