Why is great big Southern Company afraid of tiny SolarCity? Look at these 2.6KW of solar panels on a house in Bedford, Massachusetts. Think about much more sun in Georgia, financed by Google and Goldman Sachs, turning into votes for solar power. Big coal and nuclear boondoggles already don’t look so attractive anymore to investors.
By Giles Parkinson wrote for Reneweconomy on 9 October 2012, SolarCity’s big challenge: Prove that energy bills can fall,
SolarCity sees the traditional utilities as their biggest competition. “We compete with them on price, predictability of price and the ease by which customers can switch to electricity generated by solar systems,” it says.
“We have disrupted the industry status quo by providing renewable energy directly to customers for less than they are currently paying for utility-generated energy. Unlike utilities, we sell energy with a predictable cost structure that does not rely on limited fossil fuels and is insulated from rising retail electricity prices. As retail prices for electricity increase and distributed solar energy costs decline, our market opportunity will grow exponentially.”
Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Anthony Kim said the SolarCity filing could be a “game-changing moment for the solar industry” because it shows “how plummeting component costs benefit a company operating on the downstream side of the solar business.”
That article was posted before SolarCity’s stock went public, and before Goldman Sachs invested half a billion dollars in SolarCity. Six months later, we know Southern Company and Georgia Power are paying attention, because both SO CEO Tom Fanning and Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers said so at the Southern Company stockholder meeting.