Utilities Fight Back in a War on Solar

Inside Climate News: “As more Americans go solar—and save money on their monthly utility bills—electricity providers are doubling down on ways to protect their revenue.”

“One of the utilities’ most widespread strategies is to impose extra charges on customers who are generating their own energy, and they have had varying degrees of success. At least 11 utilities in nine states have attempted this tactic; five have succeeded.

Where Utilities Charge Solar Customers Extra

“Power providers say these new rates are needed to ensure their customers using solar and other forms of so-called ‘distributed generation’ continue to pay for the basic costs associated with maintaining the grid.”

“Clean energy advocates fiercely object, calling these efforts ‘attacks on solar.’ They argue that the utilities don’t adequately account for solar users’ benefits to the grid: less electricity is lost during transportation across power lines; less money spent by utilities on infrastructure for transmission and distribution; credits the utilities can potentially use to reach renewable energy goals or tax credits.”

“Besides rate changes, other hurdles have also been placed in the path of progress for solar … Some states have rolled back solar tax incentives while others forbid customers from leasing solar panels from third-party providers. This ‘kitchen-sink approach’ is occurring in places where there’s already high solar penetration such as Arizona, as well as in places with few solar users such as Iowa.”

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