Power Companies Driving Drunk With Power – If Only PG&E and SCE Didn’t Hate Rooftop Solar So Much We Might Meet Our AB 32 Emission Reductions.

It’s great that Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 510 on Monday. It lifts the current “cap” on rooftop solar from the crappy 2.5% to a BFD level of 5%.  The cap has to do with what percent of rooftop solar customers get to participate in the “net metering” program that actually gives them credit for the solar power they produce and feed back into the grid.

But forgive me if I’m only offering a near-silent golf clap of applause, because this whole cap program is a joke and doubling it from 2.5 to 5% is throwing a meatless bone to starving dog.

There shouldn’t even be a cap.  Everyone who generates solar and feeds it back into the grid should have not only net metering available to them but they should also be getting hefty feed-in tariffs too.

But if you read the news articles, solar advocates are supposed to be oh-s0-grateful and thrilled that the net metering cap wasn’t filled leaving no more room for new solar owners.

But as you can tell, I am NOT the least bit grateful and I’m NOT thrilled one iota.  The Greenius says, the state should call this the Dunce Cap program since it makes fools out of anyone who thinks this is the way to get solar power on all the roofs in California that can generate clean, green renewable energy.

It isn’t and it never will be.  Judged on the results, the current programs sucks.  Big time.

In a state which has made big promises to its citizens about how much of our power is supposed to come from renewable energy sources, why is there ANY cap, let alone an insultingly paltry 5% cap?

California has a Renewable Portfolio Standard that calls for us to be at 20% renewable energy this year, 2010.  That 20% goal was made into a law in 2006.  Right now we’re at about 12% from renewable sources.

Even though there’s not a chance in hell we’ll add 8% more in renewable energy this year,  do you see the utilities scrambling to meet that mandate by making rooftop solar part of the plan?

No you do not.

And that’s because the utilities and our PUC don’t want you generating your own solar electricity.  They wish no one had rooftop solar – unless of course that solar is owned by the utility and they can keep charging you for it.  Forever.

And because the utilities hate rooftop solar so much, we won’t be making any 2010 renewable portfolio deadlines and you can put money on the fact that we won’t get to the 33% we’re supposed to be at in 2020 either.

And if you’re wondering why Governor Schwarzenegger’s Million Roof Initiative has only gotten 70,000 California roofs installed with solar, look no further than the public and private electric utilities.

When SCE or PG&E or the DWP run commercials that talk about solar power you NEVER hear a single word about how you can cut your electric bill to $0 by installing rooftop solar and that the cost of that solar has dropped by 50% over the last 12 months.  They never tell you that for many people the payback time for the return on investment in a solar system is as little as 7 years or that your payback time with the utility is…NEVER.

Whether it’s my own crappy supplier, Southern California Edison, or Los Angeles’ DWP, or the big bad boys of power up north, PG&E, the ugly solar truth is these utilities make it as difficult and painful as possible for property owners to generate their own solar electricity and practice decentralized generation.

That’s because these utilities only back centralized power generation where they are at the center.

These utilities really like their power monopoly and they’re going to do whatever they can to preserve that unfair advantage – even if it means letting GHG emissions rise past the danger level in the process.

They already have.  What do they care? To them delivering on shareholder value doesn’t include the health and well being of their own shareholders’ future, only the dough, ray me they can rake into their coffers today.  A sustainable future isn’t part of their business plan.

And because of that, applying for the state rebate is an uglier process than filing your income taxes.  No surprise there since the utilities are in charge of the process and they don’t like giving out that money.

So even though the Governor signed AB on Monday of this week, let’s not make believe this is a great victory for solar, wind and other forms of  renewable energy, because it ain’t.

It’s just another win for the polluting, greenhouse gas producing utilities and their own fat wallets.

The Greenius says if the utilities were serious about renewable energy and climate change they would finance our state’s AB 811 loans by funding the clean energy bonds that make the loans possible.  Right now cities and counties are still scrambling looking for the loan money.  But PG&E and SCE have tons of available cash.  And they’d get a great payback of a fixed 6-9% annual interest rates for 20 years from investments backed by real property as collateral.

Why aren’t the utilities doing that?

Simple.  It’s because they don’t want you to own your own solar power generator and then stop paying them for eternity.  And they could care less what the consequences of their actions are.

3 thoughts on “Power Companies Driving Drunk With Power – If Only PG&E and SCE Didn’t Hate Rooftop Solar So Much We Might Meet Our AB 32 Emission Reductions.

  1. I could tell you horror stories of the utilities in southern ca that will make you vomit
    i have been fighting battle after battle with them and am very bruised
    call me during 1130 am -6pm pst
    president lite solar

    The Greenius: No offense, Ron, but I’m just not looking to have a call with anyone who is very bruised at the moment since I’ve got no remedies for you. And to be frank with you, I hate to hurl, so I’m not super interested in hearing horror stories that will make me vomit. You’re going to have to entice me to call you with something more positive as my incentive. Cash always works…

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