Utilities Resist Residential Solar Power With Extra Fees

Major utilities across the country are looking to charge their customers that have taken on solar power.

This proposed, additional monthly fee is to be added to the bills of homeowners that have had solar panels installed. Utilities argue that they need to recoup some of the lost revenue due to a significant number of their customers installing solar.

A recent example of this situation comes by way of insideenergy.org and their piece on Colorado’s Utility – Xcel Energy. Large energy companies, like Xcel, are facing a situation where not only are they selling much less energy to solar power users, but they are obligated to buy excess solar energy from them as well. Xcel’s Vice President of Policy has stated -“That’s a concern. That’s why we’re trying to address it today before it gets to be too big a concern”.
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The way that Xcel and other utilities want to address this issue is by charging their solar customers extra monthly fees. This will prove to be a sad and futile attempt to save an antiquated and inefficient energy industry.

The argument that an older technology must be subsidized because a newer, better one has been developed is absurd.

There are quite a few things that make the utilities’ response to this situation almost laughable. It’s as if they do not realize how fragile their existence is. They don’t realize that we are currently in the beginning stages of the distributed energy revolution. The democratization of power is underway. Every homeowner that adopts solar power is one step closer to not needing the grid anymore. It’s just a matter of time before battery technologies are cheap enough for people to not need their local utility at all.

Solar power, at all scales, should be embraced by all. Utilities that are fighting to retain the dirty energy status quo should be ashamed of themselves. There should be much more investment in grid-scale solar and wind than is currently taking place. Luckily, we live in a free market society where consumers can choose better, cleaner energy solutions.

A realistic view of our near-term energy future is one where utilities receive compensation for allowing users to use the grid, instead of also selling energy.

While it is true that we can’t switch to a 100% renewable energy economy overnight, hindering this inevitable transition does not help at all. The big picture view is that adequate energy storage technologies will be arriving soon enough. We need to make sure that we have sufficient solar energy capacity ready to go when that time comes.

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