The Utilities-And-Solar Debate
Solar Energy War: Utilities Set Their Sights on Rooftop Solar; There's clearly a war on rooftop solar, but it may not be as simple of a debate as you might think.
Travis Hoium, April 24, 2016 (Motley Fool)
“…The core disagreement between utilities and solar companies is over the price homeowners are credited for solar electricity they export to the grid…[I]n most states customers are credited with their full retail rate, known as net metering…Companies like SolarCity, Sunrun, and SunPower…can sell electricity to homeowners for less than their retail rate…offering savings to go solar…But utilities argue that they can buy solar electricity from large solar farms at a more cost-effective rate…[The Warren Buffett/Berkshire Hathaway-owned NV Energy] has signed contracts in the last two years with First Solar and SunPower to buy solar energy for $0.039 per kWh and $0.046 per kWh, respectively -- far below [the $0.114 per kWh credit it would give to a rooftop solar owner…[I]t's hard to argue that the utility doesn't have a point…Customers have the choice to go solar, but in most cases they're also reliant on compensation from the grid to make their solar choice work. And that tension between choice and compensation is the battle between solar companies and utilities…[Rooftop solar companies] have a good point that they bring choice to a market…I just wouldn't expect them to win the argument that net metering will make sense forever given the low-cost solar alternatives and potential cost shift to non-solar customers in high-penetration markets…” click here for more