Utilities desperate to shade solar power

The same Edison Electric Institute that warned electric utilities that distributed solar is already eating their lunch has codified a net metering talking point that utilities are pushing to try to shade solar power. It’s not working.

Power play: Utilities want solar users to pay up Mark Koba wrote for CNBC yesterday, Power play: Utilities want solar users to pay up,

But some experts say the mere fact that utilities— which generate $360 billion a year in energy sales—are battling with solar indicates the threat it now poses to them.

“The success of solar power is forcing utilities to rethink their business model and push for the changes,” said Franc Del Fosse, an energy industry lawyer and partner at Snell & Wilmer. “If you have an individual putting solar panels on the roof, it’s easy to suggest that a utility is making less money.”

The effort for higher fees on solar panel users could backfire, said Alan Beale, general manager of SolarMax.

If the fees are too high, he said, “it will just delay … the inevitable, and more companies and individuals will go to the independent energy producers.”

Sure, even before Edison Electric Institute codified that net metering talking point in September 2013, Tom Fanning, CEO of Southern Company, was on that same talking point back in May 2013 at the SO stockholder meeting and I’ve head Paul Bowers, CEO of Georgia Power, on the same talking point. They always seem to forget to mention what AustinEnergy discovered: in reduced wear on their lines and deferred need to produce more power, among other benefits, rooftop solar actually is worth more to utilities than the power the utilities generate. I’ll say again what I’ve said to Bowers and Fanning and published in the newspaper: let rooftop solar generators and solar farms sell through your grid and take a percentage, and then everybody will win.

Back to the article:

Even as they push for net metering changes, utilities are jumping on the solar bandwagon.

“We’ve invested in a solar distribution firm ourselves,” said Carver.

It’s solar time, Georgia Power and Southern Company! Jump on the bandwagon or get left behind.