In addition to many large-scale solar projects on the horizon, Texas utilities will be offering residential solar options as well.
More specifically, the state’s largest power company TXU Energy, has a plan to offer two different ways for homeowners to go solar. Of course, neither option is in the best interest of homeowners – more on that later.
2016 has arrived and utilities everywhere can no longer ignore the low cost of solar power. Texas is no exception. A decade ago, the story was about wind power. The utilization of wind in the state has been impressive. Wind supplied 18 percent of the state’s energy needs this past November.
As previously mentioned, TXU Energy will allow its customers to go solar two ways; allowing them to purchase solar energy from a nearby solar farm or having the utility install solar panels on their homes. The utility is working with large solar retailer, SunPower, for those residents that want panels on their homes.
This new residential solar program will help the state meet guidelines to cut powerplant emissions statewide. It is expected that 14 gigawatts of electrical capacity will be supplied by solar by 2030. This is enough energy for over 2 million homes. It is also more electricity than wind and natural gas would supply, combined.
So what’s the real story here?
The real story is one that will likely play out across the country real soon – electric utilities will do everything they can to keep their customers and maintain their monopoly. Solar power advocates, both large and small, will continue to fight for fairness in freedom of choice. We are not a country of monopolies. If we truly do live in a free market environment, consumers must be allowed to purchase whichever products and services that are readily available. Electricity should be no exception.
The best solar opportunity is in ownership, of course. This is how homeowners can go solar and save many thousands of dollars compared to utility supplied energy. Through utilities, homeowners will be able to use solar power but receive none of the considerable savings.
Moving forward, we can expect the rights of homeowners to be protected. The right to own rooftop solar panel systems and sell that power back to utilities through net metering must be ensured. Word will eventually spread to every homeowner that having a solar panel system is a much better financial decision than relying solely on a utility.
A worst case scenario is that utilities continue to fight net metering and win. Even in this situation, homeowners with their own solar panel systems will be just fine. The reasoning for this is that battery storage solutions will be cost effective in a few short years. Homeowners who become energy self sufficient through solar panels and battery storage systems will be able to do without the grid.
It can be easily argued that utilities in Texas and all across the country need to offer their own rooftop residential solar programs real soon or slowly become irrelevant.
Here’s to consumer choice and solar power… a powerful combination!