Solar Energy Battery Backup Under Attack in California?

CHICAGO — California is no stranger to rolling blackouts. When Charles and Elke Hewitt installed a solar electric system with batteries for emergency backup power on their home this April, they were shocked when Southern California Edison rejected their application for grid connection under their net metering program. And the Hewitt family was not alone. Soon all homeowners with solar electric systems with battery backup in California could be affected by Edison’s stance on backup power.

Edison informed the couple their application for grid connection was denied because the batteries they used to store energy for emergency backup power when the grid went down were considered “power generators” and not energy storage devices, said Charles Hewitt. Edison said Hewitt did not qualify for their net metering program because the utility could not distinguish between power produced by the solar panels and power produced by the batteries, which it considers a nonrenewable source of power, he said. Edison explained their policy had not changed. It was the equipment that had changed. Members of the solar industry refute Edison’s position.

Written by Lauren Poole. To read the full article, click here.

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No Free Sun for You! Why Arizona Wants to ‘Tax’ Solar Power

Arizona does not have enough sunshine. It needs to ration that precious resource.

There’s no other explanation for the latest proposal from Arizona Public Service, Arizona’s largest electric utility. On July 12, it announced a plan to drastically change net-metering, the way in which homeowners and businesses with solar rooftops sell excess power back to the grid. Net-metering is the foundation for all solar leasing; without it, solar companies can’t entice homeowners with the promise of “cut your electric bill, no money down” but instead would rely on sales of expensive systems.

The proposal would slap existing solar-paneled homeowners with a fee of up to $100 per month for the privilege of selling excess power back to APS. If you own a home and don’t already have solar panels, no sun for you! You can never share in net-metering as we know it.

Written by RL Miller. To read the full article, click here.

America’s Real Problem with Solar Energy

Each day, our industry sits down and whittles the unsightly knots off the tree we call solar energy. We, as a group, spend more time than we should pointing to one of a growing number of reasons why solar energy isn’t taking hold in America: that perhaps our government incentives were cut too quickly, that our state’s SREC program is broken, that the net metering requirements aren’t strong enough.

Not that those things wouldn’t further bolster our industry, but go out and ask your friends and family about solar energy. The problem with solar energy in America isn’t a result of the deficiencies of the incentives (although improved incentives would set this industry on fire), it’s with the astounding lack of knowledge about a technology that can transform the lives of everyone in our nation and around the world.

Written by Ter Dines. To read the full article, click here