Angled to the southeast, Stan Holmes’ home above the state Capitol has a great view of City Creek Canyon but a less optimal position for solar panels — they generate most of their electricity in the morning, not during afternoon surges in demand.Check out the full Brian Maffly story here, which frames the looming debate, as individual Utah solar panel advocates square off against the Rocky Mountain Power behemoth:
But his new 378-kilowatt system still produces more power than his family can use much of the year, and sends the surplus into the grid to power the neighbors’ lights, kitchens and air conditioners.
The photovoltaic array greatly reduces their utility bills, but "that’s not what drove us," said Holmes, a retired high school history teacher. "The idea was to do everything we could to reduce our carbon footprint."
The Holmes family is among 2,700 Rocky Mountain Power customers who "net meter" — earning credit for the excess power they produce — and this number is growing rapidly as the cost of solar installations drops. Now the utility wants to charge such customers $4.65 a month to help cover the grid’s fixed costs, those associated with transmission and distribution of electricity through a vast network of wires, transformers and substations.
Our take? Executives of America's multi-billion dollar electrical utilities will soon be making major changes to their business model, particularly in view of the rapidly declining costs of rooftop solar arrays.
For our own part, we can see Rocky Mountain Power's point. Why shouldn't individual home owners such as Mr Holmes, folks who are selling home-produced electical power to RMP, make at least a "token" ($60/year annual) contribution to the upkeep of RMP's existing electrical grid infrastructure upkeep?. On the other side of the coin, why should our PUC place any economic disincentaive at all to the broad adoption of solar power generation technology, a technology which is (in our never humble opinion) the "wave of the future."
In that connection we'll also link this handy online petition, for those Gentle Readers who are (unlike your blogmeister), Not Sitting On the Fence:
Nope, WCF lumpencitizens, the solar electricity revolution isn't limited to rooftop solar panels.
Well? Comments anyone? Ferris?