As we mentioned here yesterday, finding ways to go off grid and become energy self-sufficient is a growing passion among thinking people, and for every good reason. Clean, cheap, sustainable, passive energy is ours for the harnessing.
And though traditional utility controllers and their lobbies are fighting hard to limit the amount of free power that households can collect and use, resisting this natural evolution is an antiquated fool’s game. (Sorry Buffett and other old energy moguls, no you can’t own the sun. We can’t afford to make you richer at the expense of everything and everyone else. We’ve done that too long already. And even those who don’t give a wit about the planet, have to acknowledge math: harnessing passive energy is the smart thing to do for all of our finances.
Sanity prevailed yesterday when the California Public Utilities Commission approved an extension to the state’s rooftop solar program. See: California’s roof top solar industry wins in head to head with utilities.
Up until yesterday’s decision, the total number of net metered systems allowed was capped at 5% of utilities’ total generation and San Diego Light and Power had estimated it would hit the cap in summer 2016.
The new increased net metering program will phase in time-of-use rates, require customers to pay a $75-$100 interconnection fee, and calculate some electricity fees differently, which will add an estimated $10 a month to the amount solar customers pay towards shared costs. But it will enable continued growth of new rooftop solar installations in California and the jobs that go with it, while supporting a more robust and efficient grid that benefits all users.
“…rooftop solar is actually a net benefit for customers on the grid. Not only is solar a clean, renewable power source, but generating electricity where it is consumed also reduces transmission costs. Solar can also help diminish peak load on the grid during the day.”
Similar fights are playing out all over the world today. Each time sanity prevails in one municipality, province or state, it offers momentum and precedence for the rest.
Also see how recent decisions by the US Congress (extending solar and wind energy tax credits in the end-of-year budget) and the US Supreme Court (decision in favor of “demand response”— rewarding people for adjusting their power usage away from peak hours )—put energy efficiency and demand reduction on a level playing field with electricity generation and have opened the door for renewables to replace coal and natural gas. All very important developments in the need to be powered primarily by renewable sources of energy by 2050.