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The ALEC Attack on Solar Power


The ALEC Attack on Solar Power

Mitch Jones

It seems almost every week a new report comes out touting the growth of renewable electricity, especially wind and solar. Whether it is new milestones in installed generation capacity or low prices sold into the electricity markets, wind and solar are the certain future of electricity generation. But the future prospects of truly clean energy depend on a variety of government policies that have incentivized that growth.


I pity the young who watch their elders do all they can to try and avoid helping them. What hope is there of trusting our governments to benefit us if our system does all it can to prevent meaningful change? The greedy fools make conflict inevitable. Make a profit but let people fix the planet too. Net metering is logical and inevitable. It is an elegant solution that expands as needed to provide electricity. The Koch brothers are aberrant if they think they need to make more profit from destroying the world that provides them with profits? They become bizarre to act as if they need these pennies from people.


Sunshine and shady dealings


The Walton family (heirs of WalMart founder) has been just as active as the Kochs in legislating against net metering and training utilities to screw their net metering customers.

When I installed PV in 2005 in Washington State, I calculated a 20 to 22 year payback on the system. Due to the utilities and government playing a shell game with the program, when I recalculated payback at the ten year mark in 2015 the payback time frame had increased to more than 37 years.
A week later my utility send me a letter telling me that the fixed net metering budget will now limit net metering customers to a pro rata share of whatever they were getting due to more PV systems being installed than budget covered.. That 37 year pay back quickly turned to never.


There may be an argument that paying the same amount for electricity as they sell for it isn't feasible, but that only applies after the solar installation has been paid for. Up until that point, the utilities are a bunch of freeloaders who are trying to get electricity that other people have paid to generate. These homeowners are making investments in generating capacity so that utility companies don't have to. The utilities should be paying the costs or else buying the electricity at a price that will pay off the investment.


What happens in jurisdictions with public utilities? Is net metering allowed to function without (or with very high) caps?


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