Utilities panic over the rise of solar power

A great article called “On Rooftops, a Rival for Utilities” in the New York Times describes how large utility companies are attempting to eliminate clean energy incentives.

It seems the days of dismissing solar power as a fad are long gone. Even utilities are recognizing that solar power is here to stay. 

From Diane Cardwell’s article:

The battle is playing out among energy executives, lawmakers and regulators across the country. In Arizona, for example, the country’s second-largest solar market, the state’s largest utility is pressuring the Arizona Corporation Commission, which sets utility rates, to reconsider a generous residential credit and impose new fees on customers, months after the agency eliminated a commercial solar incentive. In North Carolina, Duke Energy is pushing to institute a new set of charges for solar customers as well. […] Utilities in California have appealed to lawmakers and regulators to reduce the credits and limit the number of people who can participate.

tempAnd while clean energy may constitute a “disruption” to utility companies, it’s a win for consumers and a win for the environment.

A handful of utility company leaders are acknowledging that it may be more practical for them to join the revolution rather than attempt to turn back the clock.

“I see an opportunity for us to recreate ourselves, just like the telecommunications industry did,” said Michael W. Yackira of NV Energy.

Still, most utility companies are focusing their energy on reversing the progress made by advocates for energy independence and the environment. A recent report from Environment America indicates that their panic is founded in reality, stating:

America has more than three times as much solar photovoltaic capacity today as in 2010, and more than 10 times as much as in 2007. In the first three months of 2013, solar power accounted for nearly half of the new electricity generating capacity in the United States. The price of solar energy is falling rapidly, and each year tens of thousands of additional Americans begin to reap the benefits of clean energy from the sun, generated right on the rooftops of their homes or places of business.

Do you think major utility companies will eventually embrace solar power? Share your thoughts below or drop us an email. We’d love to hear your insights. 

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