SchwartzReport: Trying to Kill Solar….

Commerce, Corruption
Stephan A. Schwartz
Stephan A. Schwartz

The transition out of carbon energy is beginning to bite, and the Kochs’ and their allies in carbon energy are squeezing the political whores they bought in the state legislatures and agencies to protect their interests. It’s all getting very late Roman empire. Wisconsin, a state already deeply troubled is the point of their spear at the moment. The ques! tion is will the people of Wisconsin roll over like possums, or stand up for their interests? Frankly, I think it is a toss-up.

We’re Watching You, Wisconsin Public Service Commission
JOSH VOORHEES, Senior Writer – Slate


What is not in dispute is that the utilities believe their business model hinges on undercutting the rooftop solar industry before it matures. A 2013 report by the Edison Electric Institute, a leading utility group, made it clear that forcing consumers who sell their surplus back to the grid to pay more for the privilege was a ‘near-term, must-consider action.” The group’s big worry is that as more and more solar power–producing homes pay less and less each month, the cost for traditional consumers will go up, making a jump to solar that much more appealing. If utilities wait until that starts happening, the Edison report warned, ‘it may be too late to repair the utility business model.”

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And so the industry isn’t waiting. In the 20 months since that report was published, utilities have taken aim at rooftop solar (and to a lesser extent, small-scale wind projects) in at least 12 states, lobbying regulatory commissions and statehouses to rewrite rules to de-incentivize customers from buying or leasing rooftop solar panels. While each proposal is different, most share the common goal of forcing people who install solar panels on their rooftops to pay for both the electricity they buy from the grid and for a portion of the electricity they sell back to it.

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