Friday, August 14, 2015

Why All of Us Are Paying For Your Neighbor's Solar Power

Even if you have a solar power system of your own, you will also be paying for your neighbor's as well.  And, the more systems that are installed, the more you will pay.

As much as 30% of the cost is offset by using tax dollars in the form of rebates, tax credits, and other incentives. With actual installed costs being between $15,000 and $29,000, the buyers of solar get taxpayer-supported subsidies of as much as $4,500 to $8,700; certainly making the upfront cost a lot more palatable. 

But, it doesn't just stop with your dollars.

Every time a personal solar power system is installed, the local commercial power company loses some revenue.  However, that company cannot reduce any costs other than fuel because they still have to provide power to that house for those times when the sun doesn't shine.  So, simply, you have a formula for rate increases.  It's a problem similar to the electric car.  Electric cars use the same road that all of us use but pay no gasoline taxes towards the building or maintenance of those roads.

Now, to the big kahuna of why your paying for your neighbor's solar: Net Metering. In 44 states, net metering means that the public utility must buy back any excess power production from a solar installation at, usually, retail pricing. And, retail includes all the costs to upgrade and maintain the electrical grid and engineer and bill for it.  Costs that the residential solar customer doesn't incur.  Thus, some public utilities must raise prices to cover operational costs that have been lost to net metering.  However, now with the advent of smart meters, the utilities are in the position to measure how much excess energy they are paying for and are better positioned to only pay wholesale for it; a fact that has greatly increased the breakeven point that the customer would see when making a decision to buy solar.

The reality is that solar is not cost effective and in order to make it cost effective, every non-solar customer is paying heavily.  This is especially true for the poor, who in no way, could afford to shell out thousands of dollars for a solar power system; even if their home was large enough and strong enough to support it.


Federal, state and local solar tax credits and rebates:

Cost of Solar Power:

Nevada could lose 6,000 jobs without net-metering cap hike:

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