Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Taking a Dim View of Solar Energy

A Newsweek article suggests that utility companies may begin to fight the incentive programs now in place as their energy shares decrease in the wake of huge increases in roof-top energy production, suggesting that “So far, they're getting vastly outpaced by the decentralized rooftop approach. According to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council's 2006-08 count, consumers added 522 megawatts to the grid; whereas utility generated sites added just 96 megawatts.” The increase is attributed in part to subsidies and also to lowering prices overall of solar panels.

It goes on to say “The disparity has utilities worried about loosing (sic) their grip on the country's energy industry, and the $130 billion residential electricity market. In some cases, utilities are actually taking direct steps to thwart rooftop solar. Two weeks ago in Colorado, the state's biggest utility, Xcel, tried passing a surcharge on homes and businesses using rooftop solar power. The rate hike would've generated $180 million, $55 million of which was slated to help fund Xcel's newest coal-fired power plant, the Comanche Unit 3, due to come online this fall. The public went ballistic, and with pressure from Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, the proposal was eventually shelved.”

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