A recent article from motherjones.com details a growing fight over solar power profits.
While electric utilities across the country are starting to consider solar power, this article specifically delves into a Phoenix area company – Arizona Public Service.
After years of taking anti-solar actions, APS is starting to develop its own solar program. By way of approval from the Arizona Corporation Commission, APS will invest $28.5 million for 10 megawatts of solar panels. The utility will then offer homeowners a $30 per month credit if they decide to participate in the solar program and allow the utility to install solar panels on their rooftops.
So what’s the new fight over profits from solar power?
The new fight is between utilities, like APS, and major solar panel leasing companies. The solar leasing companies are off to a great start over the past few years. They have been taking full advantage of the affordability of solar power and now the utilities want to do the same thing.
Who stands to lose in this power struggle? Homeowners, of course. Solar power represents a tremendous financial opportunity. Utilities wish to remain in control of the residential energy market and solar leasing companies want to become the new power companies. Either way, homeowners will not reap the true financial benefits of solar power.
APS is offering the $30 monthly credit as a way to undercut its competitors – the solar leasers. A $30 dollar monthly credit might sound good to the typical homeowner until they realize that they would save thousands more over the long term by installing their own solar panel system.
If anything, utilities were forced into the solar game. Residential solar is being adopted at such a fast rate that utilities are realizing that they either take part or become a minor player in the new energy industry.
Distributed solar power plus economically justified battery storage technologies will eventually make the grid more of a back up energy provider.
Small to medium sized solar contractors are doing great work by allowing homeowners to benefit from the full value of solar power by helping them purchase and install solar panel systems.
Word is starting to spread about the considerable long term value of solar power. Hopefully more people will make a switch to solar on their terms, instead of giving most of the solar profit to utilities and solar leasing companies.