Why is it that power companies do not want you to go ‘Solar’?
First things first, “I believe that we have the best power company in the world!”
However, it is still just a power company.
Even the best company wants to keep getting your money.
Having the power companies being the only ones with Solar/Wind Generation,
like what is now the setup
in Florida’s thanks to our Governor (Rick Scott),
will save you the public,
Let’s say for instance that you owned the only ‘grocery store’ in your town/city.
Because you own the only store,
you get to set prices.
One day you find that every family in your town/city wants to make their own gardens
and a number of small business owners are starting to sell
some really good ‘Green-Houses’ and hardy plants for your town/city.
Well. Let’s say that the ‘Grocery store is instead,
your power company.
Next, you find out that every family in your town/city wanted to go off the power grid to save themselves a lot of money and small business owners were making this possible, wouldn’t this make you think.
Remember, a Grocery store can change and sell many other things, such as ‘Farm Equipment.’
A power company can still sell to your town/city for very large usage and/or sell to other town/cities.
Electric trains, busses and electric roadways for electric cars are just a few that come to mind.
Read this article,
see a little finesse, and wiggling, this power company is starting to go through
and then watch to bad ones squirm!
I’ve been pretty vocal over the years in candidly explaining the merits and drawbacks of rooftop residential solar installations. The good news is that installations are more affordable as costs come down. The bad news is that a subsidy is still required to support such investments.
SECO has been successful in supporting members who generate their own power without resorting to rebates or credits that inadvertently create financial burden on other members.
We feel those who choose to invest in their own installations should bear the long term costs to receive the benefits. I realize there are some who disagree but I want to emphasize that our philosophy doesn’t seem to be discouraging members who are committed to investing in solar energy.
Case in point: The Florida Office on Economic and Demographic Research reports that SECO has the highest number of solar interconnections of any electric cooperative or municipal utility in Florida with 271 installations. Per the report, SECO also has the highest gross power rating for solar when compared with the state’s other cooperatives.
SECO’s interconnected members produced 1,139,363 kilowatt hours last year, resulting in payments from SECO to the members totaling nearly $95,000 in 2015. Over the life of their systems, the company has paid nearly $281,000 to solar members for the electricity they’ve produced per the terms of our tariff and net metering policy.
I understand parts of our service territory have been inundated recently with door-to-door and robocall solicitation from energy efficiency and solar salesmen. My advice is to exercise caution if you are approached and to call SECO for a free second opinion on the financial outlay and payback. Our Energy Services team can walk you through identifying your home’s conduciveness to solar by examining orientation, roof pitch, usage and potential payback. Rest assured, we’re not trying to discourage you – we simply want you to know what you will get for your money.
Speaking of your money, Congress extended the Investment Tax Credit (IVT) –30% of the value of solar projects. The 30% credit extends through 2019. Per a recent Wall Street Journal article, these credits were key to the rapid expansion of renewable energy. Without our tax dollars, this industry would probably be floundering. But it’s booming – and who technically profits from the credit? Solar panel manufactures and sellers – they even get to pocket the tax credit if the consumer leases rather than purchases their installation. And they probably didn’t send you, the taxpayers, a thank you note or a Christmas card.
On the topic of large-scale solar, SECO is working with the Federal Correctional Facility in Coleman to integrate their new solar system. Through a federal expenditure – more of our tax dollars at work – the prison installed a two-megawatt solar system to offset its energy use.
Another project in the works will allow you to purchase small blocks of solar energy rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars on rooftop solar. This utility-scale system should be operational by year’s end – watch for enrollment details.
Utility-scale solar costs have decreased, but it’s important to remember that traditional generation must still stand ready to produce power when the sun doesn’t shine. Even if you invest in a solar system, SECO members still incur the cost of a $775 million electric system – the meters, lines, poles, transformers, substations and peak time power supply that serves solar members when the sun doesn’t shine… at night, on cloudy days, during hot summer afternoons during storm season and on cold winter mornings before sunrise.
Floridians with solar installations still expect full-time, reliable electricity to be able to run their ACs, cook dinner and power their electronic gadgets in the absence of sunlight. It’s a point often lost in discussion of future power needs.
Can we do more with solar?
Yes, we should and from the numbers I provided, clearly we are making progress.