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'Big Win for Our Climate and for Communities' as Federal Panel Rejects Attack on Rooftop Solar in US

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/07/16/big-win-our-climate-and-communities-federal-panel-rejects-attack-rooftop-solar-us

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There is no reason whatsoever that utility companies should not be paying those roof-top generating systems the same dollar amount that they charge the customer for their electricity. Costs should be identical no matter who is generating and suppling it into the grid.

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Less the very real costs of maintaining the wires, substations, poles and billing systems involved in the acceptance and distribution of that electricity, of course.  And naturally all this must be audited to ensure accuracy, and fairness
to all concerned.

Instead of turning this issue over to FERC, I would like to see a federal law passed making Net Metering mandatory in all 50 states.

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These people ARE paying for maintaining the system when they are not generating power, but using it. Please don’t try to defend these major corporations which will take every last dollar out of the pockets of good people trying to be more self-sufficient and less polluting to the environment. They have paid their power bills and also for the panels and their installment. Don’t say they have to support the grid also.
Shit! They are lucky IF they are allowed to have this in place in some states.
Attempting to be self-sufficient is a pretty damned good idea if one can.

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I worked in the electric utility industry for over 50 years and am a big proponent of residential solar installations ( I have installed a grid-tied 10kW system at my home) but to be honest, solar is not THE solution for most. It might help but it has numerous problems that cannot be overcome due to the laws of math. My research showed adequate capacity for a grid independent home necessitated an upfront investment in panels, batteries, inverters and support facilities on the order of $80K, with batteries replaced every 5-8 years at a cost of about 25K (now about 30K). These costs are with me doing most of the work. Normal preventive maintenance requirements are about 2 hours per week for the average system. I instead opted for a grid-tied system with minimal battery backup, instead relying on utility power during cloudy days and nights. Works well for me, but the reliance on utility power means large base-loaded power plants must remain.

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“Republican led panel”. Ok, I know there’s another shoe about to drop. Republicans don’t vote for things that are good for individuals without a nefarious reason. They just don’t. Its like the frog and the scorpion tale. It’s just in their nature.

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“Instead of promoting small, clean generation, FERC is undercutting the ability of solar and wind power to get a fair chance to compete."

How are they undercutting A fair chance to compete by reducing capacity requirements of a law that mandates purchase obligations? If you require utilities to buy certain types of energy, how can that possibly be construed as fair competition?

Some utility companies have already made the transition to power storage. Type “Hornsdale Power Reserve” into your preferred search engine.

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It would be fine with me if the regional grids were owned & maintained by the states and the major transmission lines owned & maintained by the feds. They’re not, and if a majority of electricity were being produced by small entities who were paid full retail price there would soon be no money left to pay to maintain said infrastructure.  It is a basic Law of Mother Nature that physics has uncovered — you can’t get something for nothing.

Not necessarily, a system of “neighborhood” storage systems can easily even-out the generation/use disparities, allowing a neighborhood to split the costs of public local power storage vs individual home storage systems (a co-op is a good administrative organization form). I’ve no problem with a distributed network public grid backing-up and supporting larger regional and national/international power networks. But I do like the resilience of bottom-up public power networks and this also allows, and encourages, private power generation corporations to focus on power generation rather than distribution, end-user billing, customer service, advertising, etc., they simply produce sustainable, clean, stable electrical power and feed it into the public grid which distributes, manages, stores, and delivers, electrical power to those purchasing it. Solar alone is almost certainly not going to fulfill all power needs everywhere, There is no reason to expect that a one-size solution will ever fit all size needs and wants.