Solar fight heats up in California and Arizona
By: SGN Staff
By Jesse Berst
I believe the proponents of rooftop solar are going overboard with nonsensical conspiracy theories that paint utilities as evil overlords. But we have to be careful that we don't fall into a similar trap. It's hard to fling dirt without getting your hands dirty.
Rather than resort to Chicken Little protestations or rearguard legal actions like those described in a recent article from the New York Times, I think utilities would be wiser to seriously investigate getting into the solar business themselves. I concur with NE Energy CEO Michael Yackira, who told the Times "I see an opportunity for us to recreate ourselves, just like the telecommunications industry did."
That New York Times article claims electric power utilities are "in almost panicked tones... fighting hard to slow the spread" of rooftop solar.
In fact, most utilities are not fighting hard enough. But the battle is not to slow solar energy. The battle is to stop subsidizing the (mostly rich) homeowners and business owners who can afford rooftop solar. Otherwise, the U.S. could find itself in the same position as Germany, which is considering a retreat from renewables because its subsidies made electric power too expensive.